The Perils of the Long Tail, or How I Singlehandedly Started the Jicama Allergy Rumor

It’s come to my attention that my top-visited post is not my daring stand back at Charla Bansley, nor my complete wraps of various Web 2.0 conferences, nor even my frank socialization of flight anxiety. No, it’s my random post about Jicama.

It’s not even a post about Jicama, but about a vague attempt at isolating the source of a mysterious and recurrent allergic reaction by listing Entirely Everything I Ate That Day. It was also a long time ago. And it was via blog import from an old blog, that in fact used to be private. And yet, that single post “could I be allergic to JICAMA?” gets views EVERY DAY.

Sure enough, I ventured to check on Google, entering ‘jicama’ and  ‘allergy,’ and I turn up FOURTH.

Please take note of this cautionary tale about the beloved “Long Tail.” When two words appear SO infrequently on the same page together in the Whole Wide World of Web (and mostly accidentally) such that my random hypersensitive rave about what food I could possibly be allergic to shows up top-tanked, it’s a rumor, not a fact – but one that I fear has substantiated many a “jicama allergy.” (There, I did it again.)

Just for the record books, to be clear, let me come out about this now: I am not aware of any kind of allergy to Jicama and mean the delicious crispy juicy root no discredit.

Now that you’re here anyway, I welcome you to take a look around at my other random musings — or run along to the other top-ranked results. Either way, good luck with your mystery allergies! (I never have figured mine out).


‘nutty’ has arrived!’

Originally uploaded by moyalynne

Oh! TCHO! Just like Blue Bottle Coffee, you are ruining me for all the others; you are killing me quite nicely. I received your shipment of “Nutty” today. At once, all other chocolates lapse from my mind as mere impostors — and that is a tall order.

Let me try to repeat what happened with me when I uncorked “Nutty” today:

  • (tears open unobtrusive brown paper wrapper,) MMM, smells good
  • (places square in mouth,) Smooth texture; calm silky chocolate (at first!)
  • (chews chocolate,) Wow — powerful flavor. Nutty? I don’t taste nutty. I taste — wait a minute! — An onslaught of coffee (is that Blue Bottle?) — strikes my tongue, fills my head, removes all traces of worry or care in the world — In The World!
  • (swallows,) Kazaam — I Must Always Eat This Chocolate
  • (thoughts of peanut butter well up briefly but are overcome by aroma of coffee,) I will have more — but I must wait, briefly, to assimilate this experience —
  • (lingers…,) Ahh, I taste this chocolate for a loooong time after chewing and swallowing. This is a reallllly long finish.
  • (after the finish…,) Nutty — oh, Nutty? Ahh — yes, maybe — minutes later! I Still Taste the Chocolate — is that a Nutty aftertaste? aha. aha… more, please.

more …

heroes at my table

heroes at my table

there is such a fogstorm in the city today. it is grey and windy; it has swallowed us all up. mistakenly, sometimes i say how beautiful it is to tourists who only have a fog day to experience the golden gate bridge. most people who go to the bridge for the first time would prefer to see it in its entirety, and i guess i can understand that.

i love the fog. the fog is alive; it creeps down in the carpet over the hills, turns twin peaks into water, is gorgeous from far away, and occasionally engulfs the previous understanding of the day. perfect for when you want to sleep till four, and don’t want to feel disoriented when you finally go out into the day. difficult for tourists.

and alas, i missed the ferry plaza farmer’s market today; i had wanted to see jessica prentice on stinging nettles. but the ferryplazafarmersmarket will be there still next weekend, and we are lucky. leanne sent along a wonderful newsletter from a place called two small farms, in which they sang the praises of organic milk, particularly straus. i feel so fortunate we can choose local, organic foods.

the days i ride the train, i usually take the paper along and read things that make me glad, or more often, upset. then, i am unusually chatty about current events at the end of the day, and leanne is quite tolerant. the other day, i came home demanding to know why it was so important that companies continue to turn growth year after year, and wasn’t that not going to be sustainable in the long run.

that’s quite tame in comparison to what democracy now does to me. for those days when i do drive, and i take my time enough to leave near nine and have a little more road to myself, and for when i’m feeling strong enough for it, i tune in to amy goodman and try to feel energized rather than demoralized by all the violations of social justice in the world, usually in the name of democracy and usually by the united states. yesterday, i was thusly blown away by the segment in which they discussed “U.S. Threatens to Withhold AIDS Drugs from African Countries That Bar Genetically Engineered Foods”, amongst other things. food sustainability, “food sovereignty”, preservation of genetic diversity all seem so crucial to our continued existence, but corporate control, transgressions, and greed just keep pushing and pushing and winning, it seems. against the giants on this playing field — monsanto, dow, novartis, dupont — and bayer, lovely bayer — what can one person do?

sometimes, i’m just relieved to crawl right back home under the fog bank. certainly, every evening i come home to san francisco, i am relieved to be living in this city. and sometimes, sometimes there are positive things that happen, that make it all worthwhile. 90-year-olds and babies together in the streets after the bombing starts; amy goodman working to bring the information; ruth ozeki, barbara kingsolver; the center for food safety; rainbow grocery; jardiniere… ; all the local, organic farmers gardeners and otherwise foodmakers that bring organic foods every weekend to the ferry plaza… the heroes at my table. and the fog, the lovely fog, thrown in just to keep things beautiful.

and these days, after all, it seems like the best things that can happen are those where exactly one person does make all the difference. i only need to look at one of my favorite heroes, todd smith, to remember that. thank you for always helping me remember that, todd.

no sooner had i hit the ‘post’ button than we had an earthquake. in my memory, it was actually perfectly timed to hitting “post and publish”. it got me up to the doorway… a jolt; they are saying near santa rosa. this is when the san francisco a.m. radio heroes come to the rescue. only i seem to remember them keeping callers on much longer; all night long. now, they just sprinkle updates into the sports, financial news, traffic, business as usual… perhaps this is just not as big as those other times i remember. but i do remember… oh boy i do.