b5media’s Darren Rowse Featured in Chicago Tribune Article, “Blogging Paying Off for a Few”

[This article also appears in Global Nerdy.]

Darren Rowse in Texas, March 2008.
I took this shot of Darren Rowse at the b5 Ranch outside Austin, Texas in March 2008.
The photo is from this entry in my personal blog, The Adventures of Accordion Guy in the 21st Century.

My fellow b5er Darren Rowse, of ProBlogger and Digital Photography School fame, was featured in a Chicago Tribune article titled Blogging Paying off for a Few, which takes a look at how some people have been making a living through blogging.

Here’s the part of the article featuring Darren:

In Melbourne, Australia, Darren Rowse has been generating a six-figure income since 2005 from and several photography blogs. His blogging career started as a hobby four years ago, when, as a minister, he blogged about starting a new church, he said. That blog led to another; soon Rowse had 20 different blogs, but most didn’t generate enough interest so he shut them down.

When Rowse launched to offer advice to other bloggers in 2004, he hit on a need in the marketplace, he said. ProBlogger’s revenue comes from advertising, affiliate marketing, sponsorships and job boards, he said.

“In the early days, I had to be quite proactive,” he said. “As it grew, I found advertising agencies would come to me.”

His experience spurred him to co-found b5media, a Toronto-based network of more than 350 blogs in 15 areas of interest that draws more than 10 million visitors a month. The collective power of b5media attracts advertisers, and the company pays writers to produce blogs for the network, Rowse said.

To be successful, the blogger must be knowledgeable about the topic. It also helps if you’re passionate about it, he said. “Can you see yourself blogging about this topic every day? Quite often, people do it only for the money and can’t sustain it,” Rowse said.



Recipe of the Day: Wiener Water Soup

Boiling wieners

That’s right, Wiener Water Soup. Here’s the recipe, in its glorious entirety:

  • 1 pkg. wieners
  • 3 c. water

Combine wieners and water in a two quart saucepan. Bring to a boil until wieners are cooked. Throw the wieners in the garbage. Serve soup. Serves 3.

Jason Kottke summed it up nicely: “ lets anyone submit recipes.” He found it via Serious Eats, who in turn found it via Dancing at Gunpoint and Copyranter.

I think the recipe meets Gordon Ramsay’s criteria for good food, being both simple and rustic.

Hot dogs in boiling water
Click the photo to see it on its Flickr page.

(This recipe reminds me of Limp Bizkit’s third album, whose title suggested that they knew their fans very, very well: Chocolate Starfish and the Hot Dog Flavored Water.)


Gas Pains

Fuel-wallet gauge with needle pointing to \"F\" for fuel and \"E\" for wallet.
Image from BrianKaneOnline.

In July 2000, the city average retail price across the United States for unleaded regular gasoline was US$1.59 per gallon.

Around that time, George W. Bush was the Governor of Texas and the presumptive Republican candidate for that year’s presidential election. Here’s an excerpt from an article in the New York Times:

Gov. George W. Bush of Texas said today that if he was president, he would bring down gasoline prices through sheer force of personality, by creating enough political good will with oil-producing nations that they would increase their supply of crude.

Implicit in his comments was a criticism of the Clinton administration as failing to take advantage of the good will that the United States built with Kuwait and Saudi Arabia during the Persian Gulf war in 1991. Also implicit was that as the son of the president who built the coalition that drove the Iraqis out of Kuwait, Mr. Bush would be able to establish ties on a personal level that would persuade oil-producing nations that they owed the United States something in return.

Asked why the Clinton administration had not been able to use the power of personal persuasion, Mr. Bush said: ”The fundamental question is, ‘Will I be a successful president when it comes to foreign policy?’ ”

(You should read the rest of the article, as it’s quite funny/sad in retrospect.)

What’s the average price for a gallon of regular unleaded in America today? $3.80.

2008 Ford Explorer

I felt that pain a couple of weekends ago in Boston. The Ginger Ninja and I had all sorts of commitments that required us to travel all over Massachusetts, so we rented an intermediate-sized car. When we arrived, all cars in that size class were taken, so the rental company gave us a Ford Explorer (the 2008 model is pictured above) at the same rate. As per standard procedure, we filled the gas tank before returning it; being a gas-guzzling beast, it cost a whopping US$75…for a weekend’s worth of driving. That’s my typical gasoline spending over 6 to 8 weeks!

It doesn’t look as though Dubya’s “sheer force of personality” is going to help lower gas prices, judging by this recent Associated Press story:

Saudi Arabia’s leaders made clear Friday they see no reason to increase oil production until customers demand it, apparently rebuffing President Bush amid soaring U.S. gasoline prices.

It was Bush’s second personal appeal this year to King Abdullah, head of the monarchy that rules this desert kingdom that is a longtime prime U.S. ally and home to the world’s largest oil reserves. But Saudi officials stuck to their position that they will only pump more oil into the system when asked to by buyers, something they say is not happening now, the president’s national security adviser told reporters.

I’ll close this article with a comic about personal appeals to King Abdullah (and a subtle Obama reference, to boot):

George Bush: \"Talking to countries that support terror is bad...begging is OK.\"

[Thanks to BrianKaneOnline.]

Toronto (a.k.a. Accordion City)

Further Further Thoughts on “Toronto the Naughty”

Continuing on the idea mentioned in my previous post, here’s another promo for “Toronto the Naughty”:

Two cats on a bed, one photographing the other\'s rear end: \"Toronto: Even our cats are kinky.\"
Original photo courtesy of Miss Fipi Lele.

Toronto (a.k.a. Accordion City) Uncategorized

Further Thoughts on “Toronto the Naughty”

While we might disagree on specifics, I think that Kevin Bracken is on the right track about promoting Toronto’s naughtier side, something which he proposed in the Torontoist article titled Toronto the Naughty and to which I quickly linked in an article titled Kevin Bracken: “You say ‘ecstasy-fueled sex tourist hellhole’ like it’s a bad thing.”.

Naturally, we’re going to have different perspectives, but that’s to be expected: Kevin’s a twenty-something single guy who seems to go clubbing every week, while I’m a married 40-year-old whose regular clubbing days are behind him (although I had a pretty good run; plus, I was a paid go-go dancer, something which I’ll bet Kevin never was). But I think we’d both agree that any good tourist burg can — actually, make that should — have a “fast and loose” side peacefully co-existing with a prim and proper one. New York, London, Paris, Prague, Tokyo and many other must-go places have mastered this yin-yang balance quite well, and there’s no reason that Accordion City couldn’t do the same.

The real problem is that the promotion of Toronto’s naughty side is something that can’t be done by the folks at City Hall or the people they commission to promote tourism. Anything they’d produce would simply be a reflection of themselves: a melange of Mayor David Miller’s Doris Day-esque leadership (by the bye, Mr. Mayor, that’s not a compliment) and councillor Rob Ford’s special brand of dickishness (which I must admit does have the silver lining of his reputed frugality with public funds). The sort of promotion is better done by the people who actually go out and enjoy Toronto’s nightlife: people like Kevin, and to a lesser extent, me.

With that said, here’s my first attempt at contributing to the promotion of Toronto the Naughty:

Toronto pregnancy etiquette tips

It Happened to Me Toronto (a.k.a. Accordion City) Uncategorized

The Honour System at High Park Station

To the north of High Park station, it’s practically all houses, apartments and condos, while to the south, there’s its namesake, Accordion City’s largest park. On weekday mornings, it’s only really busy between 7:30 and 8:45, after which it receives a trickle of passengers (relative to the downtown or major suburban stations) until the evening rush.

As a result, High Park station doesn’t seem as heavily staffed, which means that the ticket collector is often alone, with no one to relieve him or her when it’s time for a bathroom run (or to use the increasing popular office culture term, a “bio break”). When nature calls, the collector answers, and this sign goes up:

Sign at the ticket collector booth at High Park Station: \"Please pay fare and enter! Collector will return shortly. Please don\'t wait, just go through.\"
Photo taken by Yours Truly this morning at 9:03 a.m.

While it would’ve been as easy as pie to glide through the turnstile without paying, I and four other people who showed up at the same time dutifully deposited our fares into the collection box. I’m pretty pleased that the honour system still works in my little corner of the city, and seeing this little example of civilization in action made my morning.


Licence Plate of the Day

Seen in Mississauga last week:

Licence plate: \"MORLHZRD\"