Weekend Musings: Chowtimes Picture In Williams-Sonoma Cookbook

Yeah, I know.

I know it feels kind of weird writing a Weekend Musings post when we just have mere hours left of the weekend. But then it is better late than never. Anyway, I got three more things to get off my chest.

The Williams-Sonoma Breakfast Comfort Cookbook


Guess what got delivered to us last week.

We were puzzled why anyone would ever want to send us a cookbook at all. It was a beautiful newly published Williams-Sonoma cookbook called Break Comfort.


It took us a while before we realized that a publisher contacted us a few months ago asking if they could use one of chowtimes’ photos for their publication. We get a few requests like that every now and then and so never thought of it. We don’t care so much for people using our photos just as long as they do the right thing to ask and let us know what it is for. If anyone tries to hotlink our photos without telling us, we will ask the site to take it down. But if they ask up front we are cool with it.

Flipping to page 87, there it was. It was the photo of … the Portage Bay Cafe (in Seattle) we took 2.5 years ago. See the picture below that was on our website.

Well, they took our photo and made it black and white for the book. Kekeke … we’re famous!

Portage Bay

New Feature: Subscribe to Comments with Subscribing

I remember that it was just a year ago when Suanne and I get very excited receiving 5-6 comments a day from chowtimes readers. Yeah, we enjoy reading comments a lot. But the past year, the comments left had increased a lot. Some even attracting over 100 comments for one posts.

We realize that chowtimes readers does not just enjoy reading our posts but it is the exchanges from the readers that is also very interesting. So I was thinking of how I could make it easy for all of you to follow the comments and I had implemented a new and very simple feature I hope you will find useful.


Most of you know that you can opt in to receive emails of comments left against a post. However, you could only opt in only if you have left a comment at the same time.

Not any more. See above. Now you can subscribe to receive comments via email without commenting. All you need is to provide an email address and click on subscribe and you will receive an email each time there is a new comment on that post.

But a word of caution! Please be aware that you could get a LOT of emails especially if you subscribe to a post which have dozens of emails. You could get overwhelmed because the comments are delivered in ONE EMAIL for ONE COMMENT. So if you get overwhelmed, don’t blame me OK? LOL!

Anyway, you have total control over your subscription. Once you had subscribed to the comments, you have a link that says “Manage Your Subsription” which you can use to remove the subscription.

Win a 32GB Apple iPod Touch from Kooperz.com

I am doing a call out of a website for a friend of a friend. And just in case someone is waiting to spring on chowtimes saying “Aha! Paid Advertisement!”, don’t. We are not paid anything for this. We don’t cheapen chowtimes by accepting payments.

Well, let’s put it this way … if people pays us $10,000 for doing it, yeah, we’ll bend over. LOL!

OK. Kooperz.com is giving away a 32GB Apple iPod Touch just by subscribing to receive their deals. So easy. You got nothing to lose!


Kooperz is like Groupon. I am sure everyone is so familiar with Groupon and all the other similar sites too.

Groupon is a deal-of-the-day website. I am not sure if they pioneer in this area but they certainly is the biggest of them all. You would have noticed that Groupon advertise themselves very aggressively on Google Ads especially.

You see, the name of the game in deal-of-the-day websites is subscribers. The more subscribers you have the stronger you are. Groupon has 35 million subscribers!

But the thing is Groupon’s business model is so easily copied. Every Tom, Dick and Harry could start up one but of course getting the mass of subscribers necessary is another thing. So these days we all see so many of such sites that I can’t even keep track of it. There are hundreds of such sites in the world today but Groupon is still #1.

Three months ago, Yahoo offered to acquire Groupon for $3 billion. Groupon refused. A month later the mighty Google plonked down $5.3 billion on the table and Groupon also turned that down.

Soh Chai!

So greedy. So stupid. You don’t spurn Google. Not when your business model can be copied by a small startup. The news leaked just a few days ago. Google is gonna put the entire weight of the corporation to create their own — Google Offers! Now, Groupon is in serious trouble if you ask me. Think about it … Google can out advertise Groupon. For subscriptions, Google has in their possession 193 million active gmail users that they can build on. Google Analytics, Google Maps, Google Adsense, Google Checkout … all these products can be leveraged in making Google Offers more than what Groupon could dream to be.

If I were Groupon, I’ll pick up the phone right now and call Larry Page with a 50% deal-of-the-day discount … before it’s too late.

This Post Has 22 Comments

  1. Angie

    Congrats! That was a beautiful pic! Now, who took the picture?? Ha Ha!

    1. Ben

      *ahem* … It was Uncle Ben. 🙂

  2. Jayda

    I’m addicted to Groupon….. I don’t know who thought up the idea, but it’s become my daily habit to check what daily deal Groupon has each morning….. I think I like the surprise factor of it…. you never know what it’s going to be.

    1. Ben

      Hi Jayda: Addicted to Groupon? Tell us the truth … how many groupons have you purchase so far and how many used? LOL! No, I am just kidding … you don’t have to tell us. Yeah, admittedly I do subscribe to every deal-of-the-day sites and do check it every morning. I can’t miss it … it’s right up there in the inbox because they are smart to publish the deals overnight. Ben

      1. Ryan

        I’ve been using OneSprout that basically consolidates all the deal websites into one concise email every morning. CakeDeals does the same thing. I find it much easier than having 10-20 emails per day. Hope that helps.

        1. Jayda

          Thanks Ryan…. I’m going to check that out right now. Maybe it’s not such a good idea though since I probably should be enrolled in Groupon Anonymous…. lol…. do I need more temptation???

        2. Ben

          Hi Ryan: Thanks! I did not think of that but then of course some smart cookie will develop a site just to consolidate everyone. I had just signed up for OneSpout (BTW, it is OneSpout and not OneSprout). That sure helped! Ben

          1. Ben

            You are not going to believe this. I subscribed to OneSpout yesterday and I received the first email. There are SIXTY deals and that is only for Vancouver. Wow … this is getting saturated — too many players. I am not surprised if one by one these startups might fail.

      2. Jayda

        Honestly….I love a deal so I’ve probably bought about 30 by now…. I went a little crazy at first but now I’m starting to slow down….. it was a great opportunity to try new restaurants in particular since it didn’t limit you in terms of what to order or a time (as Entertainment books do). I think it’s a great system and so far haven’t had any problems using them….. except the few that I didn’t get around to using in time and thus they expired (doooh! that hurts!).

        1. Ben

          Hi Jayda: Wow, I am impressed! Ben

  3. L.S.

    Wow, lucky! Once in a blue moon I get asked on Flickr if a photo of mine can be used in a book. I always grant them permissions but never receive anything in return… 🙂

    1. Ben

      Hi LS: Yeah, I know … lucky! The picture was nothing to shout about anyway. I think they wanted a shot of the restaurant but couldn’t find one they like. Ben

      1. L.S.

        heh heh. So, how’s the book?

        1. Ben

          Hi LS: The book is sitting nicely on the bookshelf. We have lots of cookbooks but we don’t normally read them! 🙂

  4. JoAnn

    Awesome! I love Williams-Sonoma cookbooks, the Cookie one was one of my very first (the Blondie recipe, precursor to my “Asian Blondies” is the most popular amongst my friends).
    I also love it when people use my photos – even when it’s just friends using it profile pic on Facebook. 😉

    1. Ben

      Hi JoAnn: Sorry you gotta fill me in about Blondie recipes and “Asian Blondie” … what is that about? Ben

  5. etranger

    Congratulations on your photo! Now you are published. I think it is a vote for continuing to post travel threads…

    Regarding Groupon, I have bought a lot of great deals from the various sites. My current favorite is Tippr because if you let a deal expire it isn’t money down the tubes, but a straight up certificate at the establishment.

    They also refunded my money when a place went out of business.

    I think there will need to be new laws governing these things, similar to the new laws for gift cards.

    1. Ben

      Hi etranger: Yeah, with the proliferation of these sites and the money they are raking in, we certainly need laws to protect the public! Ben

  6. DL

    Another type of coupon thingy is this book called Entertainment book. It has tones of good value coupon in it, ranging from dine-in restaurant, fast food, entertainment (movie, golf), hair cut, T&T, Safeway, etc etc. Most of these coupon is “buy one get one free”. Imagine you buy one dinner entree and get the second entree for free, it is quite a good deal especially at good restaurant. I just got one from my friend, and my motivation now is to use one coupon per week to visit those restaurants that are new to me. And it is fun! It would be better if that entertainment coupon book is free though.

    1. Ben

      Hi DL: LOL! So why have we all forgotten about the Entertainment Book? We used to have a copy lying in the pantry in the office. Everyone who can help themselves to it. I thought it was a great idea to get one for the office (it’s not expensive) and let the staff use it. Ben

      1. DL

        yup, not expensive, and I personally think it is really worth it even though just for self-consumption (instead of sharing with office, haha).

        I heard some part of money does go into charity.. not sure is it true or not?

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