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


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.



Loving a Lame TV Show Makes Me Question My Whole Reality


Two minutes into break time I found myself running out of the school.  Without pausing to even say I’d be back, I slipped my coat on and ducked out of the place.  I cut back behind the 7-11 and then squeezed through the gap between two apartment buildings.  I looked around to see if anyone was following me.  They weren’t.  Still, I wasn’t far enough.  I put my head down and snuck behind another building, quickly checking again to see if anyone was watching.  The coast seemed to be clear, and, knowing I was alone, I did what I set out to do.

I smoked a cigarette.

See - people smoked in the classroom back in 1942. It's not like teens have gotten better since then.

As a teacher, you’re not supposed to let students see you smoking.  Doing so would make you a bad role model, and we all know that if that happened, kids might start smoking before they turn 18.  I’ve heard smokers talk about how anti-smoking laws make them feel like lepers; there is no greater leper than the smoking teacher.  Not only is the smoking teacher frowned upon heavily, the smoking teacher also must create a whole routine to hide the habit.  When a teacher has a smoke break, he/she all of a sudden has to become Shady McShadster.  I’ve seen teachers crouched down in their cars smoking, blasting themselves with Fabreze to kill the smell, gargling mouthwash in the parking lot, and carrying around a disgusting plastic bottle filled with hundreds of cigarette butts to avoid leaving any evidence behind.  Meanwhile, the students just do it in the bathroom stall and that seems to work out pretty well.

Stop making out during the riot and get a room.

The reason I bring this up is to touch upon the major theme of this post: behavior that is technically okay, but is still shameful none-the-less.  I’m speaking about the shame that comes with doing something that others would frown upon just because it isn’t cool or appropriate, as opposed to something that is just plain ethically wrong.  Kissing in public is another good example of this.  There’s nothing wrong with it – making out in the corner of Dave and Buster’s isn’t against the law – but afterwards, it’s hard not to feel a bit awkward.  Why?  Because our society has a clear and distinct rule that it quietly preaches: Do not act like a teenager, even if you are, in fact, a teenager.

Which is why I am burdened with guilt when it comes to my favorite TV show – the new 90210.  I love it.  Damn the world, I’m declaring my love right now.  I love 90210!  Like all great loves, my adoration for 90210 wasn’t planned.  I started watching it because it was the only English language program on Korean television, and because I recognized one of the actors from The Wire.  At first, I was skeptical.  I tried to keep a cool, ironic distance.  I wasn’t tuning in every Monday and Tuesday night because I liked it; I was only watching it so I could laugh at it.  Or so I told myself…

The glue of the show. Annie and Naomi - the 2 that hold the 90 and 10 together.

Come on, I’m the guy who watches Bela Tarr films and likes obscure ‘60s music and scoffs at authors like James Patterson
and Nicolas Sparks.  Me?  Like 90210?  Surely you jest!  The truth be told, though, it grew on me.  Big time.  I love Naomi.  I’m worried about Dixon’s drug problem.  Annie’s foray into prostitution has me shattered.  I’m also upset about Silver not understanding that Navid is doing undercover work for the FBI, and that she has now turned to dating her professor.  Just as I keep my smoking habit hidden at school, I try to keep my 90210 gushing to myself.  I don’t want word to spread.

“On Game of Thrones,” Hipster Trish once told me, “when someone messes up, he gets beheaded.”

“Oh yeah?” I retorted.  “On 90210, when someone messes up, he gets emotionally damaged…and that leaves scars.”

I feel so cool...yet so alone...

It was embarrassing.  There’s a whole plethora of acceptable things for an adult male to like – sports, Judd Apatow movies, even video games.  90210 isn’t exactly on that list.  Maybe, though, there’s something circular about pretension, and I’ve just come to the point where the circle is made whole.  When I was 12 or 13 I just watched stuff and liked it; it wasn’t until I started getting older that other things factored in.  By the time I was in college, I was far too cool to watch an Adam Sandler movie or listen to Matchbox 20 (let’s be honest though, those things really do suck).  That was the popular stuff.  The teenager stuff.  I sat in my room alone, drinking beer and listening to The Smiths and feeling oh so hip.

But now that I’m older, I don’t care anymore.  90210 is awesome.  Maybe pretension is something we grow into and eventually grow out of, sort of like physical attractiveness.  In other words, 90210 isn’t something to be ashamed of.

Liking it is a sign of maturity.