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Archive for the ‘Alex Stone’ Category

On July 25, I reached 90,000 hits.
It took me seven months to get from 60,000 (Dec 25, 2009) to 90,000.
It took me nine months to get my first 30,000 hits.

There are some obvious contributing factors to this improvement (not the least of which is links from referrers that make absolutely no sense whatsoever (and which are pretty clearly spam, but hey, numbers are numbers, right?)  But the most obvious is the huge outcry at the failure of Scholastic to continue publishing the Ulysses Moore series.

If you Google “Ulysses Moore” I am the first post (after the official Scholastic site, Amazon, and fantasticfiction).  I have received so many comments from people who are frustrated that the can’t finish the series. It is amazing that so many voices are ignored.  As you can see, this series has garnered me 4020 views.

At 60,000 views I posted some theories as to why I thought these posts were so successful.  Since very little has changed (mostly just a little shuffle of the top ten), I won’t bother repeating that.  But, there is one post (see the bottom, hee hee) which has absolutely skyrocketed in just a few short months.

1. 4020 views posted April 25, 2009 [was #1 at 60,000: 1663 views]
Pierdomenico Baccalario–Ulysses Moore series Books 1-4
SOUNDTRACK: PEARL JAM-Vitalogy (more…)

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[cue music]:

I saw these stats come sailing in, on Christmas Day on Christmas Day.
I hit 60,000 views on Christmas Day in the mor-ning.

I hit 30,000 views back in March, and I was quite thrilled.  When I started the blog in May of 2007 I didn’t expect to get all that many views, it was more or less a blog to keep track of my books and maybe have other people comment too.  And so, it took nearly two years to get to 30,000.  Imagine how delightful it is to reach the next 30,000 views in the span of just nine months!

So thanks everyone for checking out what I had to say.  And thanks also for all the comments.  As with the first 30,000, I’ve included the stats that have brought me to this hallowed (but random) spot.  And I must add that Infinite Summer, which is underrepresented in my top ten posts, was absolutely essential for this huge spike in views (thanks DFW fans).  But, by far the biggest surprise was the surge that came from the first book(s) on the list below.  I posted about the Ulysses Moore series in April.  And it was by far the most frequently sought and (presumably) read post on the blog.  So, Scholastic Publishing, if you read this, please note the craving that my readers have for the rest of the series!  And please update your site!!

So, anyhow, thanks all.  Listed below are the Top Ten (and a few extra) viewed posts on my blog.  Happy New Year!

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3000030,000 views may not be a milestone for many blogs. But, for a blog like this which was intended mostly as a record of what I’ve read, the fact that I’ve had 30,000 views is pretty exciting. And it seems appropriate to let you, the readers know what you the other readers have been reading here. So, here is the top ten most read posts on I Just Read About That… with a director’s commentary tacked on.

1. 819 views
Gordon Korman–Son of the Mob (2002)
SOUNDTRACK: GORDON LIGHTFOOT-The Complete Greatest Hits
I’m pretty much 100% certain that Gordon Lightfoot is NOT the attraction that made this post my highest one. Son of the Mob is usually a summer reading book. However, I get hits on this throughout the year.  I’m guessing it’s just a popular book.

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SOUNDTRACK: WRXP, 101.9 FM, New York City (45 days later).

The past two weeks I have been listening to this station more because I have been doing work in the garage (building a chicken coop).  Without going into my neurotic music listening, I’ll just say that I listen to the radio rather than CDs when I do noisy work.  And so, WRXP.

I haven’t listened that much since my last post, but the most dramatic difference to me is that they seem to have real commercials now.  Wal-Mart seemed to be advertised a lot, and there were one or two other name brand items (with effective ads obviously).  They still have all of those weird ads for services rather than products (in fact if you need full term life insurance, just listen in for 20 minutes and you’ll hear that one).  But I guess they must be doing well if the real companies are showing up.

They still play way too many commercials.  But heck, that’s commercial radio for you.

They also seem to rely a lot on a few bands that surprise me: Dave Matthews in particular.  I’m not a big fan of his, so I’m surprised to hear him so much; however, overall I think their selection is quite good.  They seem to be off Pink Floyd and on to Zeppelin now, which, frankly would be a neat idea for this station: pick a classic rock artist that you will overplay for a week, and then move on.   What a cool thing: you could do all kinds of back catalog stuff, and less popular songs and then, just as people got sick of them, switch to someone else, and repeat.  Genius!

Anyhow, the other thing I wanted to mention is that the only person with any credibility to ever be on MTV, Matt Pinfield, is a morning DJ on the station.  He and his co-jock do a bit too much DJ banter for my liking, but mostly he’s just a dude who loves music and will tell you more or less fascinating stories about whoever he’s going to play, and then play good stuff.  I heard a fun interview with Supergrass the other morning, which was good.  Pinfield also knows his music enough to ask good questions and still be fun.

Hilariously, he also committed the hilarious gaffe that I used to commit in high school: pronouncing the Police album: “Outlandos DE Amoor” rather than the more accurate Outlandos Damoor (surely he must know that by NOW).  (Like pronouncing the Plasmatics album COOP DE AY-TAT, rather then Coo DAY TAH (I’m guilty of that too).  And, I found out that he grew up in East Brunswick, NJ, merely a few miles from where I now work.  So, Matt, if you ever used the North Brunswick Library, well, you should come back and see how nice we look now.

[READ: August 13, 2008] “The Real Work”

This piece was recommended by two people who commented on my post about Alex Stone in Harper‘s Magazine. They both said that this was a far better, far more appreciative article about magic.  And they were right.  I won’t really compare it to Stone’s except to say that Stone’s piece (whatever his credibility may be) was designed as a suspenseful tale following the events and the winner of “The Magic Olympics.” He also gave away some secrets to some of the tricks he did and saw there.

Gopnik’s piece is more of a loving appreciation for magicians and their work. (more…)

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SOUNDTRACK: JENS LEKMAN-Night Fall Over Kortedala (2007)

My friend Eugenie introduced me to Jens. She put a song on a mix CD for me, and I really liked it. I picked up his EP collection Oh You’re So Silent, Jens. And he just released Night Falls last year.

Jens’ voice is unique. He’s got a Swedish accent, and his sing-speaks quite softly, so some of the words are quite heavily accented. And, his songs are quite fantastic. The lyrics are bizarre and wonderful. While his songs aren’t funny, per se, there are a number of lines that are just hilarious, even on multiple listens. In the past his songs were more or less acoustic affairs. On this one, he expands somewhat with some brass on a few tracks, some hip-hop flavorings and well, just about everything else.

Lekman released a twenty minute DJ track on his website last year. And it’s clear that the mash up qualities of that release influenced his recording sessions for Night Falls. It opens with the orchestral pomp of “And I Remember Every Kiss,” and the catchy, if inscrutable “The Opposite of Hallelujah. ” This leads to the great “A Postcard to Nina” which provides Jens’ loudest moment of a screamed/sung “Oh God, what have I done! I just came here to have some fun.” There is no screaming on the simple, gorgeous “Your Arms Around Me,” even though he cuts of the tip of his finger in it. “Shirin” is all about his haircutter (hence the album cover) and the repeated name makes for a lovely chorus. And, I can’t not talk about the last song “Friday Night at the Drive-In Bingo,” one of his most rocking songs (rocking being relative). It has a thrown-together, raucous feel, getting faster as the song moves along. It also has this wonderfully bizarre clarinet/saxophone/something line over the top of it that perfectly recalls an old-timey mournful swing band that you might hear at a church bingo function from thirty years ago. The song is funny and silly, and wholly enjoyable. And I can’t think of another song like it anywhere.

[READ: July 2, 2008] “The Magic Olympics”

There are two reasons why I’m mentioning this article. (more…)

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