Dig That Spider Coming Out of a Cup! – A WordPress Blog Stat Mystery

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spider oneThere was a time, so many months ago, when I found myself obsessed with my blog stats. I know – it’s a shameful thing to admit. Now, when I say ‘obsessed,’ I really mean it. This was General MacArthur style obsession, Captain Ahab, Napoleon. I was obsessed the way great men become obsessed. The opposite, of course, would be how teenage girls have watered down the meaning of the word. “Oh my God, I used to be, like, totally obsessed with ‘N Sync!” And by that, the girl means she had the No Strings Attached CD and a poster of Lance Bass on the wall, which was taken down before he even came out of the closet.

That’s a different kind of obsession, and mine was worse, although maybe not as troubling. I’d keep my stats page up on the screen at all times, refreshing it every 30-40 seconds. I would also do dippy things in an attempt to detect or change trends, like trying to publish posts at different times of the day to see if the hits would go up (they don’t). In time, I mellowed out. Sure, I’ll check my stats once or twice a day, but it isn’t something I think about a lot. My obsession faded away, and I could once again turn my attention to more important things on the Internet, like Facebook and amateur porn.

spider twoAll that is to set up the odd thing that happened two weeks ago, noon on a Tuesday, when I very nonchalantly pulled up my blog stats. I usually have around the same number every day, and when my hit total came up for that particular day, I jumped back, startled. Okay, I didn’t really jump back, that was exaggeration for effect, but you get the idea. I’m not that easily rattled. I was really surprised, though, to see that my blog had already gotten over 1,400 hits.

“Dang, that’s pretty dope,” I thought. “How’d that happen?”

There had to be an explanation. I mean, let’s face it, my posts aren’t that good. I realized that most of these hits had come from the Google search. In addition, a vast majority of them – 1,251 to be exact – were for one single phrase.

Spider coming out of cup.

“What the hell?” I said to my girlfriend. “Spider coming out of a cup? I never wrote about anything like that! That was never even a tag.” How was it possible? As a rational human being, I knew that 1,251 different people couldn’t have Google searched “spider coming out of cup” and ended up at my blog. I thought about it, and then I realized why my original stat obsession had faded away in the first place.

spider threeI like my stats, and when I have good days, I like to think it’s because I wrote something worthwhile and, thus, I should feel good about myself. But the truth probably has much more to do with chance. How many of those hits are people who actually take the time to read a post? How many are accidental? How many are people who click on a link, stay for a second, and split? To go further, how many of my blog hits are even living human beings?

There was no way one person, or any amount of people, could have been responsible for the ‘spider coming out of cup’ explosion. The only thing that made sense to me was that some type of automated computer program somehow got stuck in a loop, and that’s how it happened. That’s my theory. In my all-time stats, ‘spider coming out of cup’ currently ranks as the 4th highest searched Google term, and the number hasn’t gone up by one single hit since I checked my blog at noon that one day. If you’re curious, here is the whole top five:

1. Sex

2. 90210

3. Gunther Von Hagens

4. Spider coming out of cup

5. Namsan Tower

Shit, how random! What a bizarre group of things, eh? I didn’t even write about number four at all, and apart from a few jokes (see porn gag earlier in post), I haven’t really written about sex, either. How do we, bloggers, really know who is out there and why they’re reading us? The Internet is one big, weird place, isn’t it?

spider fourThen again, I could have it all wrong. Maybe somewhere, sitting in a basement, there’s a guy who has spent the last two years meticulously searching out information regarding spiders coming out of cups. It could be spurred on by some sort of awful childhood trauma. No blog has been left unexplored. From morning until night, he keeps looking. Spiders. Cups. It never ends.

Now that, my friends, is obsession.

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The Myth of Freshly Presyphus – A Big Thanks

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It was 6:30 Saturday morning when I finally staggered home.  I had spent the night drinking with my new friend Dom in Hongdae; he had these weird cigarettes that were supposed to change from regular to menthol if you flicked the filter properly.  I kept trying to get them to change but I couldn’t.  I didn’t have the touch.  And since I couldn’t do it, that meant that the only way I could get a similar effect would be if I smoked two cigarettes at the same time, a regular and a menthol, and I alternated drags.

“How stupid,” I thought.  At least I’d gotten a girl’s number.  I figured it wouldn’t amount to anything, but it was good that I’d tried to talk to one (one = a girl).  Exhaustion was setting in.  “I’ll just check my blog stats and go to bed,” I thought.  I logged on the ol’ blog and saw I that I’d gotten a lot of hits.

“I’ll be damned,” I said to myself.  There on the WordPress front page was my post about the ear hoodie.  Beneath the picture of the dude with headphones around his neck was a little box that said, “Follow Fashion.”

Follow Fashion?  I got Freshly Pressed in the category of…fashion?  That made no sense.  I have no right to be commenting on fashion; I can’t even match socks.  I sat back on my bed and just laughed.

It was a great morning.

I had never even read a blog when I started this one.  As I said in a past post, I started my blog for the sole reason of trying to get a girl’s attention.  My plan failed, but I spent the time making it, and it was kind of fun, and my friends were really encouraging, so I figured I’d keep going.  About a month after my first post, a really dumb little story about how there was a lizard in my motel room in Thailand got Freshly Pressed.

“Oh, this is neat,” I told myself.  I was happy.  “This must be something WordPress does when someone starts a new blog.”  There were a bunch of comments, and I read through them.  A lot of them made me laugh.  I responded to maybe five or six, then wrote a blanket “Hey, thanks for the comments” statement.  “Hmm,” I thought, “I wonder how often WordPress does this?”

Well, not very often I would eventually learn.  I would also learn that’s it pretty bad blog etiquette to get comments and not respond to any of them.  A few people stuck with my blog and commented on some of the new posts.  Did I respond to those comments?  Nope.  Did I ever think to, get this, take the time to go on their blogs?  Not for a second.  Don’t get me wrong, I liked that they were reading my entries and making comments – it just didn’t occur to me that they had blogs and I should check them out.  A few months later, the comments stopped completely.  In the month of June, I got a whopping total of 475 hits.  For the month.  I still didn’t know anything about having a blog, but that didn’t seem too good.

I don’t know why, really, but eventually I really started getting into the whole blog thing.  Big time.  Like a brave soul, I ventured off my own blog and began reading others.  I started commenting on them.  Sometimes, the people would comment back.  I also wrote more.  A lot more.  I learned about blog etiquette.  I made changes to my page so it looked better and I made a blog roll.  And as I did this, a little bit of embarrassment crept in:

“Oh my God…” it finally dawned on me.  “I got like 200 comments on my lizard post and didn’t respond to ANY of them.  I didn’t go on anyone else’s blog…I was a complete self-absorbed bloghole!”

At times, I would feel bitter towards WordPress: “It was too soon!  I didn’t understand what to do!  I was like a baseball player who gets called up before he’s ready!  I wasn’t ready!”

I vowed that if I was ever Freshly Pressed again, I would respond to every single comment.  And not just with a “Thanks for stopping by : ).”  No, I would leave a good, thoughtful response.

I especially hoped that my responses would somehow revolve around fashion.

So anyways, my point is that I was really determined to respond to every comment on the “ear hoodie” blog.  I tried my best.  I spent hours replying to them.  My entire weekend went to replying to comments, and still there were a ton that I hadn’t replied to.  They just kept coming and coming.  I felt my anxiety rising.  It wasn’t going how I planned it would.  I went on a few people’s blogs but not everyone’s.  After awhile I conceded.  It wasn’t possible.

Really, it’s tremendous fun getting Freshly Pressed.  I felt like Sissyphus (who is a far more intelligent reference than Persephone), trying to roll the big rock up the hill over and over.  Every time I responded to a comment and went on someone’s blog, another comment popped up in its place.  Except Sissyphus was miserable, and I thought it was pretty groovy.

All that is to say – in my longwinded fashion – thanks to everyone who checked out my blog and decided to stick around.  If I haven’t gotten on your blog and read through, I entirely intend to, just haven’t had time (due in part to writing overlong blog entries like this one).  But I really am incredibly grateful – thanks a ton.  : )

  • Sidenote #1: The breaks in this post were marked with former Lakers superstar Vlade Divac to spruce things up a bit.
  • Sidenote #2: I never got anywhere with the girl who gave me her number.
  • Sidenote #3: Over the past few days, I’ve gotten two followers whose names are so awesome I have to share them – Hooker B Washington and Chicks with Ticks.  Brilliant!

The Versatile Blogger Post – Rules Not Fully Followed

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Last December, I had a big stupid crush on a girl.  I wouldn’t want to trample on her privacy, so instead of saying her real name, let’s just called her “Goofy Face.”  That seems like a nice nickname, one that protects her integrity and doesn’t come off as bitter or anything.  One night, Goofy Face and I didn’t have anything to do, so she asked me to show her my writing journals.  I did, and after reading my rambling she told me that I should start a blog.  That seemed like a silly idea, as I had never even seen a blog before and didn’t know anything about it.  Anyways, a few days later Goofy Face dumped me like a full ashtray.  In a move of sheer desperation, I thought that if I actually started a blog – as she suggested – maybe she would read it and want to talk again.

It was a pitiful, despicable move.  And it didn’t work.  But now, about a year later, writing my little blog is one of my favorite hobbies.  In the past few months, I’ve really gotten into the whole blogging thing and have been having a lot of fun reading other peoples’ blogs as well.  There are a ton of really talented, funny, and unique voices out here on WordPress.  I’d gotten this Versatile Blogger thing once before and ignored it like a big jerkstore; today I got it again and this time I want to use it as an opportunity to acknowledge some of the blogs that have entertained me so much.

Now, there are rules that come with this Versatile Blogger Award.  I’m supposed to say seven unknown facts about myself, give shout outs to 15 blogs, and then inform those bloggers, who are supposed to name 15 bloggers, etc.  Instead, I’m just going to give shout outs to the blogs I really like…the seven surprise things will have to wait, and we’ll see if I follow through on the informing part.  Actually, maybe we can pull seven things from that opening paragraph:

  1. I’m straight (do I seem a little hung up on that?  homophobic!)
  2. I liked a girl called Goofy Face
  3. Drawing a conclusion from #2, I have bad taste in women.
  4. I didn’t know what a blog was until December
  5. Expanding on #4, I live under a rock
  6. I didn’t just like a girl called Goofy Face, I was dumped by her as well
  7. I’m an idiot, because I still know Goofy Face and this post is going to get me in a lot of trouble (I’m not kidding…this framing device was bad fucking idea…oh well!)

That was fun!  But here’s the important part…below are some blogs I really enjoy reading:

The Understander – This guy found me, and I’m happy about that because his blog is HILARIOUS.

A Girls Attempt – I like this one.  I feel it gives me insights into the female perspective.

Munteng – Cool little blog with interesting ideas.

Stupid Ugly Foreigner – All about living and teaching in South Korea.  Great writing.

On Hyperborea: Ideas From the North – Well thought out essays on various topics.

Renxkyoko’s Space – Had to put it.  It’s a fave.

The Pink Underbelly – Very good blog written by an amazing woman.

The Deep Friar – Funny.  I like it.

An American in North Korea – Well done and interesting subject matter.

I’m On the Bandwagon – Great premise.  Really funny.

That’s not 15…it’s 10.  But I’m happy with that list.  Let’s not bloat it.

I received my Versatile Blogger message from The Rhyming Med Student.  Check him out.  One last shout out to The Wuc, who nominated me before.

Happy blogging, everyone!  Now, it’s Friday night and I need to go drink some cheap Korean beer.  : )

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