Monday, March 9, 2015

Four Years On Blogger

On March 9, 2011, I took a step toward strengthen my voice in areas that interest me the most. What started out as a high school column has since become a blog that attracts thousands of views per month. Since February 2014, Caponomics has garnered at least 1,000 pageviews per month. Even in January 2014, we had 996 pageviews, so the fact we are attracting attention is an immense accomplish within itself. If we want to talk statistics, this blog garnered 21 followers and is up to a total of 45,213 pageviews and those views are continuing to accumulate. The fact that we are seeing five figures in the racking up of numbers is immensely amazing!

I am going to step aside from the statistical information for a moment to talk about the productivity, which includes 55 posts since the last anniversary I had last March. Many of these posts were updates to episodes I just uploaded of Literary Gladiators. This web show has become one of my key projects within the last year or so and has since garnered a decent amount of attention. I will, however, bring this up later when I do an overview of thoughts and points at the bottom of this post. For now, I am going to stick to a tradition that I have for my anniversary posts and that is to reveal the ten most popular posts according to my page... of statistics (yeah, I cannot stay away from those statistics for a prolonged period of time, but this is why I submit the additional information on the bottom!).

My ongoing transition into becoming a blog about writing, reading, and literature has begun to take form during this particular year. Some notable posts from the past four years continue to show on this top ten list, but they are really beginning to fall in the numbers in favor of some others. I have not written a Shark Tank post in quite awhile, which is reflected on this list, while my short story and poem reviews are the ones that are garnering attention over my book reviews, in a world where book reviews generally tend to garner more attention than shorter pieces.

We shall begin with the list...

#10: Short Story Review- "The Monkey's Paw" by W.W. Jacobs- What began as an assigned reading during my sophomore year in high school turned into a long-lasting literary experience to which I deem as being the work of horror that has left me the most uneasy after reading. In this piece, a family of three (husband, wife, and son) are granted a paw that gives them three wishes, but these wishes place them in a situation far worse than they actually were. The story adds on to the "be careful what you wish for" trend that usually comes with the idea of being granted any which number of wishes. This review is making its first appearance on the top ten and seems to be garnering more interest as the months go by since I wrote it in 2013, so this is the second opportunity it had to appear and it did. This is the first of three short story or poem reviews that makes an appearance on this list, showing that Caponomics is adapting to the change.

#9: My Thanksgiving Post- This was a particular post that saw a vast amount of viewership within a short period of time, which was similar to what my posts about Ebert Presents At The Movies and Argo saw. This Thanksgiving post did not see as much as these two and did not see the top of the list, but it still garnered enough attention, which is what matters. The post was inspired by a blogger named Heather Von St. James of Life's a Banquet, who has Mesothelioma, but has turned to the blogging community to make a statement and spread her message. I was happy and honored to be able to help spread her ideas by looking at Thanksgiving for what it is really meant to be.

#8: Shark Tank Season 3, Episode 11- The 2012 episode of Shark Tank with Mark Sullivan and the Sullivan Generator, in addition to James Martin and his Copa Di Vino are still on my list of the ten posts that have garnered the most viewers. It is interesting to know that after watching a Shark Tank special, James Martin is doing a relatively successful job with his portable wine company and that while he was stubborn and came off as snobby to some, his appearance on the show was enough to garner the attention he needed and in turn build up his company. Another product that garnered enough attention just by being on the show was a gentleman who came on with a cover that one can put over the built-in web cam on their computer. While no one closed a deal on this episode, it remains one of the most notable on the history of the show. Then again, who would not be amazed by a man who believes he has a machine that can turn ocean water into gold!

#7: Shark Tank Season 4 Premiere- It's quite amazing how my last Shark Tank post continues to spark attention! This was a season I did not follow so much as I did the previous and upcoming seasons, which was when it became a Friday night trend in my household, but it just so happened to move up a spot from #8 to #7 on my list of posts that are read most by my followers. With regard to future posts about Shark Tank, I have my eye on doing a little bit of something Shark Tank related that does not stray away from my conversion into a readers blog, but at the same time continues to feed into the foundation of what Caponomics is. Some ideas for Shark Tank posts include my ten favorite segments or reviews on businesses that have appeared on the show. For instance, I used a Scrub Daddy, went to Tom & Chee, and had Steve Gadlin draw a cat for me.

#6: My Ten Favorite Sax Solos- This post remains where it was last year. Previously, I wrote two posts about memorable sax solos, while this was a post that summed my thoughts all up in a more constructive manner. It also allowed me to once again mention my love for both sax solos by Clarence Clemons in "Jungleland" and Raphael Ravenscroft in "Baker Street." This leads me to the unfortunate news I heard when Ravenscroft died in October. While we know Clarence Clemons as "The Big Man" and for being a contributing factor in making Bruce Springsteen's E Street Band the giant it really was (he also performed with Aretha Franklin, Roy Orbison, Lady Gaga, and others), most people do not recognize Raphael Ravenscroft outside of the fact that he played the saxophone for "Baker Street." One of my other favorite performances by Ravenscroft was his solo in America's last hit, "The Border." The saxophone can really define a hit and it was reflective in plenty of 70s and 80s hits. I hold high hope that some day, they make their way back and that I can include some modern day hits onto a new list of top sax solos. For now, this is my go-to. May Raphael Ravenscroft, a musical genius who deserves far more recognition as a name and presence, rest in peace.

#5: Top Notch Television- Ebert Presents At The Movies- This was the post that garnered me a mass amount of views in such a short period of time. Before this post, I was garnering about 200 views per month on average. After this post, I had 800 views for this post alone, plus some comments, and at least 300 views per month from this point onward. It was unfortunate that, since it was a public broadcasting show (on PBS), it was unable to make it past a year on television. This show was Roger Ebert's response to the At The Movies franchise he booted up with Gene Siskel coming to an end. The fact that this show mixed the traditional format of one-on-one debates (between Christy Lemire and Ignatiy Vishnevetsky) with submissions from other cinema enthusiasts and a review or commentary from Ebert himself gave the show a special element that gave the cinema the attention it deserved. Had the show been given the push that it deserved, I am sure this would have been something spectacular. This remains the only post to finish in the top ten in all four years and I am guessing will see a saddening decline as the years go by.

#4: Short Story Review- "The Lottery Ticket" by Ventura Garcia Calderon- Recently, I uploaded a discussion about "The Lottery Ticket" in an episode of Literary Gladiators, which was one of my top selections for the second season of the show and is a testament to how much I adore and appreciate this work of literature. The fact that there is little about this work online can be reflected through the amount of views this has been picking up. This has become the cut off of 1,000+ viewed posts and the fact that four of my posts have garnered at least a thousand views is an accomplishment unto itself. "The Lottery Ticket" is a story about a man that is not accepted in society going to an event where a prostitute is being auctioned off. When he wins, he does something that really shakes up the situation and leaves a statement about race, ethics, AND justice in society that will create plenty of conversations time and time again. By mentioning it on my blog and on Literary Gladiators, I hold high hope that anthologies include this short story more often, while I also hope that it becomes a subject in colleges and high schools across the globe. This three page story is THAT important.

#3: Let's Be Brutally Honest- Orange Juice Pulp Is Oh So Burdensome- I enjoy writing the "Let's Be Brutally Honest" segments. It allows me to channel my "inner-Andy Rooney" and bring up an idea that I feel the world should know and think about. While one may say that "rants are the most fun," these segments do not always have to be rants. They just have to bring up a good point and have a strong argument to drive it forward. In this post, I talk about my distaste for drinking orange juice that has pulp in it and descriptively make an attempt to explain these feelings so that one may be able to relate. I wrote this back in 2012. Looking back, I still stand by this statement for what my own personal practices have to say. When thinking about the food industry and my stance against hiding the fact a product uses GMOs (I would not ban them, but I feel people should have the right to choose what they eat), orange juice naturally comes with pulp and the removal of pulp is an interference with the natural process. Then again, it would be far different from other processes that remove natural elements from a more solid product. Either way, there is not too much damage to the orange juice, so my belief in drinking it without pulp remains the same. In turn, this post remains relevant and is continuing to garner views, despite dropping from 2nd to 3rd between last time and this, though it is still better than appearing 10th for my second anniversary.

#2: Movie Review- Argo (2012)- This was the post that garnered the most amount of views in the shortest period of time, creating a record-breaking month in page views that exceeded 3,000. This movie, about the Iran Hostage Crisis during the administration of Jimmy Carter, won the Academy Award for Best Picture and captures a segment of history so well. This was the number one post last year on the contingency that it garnered such a mass amount of viewership, but has since been outdone by the number one selection. Still, I hold high hope that people refer to this movie, and its interesting use to set up the idea of a science fiction film that responds to Star Wars, in understanding what the crisis really was and how Carter hemmed and hawed to the point that it cost him his presidency after just one term.

#1: Poem Review- "The Starry Night" by Anne Sexton- I wrote a post about this poem back in 2013, it reached #4 in last year's list, and is now in the #1 spot with close to 3,000 individual views. It is remarkable that readers have not just read this post, but have also referred to it in assignments and in their own individual posts to which they evaluate works of literature. "The Starry Night" is Anne Sexton's confessional response to Vincent van Gogh's painting of the same name. The way the words form make it sound so placid, so gloomy, so dark, so beautiful. "Oh Starry Night, this is how I want to die" brings an eerie connection to Sexton's own depressing life that ended in suicide, just as van Gogh's ended. "The Starry Night" is a poem that brings to the forefront naturalism vs. religion, sanity vs. insanity, and life as it is vs. life is but a dream. I continue to be quite fond of Anne Sexton's poetry and encourage that readers check out her work if they are looking for a good poet from the confessional period. We have filmed an episode of one of her poems ("In Celebration of my Uterus") and we eventually plan to have a discussion about "The Starry Night" on a future episode.

As I did last year, there are some other things I wanted to point out regarding notable moments from this fourth year, in addition to goals for my fifth year:

The Jungle Movie post came close to making this list- When I checked out my statistical data yesterday, my post about The Jungle Movie being an excellent end for Hey Arnold! was in the 10th slot. Today, it was my post about "The Monkey's Paw." When I went to check my statistical data again, my numbers were slightly up and one could reverse my Thanksgiving Post and review for "The Monkey's Paw." I am going to keep the data I have, for it is relatively reliable and the changes are endless. As for this post, this was probably the post I would consider my favorite from this fourth year on Blogger. It came from the reminiscing of enjoying Hey Arnold! when I was younger, but only appreciating it much more now, because it had strong character development, involved plots, and really broke away from multiple clich├ęs that come with cartoons, even though it did take inspiration from other works of art (for instance, Phoebe's trophy haunting her was reflective of Edgar Allan Poe's "The Tell-Tale Heart"). Craig Bartlett was, and continues to be, a magnificent mind, and the fact he came to this show already writing episode for Rugrats during their golden age is something that deserves a lot of credit. This movie was meant to address a question that we were left with at the end of the series: what ever happened to Arnold's parents? While they went on a mission to San Lorenzo and never returned, whether or not they died or survived is never confirmed. While I take the stance that they are just missing, the ten paragraphs to which I discuss my ideas should provide you with a complete background of how I feel. It has been quite awhile and I feel that this would be a question that my peers and I would be happy to get an answer to.

Literary Gladiators is growing- As we speak, Literary Gladiators has 35 subscribers and 2,257 views. These numbers are not huge, but satisfying going into the first years and with 23 episodes that are currently uploaded (I hope to have the remaining six episodes up by the end of the month, but it will all come down to whether or not the editing is complete). After the second season is up, we plan to release the third season of twelve episodes and a special we filmed in January and will released from May to July. We are going to be working on a fourth season over the summer which will consist of seven sessions and several episodes that will be released from September until mid-2016. If all goes well, we plan to keep on going, as long as all of us are still on the same page. Personally, I am hoping to reach out to the BookTube community and see if anyone living in or traveling to the New Jersey area would be interested in appearing as a guest on our panel. This upcoming third season came out quite well and has a nice batch of people appearing on the panel alongside Jim, Charlie, and I.

What I want to post- As I mentioned before, much of what I post is going to be reading, writing, and literature related. I am doing more reviews for works in this area as oppose to being a scattered hodge-podge. With that being said, I am still interested in submitting a list of ten best pitches on Shark Tank and a list of ten best cheeses. I am not sure as to when these will be released. After graduation, I plan to do a little bit more with my writing and reading projects, so outside of the filming sessions I have for Literary Gladiators (I am planning seven in the summer and then one during Spring 2016), I plan to engage in multiple individual projects regarding my writing expeditions. Most of my traditional posts (NFL Predictions and Favorite Books of the Year) will continue, while I also hope to create some new traditions (My Favorite BookTube Channels of the Year).

Collaborations- As I mentioned in my 300th post, I am interested in working on collaboration posts, primarily reviews, with those who are active in blogging or vlogging about books, literature, and in other areas. My first collaboration was for the NFL playoff predictions I did with John Freda, who is an enthusiast for the NFL like I am and is the current editor of Literary Gladiators. Within the next week or so, I will be working on a movie review (inspired by a book) with Will Hoheisel, who was a friend of mine in high school that also wrote for the newsletter. His column was called Reviews You Can Use and he would review movies, video games, television shows, and several other topics of interest. I am excited to have him on my blog and I am also encouraging him to create his own blog. I would be interested to working on collaborations with different bloggers and BookTubers and discuss works that we decide on together and then review. These reviews would be in discussion format (so you would find my name over what I am saying and my colleague's name over what they are saying. Our opinions will not be the same, which is perfectly encouraged, because it will be incredible to hear what two people have to say about the same subject. If there is a split, it will be even more exciting (for instance, Jim and I in discussions about Sylvia Plath or William Wordsworth). These collaborations can be executed through an inbox discussion, so we can do them at home in comfy clothes. What matters is that it is spectacular!

I want to thank everyone that has continued to follow along with Caponomics during these four years and I hope you continue to follow along as time goes by. I am really going to do what I can to make this blog as exciting and as excellent as it can possibly be! I may not have as much up on here from now until May, but I will do my best to keep everybody up to date on everything that is going on and submit some new material that I hope you will enjoy. I will conclude this post by saying something I say at the conclusion of every episode of Literary Gladiators... and that is to keep reading!


  1. Congrats on four years of blogging Josh :D That is amazing!

    1. Thank you for your kind words, Carina, and for following me along through my blogging adventure. I appreciate active followers like you and you are doing a nice job with building your blog, too! :D

  2. Replies
    1. Thank you so much, Caragh! Hope everything is going well for you and your blogging expeditions! :D