In which I answer seeker’s questions

Do you know that if you are an author you can now log into your author profile on, look at the sales information for your book by state in the US for the last month, and track the rise and fall of your kindle and paperback sales rankings over time? I am not at all sure that this is a good thing (although I would like to thank December 2010 shoppers in Vermont, California, and Washington State). It took me considerable time after my book was published to break myself of the habit of checking my Amazon sales ranking several times a day (a habit I now call Amazturbation) and googling my book name to see who was writing what about it on their blogs. After putting myself on very strict me-related internet rations, however, I’m proud to say that I can now go months without even thinking about my Amazon sales ranking, and I aim to keep this up despite the lure of those pretty colour-coded sales maps to puzzle over.

I mean, why Vermont? Although, I guess if I lived in Vermont in December I might be browsing the shelves for novels set on tropical islands too.

When I started blogging seriously earlier this year, wordpress presented me with yet another tool that has the potential to be wielded as a navel-gazing, self-stimulating, saccharine-sweet-but-ultimately-unsatisfying substitute for interaction with real people in real time that’s actually not all about me – site statistics for the blog.

Much to my relief, however, I’ve found site stats not nearly as dangerous and much more amusing than amazturbation. For example, here is a list of the all-time most popular search terms that have led people to my blog in the last year.

  1. Writing
  2. Puppies
  3. Write
  4. Dreaming
  5. Samoyed dog
  6. Lisa McKay
  7. Resilient
  8. Giant snake in laos

It’s very hard indeed to take yourself too seriously when your own name is outranked by Samoyed dog, dreaming, and puppies, and you only just beat out the giant snake in Laos.

However, the thing I really love about the search terms list is the questions. People have found my blog by asking some of the weirdest questions – questions I’m quite sure they didn’t find answered in my posts. So, today, in honour of all you question askers, I’m going to attempt to answer ten of them now.

What is that dog that looks like a big ball of fluff? This question pops up in various guises all the time. That dog is a Samoyed. That is, however, the extent of my knowledge, I’m sorry. I cannot direct you to bonsai Samoyeds, gothic Samoyeds, Samoyeds wearing helmets, or tell you what a Samoyed looks like when it’s been shaved. If any of my readers would like to chime in in the comments section with any good Samoyed related sites you’ll make a lot of searchers very happy. There are a truly remarkable number of people interested in Samoyeds out there.

Is pig fat good for fertility? Well, I’m no dietician, but I’d guess that while very small amounts aren’t going to hurt fertility, it’s not likely to do much good either (unless the fat is still on the pig, the pig is a mother pig, and you live in Ancient China – where keeping a fat mother pig at home signified fertility and wealth).

Is pepsi made of pig fat? and Is there pig blood in pepsi? To the best of my knowledge, no. There is a persistent internet rumour going around that pepsi contains pepsin and that pepsin is a chemical that contains pig blood. Every reputable site that I looked at, however, flatly denies this. 

What age do dogs start wandering? Some of my readers are professional dog trainers, so I should probably defer to them on this. But my own internet research suggests that male dogs will start wandering off in search of females in heat at about six months old.

Where can I buy Lisa McKay Pottery? There is apparently a Lisa McKay out there who makes pottery. However her site is down and I can’t find any of her pieces on sale. Sorry. If I take it up as a hobby I’ll let you know.

Does wandering have the same definition as wondering? No. Wandering refers to being mobile, migratory, and traveling around without a clear destination. Wondering refers to being inquisitive, showing curiosity or amazement, or to wish to know something.

Do you use a bridle to ride an elephant? Ah, no. That is one reason why it’s easy to fall off an elephant’s head unless you have better innate balance than I do.

What does Laotian writing look like? It’s very pretty. I can’t reproduce it here because my browser isn’t enabled for the script, but if you want to check it out you can go here.

Does Laos have rabies? Yes. But it’s not like packs of rabid animals are roaming the streets. The dogs here are mostly attached to families and relatively well behaved (if a bit mangy and flea-bitten). I have never been directly threatened by a stray dog here.

Is having two babies and two puppies too much? Look, too much is relative. But I can speak from the perspective of having one puppy and no babies and the answer for me is clear. Yes, it is.

OK, that’s it for this session of “Lisa answers questions”. But before I leave here is one final tidbit. One search term that regularly pops up has had me puzzled for quite some time. That search term is “giant snake bites electric fence.” So yesterday I went googling this myself, and if you want to see what I found you can go here (in all fairness I think this photo even beats the giant snake in Laos photo). I am warning you, though, I will take no responsibility if you follow the link and then have nightmares. None.

Until next time.

12 responses to “In which I answer seeker’s questions

  1. fun post! 🙂

  2. Okay, so I pride myself on my wonderful dream life – but after seeing that monstrous snake with it’s fangs looking like Jaws I am seriously concerned about tonight’s dreams. And yes, I will totally place all the blame on you. Tempting us like that. I mean who is NOT going to click on that link. So if I have nightmares they will come back to haunt you (I’ll describe them in detail on your blog).

    And you’re right…pig fat is not good for fertility…

  3. You have truly happened upon a strategy for building your internet cred…I’ll keep it in mind for when I want to be prosperous, internet colored. But seriously I have a fine picture you can link to of my wife with a snake.

    • Ha! Steve, this got flagged as porn and went to spam, and I raised my eyebrows and almost deleted you (without following the link) before I recognized your name. That looks like an albino snake. Very cool. I have a picture of me at seven in India with a snake that one of these days I’m going to get mum and dad to dig up and scan.

  4. For some reason “bokkepootjes” is one of the most commonly searched items to find my blog. Bokkepootjes are a delicious Dutch chocolatey, almondy snack. But to my knowledge I’ve only blogged about it once. “How to get rid of creepers” or “dealing with creeper guys” is another favourite… admittedly I do have more experience in that area. 😛

    • Laughing here, that’s awesome. I think I’d take “how to get rid of creepers” and trade you “poo in front of someone” – which is another term that’s popped up more than once.

  5. Amazturbation really is brilliant. My coworker and I are laughing as I am typing this.

    However pepsin is an Enzyme and cannot contain pig blood. Blood (or a stomach) can contain Pepsin and I could imagine that pepsin is extracted from pig blood – therefore there would be pig pepsin in pepsi, but NO blood 😉 Try putting a raw piece of meat in pepsi or coke and you will see that over night, the meat will be gone – THAT is the pepsin working.

    • Very good to know. I figured that was the case, but didn’t have the scientific creds to back up a flat denial. Another friend said the same thing – that pepsin can be contained in blood, but not the other way around. And I figure that there are easier ways to manufacture pepsin than to go to all the trouble of pulling it out of pig’s blood.

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