Friday, January 22, 2010

Statcounter Makes me Laugh...

Sunset From My Office Window

Mormons, Mormons, Mormons, Mormons, Mormons, Mormons

Typically my little blog only receives about 50 hits a day. Most are from family and friends, some are people who just stumble across it probably looking for something else, and there are a few who find Santa Fe Steeze by using the New and Improved Next Blog Link —and I'm OK with that. But it is nice to see that occasionally someone from some other part of the world actually arrived on my blog and took a little time to read all this crap that I write. It's even nicer to see a comment from someone—although I am very guilty of not leaving comments as often as I should (I'm trying to work on that).

Well, a few days ago I posted a little something about the Mormons. If you missed it, you can read it here. Within two days of publishing that post I had received literally hundreds of hits. Not to the Santa Fe Steeze home page but to that specific post. The hits were coming from all over the United States and, probably no surprise, the majority were from Utah. It's like the entire church is monitoring the interwebs. I expect to receive my excommunication notice via email—they're all techie like that.

So in an effort to drive a little more traffic to my site I have decided to occasionally throw the word "Mormon" into some of my posts. We'll see if it works.

I use a site called Statcounter to provide me information about who is visiting my blog. It doesn't give any real specifics, primarily just the ISP location and what pages are being looked at, the length of each visit and images or videos that are downloaded, etc. It's just one of the many web tracker gadgets available, I just happen to prefer it over Google Analytics. One of the best features of Statcounter is that it will show you the referring link so you can see what sites have linked to you and where your visitors are coming from.

By utilizing the referring link information from Statcounter, I have determined that a large portion of the people who are visiting my site are just plain and simple freaks (you know who you are).

I have had seventeen hits from people searching "Demon Cat Face". Who in the hell searches for "Demon Cat Face"? you might ask, well several from Kenya, one from India and the remainder from our own US of A—and every single one of them actually read that post.

It gets stranger.

I have had sixty-three visits from individuals searching for "Chubs"! Lord only knows what they are hoping to find. What is really surprising is that a few of the chub-searchers took the time to read the post. I feel kind of violated, but at least they didn't leave any chub-lovin comments that I would be obligated to reply to.

There is one individual in the UK that has visited my site fourteen times. Each time they have done a search for "5 foot 9, 135 pounds" and each time they go to the same post as the chub-searchers. I don't understand reading the same post fourteen times—friggin nut. And, if you are going to come back to the same post over and over again, just bookmark the damn page, don't keep doing the stupid search.

Seven people have found my site by searching "Mr. Pickles", which I think is a a west coast restaurant chain. Again, the strange thing is that most stayed on the site long enough to read the post—which is obviously not about deliciousy pickle-covered samiches.

I have had eleven people find my site by searching "SILF". It's just truly disturbing and I am not going to comment further on that.

And finally, perhaps the most unsettling of all are the two people who searched "Pale+Thin+Hairless" and ended up on my batboy post.


But all in all, it makes me laugh. Just as I got a kick out of all the Google ads for anorexia and bulimia clinics on my blogs sidebar when I posted my "fatnip" story.

But the truth be told, I am really glad that all this strangeness is visiting my blog—I believe we may be kindred spirits. So, no matter which way you're twisted, if you visit my blog I will Luvz U 4Evas!! 4reals!

I think that I have decided that my New Year's resolutions should be to occasionally throw the word "Mormon" into my posts, blog a little more about Mr. Pickles and Ticklebits, and add a random bit of sheep, chub and pale-skinny-hairless porn to my site.

We'll see...

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Tuesday, January 19, 2010

It's Still Winter in Santa Fe

View of my Front Courtyard

By the time January rolls around, I am pretty tired of winter and am anxiously waiting for spring. January and Santa Fe both know this and insist on reminding me that winter is still here. The first of three winter storms has hit Santa Fe. The storms are coming in from California where I hear that by the end of the week they may receive 20 inches of rain and up to 10 feet of snow in Mammoth Mountain.

This first wave dumped about 12 inches of snow at my house so far—it is supposed to be the weakest of the three storms so I will just have to wait and see what happens next.

Walls surrounding my back yard

We have an alley system in my neighborhood. My garage is located at the back of my house and my driveway connects to the alley. Snow had already drifted up the garage door this morning. Thank-you to the inventors of four wheel drive—I needed it just to get down my driveway.

My Neighborhood Church

One nice thing about Pueblo Style architecture is the organic tone of it's structure and the way it appears in the landscape—especially in the snow.

Snowy Commute into Town

Most of my commute was snow packed this morning as you can see in the photos above. I don't mind so much, it's really kind of nice—little traffic (although there never is much), a slow pace and spectacular scenery. It reminds me of why I moved to Santa Fe. Often I get in a rush or become preoccupied and fail to take a breath and simply look around.

Old Santa Fe Trail and Paseo de Peralta

By the time I reached downtown the streets were wet but clear. Legislature is in session and the state capitol building is behind the trees on the left side of the photo. I saw quite a few people having to walk down the slushy sidewalks today to the capitol and from what the forecast says, it is just going to get snowier.

I am still anxious for spring, but days like today remind me how beautiful winter can be.

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Thursday, January 14, 2010

Mormons and Catholics and Okies, Oh My!

Oklahoma panhandle looking towards New Mexico

I am going to begin this post by stating that I am proud of my Oklahoma heritage. My mother's family is Cherokee and have been in Oklahoma since the Trail of Tears. My father moved to Oklahoma for employment as a research scientist for a large petroleum conglomerate. My father was transferred a few times during my childhood, but we always returned to Oklahoma. My entire education through graduate school was based in Oklahoma and my Okie education has provided me with the opportunity to tour the United States as a musician, travel the world as an import buyer and eventually settle (for now) in Santa Fe as a designer. This is just to say that not everyone in Oklahoma walks around barefoot or circles the wagons at night.

As most people do when reminiscing about their hometown, I will say that without a doubt the people in Oklahoma are almost overly kind and polite. Manners are important there, from the obligatory "please" and "thank you" at the drive through window, to holding the door open for a stranger at the convenience store. Treating others with kindness is a badge of honor there.

Appearance is also important in Oklahoma. Perhaps not as forced and over-the-top as say Dallas, but the people in Oklahoma are generally attractive and try to present themselves well. Throughout all my travels I still miss the polite and pleasant looking people of Oklahoma.

So, as I wax nostalgic, I also must be honest about my home state. Perhaps because of the agrarian background, there still exists an undercurrent of the idea that men must be manly-men (see my last post on being the smallest guy in my class) and women are to birth the babies. Or, the politically correct term "Traditional Values". Or, as I like to say "Antiquated Bullshit".

I was raised Mormon. You can't get more "Traditional Values" than that. When I say raised, I mean that my family was active in the church, I was baptized as a Mormon at the age of eight, even our scout troop was affiliated with the Mormon church—it was intense.
Both my parents were well educated and saw the need to provide the best education they could for their children. That is where the problem began.

My parents believed that the educational system in Oklahoma placed an abnormal emphasis on sporting activities over academics. This still sparks a contentious debate.

So, while on a recent road trip through the Oklahoma panhandle, I ran across this piece of evidence on the side of a public school:

School Sign in Forgan Oklahoma

At least "Academic" is listed before golf for God's sake. Although, let's face it, golf isn't a real sport like football, basketball or track. Also, shouldn't "Academic" be "Academics"?

Understandably so, my parents placed me in a parochial school (the only private school available) so that the delightful Sisters of the Order of Saint Augustine could mold my brain.

It was an interesting experience. Needless to say, I was the only Mormon (aka heathen) in attendance. I did receive a good education and, in hindsight, the sisters were quite tolerant of me—probably because they simply did not know what to make of me—you know, worshiping Joseph Smith, growing up in bigamy, waiting for Jesus to come to earth on his spaceship, and all the other crazy myths surrounding the "Cult of Mormanism".

There is an interesting dynamic that happens when you are totally immersed and participating in a group without actually being a part of it. I was able to glean the best they had to offer, taught their values and outlook, learned their customs and rituals but I was never expected to accept their belief system. Strange. Meanwhile, on Sundays I was participating in the Sacrament, going to Primary and, as a boy, preparing for a Mormon Mission when I was eighteen. Stranger still.

I had to attend Mass but never took Communion. I remember I thought that just sitting there on the pew made me look as if I was either not in a "State of Grace" or had missed confession since my last mortal sin. I remember pitching fits (just to be a little shit) because all the other kids got "cookies" at communion and I got none. I also remember sneaking a pair of red plastic devil horns to school for Halloween even though the school diocese strictly forbade celebrating the holiday. I never got into too much trouble over wearing the devil horns, maybe because I was just seen as the little devil incarnate in the classroom, or, I truly believe, that many of the sisters thought that it was really kind of funny—the Mormon kid actually looking like Satan.

So, there you have it. Mormons, Catholics and Okies—a childhood of fond, strange, uptight and humorous memories that made me the weirdness that I am today. And, believe it or not, I was able to grow up in Oklahoma and never play a single game of football.

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Thursday, January 7, 2010

How I Became Fatnip and My Review of "Youth in Revolt"

What you catch with fatnip

A few weeks ago I blogged about the Santa Fe Film Festival and mentioned that I was going to see "Youth in Revolt" starring Michael Cera. You can read the original post here. The cast also includes Jean Smart, Steve Buscemi, Fred Willard, and Ray Liotta.

"Youth in Revolt" is scheduled to be released nationwide tomorrow,so, as promised, (and to maintain my reputation as the greatest theater critic in all of Santa Fe), here is my review:

First of all, "Youth in Revolt" has a pretty remarkable cast so I had really high expectations for the film. I went with Neezy who is a huge movie fan. I ran into Neezy a few days ago at a dinner party and he told me that he really enjoyed the film—but Neezy likes just about every movie as long as he sees it in a theater.

The movie is kind of funny. There are a few good chuckles here and there—no big laughs for me. Honestly, I was a little disappointed (although Neezy was laughing his ass off).

There was one joke that was repeated several times that actually bothered me.

When Nick (Michael Cera's character) gets into so much trouble that the police start to look for him they begin broadcasting his description on radio and television. Part of that description is the fact that he has brown hair and is 5 feet 9 inches tall and 135 pounds. This description is repeated several times during the film and each time it received a big laugh from the audience. Even Neezy was laughing—I just wasn't getting it.

Then it dawned on me. They were all laughing at his size. They were laughing because he is 5'9" and 135 pounds!
Now, a little funny facty about the Teezy. I am 5 feet 8 inches tall and weigh 130 pounds. I have been 5'8" and 130 since I was a teenager—granted that was like 100 years ago so, over time, I have become comfortable with my size.
When I was young I really wasn't into sports, but I was on the gymnastics team and, during the summer, I was in the pool every day. I may have been 5'8" and 130 pounds, but I was very fit and healthy—it wasn't like you could see my bones or I looked malnourished.

That didn't matter, I was still teased and tormented about my size. At a very early age I was called "bunny" (because of the fact that my father's nickname for me was "bunny"—I will blog about that childhood trauma later), but the kids who called me "bunny" were doing it out of malice, not affection like my dad. The name calling eventually turned a term of endearment between me and my dad into something I hated (although my father continued to call me "bunny" and still does to this day). The name calling progressed all through school to the point that I began to think that my name really was either "bunny", or the ever popular with the jocks "twinkie".

I don't know if you can even imagine being a teenage boy riding your skateboard around the school campus or just walking down the hall and having the other kids and especially the jocks greet you with "Hey bunny" or "What's up twinkie". Pretty awful.

I tried everything to gain weight including those vile protein weight gain powders to no avail. It wasn't until I was in college that I realized that there are whole groups of people who find us small guys attractive. Granted they are usually large, aggressive and dominant women and large, aggressive and dominant gay men, but hey, my philosophy has always been "take what you can get". Besides, the rope burns and scratch marks usually fade after a day or two and the nuns in prep school did a really good job of teaching me to shut up and do as I am told. (Thanks Sister Margaret for the sex tips!)

Now that I am older I am completely happy with who I am and what I look like and I am still 5'8" and 130 pounds. The only thing that bothers me now is that with the numbers of obese rising in the world and obesity becoming the primary health concern in the United States, there seems to have been a paradigm shift that makes little guys like me the enemy and a target for the fatties.

During the summer I take my lunch break on the Plaza here in Santa Fe and several times every month some fat-assed tourist will waddle up to me, Haagen Dazs dripping in one hand and a huge greasy fajita from a street vendor in the other, and say "You're so skinny." Like a random everyday comment.

Mind you these are strangers—I am usually just sitting on the Plaza reading a book—I haven't even made eye contact with them. I feel like responding with "That's funny, I was just thinking about how FAT you are, but I thought that it would be RUDE to say anything."
You know if I called some troll fat I would be considered mean if not cruel, but if some chub can manage to jiggle it's way in front of me they seem to have every right to comment about my personal appearance and I am supposed to be OK with it.

It actually got worse a few days ago.

I was sitting alone at the bar of a local semi-upscale restaurant having a beer. I had decided to get my beer on in the early afternoon (don't judge me) so there were very few people in the restaurant and only one other person sitting at the opposite end of the bar from me. Some rather large, but proportionate guy walks in, looks around, hangs up his jacket and sits down on the bar stool right next to me. I don't mind that he sat next to me, interacting with people is one of the nice things about sitting at the bar, especially if you're alone. What irritated me was the mostly one-sided conversation that followed.

He began with the typical pleasantries of "Hey, how are you?...My name is..." but then he started asking me things like "What gym do you go to? you know of any good trainers?...did I know that the average beer has 150 calories?...etc..." He still wasn't bothering me, I just though that his choice of topics was a little odd for a conversation with a stranger who was drinking in the middle of the afternoon.

I responded that I didn't belong to a gym, that I knew one person who taught yoga, but didn't consider him a personal trainer and that I wasn't counting calories but, if I were, I would certainly find something to cut from my diet other than beer.

He then started to drone on and on about how he is constantly struggling with his weight (mind you he's a big guy but doesn't look overweight to me), goes to the gym at least four days a week (probably why he doesn't look fat), has hired a personal trainer, blah, blah, blah.

OK, so I am still not irritated. Yes, my eyes were glazing over and I was starting to stare blankly into space away from him but, you know, whatevas, it's just some dude at a bar trying to make conversation in the middle of the afternoon.

He proceeded to tell me about his therapist (yes, like "I'm a psycho"), and how he thinks that his "issues" contribute to his weight and body image. Again, he really doesn't look fat, he is just a large person—so I'm thinking that he is just mental.

Believe it or not, I am still not freaked out by this guy. I think that it is perfectly fine to seek psychiatric care if you happen to be whack. I do find discussing your mental illness with a stranger at a bar in Santa Fe a little bizarre.

He must have noticed that I wasn't responding and had started to stare blankly at the back wall of the bar because, for a brief moment, he stopped talking.

What this guy did next still creeps me out.

He reached over and put his hand on the lower part of my stomach right over the button on my pants. He then started to move his hand back and forth up my torso briefly pausing here and there until he was up to the top of my chest.

This definitely jolted me out of my mellow afternoon beer buzz. I was shocked at first. For a split second I just looked at him—what was happening had to sink in.

He proceeded to move his hand back down to my stomach and, not looking at me but at his hand, he said "So, how much do you weigh?"

I'm sorry, but is that ever an appropriate question? Could you imagine what would happen if I said to some fat person "So, how much do you weigh?"

I was in total WTF land.
My response was simply "Um, dude, stop touching me."

He then looked up at my face, moved his hand and started rubbing my shoulder at the base of my neck like we were buddies and said "Oh, sorry man." "So, how much do you weigh?"

Of course by that time the reality of the moment had sunk in and, since he had just told me that he is all mental about his weight, I decided to be a jackass and lie and tell him that I had no idea how much I weighed, that weight simply had never been an issue with me and that I thought it was great that he was finally seeking professional help for his problem before it got even more out of hand.

I continued by bringing up and feigning concern about the health risks associated with severe obesity. I also suggested that he should start watching "The Biggest Loser" for inspiration.

I ended the conversation by telling him to stay determined and patient because loosing such a significant amount of excess weight would probably take quite some time. You know, just a little something for him to discuss with his therapist at his next session.

I paid my tab and got the hell out of there.

Fucking self-imagined fat-ass.

I don't know why all the plumpers are honing in on me like I am fatnip. But, obviously, I am getting tired of it.

Honestly, I don't care if someone is overweight—It is their life and their prerogative. There have even been several overweight people that I have found to be quite attractive. The ones that piss me off are those who seem to focus on my appearance, have no qualms about commenting about it, and treat thin people like we are some sort of abnormal freaks.

What those overweight individuals fail to realize is that there is a direct correlation between the amount of food they shovel into their mouths and the size of their asses, and the only real way to loose weight is to put the fork down and step away from the buffet.

There I said it.

So what gives? It's OK for the jocks to call a little guy like me "bunny" or "twinkie"? It's OK for a complete chubalito stranger to comment on how skinny I am? It's Ok for some self-imagined pudge-ball afternoon drunk to grope me at a bar in order to determine how much I weigh?

But, if I go around calling people fat or chunky or blubbery, people will think that I am an ass.

Such a double standard, but, unfortunately, in our trans-fat super-sized frappalatte society, I have become the minority.

Now nobody calls me "twinkie" anymore (at least not to my face). Just about all the jocks I went to high school with are fat and/or balding and are living in the glory days of their past.
Some old friends from prep and college still call me "bunny" although, like my dad, they say it out of familiarity and friendship, maybe even love.

I don't really exercise anymore—I walk a lot since I work downtown, and the occasional hike in the mountains. But you know what, I don't have to. I am a proud 5'8", 130 pound bundle of happy little guy.

Now if I can just get the chubs to stop poking me with sticks.

So, in conclusion, "Youth in Revolt" is kind of funny. Although I do find it disturbing that the description of a thin person is the punch line of a joke. I had a great time hanging with Neezy. And, to Michael Cera and all my thin brothas: Red New York has built an empire on male models who start at 5' 9" and 135 pounds and just get taller and thinner from there—let the fatties revolt!

She Smells Fatnip!

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Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Happy Birthday New Mexico!!

Chile Ristra

Yes, today is the birthday of the state of New Mexico. On January 6th, 1912, New Mexico became the 47th state just before Alaska, Hawaii and some other state.

A little trivia—New Mexico is the 5th largest state and the 6th most sparsely inhabited (there are only 16 of us per square mile). (The internet and Wikipedia make me look smart.)

When you put it in perspective, New Mexico being 98 years old today is really nothing compared to the 400th anniversary of Santa Fe, so I am not getting too excited about the event. Besides, New Mexico never gave me anything for my birthday, never gave me a party or even sent a card for that matter. I don't know why I expect more from New Mexico, it's a typical relationship for me—I give and give and give and receive little or nothing in return.

But, I choose to rise above the personal neglect that I have received from New Mexico and offer a few words of wisdom as a gift to the birthday boy:

As many of you may know, New Mexico is resplendent with chile. Hell, even McDonald's, Burger King and Wendy's serve green chile cheeseburgers on their value menus here—such wonderful, deliciousy goodness. Unfortunately, our beloved spicy pastime comes with a serious price.

A recent scientific study entitled, "Red Hot Chilli Consumption Is Harmful in Patients Operated for Anal Fissure—A Randomized, Double-Blind, Controlled Study" has finally proven without a doubt that too much of the good stuff can literally burn your ass!! These dedicated scientists realized the need for groundbreaking research into the causality of eating chile and rectal pain and have discovered a direct correlation between the two. Especially susceptible are those countless millions of individuals who have had a sphincterotomy.

Normally I don't condone elective cosmetic surgery—I see it as vanity in it's purest form, but the sphincterotomy seems just a little bit different to me.

Ugly, misshapen and aging sphincters are such a total turn-off, that I simply can't say that I would never choose to have a little no-no lift if my Mr. Pucker started to sag or show the tell-tale signs of aging. Let's just hope that that never happens.

Anyway, test subjects were recruited to determine the effects of chile consumption on the anus and the results were shocking.

Take a look at this: !!!

Fig. 1. Effect of chilli consumption and placebo on anal pain in the first 7 days after sphincterotomy.

Pain I tell you!! It spikes at day two but never completely goes away. Our little chile friends can bite.

So, my advice to New Mexico on it's 98th birthday...

Be careful with the chile, at your age you might catch your ass on fire and...

You're 98, if your no-no is droopy there is no shame in a little cosmetic surgery.

Happy Birthday New Mexico!!

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Monday, January 4, 2010

My Holiday Vacation is Officially Over...

I have returned to the interweb after a nice year-end vacation for the holidays. I am sitting in my office, trying to catch up on the work that I have been neglecting which is mostly marketing and PR. I really enjoy what I do, but I have to say that I prefer the design facets of my employment more than PR and marketing—it all just seems so tedious and really drains my creativity.

I am also having difficulty with the realization that we are already a decade into the 21st century.

Anyway, I hope everyone had a great holiday. I did a bunch of stuff (travel, etc.) that I will blog about later. I hauled a bunch of festively wrapped crap to various locations to give to my friends and family:

Teezy's Christmas Packages

Here are some photos of one of my road trips:

Now, I have to get back to work...

Happy New Year!

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