Review 2770

I love a funny read, so I was looking forward to reviewing a blog in the humor category. The name “Ironpants” concerned me, though, as I wondered if this was another “wanna be” frustrated comedian’s site full of potty humor. Ironpants, however, is so much more.

Keith is a single writer in his late 20’s who lives and works in Phoenix, AZ. The reader has several opportunities to get to know Keith. In fact, the entire blog is an insight into his personality. Readers can access the “Top 10 Lists of Things I Hate” as well as a list of “17 Interesting Things About Me” with simple clicks on the sidebar.

Keith loves lists. He makes them quite frequently and is kind enough to link them on his sidebar. There the reader will find more top 10 lists along with Keith’s “Letters to Spammers.” I don’t know if he actually sends these in reply to spam, but they are definitely things I wish I had thought of! My favorite Top 10 list has got to be the “Top 10 Things I Have Learned About Women During My 28 Years Here” posted on Dec. 1st. I won’t ruin the suspense for you. You’ll just have to read it for yourself.

I could do without the postings about bad Kids’ Drawings, because quite honestly they smack of being mean-spirited. This is a new “feature” for Keith and perhaps he’ll drop it soon. He doesn’t need to resort to this to be funny. Another feature I like quite a bit is Keith’s “Weekend Report By The Numbers.” In these posts the writer breaks down his weekend for you with tidbits such as “4 deliriously enjoying conversations with the future miss IRONPANTIES; 1 email from a girl who I was once madly and completely in love with,” etc.

The blog itself is hosted on Blogger, but the template is customized. The sidebar includes links to the featured posts mentioned above, as well as the archives. I did find it a bit confusing in that the archives start at October 2003 (which consists only of the 17 Interesting Things About Me) and then skips to June 2004. Perhaps this was done intentionally to separate out Keith’s “About Me” list, and if so is uneccessary. The pictures in the sidebar are GREAT! I especially love the dog pictures. It’s refreshing to read a blogger who is not dedicated to cats. Instead of the typical blogroll, Keith has a “Reviews of Ironpants” list which give the reader a glimpse into his sense of humor. My only complaint is that the grammatical errors that appear sporadically throughout are a bit irritating. Keith is a writer afterall, he should know better.

Overall, Ironpants is a blog that contains a dry wit that I find quite enjoyable. The posts are unique and the reoccuring features are worth coming back for. While not all posts are “laugh out loud, spit milk through the nose” funny, this blog is definitely one to check out when you need a laugh.

Review 2810

When I spoke to Brent (the webmaster here at TWR) this morning, I told him I was going to try and find a blog to review which was entirely unrelated to the election. At the time, I didn’t fancy my chances, but astoundingly, this first one on the list, Trolhel has not mentioned George Bush once. Or anything else relating to the real world for that matter.

You see, this is a Dungeons and Dragons blog. They are describing their game as they go along. Now whilst my youth (and a lot of my adult life) has been misspent in numerous different ways, I have never played a game of D&D. However, I used to be involved in similar things as a child – we used to have fantasy game books over here in the UK, I’ve read quite a few Terry Pratchett books and I have even got the Lord of the Rings DVD Special Edition Box set. So what the hell, I ploughed in to the site to see what I could gain from it.

This is a “modblog” blog, which are strange creatures at the best of times. The archives are arranged by single entry in date order, with a little snippet to read on the archives page, or click to just read the whole thing. It is quite a dark and gloomy blog with a picture tiled across the background of erm… a cherub or something. Who knows, maybe it’s a dwarf. There is a sidebar with a helpful introductory thing, a chat box and some external links. Nothing fancy but I guess it does the job.

So on to the content. I found it quite hard to get in to the whole thing really. Whilst I am all for blogs which have a purpose (especially ones that move beyond “I hate/love Bush” at the present time), nevertheless this blog is not that great for anyone who isn’t actually involved with the game. You see the point is that this is a resource for those playing- they can keep up to speed with the gameplay, characters, decisions made, etc. I found a few postings which were links to other sites- cool T Shirts and the like, which opened the blog up a bit, but mostly it is a long list of descriptions about fantasy stuff. Elves, rings, dwarves, trolls, dungeons, etc etc. Whilst the entries are very detailed in terms of the surroundings and characteristics of people, I found it very difficult to get a sense of narrative, of where people started, what the point was of their journey and of where they hope to end up. Maybe I just didn’t read enough or maybe they don’t even know themselves, but I am afraid I just got bored after a while.

This is one of those blogs which is very difficult to score. For those involved with the game or have played similar D & D games of their own, this may be worth exploring in depth. As for me, I can’t see that I’ll come back again- I just couldn’t engage with the storyline enough. Back to my DVD Box Sets I guess.Trolhel

Review 2810

Trolhel opens to a black page made even darker if such a thing is possible by the indistinct gray/brown graphic in the header.

The print is a pale red, but fairly readable. Our author describes this site thusly:

“This blog chronicles adventures in our Advanced Dungeons and Dragons 3rd edition epic – level campaign. Basically, I write it down as we play the game (The adventure is actually much further than what is posted).”

I found that this blog was created in July of 2004, but could only find entries from September, October and November.

The entries are detailed character development sketches that for a non-user are rather uninteresting and disjointed. Okay, here are these characters, but what is going on with them? There are not many comments, so it’s hard to catch a thread and figure out what is going on here. There are MOD terms I am not familiar with such as an: Entropic Shield and a Hornung’s Baneful Deflector, etc, which make this blog pretty much gibberish to me.

In the sidebar there are a lot of links to things of interest to the DD player, along with some detritus like, recent visit lists. There are the usual Links to friend’s blogs and what not. Pretty typical stuff.

This is a very specialized blog that would only be of interest to the players of the game and unless I got lost in some spell ridden zone, did not find that much content.

If you are a DD player, you might want to take a look. Otherwise steer clear.


Review 2638

Hoosier’s Journal is the first Bravenet blog I have reviewed, and I have to say, I think they have some rather nice features available for their members.

The page has a pleasant abstract background that coordinates with an original piece of art by our author. The entry background is black and the lettering red, which sounds hard to read, but surprisingly wasn’t too bad. Though a larger font would be appreciated.

I checked the Profile link and found our blogger lives in the midwest and likes her job, is married with no children (yet) and is politically liberal.

I began reading entries and found mild rants about current events in her personal life or in the news, but most were written in a lighthearted style that wasn’t in your face. Occasional entries about movies or television were common. There were a fair number of spelling and grammar errors that of course are annoying to us all. I am not immune myself. But that’s why I run things through the spell checker!

As to content, there is nothing earth shattering here, though there are a few little gems. I enjoyed reading her account of trying to convince her husband they should buy a pair of Vespas and start their own biker gang.

The archives are accessed through a calendar style system, which I prefer. The only thing that would make it even easier to use would be a “next” and “previous” function. But I don’t think our author has control over that detail.

I especially liked the “tag board” on the right hand side of the page, where you could leave a quick note, very much like a chat board. I kind of liked the “mood box” also, that listed what mood the author was in, what music she was listening to, what book reading, she added a rather quirky choice to the list… what the current price of gasoline was in her area. These are fun additions to a blog.

But overall, I thought the content was rather weak, and the writing pretty ordinary. The author did not reveal much of herself in the posts, therefore reading all the trivia kind of got old. So I am giving points mostly for a nice looking blog with some entertaining features. My suggestion for improvement would be to open up a bit. Tell us who you are. It would make for more interesting reading.

Hoosier’s Journal

Review 2601

When I first entered this blog, I was greeted with a very crisp and clean looking page. At the very top, was a photo of a lady sitting in an arm chair. This really set the page off with a nice touch. Once I was finished with the basics of looking over the page, I began to look for a bit of info about the author so I could get a feel of what the posts were about.

As it turns out, the author (Rozette), is a 14 year old high school student. She is also a web designer, a guitarist/vocalist, etc. Rozette seems to have many talents.

At this point, I began to read the entries. The entries were basically based on Rozette’s everyday life. There are a couple of posts where she will give her opinion on different subjects such as political issues etc. Some of the writing in her entries is not in English , so I really couldn’t understand a majority of them.

When I got through with Rozette’s main page, I really didn’t get much out of it. What I mean by that is, it just didn’t interest me in the least. At that point, I started going through her archives, hoping that maybe I could find better reading. I was very disappointed. Since the author has various talents as I mentioned above, I assumed there would be more to her entries.
Rozette has talked about trips she had been on and even posted photos, which were very nice, I might add. But in my opinion, the photos were the only things that made the blog stand out, (so to speak). A good majority of the entries just appeared to be “ramblings”, and nothing more.

The blog consists of a two column layout, with several links on the right hand side. There are also a few of the links that don’t seem to be working. The only thing I really enjoyed about this blog are the photos. Maybe in time, Rozette will make some changes to her blog, but for right now,it is not a blog I recommend reading if you are looking for an interesting or entertaining read.Whapak!