Friday, March 25, 2011

My Timing ... Not So Good

In my last post, I talked about statistics and the fact that I've never bothered looking at mine. But some of you talked me into it. I've braved a new world. :)

Okay - maybe not that brave! :) One thing it did tell me is that my timing is not the best. When I first decided to blog & tweet, I checked out the name Jemi Fraser - just to make sure it didn't bring up a lot of sites not connected to my name. Lucky me, nothing at all came up. Cue the happy dance.

A couple of weeks later, 2 celebrities (Demi Lovato & Joe Jonas) started dating. In the spirit of Brangelina, these two were quickly dubbed Jemi. Apparently the two are no longer a couple, but the name persists. I've had many teeny-boppers add me as a friend on twitter without realizing I have nothing to do with That Jemi. I used to send a nice tweet explaining I wasn't That Jemi, now I mostly just block them. (Hope I'm not traumatizing anyone!)

This trend is apparently alive and well according to my stats. A LOT of people search Jemi, land on my site for under 5 seconds and leave again. *sigh* The most popular search term for people finding my blog is Jemi, not Jemi Fraser. *bigger sigh* By mentioning their names & posting the photo below, I bet I'm going drive a few young celebrity hunters crazy!

Maybe I should have gone with the longer form of the name ... Jemima. Yeah. I didn't think so either.

So, anyone else out there driving teeny-boppers looking for idols crazy?

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Stats Anyone?

A few months after I started blogging, I signed myself up for the free version of Stat Counter. I checked it a few times after I signed up, but I honestly don't think I've looked at it in well over 6 months, maybe a year. I see a stats tab at the top of my blog options. Sadly I haven't even clicked on it yet.

I have no idea what it would even show me. I know some people say they've seen people find their blog by Googling something totally irrelevant and a little bizarre. Sometimes even creepy. Strangely this might be the best reason for me to click on the tab - that's fun information. Other people talk about traffic to their blog and throw around numbers about visitors and page views and other scary items. I don't know if the numbers could tell me anything - is there a baseline comparison I should know about?

Sadly, I just don't care.

Why? Probably because in my day job (teaching), I'm constantly collecting and analyzing data. I'm looking for connections and trying to find teaching methods that will help the kids learn better. I collect, mark, collate, analyze & interpret, and plan accordingly. Then do it all over again. For every subject I teach.

I blog for fun - stat checking sounds a little too much like work. I think.

Do you check stats? Should I check stats? If so, what in the world should I be looking for???

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

My Mandarin

Kirsten Hubbard's debut novel Like Mandarin was released on Tuesday. In the story, 14-year-old Grace wants to be like bold, carefree 17-year-old Mandarin. In Grace's words...
I want to be beautiful like you, I thought, as if Mandarin were listening.

I want apricot skin and Pocahontas hair and eyes the color of tea. I want to be confident and detached and effortlessly sensual, and if promiscuity is part of the package, I will gladly follow your lead. All I know is I’m so tired of being inside my body.

I would give anything to be like Mandarin
Many of us, especially during high school, spent a lot of time wanting to be just like someone else. Kirsten has invited us all to share our stories. Check out her blog for some terrific stories from many authors and a chance to win a copy of this wonderful book.

So, who was my Mandarin?

My teenage Mandarin was a girl my age who was new to our area and our school. We met the first day of high school. All 'minor niners' met in the auditorium to be assigned home rooms. Everyone from my elementary school sat together. One by one they were called to home rooms - in groups of 2, 3 and 4. I was the last one. Alone. Shy, awkward and more than a little shaky, I shuffled with the final group to our home room and took a seat against the wall, half-way down the aisle.

My Mandarin was the last to enter the room. She smiled, paused, looked around the room and spotted me. Her smile widened, and she waltzed down the aisle and plopped into the seat beside me. She grinned and introduced herself. I smiled back. Who has that kind of confidence in Grade 9?

I wasn't anything like this girl with her head held high, her shoulders straight back and her smile ready for everyone. Why had she sat next to me? Then one of the nearby boys asked if we were twins. I hadn't noticed the physical resemblences. They were a little spooky - same shade of hair, same colour of eyes, same shape of face. At the time we were even the same height and basic body shape.

Our friendship was instantaneous. I followed her sunshine for a long time. She made friends easily and often. She dated a lot - boys hovered everywhere and she loved it. She took risks, some were pretty scary. She focused on fun and always reached for those stars. She believed in herself in all things.

We eventually grew apart as we made different choices in our lives, but My Mandarin's open smile and heart sure made my high school a lot more fun. I wish I'd had the confidence to do that for someone else.

Thanks Kirsten for asking us to take this trip down memory lane. Remember to check out Kirsten's blog for more stories.

So, did you have a Mandarin? Or were you the Mandarin others wished to be?

Wednesday, March 9, 2011


After my post about couples for Valentine's Day, I downloaded a copy of Anne of Green Gables onto my iPod. I hadn't read it in years, maybe even decades. I wondered if I would still feel the same love for it as I did when I read it for the very first time as a child.

I did!
The language is so very different from most of what I read today. On my iPod, the first sentence goes on for pages! Semi-colons have the audacity to appear - three times - in that same sentence.

Lucy Maud Montgomery's style isn't the style I usually read anymore, but I loved visiting with Anne again. The words flow - the imagery is long and lovely. The characters are sweet and true and wonderful.

The Lord of the Rings is another of my favourites, another classic with a very different style from my usual reads - and a very different style from the way I write. I have the books (a glorious boxed set edition) - but maybe I'll see how long Tolkein's sentences are on my iPod too!

Do you have any favourites that are classics - favourites that differ from today's style? And from your writing style?

Sunday, March 6, 2011

It's On!

Do the Write Thing that is!

Margot Kinberg over at Confessions of a Mystery Novelist has her raffle organized. Please click on this link to check it out.

39 authors from all over the world have contributed signed books for the raffle. To be entered into the raffle, all you need to do is make a donation to the New Zealand Red Cross. All the details are on Margot's page.

Margot has grouped the books into prize packages of 3-4 books each. The themes of the prize packages are:

Cozy Reading and Amateur Sleuths
Cops, PIs & Spies
Academic Settings
Historical and History-Themed
Fantasy, Mystery & a Touch of Paranormal
Romantic Suspense
Fair Dinkum Aussie Pack
Literary Mysteries & Other Fiction
Variety Sampler

Some of the packages will have more than 1 winner. Please, help out a good cause and head on over to Margot's site to donate. Thanks Margot - you're doing a great thing here! :)

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

How Many???

I've always told people that I read one book at a time. I thought I was a person who finished one book before starting the next.

It's not true!!

I'm blaming the digital age... among other things.

Right now I've got one book on the go on my Kindle (these are usually books by my blog buddies - right now? Life, Liberty & Pursuit by Susan Kaye Quinn). Another on my iPod (I'm rereading some classics here - right now? Sherlock Holmes). Another on my desk at school (usually MG or YA - right now? Linger by Maggie Stiefvater). Another in my packsack (usually another MG or YA - right now? Ranger's Apprentice #2 Burning Bridge by John Flanagan). And another on my nightstand (usually steampunk, mystery, romantic suspense, mystery, sci fi or anything else I'm in the mood for - right now? Kindred in Death by JD Robb)

Do you read one book at a time, or have you succumbed to the multi-tasking digital age as well?