Thursday, October 15, 2009

A home to the creepy. And sad. And weird. And...

Have you played Apples to Apples before? The goal is to win cards, and each card features a single adjective. After the end of the game, it’s fun to read out loud all of one’s cards with the fun conceit that together the cards that you’ve collected describe you as a person—i.e. “dazzling,” “rich,” “pretty,” “wretched” and “stinky.”

Here I’ve decided to find out what kind of person I am by examining how people discover my blog. Most people come to my blog directly—typically because they’ve “favorited” it—but some people stumble on the blog through a web search using a search engine. One of the fancy capabilities my blog offers is the ability to discover the word searches that people use to find my blog.

I thought that in the spirit of Apples to Apples it might be fun to look back over the two years I’ve activated this feature on my blog to see how people discover me (or my blog). If my blog reflects in part who I am, it might be interesting to find out what kinds of words people use to discover my blog. (And only now can I truly find self-understanding. Had Socrates only had a search engine, he could have done away with all those pesky face-to-face dialogues.)

Hundreds, and probably thousands, of people have come to my blog via a web engine search on a variant of “eyeball.” Most common among these searches are “eyeball pics” and “eyeball photos.” No surprise there. But that doesn’t exhaust the list. Folks have stumbled onto my blog in pursuit of, among many other searches, “evil eyeballs,” “eyeball burn,” “weedwhacking eyeball,” “vegetable eyeballs,” “pig eyeball,” “eyeball chair” and “magical eyeball pictures.” I like that, and I can get behind these searches.

After eyeballs and its variations, the most common way people found my blog is not, as you might have guessed, with searches for hands or bees.

No. That would be lovely were it so.

Instead it by searching for “extenze,” the, ahem, “revolutionary herbal pill” that leads to “all natural enhancement.” Folks have discovered my blog with these words searches (among many others): “extenze photos,” “extenze results photos,” and “extenze before and after photos.” Search engines direct the extenze-curious to my blog because the spirit of my blog is so expansive it naturally adds size to its viewers. Either that or because I once posted this: If you are thinking there might be a third (unmentioned) reason that my blog is associated with extenze, you’d be wrong.

Spectacularly wrong.

Once one gets past eyeballs and extenze, viewers’ word searches cover a remarkable range of moods. Mostly ranging from sad to sadder. Certainly death is a good way to find my blog, and in particular if you search for dead roses as lots of people apparently do. (By the way, I leave all the word searches just as they were written; I don’t correct spelling or grammar.) Here are some searches that apparently just scream out my blog.

“Dead rose photos”
“Dead rose pics”
“rose stems died”
“Dead rose pictures”
“Dead rose stems”

But looking for dead pigs will also land you to my blog:

“dead pig photo”
“photo of dead pig in water”
“pictures of dead pigs”

I don’t know whether “waterfall pig” is living or dead, but I suspect it is dead.

There is a disturbing amount of interest out there in decapitation, and virtually anyone searching for it ends up at my blog. I will spare you the worst (and most disturbing) searches. But these certainly give you a flavor:

“She is partially decapitated”
“decapitated head pics”

My blog is apparently a home for those who are crushed with anguish:

“Hand holding family no match for tornado”

It’s a safe haven for the pessimistic:

“All things solid melt into thin air”
“and then I thought this: the robots will definitely win”

And it opens its arms to the bleak:

“art is too long and life is too short”

And to the paranoid:

“attack of the fly”

And to the defensive:

“unusually small feet”
“shoot blanks”
“I photograph because I can’t paint”

There’s no getting around it. I’m a hero to creepy types:

“underneath the bathtub scratching”
“Where’s me stone”
“bleached skull”
“blood red balloons”
“cannibalism safe”
“chefs feet”
“the crystal skeleton”
“feet for a man”
“placenta images art”
“photos of sad 8 year old”

Some searches I can’t help but take personally:

“middlebrow art”
“recover mojo”
“sissy boy photos”
“grand central weirdo”
“Calvinism symbolism and photographs”

Apparently if you are searching for the unclassifiable or the ineffable, search engines direct you automatically to my blog:

“Camera in mouth”
“Petticoat Duel”
“barbershop reggae”
“less pain and Freud”
“vitruvian girl”
“cool dolls”
“clever water”
“vegetable pumpkin carriage creation”
“Michelangelo Buddha”
Michelle Pfeiffer Suntrust Bank Acount”

One word search was a pill of bitter irony for me:

“zucchini powder”

Oh, evil web searcher, you may have found me this time, but you are henceforth and forever banned from my site.

The following welcome visitor, in contrast, may not quite understand grammar properly, but he or she expresses something quite truthfully and profoundly:

“here comes the sun james taylor ruined”

I think the following person found my blog by mistake. Justcurious, in contrast, would surely say that this searcher found the perfect site:

“nobody puts baby in the corner pictures”

And to sum it all up, this woman (surely it was a very attractive woman) thought of me in this way:

“stud dude”



Anonymous said...

I don't want to objectify you in a way that makes you uncomfortable, but I'm really only interested in your Calvinism symbolism.

Michael B said...

Anonymous: Oh, you've chosen wisely. Because I basically AM Calvinsm symbolism.

No, I don't know what that means, but I had no choice but to say it.

Michael B said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
timekeeper said...

What about my search for "cute, sweetie-pie"? Or was it death, death related items, deathiness and lots and lots of NOLS death photos"? I forget.

Michael B said...

timekeeper: the death gets you in the door, but then it's the cutie-pieness that causes you to stay.


Andy D. said...

There is simply too much material here. Just a few comments.

This is written like a good Andy Rooney piece, same cadence... That's true, and it's meant as a compliment. But I had to verbalize that for you here, so now you can garner a possible future search result looking for "Andy Rooney skeletal remains weedwhacking extense."

You skipped right over "sissy boy photos." I saw it, though.

You're not going to tell us you can also track individual searches back to individual people, right? RIGHT?? (Thanks heavens your extense/pig search results didn't cause you to leapfrog to look for any "skeletal viagra" searches...) But there are a couple I feel I need to claim.

"barbershop reggae;" I might have to claim that one. You know why.

“Hand holding family no match for tornado.” Honestly, I have faint recall that I had some connection to that one; it sounds Onion based. But I believe I was searching for that Onion story, and since I have your page on my "homepage" tabs maybe it somehow searched there as well... Anyway, we'll still count it, because it might be my favorite.

"weedwhacking eyeball." I confess, I am 90% sure that was me, but I tell you people I have NO IDEA why that was being typed at the time....

But "she is partially decapitated" -- I swear to you, I know nothing about.

I don't.

Michael B said...

Funny you mentioned "sissy boy photos." That was originally going to be the centerpiece of my commentary, but I feared that not a sould would find even the slightest irony in it. So that was too much to risk....for a sissyboy.

No, I can't track word searches to individual users.

But my question to you is this: why don't you just learn my (lame) url address and that way you don't have to find it each time with yet another bizarro word search. Unless, of course, EVERY bizarro word search comes back to me. Which would be too much even for a lover of the bizzre like me to endorse.

Funny, but I want to claim credit for the "hand holding family no match for tornado" search. Unlike you, I would not have used it for satirical purposes.

Hey, thanks for the nice post, dude.

Andy D. said...

Have any new word searches occurred within your site, within say, oh, the last 20 minutes?

Michael B said...

I'm such a disappointment to you, Andy D. The updates are not in real time, and I don't know how long the delay is. More than 20 minutes, though, I'm sure. Also, it doesn't tell you when the person actually visited the site except that it happened at some point during the day. But later this evening I'll be on the look out for more weirdness. Now especially since I know the source of the weirdness.

Andy D. said...

Oh, well I was just curious, really. I certainly wouldn't think anyone would be out there searching for, let alone finding, "gingerbread man impaled." Nor "Heaven's Gate cult founder photo blog." Nor "thoracic brickload droppage." Nor certainly "gay album art."

Not in my wildest dreams.

Michael B said...

Or: "haunted house my ass they're not real ghosts b+w photo." Very very hurtful, Andy D. Very hurtful. They are as real as I can make them.

Andy D. said...


timekeeper said...

I used to tell people professormikey's hobby was taking pictures. Now I think I need to change that to "taking pictures in order to banter with AndyD"

Michael B said...

Banter with? Or protect myself and the integrity of my blog against his attacks?

shinigami-sidhe said...

What does it mean for a blog to have integrity? As a fellow blogger I feel like someone should tell me this at some point.

Michael B said...

s-s: so now you've joined andy in your attacks?? ;-)

the integrity of the blog....hmmmm....oh, what a fine question. i don't think i can define it, but i can say this. andy's against it.

Andy D. said...

Against it? Oh far from it! "My name is the Lorax, I speak for the blog!"

Timekeeper - mb's hobby is photography. That plus posting it on the net for the whole world to see. My hobby?Comments. Purely comments. Ok that plus, entering Boolean searches that only he and maybe some of his readers would appreciate. And then on occasion, he answers me. Repeatedly. Over the course of an afternoon. And it goes back and forth.

So I guess if you call THAT "banter," then guilty as charged, madam...

shinigami-sidhe said...

Oh, no, I would never join forces with Andy D. Not that he isn't a decidedly lovely person and all, it's not really the principle of the thing, it's the money, and I'm fairly mercenary.

No, I really just wanted to figure out how to make sure my blog has the proper amount of integrity.

Steven Taylor said...

All of this is simply undeniable evidence that teh intertubes totally rock.

Julie said...

You, MB, are a very funny man. Your written words are as entertaining as your gorgeous art work!

Michael B said...

S-S: Yeah, I have no idea. I think my blog has a kind of persona, and that persona is connected to, but not identical with, my non-blog personas. And then the persona changes (or stagnates) over time, sometimes by deliberate choice, and then sometimes by accident. So once upon a time, I tried to make it anonymous. Now it's pretty open. For me, I have some ridiculous unwritten rules. I only post commentary under a photo post. My first two posts ever are the only violation of this. SO it's photo blog with commentary. I very rarely mention work. I very rarely chronicle my activities. I ponder and muse and grouse, and I banter with my readers. That's the job of this blog. In some ways, it reflects the way I wish real life was: less concern about the practical, more concern about the hypothetical, the purely amusing for its own sake, and more concern about aesthetics. But integrity?? Yeah, I have no idea apart from that--and here I mean the word as it relates to integrating something, not as a kind of moral stance.

Michael B said...

Julie--oh, yours is a stellar first contribution to the blog discussion! I like what you have to say just very much. Keep up more of the same wonderful insight--I promise I'll never tire of it.