Tuesday, November 24, 2009

All For Now!

All acceptable submissions have been posted. Thank you to all who submitted! If your submission was not posted, it was for one of the following reasons:

Monday, November 23, 2009

The News Behind the Story Between the Lines of the Meta-Narrative Surrounding the Nonevent

url: http://seanibus.blogspot.com/

In his inaugural post in 2005, blogger and sometimes journalist Sean Scully set the tone for much that was to follow, when he explained "I have realized that it doesn't matter if I have nothing terribly compelling to say. It hasn't stopped anyone else."

Sadly, it did not stop Mr. Scully either, for he has continued to post on and off through the last four years, occasionally tantalizing us with a flash of insight or a brush with actual content, but mostly contenting himself with a meandering series of non sequiturs.

Structurally the blog is quite simple, in both layout and tone, with a non-threatening blue color scheme and modular layout, bracketing Mr. Scully's generally stripped down writing style.

But it the entire effort is hobbled by his seeming inability to decide what his blog is about. Is it a beer blog? He experimented with the format briefly in 2007, but the effort petered out, apparently after he received some adverse comments about some arcane historical points in a review of a beer with an aircraft from the famous Flying Tigers on the label. Is it a music blog? He has several posts related to various bands, including early notices of the Watson Twins and The Avett Brothers, but he seemed disinclined to follow this promising thread. Or is it a blog of political journalism? He seems to rouse himself several times a year to opine on matters political, but he never sustains the efforts for more than a day or two.

At its best, Seanibus is mildly entertaining and occasionally informative. At its worst, it is just a forum for reposting humorous asides that ultimately amount to nothing.

Unless Mr. Scully can find a unifying principle behind his effort, I am afraid this blog is doomed to forever be about nothing.

contributing reviewer/ee
Sean from Seanibus

Saturday, November 21, 2009

How Can You Tell Between A Frog And A Toad? It's In His Kiss

url: http://kissing--frogs.blogspot.com/

The first thing you'll notice while reading kissing frogs is that the blogger has a love, nay, an obsession with cat macros. The second is that she is also unabashedly obsessed with posting the results from image searches.

In regards to the aesthetics - the layout may or may not have been created by one of the blogger's Twitter friends, because she's completely incapable of manipulating code to do anything other than bold or underline.

The basis of the blog was originally to illustrate the author's awful and downright craptastic online dating experiences. However, it's evolved a lot since its birth in February 2009, mostly because even the most unlucky of individuals will eventually run out of material. I would say that the general theme would be embarrassment. Any and all forms of embarrassment. This is usually conveyed through stories about her traumatizing mother, crazy strangers or her incredibly tiny and temperamental bladder.

There's also a lot of irrational anger. But if you get tired of the nonsensical rants about completely useless topics like Christmas music in stores before Thanksgiving, or how she almost lit a FedexKinkos on fire at 3am due to completely incompetent employees, you can read the hilarious guest blogs that are posted (almost) every Tuesday. Thankfully the writer doesn't seem to be lacking friends with their own hilarious stories to tell. And hey, if none of those things seem enjoyable to you - there's always LOLcat Friday, which can make even the most heartless of creatures erupt in a fit of giggles.

The best part of this blog is that the writer has no qualms about embarrassing herself. There's a serious lack of self-respect that generally works to the favor of the reader.

contributing reviewer/ee
j. from kissing frogs

Friday, November 20, 2009

Generalizations Are Only Made Where They're Funny And Don't Hurt Anyone

url: http://microcows.blogspot.com

With reader-input trivia features such as 'Movie Mania Monday' and the quizzes of 'Random Acts of Thursday', as well as pointed humor pieces such as 'Ask The Nerdy Fat Guy' and 'Fun Fact Friday' (which some lesser critics may cite as being neither fun nor completely factual) intermixed with random rants and observations, all with a heavy dose of sarcasm and ill-gotten images, Cheesehead Displacement Syndrome (http://microcows.blogspot.com) is far more than just a simple Wisconsin Native pining for his days in the great white north. No, this is an ongoing and entertaining web of self-depricating humor and observations on the state of life in this modern age.

Well-read and chock full of trivial knowledge (and riboflavin), Elliott runs the gamut of subjects without the need to pass blind prejudice on to his readers, instead the judgements are well-thought and satirical. Generalizations are only made where they're funny and don't hurt anyone.

'Nerdy' almost feels too simple a description for this blogospheric tome, though the author himself would dismiss it as such. But he's YOUR kind of nerd, a multi-nerder extraordinaire. Classic film, music, food, alcohol, travel and home maintenance are only a few of the many recurring themes throughout this cyber-literary journey.

And he can spell.
contributing reviewer/ee
Elliott from Cheesehead Displacement Syndrome

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Or At The Very Least, Outstandingly Average

url: http://myextraordinarilyordinarylife.blogspot.com/

Extraordinarily Ordinary is a relatively new blog started mid-October of 2009. The author, Amy, strives to make everyday life interesting, by adding a dash of humor while telling it like it is. Not all of the author's posts are humorous, but this is understandable as life is not always amusing.

The author's writing style seems a bit all over the place and at times her attempts at humor fall quite short. One can only hope that as the blog develops, so will it's author. She has a strange obsession with Wawa, which she mentions often, perhaps to her own detriment as only .15% of the world know what Wawa is. Perhaps she should stick more with funny antidotes about her pets.

As it stands, the blog is a pleasant read but isn't quite hitting the mark yet as to what makes a good blog good. However, we are looking forward to seeing more from Amy in the future to see how she grows as a writer to be more generally appealing and not so mind numbingly dull.

Her tag line is "It's a fine line between mundane and exciting." For right now she's on the wrong side of the line. I'm giving this blog a C-/D+ but definitely see some potential. Keep your eye on this blogger, she may just have what it takes to make it if she does something to make her life more interesting. Like becoming a stripper... or a matador.

contributing reviewer/ee
Amy from Extraordinarily Ordinary

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Not To Be Confused With The Rambling Hussars

url: http://www.ramblinghussies.com/

Upon first glance you will notice three things about the Rambling Hussies blog.

1. It's in DESPERATE need of a redesign. Or actually ANY design would be a good start.
2. There's a picture of a dude with vermin on his shoulder in the side bar.
3. These crazy chicks will use just about anything for a label.

The Rambling Hussies are actually a group of friends who all post on the same blog. You're going to have to scratch that first thought you had that perhaps this site is written by someone with a fairly serious personality disorder. These are actually four very different people. With a flair for the smart-a$$ed and a general lack of punctuation skills these ladies write sporadically about whatever pops into their pretty little heads. And more often than not they actually do manage to find the funny and beat it to death right in front of their 10's of followers.

Lord knows where these girls came up with their names but allow me to introduce you to each of the authors.

Ginger is fond of Wordless Wednesday posts with random pictures and nary a caption among them. She also writes a pretty good music review. A character called Burn Notice continues to appear in her tales as well as Thing One and Thing Two, one can only assume that this is her family.

Mad Dog rarely posts but when she does, it's a doosey. She spins yarn after fascinating yarn with her self-depreciating wit and fondness for the onomatopoeia. Some of her finest stories revolve around her family and someone named Boilermaker who showed up a month or so back in the side bar with a birthday announcement wearing a silly grin and a ridiculous hat.

Chl (seriously, how do you pronounce that? Shell? Chell? Who knows...) has a tendency to use the blog as a forum to rant. Her ravings cover every subject from her family to digitally-enhanced emaciated supermodels. There are also a mattering of posts from her on FarmVille (the vile FaceBook phenomena) and her life as a suddenly single parent of The Kid while Trophy Husband is out of the country on extended military leave.

Last but not least there is the most prolific, Tofurkey who's general observations of the world around swing from the bizarre to the just plain scary. Married to Hot Carl (knowing what that is, the reader is not sure if that is an unfortunate nickname or a peek into their private life) she apparently whiles away her day playing games on FaceBook and driving around looking for the next big Roadside Revelation.

All in all The Rambling Hussies are an interesting read, if only they would post more often. You'd think with four of them going at it they could at least get something fresh up there on a daily basis. I guess their little gems are just too precious to dole out so generously. As the side bar says, you just can't make this stuff up.

contributing reviewer/ee
Chl from Rambling Hussies

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

I Keep Clicking and Clicking and I Can't Stop

url: http://angelaandluke.blogspot.com/

So Now You Know is a quirky little blog written by a well intentioned yet mentally unstable individual. Actually the correct terminology would be “mentally ill” with a healthy dose of self pro-claimed irreverence which makes for capricious and ridiculously unpredictable blog topics.

The layout of the blog itself is bathed in dark purples, blacks and grays and inexplicably displays two prominently featured flowers on either side of the 2 column layout. It feels as though these flowers are actually somewhat menacing and are possibly placed in an attempt to hypnotize the reader into never navigating away from the page. Or perhaps to those of us with minds more prone to the “gutter” if you will, they are intended to be pictorial euphemisms for the writer’s robust and undeniable sexuality and animal magnetism.

The subject of this blog is obsessive-compulsive disorder and how to live life as a crazy person. There are amusing anecdotes, medical information from a completely self-taught physician, and inane musings on topics such as the value of spiders, why short people are irritating and the author’s hard-core belief that birds are “creepy” because they “used to be dinosaurs”. Rampant paranoia and self-righteous use of multi-syllabic words underscore the greater intent of this blog which seems to be laughing at mentally ill people under the guise of learning about the disorder. Of course, as the author states, you are “laughing with me, not at me”, but the reader knows that, in fact, the laughter is not always mutual which is always funnier.

The content, albeit occasionally absurd, is all true and indeed humorous. The whimsical, gutsy, and unapologetic tone of the author is only enhanced by her ability to weave together magically descriptive phrases such as “Awesome” “Freaking Awesome” “Seriously, the awesomest crap I have ever seen.” And “Holy Crap the Awesomeness has eaten away my face”

Overall, I strongly recommend this blog even if only to find an answer to the question of whether or not all persons with OCD wash their hands multiple times per day. This blog makes you laugh, cry, occasionally throw up (either from the shameless self promotion or overly detailed personal descriptions) and as fairly warned in the title box “may cause seizures or peeing of your pants.”

contributing reviewer/ee
Angela from So Now You Know

Monday, November 16, 2009

Where The Song Comes First, but the Craze Forever Threatens...

url: http://thissongstartsacraze.blogspot.com/
If the Internet is decent at one thing, it’s in giving everyone the ability to seem like an “authority figure” on a specific subject. This is the sole nature of the blogosphere, the idea behind citizen journalism, and the reason anyone follows anybody Twitter. Put simply: People like being talked to by “authority figures,” about…well, anything. As such, there are always people more than willing to talk as “authority figures,” about…well, anything.

It is with this trend that we being an analysis for the little known blog This Song Starts A Craze… (TSSC…). Authored by a recent college graduate (Who fancies himself as the “Unemployed man’s Chuck Klosterman”) TSSC… is the product of an individual with far too much to say about the topic of contemporary music. More specifically Mike (As his online handle would suggest to call him) offers his readers album reviews, concert reviews, more album reviews, his thoughts on albums that have come out recently, dissections of CDs he’s currently listening to, mixes he’s recently made, and his thoughts on new music.

Music seems to be the common thread here.

Never truly choosing a side between popular taste and hipster manifesto, Mike’s musical ramblings are decidedly middle of the road, and don’t polarize readers in the slightest. Rather, he ignores the first rule of critique, which is to hold one’s taste as superior and above all others. On TSSC… he opts for truthful and objective arguments as well as the air of mystery (See: The black and white profile photo, the ellipses in the title, and the intangible presence of “The Craze” that “This Song” is supposed to start) to bring readers into his house of indulgence.

What results is a bizarre experience, one that begs the question if Mike should really be an authority on anything.

The blog is driven by Mike’s need to flaunt the amount music he listens to, and to put forth his “Analysis of sound for the masses at large…”mission statement. He hides this under the guise that he offers a unique perspective that one won’t find in Rollingstone or on Pitchfork Media. I’m sorry, but how many Grammys has he won? How many gold records has he made? Has he taken Peyote with Rick Rubin in the middle of the Swiss Alps? What are qualifies this man as having a musical perspective at all? Can we take him seriously with no such credentials? When he shows me his degree in Musical Theory from Juilliard and his stint filling in for Metallica’s Lars Ulrich, all in addition to composing no less that 56 scores for Michael Bay’s next 56 films, THEN and ONLY THEN, will this reviewer take him seriously. (D+)

When it comes to the visual aesthetic of his personal space on the net, Mike opts for the “If it ain’t broke, don’t give a damn about it” attitude. He uses a default Blogger template that’s been partitioned into 3 columns, all to appear more Web 2.0 friendly. However, the layout is extremely stock, offering options such as his RSS feed, a rating guide (As if we needed to know 1 star was “bad”), and LastFM widgets out the ears. Somewhere, the Internet’s equivalent of Christopher Lloyd is crying over this painfully dull digital landscape. (C-)

Mike has two audiences: The musically perverse and himself. He will never tire writing to either of them. (B)

TSSC… is an affront to the First Amendment and the freedom of speech itself. It’s as if the man is permanently plastered to a soapbox, distilling his idea of a “master taste” for the entire Internet to submit to. He’s hardly an expert, and his grasp of the English language drips with the smug pretentiousness of an over privileged San Franciscan. In a perfect world, the government would seize his blog and imprison him for cruel and unusual punishment. Bloggers like him make me sick. (F+)

contributing reviewer/ee
Mike from This Song Starts A Craze...

Sunday, November 15, 2009

From The Editor: Dear Readers

Welcome to ReviewYourOwnBlog, where bloggers the world over take the chance to step back and experiment with objectivity and criticism, as they review their own work for you and the world to see.

As with any criticism of any form of art or media, you will find a variety of approaches. Some reviewer/ees employ humor, others play it straight down the line. The main requirements at ReviewYourOwnBlog is that the review be interesting and read well, and that it seem informative and objective.

Thank you for taking a few moments to browse the reviews. The best criticism is in itself a form of entertainment, even a form of art in its own right. The inclusion of a review here is an endorsement of the review's self-contained merits, but it is not necessarily an endorsement of the blog being reviewed. In many cases, the reviewer/ee him/herself does not appear to be endorsing the blog being reviewed. As with any criticism, self- or otherwise, take with a grain of salt! If the review piques your interest, click through to the blog behind it, and judge for yourself. And if the impulse takes you, join in the fun! Formulate your own thoughts about the reviewed blog in a punchy, sound-bite form and leave your rave, pan, or similar blurb-style "critic's quote" in the comments queue of the review. The reviewer/ee will then be free to take these "blurbs" and post them proudly on his or her blog.

For some reviewer/ees, this is a chance to take their blog a little less seriously. For others, it's a chance to take it a little more seriously. Hopefully for all, whether reader or reviewer/ee, the result is fun and informative.

From The Editor: Dear Submitters

First: my thanks. The level to which all of you have responded to this lark of an idea of mine far outstrips any hopes I may have had for it. I've been asked if I take ReviewYourOwnBlog seriously. Well, if I wasn't sure before, the seriousness with which each of you has bought into the concept has made me sit up and take notice. It is a seriousness not stodgy, but vibrant. Some with self-deprecating humor, some with a sober and contemplative approach, each of you has stepped back and taken a crack, and the results are something I think people will want to see.

Second: my apologies. I do have a limited amount of time to spend on this venture. My own blogging efforts are quite demanding. Just last night I posted forty-four poems on my poem-a-day blog. Added to that, my primary vocation of songwriting, my dabbling in oils, the several uncompleted genre screenplays that I've been aggressively shopping around, my extensive auditioning of actresses to play a choice role in my upcoming wedding, and my job itself - totally unrelated to any of these pursuits - all leave scant time for this newest blossoming. So I appreciate your patience with my absence of feedback to submitters. I may not send updates, but if yours is picked to go I definitely will send the acceptance notice, complete with the date it is slated to run. If you haven't received that yet, it doesn't mean you won't be picked!

Whatever time constraints I may have, for ReviewYourOwnBlog at least, I've come to see them as a blessing in disguise. First, the level of 'buy-in' to the concept from all my submitters is so strong that it has freed me up. I can basically step back and let you run the show. All I have to do is pick one that meets the standard, and post. Second, I believe the 1-a-day update, while originally a matter of necessity, is a good thing. The interval gives each reviewer/ee their own day in the sun, and the regularity gives readers a reason to keep coming back. Also, the commitment prevents me from lapsing into my usual mode of twenty updates at once followed by a yawning silence.

In closing, I want to say a few words about the standard for publication: I felt from the start that this was a concept that if taken just a little seriously, would end up being a lot more fun. So far, you folks have bought into that notion, and how. I wasn't sure what I'd do at first if all I got were jokey or biased submissions. Publish them anyhow? What would it matter? But based on what I've seen so far, I can answer that question - and it does matter. It matters because every reviewer/ee on here now has a stake in it, and everyone submitting has a stake in it, and everyone basically wants the same thing: that a certain quality be preserved, to be observed.

As Editor, it falls to me to keep the standard high for what's posted. It falls to you the submitters to do an honest job, and to be impartial. Not everyone is a professional journalist, and that's not what the standard is. The standard is simply this: that the review should be interesting, and that it should read well, and that it should seem informative and objective.

My thanks to you all, for all of the above.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Pulp Paperback Poetry on Adelaide West

url: http://adelaidepoet.blogspot.com

It’s difficult to say who the intended audience for A Poet on Adelaide West might be. Although its content is comprised entirely of poetry, the blog walks a dangerous line by marketing itself more toward people who don’t typically read or enjoy poetry than toward the niche camp of readers/writers who deliberately seek it out. This marketing is evident not only in the eye-catching layout and the additional content included with each poem (a related image and question for discussion), but also in the poems themselves.

The poems on this blog are what one might call “pulp poetry.” In general, they aren’t the cryptic, elitist constructs that alienate first-time poetry readers. However, this also means that they tend not to be rich in the complex symbolism and hidden meanings that patient poetry aficionados enjoy musing over.

The author’s intended purpose for the blog -- a source of motivation and a holding dock for her work -- is also a kind of double-edged sword. Firstly, her commitment to post a new poem every workday means that there’s always fresh content, but it also means that sometimes the content is rushed, unpolished or just generally uninspired. Secondly, while the author often does post very respectable work (including some that has been accepted by recognized literary magazines), these pieces are frequently taken off the site after a few weeks to be submitted to print publications; the work that remains on the blog longer than a month tends to be the lower-quality pieces.

A Poet on Adelaide West was originally created for an author, not an audience, and that fact remains perceptible over a year later. However, for the right kind of reader -- most notably, someone who has an interest in poetry but feels intimidated or alienated by most of the better-known poets -- the blog can also be an accessible means to celebrate poetry in its innate capacity to express and connect.
contributing reviewer/ee
Adelaide from A Poet on Adelaide West

Friday, November 13, 2009

Serving Up Texas-Style Ribs: Austin Carnivore

url: http://www.austincarnivore.com/

Having nothing to do with eating meat and little to do with the city of Austin, Texas writer Grant Bates shows off his flare for the obvious while making observations. Austin Carnivore is a site about the adventures of a semi-intelligent guy who is new to the blogging world. You can tell he is a newbie, or n00b as the virgin says, when visiting his site, a site that one could call simple and clean but to the trained eye lazy and boring. Having only 10 google-followers and 41 twitter-followers(Half of which are bots.) Grant has yet to find his audience.

The sites content is all over the place ranging anywhere from shopping list and photos of homeless peoples poetry to confessions of an inability to meet new people. The Carnivore has yet to find his niche. While he spins his yarns he reminds his readers in a religious fashion that he a) drinks too much b) is single and c) they probably have something to do with one another. You get the sense that Grant could possibly be a lonely fellow.

Humor is a important component of the site. More accurately dark humor and even more more accurately self defecating humor, which in this writers opinion is far darker than self deprecating humor. See what the critics are saying.

"I die (laughing) every time I read one of your posts..." :D :D :D
-Tolly via. http://thataustingirl.blogspot.com/

From time to time Austin Carnivore will post some music on the site. Don't be fooled. This so called "music." Is anything but. Usually Grant is just promoting his friends bands hoping that they will return the favor. Judging by the sites lack of followers his back has yet to be scratched.

Simple, lazy, funny, that about sums it up. Diving head first into the internet writer Grant B creates a place for all of gods Children.
contributing reviewer/ee
Grant B. from Austin Carnivore

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Hyperbole-And-A-Half Falls Very Short Of Being Hyperbole, Even

blog url: http://hyperboleandahalf.blogspot.com

The first thing you will notice when you arrive at Hyperbole and a Half is a picture. It is a picture of the author contorted into a pose that calls to mind a dragon, or lion or possibly even a moose in heat. It will probably make you uncomfortable, but scroll on because there is more discomfort to be had yet!

The next thing you will notice is a lengthy description of the blog, written in obnoxiously different fonts. At the end of this description, the readers are promised free candy. I want to stress that there have been absolutely no reports of someone actually receiving free candy from this blog. This is irritating to say the least because free candy is hard to come by when you are an adult and it is not Halloween and you don’t have any children to send out into the streets to retrieve bags and bags of candy that you will later steal from them. But I digress…

The content of the blog is comprised mostly of personal anecdotes, inane observations, psychotic ramblings and letters the author writes to inanimate objects which is a concept entirely out of my comprehension. Nevertheless, it is a completely delightful read, if for no other reason than it makes people feel better about their own shortcomings and failures. This can be an uncomfortable experience for the faint of heart – mainly because you will be drawn into a world where there are no boundaries and repeatedly molested with words until you either give up or become desensitized.

The layout of this blog is… interesting. It appears as though the author simply photographed a yellow line drawn onto a piece of plain white paper and then changed the saturation of the photograph to produce a slightly blue tint which is almost uniform across the page but not quite. It is infuriating to notice that the yellow line does not quite meet up with itself when the image is repeated and that the blue at the top of one image and at the bottom of the next are not quite exactly the same hue but close enough to deceive the untrained eye. The author seems to deem this good enough and went right ahead with using it as her background despite these markedly unprofessional errors. It would be best to view this blog with your monitor dimmed.

Overall, I give the blog a C+… mostly because there was never any candy where candy was promised.
contributing reviewer/ee
Allie B. from Hyperbole-And-A-Half

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Headline? Allow Me.

Note: as editor-in-chief of this enterprise, I reserve the right to headline your piece as I see fit. Now, if you've got a headline to suggest, by all means do so - but I'll probably slap my own one on there instead. No offense. This is a general exception to the "no editing of submissions" rule (together with the "opt-in editing" option announced in the previous post).

The reason for this policy is: verisimilitude. Go ask any of your top pro journalists, they'll all tell you: some other moron always comes up with the headline that gets slapped across their hard-written story.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Open to Suggestion? Editing: an "Opt-In" Option

It's possible that my strident and insistent stance towards utter and total undeditedness, an absolute PASS/FAIL, a you submit it, I'll either post it as-is or it's utzed - that might be more my own personal preference as a touchy and intolerant-of-any-sort-of-criticism-or-feedback artiste.

So, to any one of you who wish to be a REVIEWER/EE, anyone who wishes to submit (via the dedicated e-mail address above) a review of your own blog, but who is *not like me* and who would perhaps, welcome feedback, welcome a little suggestion or two, or question or proposed-shaping-or-tweaking, as proposed by me, your dear and faithful host, well shit. I'd be willing to take a crack at it. I'll give it a shot. After all, even top-notch reviewers do have editors to help offer a suggestion or two! And so why not: I'd be willing to open myself to the possibility, to serve, in some minor capacity, as your editor.

Bearing in mind: an editor who authors his own blog has a fool for a readership.

So here would be the procedure on that. When you put in the submission (via the dedicated e-mail!), my regular assumption is - no tampering, no feedback desired, run as-is or not at all. So if that's how you roll, cool, that's my default setting. But if you'd be interested in hearing suggestions (if I think I have any that'll help), then simply: when you put in your submission (via the dedicated e-mail), put at the top of it:


- in all caps.

In most cases, if I think it's good to go as-is and needs no suggestions from me, I'll just let it rip, publish it. But I assure you, in no event will I publish anyone's submission with that big fat SUGGESTIONS WELCOME right across the top of it. This isn't some elaborate mean prank, or anything.

The usual disclaimer applies: when you put in a suggestion, it may take a variable amount of time for me to get back to you at all. This could be due to me being at work, or at the beach, or slaving under my workload of poems, or needing time to properly consider what you've written, or some other excuse (suggestions welcome).

So! There's that too. It's another option, if you're interested in such things.