Yesterday’s article marked the 500th article published at The New Leaf Journal. (These 500 articles do not include my (to date) 69 issues of The Newsletter Leaf Journal or the posts in our now-defunct microblog.) The last time I posted an article about an article milestone was on September 12, 2020, upon our publishing our 100th New Leaf Journal article. I skipped recognizing our ensuing article-publication-number milestones.
However, 500 articles seems like a good round number to recognize, so I will recognize it with a small state of The New Leaf Journal address and some links to seldom-turned leaves of content.
- The State of The New Leaf Journal
- Looking Back At Our First 500 Articles
- Article 1-50: “Persona 4, Coffee, and Children” (#48)
- Article 51-100: “A Brave Little Tree Grows in Manhattan” (#87)
- Article 101-150: “New Bark Town and The New Leaf Journal Slogan” (#132)
- Article 151-200: “The Two Decade Mario Party Finally Ends” (#199)
- Article 201-250: “The Pine Tree Lovers of Takasago” (#232)
- Article 251-300: “The Quarantine Sessions: ‘Seven Spanish Angeles’” (#281)
- Article 301-350: “A Trip Across Brooklyn’s Summit Street Bridge” (#336)
- Article 351-400: “The Poetry of Charlotte Becker – Early Twentieth Century Poet from Buffalo” (#352)
- Article 401-450: “The True Story of Jimmy McMillan and a (Too) Long Line at Dunkin Donuts” (#425)
- Article 451-500: “Justin and Justina 〜 Merry Christmas. Who checks the mail these days?” (#468)
- Final Thoughts
The State of The New Leaf Journal
Our 500th article found The New Leaf Journal stronger than ever. After publishing 496 articles, I moved The New Leaf Journal from a cheap shared hosting plan on Bluehost that we had outgrown to a Cloud VPS plan with Hetzner. Thus far, our site is vastly more performant than it was in its best days on Bluehost. To celebrate the move, I made some changes to our site’s layout and a few shifts behind the scene that will, with hope, put us in position to take advantage of our wealth of server resources.
However, while there is much to celebrate, I will note that some damage was done to The New Leaf Journal in our final weeks with Bluehost, where our increasingly poor site performance appeared to have an effect on our pageview counts – which come courtesy of the privacy-friendly Koko Analytics. Thus, our second 500 articles mark a new beginning of sorts. Our site, backed by more power and better organization under the hood, is in need of fresh, perennially virid content to rekindle the momentum that we had going into 2022 and build off it.
Looking Back At Our First 500 Articles
For our 100th article celebration, I linked to several noteworthy articles from our first four months. I thought about the best way to do something similar for our 500th article celebration. Below, I break our content into ten groups of 50 (i.e., 1-50, 51-100, 101-150, so on and so forth). For each group, I will choose an article that I think was genuinely good but that has not, at least according to our privacy-friendly analytics and search engine metrics, received much notice from readers. Despite my best efforts to make The New Leaf Journal easy to navigate, it is still easy for needles to become lost in our growing haystack.
I am not using any single statistical measure to determine what constitutes an article that did not receive much attention. However, as a threshold matter, I will exclude any articles that featured in the top-25 most-visited in my 2020 year in review or the top-50 most-visited in my 2021 year in review.
Without further ado, I present ten little-recognized articles out of our first 500 posts.
Article 1-50: “Persona 4, Coffee, and Children” (#48)
I published our 48th article, Persona 4, Coffee, and Children, on June 26, 2020. This piece focused on a quaint, heart-warming family scene in Persona 4, an all-time classic Japanese Role-Playing video game that was originally released in 2008. The scene captured my attention when I first saw it because it involved giving coffee to an elementary school student on a school-night, but it was a sweet scene for other reasons too.
I chose this article as our representative from articles 1-50 for a couple of reasons. For one, I had planned to write this article in the very earliest stages of contemplating The New Leaf Journal. Second, I took some creative still-lives for the post that were adroitly re-touched by my New Leaf Journal colleague, Victor V. Gurbo.
Article 51-100: “A Brave Little Tree Grows in Manhattan” (#87)
Our 87th article, published on August 27, 2020, featured a pair of photos of a brave little tree growing atop a tenement in Manhattan’s China Town. These were among my favorite photos taken with my trusty BlackBerry Classic. I took the photos from the Manhattan Bridge on August 2, 2018, so they had to wait a bit before making their public debut.
Article 101-150: “New Bark Town and The New Leaf Journal Slogan” (#132)
I published our 132nd article on October 16, 2020. This article was the second in a two-part series celebrating the 20-year anniversary of the U.S. release of Pokémon Gold and Silver. While the first article was exclusively about Pokémon Gold and Silver , this article explained how the slogan for the game’s first town, “The Town Where the Winds of a New Beginning Blow,” inspired me to create our site’s tagline, “Where the leaves are perennially virid.” I suppose that the sentiment is amenable to our current situation with our new hosting.
Article 151-200: “The Two Decade Mario Party Finally Ends” (#199)
Published on January 8, 2021, my article on rediscovering my long-unfinished game of Mario Party (the original Mario Party) in 2018 was nearly a milestone article in its own right. While it was our 199th article instead of our 200th article, I enjoyed recounting the tale of my favorite personal time-capsule discovery while appending some broader musings on the matter. Similarly to my Persona 4 coffee piece, this was an article that I had originally drafted before The New Leaf Journal went live.
Article 201-250: “The Pine Tree Lovers of Takasago” (#232)
As we approach the 2022 edition of Valentine’s Day, I feature an article that I wrote on February 13, 2021 for the 2021 lead-up to the romantic holiday.. The Takasago is a classic Japanese Noh drama. While I have never seen the original, I was impressed with its beauty as conveyed by two translators who had summarized the story in separate compendiums of Japanese myths and legends.around the turn of the twentieth century I brought those summaries together in an article with some of the original now out-of-copyright illustrations from the books in which the stories appeared.
Article 251-300: “The Quarantine Sessions: ‘Seven Spanish Angeles’” (#281)
On April 10, 2021, Victor V. Gurbo covered one of his Quarantine Session articles. In this session, Victor and his talented colleague, Mark Caserta, covered the classic Seven Spanish Angels. Along with the music, you will find Victor’s personal reflections on Ray Charles.
Article 301-350: “A Trip Across Brooklyn’s Summit Street Bridge” (#336)
On June 20, 2021, I figuratively invited New Leaf Journal readers to join me in photographs for a walk across Brooklyn’s short Summit Street Bridge, which bridges the BQE to connect the neighborhoods of Carroll Gardens and Columbia Street Waterfront District. Along with the photos, you will find a history of the bridge and a nearby Catholic church as well as my thoughts on the area.
Article 351-400: “The Poetry of Charlotte Becker – Early Twentieth Century Poet from Buffalo” (#352)
On July 12, 2021, I published one of my most time-intensive projects, a collection of poetry by Charlotte Becker, an early twentieth century poet. I did quite a bit of research to collect more than 30 of Becker’s poems, and I carefully re-printed them and provided links to all of the original sources. Through the study, we discover not only the themes that interested Becker, but also some lovely poems that have otherwise been forgotten with the passage of time.
Article 401-450: “The True Story of Jimmy McMillan and a (Too) Long Line at Dunkin Donuts” (#425)
Jimmy McMillan, a perennial candidate and gadfly in New York City politics, is known for starting the “Rent Is Too Damn High” party. Even granting that Mr. McMillan is a character, a story about him exclaiming to no one in particular in a line at Dunkin Donuts that “this line is too damn long” sounds too good to be true. However, I must inform you that it is true. I know this because I was in that line behind Mr. McMillan. On October 26, 2021, not only did I recount the story with all the necessary context, but I also almost certainly pinpointed the day on which it occurred through publicly available photos.
Article 451-500: “Justin and Justina 〜 Merry Christmas. Who checks the mail these days?” (#468)
It is perhaps premature to call articles in the 451-500 group little noted, for they have not had much time to be noted. However, none of my numerous Justin and Justina dialogues have haunted the top of our most-read article lists, so I feel safe in choosing one of my most recent entries in the series here.
In this dialogue, Justina inadvertently reveals to Justin that she never checks her mail. This leads to an extended debate between the two of them wherein Justina expects others to reassure her that she is not in the wrong, but ends up being sorely disappointed. However, despite her not being validated, Justin leaves the dialogue worse for wear.
If you enjoy this entry in the Justin and Justina series, I can happily inform you that there are many more entries in the archive.
I will use our 500-article milestone as an opportunity to thank everyone who reads and follows The New Leaf Journal. If you have enjoyed a sample of our content, consider this post a reminder that we have a large volume of content in our archive covering many topics and styles. I trust that just about everyone will find at least a few articles of interest here at The New Leaf Journal.
Of course, 500 articles is a beginning, not an end. I have numerous ideas and projects in store to take advantage of the infrastructure improvements that we have made at The New Leaf Journal, and I hope that we find more readers to join us for our next 500 posts.