This time last year I couldn't have imagined how much fun I would have with it. I had been thinking for a while about blogging but wasn't sure whether anyone would want to read the nonsense I might write. At the time, two close friends assured me that that they would read it, then my cousin @TrulyUsefulCo kindly showed me the basics, and the adventure began with just a few hits per day.
Fortunately it turned out that I really was 'indulging in another bout of self-deprecation' as one of the above friends once said to me. (It has been a standing joke ever since.) It seems that a few of you can tolerate my regular daily musings and rantings after all. I'm glad to be able to say that I have posted something, more-or-less surprising, every day since 11th January 2011. (OK - One day it was delayed because the otherwise excellent and free Blogger service was down for emergency maintenance.)
Some of my posts have been more successful than others, and indeed some of the posts that I was most proud of failed to be noticed as much as I hoped. Out of the 80,000 page views so far, the following are links to some of the most popular.
By a large margin "Religions know their place in Oxford" has been the most popular. A chance observation in the famous bookshop, Blackwells in Broad Street, Oxford led to this photo which has amused thousands of people.
The next most popular was a post that I personally regard to have been a bout of silliness. (No, I'm not being self-deprecating this time. It is silly.) However, A School of Darwin Fish gets a steady flow of visitors, day in and day out. In fact, that single post continuously gets as many daily visits as the whole of Something Surprising managed during the first two or three months.
You might have noticed a somewhat anti-theistic theme to many of my posts, and the next four posts were on that theme:
I was an atheist . . . just like you! was a short post on a topic that many of us will recognise.
Asherah - the wife of Yahweh - a comment on polytheism in the Old Testament became very popular several months after it was published.
Entitled to believe was a response to a (now defunct) blog written by a christian friend. Hopefully it still makes sense on its own.
Irreducible complexity explained with a mousetrap featured a Youtube video and a few comments about evolution.
Just to set the balance straight, although anti-theistic blogging seems to bring in more visitors, some of my semi-scientific observations of surprising things in everyday life seem to have been popular too.
Bursting the bubble showed some ultra-slow motion photos of a bubble bursting. Beautiful!
Headington Shark reaches 25 years is about a bizarre spectacle in the leafy suburbs of Oxford.
Sink Holes! (in Guatemala) - apparently not caused by alien death rays from space and
Where has all the quicksand gone? harks back to the movies of yesterday.
All of them have had over 1000 views so far. If you browse the blog you will find many other surprising posts - some better than these.
And did those two friends continue to read my writing after helping me to get started? I think the answer is that they have not read it very much, but it doesn't matter, and to be honest I don't blame them. I'm sure they didn't expect me to write so much. However, without them I wouldn't have had the fun of exploring the world of blogging, and sharing via Twitter, Facebook and Reddit. Therefore, thanks to LMT and JGM for inspiring the beginning; thanks to those select few who have written guest posts; thanks to colleagues (Little Miss Joey and The Erratic Photographer) with blogs much prettier than mine, who exchange ideas with me over lunch; and thanks to all the regular readers who's visits and comments make it so much fun to write 'Something Surprising' every day.
I will close the first year with a surprising fact!
Did you know that if you scaled the earth down to the size of a billiard ball, its surface would be smoother than the ball's? The highest mountains and the deepest ocean trenches really are that small compared with the diameter of the earth.