End of the Teens

So. 2019. Another crazy year. I’ve set this post to publish at 6:00 PM my time, which is 00:00 Universal time. By the time you read this, the new year has begun, at least at one spot on Earth. Within 24 hours of posting, it’ll be 2020 for everyone (on the Gregorian calendar, anyway).

It’s not just the end of the year — most see it as the end of a decade, the twenty-teens. The more pedantic say that decades actually run from 1 to 10, so 2001–2010 was the previous decade, and, sorry to rain, but we’re still in the 2011–2020 decade.

But what the hell, odometer parties are a lot more fun!

It’s also the end of a post-heavy month for me — 23 posts (including this one). That’s a record on the year, although I published 21 this May. The average this year was just over 13 posts per month.

(It’s not an overall record, though. My first and second months with this blog I posted 35 and 40 posts, respectively. And then only 15 posts in 12 months until August of 2012, when I got busy again and posted 35. My activity varied a lot in the earlier days, before I retired. I skipped 2017 entirely, but have been semi-consistent otherwise since 2013-ish.)

Anyway, the reason for the 23 posts is that I wanted this to be the 899th post so that I can post #900 tomorrow (or so).

WordPress stats does offer me the observation that I’ve posted 160 posts this year, which is a record by quite a margin. The closest other year was 2015, with 129 posts. Most years are less — hovering just above 100 per year.

Last year, apparently recovering from not posting at all in 2017 (which was due to recovering from 2016), I only published 74 posts, which — other than not posting at all for a year — was my lowest year.

My first year, 2011, which started in July, was second lowest with 84, so I was really still off my feed last year. This has been a better year.

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WordPress also offers me the observation that I’ve published 203,222 words total this year (not including this post), with an average of 1278 words per post.

Last year, my lowest volume year, despite publishing only 115,980 words (a bit more than half as much), I averaged a record 1,567 words per post.

Most previous years average about 1,000 words per post, although in 2015 it rose to 1,232 words (close to what it was this year). I generally do shoot for 1000–1200 words, but that’s just a guideline.

But some rules are meant to be broken.

When I add up all nine years (2011–2019), it turns out I’ve written 1,012,103 words here (again, not including this post, or the pages, or comments). But, whoo hoo, I’m in the Millionaire’s Club!

(By a good margin considering the pages and comments. Especially the those long-winded almost-posts-on-their-own comments. Not to mention commenting on other blogs.)

I wonder how many words I’ve written in my lifetime?

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As an aside: I’m pretty sure I’ve written well over a million lines of computer code, especially if I include all the webpages.

I’ve been writing code for about 43 years, and if I averaged just 100,000 lines of code, that would be four-million lines plus.

To hit a million, I’d just have to have averaged a mere 24,000 lines per year, which is nothing for a hard-core programmer.

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In any event, here we are at the end of the year and, for all in tents and porpoises (a strange mix, if you ask me; what do dolphins have to do with camping), the end of decade.

Of course, going by the ISO Week System, it’s been actually been 2020 for a couple days now:

Date and time functions are a nightmare for programmers, especially in an international world. Time zones and date formats are nuts.

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On a personal note, looking back over the 60-mumble years, it’s funny how I always seem to be playing catch up.

I never “get in on the ground floor” of anything. It’s more like I get into something shortly before the building is going to be demolished.  It’s downright weird how many things I’ve been “Johnny come lately” to.

Early in my childhood I got into electronics, learned the basics, and then learned how vacuum tubes worked. Only to find the world had moved to transistors.

So I studied those for a while, finally got past all the solid-state physics parts, which you really don’t need, to a functional understanding of transistors,… only to find the world had moved on to things called “ICs” (integrated circuits).

So I climbed another learning curve, only to find the world had once again moved on, this time to micro-processors. So back to the books I went.

And even within the world of micro-processors, constant advances left me in the dust a while ago. I pretty much got off the bus after the 386. That’s about where my micro-processor knowledge ends.

Gotta say, though, my electronics foundation knowledge got to be pretty good. It’s what got me my job at The Company. (They didn’t have a position when I applied, but when they saw my background and test results, they made an offer anyway. Real feel-good moment for me. All that work paid off handsomely.)

It is kind of funny how my dad used to be on my case about how I took things apart but never put them back together. (I didn’t see the point; I just wanted to know how they worked.) Yet, that’s arguably what kicked off my entire career.

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Baseball is another example: As an American Kid, of course I know about baseball and have even played it.

But I never got into it until 2010, which was pretty late in life. I’ll never have the grasp of the sport that people do who’ve been watching it all their lives.

In fact, to some extent, realizing how much I have to learn has somewhat cooled my enthusiasm. Make no mistake, I still love baseball, and I think I always will, but I’m not as head-over-heels as I was the first few years. (Not that far off, though.)

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I’ve been doing software since the late 1970s, which isn’t really the ground floor (by about two decades), but I’ve been doing it a lot longer than most younger folks.

Software was the other thing that kept me employed. I was hired because of my hardware abilities, but I kept my job for 34 years and nine distinctly different positions because of my software abilities.

Ironic how what were really two hobbies turned out to be my career.

[sigh] I never did become the next George Lucas (or Quentin Tarantino, more like).

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Skydiving is another one that I discovered way too late in life to really get into.

I was never hugely athletic, and skydiving is a body sport. I made 50 jumps, but never mastered more than the basics necessary to avoid dying.

And, at the time, having both work and a marriage with step-kids to contend with, there was nowhere near enough time for the practice I needed to improve.

(In fact, the drop zone eventually suggested I either had to quit or get serious. The latter just wasn’t an option, so that was all she wrote for skydiving. I miss it every clear sunny day I’m outside.)

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And then there’s blogging, which I got into in 2011 — kind of on the tail end of the whole long-form thing.

Now it’s all Facebook and Twitter and Instagram.

Or YouTube.

It’s always something, isn’t it.

But that’s okay. I crave new things, and I love learning.

Bring it on, world!

Out my bedroom window, the last sunset of 2019.

Stay totally safe and semi-sane this New Year’s Eve, my friends!

About Wyrd Smythe

The canonical fool on the hill watching the sunset and the rotation of the planet and thinking what he imagines are large thoughts. View all posts by Wyrd Smythe

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