Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Wednesday Wallpaper: May 13th


The last place I wanted to be that morning was on the platform of the Main Street SkyTrain station; tired after having just gotten off work, my shoulder sore and as overburdened as the knapsack it held, eyes both cloudy with fatigue and sticky from the canned air I'd just left.

And yet... The sun was warm on my face and for some reason cleared my vision enough to behold the above scene as a dolphin-like smiling face passed through the clouds overhead.

(If you would like a large-sized file of this image to use for your computer's wallpaper, email me at and indicate which image you'd like, either by date or description or by cutting and pasting the link to this post into the body of your email. Or, if you're in the mood for supporting an artist who receives no public funding, contact me about purchasing a print. ~ MSM)

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Monday, May 04, 2009

Princess Eugenie Robbery Drama

The Queen's grand-daughter Princess Eugenie, the 19 year-old daughter of the Duke and Duchess of York, has been involved in an attempted purse-snatching while visiting the Cambodian capital of Phnom Penh as part of her gap year...

PhotobucketAvailable accounts say that the attack took place two weeks ago, and was thwarted by officers of the Royal Protection Squad, who also succeeded in retrieving the handbag in question. Although the pair of detectives had tackled and pinned the mugger, an accomplice pelted them with rocks, at which time they released their captive; the tactic, known as 'de-escalation', was undertaken in consideration of the Princess' safety. Neither she nor her two traveling companions were hurt, and they decided not to curtail their vacation because of the incident.

Although most of the media have pointed out that this is the first time in more than a decade that members of SO14 branch have had to defend a royal from harm, it's unlikely given the circumstances that her assailants even knew who she was, and in fact a royal source has pointed out that it wasn't even Princess Eugenie herself who was mugged. Buckingham Palace, therefore, has refused to comment on the story.

Her Royal Highness conducts no business as yet on behalf of the Royal Family and, while well-known enough in the UK, still travels by Tube when in London and otherwise conducts a largely private life. Of course, that hasn't stopped the British Press from taking an interest in her anyway; a cover appearance on Tatler magazine in April 2008 set tongues a-wagging, and a much-publicized nude frolic on the grounds of posh Marlborough College two months later did more than that.
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Saturday, May 02, 2009

The Pop Culture Institute: A State Of The Blog Address

[Compared with the same map of the entire year ending October 26th, 2008 - located behind this image - the first half of this year looks very strong indeed.]

Back in the olden days (I'm talking 2007 here - which is so long ago to the modern mind it might as well be the Renaissance - I mean, it was before Twitter even!) it was fairly common for me to occasionally lift the veil of secrecy that shrouds the activity behind the scenes at the Pop Culture Institute. It was my intention in doing that to try and foster a kind of community surrounding this blog without setting myself up as a kind of wicker man in the service of a personality cult...

PhotobucketWell, after a very stressful couple of months - February, March, and especially April - I've come to the conclusion that a community (like a person) cannot be fostered until it is born; in those terms the Pop Culture Institute is still a fetus. Oh, it's a late-term fetus to be sure, but whether second or third trimester, well, who can say? Especially not me, since you've just discovered the utmost extent of my knowledge regarding obstetrics and therefore the limit to the metaphor. The point is, it has yet to be born, and so still is what it is in a self-enclosing way that yields few comments, virtually no discussion, and worst of all zero feedback.

Of course, no news is good news, so the anxiety I feel over the lack of feedback is merely a manifestation of my own insecurity; it's to be trapped in a corner and beaten until dead like the disease-bearing vermin it is...

As shown by the bar graph above, my stats were strong for the first three weeks of April - with no one day falling below 120 page views, although four of them came dangerously close. One day, the 13th, soared to 209 - second place in terms of busiest days ever*. Why they fell so sharply from the 21st to the 22nd is anybody's guess... The weather certainly improved, but also the Conficker virus activated itself - both of which could have caused a decrease in all computer activity and therefore in my traffic. While the traffic seems to be improving now

PhotobucketWhat it means is that I was deprived of twelve straight months of steady growth in traffic - April's total falling just 8 page views shy of March's record; had the stats not dropped for the five days they did I would have surpassed it by at least 48, and possibly even cracked the 4,500 mark as well.

Still, the 'disappointing' 4,328 does represent a three-fold increase over this time last year, and even though the current stats indicate a plateau is coming, I would be thrilled to see a similar pattern of growth over the next 12 months. Despite the loss of the Brain Trust and the help they gave me, I feel certain that the brain I can best trust - my own - will continue to fumble its way through to the next Beltane just fine.

*The busiest day ever was 225 in February 2009.
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