Answer Me!

06.6.2006 | 5:43 pm

Just before I moved back to Utah, the good folks at MSN asked me to put on my favorite jersey and come get videotaped for some MSN Spaces promotion. So I did. I was a nervous, stammering, yammering, chattering, random wreck. It’ll be interesting to see whether the video director is able to salvage anything from it.

For your entertainment, I will post the video, once I get it.

MSN has also asked me to come to a conference next week, where I will sit at a panel with actual experts on blogging and advertising. There, I will do my level best to act like I know what I’m talking about. Sample quote I’m preparing: “Um, well, I write stuff about riding bikes, and make fun of ads, and make up news about bikes and stuff. Then I sit back and watch while the commenters make fun of me.”

That should be educational.

The nice thing is, Nichole at MSN gave me a bunch of cool stuff to give away, if you’ll just answer a few blog-related questions. I have six USB Flash Drives to give away, as well as three copies of Share Your Story: Blogging with MSN Spaces. And an MSN golf shirt.

This drawing is not random. I’m going to give stuff to people who have interesting, useful responses. If you can’t/don’t want to log in with Microsoft Passport, you can email your response to me.

Oh, and don’t feel like you have to answer all the questions. If you’ve got a great answer to one of the questions and don’t answer any of the others, you could still win stuff.



  • What do you like about What’s Your Story (where MSN features different blogs on a weekly basis)? What needs to be changed?
  • Yesterday, while looking for a close grocery store (still trying to get to know the area), I noticed a “Trek Store.” Evidently, a bike shop that sells nothing but Trek products. Does this seem incredibly wrong-headed to anyone else? I mean, when I go into a bike shop, it’s to buy the best bike stuff I can find, which may or may not be built by Trek. Does any self-respecting cyclist choose a brand before they choose the bike (or helmet, or whatever)? OK, MSN didn’t ask me to ask this question.
  • What do you think of the Volvo sponsorship of What’s Your Story? Have you ever clicked on one of the Volvo ads? Did you surf around?
  • Wouldn’t it be cool if Volvo gave me a car, and then another one to give away? (OK, MSN didn’t ask me to ask this question either, but I think it’s a really good question to ask.)
  • What makes for good advertising on blogs?
  • Do you blog? Why? What about?
  • Say the word “blogs” aloud, several times in a row. Doesn’t it start to sound stupid?
  • Do you jump around a bunch, reading a lot of blogs, or do you read a certain group of blogs?
  • How often do you visit your favorite blogs?

I’ll be traveling tomorrow, so you have two days to answer. Have fun, and good luck. Oh, and as long as I’m giving advice: always wear your seatbelt. Even when you’re on your bike.


  1. Comment by Unknown | 06.6.2006 | 6:24 pm

    Here’s my problem with the Trek store: It seems like Trek is shooting its dealers in the foot. I mean, if you’re a dumb consumer, but want a Trek because Lance rode one, would you choose the Trek dealer–of which there is one, in the same city as the Trek store you’re referring to–or the Trek store? I think many people would think buying a Trek from an actual Trek store is a better idea. I’m not sure I do. Why would Trek do this to the people that bring in the money, i.e. the bike stores that sell Treks?

    I think saying blog sounds really stupid. Whenever I tell friends of mine that I have a blog, I instantly regret saying that word. Not that I think blogs are bad, though most are junk, but that word is terrible. Can’t we all just agree to say "weblog" from now on?

    There are about 3-4 weblogs I frequent. Depending on how often they update, and how distracted I am at work, I’ll check a few times a day until it is updated. All of them except one are bicycle-related.

    I, too, write about bikes, and do it as a way to tell the people I know what is going on in the cycling part of my life. I also do it as an attempt to drive traffic to the gear review website that I’m an editor for.

  2. Comment by Jsun | 06.6.2006 | 6:33 pm

    and Answers

    What do you like about What’s Your Story (where MSN features different blogs on a weekly basis)? What needs to be changed?
    I like the pretty colors, um, I mean its, um useful, um fun to read everyday.  It could use a search function for their blogs specifically, so I could look up certain topics.

    Yesterday, while looking for a close grocery store (still trying to get to know the area), I noticed a “Trek Store.” Evidently, a bike shop that sells nothing but Trek products. Does this seem incredibly wrong-headed to anyone else? I mean, when I go into a bike shop, it’s to buy the best bike stuff I can find, which may or may not be built by Trek. Does any self-respecting cyclist choose a brand before they choose the bike (or helmet, or whatever)? OK, MSN didn’t ask me to ask this question.
    yes , that is totally wrong-headed, they should get right-headed.  How do you expect the Mom and Pop stores that sell only one product line to compete with an international company doing the same thing.  It doesn’t matter anyway since I have no self-respect and only buy products endorsed by the Fart Cyclist.

    What do you think of the Volvo sponsorship of What’s Your Story? Have you ever clicked on one of the Volvo ads? Did you surf around?
    I came, I saw, I surfed.  Volvos are the best car ever, I want one. 

    Wouldn’t it be cool if Volvo gave me a car, and then another one to give away? (OK, MSN didn’t ask me to ask this question either, but I think it’s a really good question to ask.)
    Volvos are the best car ever, I want one, still. 

    What makes for good advertising on blogs?
    topical ads (not tropical, i.e., bike related)

    Do you blog? Why? What about?
    no blogging here, except for on FC’s comment page

    Say the word “blogs” aloud, several times in a row. Doesn’t it start to sound stupid?
    yep, and my co-workers thought I looked stupid too, thanks.

    Do you jump around a bunch, reading a lot of blogs, or do you read a certain group of blogs?
    I usually sit down when reading bike-related blogs, but can jump around if that’s what you want me to do FC. (you saw that one coming)

    How often do you visit your favorite blogs?
    way too often.  Perhaps I should start BRA (blog readers anonymous).
    If it will help your case and make you feel more at home(page), I am willing to have MSN fly me out to your interview so I can sit in the background making snide comments just like I do here.  Let me know.

  3. Comment by Jsun | 06.6.2006 | 6:36 pm

    sorry about the text-melding in my last comment, it didn’t look that way before I posted

  4. Comment by barry1021 | 06.6.2006 | 6:56 pm

    1. I never look at it, except when FC was in that stupid contest that he cheated to win.
    2. This is showing the FC bias to the 4000 sq. ft bike shop that carries every brand known to man (don’t get me wrong, I love those stores-I get the same feeling I did when I was  into home improvement projects and walked into Home Depot for the first time.) But I bought a bike near my home in Scottsdale at the Flat Tire Bike shop in Cave Creek. It is a Trek/LeMond/ Fisher shop only. It is about the size of a walk-in closet, but it is a great shop with great people and if anyone there is reading this, you guys are great and I can’t wait to get there the end of June.
    3. Pah! The day I click on any car ad on any site will be the day I walk away from the internet forever.
    4. I know you, you would keep them both. You would also have an insufferably larger ego, so no, it would not be cool.
    5. Duh, cool stuff related to the blog topic of course. For example, rafting trips or basketball videos on a cycling blog would probably not work.
    6. No, I have a life.
    7. It sounds like you are about to upchuck an alien that has taken up residence in your spleen.
    8. Please see #6. I read one and only one blog, this one. I have no time to do more. If FC were to cease and desist, i would chose one and only one to replace him from the list to the right., But it would have to be mainly about cycling, which is my main passion now.
    9. Usually a few times a day at most, sometimes many days without it at all. busy busy busy.

  5. Comment by k | 06.6.2006 | 7:06 pm

    Hm. I don’t actually go to "What’s Your Story". There was a link to your blog on the main MSN homepage one day a million years ago…I bike, and I like the voyeurism of blogs…so I started stalking your blog from there.

    Trek Store? I thought was strictly a Giant girl for the 14 years or so that I had my cadex, but I obviously had no self respect. I got some during the hunt for a new bike and ended up with a Jamis. I still have my Giant though. It’s a damn good bike. Product loyalty is okay, but those Trekkies are limiting their client base too much. Don’t go into business with them.

    See my answer to the first question….

    Yes. To me.

    Advertising on blogs? Not sure there is a good way to do it. Dooce has some pretty ads–not just wordiness, but shiny colourful ads. They tempt me more than text, but they can be distracting (I guess that’s the point, eh?). I mostly tune out the ads, but they should obviously target the readers of the blog, which in your case might mean anything from cycling gear to anti-gas medications. :P

    I blog. It’s a carryover from the journaling. It’s a catharsis–a way to rid my brain of all the random crap that clutters up the corners. My blog, against all your advice, is not really *about* anything. It usually ends up being stuff that really hacks me off. Or my dogs. Sometimes I just ramble. I have very few readers.

    Blog is dumb. Vlog is dummer. My brain shuts down after that.

    There are four or five blogs that I visit every day, and from there I often follow links to new blogs. I also *love* the "next" button on Blogger. From any Blogger Blog, you just click it and see a random blog. I’ve found some fun stuff that way.

    Your wife rules.

  6. Comment by Unknown | 06.6.2006 | 7:19 pm

    1) I don’t ever check it, except when you are featured there and tell us too.2) I don’t know about self-respecting, but bike owners seem to be a VERY brand conscious group.  I keep my Huffy around specifically for this reason.3) The sponsorship doesn’t bother me, i’ve never clicked any of their ads, and never surfed around their site.4) Yes, and yes!  Or at least have Volvo/MSN sponsor your next race?  Hello custom carbon fibre bike!5) Non intrusive links on the side, and the content should never monitize the audience.  (IE, start selling the Premium Fat Cyclist blog for $9.99 a month)6) Yes, on software and development, soon on something entirely not related7) Very.  I prounonce it blaaaaaawwwg.8) I have a certain group of blogs, the RSS feeds of which I check daily.9) Whenever I see the feed update.

  7. Comment by Unknown | 06.6.2006 | 7:38 pm

    Ring, Ring, Ring . . .
    Trek store employee: This is is the Trek Store, a store that sells Treks.
    Botched: Yeah, I’d like to buy one Nepal and one Australian Outback, and I wanted to get a price quote on an African Safari.
    employee: Uh, we sell bicycles, not vacations where you walk a lot.
    Botched: Oh, well do you sell Cannondales?
    employee: No, we sell Treks.
    Botched: Ah, so the name of the store is Treks, but you don’t sell treks or cannondales, just Treks, eh?
    Ad nauseum, ad infinitum. . .

  8. Comment by Unknown | 06.6.2006 | 7:46 pm

    in no particular order and with some
    trek = evil empire
    volvo, sorry , you guys need to change your
    name, it sounds like a womens body part.
    ther needs to be a top 5 blog list.
    i miss Bob.
    i think blog should be shortened to :
    people who don’t have lives talking to
    other people who don’t have lives on
    the internet.
    man i can really rant on 1 mtn. dew.
    advertising = second evil empire.
    ( unless it’s for free stuff )

  9. Comment by Unknown | 06.6.2006 | 7:50 pm

    Another contest…yippee.
    1.  I read the "What’s Your Story" thing first when a friend sent me the link after she saw your 15 minutes of fame there.  I have read it once since. It kinda sucks.
    2.  Trek stores are kinda good, sometimes. I have been in or around, or near the bike business on and off (mostly off) since I got my first job at the "Wheels go ‘Round" bike shop in Canoga Park, California, in 1969.  The evolution has happened in front of me, when I was looking, that is. Trek is clearly trying to emulate GM, and is effectively trying to sell Cadillac, Buick, GMC, and Chevy, all out of one location, and that is if and only if they can convince some fat-walleted hobbyist that retirement will ge good for him/her at a TREK store!…or, conversely, that he/she should quit his/her job NOW! and invest all their money in a TREK store! I find the stores often lacking in inventory, both in quality and quantity. Older, privately owned, cool bike ‘SHOPS’ tickle my fancy somewhat more…like the old Wheelsmith in Palo Alto, CA, or Adams Ave. Bicycles in San Diego (the old one, not the new one run as a front for a ’shake down’) What comes to mind as the perfect old style shop is the Yellow Jersey in Madison, WI, once (currently?) run by Andrew Muzzy…pretty cool place.
    3.  I don’t like Volvos, or anything Swedish, except for meatballs at the smorgasbord-o-rama…or cars, in general.
    4.  Yes, it would be cool if Volvo gave you a car…and two would be good, so that you could request one of their sports cars for your sainted wife.
    5.  Good advertising is determined by one (and only one) factor: the speed with which you get into their site.
    6.  No. I write in a journal only read (and, at that, occasionally) by my gal Sal.
    7.  Yes, as does anything repeated several times in a row…try it, you’ll see what I mean.
    8. I currently read only bike blogs and Cold Fury, by your friend, Al Maviva. Not much time for anything else.
    9.  Every few days, certainly not daily…maybe twice a week and once a week for Cold Fury. You see, I have chores to do around this ranch (like your wife, my gal Sal is understanding, but still likes to see Progress)…and if it is hot outside, I take breaks and get to visit your site more often, like now. I find that if I am recently returned from a bike ride, I am in no condition to do anything but lie on the driveway or garage floor and moan.  That is not a good time to try to read witty humor.

  10. Comment by Unknown | 06.6.2006 | 8:00 pm

    1.  I never bother with it.  Frankly, I’m not a fan of "Spaces" and only read your blog via RSS and visit when I want to comment.2.  It does strike me as odd, but the same is true for cars and it doesn’t stop me from car shopping.  I wouldn’t go to the Trek store to buy a bike, I’d go to the Trek store to look at Trek’s.  I may end up buying my bike there, or I may not.  It’s like going to the Toyota dealer when car shopping.  I’m buying a car and I want to see what Toyota is offering.  The bike business is currently different, since most bikes carry different brands, but maybe this is the wave of the future.  I hope not.3.  No.4.  Absolutely.  If I won the second Volvo, I’d sell it and continue to drive my 1997 Toyota Corolla.  Then I’d take the cash and buy bikes and biking gear.5.  See: The Deck.  "
    We’re picky about the advertising we’ll accept. We won’t take an ad
    unless we have paid for and/or used the product or service. Sell us
    something relevant to our audience and we’ll sell you an ad."  The ads are small, yet so highly targeted to the group of blogs that employ them that I actually seek them out on occasion.  I have in the past – it was always meant as a way to connect with friends and family and keep them aprised of my life and things I thought were cool that they should check out.  That’s what I told myself, anyway.  In reality, writing was just fun and I enjoy web design so I liked designing and tweaking the site.  During my last job search I tried to remove all references to my name from the internet.  Currently, I’m ejoying keeping a low profile, but I could see myself starting a targeted blog that would allow me to stay relatively anonymous sometime soon.7.  Yes.  It sounds stupid after the first time.  For the longgest time I clung to "Web Log" or "Journal", but "Blog" has won out.  Time to accept it and move on.8.  I read a lot of blogs.9.  I read most blogs through RSS so I don’t "visit" too often.  When I want to join the conversation or just check out web design, I’ll click through to the site.  I check my RSS reader about 4-5 times / day while at work, and once per night usually.

  11. Comment by Unknown | 06.6.2006 | 8:05 pm

    And two of the reasons why I hate Spaces is manifested in this very comment section!  First comments are presented in reverse chronological order.  Second comments contain links to the commenters supplied email address!  I like to provide a contactable email address on my blog comments in case the site owner wants to contact me, but it’s generally the case these days that the email address is not disclosed on the website itself.  At the very least, spaces should disclose that your email address will be published BEFORE you comment.

  12. Comment by Unknown | 06.6.2006 | 8:11 pm

    1.  I don’t care about What’s Your Story.  I mean it’s okay, I just don’t have an opinion.
    2.  Trek Store – you obviously haven’t been bought out by Trek.  Yet.  But don’t worry about it – Fat Trek Cyclist will be a great brand.  Just like Trek/Lemond/Bontrager bikes.  And Sella Italia hasn’t been bought out yet, but they will be.  Hey, there’s a question:  when Trek does finish assimilating Sella Italia, will the Italia saddles duke it out with the Bontrager saddles in the Trek warehouse for Butt Cleavage Primacy?
    And yeah, I would buy brand names.  I’m lusting hard after an On One.  I’d buy just about any roadbike with a Giant name because I just liike them, use most gruppos named Shimano, or will purchase pretty much anything named Surly.  Phil King anything makes my knees go weak.  The name means something.  It’s called branding, and sometimes it even signifies something more in depth than a Madison Ave ad campaign. 
    3.  Volvo.  The velo club I ride with is sponsored by a different car manufacturer.  I’m not sure if that brand has a relationship with the brand whose badge I wear.  So I’m not sure what to think about it.  I’ll let you know when I finish selling out.  No, I’m not a corporate whore.  I’m a corporate… escort.  That’s it.  An escort.  
    4.  It’d suck if Volvo gave you a car because Volvo drivers are the worst on the road, just rolling danger traps.  Unless they are partners with the company that sponsors my velo club.  In which case the smaller Volvos, the new sporty ones are pretty cool.  And you’d look good in one.  In fact, anybody would.  Especially Soccer Moms with 2.5 kids and >$125k in household income.
    5.  Good advertising on blogs – lots of sex.  Sex drenched sexy sex.  If you can’t have that, I’d settle for shiny objects.  And humor.  Humorous, shiny sex would be the best – say, Janeane Garafalo in a tinfoil bikini telling jokes would probably be ideal.  I’m getting greedy here, aren’t I? I’d settle for Anna Nicole Smith telling jokes badly in a tinfoil bikini. 
    6.  Yes I blog.  Because I’m completely full of crap and would burst if I didn’t unburden myself.  Bikes, politics, booze, and cute comediennes in shiny bikinis.
    7.  The word "blogs" repeated severally doesn’t sound any more stupid than "fat 40 year old cyclist in lycra."  It has the added advantage of not looking as absurd, however.
    8.  I read the same blogs every day, mostly.  I prefer a familiar, distilled brand of opinionated idiocy, versus strange, random collections of it. 
    9.  I visit my favorites once or twice daily, usually.  This one a little more often because I feel I’ve incurred a duty to Fatty, after winning that bag with an insane juvenile bicycle road rage story.  

  13. Comment by Unknown | 06.6.2006 | 8:17 pm

    Oh, and BikeMike…

  14. Comment by Unknown | 06.6.2006 | 8:25 pm

    Al Maviva:
    hee hee. a butterfinger just
    passed through my nose.

  15. Comment by Andrew | 06.6.2006 | 9:08 pm

    1. I never read it.
    2. Sounds pretty lame to me.
    3. No.
    4. Yes.
    5. No such thing, I hate ‘em all.
    6. Yes, because my wife confisgated my "Madden Football".
    7. I read you, James Taranto, and my daughters’ blogs. You rock. I love you man. Don’t listen to the others.
    8. Daily. And I get really upset when you skip days.

  16. Comment by Andrew | 06.6.2006 | 9:15 pm

    Everyone else has nine on their list and I only have eight, so the additional answer is "When Hell freezes over".

  17. Comment by Unknown | 06.6.2006 | 9:20 pm

    Fatty – yule kneed MSN to letter your new Volvo w/ thier logos, maybe even make you some butterfly jerseys you could give us chumps. Then, get a roof rack sponsor like thule or yakima to give you more stuff on which to display your new quiver in Trek bikes. You most definately need a shoe contract. all the big shooters have shoe contracts. Nike comes to mind. Get your agent on the ball, money, like time is a wastin’. Guest appearances at races, mall opening and Volvo dealerships could be worth some serious dough. All that travel and rich food could really keep you form your weight loss goals so be careful out there. Good luck, Sir Corporate Shill. I’m just jealeous, don’t ya know.

  18. Comment by James | 06.6.2006 | 9:45 pm

    1. I have never read "what’s your story." I’ve never seen "what’s your story." I don’t know but for $1,000 or a new Volvo I’ll tell you.
    2. I see your point but, don’t you buy your car at a Honda store? or a Chevrolet store? Do you buy Gap jeans at the Gap store?
    3. See "1" above.
    4. Cool but pointless unless you gave the second one to me.
    5. Advertising on blogs is invisible. Unless it moves and flashes a lot or is otherwise annoying. Annoying ads should be clicked on without buying to run up their bill.
    6. No. And if I did I wouldn’t admit it.
    7. Yes
    8 I use an aggregator so I read a "certain group."
    9. Daily
    The answer to any question asked of you while you’re on the panel should be "great content." Why do people read Fat Cyclist? Great content. What is the best feature of Fat Cyclist? Great content. What will cause more people to read my blog? Great content. How can I sell more advertising? Great content.

  19. Comment by Michael | 06.7.2006 | 12:14 am

    What do you like about
    What’s Your
    Story (where MSN
    features different blogs on a weekly basis)? What needs to be changed?

        I like when Fat Cyclist is featured so I say – all Fat Cyclist all
    the time. In fact if I were in charge of MSN Spaces, frankly I’d hire Fat
    Cyclist to run it and pay him boatloads of money.
    Yesterday, while looking for a close grocery store
    (still trying to get to know the area), I noticed a “Trek Store.” Evidently, a
    bike shop that sells nothing but Trek products. Does this seem incredibly wrong-headed to anyone else?
    I mean, when I go into a bike shop, it’s to buy the best bike stuff I can find,
    which may or may not be built by Trek. Does any self-respecting cyclist choose a
    brand before they choose the bike (or helmet, or whatever)? OK, MSN didn’t ask
    me to ask this question.
    It is wrong. Who do
    they think they are apple or something? Actually this is a problem for me,
    especially if independent Bike shops are forcing themselves to buy only Trek
    products both the consumer and the shop owner lose.
    What do you think of the Volvo
    sponsorship of What’s Your Story? Have you ever clicked on one of the Volvo ads?
    Did you surf around?
    Oooh Volvo. Very
    progressive, but no, I generally do not look at car ads.  Why? Well for starters
    I started two businesses and new cars simply haven’t replaced food yet on the
    heirarchy of needs.
    Wouldn’t it be cool if Volvo
    gave me a car, and then another one to give away? (OK, MSN didn’t ask me to ask
    this question either, but I think it’s a really good question to
    Yeah, baby,
    What makes for good
    advertising on blogs?
    Preferably ads for
    my stuff – but seriously. The ability to micromarket is the biggest opportunity
    for blog-vertising. You can do mass blog campaigns contained to certain segments
    but you need the content to tie seemlessly to the blog.
    Do you blog? Why? What
    A little. We have
    aso-called corporare blog. I am horrible at keeping up updated everyday, butwith
    RSS I try and post useful stuff related to our product lines, reps and
    Say the word “blogs” aloud,
    several times in a row. Doesn’t it start to sound stupid?
    Yes. Almost as
    stupid as saying "lunchmeat" outloud.
    Do you jump around a bunch,
    reading a lot of blogs, or do you read a certain group of blogs?
    My blogs are
    clustered into categories – cycling blogs, baseball blogs, business blogs, golf
    blogs and news blogs, sports blogs.
    How often do you visit your
    favorite blogs?
    My RSS reader
    alerts me to new conent. Some of my firends who have blogs – I’m there a lot,
    several times a day to take part in the dialogue.

  20. Comment by sans auto | 06.7.2006 | 12:21 am

    1.   I had never read a blog before I saw some guy who talked about bikes and weight loss and I started reading yours.  I’ve looked for others, but most are completely lacking content. 
    2.   Trek can have their store, that’s fine, but I won’t go there.  I’ll be in the local bike shop
    3.    I didn’t know that Volvo sponsored what’s your story.  I’ve never clicked on it (nor would I have had I had the opportunity).  I know that I can’t afford a Volvo and I’m OK with that.
    4.    If you want the Volvo you can have the Volvo.  As for me and my house, we will ride our bikes.
    5.    Fliers stuck to cars, spam, annoying radio advertising, and web ads that take over my screen or flash uncontrollably; just add them to the list of companies that I refuse to do business with because their advertising practices annoy me.  I search websites and blogs of topics that I enjoy for products that may interest me, but I will find them, they don’t need to find me.
    6.   Yes, I am leaving my current job working at an assisted living facility and I am going to miss my elderly friends.  I want an easy way to let them know how I’m doing.  ( I have 1 month left to get one person to figure out how to get to my blog… It’s going to be close.)  I am passionate about health and living simply so I’m writing about life without a car.  My wife is sick of hearing about it, so I figure I have better odds of someone listening if I post it online. 
    7.   Saying Blog once sounds stupid.  I have to say "online journal" otherwise I confuse my elderly friends.
    8.   I read FC and minus car, and I will occasionally look around for others, but most aren’t worth reading. 
    9.  I read almost daily.

  21. Comment by Katie | 06.7.2006 | 12:56 am

    1) I don’t usually read it. I just do when someone says that there’s a good one on there. Mostly I get directed to blogs from other people’s sites. But perhaps trying other countries Spaces as well – just to get a rounded view of the world… after all, the internet is a global medium, it’s not just the USA. Just think of me – a poor little Australian – who only has 20 million people who could read her blog. I ask you, is that fair??!
    2) Single brand stores are moronic – the only way to get the best is to compare and find what you need.
    3) I’m sorry Volvo, but darn it, you just still look like a bit of a lame car. I haven’t clicked on your link, and I haven’t surfed your pages. I’m sure you’re a very nice car, and I’m sure you have LOTS of features I might like, but I don’t want anyone to think I’m an 80 year old man who likes to wear hats. It’s not you, it’s me.
    4) However if Volvo DID give me (and you Fatty) a car, I would drive it. I’m sure I could get over my prejudices, I just need to be persuaded.
    5) Advertising on blogs needs to be relevant to the country, relevant to the topic of the blog (why on earth would you advertise McDonalds on a weight loss blog?) and eye catching. I only read ads that make me pay attention – so it’s not an MSN thing, it’s the advertising people, who come up with bland ads.
    6) Yes I blog. Because I have very little work to do, and it stops me from sitting here and staring into space, or going postal. (Apologies to postal workers, but if you had my job, you would too). Plus, I like to disseminate information and share what I do with my life. Mainly my blog is about weight loss, health, fitness – that kind of stuff. Currently, I have a weight loss challenge with my friend Sam, and it’s WAR people, WAR I tell you.
    7) "Blogs" does sound stupid sometimes – but probably because I’m used to the word "bog" which means to take a poo, and they’re eerily similar…
    8) I read my usual blogs (about 10 of them) and occassionally get directed to something else. If it’s interesting, it gets put in the rotation – but sometimes people are just a bit slack, and don’t post often. That’s why I love Fat Cyclist (gratuitous suck up).
    9) Visit my favourites daily. Just because I have nothing else to do at work, and I like poking into people’s lives. That’s also why I read celebrity magazines. I’m just sad that way. :)
    Ah, now I feel better – got that off my chest!! :)

  22. Comment by barry1021 | 06.7.2006 | 12:59 am

    Hey since this is a quasi-cycling blog, is Banjo Bros. Boy allowed to win anything? I mean after all isn’t he considered a professional? He gives FC bags, FC gives him computer stuff, and I sit here bagless typing on my Radio Shack TRS-80, I mean is that right?
    And speaking frankly, Mike V., cuz I know I will never win a BB bag and even if  I do, FC will be too busy driving around in his new Volvo to actually send it to me so, you said this:
    -Well for starters I started two businesses and new cars simply haven’t replaced food yet on the heirarchy of needs-
    and then this:

    -My blogs are clustered into categories – cycling blogs, baseball blogs, business blogs, golf blogs and news blogs, sports blogs.-
    …make me want to say: GET OFF THE DAMN BLOGS AND GET TO WORK!!!
    THere I feel better. Of course if you send me a bag, i will retract everything, cuz as the great Al M said
    I am not a corporate whore, I am a corporate..escort.
    but…let you know when I finish selling out.  No, I’m not a corporate whore.  I’m a corporate… escort

  23. Comment by Ariane | 06.7.2006 | 1:12 am

    1. The What’s Your Story page was only of interest to me when I was on it.

    2. Well… To each his own, I guess. Seems like they’re not aiming for as big a demographic as they could. That being the demographic that is only into Trek, and can afford to be only into Trek. I buy Nashbar brand shorts myself.

    3. Dunno. I remember noticiing it one day because there was also a link to the Red Cross. Volvos are Swedish. Ikea, too, is Swedish. This is at least not detrimental.

    4. Yes, and see if MSN will also put in for an Audi. What? I like Audis.

    5. I couldn’t say what would work the very best. But what really gets my attention are the neon flashing ads that open new windows in my browser, which they often do in a rapid succession of several dozen ads at a go. This shows initiative. Usually they say, "CLICK HERE!!!" The three exclamation points are key, because I wouldn’t know how emphatic and sincere they were about the necessity of my clicking there were there any fewer.

    6. Yes… I started it to keep up my writing chops. I stayed for the deviled eggs.

    7. NEVAHHHH! I won’t do it. But this one time, when I was seven, I said the word "Noodles" so many times in a row that I was convinced I had made it up and that it wasn’t a real word at all.

    8. I used to Blog surf until the wee hours, but eventually the novelty wore off. Now I just hit the Bookmarked list every couple days.

    9. Ibid.

  24. Comment by Andrew | 06.7.2006 | 2:22 am

    ‘Apropos to nothing’, someone told me that there is something called "intermittent explosive disorder". Did that have anything to do with your flatulence post?
    I was just wondering.

  25. Comment by Zed | 06.7.2006 | 2:30 am

    1. I’ve got to admit that ever since that one guy got his undies in a knot over your cheating to win the MSNSpaces competition, it just hasn’t been the same. Much less entertaining when the unabomber’s all riled up about his blog competition being tampered with. What the heck was up with that. It was way cooler when Toadpizza was on there.
    2. Trek seems like the bike for the cyclist who just wants to fit the mainstream–be just like a certain celebrity who almost married Sheryl Crowe. The Trek store just seems like an extreme expression thereof. Again, what the heck? Who gets into cycling out of conformity? It’s so much cooler when you stand out in a crowd as "that weird bike-riding guy."
    3. Volvos look like cool cars, but I’m already aware that I couldn’t afford one without inheriting a bunch of money first, so I haven’t bothered to look.
    4. I suppose …
    5. It seems like ads are more effective if they have some graphic content to them–like your Banjo Bros ad–and if they relate to the blog subject. Those miniature text blog ads that just crowd out the actual blog are just obnoxious.
    6. Yep, bikes also. But my blog content has been somewhat sporadic lately. Go figure, your employer insists you stop blogging and you can’t find the time to get on your dial-up internet connection to write anything anymore. It’s still fun, regardless.
    I really started blogging in an attempt at finding holes in my writing–what’s interesting, what isn’t, what phrases or syntax do I repeat too frequently, what time of day is the best for me to find creativity, etc etc–but for a while there, I had some pretty cool visitors coming to the blog. Then big brother came after me, and my blogging slowed down.
    7. It was a weird word the first time I heard it. I think if weblogs had some slightly more normal sounding name, they might be more accepted in general society.
    8. I used to read all kinds of blogs–and I’d like to disagree with whoever said this was the only good blog on the web. May I suggest spending some time over at or or or … you get my drift. I’ve read some mindless drivel on some blogs, but I’ve also read some really heartfelt stuff. It seems like the blog tide is moving more toward blospot though.

  26. Comment by Unknown | 06.7.2006 | 2:59 am

    1)  For the most part, the “What’s Your Story” blogs are well written and interesting.  I like not having to go through dozens of “Today was really boring” and “my job sucks” just to find one or two blogs that merit attention.  I understand the voting process can be easily rigged by unscrupulous types and their merry bands of thieves, so MSN might want to do something about that. 
     [I still haven’t received that dollar you promised me.  Are you sure you put it in the mail before you moved?]
    2) What about the groceries?  She really does have a heart of gold, doesn’t she.
    3)  I don’t pay too much attention to ads when I’m visiting “What’s Your Story” or any other site, for that matter.  Every great once in a while I’ll click an ad, but not often.  To be honest, I didn’t even realize it was sponsored by Volvo.
    4)  I think Volvo should give you two cars, and you should store them and give them to your twins when they turn sixteen.  How cool would that be, your daughters driving around in matching, vintage Volvos?  You wouldn’t have to worry about them getting hurt—or having boyfriends.
    5)  Unobtrusive advertising that’s easy to zone out. . .wait. . .do you mean good advertising for me or good advertising for the advertiser?
    6)  I have no need to blog.  Millions of bloggers out there do a more than adequate job of summing up my life.  “Today was really boring.”  “My job sucks.”  There’s nothing more to say.  I do squat on other people’s blogs, though, but I’m paranoid that my contributions compel others to shut their blogs down (Errorista, Rocky, and now Bob and maybe even Brooklyned) so this might well be my last comment.
    7) And Thursday you’ll be asking, “Don’t you feel really stupid for actually saying “Blogs” aloud several times in a row?  If I asked you to jump off a cliff would you do that too?”
    8)  Both.  I have a handful of favorites, but like to find new, interesting blogs as well.
    9) Several times a day.  Those who comment (especially here) are every bit as entertaining as the Big Man himself.

  27. Comment by Brie | 06.7.2006 | 3:08 am

    Here is my 10c worth (not even that with our exchange rate)
    1. It is nice how they have featured blogs on various subjects, always a chance to learn new things about people and parts of the world. Think it would be a nice change if they have ’subject weeks’ with various blogs on the same subject featured
    2. A nothing but Trek store..guess that is the same vein as the Nike stores here…it doesn’t tempt me to walk into there and buy a bike. Though it would be interesting to have a good ‘one on one’ with the store mechanic and hopefully get the real story on the bikes…apologies for the product placement earlier. I’d like to think that I am a self respecting cyclist/triathlon competition person and I wouldn’t purchase said brand, but if I was sponsored by them and got all my stuff as gifts. Though I still wouldn’t recommend their products to others unless they were free, and if I didn’t perform well in a race it would be non beneficial to blame the said brand’s equipment and reduce my chance of sponsorship again. 
    3. Have no problem with the sponsorship, though it doesn’t really match the featured blogs for the week. I haven’t been to their site because our cars are right hand drive and that would just confuse me if  surfed around their web site.
    4. Your very own Volvo would be pretty cool, I’d like one too especially if it came with matching roof racks. 
    5. The best advertising would be ads that are related to the subject of the blog…though that may be really hard to distinguish in some blogs. Otherwise computer related or broadband advertising?
    6. Yes I do blog because I like to procrastinate, and its a fun way to express myself. My blogs are soley on my amatuer racing and the fun associated with training. Though perhaps I should change it from blog to rant after some of the stuff I posted.
    7. Not only does saying blogs multiple times seem stupid, the people I share an office with have kindly asked me if I wouldn’t mind stopping any time now.
    8. I like to follow blogs around the same subject and I visit the blogs of people who have left messages for me.
    9. I visit my favourite blog once every 3 days….but never say hi, instead read it and go back to my life - but I have a link on my site to it!

  28. Comment by Unknown | 06.7.2006 | 3:26 am

    If you are giving away cool free stuff you need to pay more attention to your readers’ needs.  Al Maviva seems to have a firm grasp on what constitutes cool (shiny things!).  I put him forward as Readers’ Rep.
    Unfortunately his comments on PowerTap seem to have gone unheaded.  I had hoped that by now you would have contacted the sales rep for PowerTap, and would be feting him with lunch then a trip down Tibble Fork with Dug.  Once he has sustained a few head injuries get him to give you some Cool Stuff to give away.
    P.S. PowerTap is not cool.  It is a bit dorky looking.  PowerTap SL is much cooler.

  29. Comment by Unknown | 06.7.2006 | 2:41 pm

    FC . . . So how’s the STUNT Diet going?   Probably not so good since you haven’t mentioned it  . . . OR your weight since before you moved. . .
    Just wondering.

  30. Comment by Jsun | 06.7.2006 | 7:40 pm

    umm, yah,  Liss is right.  I think FC is trying the bait and switch, waving the prospect of shiny prizes and trips to Mexico in our faces, trying to distract us from the real purpose of this site – making fun of FC and his eating and cycling habits.  I was already cleaning out my garage for my new all-wheel drive Volva, but am back on track.  So how is the stunt diet, and creampuff100 training going?

  31. Comment by Christina | 06.7.2006 | 9:44 pm

    1.  I can’t open the What’s Your Story main pg anymore.  Nothing shows up so I have no idea who’s featured until the week after, once MSN has posted the past week’s blogs.  If that’s my computer, oh well.  If that’s Spaces or b/c of the volvo ads or whatever else, I’d like it changed.  :)
    Ok, I do have a serious opinion on the voting aspect of Spaces.  You seem to be connected to the almighty MSN Spaces HQ’s, so here it is:  I liked it better when there wasn’t voting, just featuring.  I don’t vote b/c it’s weird to decide whose personal life/interests are "better" than someone else’s.   I’m all about the competition in other arenas of life, but not this one for a number of reasons.  I’ve disliked that some bloggers can’t take it when other bloggers JOKE about winning and competing (completely appropriately in the fun spirit of the contest).  This overreaction and insecure pissiness just kind of ruins the fun when someone gets all upset for nothing, mostly b/c they don’t really get it about someone’s sense of humor or whatever else.  I’ve read too much of that nonsense and it kind of ruins the "Best of" thing.  I’ve heard there are featured bloggers desperately loading the votes on Sun night and all kinds of other stupidity like that.  Some people obviously can’t handle this competition WHERE YOU DON’T EVEN WIN ANYTHING REAL  :-0   
    C’mon people.  Don’t be so desperate.  It’s just for fun   :)
    I noticed when you were featured recently that someone got upset about your competitive tactics.  I’ve been reading you for a long time and have come to understand your sense of humor and antics.  Was that a serious criticism?  Do people actually take things like that SO seriously?  (As I write that, I’m wondering why I’m answering you seriously at all.  heh heh :) 
    It’s all this kind of stuff I find annoying.  Therefore I think it was better when there wasn’t voting. 
    Featuring=good.  Voting=pointless.  That’s my summary statement. 
    3.  Volvos are way too expensive to maintain.  Not worth it.  MSN should advertise bikes or worthwhile non-profits.  It’s not like MSN needs the cash.  :)
    -Beast Mom

  32. Comment by joan | 06.8.2006 | 12:35 am

    I like the fact that MSN Spaces highlights a different space each time and it’s a great way to learn about new and interesting blogs.  However, I don’t think that it’s quite diverse enough.  Very often, the spaces highlighted seem to be very "white bread" with the rare exception (yours, for example).  It would be great to highlight some more edgy stuff once in a while.  A Trek store – who do they think they are – the Gap?  I agree that, while Trek may make some acceptable products, no one company can meet all of your needs – well, except LL Bean…I have clicked on the Volvo ads – and I think it’s a pretty good advertising ploy to sponsor the site.  Despite being the ultimate family car, they’re not too shabby in the bike transportation arena.It would be cool if Volvo gave you a car – cooler if they gave me one.Good advertising on blogs – kind of sounds like an oxymoron.  I think the best advertising is about products that are related to the content of the blog.  I’d not be excited to see ads for Stay-free with wings on fat cyclist but an ad for a trek store might not be bad…or maybe a real bike store.I do blog – and here is my shameless plug – I blog about events in the life of a harried lesbian supermom.  I do it for the simple reason that it makes me happy.  It is a good place for me to be able to say what I feel and share my incredibly sharp and cutting wit with all of you.  It also makes me immodest – which I actually like.Blog blog blog blog – sounds like blah blah blah blah – kind of like Charlie Brown’s teacher.I typically read a certain group of blogs and do so with a fanaticism bordering on obsession.  However, I also read the comments and have found several other great blogs by clicking on the commenters’ links.  I find that I get sucked into the writing of great bloggers and need to go back frequently so that I don’t miss out on anything.

  33. Comment by mhywan | 06.8.2006 | 12:35 am

    Instead of a "Trek" store, we have a store here in BC that got an exclusive deal with Cannondale.  It makes the reverse hard: if you want a good bike that fits you, you have to go to this place to try a Cannondale (and a couple of other brands) and another store to try something else.  It might make sense for the company but it makes no sense for the consumer methinks.

  34. Comment by Unknown | 06.8.2006 | 3:53 am

    Okay, Dan.  I’ve got it.  Anna Nicole Smith, in a tinfoil bikini, telling bad jokes, jumping around waving a Powertap SL.  Or some other shiny objects.  Or maybe some Zero Gravity brake calipers. 
    Oh yeah.  That’s just what we need. 
    I’d suggest some top level bicyclist doing something similar for Fatty’s female readers, but frankly, scantily clad top level cyclists look like horror movie refugees.  You got the fat guy with the axe in the head, the woman with black eyes and crazy hair and a farmer’s wife sort of dress, then there’s the skinny tall cyclist with his shirt off, carrying a pedal wrench.  Aaaaaiiiiiiiieeeeeee!!!!  Run!  No, on second thought, eschew the running, lift some weights and eat some food instead!

  35. Comment by Unknown | 06.8.2006 | 6:49 am

    Hmmm … maybe time to revoke Al’s Reader’s Rep privileges.  Clearly the power has cracked his mind.  The image of Anna Nicole in a tin foil bikini is something I really didn’t need (I was trying to think pre-reality TV show Anna, but all I was getting was a whole lot of Anna in much less bikini).
    Time to plant some equally bad images in your mind Al – the male models.  I saw a discussion on another cycling board about why cycling shorts should always be black.  They managed to come up with some pictures demonstrating why yellow shorts in particular are very bad.

  36. Comment by Jill | 06.8.2006 | 7:25 am

     1. I think someone should expand these sites to include all blogs, not just MSN. Although, obviously, MSN wouldn’t bother.
    2. This is the same idea as going to a Harley Davidson shop to buy a Harley. It makes sense to me. Some people are very brand loyal. (For the record, I don’t own a Trek, but I drool over thos Fuels)
    3. Who actually cicks on ads?
    4. A car’s a lot to ask for a professional joke blog, or a joke professional blog.
    5. Blogs make good advertising. It’s more about clever product placement (Assos) than flashy graphics.
    6. Yes. I run another one of those cyclist blogs, a joke in a different sense of the word.
    7. It does sound like something very boring … wah wah wah wah wah.
    8. I’m a blogroller these days.
    9. Almost daily

  37. Comment by uncadan8 | 06.8.2006 | 11:16 am

    Answer to "Do you blog?": Yes, I blog. I blog because I really am fat; and I am a cyclist (getting there, anyway). It is a way for me to keep myself honest to my goals. I could lie about the numbers and all that, but it would not make me any skinnier. Talking about my progress and then getting out to ride to continue making progress, so that I have something to talk about, DOES make me skinnier.

  38. Comment by Stephanie | 06.8.2006 | 1:29 pm

    I think Al should win solely on the fact that he’s owned up to being a "corporate escort." 

  39. Comment by Big Guy on a Bicycle | 06.8.2006 | 4:03 pm

    When thinking on the subject of your second question, I am reminded of a store here in town along a similar vein.  Two stores over from my LBS of choice is a store called "Everything Jake".  All they sell is stuff emblazoned with the various "Life is Good" drawings and such.  T-shirts, hats, bags, et cetera.  There is another store less than a mile away that also sells that stuff, though it’s limited to one display stand.  I hear that there are also many more stores around town selling the "Life is Good" motif.  I cannot imagine how the "Everything Jake" store owner thought that the public would beat a path to his door when other area stores have the same content, along with other useful stuff.
    I am curious to see how long either the Trek store or the "Everything Jake" store will do once their respective fads wear off.  What if Floyd wins the TdF this year?  Will they open a BMC store next to the Trek one?

  40. Comment by jim | 06.8.2006 | 4:11 pm

    In answer to the advertising on blogs question:
    Discrete is best.  Not so discrete that they are hard to find but definitly not something that invades the content and the very reason we patronize a site.  Nothing is worse that an ad pop up that blocks your view of the site and forces you to hit the close button to get rid of it.  Ads are like TV commercials. Most of us only suffer through them to get the real advantages of our visit…the content of the blog or program.  I understand the need for them and even end up buying products that speak to my needs.  Just remember that is not the reason we visit.

  41. Comment by mark | 06.8.2006 | 4:35 pm

    As I was attempting to log in and post a comment about your second question, I was reminded that this is another one of those Microsoft sites that doesn’t really work with Firefox. So I was forced to open IE and paste the URL so I could log in and post a comment.
    In the process, I realized that Microsoft [intentionally?] making their sites not work with Firefox is sort of like shopping at a Trek store. It’s great if all you are interested in using are Trek products. And there are cyclists like that. Often they are the same cyclists who are willing to spend hundreds or thousands of extra dollars to shave 1-2 pounds off of their bikes while still carrying an extra 20-30 pounds on their bodies. They are more interested in brand name than performance and can only tell the difference between products by their labels. 
    I suspect, however, that Trek is a little late in making this retail push, as Lance really is retired and unless Floyd or Levi wins the tour, Americans will soon cease to pretend caring about cycling. And even if Levi or Floyd wins, unless they (re)turn to Discovery to do it, it won’t do Trek or their stores a bit of good. Carmichael and Bob Roll have already jumped ship to Specialized, so I suspect that the Trek run of dominance is nearing its end, and Trek will soon make a press release announcing the end of the Trek stores.
    Now if Trek/Bontrager truly had the best products in every category and vertically integrating into retail were the last step remaining to assert nationwide dominance of the cycling market, then Trek stores might make sense. While I will be the first to admit that Trek makes great frames, there’s still progress to be made elsewhere. Ironically, in the same week that Trek sent me an e-newsletter slamming their competitor’s carbon forks for being made in China, George Hincapie’s steer tube snapped on his Bontrager carbon fork while riding the cobbles of Paris-Roubaix. Oops.

  42. Comment by Teresa | 06.9.2006 | 2:34 am

    Before I answer, I must make a personal plea for you to give something to B21.  My god man, he’s using a Trash 80!
    1  I don’t know what I like about it.  I’ve only been there once and I was reading about FC here before that.
    2  My local Trek store carries other brands but I only shop there because of our cycling club discount.
    3  Don’t know about it.  Volvos are okay.
    4  Yes, it would be cool if you got one, I’d probably sell the one I got.  I’m commuting by bike and public transportation most days now.
    5  Something that I would be interested in like travel to Italy, food, etc.
    6  No, I certainly do not…not that there is anything wrong with that.
    7  It sounds kinda Swedish to me or something onomatopeic (the sound of putting the gallon of gas into your car from the plastic gas can).
    8  I go to only two blogs.  One here and the other is about weightloss.  Both are entertaining; especially the comments.
    9  I check them several times during my waking hours.

  43. Comment by Ashbygirls | 06.9.2006 | 2:16 pm

    I’d like to answer question 8:  Once I had three blogs.  Errorista, Top5Bob, and you.  Then there was two.  And now only one.  I should surf around and find some more (what is there to do at work now?), but suddenly I have this fear of abandonment.
    And on the subject of stores with limited merchandise- remember that store in Moab, "The Red Dirt Shirt" store?  Not only did they only have one brand, they only sold ONE shirt.  Seems like maybe they aren’t open anymore.

  44. Comment by Unknown | 06.9.2006 | 8:14 pm

    is this thing on?
    don’t make us all move
    mimi smartypants to the top
    of our blog list, cause buddy, we’ll
    sure think about doin’ it.
    don’t you roll your eyes at us
    like that, you’ll go straight to
    your room with no fixed gear
    riding for a week.
    aww, c’mon fc we’re just kiddin’.
    let us know which one of your loyal
    readers DIDN’T win anything this time.

  45. Comment by Nichole | 06.9.2006 | 9:12 pm

    Thanks for asking your readers these questions, Elden.  And thanks to all of you for the thoughtful answers.  We get a lot of feedback on the site, but it’s great to start a public dialogue.
    I hear you all on the voting, and have heard these issues from other participants as well.  So we’re seriously considering removing the voting/ranking.  My intent with it was to make people feel even more special, but the angst/upset it causes outweighs that.  (Unless you win, of course).  I’ve been amazed and humbled by the community that has grown from What’s Your Story, and I want to see it continue to be a positive place.  Or at least a place for teasing FC.  ;-)
    Thanks for making this all real and worth it. 

  46. Comment by barry1021 | 06.10.2006 | 12:27 am

    Geez nicole from MSN, that wasn’t funny or sarcastic at all. It was like…well…NICE!!  I don’t think "nice" is allowed here. Hey you wouldn’t happen tp have a picture of you in a speedo you could post do ya??

  47. Comment by Christina | 06.10.2006 | 5:41 am

    FC, you have clout. 
    Lookit, Nichole from MSN addressed my serious input right here in your comments, indicating they are already leaning towards what I suggested.  Now that’s customer service.  It’s the only decent customer service experience I’ve had in a long time.  Usually it’s, "We are experiencing an unusually high amount of callers at this time.  Your.  Wait.  Time.  Is.  93.  Minutes.  Please press 2 followed by the pound sign to leave a message.  We never call back, but press pound when you are finished with your futile blithering."  <phone cuts off unexpectedly because I pressed 3 instead of 2.>
    BUT I come HERE and leave a comment and blammo, MSN responds directly to the customer in a timely manner.

  48. Comment by Walter | 06.10.2006 | 11:23 am

    Lessee here…
    - I haven’t been back to "What’s your story" since the week of the "FC ballot stuffing incident".  I tried a few other featured blogs, didn’t find any that were as interesting to me as this, and decided that I didn’t really need to find any more things I compulsively check and read — very uncool and closed-minded of me, I know, but I like my family and job just fine, thank you very much.
    - Funny you mention the Trek store — I unwittingly stumbled into one (it was called "Jake’s Bikes" or something innocuous) while visiting my brother-in-law over Memorial Day, and was all of a sudden overcome with the urge to count to 7 on my fingers, wear black and yellow (together), and buy black cycling socks.  Then I became irrationally afraid that the steerer tube on my bike would break with the next pothole I hit.  Needless to say, I got outta there as fast as I could.
    - I think I have the same criteria for advertising on blogs as I do anywhere else: ideally, make it relevant to me and the mindset I’m in when I’m on your site (i.e., I may be interested in long-term care insurance, but not while I’m looking to be entertained about cycling). I gotta believe that both Microsoft and Google (am I allowed to use that word here?!) are close to knowing enough about me that relevance isn’t too much to ask.  If you can’t meet the relevance criteria, at least make it easy to ignore (none of those obnoxious things that cover what you actually came to the site for), or really entertaining (think Stupor Bowl ads).
    - As far as Volvo sponsorship specifically goes, I guess all it made me think was that the reader demographics of the blogosphere or MSN Spaces must be different than I had perceived.  I should clarify that we live in an area where it seems the only vehicles available for sale are Volvo wagons, Honda/Toyota minivans, Priuses (Prii?), and 83 flavors of SUVs, so I don’t really feel compelled to find out more about any of the above.
    Have fun at the conference! Maybe you could ask for a clip of your most embarrassing moments so you can post it here for your loyal readers…

  49. Comment by Daryl | 06.11.2006 | 2:19 am

    This is what I do. Check the daily distraction on pezcyclingnews. See if there is a new training article to read that will help me improve without actually doing anything. Kind of like FC’s diets. Next is Cyclingnews to see latest news and sometimes reading the race in progress but mainly the letters. After that I  go to FC’s blog and SOMETIMES get a new entry. Which I then skim and go to the comments to see what the real stars have to say. I know it is going to be a good day if dug, b21, al, mike and the other cast of characters have already entered something. The next step used to be to read the top 5 but not anymore.
    I’m an idiot and there probably is a way but what bugs me the most about this is not being able to read all the comments. It seems like I only catch replies to earlier comments that were made.
    Contest. That is what makes me click on ads. If I have a chance to win something I will sign up for anything. Love the tour because they have lots of contest and I actually won a couple things last year. What I will do for a free water bottle. I would click on the Volvo ad if they were giving away anything, water bottle, slice of cake, picture of b21 in a Speedo.
    Couldn’t wait any longer to win so I got my own Bianchi track bike. Guess I could use KeepYerBike now.

  50. Comment by Unknown | 06.11.2006 | 12:59 pm

    Okay, I’ll be impressed if Nicole answers DB’s question about why some of the earlier comments seem to disappear over time (leaving only a frustratingly intangable vapour trail as to what sparked whole lines of conversation).  I’m particularly annoyed over this one as I tend to miss comments from people called dug that make other people laugh globules of spit on to their computer monitors.

  51. Comment by Unknown | 06.12.2006 | 3:10 am

    1. I like reading the comments of other bloggers who get pissed off when FC rigs voting contests with free giveaways.
    2. Probike in Bangkok used to be the only decent bike shop in Indochina.  They have been "Trekked" and now don’t sell anything else but Trek, Lemond, Klein, Bontrager etc etc.  I’m pissed off!
    3. I haven’t been back to What’s Your Story since the abovementioned vote rigging episode and have never clicked on a Volvo ad.
    4. Yep, real cool.
    5. Shameless promotion of stuff the blogger is being given for free makes for good advertising on blogs.
    6. I started a blog with photos of weird things I see here on the streets in Hanoi.  Not enough time (but no lack of weird things) to maintain it.
    7. Yes.
    8.  I read yours and Jan Ullrich’s - if anyone visits it turn down your sound first, it comes complete with Wagnerian soundtrack.
    9.  Both are on my "morning circuit" of internet surfing.

  52. Comment by Pedal It Forward | 06.12.2006 | 8:31 am

    I like the Most "What’s Your Story" vote — gets me out of my box and into some funny content.
    Ads v. Sponsorship — Hate ads, tolerate sponsorship. Yes, I have clicked on the Volvo ads but only because I was researching some new wheels. I will always click/browse/shop/buy on a vendor who shows a modicum of corporate responsibility through sponsorship. Ads are just plain annoying.
    I have some favorite sites, including FC. Inspiration comes from all sorts, and I hope to have the sponsorship that FC has someday;-)

  53. Comment by Sue | 06.12.2006 | 2:04 pm

    Dan & db to see the "previous" posts, scroll to the top of the comments section (which is what you are reading if you are reading the comments) and (paradoxically) click "next" to see the previous comments.
    P.S. Nicole, I’ll expect a Fat (pun intended) check in the mail for this and multiple other services I’ve rendered on behalf of msn.

  54. Comment by Unknown | 06.12.2006 | 2:14 pm

    DB, Botched – the real reason I hang out here is I like trying to figure out the completely weird, counter-intuitive operating system level gems that MS has designed into Spaces.MSN.  Like the backwards comments "next" feature, which would only make sense if you clicked on comments and were directed to the bottom of the comments section, to the first comment written, so you could read up the page, 1-20, then hit "next" for 21-40, and so forth.  I’m trying to remember the old Apple IIe error message that would best describe this weird little navigational trick… Ahh, yes, there it is.  "Fatal Logic Error." 

  55. Comment by Conejita | 06.12.2006 | 6:45 pm

    "The nice thing is, Nichole at MSN gave me a bunch of cool stuff to give away, if you’ll just answer a few blog-related questions."
    Yeah right Fatty.  You think were just a bunch of blood thirsty prize mongers dont you?  Heres how I imagine the real meeting with Nichole went:
    Nichole:  Do you think if you asked, your readership would give you some feedback about what they like and dont like about spaces?
    Fatty:  For FREE???!  Are you crazy?  They are ruthless, prize demanding mongers.  You dont know what Ive had to sacrafice for these people.  I gave away all my possesions when we moved and now I have nothing left but  my children.  Now granted I have four to choose from, but how do I pick?
    Nichole:  ohh….um …okay.  How about some flash dreive and a Tshirt.
    Fatty:  That should be fine.  They like things that are shiny.

  56. Comment by Nichole | 06.15.2006 | 5:25 pm

    Botched, I have a friend in Prague… but she’s not overweight.  I only know skinny Czechs, and not sure how i’d put her in the mail anyway.


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