Tag Archives: freshly pressed

When is it okay to stop wanting to have abs?

You all may think I’m a super-confident, courageous, dauntless guy, the way I write posts about being a super-confident courageous, dauntless guy. But I’m really not. I’m actually probably a little insecure about myself which is why I spend so much time worrying about whether my hair is out-of-place or if my clothes look okay or how my abs look underneath a freshly-pressed dress shirt and v-neck sweater.

(See how I snuck that little key word in there!)

Just kidding, I don’t really have abs. I mean, sure, I actually have abs… as in abdominal muscles… we all have abs, but they’re just covered up with layers of doughnuts and bacon and wine.

But I’m talking about abs… like serious Ryan Gosling abs!


I looked back on some old photos and as much as I like to think that I did, I’m not sure I’ve ever really had abs.

Well, maybe I had abs when I was in elementary school (if by abs you mean like the distended stomach of a starving Ethiopian child from a 1980’s Oxfam commercial.)

Or maybe I had abs in high school (if by abs you mean like the protruding rib cage of a waifish uber model on the runway at a New York City fashion show.)

Or maybe I had abs in College (if by abs you mean a “six pack” of Busch Lite three or four nights a week.)

When is it okay to stop wanting to have abs… serious Ryan Gosling abs? To just say fuck it, I’m gonna let it all hang out, saggy old man skin and all. What is it about abs that makes us do countless reps of painful, hellish exercises, even when we are long past the age where that should really matter?

What does great abs really get us?

Other than the fact that a strong core helps avoid serious back problems, there’s likely no evolutionary benefit to having great abs. Did Oog walk around the cave in low-cut Saber Tooth Tiger under pants showing off his inguinal crease with all the cave chicks giggling and saying “Oooooh… Oog Hot”?

I don’t think so.

In fact, Oog probably packed on a little covering of “insulation” during those lean hunting seasons, and from those occasional days sitting on the couch eating Woolly Mammoth burgers and fermented berries.

Did Oog have any trouble impressing chicks? Guessing not or we wouldn’t be here today.

So when is it okay to stop wanting to have abs?

When I’m 50, would it be okay then? That’s only a few years away. How about when I get to 60, would it be okay then to stop wanting to have serious Ryan Gosling abs? When I’m 60, even Ryan Gosling will probably have stopped working on his abs.

I stay in pretty good shape and I’ve never had any trouble keeping my weight where it should be. I work out somewhat regularly in a patched-together gym in one of my barns, and I walk a few miles a day around the house turning off lights that my kids leave on and looking for stuff that I can’t remember where I left.

But each year that goes by, the odds of actually ever seeing my abs again becomes slimmer and slimmer. They’re like that old friend in High School that you promised to stay in touch with but just can’t seem to make it happen.

But I keep trying.

So when is it okay to stop wanting to have abs?

What do you think?

It’s okay, take your time… while you’re composing your answers, I’ll be out in my barn for a couple of hours trying to locate my inguinal crease.


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Remember that time I was Freshly Pressed?

I’m sitting here in an old school motel in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, near the Northern shores of Lake Michigan. My eyes dart from the words on the computer screen that I slowly type on my old laptop to long periods of staring out the window of my room as ghostly apparitions of blowing snow race across the empty parking lot. My toes are cold and I can’t seem to get them to warm up even though they’re wrapped tightly in heavy wool socks. The desk where I am sitting is next to the window that faces out to the parking lot and I can see my car parked in front of the door to my room, some parking lot lights and the brightly lit motel sign. At the bottom of the sign in bright red neon, the word VACANCY calls out to the few passing cars though no one seems to heed the call.

I have the blinds wide open but I’m not worried about privacy because I think I might be the only guest here tonight. I have no concerns about someone walking by and staring in my window. What is likely a thriving little motel during the summer and fall tourist months is pretty much a ghost town on this frigid cold February night.

The old couple that owns this particular motel where I will rest my head tonight have to be in their 80’s. They live on site and the place is spotlessly clean. This is the third year in a row I have stayed here and each year I walk in and wonder if the old women who checks me in will remember me. But she doesn’t and I’m not really surprised considering the number of people she sees every year. But as always, as I signed the credit card receipts and passed them back to her she asked me:

“Do you drink coffee? I’ll have coffee made in the morning.”

“I sure do you” I replied, then added, “I know, I come up here every February on my way to Houghton and I always stay here.”

She glanced up at me with proud eyes that sparkled like the bitter cold snow outside and with the brightest smile she said “thank you.”

I added, “I really like this place, please don’t ever close it down!”

“We won’t, as long as we’re around” she offered.

I took my key and settled in to room 17.


I stay in small motels like this all the time when I travel for work. I’m self employed, no company credit cards, no expense accounts, no perks. Every dollar I spend on accommodations or meals or gas for my car comes right off the top. So I do my research and I find the places that are clean and well kept and affordable.

But there’s more than that.

Yes, these motels are unquestionably no-frills, and I’ve had a few objectionable nights over the last few years where I wished I had chosen the local chain hotel.

But the homey, small town places that I find, that I consistently come back to are all privately owned businesses that the owners take pride in and work hard to keep their guests happy. As someone who spent almost 20 years working in a family business I respect that to no end and will do what I can to support that work ethic.

Plus the people are interesting!

There’s the 80’s something couple where I stay tonight.

There’s the Vietnam era veteran with the US Marines baseball cap who always says “I’d put my rooms up against any place in town!”

There’s the lesbian couple who own a place called the “Triangle Motel.”

There’s the macho guy who is a retired police chief and who always has his little dog with him.

There’s the guy who is always drinking from a can of “Miller Lite” while checking in guests.

These places are remnants from a bygone era, like the old Route 66 motels that families stayed in while driving across the country many decades ago. Sadly, these days, for every thriving motel you find that is worth the $50 room rate, there are two or three more that are sitting abandoned along rural routes that folks no longer choose to drive along.

So… what does this have to do with being Freshly Pressed?

Two years ago in February, 2013 my post Old Barn Coat was featured on the WordPress Freshly Pressed page. It happened during this same road trip that I am on now. I started writing the post while I was at home, but I finished it while sitting in the same motel that I sit in now, while sucking down a bottle of wine, on a similar, bitter cold Saturday February night.

I posted it the following Sunday.

It was a great post and I knew it at the time. It wasn’t my usual sarcastic, silly, juvenile humor. I remember struggling to figure out where and how I was going to tie everything together, but when the last line, the culmination, finally appeared to me, I knew I had come up with something good. I don’t remember thinking about the post being “pressed” but I knew it was something special regardless of the number of likes and comments.

Freshly Pressed is the closest most of us will ever get to something we write being “published”. Sure, no one is paying you for what you wrote but it is an example of someone who you don’t know, someone who doesn’t follow your blog, someone who isn’t your friend , either face to face or “electronically”, noticing something you’ve written and deciding it’s good enough that thousands, maybe hundreds of thousands, of people should see it. That’s an honor none of us should take for granted.


The words are flowing out now like an open tap. It’s funny how that works, one minute you can’t think of anything to say, but a few struggling, forced paragraphs later, you’ve lost track of time and you have to force yourself to stop typing.

I’ve glanced up from the screen and noticed some of the parking lot lights are off and although the VACANCY light still screams out to passing cars, I know that motel office hours are only until 11:00 and there won’t be much traffic tonight. Blowing snow still dances across the parking lot and I’m glad I’m in a warm room.

Tomorrow morning I will go say hello to the old lady at the front desk. I will turn in my key and share some of the coffee she has made. We will likely talk about the weather and life and why I’m visiting the area and I trust her eyes will sparkle as much as they did tonight when I told her I was a repeat guest.

The coffee will taste better than any cup of Starbucks Coffee bought on any corner of Main Street USA.

Because it’s not about the coffee, its about the people you share it with.

Freshly Pressed or not.


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The Freshly Pressed Experience

When my post Old Barn Coat was featured on Freshly Pressed a few weeks ago, I had a couple of loyal readers ask me to comment on the experience. I wasn’t sure I wanted to write a post like this because in reality we can all look at the blogs that appear on the WordPress front page and easily see how much traffic these posts receive, even if only temporarily.

But, as I know a lot of people write a post-FP’d post, at least after the first time it happens, I thought I should fulfill my obligation as well. Because it really was a fun roller coaster ride of blogging activity that I wish could happen to everybody at least once! So here’s my very thorough analysis, based on my personal experience, broken down into categories and with graphical images to assist in documenting this event as simply and clearly as possible.

Statistical Bar Graph:

During a Freshly Pressed event:

twin towers

For about a week your statistical bar graph will look very similar to a pre-9/11 Manhattan with a very large spike in the early days.

After a Freshly Pressed event:

Cripple Creek

Your statistical bar graph will once again begin to look like the streetscape of Cripple Creek, CO, trending dramatically downhill.


During a Freshly Pressed event:

Pete Rose

Your site will be breaking hit records like the great Pete Rose, who still holds the all-time Major League Baseball record for most hits in a career. Just don’t place any bets on who will be Freshly Pressed next or you might be banned from ever blogging again.

 After a Freshly Pressed event:


Your daily hits will eventually drop back down to normal levels, somewhere in the statistical neighborhood of Bill Bergen, who during a 10 year Major League Baseball career, compiled a .170 batting average and is often considered the worst hitter in Major League baseball history among position players (non-pitchers).


During a Freshly Pressed event:

Wall Street Journal

Your subscriptions and stature will grow to levels comparable to the world renowned newspaper, The Wall Street Journal.

Okay, maybe that’s an exaggeration.

Weekly World News

Perhaps more like the Weekly World News. That’s probably closer to the writing skills and stature most of us possess anyhow.

After a Freshly Pressed event:

Alright… look… let’s be frank…

Times Brownsville Oregon

You’ll still only have about as many readers as this local newspaper whose lead stories on Wednesday, January 2nd, 2013 had something to do with a grain elevator and a cat.


During a Freshly Pressed event:


When your post hits the front page you’ll have commenters reaching out to you like the screaming girls at a Justin Beiber concert.

 After a Freshly Pressed event:



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In an Airport

I’m sitting in a lonely airport.

I just gave up my seat on an overbooked flight for a generous voucher and was re-booked on a flight four hours later than my original departure time. These situations rarely work out but this time I am mostly just shifting my layover times to different airports and moving my arrival time back about two hours.  I’ll be happy  for the voucher the next time I have to book a flight.

But now, here I sit with countless time to write… yet there’s really nothing to write about.

I am in a regional airport. Unlike the large hubs which are always filled with activity, regional airports are only loud and boisterous when there are flights coming and going and there often may be several hours between these times. Right now this airport is in between flights and so it’s deathly quiet other than the occasional announcement over the intercom’s, the faint sound of a television spewing propaganda on a cable news channel and the humming sound of the vending machines that are across the aisle from me. I am one of about a dozen passengers who have made their way past the security checkpoints and now are forced to kill time reading or sitting at the lone bar here or typing words into a blog.  Periodically someone else walks by, another passenger preparing to wait it out, or the cleaning personnel pushing a trash barrel.

I put my time in at the bar, ordering a sandwich and a couple of vastly overpriced  Corona’s for lunch. I sat by myself, my eyes darting from the TV behind the bar to the blogs I was perusing on my iPad. Neither was terribly interesting and so I mostly just sat and thought about what I could write.  A few other people sat in this little restaurant and read newspapers or stared at the screens on their phones.  I wondered what they might be thinking about; writing or missing their families or the work they had to do whenever they arrived at their destination.

The man behind the bar wore a net on his head, I assume because they were selling food here as well. It looked kind of silly and I wondered how he felt about having to wear it. He appeared to be about my age and was very friendly, running from the bar to the cash register and talking with the few customer that were stopping in. Regardless of his silly hair net, he was very jovial and upbeat and confident. He checked everybody’s ID that ordered a drink at the bar and would make the comment each time “can I see your ID so that nobody gets into trouble.”

After about an hour, I left the bar, walked to the restroom, emptied out some of the beer, then walked the couple of minutes to my gate. On the way I passed a young guy sleeping in one of the massage seats, his two bags sitting in front of him. I assumed he had probably not spent the $1.00 to get the seat to vibrate for a few minutes but only sat there because it was the most comfortable seat in the house.

When I arrived at the gate, there was nobody there and so I sat in the corner and fiddled with my iPad.  I snacked on a small box of Conversation Hearts that my wife had stealthily hid inside my backpack before I left. I had discovered these while loading all my electronics, my shoes and my jacket into the gray plastic tubs at the security gates. I smiled at her thoughtfulness and because I was reminded on my recent post on the subject of Conversation Hearts. As I sat, the minimal amount of alcohol from the Corona’s seeped into my blood and I felt sleepy but I didn’t want to fall asleep. Instead I wanted to try to write.

Now I sit at a little stainless steel desk with an outlet that I can plug my laptop into.  It’s the only desk in a row of six of these desks that doesn’t have a phone in it. I wondered who could possibly be using these phones anymore with the prominence of cell phones in the world today. But I’m happy to have the desk even though it’s too small for my height and I feel hunched over as I type.

I sat for a while trying to think of something to write. I thought about writing about my recent FP’d experience, but I just wasn’t inspired to write that post. As exciting as that was, I’m ready to move onto the next post. I tried to come up with something funny to write about, but there was nothing there. I considered writing about how I miss my family when I am on the road, about how difficult it is to leave, but that once I am gone and busy it becomes easier. But in reality, it’s not really easier. I remembered something another salesperson said to me several years ago; he said “there will never be a time when you’re on the road that you wouldn’t rather be home”. He was right and so I passed on writing about that as well.

So I sat in my little stainless steel cubicle and stared at the stark silver in front of me. I could faintly see my reflection in the shiny metal and my back ached from hunching over.

Then I just started writing.

Because sometimes writing about nothing can be the most interesting thing of all.


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My Oprah Interview

OPRAH: We’re here today with the world-famous blogger, Steve Warner who writes the hugely successful blog The Brown Road Chronicles. As you know, the massive popularity and growth of this blog has put the spotlight brightly on Mr. Warner as suspicions of doping and the use of banned blogging substances and methods has been swirling around members of the WordPress community.

Okay, Mr. Warner, so when we met a week ago today, we agreed that there would be no holds barred, there would be no conditions on this interview, and that this would be an open field.

ME: I think that’s best for both of us.

OPRAH: I agree. So here we go, open field. So let’s start with the questions people all over the world have been waiting for you to answer.

ME: Okay.

OPRAH: Okay. This whole conversation, we have a lot of time, will be about the details, Yes or No. Did you ever take substances to enhance your blogging performance?

ME:  Yes… wine…

OPRAH: Wine?!? So you have used Alcohol while blogging?

ME: Mostly just wine.

OPRAH: Okay, I get it… you like wine… but have you ever used any banned substances?

ME: No, I don’t think so, I did try BlogGro once…

OPRAH: BlogGro? What is that? Is that a banned substance?

ME: No, I don’t think so. I didn’t work anyway. I think it was just one of those Infomercial Scams. They charged me like $12.95 for the shipping and handling fee. Plus, even though the whole thing was totally guaranteed, totally refundable, like most people I never sent it back.

OPRAH: Did you ever use any banned substances like Plaigerisimone or Copynpasterone to improve your blogging performance?

ME: No.

OPRAH: When you won all your blogging awards, like the Versatile Blogger Award and the Stylish Blogger Award were you under the influence of any banned substances?

ME: Sometimes wine…


ME: I know, but I’m funnier when I’ve had wine.

OPRAH: Look, can we please get back on track here?

ME: Sorry.

OPRAH: Okay, so, you’ve never used any banned substances. Have you ever used any other illegal methods to improve your blogging performance?

ME: Well, I did go see a Therapist one time when I wasn’t feeling very funny. That helped a little.

OPRAH: Last I checked, seeing a therapist was not illegal.

ME: No, you’re probably right…

OPRAH: When you were Freshly Pressed, were you under the influence of any banned substances?

ME: Ummm… I’ve never been Freshly Pressed.

OPRAH: Seriously?!?

ME: I know, right?!?

OPRAH: Okay, so then let’s back up a little… have you ever used any banned substances in an effort to become Freshly Pressed?

ME: Ummm… uhhhh….. ummm….

OPRAH: You seem sort of nervous all of a sudden.

ME: Ummm… uhhhh….

OPRAH: Mr Warner, I’ll ask again, have you ever used any banned substances in an effort to become Freshly Pressed?

ME: Ummm… uhhhh….

OPRAH: I’m waiting…..

ME: (Silence)

OPRAH: Mr. Warner have you been using Freshlypresstosterone?

ME: (trying to change subject) Have you heard that story about the Notre Dame Football player with the fake girlfriend……?


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Overlooked… AGAIN!

I am mad!

I am really mad!

I am really so fucking MAD!

Do you know why I am MAD?


Well, listen up, ‘cuz this is some serious business!

You readers probably know this already, but just in case you don’t… in case you are not a subscriber… in case you haven’t seen the front page…. well… I have been overlooked once again. OVERLOOKED… ONCE… AGAIN! Do they think I haven’t noticed? Do they think I’m not offended? Do they think I haven’t figured out that they probably are not even considering me?

Well… BELIEEEVVEEE MEEEE… I HAVE noticed. It’s a sham, it’s a crock, its criminal. Time and again I’ve put myself out there in front of the world and time and again I’ve been overlooked. Overlooked like the last kid picked in gym class for the dodgeball team. Overlooked like some dork at the school dance, standing against the wall, hoping the homecoming queen will ask him out. Yeah, I’ve noticed alright! I keep getting overlooked and… I… AM… MAD! In fact I have been overlooked so many times I’m starting to feel like Susan Lucci at the Emmy Awards.

Seriously, are they saying I don’t have what it takes?

Well, you know what? I think I do have what it takes. I mean, what the fuck do these other guys have that I don’t have? Is it because I swear too damn much? Or what… do you have to have connections or something? Do you have to kiss someone’s ass?  Do you have to be like a goddamn movie star?

I mean, who in the hell do these people who make these decisions think they are? Who’s involved in the selection process? What’s their criteria for selection? I want to know! I want some facts and figures! I want some answers to these questions!

I demand some goddamn answers!

Because, you know what? YOU… KNOW… WHAT? I think it should finally be my turn.  I think I deserve it because I’ve worked hard and I believe I have a large fan base that would support my selection!  Think what it would do for my reputation, my fame, my stature.  Think how my blog would grow! Next time around, I want to be selected, I want to be on the goddamn front page!

I will not be OVERLOOKED any more!

I mean, who the fuck is Bradley Cooper anyway? Sure, he’s handsome and has great hair and stunning blue eyes and perfect teeth, and sure, he won this time…

… but frankly… I’ve never heard of the guy.


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Fine French Cuisine

Those of you who follow me regularly know that I have not yet had the opportunity to be represented on the Freshly Pressed page of WordPress.com.  In my thorough studies of the blog posts that have earned that honor, I have noticed that many are often food related and deliver in-depth instructions and photographs related to food preparation and fine dining in the home. I thought it would be a good idea to write some posts on some of the fine foods that we eat a lot of here at The Brown Road Chronicles.  So, today I’ve chosen four of our most popular meals, all of which have a French influence and all of which can be easily prepared at home with simple ingredients and in relatively short time for those of you who are busy with jobs and children and families.  As with many fine foods from European cultures and especially those from France, they are often difficult to pronounce properly.  Here at The Brown Road Chronicles, however, we encourage you to partake in these recipes with your finest French accent.  We find this increases the pleasure you will experience when you finally get the opportunity to dine.  Enjoy!

1.  Nudlés et Fromage au Robért de Sponge:

An excellent choice for any meal of the day, but we typically prepare this fine meal for lunch and dinner.

Nudlés au Robért de Sponge
1 Cup Milk
Fromage de Florescent Orange

Preparation Instructions:
In a medium sized pot, boil approximately two cups of water.  Add the Nudlés au Robért de Sponge and boil until tender. Drain the Nudlés au Robért de Sponge.  Add approximately one cup of milk.  Tear open the package of Fromage de Florescent Orange and sprinkle into pot.  Mix thoroughly and enjoy.

Note:  the Nudlés au Robért de Sponge can be replaced with Nudlés de la Elbeaux.

2.  Pinut Butré and Gelée on Wheat Bread

This is a quick meal that can be eaten at any time of the day as a snack or perhaps even as the main course of a bag lunch.

Two slices Wheat Bread (or bread of your choice)
Pinut Butré
Gelée (Grape or Strawberry)

Preparation Instructions:

Take the two slices of Wheat Bread and set them on a plate or counter top. Using a knife, cover one slice of bread generously with the Pinut Butré. Lick knife. With the same knife, cover the other slice of bread generously with the Gelée. Put the two slices of bread together with the Pinut Butré and the Gelée sides together. Enjoy.

Note: Bread au Wondére makes an excellent bread choice as well

3.  Haute Dauge au Meat de la Mystére

This meal makes another excellent choice for lunch or dinner.  We don’t often eat this particular meal for breakfast as it has been known to cause slight indigestion.

One Haute Dauge au Meat de la Mystére
One Bunné
Mustard, Ketchup, Relish or other preferred condiments

Preparation Instructions:
Insert Haute Dauge au Meat de la Mystére into Microwave and heat on high for 30 seconds. Do not be concerned if Haute Dauge au Meat de la Mystére has areas that look burnt and exploded.  It will not affect the flavor. Insert Haute Dauge au Meat de la Mystére into Bunné. Add condiments as desired. Enjoy.

4.  Flakes au Maize avec Sucre

This is an excellent choice for breakfast, but also makes a great dinnertime meal when in a hurry.  For example, I had Flakes au Maize avec Sucre as my dinner last night as I was rushing to a meeting I had to attend.  Sometimes it can be less filling than desired, so when I returned from my meeting I had a Haute Dauge au Meat de la Mystére.

Flakes au Maize avec Sucre

Preparation Instructions:
Pour Flakes au Maize avec Sucre into a large bowl. Add milk. Enjoy.

I hope you enjoy these fine French recipes and I encourage you to try them at home.  We here at The Brown Road Chronicles certainly have gotten plenty of nutritious mileage from them.  I will tell you as well, I thoroughly enjoyed writing about food and plan on sharing some of our other fine recipes in future posts.  So please keep an eye out.

Next up?  Helpére de la Hambergére.  Stay tuned…


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