Sunday, March 30, 2008

What Keywords People Used and Found My Blog

I write my blog for fun, pretty much. I don't write it with SEO (search enging optimization) in mind. I don't pay attention to keyword density-- I just type away with whatever story or rant I wanted to share. But, also for fun, I have Google Analytics on my blog. For the most part, people who know me will just click on the link to my blog from my MySpace, Facebook, LinkedIn, e-mail signature or other social networking.

I also know that strangers from 44 different states and 26 different countries have stumbled upon my blog looking for things on Google, Yahoo and MSN. I thought it would be cool (and in some cases, funny) to blog about the keywords and keyphrases people used to find I find this kind of like Big Brother because what we search for should be secret.... I am sure my blog was not the research they were looking for, but hey, at least I had some readers-- no matter what circumstances they used to stumble upon my blog.

The #1 Keyword used: "Woodfield Manor" and variations
How many times my blog was clicked on for this keyword: 100+
Why I blogged about it: I wrote about one of our clients new restaurants/hotels. This is very cool that my blog is coming up in the search because I gave it a rave review. I think this is very cool as well because it means people are searching for this restaurant.

Other Keywords:

My blog about Two Girls One Cup got hits from these searches:
2 girls one cup, barf in cup, Two Girls One Cup, dose girls one cup, naked girls barf, naked girl barf, scat two girls one cup video, two girls + one cup scat video, two girls one cup web link, video of two girls and one cup

My blog about Green M&Ms got tons of hits from these searches-- probably the most cursiosity of any topic I wrote about actually:
Aphrodisiac Colors, Wearing Green on Thursday, green M&M thursday, donna green, green M&Ms + horny, aphrodisiac CVS, are green m&ms aphrodisiac, color m&m's aphrodisiac, green m&ms pr, green m&m character, green m&m band, green m&m thursday, how did the green m&m thing start, looking for green m&ms, meanings of the green m&ms, pictures of the sexy greem m&m lady, sexy green m&m, seperate out the green m&ms, wearing green is said to be an aphrodisiac, wearing green on thursday makes you horny, what does wearing green on thursday mean, why does green mean horny celtic traditions,

My Blog About Office Space and my old job got hits from these searches:
--Office Space movie + marx, Office Space movie + management theories, office space marx, sociology of the movie Office Space, movie the office space peter paper sociology

My Blog About the Wendy's Snack Attack garnered a few hundred hits through various keyword searches like: snack attack double cheeseburger, snack attack Wendy's price, wendy's snack attack, etc.

Other various keywords that I think are hilarious- in my blog, they seemed normal to write as they pertained to a story, but when they are just typed into a search engine, it just makes me laugh:

- her asscrack showing
- bar with expired license
- knew I needed gas
- bar catfight
- broke half driver's license
- can I get served if my license is expired?
- cave with train pennsylvania
- crash on Route 118
- donna best buy - I did work at Best Buy! Do you think they were looking for me?
- g club 10
- gmc yukon out of gas
- harmonica recommendations - this is one of my favorites
- is wilkes university the real deal
- hillbilly
- liking new things
- norman mailer agnostic
- racing eating too much
- self-depricating humor
- skippy+beer+lemonade mix+ how to make
- my cat is eating too much
- oh donna

And, a few people that I know who I wrote about have been searched for as well. They will remain nameless, but my blog obvioulsy comes up now when people google their names. I had a bunch of hits on my blog by searching for a particular person. Either they google themselves (like I do) or have adoring fans! I hope for the latter.

I think I have way too much time on my hands to look into all this stuff, but it's fun. I like data.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Ice Ice Ba------ cteria. (Fecal matter too)

I can't prove it. But I think the ice scooper is the culprit. People in the office are sick. We all share a common ice scooper that:

1) Is oftentimes found lying inside atop the ice instead of firmly placed on the holder on the inside of the door.

2) Is dropped on the floor and then placed back in place on the holder on the door. (I saw this yesterday, hence the blog.)

A year or so ago I saw one of those in-depth, undercover investigations about ice. The reason for this investigation was the death of a young athlete (the reason for lots of health-related investigation- it seems anytime someone "with promise" is affected, people pay attention. nothing wrong with that, but still.....) which was traced back to bacteria in the ice.

In my own words, this is what happens:
1. People touch the scooper. Maybe they are sick or didn't wipe their ass or touched something or someone who had a bug.
2. The scooper holds this bacteria.
3. Then, when the scooper is dropped back on top of the ice.
4. The bacteria spreads around the cooler as some of the ice melts
5. Someone scoops it into their cup
6. They get sick
7. The touch the scooper... the cycle begins again

I am not OCD. You should see my house. But, in an office building or school or restaurant, people should have a little respect and put things back where they belong, and if a common item is dropped on the floor, take responsibility and rinse it off. Other people have to use it.

When people who work or learn together get sick, it's bound to get passed around in some way, shape or form. Bacteria is everywhere, we can't help it. But- I think people should think a little more and not be completely oblivious and inconsiderate.

Wow. I haven't done a rant in a while. Feels kinda good actually.

Hard Data:
Chicago Sun Writes About Restaurant Ice & Fecal Matter- Dec. 07- blog reference
Blog about a CNN Report of Ice & Fecal Matter

And what the heck- I did a little more digging in the CNN transcripts and found that thist study was from a week-long series they did called, "Enough to Make You Sick." You can follow this link to read the whole thing- you have to really dig deep into thise transcript- there are several news stories before the one on ice and bacteria. Here's a snippet:

Take Denton, Texas, 1999. Fifty-eight members of a high school drill team were infected with various levels of gastrointestinal illnesses at a camp. The ice got contaminated with E. coli after campers used their bare hands to scoop ice out of the machine. And recently, a British government study surveyed clubs, bars and pubs in London, and found half the ice they used was full of bugs and bacteria that can make people sick. (on camera): So that got us thinking, what would we find if we bought ice just like you would on any given day at any given restaurant across the country? (voice-over): We took our ice samples in Chicago, Dallas, Atlanta, New York and Los Angeles, at a combination of fast food chains and local establishments in each town, a total of 23 samples. In each location, we walked in and ordered our drinks with our ice on the side, and then carefully, without touching the ice, poured it into sterile bags, and then set the samples off to a certified food laboratory, Microbac Laboratories in Warrendale, Pennsylvania. (on camera): Now, our study didn't follow all EPA protocol. That would mean we would have had to have gone to each restaurant four or five times, tested the city water, and then made sure that our sample ice touched nothing before it went into our sample bags. But our results were tested against the most basic EPA standards, and what we found was disturbing. (voice-over): In every city but one, there was a restaurant that failed those EPA standards. This McDonalds in Atlanta failed. This Dunkin' Donuts in Chicago failed. This 7-Eleven in Dallas failed, and so did this Burger King in Los Angeles. On the day we tested, according to Microbac Laboratories, each ice sample from these four establishments was contaminated with fecal matter.

And, leave it to me to come up with something corny:

Adds a whole new meaning to POOPER SCOOPER!!

Monday, March 24, 2008

Why do I fall for advertising?!

Last week, I ate at Quizno's. And not because it was convenient, but because I have been seeing the commericals for the Prime Rib Ranchero. Was it the deep, sexy voice talking about the tantalizing concoction of prime rib and habernero peppers? Or was it just the huge picture of the meaty sandwich dripping with sauce that filled my entire TV that did it? Either way, the multi-sensory image haunted me all the way to the new Wilkes-Barre Quizno's and until I took my first bite. Was I impressed? Eh. Somewhat. Could have used more sauce. It didn't ooze like it did in the picture. Was it worth the $7+? Definitely more meat than other sub joints, and I'd eat it again, but Quizno's is a bit too pricey for me to frequent the place. (Until the next new sandwich that becomes an overplayed commercial; I'll just fall for it all over again.)

Today, I worked late. Didn't feel like cooking when I got home- it was too late to pick up Chinese from the place on my way home, and the pizza place close to my house, Red's, is closed on Mondays. So, what pops into my mind?

What did you do with your 30 minutes? Yep. Didn't walk into the Domino's and fake a Brooklyn accent or shaved-off eyebrows (I do need a waxing) or anything, but I did get the BRKLYN special. And the coolest thing was that they had an LCD screen in the lobby with my name on it and exactly how much time was left, as well as the status. I saw my pizza go from "Being Made" to "In the Oven." The timing was right on.

I don't watch a lot of TV. But goddammit when I do, I succumb to those bastard advertising agencies every time. Kudos to them, man. I used to dream of working on Madison Avenue coming up with creatives-- but the stress of the city, I dunno. I think I'd rather fall for it then create it.

So, I'm kinda thinking the Cheesy Beefy Melt from Taco Bell for my next stop. "I stop the world and melt with you...." See-- it's in your head now too.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Out of the Blue, I Heard From an Old Friend

Last Saturday I was making Hamburger Helper when the phone rang.

"Is this Donna Talarico?" Yes
"Did you ever live in Tulsa, Oklahoma?" Yes
"Did you know a M.M."? Yes

Holy shit. M. (I am using her intials to conceal her identity incase.) I hadn't seen here in 14 years. I've Googled her many times to see if I could find her and searched all the social networking sites for her, and even earlier on, just searched the online phone books. (That's how she found me, the online white pages.) I never had a any luck finding her. I never stopped thinking about her- we were best friends for a few years-- during those crucial years too, the ones where you get drunk for the first time and lose your virgnity and all that fun teenage stuff.

One of the last times I saw her before I moved away from Tulsa, to Muskogee and then back to PA was when she was going to do some bad things with some random strangers. I left. She left the job we had together and then I moved. And that was it. Before that, we were inseperable.

One of the first things she said to me was that she did not do drugs anymore. Turns out she's been off meth for a while now.... All this time I've been living my life, not exactly perfectly, but I find out after 14 years that my old best friend has been struggling with drug addiction, had an abusive relationship (he's in jail) and right now her children live with her mom. This is likely why I never found her online, because she was caught up in this other lifestyle where technology didn't fit in too well.

However, the call was a happy one. Things seem to be on the upswing for her. I swore to her that I'd be a phone call away if she needed someone to talk to, if she needed a friend. I told her that sometimes it just takes one positive person in your life to help you get through a hard time.

We talked about the old gang and our lives and it felt so great talking to her. I am so glad to hear from her after all these years; it was quite a surprise. She told me how smart I was back then, and how she should have listened to me. I know there was nothing I could have done, it's just the way life happened, but when I hung up the phone, I couldn't help but think how her life could have been different if I stuck around. Or-- how my life could have been different if I stuck around. It's funny when you think about what one small choice can do and how big an effect it can have on your entire life.

This call stuck with me for days. It was difficult to process some of the things she told me because I left when we were 16. But I didn't want to be mad or judge because she only came back into my life for a few minute long phone call. I hope she stays cleaned up and that if I ever get back to OK to see my family there that I can visit her. I am glad her story is leading toward a happy ending. ; )

I'd post the picture I found of Milissa and I, but I am far too embarrassed of my feathered hair. I'll have to dig deeper. The picture above is the whole Tulsa Word newspaper crew on a trip into Rogers, AK. She's the one with the cowboys jersey and I'm the chick with cartoon band-aids on my knees- it was a dumb fad.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

I walked away without a scratch. How the F*** did that happen?

Wednesday night was probably the scariest night of my life. And all I could think about were two things:

1) I wonder how many eggs are cracked open
2) I really have to dig into writing my memoir because I almost didn't get to write my collection of essays about my life because I almost died.

I left work around 7:30ish and hit up Mr. Z's on the way home. I loaded my groceries into the truck and headed home. It was a chilly night and kind of odd-- there was a lot of water around, but yet some ice. It was as if the h20 was confused... do I freeze or do I melt. Most of the treacherous, rural road I take home everyday that I hate with passion, Route 118, was clear.

The last thing I remember was listening to David Bowie on 102.3 The Mountain. I was just chugging along-- not going to fast because I drive like a grandma anyway. Next thing you know, I totally lost control of the truck and was skidding across the highway backwards, also spinning out several times. I don't know how the hell it happened the way it did, but I hit the embankment just the right way that I just slid down-- rather than roll the truck over as it fell down into the ditch. (The picture below doesn't look like it's that big of an embankment, but it was about six feet.)

It was miraculous that there were no oncoming cars. I had the highway to myself as I spun and skid out of control.

When the shock wore off, I took a mental inventory. I was buried in the snow in an embankment on the opposite side of the road, the east bound lane, facing east-- the total opposite direction I was going. I was snug in my seatbelt. I turned off the engine and called Dave-- losing him several times before I was able to convey what happened. For some reason, I was calm-- no tears or anything. I was just shaken up.

Dave said he'd be on his way. I looked up. A woman in a white car had turned around to check on me, and so did a man. The woman turned out to be the cook at the bar I live across from. I told them both I had someone coming for me. The man made sure I was okay and then left. The woman, Liz, stayed with me.... motherly (or nosy).

NOW a PennDOT truck drives by and drops some cinder down on the black icy road. I can't blame PennDOT for my accident-- as the water probably had been washing away the cinder all night and they had to keep laying it down-- it was an odd night, teetering between freezing and melting.

The PennDOT driver stopped to make sure I was okay as well, and put down some flares. He stayed until Dave got there. I slushed through the snow and realized that there was not a dent or a scratch on the Yukon. I also realized something else.

"Holy Shit!" I screamed as I noticed the perfect landing. I had landed between an creek and a telephone pole and tension wire... the way this accident happened was if a Hollywood stunt man plotted it out to excite, and then relieve thedience.

I was okay, there was no damage- there was no need to call the state police- however since it was dark, rural and the noted problems and history on 118, the tow truck driver wouldn't come without the police knowing he was there. Liz called the police and they said they didn't need to come and they'd send the tow truck to get me out. The driver arrived with a flat bed-- but this road is dangerous and there is no way he could do his job with traffic, so he called the Sweet Valley Volunteer firefighters and three of them came out for traffic duty.

They put out more flares (the ones from PennDot had burned out) and blocked the road from either direction. Dave hopped in the Yukon to steer the truck while the driver pulled the truck out with a winch. It was freakin' amazing..... they almost nailed the tension wire since I was so close, but with the driver's directions and Dave's careful steering, they managed to get the truck out. The road was closed less then ten minutes.... I was so appreciative of everyone's help. The volunteers got there in a heartbeat-- just can't believe how lucky we are to have people like them who will come at the drop of the hat to help.

I am by no means a religious person so to hear everyone who was at the scene gasp at how I landed and say "someone was riding with me" made me feel very lucky to be alive. I have nightmares a lot about getting into a car accident and in those dreams, I feel so helpless and out of control. That is exactly what it felt like to be skidding across the road- only I couldn't just wake up. It was real this time.

By the way-- only ONE egg broke during my groceries' wild ride.


I really hate my road. I dread my drive home every night. I don't so much mind it during the day, but I despise driving it at night, and this accident just confirms my fears. Last summer, I wrote a letter to the editor about Route 118 and then a few months after that, there was another deadly accident.... here are some links.

Monday, March 3, 2008

New Friends, Old Friends, Distant Friends

My throat hurts.

I had such a GREAT weekend this past weekend, and it started early, on Thursday. My four days were filled with people I haven't seen in a while, some great fun with people I see every day at work and a wonderful afternoon with some classmates.

Thursday after work I met Andee, my fellow blogger and child of divorce at Bart & Urby's. I have not seen Andee in nearly two years, and we only ever drank together once. We've kept in touch thanks to social networking, but haven't seen each other in person. So, it was a reunion! While there, I also ran into Jane, a lovely woman I had a class with at LCCC. It's always a pleasant surprise to run into someone like that, try to find out how you know each other, etc. The night was just great... one of the first in a long time that I hung out with just a girl friend. The conversation was great and the beers went down smooth. I realized how much I missed Andee, and also how much she reminds me of me and even who I wanted to be. She's smart, brilliant, hard-working, independent, honest, talented and what I love most, gutsy. Love her!!

Friday, it was Big Ugly's and Senunas' with coworkers. It's always fun with the crew, but this particular week, there seemed to be more drinks and air guitar and laughter. Somehow after the second bar, I managed to meet Dave and his sister for breakfast at Perkins. What a night! I totally love the people I work with. Such energy!

By the time I woke up and recovered from Friday on Saturday, it was time to do it all again. One of my best college buddies, Jeff was coming in. We decided to not risk driving, so he, Dave and I planned to get a room downtown at the Ramada. We met at the hotel and then headed to the new River Grille for dinner. (That's the old Waterfront Bar.) It wasn't as casual as I thought, but was great. Service was a little slow, but the food was wonderful. I'd reccomend the place. And also, they remodeled inside so its very different from the Waterfront-- the big difference was that the bar is closed off- but you can see in with these big windows. So, this means you can enjoy a nice dinner without puking from the smoke. After dinner on Saturday, we went to Bart & Urby's to see the Collective. It was a blast. Ended the night with breakfast at Sheetz and hanging in the hotel room telling stories and finally crashing. There is just some kind of energy that I get when I hang out with Jeff, probably because we were friends way back (10 years ago) as freshman at Wilkes-- so I think that youthfulness comes back out.

Sunday, some classmates and I from my creative writing program at Wilkes met for a workshop. It was just wonderful!! I felt a little bad because by Sunday all the extracurriculars I've been partaking in since Thursday caught up to me, plus the sinus infection, so I wasn't totally my chipper self. The work my classmate's read was just outstanding. I just know that many, many of my fellow MA classmates are going to be a huge success. I am honored to be a part of such a unique group-- and can't wait until the rest of the world gets to know what I know. Just the dedication that this group has to helping each other is amazing. I was not at a point to read my work just yet, as I am kind of changing gears, so I just listened and made comments.... and enjoyed seeing the ideas I heard about from my friends in January come alive off the page. I always leave meetings with these talented individuals feeling invigorated. I wished I was feeling in better health so they knew how excited I was to be there!

When I woke up for work today, I realized that although I still don't feel 100% healthwise (my head and throat ache), I am so happy. Ever since we moved out to the boonies, I feel as if I haven't been as social as I used to be, given the drive. This weekend, I hung out with more and different people than I have in a while, saw some old faces and am just in good spirits. I need to do this more. I need people. (Sometimes, I also guess I need a couch, spare bedroom or hotel reservation too, if there is drinking involved.... ; )

Despite hangovers and a sore throat from the screaming and the (second-hand) smoke, I'd do it all again next weekend.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

In Sickness and In Health

This week took a turn for my on Thursday. I was feeling sluggish since last weekend. I thought it was just a really bad hangover from Friday that wouldn't go away. However, I had a routine doctor's appointment on Thursday morning (for my cholesterol- but after that I went to McDonald's), so I figured I'd ask the doc if there was anything wrong with me. He checked me out like normal, gave me a Lipitor refill and said he'd see me in a few months. The nurse came in and took my blood (and now I have a bruise on my inner elbow), I paid my copay and left.

A few hours later, Dave calls me. I'm back at work. He also had to call the doctor about something and they told him that they had a prescription for me for my sinus infection. My sinus infection?! Why didn't they tell me while I was there. So, I went back to the Dr. and filled my prescription. I felt 90% better later that day. Not that I want to be on meds or have something wrong with me, but I am glad I found out what it was. When I notice I am quiet and not as chipper, I start to wonder what is wrong.

But this leads me to another thing. A co-worker of mine said that them telling Dave was against HIPPA. I'm not mad; it was a sinus infection- not something embarrassing at least. But.... on the flipside-it's like the medical industry does all this stuff to protect our privacy, etc. and yet it means nothing. In this case, I don't mind. I actually felt for once that they liked me at my doctor's office and made the connection between Dave and I.

My dentist on the other hand-- nice guy. Like him a lot. However, he's in Scranton. I chose him because 1) his ad said "PAIN FREE" and 2) because he was close to my job when I worked in Scranton (yes, to all the readers outside the area, THAT Scranton, as in The Office). But now, I live about 30 miles from Wilkes-Barre in the other direction, so that makes my dentist over an hour away. I find it very difficult to keep appointments. The one day, I overslept and knew I wouldn't make it, so I rescheduled. Then, the next week, I missed it because I got lost on the way there. Got off the wrong exit and tried to find my way and realized I was almost back in Wilkes-Barre. So, I called them and said I had to be at work at 11:00- is there still time. They said no and I rescheduled again.

So here my dilemma. I have been going t0 him for three years now and I like the consistency and feel obligated. Do dentists and doctors feel hurt when they lose patients, or would they understand that they are just too far and it's nothing personal? A few coworkers have made some recommendations to me-- and they are super close. Oh, what to do!

And on a final note, I made a new discovery- Emergen-C. This stuff rocks and is better than an energy drink. It's a vitamin cocktail- powder you mix in water. It smells weired and tastes kinda funny, but its effervescent (I like that word) so it's fun to watch. You just chug it, and then feel better. I bought a 36-pack and have been sharing them at work. So, between that and the sinus medication, I feel better. (PS-- when I did a Google image search for a pic of Emergen-C- there was one of people snorting it???)