Review 2769

Oh boy. Another blog with a cliche name like “All Grown Up?” I wasn’t looking forward to reading this one. However, it was a pleasant surprise. This blog is written by a mom of 5 boys (I know. She’s already a saint in my eyes with just those four words “Mom of 5 boys.” Egad.) It is a pretty blog with a gorgeous black and white photo in the sidebar, a good typeface and nice color scheme. I’m still wondering if she took the photo or if it is her…

It’s a relatively new blog (4 months old at this address, but she used to have a blogspot address/blog which is listed in her sidebar.) Somehow, along the way she got on some spam lists of Free Online Casinos and Free Poker sites, etc. She is inundated with posts from these places. At first, while looking through her archives, I noticed her comments numbered 30, sometimes even more than 40 comments. This is impressive to say the least. Until I went to read them, only to find them to be spammers ‘quotes of wisdom.’ I don’t see how this doesn’t drive her completely insane–especially since she says she is a born again Christian. (I didn’t think Born Agains would take to the gambling stuff too well.)

Her writing is peppered with humor but is pretty standard, personal blogging fare. You can find out some other interesting stuff about her when reading her “100 Things About Me” section. For example she homeschools her boys (again with the saint thing), used to live in Las Vegas, and likes car racing. I enjoyed her 100 Things list a bit more than her posts, honestly. But over all this blog is worth a visit.

All Grown Up?

Review 2734

Ubermondo is a somewhat very confusing site although a very nice looking one. I liked the graphics they chose. The description of the site reads, “The freshest news. The smartest asses.” You have to dig (and dig some more) to find the “Us” in the About Us section. That section starts off with something called a ‘Karma Generator’ (huh?) and then a section on “Banners” with some more confusing prose. Man, I was at a loss. I have no idea what any of this is about. But I kept on trying…

The site is run and “owned by Jennifer and Dieter Randolph, the web’s answer to Jennifer and Jonathan Hart.” This is their wording (from the FAQ—at last! A bit of information to go on!) and refers to the television show “Hart to Hart,” starring Stefanie Powers and Robert Wagner. Funny. They also post this explanation: “ is the geek piazza. No matter who you are, you’re a geek about something… If you’re passionate about something, you’re a geek. Welcome home.” Okay. The site has only been around since August 2004. I’m wondering if it has been confusing people since then?

The site allows anyone who ‘joins’ to post whatever comment or links they’d like, thus adding to the confusion (at least on my part). During the two hours I spent there, other than the 2 owners, I saw very few other people who posted. The site has won 2 awards for things like “best designed or most original site.” I suddenly felt like the most unhip person on the planet the more I read this site.

There is no cohesive subject matter—one minute the post is tongue-in-cheek about the actor Corey Feldman, the next it’s a post about a bald guy’s club in Beijing. And, okay, a ‘humor’ site doesn’t need cohesive subject matter, but it needs cohesion somewhere. Therefore, I suppose after much reading and clicking and head scratching that Ubermondo is designed to be a bulletin board for anyone who wants to post things they find interesting or humorous. (Correct me if I’m wrong, but couldn’t you get your own blog to do that?)

So if you want to read random news clips found at other sites and then posted to this one with some occasional dry humor, this is the place for you.

Review 2625

Miniature wargaming. I have dabbled with this in the past and have always been vaguely interested, but not quite enough to become fully obsessed. The civil war battle in Twin Peaks nearly did it for me; maybe this blog can. I get to the site and it’s… golf. The name was a misnomer. I’m not sure if my first impressions were those of disappointment or not. Golf’s not so bad.

The design is straightforward. Very green, like the greens themselves I guess. There are two side panels chock a block with links. Golf links. There are the usual archives, a calendar that chips you from post to post. A list of recent posts and comments and a list of post categories which I like. There is also a tip jar, where through the use of Pay Pal and the Amazon honour system, you can fund this golf-athon. I didn’t.

There is an about me section which introduces Mr Retzer and nothing much more except to note another interest, miniature wargaming. Perhaps there is another web log out there devoted to such. However back to the subject at hand, Mr Retzer wishes to become a gizmodo of golf… a Svengali perhaps? So how does he fare?

There is a comments facility, a good use of pictures and links from the posts to articles and helpful tips and advice. He makes an extensive use of the BBC Golf and sites.

The archives only date back to March this year but I get the feeling the author has been writing a tad longer than that. He covers a wide spectrum of the golfing universe in his posts. He hits the greens, bunkers, fairway and rough in a hotchpotch of golfing related subject areas. His writing style is uncomplicated and effective.

He regales us with tales of his own experience of both playing and preparing for the game. He wants to score under eighty. Good luck to you sir. He also avails us of news and reviews of new, good value and innovative golfing products. There has been an ongoing Saturday serial where he posts a chapter from a golfing related book. At the moment we are being treated to P G Wodehouse. Not entirely to my taste and I do prefer to read books for long passages.

We are also kept up to date with latest major championships news and the trials and tribulations of some of the world’s more famous players. He champions the case of John Daly, a fellow traveller, which I applaud whole heartedly. Some of the historic links don’t work as the links he uses move on to the current tournament.

On the whole I think the author is playing off a good handicap. I enjoyed my unexpected foray into the world of golf. It is a well written and well presented web log. Golfing enthusiasts will love it. A four out of five.

Miniature Wargaming

Review 2623

Phil Gardner has quite the blog (and site). You can see how much time he’s invested in building such a site and how important it is to him (as Phil suffers from depression). In his “depression” page, he states that Dave (depression) made a mess of his life for about nine years and he’s only recently “gone” (with some ups and downs though). The fact that Phil can be so open about his illness is touching and makes you appreciate the site even more. But don’t let these feelings that may sound very much like “pity” keep you from admiring his wit and his good writing abilities.

Phil is a writer. He has experience in the field as you may see on his home page which boasts links to all he’s written. Plays, short stories, articles, etc. He’s even won a couple of contests.

More of his links include a rather detailed bio page. Though from a bio page one expects details. A little too much for my taste, as he mentions all the schools he’s attended, all the places he’s worked and all his skills. It gets somewhat tiring to read. The rest of the bio page is funny as it depicts some strange tests he took such as the “pickability” and “gayness” test. But that’s not all, he also has links to his Shotley page (where he lives), links to pages with his reviews on music and films and so many other links that you may get a little tired of browsing. But his links are not boring, they’re just numerous.

After a good long minutes browsing through the links I had a very good knowledge of Phil. This can inspire some readers, but I personally feel, one should keep the mystery going a little. You can have a couple of links that are about you and this is highly appreciated as it creates a bond between the author and the reader, too many links about you may lead people to believe you are a meme.

The design of his site is organized, though, you won’t get lost in spite of all the links. The home page I found to be visually appealing (gray and a beige-like yellow, easy to the eyes). I really enjoyed the home page. The way in which he presents his links is humorous: Moosic, Philms, etc. Nice word games.

Concerning his blog, it’s the least visually appealing page on his website. The template is a little dull, and the links on his blog don’t entice the reader as they go under the title “websites which mention me”, this makes the reader think Phil may be a little too much into himself yet I posed this question:

If you had been battling a serious depression that almost cost you your life and successfully got over it (96% for instance) wouldn’t you be into yourself, rediscovering yourself, writing about yourself?

Phil’s life is scarred by depression, it’s a part of who he was and luckily it doesn’t define who he is today. Yet it’s there: on his bio page and as a separate link. That’s why I enjoyed his site and didn’t think him to be too into himself. The depression factor makes you comprehend Phil is not a meme. The site is just his way to battle depression through the use of his talent. For talented he is.

Regarding his entries, many of them make you laugh. He talks about various random topics that occur in his day to day existence, spicing them up with a touch of that British humor, which I for one, especially like. However, has a tendency to confuse the reader as some entries will be lengthy while others have only a couple of lines.

Phil has been blogging since 2003 and from what I saw in the archives, his posts since January of 2004 have gotten more interesting. More humorous and less confusing length-wise. A two line post doesn’t usually interest the average blog reader, where as regular posting of longer entries makes for better reading.

To sum up, I enjoyed Phil’s site. It was an interesting read. Visit Phil, he’s worth your trip.
Mulled Whines

Review 2467

This is truly a site that is easy on the eyes. Clean, logical lay out, and colors that compliment and provide easy reading. The only thing I would count against this author is the little emoticons in the middle of the text; I found that to be the only distracting mien of the overall appearance. Taking into consideration the young age of the writer though, the presence of these is not surprising. What I found particularly appealing about the look of this blog was that the reader has the option to change it. The “Skin this site” tab will tell you all about it should you meander that way before, during or after reading the entries.

Spotting the profile link on the left side, I headed that way hoping to find out more about this author, and where he is coming from. I was disappointed there, in that there were only links to other sites, no bio at all. While this helps to see the things the author likes, it gives no insight to the author. At the bottom of the blog itself, there are archives which go back to April of 2003. Now comes the however. As a parent, I would not want my own children putting information I would look for in the bio of an online author, so while remarking on it, I’m not counting it as a strike.

This blogger is a young and apparently avid computer user, and from reading past entries has a grasp on hardware and software realms that the average user of his age does not have. Many of the entries are oriented to the world of computers, and most other entries are related to his school and scouting. I was disappointed though, that during a trip to Spain and India last year there was so little about the locations he visited posted. The exception would be his July 29, 2003 entry in which he colorfully paints a picture of the sights and smells he encounters. When readers head over to his photo section, they will find pictures that will give a more complete telling of his travels.

After reading this boys blog, and I’ve commented the same to him, he seems to be the kind of person I would hope that my own boys would have as a friend. As a mom, I’m recommending this blog for my own kids to read. This would come under the personal category of blogs, and while I find it interesting from my point of view as a parent with children the same age of this boy, I’m not sure that everyone would find it as interesting. I’m taking into consideration the age of the author, and the talent and maturity he shows for that age in giving this a rating of 3.0.

Chinwags from Abu Dhabi