As August comes to a close, it is time for a post reviewing the month that was at The New Leaf Journal. Although Victor and I posted less than we did in previous months due to being busy, there are still, counting this post, 16 pieces of content for the month worth your time. In this article, I will post some new announcements about The New Leaf Journal going forward, review the month that was, and preview what you have to look forward to in September.

An old picture of a cicada, symbolizing August for the New Leaf Journal's August review article.
The cicadas have been crying in August. Picture of a cicada from an old U.S. Department of Agriculture periodical available on Project Gutenberg.

Moving From Week in Review to Month in Review

I published a “week in review” post for each of the first 14 weeks of The New Leaf Journal. For two reasons, I have decided to discontinue the week in review posts and shift to a new system where I post one month in review article at the end of each month, along with other updates as needed.

First, the design of The New Leaf Journal has mostly stabilized after undergoing some substantial revisions in the earliest stages. While I still have more tweaks planned, the basic structure of the site should remain the same for the foreseeable future. Accordingly, there is little to write about in week in review posts besides recapping the most recent articles. Since all of the articles from a given week are typically available on the home page at the end of the week, a designated week in review does not seem necessary for that purpose.

Second, although our newsletter has not been entirely weekly thus far, I plan to send out one weekly newsletter going forward, with an occasional second newsletter during the week. Although The Newsletter Leaf Journal is not strictly a week in review, it can serve the same purpose. If you would like a weekly digest of our most recent content, make sure to subscribe to our newsletter if you have not already. Going forward, I plan to send newsletters early on Saturdays.

New Leaf Journal Content Review: August 2020

You can find all of our August articles in our archive page for the month. Below, I will list some of our particularly notable articles.

August is For Building

Both Victor and I posted content about building things. On August 26, Victor published “Building an Airline Res-O-Glas Guitar Copy,” wherein he discussed his very first guitar build and offered an interesting history of classic Res-O-Glas guitars. My building article was actually a two-part series. On August 14, I posted an article about my new computer build being thwarted by a lemon of a motherboard. Fortunately, I had better news nine days later, when I wrote about my completed new computer from my new computer. The news remains positive – I am writing this month in review article from my new computer.

Appreciating Nature’s Wonders

Victor and I posted several articles about charming nature sightings in unexpected places. On August 4, Victor wrote a short piece with a picture about finding a little mushroom growing from a log, floating down a stream. Inspired by his post, on August 12, I wrote about having maybe seen an exceedingly rare albino sparrow in Brooklyn two years ago to the day. Finally, on August 27, I followed up on an earlier post about walking across the Manhattan Bridge with an article about seeing a brave little tree growing from a small crevice on the roof of a tenement building just off the Manhattan Bridge.

Other Notable Content

While I hope that you read all of our content from August, I will single out two additional posts of mine for special mention. First, on August 2, I published what may have been my favorite piece from the month – “CNN Hides the Fruit of Forbidden Knowledge.” In that post, I wonder aloud whether our moral and intellectual betters at CNN are hiding things from us for what they believe is our own good. While I enjoyed writing the piece at CNN’s expense, I was also smitten with my choice of artwork to accompany the article – see the following link if you did not get the reference.

Finally, on August 15, I published my second New Leaf Journal poem – a tanka on avoiding mosquitoes. While the method I describe in the tanka would not work for me, for I am the method, it should work for most of you. Come for the creepy illustration of a mosquito about to bite, stay for the little poem.

New Leaf Journal Site Updates

Yesterday, I worked on writing new descriptions for every tag on The New Leaf Journal. Now, when you click a tag, you will not only find a list of all content sharing that tag, but more detailed text about the tag. Some tags contain interesting facts, quotes, or external reference links in addition to describing the types of content that it covers. I suppose this is a small change, but it is one step toward ensuring that every page on The New Leaf Journal has content that is worth your time.

Furthermore, I recently implemented a “Most Viewed Over Last 30 Days” sidebar widget. This widget automatically displays our most-read content for the last 30-day period. This feature is powered by our privacy-friendly analytics plugin, Koko Analytics, which I discussed in an earlier post. In addition to suggesting some content that other readers found interesting, it is proving to be an interesting way to unearth older posts. At the time of this writing, my May article on the last stand of Byzantine Emperor Constantine XI is holding the top spot, giving people who may have missed it the first time a second chance to read it.

Finally, I re-implemented social media follow links on the home page. You can find links to our social media profiles on the sidebar (desktop) or under the content (mobile). I am working on making buttons for our social accounts from scratch, but that may still be a few weeks away. Victor and I are considering making a MeWe account for The New Leaf Journal. For those of you who have never heard of it, MeWe touts itself as a privacy-friendly alternative to Facebook. This project is still under review, but we will post updates if and when it comes to fruition.

Looking Forward to September

Both Victor and I had a busy August, but I look forward to stepping up the pace of article publication in September. So long as my new computer does not explode, I look forward to working with Victor to publish one piece of content every day of the month – 30 articles in 30 days. As usual, we will cover a wide range of content, from strange emu stories to tech reviews, from New Leaf Journal reviews to jokes about the impending demise of TikTok. If you want to ensure that you never miss a post from us, please consider subscribing to our RSS feed or our automated RSS newsletter.

In addition to posting content and sending out weekly emails, I am looking at a few more changes to the site. I now have vector drawing software, so I look forward to working with Victor to finally complete our New Leaf Journal logo.

I am also looking at designing a full-featured footer menu for The New Leaf Journal, and making the site more mobile-friendly accordingly.

Finally, I am still investigating whether a slide menu at the top of the homepage would have a negative impact on site performance. If my review is ultimately favorable, we may implement an elegant slideshow menu displaying featured content in the near future.

Parting Shots

Thank you, as always, for following The New Leaf Journal. We are excited about what promises to be a busy September, and we hope that you continue checking the site to see our most recent content, and share it with others if you find it interesting. If you want to get in touch, consider using our on-site public Guestbook feature or contacting us through our private contact form.