Friday, June 23, 2006

The Lowdown on Lowbrow -- All-Girls Roller Derby

Saturday nights are Date Night for Jae and I. This past weekend we started early by attending a game of Duke City Derby. That's right, roller derby. Jae had gone to a game the month before, when I was out of town. She got a kick out of it, and talked me into going.

When I think sporting event, I think spacious, well-lit space with bleachers. Try bar lighting, bar seating, wood ring in the middle. There were hot dog and pizza vendors outside. Bad beer only inside. A really bad band, the kind that makes up for being bad by being really loud. Although they get points for having a cute cowgirl playing the accoustic base.

We found our first seat at a table where someone Jae knew was sitting. They had chosen their spot partly for its view of the "penalty box." You see, being put in the penaly box involved being put in stocks and spanked by a vinyl-clad, red haired dominatrix, complete with riding crop. She had these great bat tatoos, one on the back of each thigh, showing just below her provacatively short skirt.

The match we saw pitted the Ho-Bots agains the DoomsDames. The players wear ridiculous outfits, and have derby names, the best probably being Molotov Cocktease. My favorite player was Dahmernatrix. She has the size and physical play of a Blocker, but was also her team's best Jammer. Her place in my heart was cemented during the entertainment between bouts 2 and 3. They took the player from each team that had the most penalty points, and made them play roller derby musical chairs. What that meant was that the two women, still on skates, circled a bar stool till the music stopped, and then wrestled for possession of the stool. After some thrashing about on the floor, Dahmernatrix wrapped her thunderous thighs around the stool and took possession.

It was an interesting crowd. It was a mix of rednecks, goth and punk types, dykes, and college kids slumming. Not sure where we fit in.

I was surprised by the amount of strategy involved in the bouts. It took me most of the game to start to follow. One announcer described it as a cross between chess and a riot, which amuses me to no end.

All in all, great fun. We'll be returning next month.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Summer Treat -- Frozen Grapes

Cheap, easy, and exquisite summer treat. Buy some grapes, wash them, dry them, and through them in the freezer.

Thursday, June 01, 2006


I have never thought of myself as a potential entrepreneur. It takes ambition, guts, a willingness to take risks and work too hard. Right? Not my defining characteristics. Recently, however, I have participated in low-intensity entrepreneurism. Like millions of people around the world, I am doing this with a most interesting advertising company, Google.

About 6 years ago I wrote 2 tutorials, Cisco Router Configuration Tutorial, and IP Subnet Calculations. I published them at That was before I had a domain. I promoted them a little bit by registering them with the major search engines and linking to them, when appropriate, in posts on news groups and mailing lists. I did this for a number of reasons. One was to build professional credentials. Another was to give back to the Internet community that had answered so many of my questions. And another was to do something well that often isn't, technical writing.

Traffic to these tutorials has built over the years. Since the beginning I have gotten a kick out of the global nature of the readership. I have also been gratified to receive thanks in email, requests to translate the documents, requests for permission to use them in university classes. Makes me feel good. Now its also making me a little money.

This is not about getting rich. Right now, however, I am surprised to find that it is a modest addition to my income. In february of 2005 I got curious about Google ads on websites. I checked out how it worked, and it was stunningly easy to signup for an account and place Google ads on my web pages. You can play with add style and placement as much or as little as you want. I put some banner ads across the top and waited to see what happened. To my surprise, those ads immediately started generating about $100/month in advertising revenue, paid to me by Google. They deposit straight into my bank account. Cool. Remember that this is money generated by advertising on web pages I had created 5 years prior. The work was done.

In March of 2006, around the 1 year anniversary of my starting with Google ads, I decided to spend a little time playing with ad style and placement. This is all the work I had done in the year since first adding the ads to the pages. I did a little experimenting, and by chaning style and placement of ads boosted the monthly average to over $300/month. That has held so far.

I've decided to create more content. This is more risky, in terms of ROI, than just putting ads on pages that were created years ago. This means doing new, real work, in hopes of increasing revenue. Hey, look at me, I think I'm an entrepreneur.