Tag Archives: Search Engine Questions

Search Engine Questions From 2020

a cartoon face that looks concerned. it has question marks over its face and a raised eyebrow. Every year I take the last two weeks of December off from serious blogging to recharge. One of the lighthearted topics I save for the end of this month has to do with answering search engine questions.

The phrases and sentences in bold below are the most amusing, thought-provoking queries that have sent new readers to this site over the past twelve months that didn’t warrant their own blog posts.

My responses are below them. This is a 1500-word post because new visitors, and therefore I, had a lot to say this year.

how to fly in air by meditation.

Some people do believe it is possible to levitate or even fly while meditating.

I’m quite skeptical about claims like these, especially if they’re made by anyone who is making money by selling anything that will teach you how to do this. When in doubt, do not pay anyone to give you magical powers unless you are a self-aware character in a story you know will end well.

 

Lydia’s barber shop

I do not own a barber shop, although my spouse and I did start trimming each other’s hair during the first wave of Covid-19 and have continued that practice to this day.

 

Lydia’s apple orchard

I also do not own an orchard. When I was a child, I lived in a few different farmhouses that were  originally built in the 1800s. At least one of them had a single apple tree on the property, but that was the extent of their orchard-like properties.

 

how to fix a Mary Sue

Step 1: Start working to unlearn sexism (and all other forms of prejudice). If you are human, this is an ongoing process. If you are not human, please comment and tell us what your species is like.

Step 2: Hold male characters to the same standards you hold female characters to.

Step 3: Write characters who have realistic and meaningful flaws no matter what their gender identities might be.

 

Star Trek fluffy creatures

The word you’re looking for is Tribbles, and I will talk your ears off about them if you allow me to. They’re delightful.

Captain Kirk slowly emerging from a large pile of tribbles

 

why do I prefer to be alone?

You might be an introvert. Alone time is what recharges us from socialization.

 

reasons to go to the mall

In pandemic times, you should only go if you truly need something there and can’t find it anywhere else.

In non-pandemic times, you should only go if you truly need something there and can’t find it anywhere else.

(Can you tell I’m not a fan of malls?)

 

what being an adult feels like.

Uncertain. I thought I’d have it all figured out by now.

 

You can learn a lot from Lydia.

Thank you. You use proper punctuation and grammar which easily puts you in the top 1% of search engine queries. We might be life partners and/or chosen family now. If you wish, I’ll even start trimming your hair. 😉

 

why are gym teachers so mean?

my English teacher hates me.

Teaching is a skill that is not possessed by everyone who is employed at a school by any means. I also wonder if some teachers aren’t terribly burned out and should be retrained for different careers.

I had an awful teacher in school one year. When I was much older I learned some things about her personal life that helped me develop a little compassion for her, but I still think she should have sought employment that didn’t involve children in any way.

However, understanding why someone may have behaved the way they did is never an excuse for the harm they cause.

Volleyball hitting the top of Lisa Simpson's head and then deflating. From the animated show "The Simpsons"

what make a good gym teacher

Someone who genuinely enjoys teaching and spending time with children.

Someone who is cognizent of the fact that their students come from a wide variety of backgrounds and ability levels and who takes all of these things into consideration when lesson planning.

Someone who is responsive to their students and adjusts their teaching methods to appeal to everyone, especially kids who have not had positive experiences with gym class or exercise in general. Athletic kids will continue to enjoy working out regardless, so I think it’s important to help non-athletic kids discover the many other types of exercise out there.

 

mindfulness gif.

I could talk about this topic all day. I love mindfulness gifs.

the word breath. there is a feather above and another one below the word, and all three items slowly expand and contract in a gentle breathing pattern.

 

cool things to collect

Memories. Photos. Delicious meals and snacks. Smiles. Random acts of kindness. Amusing stories. Hugs (in non-Covid times and with consent, of course).

 

how to have a friendly face

Smile gently and make eye contact. Use these powers carefully if you’re a woman or non-binary person who wants to avoid the occasional odd encounter with a stranger.

 

the bear who wasn’t there

This sounds like something my dad would google. He likes to sing lighthearted folk songs, so I choose to imagine that one of them is about an invisible or missing bear.

 

seven rabbits

rabbit gif

There are more than seven rabbits in this gif. Is that close enough?

seven rabbits eating food while crowding around a small bowl

 

how to make playground equipment

I haven’t the foggiest notion how to do that. May I refer you to my brother who builds all sorts of things out of scrap wood for fun? If you ask him for a poem or story about it, he will refer you back to me for an artistic interpretation of his work. We’re a good team like that.

 

children’s prehistoric fiction books

I don’t remember reading anything on that topic until I was a preteen, but I think that Grandmother Fish: A Child’s First Book of Evolution by Jonathan Tweet sounds intriguing.

strongest caveman novel

I love this query and hope one of my readers will have a suggestion for it. This is also a great segway to the second portion of this post.

 

Jean M. Auel and Earth’s Children Questions

On that note, let’s end this with some of the many questions about Jean M. Auel and Earth’s Children I’ve received here since the Internet has decided I’m an expert on this topic.

Beware of a few spoilers from a nearly 40-year-old series if you want to read Earth’s Children without knowing anything in advance.

Where does Clan of the Cave Bear take place?

Answer #1: It takes place between 29,500 and 26,500 years ago in what is now known to be southern Europe.

Answer #2: A regrettable film from 1986 that seemed to have only briefly skimmed the blurb for this book instead of, you know, actually reading and comprehending the entire story.

Answer #3: Your imagination.

young Ayla touching a cave bear's skull
Young Ayla from the aforementioned film.

 

When was Clan of the Cave Bear written? 

It was published in 1980, so I’d guess it was written in the late 1970s. If you meant the geographic location, I’d assume it was either in Jean M. Auel’s home or at the libraries where she studied all sorts of stuff related to hunter-gatherers and prehistory while writing this tale and its sequels.

 

Is Jean Auel still writing?

Is Jean Auel writing a seventh book?

What happened to Jean Auel?

Jean Auel is in her mid-80s now and retired from writing new stories so far as I know.

 

Does Ayla see Durc again

Canonically, she does not see him again, but there are many fan fiction stories out there that give this mother and son a much more satisfying resolution to their forced separation.

 

What happened to the clan after Ayla left?

Based on the foreshadowing in Clan of the Cave Bear, the current leader probably wasn’t in power for very long due to his narcissism, impulsivity, and bad temper. Based on promises their mothers made when these characters were babies, Durc was assigned a mate who was half homo sapien and half Neanderthal like he was. As an adult, he may have left his tribe with anyone who wanted a more stable living situation and moved elsewhere.

 

Earth’s Children’s series book 7

There is a fan fiction book written to wrap up all of the loose ends that were left unresolved in Jean M. Auel’s official sixth and final book in this series.

 

Clan of the Cave Bear movie remake

The Valley of Horses movie

Is Clan of the Cave Bear on Netflix?

Will some streaming network please buy the rights to this series and turn them into films or a TV show! There’s clearly demand for it from people other than me.

 

Is Ayla a common name?

It depends on which culture you live it and what your definition of “common” might be.

Ayla is a traditional name in Turkish,Hindi, Spanish and Scottish cultures and sometimes pop up in Hebrew ones as well.

In 2017 it was within the 100 most popular names in Scotland, New Zealand, Australia and Canada.

If I had a dog, Ayla would be a top contender for her name.

 

What is Ayla’s real name?

No one knows the answer to this for sure. I suspect that Ayla was part of her original name. For example, she might have been called Shayla or something by her birth parents before her adoptive (Neanderthal) parents shortened it because they couldn’t pronounce those extra syllables.

Creepy Christmas Poems

Christmas wreath with a Santa placard saying "Merry Christmas" hung from it. The wreath is hung on a slightly ominious black door.
The spookiest Christmas stock photo I could find.

Someone, or possibly more than one person, keeps finding this blog by searching for creepy Christmas poems.

If they ever read this post, I hope they know it was written in direct response to the multiple queries that have popped up in my analytics.

I more or less stopped celebrating Christmas years ago when I moved far away from home, deconverted from my childhood religion, accepted a job in an industry that was always busy and stressful in December, and found myself overwhelmed by the sentimentality and consumerism of secular Christmas.

Now I sound like a grumpy character at the beginning of a Christmas movie who is about to learn a valuable life lesson, but that’s honestly not how I think about this holiday at all.

I enjoy the lights, food, and music that is traditionally shared now, and I cheer for everyone who finds meaning in the other aspects of Christmas (and/or any other winter holiday) as well.

I simply know what my limits are. Luckily, those limits include creepy Christmas poems when new readers show up here looking for them. Here are some poems that celebrate Christmas without a single ounce of sentimentality.

A Christmas Ghost Story by Thomas Hardy

Yule Horror by H.P. Lovecraft

Scary Christmas by Donald R. Wolff JR

Christmas Ghost by Andrew Green

Christmas Poems (That Won’t Make You Throw Up) by various authors

Holiday Horror: A True Story by Lucy Giardino Cortese

Merry Christmas from the Void (an analysis of three H.P. Lovecraft poems)

Merry Christmas by Langston Hughes (scroll down to read it).

 

Which creepy Christmas poems would you add to this list?

3 Mindfulness Exercises for a Bad Mood

An old dandelion that has lost all but one of its seed heads. The final seed head is holding onto the dandelion tenaciously. As I mentioned here, the idea for today’s post came from numerous hits my site has gotten over the last year or so about mindfulness exercises for bad moods.

I purposefully narrowed down this list to a a few exercises that are quick and easy to do because that’s exactly what I need when I’m down in the dumps. Complicated instructions and lengthy lists are best saved for more cheerful days, I think.

If you know of other quick and easy exercises like these, do jump into the comment section below and share. There are many other visualization techniques out there, and they range from simple ones like I’m about to share to much more complex routines.

 

A Gratitude Challenge

Time commitment: 1 minute

Best for: Reframing your thoughts

Step 1 – Close your eyes

Step 2 – Make a list of three things you’re genuinely grateful for. Literally anything counts, and there are no wrong answers. Sometimes I count the friendly pigeons who live in front of my building as one of my answers. They’re also so curious to see what the humans are up to when we wander by.

Step 3 – Open your eyes

 

white and red balloons floating away in the skyThe Balloon Game 

Time commitment: 1-5 minutes

Best for: Letting go and interrupting rumination

Step 1: Close your eyes and make a list of the things that are currently bothering you. They could be anything: unresolved conflicts, regrets, old conversations that keep replaying in your mind, and anything else that can’t be fixed right now or ever.

Step 2: Visualize as many balloons as you need for your list. I like to spend at least a minute picturing their colours and shapes in detail before imagining my problems listed on them.

Step 3: Imagine releasing each balloon into the sky on a windy day. (I once lost a balloon this way as a kid. They escape so quickly you can never chase them down again!) If or when that thought pops up again, remind yourself that it’s been blown away now. There’s no way to chase it down again.

 

Big Deep Breaths 

Time commitment: As long or as short as you want it to be.

Best for: Living in the moment and calming racing thoughts. 

Step 1: Search for breathe calming gifs like this one. You’ll want to keep your eyes open for this exercise.

A mindfulness gif of a box being expanded and contracted.

Step 2: Synchronize your breathing so that you inhale when the image expands and exhale when it contracts. Some of these gifs are specifically designed to slow down the breathing cycle a little for users. That in and of itself can distract you from thoughts that stubbornly stick around.

Step 3: Repeat as many times as necessary.

Search Engine Questions from 2019

Every year I take the last two week of December off from serious blogging, so here’s a lighthearted topic for today that I’ve been slowly compiling since last winter.

The phrases and sentences in bold are the funniest, most interesting queries that have sent new readers to this site over the last year. My responses are below them.

Will we ever run out of new music

Only when we run out of people. Even then, I wouldn’t be surprised if we didn’t leave behind a few machines that knew how to make music and continued to churn out new songs.

How popular is the name lydia

It was #85 on the top 100 list for baby girl names in 2017. I love my name and hope it becomes more widely used someday.

How much do gym teachers make

According to this site, it’s about $51,000 a year for elementary gym teachers and $53,000 for middle/high school gym teachers in the United States. Depending on your years of experience and where you live, the salary can be as low as $35,000 or as high as $80,000.

teleport lydia to me
how to teleport lydia to me

If this is a Star Trek thing, sign me up! I’d love to explore your ship, have a few minor health issues fixed in your medical bay, eat replicator meals, and visit all of the cool holodeck programs.

achoo gif

Your wish is my command.

Gif description: a man sneezing repeatedly into a handkerchief.

What is gender treachery in the handmaid’s tale

Having a physical and/or romantic relationship with someone of the same gender. LGBT+ people didn’t fare well in Gilead at all. We’d  give it 0 out of 10 stars.

compliments that begin with t

  • Talented
  • Tough
  • Tenacious
  • Terrific
  • Thoughtful

how to summon Lydia

Other than teleportation, you could offer me dairy-free chocolate and an engrossing story. Or, you know, text me and say you want to get together for tea or something.

Is The Magicians worth watching?

Yes. I found the first season a little slow in the beginning, but the storylines become really good once you get to the end of that season and the start of the second one.

wtf facts about silent people

Sometimes we have top secret meetings about talkative people. The ones that think it’s funny to ask us why we’re so quiet or treat our temperaments like they’re a character flaw get added to the naughty list. Everyone else gets fresh, homemade cookies (unless they don’t want cookies).

I’d say more, but I don’t know that the Silent People Board of Elders ™ would approve. 😉

How do I get to Mordor

Just about any other destination in Arda would be a safer place to visit. I’d much rather visit The Shire, Rivendell, or Treebeard’s Hill. If you insist on going to Mordor anyway, I’d suggest flagging down a Nazgul or wandering into Orc territory. 

I’d follow you into the Mists of Avalon

Thank you. I’d lead you into the Mists of Avalon if I knew where to find it and that I could get us home safe again. Ideally, we’d use your teleporter and be back home again before anyone missed us.

Is Jean M. Auel dead?

Not so far as I can tell. She’s in her 80s now and isn’t particularly interested in spending much time online from what I’ve heard, so I suspect any future notices about her health will come from one of her children.

How to make lembas bread

I blogged about a recipe that’s the closest thing us mortals will ever get to true lembas bread. It’s pretty delicious, but it has yet to give me superhuman endurance.

Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Harry Potter Characters and Socks

Happy Labour Day to everyone in Canada and the United States. Most schools here in Canada reopen after Labour Day weekend, so thoughts of making lists and cracking open books are bouncing around in my head.

This is the time of year when I’d try to squeeze the last bit of fun out of the summer before school started up again, so I thought it would be amusing to stick to lighthearted material.

Today’s topic is something I jokingly mentioned in I’ll Tell You About My Draft Folder If You’ll Tell Me About Yours:

I’ve gotten multiple hits on my blog about Harry Potter characters wearing socks, Harry Potter characters who won’t wear socks, socks that feature Harry Potter characters, fuzzy socks, hand-knit socks, and just about any other sock-related query you can think of that so much as glances in the direction of the Potterverse. I am so tempted to write a full-length post on this topic. Would you write it?

According to my readers, the answer to that question was a resounding yes! I have accepted the fact that writing this post may result in even more people finding this blog in their quest to find answers to all things related to the Potterverse and socks, so let’s give them plenty of things to think about.

If you haven’t read J.K. Rowling’s famous series yet or need a refresher about the identities of the characters I’m about to mention, click on their names to read about them. Be warned that those links will contain spoilers!

Most – but certainly not all – of the questions I’m about to answer have showed up in my search logs at various points. The ones I added were somehow related to the queries I’ve already received.

For example, I remember seeing a question about the sock-wearing habits of Potterverse characters. It was a little vague, but it did get me thinking about this topic. I flipped that original query around a bit to make sure that every angle was covered.

My hope is that this post covers so many of people’s questions about this slice of the Potterverse and the Harry Potter fandom in general that everyone who finds it walks away feeling satisfied.

Where Do I find Novelty Potterverse Socks?

Amazon has dozens of entries on this topic, and I’ve received just as many queries about where to purchase such items.  I can’t vouch for the durability or comfort of any of these styles, but they are most certainly out there. Someday when I run low on socks again, I may order a set or two and test them out for myself.

Am I Too Old to Wear Harry Potter Socks?

No one is ever too old for Potterverse socks or novelty socks in general. Why not do things that bring joy to your life, especially when it’s something as harmless and fun as this?

Which Harry Potter Characters Would Wear Socks?

Hermione Granger would wear them because she was a stickler for following rules. (Well, except when she wasn’t).

Dobby would wear them because being given a sock was how this house elf earned his freedom.

Which Harry Potter Characters Would Not Wear Socks?

Moaning Myrtle doesn’t strike me as the sort of person who worries about what’s on her feet. (Can ghosts be said to wear clothing in general, though? Or do they appear to wear clothing because that’s what they did in life?)

Luna Lovegood broke so many social conventions that I could also see her purposefully choosing not to wear socks.

Which Harry Potter Characters Would Lose Socks While Wearing Them?

Rubeus Hagrid. The poor guy had a knack for finding the hardest way to do just about anything.

Fred and George Weasley are the sort of characters who would come up with a spell to transport the dirty socks on their feet to the closest laundry basket, accidentally mis-pronounce one syllable in it, and end up blinking their socks out of existence entirely.

Potterverse Characters Who Should Have Been Socks

I’m tempted to say that all of the antagonists should have been socks instead of people, but that would have removed too much conflict from the plot. You need something or someone for the protagonists to struggle against, after all!

With that being said, someone as violent and cruel as Dolores Umbridge should have definitely been turned into a sock long before she became a professor at Hogwarts.

Socks That Should be Potterverse Characters

I think that any sock with a sassy message or a zany pattern would probably make for an interesting wizard. (My site doesn’t share affiliate links. That is simply a collection of socks that are attention-grabbing enough for me to imagine them as living, breathing people).

What Sorts of Socks do People Wear at Hogwarts?

Based on the references to Molly Weasley knitting sweaters and socks for the children in her life, my fan theory is that many wizards and witches wear hand-knitted socks. Perhaps some of them figure out a knitting spell to create “handmade” socks a little faster than usual if they have a long list of loved ones who need them.

This has no basis in anything I can remember from the Harry Potter books, but I’d also like to think that some socks may have been enchanted before they were gifted. It’s amusing to think there are wizards and witches in that universe whose feet never get wet or cold because of a thoughtful spell that was put onto their socks.