Monday, February 14, 2005
First things first. Happy Valentine's Day to everyone! I hate Valentine's Day, but that's not important. Anyway, I don't know if any/many of you happened to check out this site over the weekend. Because I have been poor at updating the site with as much information lately, I decided to add links to the site of random topics. Basically, I read a bunch of articles online this weekend and if I found them interesting, I linked to them. There are plenty of links to articles on the Wolves firing of Flip Saunders on Saturday morning. There are basketball, baseball, movies, weather and many other topics included. So, be sure to check them out here.
Today, I am going to post an article that will hopefully explain why I have seemed so stressed of late. By the end of the post, at the bottom of the page, you will understand. Thank you for understand.
February 13, 2005
When Seth Stohs woke up one morning last week, he experienced something most men could only dream of. He was flashed by a very attractive woman.
Sadly, there is so much more to the story that makes the scenario not as exciting as you may be thinking. Actually, the situation is really not too funny at all.
Seth Stohs, 29, of Warroad, MN, is a Product Services Analyst at Marvin Windows & Doors, by day. By night, he doubles as the writer, editor and publisher of the blog, SethSpeaks (found at http://www.SethSpeaks.net). For those of you who are not up on such vernacular, a quick search of the Internet tells us that:
a blog (short for weblog) is a personal journal that is frequently updated and intended for general public consumption. Blogs generally represent the personality of the author or reflect the purpose of the Web site that hosts the blog. Topics sometimes include brief philosophical musings, commentary on Internet and other social issues, and links to other sites the author favors. The essential characteristics of the blog are its journal form, typically a new entry each day, and its informal style. The author of a blog is often referred to as a blogger.
The Merriam-Webster Collegiate Dictionary (and many other sources) named “blog” the 2004 number one word of the year.
So, to continue, by night, Stohs is a blogger. His “personal journal” is generally related to the Minnesota Twins and other baseball topics, but he also discusses other Minnesota sports teams, television, movies and basically anything he feels like writing about. The site is updated every weekday throughout the year.
He has complimented his Twins talk with ‘Conversations’ with other bloggers. He has had Q&As with members of the media and ball players. He has done analysis on fantasy baseball, discussed the US Olympic Baseball teams, and daily in-season analysis of the Twins and their minor league affiliates.
“I really enjoy following the Twins Minor League affiliates. It is generally considered the top minor league organization in baseball and there are a plethora of top prospects that will be able to help the team in years to come,” mused Stohs. He continued, “It can be very difficult to follow a team that acts like a small-market (or small-revenue) team. It is hard to see players like AJ Pierzynski, Corey Koskie, Cristian Guzman, Doug Mientkiewicz, LaTroy Hawkins and Eddie Guardado leave the team. On the other side of the coin, it is fun to see that their departures have led to opportunities for Joe Mauer, Terry Tiffee, Jason Bartlett, Justin Morneau, Lew Ford and Jason Kubel to play, and for the young bullpen of Juan Rincon, Grant Balfour and Jesse Crain to set up for Joe Nathan. But what is equally exciting is the list of prospects the team has amassed in its minor league system. There are literally 35 to 40 players who could contribute to the Twins at some point in the future.”
So as you can see, baseball and the Twins are where Stohs’ passion lies. In an article that appeared in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, he was quoted as saying, “I love cheering for a team that plays within a budget and develops most of its own players. I like that, unlike in New York, a World Series is a prize, not an expectation."
That article continued and he also said, “Baseball is a sport that has always found statistics important, for current or historical perspective. The more deeply we look into the numbers, the more opinions that can be generated. These are the things that make for great blog entries.”
There are thousands of blogs dedicated to baseball, and SethSpeaks is just one of them. But another part of blogs is the ability to link to others. Stohs enjoys linking to the sites of other bloggers, especially those just getting started. Why? “When I just started, my audience was basically some friends and family. That’s it. But then the Twins Geek linked to my site. And then Aaron Gleeman mentioned my site on Aaron’s Baseball Blog. And gradually, more and more people came to my site. Now, I have a fairly consistent audience of readers, and if I can link them to great articles by other bloggers, I am more than happy to help.”
During the 2004 season, Stohs was asked to be on Sports Radio 950 in the Twin Cities twice. In December, he was on WCCO with Rita Maloney for an hour call-in show discussion great names in sports.
SethSpeaks, the website, started in May of 2003 and since that time, he has had nearly 100,000 visitors. But for him, it isn’t about the newspaper articles or the radio spots though. “To me, the best part about having this site and this forum to express my opinions is to be able to interact with the readers. I get a number of great, intelligent e-mails daily from people who read what I write and respond to it. I love reading other perspectives and opinions.”
THE TROUBLE BEGINS
Unfortunately of late, it hasn’t been all wonderful for Stohs. All of these opportunities have meant more and more readers who have come to the website. But see, that Tribune article also included a picture of Seth, and some other Twins bloggers. Not that it is a big deal, I mean, Stohs has pictures of himself in the Photo Album on the site.
But the article did bring it all to a new level. “Following the article, I received an e-mail from a guy who saw the article and my picture. He told me that he checked out my site and really enjoyed it. He continued to write ‘You’re hot! You should really include more pictures of yourself.’ I have to admit, that made me more than a little uncomfortable.”
“I thought that was as strange as the situation would get, but I was wrong.”
SETHSPEAKS... OF HIS SITUATION
For the rest of the story, we asked Seth to write of his situation, in blog style.
First of all, I would like to thank this great publication for recognizing what I think is a very interesting story, and also for allowing me the opportunity to discuss it. Hopefully through my story, others in similar situations can be helped.
About a month ago, I was leaving my job at the end of the day. I was just walking through the parking lot to my car. Suddenly, someone popped up in front of me from behind a car and started taking pictures of me. This lady took three or four pictures and ran away. I kind of laughed. I mean, I pull the occasional prank on friends, and they do the same to me. It makes work fun, a social experience. So, I figured the next day, I would find out what the story was.
To be honest, I forgot about that incident until two weeks ago. I was grocery shopping with a female friend of mine. I did notice that there was a woman who was slyly walking behind me. I could feel it, but whenever I would turn around, she would be looking as if she was looking at the food.
After checking out, we walked out of the store and as we approached my car, I could see the woman out of the corner of my eye, again behind a car, taking pictures of me as we were putting the groceries into my car.
Over the next week, I saw her a few more times; across the room at the bar, outside a local restaurant, and other places around town.
The craziest situation though was one day last week. I was driving into town for work. Now I admit, I’m not the fastest driver. I drive about the speed limit, or at least within a few mph of it. Suddenly, this car passed me. I didn’t think anything of it; it happens all the time. As usual, I looked over to see if I knew the person passing me. When I looked this time, the driver was the woman, and she was taking pictures of me, while driving.
Now that is messed up. That was the situation that finally really started to scare me! Before, I thought it was just fun, or maybe a woman with a crush (which never happens to me, but a guy can dream, right?). I was almost excited to think that I might have a little bit of a stalker! This was just a bit extreme for my liking.
As evidenced by the photos (when you're done reading this page, be sure to check out some of the pictures here), my level of annoyance continued to elevate with each encounter. One night, it almost came to a head, and I tried to grab the camera away from her. As I got closer, I realized that I didn’t want to get in any trouble for doing anything physical with her, so I backed up and walked away.
And then came the situation that finally gave the situation some resolution. Obviously she found out where I live (meaning, followed me), but even so, I assumed that there was a level of respect involved, especially since I had not made a big deal out of things.
It was a Wednesday morning. I had been up late the night before writing a blog entry. My alarm was set for 7:00. The first time it went off, I hit snooze, which is usual (hitting it 3 or 4 times is usual!). When it went off at 7:09, I rolled over and slapped the alarm clock to shut it off. I rolled back over and was about to fall back asleep, when there was a bright light. I opened my eyes abruptly and saw this same woman clicking pictures of me with the flash.
That’s right, she was standing in my bedroom, at the foot of the bed, taking pictures of me sleeping! Suddenly, I was wide awake and started yelling. She darted out of the room. I jumped out of bed and threw on a sweatshirt to go with my pajama pants. I stopped her by the door and just said, “Who are you? What do you want from me? Why are you taking my picture? Please. Explain this to me.”
She turned to me and said that she couldn’t tell me or she would be fired.
Puzzled, I looked at her and said, “Please, Ma’am. What are the pictures for, and what do you want?”
She had a tear in her eye as she looked at me and again said she couldn’t say anything.
By this time, I had my bearings and threatened, “I’m sorry, but if you don’t tell me something, I am going to call the cops. If I do that, you will be prosecuted. If that happens, you will likely be fired too. They will take your pictures from you, the camera, and probably more. So please, please!, just talk to me.”
She nodded and I let her sit on my couch. She started by telling me her name and that she worked for the magazine Rumor Monthly. Because of the popularity and influx of blogs, she was given the assignment to pick a blogger and follow him to find something juicy.
I had to ask why she picked me. Well, it turns out that she is from Minnesota originally and follows the Twins. Apparently she did a search for Twins Blogs, read through some of them, and picked me from that. Why me? She had to work within a budget, so she picked me because I live in a small town where costs are allegedly far less.
I told her that my life is boring. Nothing exciting happens. I wake up, go to work, go home, write my site, go to bed and start over. She agreed! She said she was hoping to find worse. She was impressed with the fact that I seem to have a lot of very attractive female friends that I go to lunch with, and hang out with frequently.
But, she did get a couple of pictures that could get me into a lot of trouble if the wrong people saw them. I asked her if I could look at the pictures, so she let me see them. I told her again that I would not call the cops as long as I got to pick out as many pictures as I wanted.
Finally, she agreed. She handed me the pictures, and I took all of them. I told her I would be happy to do an interview with her and answer any of her questions. I also told her that she could take as many pictures as she needed, just nothing that could hurt me. She agreed.
She also gave me the ownership of the pictures. So, I wanted to include a few of them here just to show you what it was like. There are a few very interesting pictures in there.
I now can imagine, to an extent, what the music and acting types go through. I can understand what Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston are going through (to a far lesser degree, of course!). I used to think that I would want that kind of attention, to have my pictures in magazines, to be the subject of rumors and more.
But after this experience, I have now changed my mind. I think that people, including celebrities, need their space and that there are some places that a camera should not be.
Thank you again for this opportunity to relay my story. Maybe some of you have had similar situations. Maybe some of you will eventually go through something like that. I hope that by reading my story, it will help you through yours. If you would like to see more pictures and a little bit of a story line, please click here.
We certainly did find this story to be very interesting. Seth does want to point out as well that even with this distraction, he has continued to operate SethSpeaks.net and hopes that you will check it out daily. He would love to receive e-mail from more people, so be sure to e-mail him.
OH, ONE FINAL CONCLUSION
OK, obviously, this is just a fictitious story. But it is a more fun and creative reason, or excuse, for my lack of quality writing of late. Also, I just thought it would be fun to do something a little different during the off-season. I have always found the paparazzi an interesting group. Of course, as common citizens, we want to see what the life of a celebrity is really like, off-screen or away from the playing field. Yet at the same time, I completely want to respect their privacy and wouldn't want to have to flee photographers all the time. In any case, this story was a lot of fun to do. I want to thank the friends of mine (meet them here) who were willing to take a few pictures with and for me to make for a more realistic story. I certainly hope that nothing about this offended anyone. If you have any comments or thoughts, please feel free to e-mail me.
And on that note, I wish you a great Monday and hope you have a wonderful week. If you have any questions or comments on anything you have read above, please e-mail me. Have yourself a great week!
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