Estimated reading time: 8 minute(s)

September is now in the books as we move into the final quarter of 2021.

A metal number nine nailed to a post in the desert.  "Number 9" by cogdogblog is marked with CC0 1.0
The ninth month of 2021 comes to an end. Credit: “Number 9” by cogdogblog is marked with CC0 1.0

In this article, I will review some of our best New Leaf Journal content from September, detail some changes to the site, and preview the month ahead. I will conclude the article with two rankings. First, I will list our top 10 most-visited articles in September. Second, I will list our 15 most-visited articles from the third quarter of 2021 (July-September).

Notable Content From September 2021

This is our 21st and final article of September 2021. To be sure, I did not match my New Leaf Journal record-setting 31 articles published in September 2020. But I hope that I made up for the lack of quantity with quality. Before continuing, please note that you can view our entire September 2021 archive beyond my selected highlights here.

Recording History

I published several history articles in September 2021. The first, a piece on the resignations of former New York Governors Eliot Spitzer and Andrew Cuomo, is a somewhat humorous look at the colorful politics of New York State. On September 4, I commemorated the anniversary of the end of the Western Roman Empire with a lengthy piece on the last Emperor in the west, the young Romulus Augustulus. Finally, I published a trio of articles about homing pigeons in the late nineteenth century. The first covered the use of carrier pigeons by the former New York Herald. My second article detailed the story of a young boy in Manhattan and his two carrier pigeons. The third and final article of the series was one of my favorite New Leaf Journal research projects – the story of an 1895 open-sea carrier pigeon experiment with links to near-contemporaneous sources.

For an additional notable article, I published a piece on the U.S. Border Patrol’s Horse Patrol on September 5, 2021. With the officers of the Horse Patrol having been unjustly maligned in recent weeks, I am glad to have published an article before those events that highlights the important work they do in helping to defend the southwest border.

Mixed Messages

On September 8, 2021, I published an article about my using a service called JMP to send SMS messages from a phone number attached to an XMPP/Jabber account. In that article, I noted that I used to use AOL Instant Messenger (AIM). Having noted that, I then could not let September expire before publishing a post about the end of AIM in 2017 and what we can learn from the service going forward.

The Car Headlights Series

In recent months, I have noticed that car headlights in Brooklyn, New York, are becoming brighter. I wrote an article about the phenomenon. That article was followed by a Justin and Justina dialogue covering the real-world issue with a bit of humor and some call backs to previous conversations between the pair.

New Leaf Journal Changes in September

I made one significant change to The New Leaf Journal in September. It came to my attention that it was not possible for visitors to submit comments to our Guestbook (thanks to reader Merle Hall for the heads up). I looked into the issue and determined that it was not something that I could fix without making The New Leaf Journal heavier. For that reason, and also because the Guestbook was lightly-used to begin with, I decided to close our first attempt at a comment system. I explained my decision in a full article – which also includes links to our full Guestbook archive.

For the time being, I invite readers who have comments or questions about a specific article to contact us by using our on-site Contact Form. Furthermore, readers may also send questions to me or my colleague, Victor V. Gurbo, by clicking the email link in our respective author boxes at the bottom of our articles.

Do note that I am pondering how to replace the Guestbook. I already have some ideas – although they will not be implemented in October. The likely expected date for a Guestbook permanent replacement is late 2021/early 2022.

Looking Forward to October

In 2020, September was a big month for The New Leaf Journal. I committed to publishing an article every day of the month while also improving the site. September laid the groundwork for The New Leaf Journal’s entering 2021 on a strong note. While I do not plan to publish 31 articles in October, I do plan to write some articles that I hope will be of interest to a site visitors with myriad interests. Below is a list of content that I am planning for October – but note that some of the non-time sensitive content may spill into November.

  • Publish an update on the Blob Dylan story after having learned knew information through an email tip
  • Review the PocketBook Color e-reader
  • Post an early review of the /e/ Solutions Teracube e2 phone
  • Post a comprehensive review of UBPorts’ Ubuntu Touch on the Google Nexus 7 Wi-Fi (2013) – note my earlier article about installing Ubuntu Touch
  • Publish an article about installing and configuring Bhodi Linux on Victor V. Gurbo’s mid-2000s Mac laptop
  • Continue my visual novel review series with a review of Night of the Forget-Me-Nots, and review a couple of other Halloween and horror-themed games – see last Halloween’s horror game review
  • Post an article about New York City’s 2021 “Cow Parade”
  • Post articles on Halloween sights around Brooklyn in 2021
  • Publish a few seasonal Justin and Justina dialogues

This list is non-exhaustive. There are other projects that may make it into October, and, as I noted, some of the non-Halloween-themed projects may leak into November.

Finally, I will get around to repopulating our Series Hub Page and updating some of our on-site resources to account for the closing of our former Guestbook.

October promises to be a fun and varied month at The New Leaf Journal – and I hope to publish something for just about everyone who may happen to visit. My colleague, Victor V. Gurbo, is working on some projects of his own, and we hope to have a surprise to present at The New Leaf Journal by the end of the month.

Most-Read Articles of September 2021

Below are our ten most-visited articles from September 21, according to our privacy-friendly analytics solution, Koko Analytics.

  1. The Mystery of Sōseki and Tsuki ga Kirei” (Change +2)
    Nicholas A. Ferrell. March 14, 2021.
  2. Persona 4 Golden Digital Artbook Review (Steam)” (Change +3)
    Nicholas A. Ferrell. November 15, 2020.
  3. Reviewing the HALOmask and är Mask” (Change -1)
    Victor V. Gurbo. December 2, 2020.
  4. How to Find Substack RSS Feeds and Other Notes” (Change +2)
    Nicholas A. Ferrell. June 19, 2021.
  5. Installing Ubuntu Touch on an Asus Nexus 7 (2013)” (Change +4)
    Nicholas A. Ferrell. July 5, 2021.
  6. A Follow-Up Post on the Meaning of ”Blob Dylan”” (Change +1)
    Nicholas A. Ferrell. April 12, 2021.
  7. A 2021 List of Alternative Search Engines and Search Resources” (Change +1)
    Nicholas A. Ferrell. June 13, 2021.
  8. The Last Stand of Constantine XI” (Change +3)
    Nicholas A. Ferrell. May 30, 2020.
  9. An Early Review of Pixelfed – Instagram Alternative” (Change +1)
    Nicholas A. Ferrell. November 13, 2020.
  10. Iroha Isshiki’s Hair is Brown, as Expected?” (Change +43)
    Nicholas A. Ferrell. February 12, 2021.

(Update: Switched spots 4 and 5 after a late-night move on September 30, 2021, changed the reported ranking.)

Analysis

For the second straight month, the previous month’s number one fell out of the top 10 entirely (to 22nd). The three most consistent articles of 2021 took the top three spots in the monthly ranking for the first time since May. My March article on Tsuki ga Kirei had its best month by a wide margin after a relatively weak showing in August.

The Persona 4 Golden artbook review surged into second with a Persona 4 Golden Steam sale in the last week of September.

The September ranking saw two new entrants. First, my post on the last stand of Constantine XI returned to the top 10 after being on the outside looking in for the first time in 2021.

Iroha Isshiki Makes the Top 10… Unexpectedly

The final article in the top 10 was unexpected. On February 12, I published an article about the hair color of a Japanese anime/lite novel character, Iroha Isshiki from Oregairu. The article not only did not garner many page views through its first six months, but it was also overshadowed by a follow-up article about the hair color of a minor character from Oregairu, Kaori Orimoto. While Iroha was never close to a monthly top 10, the Orimoto article came in 10th in April and 11th in May. That surprised me at the time since Iroha is one of the main characters of the second half of the series, whereas Orimoto is a bit-player.

Iroha Isshiki crosses her arms and looks away from Hachiman in the second season of the Oregairu anime.
Iroha doesn’t believe it either. Screen capture taken from the second season of My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU TOO! on Crunchyroll.

After months of obscurity, Iroha had a break-through month in September, recording more than 1/3 of her total article views and taking the 10th and final spot in the monthly top 10. What explains the proverbial surge? This is a good question that I do not have a good answer to. The English version of the next volume of the novel series is being released on October 5, but that news does not particularly implicate Iroha. Whatever the cause, it was a fun article to put together – so I am glad that more people are beginning to find it.

Iroha was not the only previously little-noticed article to have a strong September. Three days before the Iroha article, I published a review of a niche visual novel called LoveChoice. That article too had never threatened a top five or ten, but it spent much of the month in the top 10 before sliding to 12th in the last week of September.

Quarter Three Top 15 (July-September)

September marked the conclusion of the third and penultimate quarter of 2021. As such, I will list the 15-most-visited articles of Q3 2021, under the same criteria as the September top 10 above.

  1. Stop Saying Bob Dylan Can’t Sing” (NEW)
    Victor V. Gurbo. July 23, 2021.
  2. The Mystery of Sōseki and Tsuki ga Kirei” (Change -1)
    Nicholas A. Ferrell. March 14, 2021.
  3. Reviewing Bob Dylan’s ”Shadow Kingdom” Stream” (NEW)
    Victor V. Gurbo. July 19, 2021.
  4. Reviewing the HALOmask and är Mask” (Change -1)
    Victor V. Gurbo. December 2, 2020.
  5. Persona 4 Golden Digital Artbook Review (Steam)” (Change -3)
    Nicholas A. Ferrell. November 15, 2020.
  6. Installing Ubuntu Touch on an Asus Nexus 7 (2013)” (Change +5)
    Nicholas A. Ferrell. July 5, 2021.
  7. A Follow-Up Post on the Meaning of ”Blob Dylan”” (Change +2)
    Nicholas A. Ferrell. April 12, 2021.
  8. How to Find Substack RSS Feeds and Other Notes” (+Over 50)
    Nicholas A. Ferrell. June 19, 2021.
  9. A 2021 List of Alternative Search Engines and Search Resources” (Change +2)
    Nicholas A. Ferrell. June 13, 2021.
  10. An Early Review of Pixelfed – Instagram Alternative” (Change -5)
    Nicholas A. Ferrell. November 13, 2020.
  11. The Last Stand of Constantine XI” (Change -7)
    Nicholas A. Ferrell. May 30, 2020.
  12. Performing Site-Specific Searches With DuckDuckGo” (NEW)
    Nicholas A. Ferrell. August 8, 2021.
  13. ‘King Baby’ Graffiti on a Truck in Gowanus” (Change +27)
    Nicholas A. Ferrell. June 11, 2021.
  14. Around the Web 〜 RSS as a Facebook Alternative” (Change -8)
    Nicholas A. Ferrell. February 21, 2021.
  15. Playing Through Cancer in Silence: Shawn Respert’s NBA Story” (Change +19)
    Nicholas A. Ferrell. April 15, 2021.

Conclusion

Thank you as always for reading and following The New Leaf Journal. September, and the third quarter as a whole, saw us break new ground in terms of attracting visitors on a consistent, day-to-day basis. I have plenty of ideas in store for the final quarter of 2021 as we prepare for 2022 – which will bring big and positive changes to The New Leaf Journal and other projects. I hope you continue to follow The New Leaf Journal going forward. In addition to bookmarking our homepage, you can also subscribe to our weekly newsletter and our RSS feeds.