Tuesday, July 6, 2010

[Exceptionally] Pretty pictures: transmitted light -- Part XXVII

About 25% of my blog hits have just . . . evaporated since May. This hasn't happened in previous summers. Christmases, yes (last Christmas there was a 30% drop, for about a week), but not summers. And it's not like it was a sudden drop because of the 4th of July holiday, where it'll rebound again quickly: it's been a slow, steady, increasingly alarming decline, spread out over eight months weeks. I can only think of two explanations that fit the numbers:

1) One or both of the Mouse and Trowel awards is cursed.
2) I have been writing posts since May that happened to suck.

If it's the curse thing, I'm guessing I just have to wait. If current trends continue, PATSP will be getting negative numbers of page views by the beginning of December 2010, but then in May 2011 (possibly), there will be a new Mousie awards, and the curse will be passed to someone else, and I can start climbing back upward again. I admit to being slightly curious about how negative page views could work.

If it's just that I'm sucking, then I apologize, and will try to do so less intensely and/or often. Hopefully these transmitted light photos will be to your liking. Also, have you lost and/or gained weight? You look terrific. And I really like what you have done and/or neglected to do with your hair.

(The previous transmitted light posts can be found here.)

Strelitzia nicolai. Not what you'd call stunning, maybe, but it's still kinda cool. Reminiscent of the wake of a boat, maybe?

Plectranthus 'Mona Lavender.' The underside of the leaves of my plant are purple, and the tops are green, but unfortunately this mixes to produce brown, when viewed by transmitted light. If I were growing this in full outdoor sun, like it would prefer, then both sides of the leaves would be purple and we wouldn't have this problem. I think.

Dieffenbachia 'Tiki,' dead leaf. I haven't done dead leaves before, that I can recall. I mean, I've taken the pictures but then not used them, because often along with the deadness, there are also scars and spots. Plus dead leaves have a tendency to be wrinkly, which makes it hard to get the camera to focus properly. I don't know that this picture worked out that well either, but I have to experiment occasionally.

Cordyline fruticosa NOID. The color is off on this one -- the plant is actually more of a dark red-brown. It looks more orange because this plant is in a west window, and the geometry of the back yard is such that it only gets direct sun when the sun is already pretty low in the sky, making it more orange.

Cryptanthus 'Elaine.' I'm surprised at the color -- by reflected light, 'Elaine' is pink, white, and brown -- but the photo turned out pretty well.

Hibiscus rosa-sinensis NOID, petal. I guess we've got sort of an orangey-brown theme going in this set of pictures.

Anthurium "hookeri," very new leaf. This plant makes me feel guilty, because I know it's not getting as much light as it wants, hence the large, pale, thin new leaves like the one in the photo. But part of me also quietly cheers when a new leaf forms and starts to inflate: how big will this one get? That, and the fact that I don't have any spots big enough and bright enough to improve the plant's situation right now.

Solenostemon scutellarioides 'Kong Aline.' (joke name for sport of 'Kong Rose') 'Kong Aline' is still with me, though it hasn't produced any leaves big enough for me to find out whether it's remembered how to make hot-pink pigments or not. (q.v.)

Zingiber malaysianum, older leaf. I don't know if Z. malaysianum is a particularly good transmitted-light subject, or if I'm just oddly obsessed with it, but it's going to come up a lot in the batches to come, so you should probably accustom yourself to seeing it.

Caladium 'Carolyn Whorton.' I considered trying Caladiums outdoors again this year, but money is an issue, and I wound up not planting anything outdoors that I didn't have already. (Though the Salvia elegans and 'Glennis' coleus do look very nice together, so that much worked out.) I think this was mostly the right choice, given the situation, but then I see this picture and . . . question the decision, for a moment.


Blueszz said...

Still a reader here :-)
One change I might have observed is that you write less plant profiles... not sure if that is really the case 'though.
Sorry to hear there is a decline in visitors :-(

Lynne said...

I was kind of surprised by your post. I am a relative newcomer here and like it.

paivi said...

Relative infrequency of plant profile updates is my guess as well. I originally found this blog because of them, and for a long time, didn't read anything else.

I'd also guess that most people use a feed reader these days and only open the link to the blog proper for reading more substantial posts (again, the plant profiles). At least that's what I tend to do - but I like a lot of text and don't particularly care for pictures, so might not be a typical reader.

This is one of my favourite blogs, by the way.

Unknown said...

It's their loss for not checking in. >:I

Also, I absolutely love the color scheme on the dead leaf, and hope that you continue to do more of those.

Liza said...

Your posts don't suck. My numbers have been way down, too. Well, they were never much to begin with, but now they are less. It's not you, it's them. And yes, I plan on blaming everyone else until presented with proof otherwise.

CelticRose said...

Your posts do not suck. All blogs and forums have their ups and downs -- you're just in one of the downswings right now. Things will improve.

cconz said...

I'm a newbie, i enjoy reading what's new. Blog hits down, SO WHAT! If i cared what people thought, i wouldn't be blogging.

kitty said...

Your posts do not suck. I personally have had less time to read any blog posts but you are the first one I read everyday. Thanks for the compliments BTW, it's like you can see through the computer screen.

Ivynettle said...

I've had the same thing, with the drop of views. Except that I didn't have all that many to begin with. And at the rate they're dropping, I should be getting negative numbers by mid-July. ;)

Oddly enough, simple as it is, I think I like the first picture in this batch best. I suppose I usually go for the plain and simple things. And it's a beautiful kind of green (I want a dress in that colour.)
I hope you don't mind me using it as a desktop picture.

mr_subjunctive said...


Not entirely true. If you didn't care what anybody thought, then you wouldn't write a blog to tell them about it. I mean, you have to be able to imagine an audience of some kind, or else there's no point to writing.

But about your actual point -- no, the number of people visiting the blog doesn't matter in any material way. I don't make my money from people visiting, my kneecaps will not be broken if I fall below a certain count. But it's been so consistent for so long that this large of a drop for no obvious reason has to mean something. I just don't know what it means. Which bothers me, obviously.

Blueszz / paivi:

I know, I know, I know I know I know. The profiles are the things I like working on the best, but they're very long, and have to be worked in around the other, regular posts. Except that the regular posts were originally conceived to be mere filler in between the profiles. Somewhere along the way, the "filler" started to be as demanding as the "content." And then the profiles got more involved too. I've considered going to an every-other-day posting schedule, or re-running old posts, to free up time to work on the profiles. I don't especially like either of those as a solution, though, and can't think of any others.

In any event, this is not the first time I've had a long gap in profile-posting: last year, there were no profiles between mid-March and late August, because work, moving, in-laws, etc., kept me from writing any. And the hit count during that time remained more or less steady.

Pat said...

Not enough zombies/vampires/werewolves? Your writing is great. Blame the international depression, everyone is spending their time selling their spare shirts and shoes on ebay.

Yeah, I brushed my hair and washed it last week. You think I should do that all the time?

mr_subjunctive said...

Liza / Ivynettle:

Maybe Google's revised the search engine algorithm, then? I mean, I get most of my hits through Google (~85-90%) before this and after this, except for unusual occasions like blog awards or the zombie apocalypse post, and those are usually fairly short-lived. If Google's recalculated, though, so blogs are penalized somehow, then that, plus the expected drop-off after the Mousies, plus the expected drop-off for it being summer, might explain things. And it would explain why other blogs, besides PATSP, might be seeing the same thing.

Or it could be bunnies.

also Ivynettle:

The Strelitzia picture is a nice color, I agree. If forced to pick a favorite from this batch, I think I'd be inclined to go with the Cryptanthus or Solenostemon, though.

mr_subjunctive said...


I actually have given some thought to vampires, and what plants might be helpful in dealing with them, but couldn't think of anything beyond garlic (naturally) and onions (which are sort of close to garlic, and therefore might have some vampire-repellent properties). Neither of which are really houseplants anyway. Then I decided I probably shouldn't try to repeat my success there, because there's no way I'd be able to do any better than the zombie post and I would just look silly trying.

And whatever you're doing with the hair, it's working for you. Though it looked pretty good before, too.

danger garden said...

Well I guess I am glad to hear it's not just me? My visitors are way down in the last month and a half or so. Since I wasn't tracking my numbers last summer I thought it was an "every summer" thing. But based on your experience I guess not. Interesting. Oh and I for one have just started reading your blog in the last couple of weeks so I does that make me an anomaly?

Alex said...

I think you have an amazing blog and a great sense of humour!
Don't worry about the numbers, just keep doing what you love to do, and things will go back to normal pretty soon.

mr_subjunctive said...

danger garden:

Well, unusual, perhaps. I don't know about anomalous. And maybe I wouldn't even say unusual:

I only know what's going on with the overall numbers; it may be that I have just as many regular readers as ever, and what's dropped is the number of people coming by through search engines. In which case I'm still troubled, but not nearly as much so.

cconz said...

Don't be troubled. Hang in there. Oh, please stop down sometime to see if you want cuttings of anything.

ScreamingGreenConure said...

Have you considered doing general plant science posts? Or folklore, or history? One of the things that really stands out (in a good way!) about a lot of your plant profiles is the inclusion of interesting science, or historical background, like in the dieffenbachia and ananas posts. I bet you could spin whole posts around a particular scientific phenomenon, or weird plant-based tradition.

Anonymous said...

While I read more regularly now that I have you in Google Reader, I have no idea if it transmits back to you that I'm reading. Do you get tracking data on your RSS readership at all? I have no idea how RSS statistics work. (I really should learn about that, it could be useful at my job.)

I do try to click through to the posts from my feed reader, though, because a) I don't see the photos otherwise and they're usually the point, and b) because I know you may not get the same kind of statistics that I'm reading, otherwise.

*shrug* I agree that it simply must be bunnies. What's with all the carrots, what do they need such good eyesight for, anyway?

mr_subjunctive said...


To a degree, that's what I try to do with the plant profiles themselves:

nectar guides / Streptocarpus,
polyploidy / Phalaenopsis,
convergent evolution / Euphorbia pseudocactus,
plant patenting / Dracaena deremensis 'Warneckei,'

Though some plants don't lend themselves to such concepts, and some concepts don't lend themselves to specific plants. It's a good idea, and if I didn't have to sleep, I would give it serious consideration, but as it is, I'm not able to produce as many long-form, in-depth posts as I would like, so I'm reluctant to decide to start not-writing even more.


I honestly don't know myself how that works, though I suspect Statcounter doesn't count it unless you visit the actual page at plantsarethestrangestpeople.blogspot.com/whatever. That's one of the reasons I only use the shortened feed for PATSP (the other being feed scrapers, who mostly leave shortened feeds alone).

(or maybe midgets. . . .)

Plowing Through Life (Martha) said...

Well, I'm here regularly; I read all your posts. And sometimes I even comment. I especially like that you've contributed a day of the week to your pets; that's kind of cool.

And I have lost some weight, thank you for noticing. The hair is a different story; it's a total mess these days and needs a good cut. But I appreciate that you're being polite about it and pretending it looks good.

Ginny Burton said...

Never trust statistics. For all anyone knows, the numbers may be manipulated to sow doubt and fear amongst bloggers. I don't even want to contemplate what evil ulterior motives are behind it, but nothing would surprise me.

You should take heart in the fact that you have such a loyal band of readers who follow your blog every day. We're the important ones! Forget the floozies who pop in for a cheap laugh and then don't call you the next morning.

However, I had a thought about your plant profiles. What if you had a contest to suggest combinations for future profiles? I've been trying to figure out which plant you would choose to be Sylvia Plath, for example.

ScreamingGreenConure said...

The way you use plant profiles to focus on things like that reminds me a little of Ancestor's Tale by Dawkins.