Fun From the Logs

I can see why "pictures of the notebooks" might bring you here. Having the word "notebooks" in a huge font on a page that's not otherwise playing keyword bingo seems like a reasonable idea. That said, I still have no idea what the person who entered this query was thinking of. It's the "the" that gets me. Which notebooks, man? Come on. Give the search engine a little help, here. The same goes for "olympics and the professionals": that definite article seems oddly out of place. Turning things around, "can professionals play for the olympics" is fine with its articles, but that "for" strikes a wrong note. Maybe the Olympics are some kind of Greek, I don't know, soccer team, and this person, who went pro a few years ago, wants to know if he can still play for them. Or maybe not.

The person looking for information on "theivery corporation mirror conspiracy" probably had something specific in mind. And something specific is what they got: this search at Google yields exactly one hit: my comparative review of a pair of Teddy Chen action-adventure movies from early June. Bonus points for use of the word "theivery;" I only wish I could have been of more help to this unknown soul.

Speaking of specificity, "fire department air raid siren sound" brings up this short story I wrote some years ago. I like the story, and yes, the air raid siren sound does actually play something of a role in it, albeit in that very high-school-ish way where the author has gotten his hands on what he's sure is a powerful piece of symbolism, even if he's not entirely sure what it's symbolic of. The thing that makes me wonder, though, is that the two sentences the Yahoo search engine brings back to show you how the keywords appear in the context of the page make it quite clear that this is probably not a web page about fire department siren sounds:

...sudden sound waves rebounded in the room, pushing the dead air...

...firmly planted on the "Know Your Air Raid Signals" chart. Its...

Then again, it looks as though most of the other hits for this one are similarly off-topic. Search-engine algorithm designers: take note! You may need to special-case your response to queries about fire departments. "minimum celing height by code" also brings back some of my fiction, and yes, it is a plot point, but still, on balance, I somehow doubt they found what they were looking for. In much the same way, "non disclosure in marriages" may be an interesting concept, but it's not much to do with Microsoft corporate culture.

"high quality soccer logos picture" sounds like a fan page in the making, or possibly an unauthorized T-shirt vendor. It also has absolutely nothing to do with my extended rant about technology and intellectual property. Apparently, I do use the word "soccer" in it at one point, but I swear up and down, this is not an essay about soccer, it is not, please believe me, oh search engine, why won't you believe me? The person who got this essay by entering "fbi warning" into Yahoo deserves some sort of prize for effort: at the time, it was somewhere around number two hundred and fortieth (out of "about" 31500) on the list of returned sites, which is a pretty impressive distance to wade through, given that Yahoo has no features for jumping ahead more than a page of 20 at a time.

There's a certain beauty to "rain gifts." I'll need to remember the phrase. "fun virii" is also sort of neat, if a bit more worrying. "monkey playing trombone" seemed unlikely, but then I remembered, yes, I have written about trombone-playing monkeys, if only in passing. "mouse springs" is kind of cute, as is "waffle photographs," but I don't even want to know about the multiple searches for "lost her hands."

Question: "talk show host suspenders." Answer: Larry King. Unless, that is, you go to my page on the subject, where you find out that it's Clint Eastwood.

I've already commented with incredulity on the multiple different people who found my candy page through a Google search for "", which is wrong in so many different ways I don't want to get started. When it comes to legit search requests, the candy page is actually the number-one destination here. And why not: it provides first-hand, if somewhat flip, reviews of any number of candies, tasty, obscure, and/or nasty. If you want "wine gums" or "sherbet fountain" or even "walnut whip," I've got reviews for you, although I suspect you're probably an afficionado already, and therefore unlikely to count my opinion for much. Then again, if you come in looking for "gemodificeerd zetmeel," I can indeed tell you that it's the number three ingredient in the truly noxious Klene Zout brand of salted licorice, even if I have no idea what gemodificeerd zetmeel is.

Typing "agriculture xml standard" into Google and it'll take you to the archives from the last week of May, probably because I talked both about agriculture and xml that week, although sadly, not in the same entry. This may be the recurring theme of the truly strange search requests that wind up hitting here: there's usually something relevant to each of the keywords in the search, but the juxtaposition of the terms is a concept that would never have crossed my mind.

The grand prize for such juxtapostion has to go to "shark regurgitation." I have never written about sharks regurgitating their lunches, nor have I written about people regurgitating sharks. But somehow, Google knew to find me for answers about shark regurgitation, and decided to pull up "That Miracles Are Ceased", a rather long piece of fiction, concerning itself with people at college, and the nature of happiness, and the sense of hope, both present and absent. Note carefully: no sharks. No regurgitation. Just laughter and heartbreak and some strange metaphors. Was I forgetting the scene where Ken and Lizabet need to work together to help Baxter escape from the land shark that's terrorizing the campus and they throw it steaks coated in ipecac? I was pretty sure I didn't write that in to the story. So I went back and I looked to see if I could figure out why Google decided it was a story about shark regurgitation. Here are the relevant passages -- they're about a page apart in the original.

"I know the drill. I promise you that nobody in Cardiff 110 will choke on their own vomit tonight. I'll watch him as though he were my own roommate. Oh. Wait.. He is my own roommate." You have to be properly dour to say such things well; at that moment, I was nothing if not dour.

"Thanks, Ken," Alexanda ehhhed. "You shoulda been there wif us. Baster an I had so much fun, an we dida even know it was en Eighties part, an we leff poor Lizard all alone. Poor Lizabet. Shoulda been there to keep her company." she said.

"Keep me company looking after you two party animals, you mean. Regurgitation night at the zoo, with Baxter chewing his cud like that," Lizabet cut in.

"He's not the cow sort. Maybe he was doing his bird impression," I supplied, "Bringing up some worm mash for the kids." Alexandra giggled and tottered.

"Shoulda been, Ken," she said.

My explanations, however, were interrupted by Baxter, who shifted in his sleep with a minor grunt. Lizabet glanced over at him, and launched into a picturesque explanation of her and Alexandra's futile search for Baxter's keys, and attendant relief at finding me home.

"Should have looked under the streetlight," I said, unable to resist. Lizabet knew the joke, too, it turned out.

"--because that's where the light's better," she tossed back. A smirk spread across her face. "And I don't need to outswim the shark . . ." she said, throwing down the gauntlet. I picked it up.

". . . I just need to outswim you," I replied. "Hmm. Yeah. And he, "I said, pointing at Baxter, "still has no idea what you're talking about."

"Of course not. He's still a zonkerbaby. Oh. Wait. Uhhhh. No, what's that one?"

"The one about the mob boss and the deaf guy, where the interpreter--" I started to say, but Lizabet cut me off.

"Oh, right right right. That's a good one. Always seemed a little unlikely, you think? But funny. Hang on. I've got another good one. Yeah. I was sitting in a refirgerator, minding my own business . . ."

If this is good enough to be a hit for "shark regurgitation," I'm surprised that this story isn't hit by every search in the world. The real pathos of this particular query string, though, is that this is hit number 74 out of 135 at Google. Our aquatic gastroenterologist is quite a dedicated fellow.