How Do They Locate Their Nuts?
Sipping coffee from my back patio this morning, I watched as a squirrel buried a nut in the damp earth beside a row of arborvitae.
What a cliche, I thought. I actually muttered it out loud, to be honest. And then I wondered, how will he ever know where to find that later? It was a question I pondered for several long minutes. I became fixated on it because it was bothering me so much. Seriously, how will that squirrel ever remember the location of that particular nut? Do they possess some sort of homing instinct, like pigeons or salmon? Or do they just happen upon their buried hoard by pure, dumb luck? I was so perplexed I Googled that very question, and Ask Yahoo! says it’s either through the use of smell, the use of landmarks, or by possessing a really good memory. The article goes on to state that squirrels never find all the nuts they’ve buried, and their undiscovered stashes help new forests to grow and prosper. In a roundabout way, they are ensuring the survival of future generations of their own species. That’s kind of fascinating when you think about it.
I have a love/hate relationship with squirrels, by the way.
I was thrilled when they first moved into the neighborhood, marveling over their furry little gray bodies prancing happily through the grass, but glee soon gave way to resentment when I caught them robbing my feeder of birdseed. I then engaged in a one-man war against these rodents, chasing them away from the bird feeder with angry shouts and flailing arms every time they drew near. Invariably, they’d come back as soon as I went inside the house, and the whole process would repeat itself. Had I really thought they were cute? Whatever. Squirrels are rats with bushier tails, that’s all.
Wacky Search Terms
I always marvel over the search engine terms people use to find my blog. In the past few days, these have included pacific northwest man action figure (bet he’s able to leap over tall lattes in a single bound!), clark griswold in lederhosen (better than Cousin Eddie in a wife beater), what’s that weird sound when the sun comes out (umm…huh?), and space vampires vs zombie dinosaurs (sounds like a great, cheesy B-movie!). I get hits from lots of people looking for the Smurfs, sexy pictures of Pippa Middleton, and – oddly – the Hot Dog on a Stick uniform. This stands to reason, as I’ve written posts that featured those topics at one time or another. Occasionally it’s just blind luck; I wrote a post about Icarus a year and a half ago, when nobody was reading this blog, and a few months later a Kid Icarus video game was released. Hence, “Icarus” remains my most popular search term, with a whopping 2,890 views.
Interestingly, 4 people today searched for Piper Perabo feet. Why the sudden interest in the Coyote Ugly actress’s feet, I wonder? Have the fetishists of the world decided that her feet are particularly alluring? Or was this just one infatuated guy really hoping for a glimpse of her toes? As a guy who enjoys a sexy pair of feet as much as the next person, curiosity got the better of me, and in a weirdly ironic vicious circle found myself Googling Piper Perabo feet. Turns out there are websites devoted entirely to celebrity’s feet, and Piper’s are especially popular, a fact that would have escaped me had I never been recruited to write about guilty pleasures. You learn something new every day.
I suppose now I’ll get a lot of hits from people looking for “celebrity’s nuts” since I’ve mentioned both in this post.
My Own Worst Critic
With my book now officially for sale, this has been an exciting week for me! I have a bunch of friends who have bought copies already and are currently reading it. I wait with bated breath for their feedback. The early reports are promising, at least. I swear, I feel like a candidate on election night, watching as the results begin to filter in. It’s pretty nerve-wracking, actually. I am my own worst critic, and forever second-guessing myself.
I finished reading my copy of the novel yesterday. I’m very pleased with the story in general, and think it’s fast-paced and well-written, with a little something for everybody. I wouldn’t change a thing about it. However, there are a few minor errors here and there. An apostrophe or three that don’t belong. A missing page break between two separate action sequences that somehow disappeared during formatting. Plus, gosh, I sure do love commas. Like I said, nothing major, but the perfectionist in me bristles. I could correct these errors – already have in my original document – but any changes made now cost money. It’s amazing how many times I went through my manuscript and had others read it – and still managed not to catch a couple of things. I keep telling myself, most books I read contain an error or two, and those have undergone professional editing. It just proves that nobody is perfect, and I need to chill out about the whole thing.
It’s been fun looking up my book on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and other places – even Powell’s! And interesting that not all prices are the same (something I have no control over). Amazon is especially cool; they really cater to authors, offering a bunch of services for free, like an Author Page where you can talk about your book, link to your blog and Twitter feed, etc. And while I’ve always considered myself anti-Kindle, I cannot deny it’s a popular format and there are some cool things you can do with your book, like adding additional content – say, more information about the settings and locations; in-depth character backgrounds; or even a discussion of the themes and symbolism in your work.
I may become a convert yet.