Today is September 30. The end of the month means the continuation of our month-in-review tradition, which began in August 2020. While we did not publish 31 articles this September like we did back in 2020, this month brought with it new feature-length articles in subjects ranging from visual novel reviews to an analysis of baseball culture in the early 2000s. We will recap our newest articles along with our most-read posts of September. The review will conclude with a look ahead to what promises to be an interesting October as we enter the final quarter of 2023.
New September Leaves
Let us begin with a look back at our full articles from the month that was. I have singled out four articles as my Editor’s Choice selections for the month, but take my picks as you will since I am my own editor.
- A Midsummer Day’s Resonance – VN Review (NAF: September 1, 2023) [Editor’s Choice]
I reviewed A Midsummer Day’s Resonance, which was translated from a freeware Japanese visual novel into English for the al|together 2005 translation festival, as part of my ongoing al|together review project. I came away impressed with what turned out to be an excellent visual novel separate and apart from its historic value.
- Two Visual Novel Midsummer Kasumis (NAF: September 2, 2023)
I had reviewed an al|together 2006 entry called Midsummer Haze a few days before A Midsummer Day Resonance. This post was inspired by the fact that I did not know that the two Midsummer novels, although very different in terms of story, aesthetic, themes, and quality, both had protagonists named Kasumi.
- Surviving Megidolaon Spam in Persona 3 (NAF: September 4, 2023)
My struggles with Midsummer Haze, which I reviewed in late August, inspired me to remember another frustrating video game story from my past (albeit this one came in a much better game).
- Local Avatars and Redirecting Gravatars (NAF: September 6, 2023)
A guide to preventing unwanted third-party gravatar requests in WordPress using two plugins. This post was prompted by my work on a second site called The Emu Café Social.
- Middle school restroom smoking (NAF: September 10, 2023) [Editor’s Choice]
A long personal anecdote that covers parts of my tenure in middle school and high school.
- Caching troubles (NAF: September 14, 2023)
More a status update than an article.
- The Girl I Like Forgot Her Glasses hair dye (NAF: September 15, 2023)
The subject of brown hair dye came up in a then-ongoing, now-completed, anime series called The Girl I Like Forgot Her Glasses (I previously wrote about the animation of the series’ first episode). The internet’s leading 2D Japanese person hair color anthropologist was on the case.
- Broken Optical Audio Cable Door “Fix” (NAF: September 16, 2023)
My hacky solution to getting an optical audio cable to stay plugged into my soundbar after the door for the slot broke.
- On Barry Bonds’ IBBs in 2006 and 2007 (NAF: September 17, 2023) [Editor’s Choice]
Barry Bonds was intentionally walked at a historic rate as he put up unprecedented offensive numbers from 2001 to 2004. While there were debates over the wisdom of relentlessly putting him on first base, one can understand the temptation. I was interested in a different question. Why did he continue to be walked at a historic rate in 2006 and 2007 when his offensive output diminished from video game cheat level to that of a very good-but-not-great power hitter?
- Grace Coolidge on Intentional Walks (NAF: September 17, 2023)
While researching my Barry Bonds article, I came off a note about former first lady Grace Coolidge’s negative opinions on intentional bases on balls.
- Race-Ball: 19th Century Sport Review (NAF: September 20, 2023)
With the aid of an 1882 article and diagram, I reconstructed a long-forgotten 19th century sport which bore some small resemblance to lacrosse.
- Thirsty Goose in Brooklyn Bridge Park: Part 1 (NAF: September 22, 2023)
- Thirsty Goose in Brooklyn Bridge Park: Part 2 (NAF: September 22, 2023)
Still as advertised.
- A Dream of Summer – Visual Novel Review (NAF: September 26, 2023)
This was the 26th review of my al|together visual novel project and the second of September. It turned into one of my longer reviews of the series. A Dream of Summer has some of the best production values of the project but I came away with a mixed opinion of its story.
- Ranking My Big Impression Video Games (NAF: September 28, 2023) [Editor’s Choice]
I rated the 12 video games that left the biggest impression on me in close to 30 years of owning and playing games. Note that this is not a best video game ranking, but a ranking of the games which proved to be the most influential on me over the years.
- Town Slogans Pokémon’s Kanto (NAF: September 29, 2023)
I celebrated the 25th anniversary of the North American release of Pokémon Red and Blue with a walking tour of the original Pokémon Kanto town slogans.
I only published a couple of short articles this month because I am working on restructuring our short-format posts (adding categories and tags) and re-thinking how I use them now that I set up a sister site better designed to accommodate short-form content. This trend will likely continue into October.
- Simplified New Leaf Journal Display (NAF: September 3, 2023)
As advertised, I did simplify The New Leaf Journal to remove most of the sidebar content and make the site more focused on reading.
- Kimi ni Todoke season three coming in 2024 (NAF: September 4, 2023)
Minor spoiler: I will review the first two seasons, which aired 2009-2011, in 2023. You should start looking for the review in November.
- Pingback-to-Pages WP Plugin (NAF: September 6, 2023)
I am now a WordPress developer! (Ignores that my plugin is one line of php.)
- Appreciating BunnyPress (NAF: September 7, 2023)
Starting a second WordPress site made me appreciate how solid our theme is (we have been using BunnyPress since June 2020.)
- New Project: The Emu Café Social (NAF: September 5, 2023)
I have made progress on our companion site since September 5. Please look forward to more posting there in October.
- Unprovoked dumb headline alert (NAF: September 13, 2023)
On a miss from the New York Post’s headline-writing team.
I have fallen behind on syndicating newsletters this month, so the syndicated versions of our September newsletters are not currently online. Thus, I will link to the originals instead.
- Newsletter Leaf Journal CLI 〜 Midsummer newsletter 〜
- Newsletter Leaf Journal CLII 〜 Too many projects 〜
- Newsletter Leaf Journal CLIII 〜 No-smoking newsletter 〜
- Newsletter Leaf Journal CLIV 〜 Bases on newsletters 〜
- Newsletter Leaf Journal CLV 〜 Shades of your newsletter await! 〜
Our newsletters feature recaps of our new posts and some original content. You may enjoy our links from around the web section and the news and notes even if you have looked at all of the New Leaf Journal articles from the week.
Finally, I will share some of our early posts from The Emu Café Social. I did not post too much on the new site yet, but I will be more active there going forward.
- About The Emu Café Social (Start here to learn about the project)
- Tom Cantor Changed Sighting
- Sharing is Pearing
- al|together update
- NAF’s 12 Big Impression Video Games
Most-Visited Articles of September 2023 and July-September
I use a privacy-friendly local analytics solution called Koko Analytics (see review) so that I can see which articles receive the most visits (Koko is effectively a page counter). I use these statistics for our yearly and monthly reviews and for our weekly rankings (weekly rankings appear in the newsletter). Below, you will find our 24 most-visited articles of September 2023 along with our 24 most-visited articles of the three-month period from July to September 2023.
We have seen a trend in the last two months wherein our top articles are under-performing compared to what we usually see but more articles are receiving views. The trend was more extreme in September than August, with the top of our ranking under-performing August while the bottom of the top 24 performed better.
There were no dramatic break-outs in September like what we saw in July wherein my short post on a photo of a banana bench ran up enough views in a two week stretch to hang on in our three-month ranking in September. The top 21 articles in our September ranking also feature in the three-month ranking (the same was true of the top 21 articles in August) and with a few exceptions, the one and three month ranks were not far apart.
At the very top of the ranking, my tsuki ga kirei article came from behind in the final week for the second month in a row to take the top spot. As long-time newsletter subscribers know, my tsuki ga kirei post has generally been the dominant article for the better part of the last two years. However, it had bad luck in August, finishing fourth in 2021 and 2022 thanks in part to external sharing events. While it had a mediocre month by its standards in August 2023, it can now add August to its months with first-place finishes. It will need a first in July 2024 to lead every month at least once.
Fifth and sixth place saw articles on dead subjects rank high. The Peekier search engine has been defunct since February and the tablet on which I installed Ubuntu Touch back in 2021 is no longer supported by the open source operating system. Nevertheless, those two posts continue going strong. My Peekier review is currently holding third place in the 2023 ranking and has been slowly losing ground to my analysis of the Pokémon special split, but three more months like September would most likely allow it to hang on to its spot through the end of the year.
We saw small break-through performances in spots 10 and 11. My piece on installing GrapheneOS on a Google Pixel 6a, which unlike my Ubuntu Touch install is not outdated, came in at 10th place after coming close to making the top 12 in August. My long review of The Angel Next Door Spoils Me Rotten, a 2023 anime series, finished with its best monthly performance and best rank of 11. Angel Next Door had previously been in the top 12 through the first half of several months before fading late. However, in September it posted a strong final week to move up several spots. Conversely, my School Days anime review finished with its lowest 2023 monthly rank of 13, albeit that would have been its best monthly rank in 2022.
One to watch may be my photo post of a flying witch in Carroll Gardens, which came from nowhere in particular to come in at 22nd place in September. I published that article late too for Halloween last year, so it never had a chance to shine. I am not sure why it did so well in September, but some of my Halloween photo posts have done well in October (see pumpkin with a mask in 2020 and 2021 and the car with a hat in 2022. Perhaps it will be the witch’s turn in October 2023.
Looking Ahead to October
I will publish the final reviews of my al|together visual novel review project, which has been in progress since April 2021, in October. The first will be of Narcissu, which is the most well-known al|together game, and I plan to publish the final review, which will be of My Black Cat, close to or on Halloween. In early November, I will publish my personal ranking of all 31 al|together pieces, including a couple that I am not writing full reviews for. I do plan to write posts on some of the novels and their stories after the final reviews, but October will represent the conclusion of the project as I originally planned it as far back as late 2020.
I am planning to add categories and tags to our Leaflet and Leaf Bud short-format posts, but I am not sure that I will finish that in October. It will be a project given the number of Leaflets and Leaf Buds that we have and I have not decided on every part of how I will implement the change, so I will need a block of time to sit down and work on that. My goals are to better integrate Leaflets and Leaf Buds into the site (now that I am not showing them in extra sidebar content) and to establish a breadcrumb hierarchy for them so that they have the same breadcrumb structure as our normal articles. Another point I will assess throughout October is the place for these short posts now that I am running The Emu Café Social, which is more oriented to those types of posts than is The New Leaf Journal.
Other than finishing al|together and preparing a few Halloween (and sadly, rotting pumpkin) posts, I have some ideas of things that I would like to publish in October, but I will play it by ear. Whatever I land on, however, I think that we will have some posts for everyone.