Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Diary

I'm officially out of winter mode and into spring mode. The transition is so abrupt here that it's almost startling, with the plants suddenly erupting from the ground and the colors changing from browns and grays to greens in a matter of days. At a distance the mountains briefly turn yellow and then become green, as they are named. Right on schedule, the hummingbirds show up on May 8 or 9. This summer should be a good one for tomatoes, because it is expected to be hot.

When I live in the same place for several years I gradually address various issues and eventually have nothing left to do. The first few years here were a little arduous, because I painted the house, garage and shed, mouse-proofed the basement and removed several elms that had died from Dutch elm disease. The yardwork has become considerably less of a strain with the purchase of a lawn tractor last year. This spring I'm down to repairing a damaged screen door and attending to carpenter ants. Now all I'm left with are trivial consumer decisions such as how to replace a fifteen-year-old tube TV with a large flat screen TV. If I'm not careful I'll become a fat, torpid couch potato.

For some reason I seem to reevaluate this blog at this time each year, perhaps with an awareness of change induced by the outdoors. As part of that I wonder who is reading this blog and why. With so few readers it is possible to know a lot about some of them, but I know nothing about others. I'm still at four readers whom I've actually met. Two of those are regular readers and two are occasional readers. One reader whom I know but haven't met, iteres from Alberta, seems to have dropped out, or at least she rarely reads this anymore. I have a couple of unknown regular readers and a few unknown irregular readers. With the tools available, it isn't easy to decipher the unknowns with any certainty. Because of Tor, other identity-protection techniques and an assortment of technical glitches, it is hard to have much confidence in the data provided by Google on pageviews. I think I may have a few unknown readers who have followed me from 3 Quarks Daily, and possibly from elsewhere. I've had pageviews from Oxford and Cambridge, UK, Cambridge, Massachusetts and Caltech. The Russian government, Russian criminals or someone in Russia – or someone anywhere using Tor – seems to like the blog sporadically. Also, because I have accumulated so many posts now, I've started to get pageviews from people who find the blog by chance on Google searches; they tend to be non-repeats: probably this is a blog that most people would rather not stumble across.

For the time being I've settled on the format of alternately reviewing books and blabbing, which seems to work well enough for me. I prefer the in-depth thought processes of books to typical online content. For example, I enjoyed delving into the thoughts of Czeslaw Milosz on my last two posts, and I subsequently came across a thread on the same topic at World Literature Forum, which, as is typical of Internet discussion, provided no detailed examination of Milosz's ideas. To me, most of the discussion on the Internet is discussion about what someone thinks might be interesting, but without any articulation of exactly what would be interesting about it. Thus, though you may agree or disagree with me on my posts, you do find out what someone actually thinks about something, and if I were to come across a blog like this I would find it more substantive than most Internet content. It is possible that there are many interesting blogs out there that remain undiscovered.

This blog is somewhat amorphous, i.e., the format and subject matter aren't fixed. I am always open to feedback, and if you have any but don't know my personal e-mail address, I can also be reached at doubttheexperts@gmail.com.

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