Review 2467 is a very clean site, easy to read, nice dull murky colours on the default skin which are easy on the eyes, though I began thinking some army camo print as a background to go with the colours might have been more appealing. I did have a little problem with the layout in that it wasn’t loading up properly on my monitor (resolution set at 1024×768), however that was fixed by swapping the skins over to something far more interesting. I really appreciate the technological know-how in order to set up skins for the reader’s amusement, and there are a number of cool offerings to please the eye if the default layout is not to your liking.

All of the layout/skins available are pretty much the same Movable Type template, just tweaked a little – but all the buttons he’s included made for a good change too, and he’s got loads of links and rings to check out. He’s also got several links to other specialty blogging communities and resources like BlogSnob and BlogTree – always a good thing for fellow bloggers.

Everything in the blog is neatly structured and well maintained – not a dead link to be seen (lovely!). All the archieves are easily found by most recent entry, month and category. Everything is just so clear and concise! Each entry is well planned and written though they tend to be more like recounts than anything more indepth and personal – however I did like reading all the holiday entries. It was great to find out more about India from another perspective and not just the normal touristy stuff.

I was surprised to discover that the blog had been created by a 14-year old boy, Arvind Satyanarayan (now that’s a name that rolls well off the tongue!) as it’s quite a mature offering compared to what we normally see other teen blogs and journals providing their readers. This blog is basically the day to day runnings of Arvind’s life – what we’d expect of any boy who goes to school and attends the Scouts. But he writes so well! If you’re put off reading teen blogs because of the new craze with the crazy “leet” typing and kids WhO TyPe LiKe ThIs, OMG! OMG! (ugh!), then give Arvind a go, he makes for a refreshing change to the norm.

Chinwags from Abu Dhabi

Review 2432

The first thing I noticed about this blog was how soothing it was. The very design set me at ease. Maybe it was the colors, maybe it was the easy to read style, I don’t know. The title itself is rather captivating: “Wandering on Threads of Woven Starlight”. Very nice.

The blog pretty much speaks for itself. Every single entry is extremely well written and you can tell that much care went into it. There are personal reflections, poetry, and other random musings. All are very beautiful to read. The author remains nameless, but much can be known about him through his writing. If you’re still curious, you can read his about page or his 100 things page. His most recent entries were what really captivated me. He has been translating Chinese poems and then commenting on them. Very interesting stuff.

Like I said earlier, the design of the site is what really captivated me. The colors have a soothing effect. The header is really well done and features some great design work. The blog is made with Movable Type, so there is a built in comment system, permalinks, easy to navigate archives, and the like. The author definitely took the time to make the template his own and add some style and flare.

This is definitely not a blog you can simply give a casual glance to. There aren’t any pictures in the blog itself. The beauty is in the entries. Read a few, and you will understand what I am talking about. The updates are frequent enough to make this a regular read and even though the author doesn’t update every day, the content of the entries certainly make up for it. This is an excellent blog.WhisperingWords

Review 2394

Being a bloke, I approached this weblog with some caution as the title inferred that it may be rather girlie. However, I tried to enter the site with an open mind and hoped to find some decent content. The first thing that struck me was PINK. Yes folks, the writing is pink. I thought perhaps the page hadn’t finished loading properly, but alas no.

The template itself is fairly minimalist and is presumably a standard Blogger one. A picture wasn’t working in the top right hand corner and the sidebar contained various other other paraphernalia, some useful, some not so. There was some autobiographical stuff contained within this- the 100 things about me being the most interesting and informative, though rather a lot of information to plough through. The author is also keen on the Five Questions on a Friday thing which has a separate page devoted to it (different template too) which I personally reckon is a rather lazy way of blogging. Also, the questions tend to be extremely banal at times.

To her credit, the author is a fairly prolific blogger- the archives could be found buried away amongst the other links in the sidebar and go back to March 2003, with most weeks containing quite a few entries. Unfortunately there seems to be a coding problem on the archives pages though so I tried to ignore the two lines of code at the top of each page.

So far I have avoided what the author has actually written about, and this may be because I am subconsciously trying to avoid sounding like a chauvinistic arrogant male. Anyway, a few deep breaths, and here goes. I personally didn’t find the content very erm… deep. There were a few generally comedic links to other sites, a few quotes about philosophy and the like and quite a few comments about the referrers she had had to her site (nearly all relating to relationships). She also had quite a lot of biographical information and observations about relationships, though I could find little about her relationship specifically and she seemed keener on simply giving everyone else advice. Quite a few photos were contained in the site and blog itself, showing the author and her friends, more often than not out clubbing/drinking.

Yes, this is a fun personal weblog and I don’t want to run Mel down too much- I am sure her and her friends get a lot of fun from the site, which is what weblogging is all about really. Whether there is much here to sustain a wider readership though is debatable. The template and site generally could do with a fair bit of work too- if people spent fewer hours finding nonsense to put in their sidebar and more time making their site look attractive or working a bit harder on their content, then it would make my job a lot more enjoyable.

Life, Liberty, and Pursuit of Your Boyfriend

Review 2390

Bored But Busy I didn’t know what to expect with this site before I went there, so I kept an open mind. Upon entering I see a design with some old shoes, and it mostly black. I immediately thought, “Wow this site is going to suck. I bet it will be one of those read me and feel sorry for me sites.” Man, I was completely wrong.

The weblog itself is very well written. This is a good thing as it really makes the blog more readable. The posts are completely random as in they deal with whatever the author wants to post about. These range from her husband, to movies, to politics, to funny stories, to well, pretty much anything.

But the gem of the posts don’t lie in the topics, more so the presentation of them. Just in reading the first months archives I literally laughed very loud. I am sure if I was actually at work, I would have gotten the entire office’s attention from my laughter. The author is very smart, and she knows what she is doing.

Back to the design for a bit. We have the picture of the old shoes and the black background covered. The weblog uses a pretty standard layout, and I think it might just be a modification of a template, but I could be wrong. There are plenty of ways to access the archives which is a good thing.

It is very rare that I would give out a 5 for a weblog. But with Bored But Busy, it was a no brainer. The author is original, writes very well, and has amazing content. I honestly can say that this is a site I will probably read on a daily basis.
Bored But Busy

Review 2387

Cactus Lover‘s writer, Ribs, is, on the evidence of the photograph in the half-empty about section, an attractive young lady. I love it when bloggers include a photo of themselves on their site (partly addressing the voyeur need we all feel; surely a factor in the attraction of blogs, no?), so thank you Miss Ribs. Hopefully we’ll see more information, too, eventually.

The blog itself is neatly presented, with a few rough edges. Once you get going, the site is easy enough to navigate (although there is no obvious link to the home page, and the calendar-format archive isn’t as strong as available alternatives), and reads well despite the low contrast.

The strongest area of the blog currently is the one that addresses English language misuses, rather like Bill Bryson does in his early novel “Troublesome Words.” I’ve certainly heard enough empty instances of the word ‘quality’ to agree with Ribs that it needs a modifier at all times – good quality or poor quality but never simply quality, which means nothing. Good one Ribs – I hope 95% of British football commentators find that entry on your site.

Other posts are loosely grouped under various headings; the cactus of the week section is looking a little sparse, but other sections make up for the lack of content. The “Currently Reading” portion of the site contains only two entries – both reviews of Palahniuk novels (he of Fight Club notoriety).

Unfortunately, this is fairly representative of the site as a whole: there simply isn’t more than half an hour’s worth of content here, which is a shame. What there is shows signs of promise; by grouping blog entries into sections, it hastens the reader’s arrival at an interesting story, though with so little to read anyway it would make as much sense to browse through the site in its entirety. For now, that is.

ramblings of a cactus lover