blogging

Did You Miss Me?

Did you miss me?

Did you even notice I was gone?

I have spent two weeks away from the Internet, as someone who wakes up and logs on, gets home and logs on and regularly sees their life frittering away on Facebook and other Internet sites, this was quite a feat.

Kobuleti

Kobuleti

I went to Kobuleti, a Black Sea resort in Ajara, Western Georgia. I purposely left my electronic notebook at home and avoided Internet Cafes.

"Bounce" on Nokia phone

“Bounce” on Nokia phone

At first I was a little bored, I even played the games on my very basic Nokia; no smartphone it only has three games Snake, Beach Rally and Bounce. That didn’t entertain me for long. I went to the beach and made towers of pebbles…a kind of stone age entertainment.

Pebble Tower, Kobuleti Beach

Pebble Tower, Kobuleti Beach

I took four books in English and read all four, I had to slow down on the last because I didn’t want to be deprived of reading matter. I also took three books in Georgian and managed to get through a simple biography of the Georgian painter Pirosmani, with my wife’s help.

Holiday reading. 4 books in Englsih...read. Three books in Georgian...read the biography of Pirosmani.

Holiday reading. 4 books in Englsih…read. Three books in Georgian…read the biography of Pirosmani.

Reading about Pirosmani on the beach in Gerogian

Reading about Pirosmani on the beach in Gerogian

I took a sketch pad with high hopes of doing some drawing but all I managed were a few biro sketches in a little notebook.

sketches in biro

sketches in biro

Without the Internet, I wrote no blog posts and kept a physical (pen and paper) diary….I have a few ideas for blog posts from my trip (starting with this one).

Diary, Coca Cola and a collection of Galaktion Tabidze's poems at a beachside bar.

Diary, Coca Cola and a collection of Galaktion Tabidze’s poems at a beachside bar.

Facebook informs me:

“123 friends posted on your Timeline for your birthday.”

Facebook doesn’t inform me how I can see these messages.

I also came back to 93 notifications and 9 messages, my camera had 1309 photos, which I’m still sifting through. I didn’t hear any football results and was completely oblivious to world news events. It was weird.

The days were a routine of swim in the sea, relax on the beach, lunch, siesta, swim in the sea again, evening meal then a promenade along the beachfront. There were a few breaks from this routine, a visit to the neighbouring resort of Batumi and its botanical garden and an invitation to a Georgian feast (სუფრა) in the countryside at Ozurgeti. One day it rained and then there was nothing to do, except shelter in the guest house and read or chat.

When it rains in Kobuleti options are severly limited.

When it rains in Kobuleti options are severely limited.

Will the experiment change my Internet habits? We shall see. I should reduce my Facebook activity as most of it is doing very little to develop me as a person. I didn’t miss the Internet as much as I had imagined I would, there were times reading that I wanted to Google something,  like a picture of a 1938 Panhard Dynamic when reading Alan Furst’s “Mission to Paris” and I wanted to find more out about the Dominican Republic and the dictator Trujillo when reading “The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao” by Junot Diaz (that was the last of my books in English and I took my time, it was worth savouring…I have four or five book reviews to write up in the coming days). Would I do it again? Maybe for a week or two, but I don’t envision quitting the Internet forever.

Blogging Statistics

I am quite an avid follower of my blogging statistics. I have two blogs, this one and a specialist  diecast blog. Both began around the same time in November 2013.

This one is about many things but mainly for sharing my photos (especially responding to the “Weekly Photo Challenge”), reviewing books I’ve read and trying to make sense of living in a foreign land (Georgia…the language and customs etc…). This is the 207th post, the blog has 126 followers (hi y’all!). Views peaked in March and have gone down slowly since.

Blog views by month.

Blog views by month.

The diecast blog statistics are quite different. There I have made 147 posts, I have just 23 followers but the views are going up month after month.

diecast blog monthly view graph

diecast blog monthly view graph

The geographical distribution for the two blogs differs, too.

For the main blog:

  1. USA                 777 views
  2. Georgia           545
  3. UK                     502
  4. Germany             90
  5. Canada                75
  6. Philippines           65
  7. Czech Rep           65
  8. Russian Fed       53
  9. Australia             47
  10. Turkey               42
  11. Spain                 35
  12. Azerbaijan          33

A large gap between the top three and the rest.

With my diecast blog USA is still number one:

  1. USA                    780 views
  2. UK                       558
  3. Philippines           516
  4. Romania              293
  5. Australia              261
  6. Brazil                   227
  7. Georgia              185
  8. India                    160
  9. France                102
  10. Singapore             96
  11. Indonesia              95
  12. Germany               76

No surprise seeing USA and UK, first and second, but Philippines in third is interesting, I know a few Filipinos through Facebook who are very keen collectors of Hot Wheels cars. In my adopted country Georgia, there isn’t a big diecast scene.

Thanks to all my viewers and followers any comments appreciated.

 

 

 

Walking to loosen the creative flow

I get many blogging ideas when I’m walking. Every day I try to walk for an hour at least in total. If you’re sitting at a blank screen, wondering what to write, I recommend you go for a walk. A study at Stanford University found a person walking indoors – on a treadmill in a room facing a blank wall – or walking outdoors in the fresh air produced twice as many creative responses compared to a person sitting down. 

Wordsworth was a walker. Charles Dickens was a walker, he would walk at night because he had a problem sleeping. Virginia Woolf walked for inspiration.

From where I live on the ninth floor of a Soviet block in Varketili to the metro station is a 15 minute walk. I can take a bus, but rarely do as I prefer to walk.

I could take a bus but rarely do, they are very crowded.

I could take a bus but rarely do, they are very crowded.

The route isn’t the most exciting, but that can be good for thinking creatively. I always carry my camera in a pouch on my belt in case I see anything interesting. The route is the same but there are different cars, people, animals and skies.

Sunlight is good for us, sunlight stimulates hormones (cortisol and melatonin, for example) in ways that promote activity and rest.

Sat at a computer we can be overstimulated checking our Facebook, Twitter, Inbox etc…the brain needs some downtime. Ideas need time to incubate: after you encounter a problem, some part of your brain will work on it while you’re working on other things.

The start of my daily walk to the metro.

The start of my daily walk to the metro.

A wet day an urban landscape, not the most inspiring day, but once walking I start thinking. Ideas flow.  I thought about writing this post.

Walking is also good exercise and helps me sleep.

 

2013

31 December 2013, a time to look back on the old year and reflect.

Travelling: Compared to other years we did very little travelling in 2013. In Georgia we just went out of Tbilisi to nearby Sighnaghi, Pasanauri, Lomisa and Rustavi.

We made the annual trip to England, where in 3 weeks, we visited London, Cambridge, Cornwall, Cheltenham, the Cotswolds, York, Bewdley and Worcester.

We also moved from Saburtalo in the centre of Tbilisi to Varketili on the outskirts.

Photography: I bought a new camera in England a Panasonic Lumix TZ40…every day I take many photos, most of which are posted on Facebook and some of which find there way onto my blog.

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Here’s a photo of my lovely wife, Khato in London. The London Eye giving her a halo.

Work: I continue to work as an English teacher but less in school and more privately than at the start of the year.

Blogging: this blog began in November and has quite a geographical spread of readers. USA, Georgia and UK being the source of most readers.

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Greetings to you dear reader wherever you may be.

I have a second blog about my hobby of collecting diecast cars. http://jimholroyd365d.wordpress.com

I added 175 diecast models to my collection in 2013 at a cost of 988 lari and 72 tetri (almost £350).

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Some of my Porsche models.

Reading: 29 books read (24 in English, 5 in French, still half way through my first book in Georgian). The reviews of the most recently read have been put on this blog. (2012: 24 books, 2011, 48 books).Highlights included “The Blind Assassin” by Margaret Atwood, “Blood, Sweat and Tea” by Tom Reynolds and “Slaughterhouse Five” by Kurt Vonnegut. My reading has increased since moving to Varketili, because I have longer metro journeys. I have also joined a group “Tbilisi English Book Swap”, which meets once a month in a cafe in Tbilisi to swap books in English. A list of all the books I have read can be found here https://www.goodreads.com/review/list/5041353?shelf=read

Family is important to me but I don’t feel like sharing my thoughts about my family publicly on this blog.

I wish you all a Happy New year 2014.

Blogging

I started blogging one month ago. It seems quite addictive. I have created 24 posts here and a further 12 posts on a second blog devoted to my  diecast collecting hobby: jimholroyd365d.wordpress.com

173 views on the main blog, 56 views on the diecast blog.

I wonder whether I should “go premium” at a cost of $99/year.

The main blog has been viewed in 8 countries:

  1. USA                   62
  2. Georgia            47
  3. UK                      36
  4. Phillippines  12
  5. New Zealand 6
  6. Guam                  4
  7. Czech Rep        4
  8. Germany            1

The diecast blog has been viewed in ten countries:

  1. USA                     25
  2. Philippines      14
  3. Guam                     3
  4. UK                          2
  5. Georgia                2
  6. New Zealand    1
  7. France                  1
  8. Saudi Arabia     1
  9. India                      1
  10. Colombia            1

Quite a diverse geographical range, no viewers from Canada or Australia yet.

To all my viewers I would like to say “hello, bonjour, გარმაჯობა, hola, namaste, salaam, ahoj…etc…” Please feel free to comment, I’m still new to this blogging milieu.

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The view from the window this morning, sunrise over Varketili (Tbilisi, Georgia).