Tag Archives: wordpress

Where did all my BILFs go?


When Brown Road Chronicles was at its peak back in late 2013 before I took my fourteen month-long sabbatical, I had a long list of BILFs. This list was an extraordinary compilation of BILFs culled from many intensive years of blogging, liking, reading, and commenting. Sometimes even just a quick glance at a blogger’s avatar and I instantly knew that they’d be a strong candidate for my list of BILFs. More importantly, a timely, well thought out blog post or comment, full of voluptuous and shapely words that exemplified years of writing experience was sure to get a blogger on my list of BILFs.

So, what had once been a short list of BILFs when I had first started blogging had over time grown into a long list of about seventy-five BILFs.

What was I going to do with all these BILFs? I could barely keep track of all of them. I felt overwhelmed.

Several times I tried condensing my list of BILFs. But it was challenging and complicated because once you’ve determined a blogger is a BILF it’s difficult to just scratch them off of a list.

Plus these were all BILFs who wrote words that were fresh and polished and sexy. These were BILFs who wrote words that exuded sophistication and competency. These were BILFs who were no doubt seasoned and mature, full of deep metaphors and profound thoughts and humor.

Especially humor. Because, although a blogger can dress their site up with lots of fancy imagery, a good sense of humor is one of the primary means of becoming one of my BILFs.

But something had to give.

One day I dug down deep and found the strength. I fired up WordPress and sorted through the long list of BILFs, hour after hour, contemplating whether each was really still a BILF or if I was hanging on to old memories, remembering old posts, focusing on days gone past. Some of the BILFs had long since abandoned their sites, given up, stopped trying. Those were the simplest BILFs to say goodbye to. They weren’t BILFs anymore and they were easy to cross off the list, although there were a select number of these inactive BILFs who were my very first BILFs and who I decided should always remain.

Then there were the BILFs who were still around but who just didn’t have the same appeal as when we had first met. They had become old and stale and boring and with some clarity of thought I was able to determine that they were no longer BILFs either and they were removed from my list. It was a long process but I was able to narrow the list from about seventy-five BILFs down to about fifty BILFs.

That’s about how many BILFs I have now, approximately fifty. I have met a few new BILFs since I reopened Brown Road Chronicles at the beginning of the year and I am looking forward to getting to know those BILFs better. But on a recent scan through those original fifty or so BILFs I discovered that only about twenty, at best, are still active. Perhaps it’s time to sort through the list of BILFs again.

Now let’s be frank here, in this widespread community of talent there’s certainly no shortage of BILFs. And now that I’m back at this on a pretty steady basis, I’d definitely like to discover some new BILFs.

So here’s your job.

If you’re a regular here, you should have a good read on my personality and sense of humor. In the comments section, please recommend one or two of your BILFs… bloggers that you like to follow… that you think I might like to follow as well.

I’ll take a look and perhaps they’ll become one of my BILFs too.

My Bloggers I Like to Follow….

What did you think I was talking about?!?


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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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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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I need a new slogan!

I’ve decided I need a new slogan.

If you look up at the top of the page you’ll see my header. Now I’m not sure I’m interested in changing the whole header. It’s been around for a few years but I still think it’s pretty good. Instead, if you read the fine print at the bottom, you’ll see it says:

Stories about country living, old houses, dirt roads, raising kids and other amusing and inspirational anecdotes!


Sure, that’s probably what it was about three years or so ago when this whole adventure started. Sometimes it’s still about some of those topics. On the other hand, sometimes that slogan fits about as well as the pair of designer jeans I just had to retire because I couldn’t get the button fastened.

Yeah… can you say… New Years Resolution?!?

Anyhow, as you know I could go out and hire my marketing agency, the creative types that produced this fabulous radio advertisement and these extra-fabulous t-shirt designs.  But frankly they are very expensive.  So I am looking for some advice, guidance and feedback on what this blog is really about.

Plus, I have recently become the proud new owner of the domain name; http://www.brownroadchronicles.com, so I feel like I’m a lot more important and successful than I usually think I am.

Now, a disclaimer: this is NOT A CONTEST. You will not win a pair of fuzzy dice or a bar of goats-milk soap or a Brown Road Chronicles t-shirt. I’m sorry! I don’t have the organizational capacity to run a contest.  Some of you are very good at running contests and giveaways. I’m very good at not running contests.  I’m just looking for some input even if you say “that’s a great slogan, don’t change it!” I may not use any of the ideas, but if you participate you will have my eternal love and gratitude which many of you have already… and what better prize is there?

So, there you have it!

Please keep it clean… this is a family site!


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My New Radio Advertisement

The State of Michigan tourism department, “Pure Michigan”, has for several years been running a highly successful and award-winning radio advertising campaign promoting all of the wonderful places that people can visit in the state. The voice-over artist is Tim Allen, of television and film fame, who was a long-time Michigan resident.

So after hearing these radio ads over and over again, I thought, what better way to get more readers than to produce a radio ad promoting my own blog, The Brown Road Chronicles.

I’ve been working very hard on this, please take a listen, it’s hosted on Sound Cloud, hope the link works. Maybe soon you’ll hear this on a radio station near you!


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The 100th Subscriber Contest

Yesterday I received my 99th subscription.  I know you are not supposed to discuss your subscription numbers, that’s kind of like discussing salaries around the workplace coffee station.  But I am going to break the rules and do it anyway. That may sound like a lot of subscriptions to some bloggers and not much to other bloggers, but I thought it was a pretty neat milestone that I was on the verge of 100 subscriptions.

Other than a very small handful of friends and family (under 5 people) all of my subscriptions are folks that I don’t know other than through this blog. They come from all over the United States, Canada, Australia, Europe and South Africa, which is really cool! I have never really opened this up to my local friends via Facebook, etc.  I have a reputation to protect, you know! I am proud to say I have earned these subscriptions through hard work, shameless commenting on other blogs, dropping a few f-bombs here and there, some cute little poems, and of course writing some pretty good posts (and admittedly some crappy ones as well) that have drawn people to hit the “subscribe” button. As well, because of the sauciness of some of my posts, I have not had the benefit of FP’d to bring readers to me. I’m not bitter about that… it’s okay… sniff… really… I’m not… sniff… seriously… not… sniff… bitter.

A few of my posts have been responsible for lot’s of subscriber activity.  BOOBS, of course, has brought me many readers.  Getting Fu…Fu… Freshly Pressed has brought me a good number of subscribers and is likely the reason I will never be Pressed… but that’s okay… sniff.  Most recently my post The Meaning of Life generated roughly 10 subscriptions. Apparently that struck a nerve with people.

So I’ve decided to hold a little contest to generate my 100th subscriber.

Here’s the rules:

1. You MUST be a WordPress user. It’s just easier to interact with WordPress users.

2. You must be the 100th subscriber.  Yeah, I know that seems pretty obvious! But if I don’t get a chance to announce who the winner is right away and you subscribe thinking you won and someone beat you to it… well… you get the picture.

3. You can’t be a current subscriber… yeah, I know… duh!

Okay, so those are the only rules.

What do you win?

Well, as soon as I can, after seeing that wonderful e-mail come in that tells me the 100th subscriber subscribed, I will edit this post and tell everyone who that blogger is and put a big ‘ol link back to their blog

Then, if you want to, you will win the opportunity to write one guest post on my blog (yes, at my discretion).  That will, of course, put you in front of 99 other bloggers.  Not that 99 are really reading, so maybe 75 other bloggers… or perhaps 50 other bloggers… or perhaps only 25… actually I don’t really know how many of those subscriptions are actively reading.  But in any case, I’ll let you write a guest post.

That’s all you get… sorry there is no money involved… no little graphic awards. You know how I feel about awards, right?  So let’s get this party started. Good luck.





Sarah at Keeping the End in Mind is the 100th subscriber! A quick glance at Sarah’s blog and she appears to be very new to the blogging scene, so please take a peek and give her a warm welcome to our little neighborhood of the WordPress community.  Her theme seems to be about “self-coaching” which is something I think we could all probably do better.  I can’t quite figure out where she is from but some of the word spellings lead me to believe she is not in the U.S.  We’ll see!

Now Sarah, first I will encourage you to update your “ABOUT” page as that is one of the first places readers go when they decide to stalk your blog.  Then, if you’d like to write a fabulous guest post I will post it on my blog here for all these other fine folks to read.  So, introduce yourself, write about whatever you want people to read or know about you, whatever… just keep it… you know… mostly clean.  This is a family oriented blog you know! Yeah and don’t ask all those commenters about that… they don’t know what they’re talking about.

You can reach me by commenting here, or at stevetwarner@yahoo.com.

Thanks for visiting Brown Road… and for being my 100th subscriber!  Myself and 99 other readers look forward to what you have to say!



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Someone just subscribed to your blog…

Part of the Phone Calls to Julie Series.

Ring, ring…

WP: Hello, WordPress technical support, this is Julie, how can I help you today?

ME: Hi Julie, thank you for taking my call, I’m terribly concerned, Someone just subscribed to my blog.

WP: Ummm, okay…. uhh… congratulations?

ME: Oh… that’s what the e-mail said too, congratulations.

WP: What e-mail would that be?

ME: Well, the one that said that Someone just subscribed to my blog. It addressed me with the word “Howdy”. Do you think Someone thinks I am a cowboy? I don’t think I’ve ever used the word “Howdy” before.

WP: Is this the guy from Brown Road Chronicles?

ME: Yes, yes, you remember me? I’ve called you about my BOOBS. You have been very helpful the last couple of times I have called. Have you read my blog yet?

WP: No sir, I still have not read your blog.

ME: Oh, that’s too bad, it’s really great!

WP: Sir, I am sure your blog is great, but really, is there something important I can help you with? I am very busy today? We are getting a lot of angry callers because we changed the subscription function on all of our member’s blogs without telling anybody. Now everybody is mad and the phones are ringing off the hook.

ME: Oh yes, I did notice that as well. I think that’s okay, I don’t know what everybody is all worked up about.


ME: Oh yes, I’m very sorry, I’m terribly concerned, Someone subscribed to my blog today?

WP: Yes, you mentioned that… uh…and why is that a problem? Most bloggers are happy when Someone subscribes to their blogs.

ME: Oh my, does Someone subscribe to a lot of blogs? Do you know who Someone is?

WP: What does that mean “do I know who Someone is?”

ME: Well, it sounded like you maybe know who they were.

WP: Knew who who is?

ME: Someone.

WP: SIR… I am going to hang up if you don’t tell me how I can help you today.

ME: Oh, I am terribly sorry, please don’t hang up. You see, I got an e-mail today that said “Howdy, Someone just subscribed to your blog, Brown Road Chronicles.”

WP: Uhhh… okay… and what is wrong with that?

ME: Well, it didn’t tell me who Someone is… you know, and tell me what their blog site is. It just said Someone subscribed to my blog today and it had an e-mail address and where they were from. I thought that was kind of creepy. And it said “Howdy”. Do you think Someone thinks I am a cowboy?

WP: Sir, it’s just an automated e-mail when a reader subscribes to a blog. I don’t know why it says Howdy, but no one here thinks you’re a cowboy… and it said Someone because it was a subscriber that doesn’t have a WordPress account. So we don’t know who they are.

ME: Oh my… you don’t know who they are? Does that mean they don’t have an About page that will tell me if they are a stalker or not?

WP: No, there is no About page, but don’t worry, it’s probably just someone that read something you wrote and found it interesting.

ME: Oh yes, yes… the stuff I write is very interesting. It’s very funny too. Have you read my blog?


ME: Oh you’re right, I’m sorry, you did say that. I just got excited when you told me my posts were interesting.

WP: I didn’t say your posts were interesting, I said that maybe this person who subscribed to your blog perhaps thought your posts were interesting.

ME: You mean Someone?

WP: Sir, please stop it with the Someone! Yes, I was referring to this person who subscribed to your blog.

ME: So you don’t think there is anything I need to worry about?

WP: No, I don’t think there is anything to worry about. But remember Sir, blogs are very public spaces. Anybody can subscribe to your blog.

ME: Oh my… who’s Anybody?



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