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Charlie Hatton
Brookline, MA

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Howdy, friendly reading person!
I'm on a bit of a hiatus right now, but only to work on other projects -- one incredibly exciting example being the newly-released kids' science book series Things That Make You Go Yuck!
If you're a science and/or silliness fan, give it a gander! See you soon!

Where the Hell Did Everyone Go?

Since unveiling the new site design here a few days ago, I’ve noticed quite a dip in site traffic. In the past week or so, the average day has netted a little south of half what I’d normally expect.

Of course, I thought I knew the culprit immediately. It had to be the ‘author pic’ I added to the header, right? Like my wife — and parents, and coworkers, and friends, and the dog, if she could talk — say:

We can listen to your nonsense, or we can look at you — but for crissakes, not at the same time!

“…how the hell am I supposed to compete with kitchen utensil porn? That’s crazy talk.”

So naturally, the photo seemed to be the problem. But then I realized — if people were coming here, and getting fed up with the drivelovisual overload, their hits would still register on the counter. They’d be quick hits, to be sure — frantically-barrelling out-the-door, panicked and disgusted hits — but they’d be hits, nonetheless. And I’m not seeing those hits.

That’s when I realized that I’ve landed myself in a sort of Google grace period. When I moved, I updated my software, too. In the process — for reasons I’m sure made some grain of sense two weeks ago — the name of just about every single page changed. All the entries, all the archives — all renamed in the revamperization.

A jaunt through the error logs confirmed my theory. There are a fair number of people out there, searching for things like ‘ridiculous pointless drivel’ and ‘craptastic’ and ‘douchebaggery’ — not to mention an awful lot of porn — and being pointed to entries in my archive. Entries that no longer exist, as far as the out-of-synch search engines can tell. Thus, the quirky webheads, the unstable queriers, and the clammy legions of pornseekers slap up against my ‘404: Not Found’ page, which doesn’t register a blip on the old Visit-O-Meter. Mystery solved, Watson.

It’s interesting, really — to me, anyway. Flipping through the site logs now, I see the ‘quality’ hits concentrated together into a dense, sticky mass of webby goodness. These are folks referred here from other weblogs, or directory listings, or even syndicated entries pointing back here to the ‘mother ship of bullshit’. Those visits are ‘targeted’, in that the people on the other end are usually in the market for the general sort of blather I dish out here. It might not be a perfect match all the time, but those people tend to have a look around, and explore the joint — even with that ugly mug of mine staring back at them. That’s impressive.

The hits from search engines are far less specific. They’re more noise than signal, or the chaff surrounding the wheat. All pasty, and no nipple, if you will.

Still, eyeballs are eyeballs — and maybe occasionally one of those hits leads someone here who decides they’re less interested in ‘Olsen twin nip slips’ or ‘Rachael Ray spatula porn’ than they’d be in a few paragraphs of goofball story.

(No, it doesn’t seem likely, does it? But how the hell am I supposed to compete with kitchen utensil porn? That’s crazy talk.

And ‘heart healthy’, to boot. I’ve got no chance.)

Anyway, I suppose the ‘bots will get the new site structure info back to their metal masters soon, and those search engine hits will be back in full force. Meanwhile, the relative calm is sort of nice. It’s like leaving a big booming party to play cards with a few close friends on the porch. It’s a little breather, before you get back inside and debauch the night away.

(Except I never get invited to any parties with Olsen twins or spatula shenanigans. Or debauchery. Or porches, for that matter.

Come to think of it, we never play cards, either. Nobody ever said it was a perfect analogy, dammit.)

So if you’re here before things get all Googled up again — welcome! Thanks for stopping by, and I’m glad to have you. Hopefully, you’ll find whatever type of nonsense you came here looking for.

And if not… well, I’ve got a drawer full of spatulas down in the kitchen. I’m sure we can think of some way to make your visit worthwhile. I’m just here to help.

Permalink  |  6 Comments

6 Responses to “Where the Hell Did Everyone Go?”

  1. Steph says:

    holy crap, I LOVE the picture! :-)

  2. zoot says:

    i’m still here charlie :-)

  3. RRaccoon says:

    Now I’m sure someone of your surpassing intelligence could put up a 404 page which says “We’ve moved you schlub!”

  4. Chris Wilcox says:


    Will do what I can buddy. With any luck all six of my readers will follow the link on my site and develop an addiction to your honest and heartfelt commentary! Wang Chung!

  5. Contrary says:

    Well, for my part, when I saved you to my bookmarks, I did it in such a way that I kept getting the same post and I assumed you just hadn’t updated. Because I am a nitwit.

  6. Lois Lane says:

    I’m still here. Just behind on reading. Your mug ain’t that scary. :P

    Lois Lane

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