Review 2557

There’s something about the English that I adore. I don’t know if it’s just the cute accent in which they speak (and often write), or the sheer differences in lifestyles regardless of how modern each country seems to be. The easiest thing to find about the author of Hate Week is who he is and a quick rundown of such. I can’t help but admit that there was a small part of me that half expected to see this site be one of those seemingly humorous sites bashing and making fun of whatever happens to be in the media at the time. Lucky for me, this site is actually anything but. “Hate Week” actually comes from the book, 1984, and sadly it’s been so long since I read the book I’m ashamed to say I don’t remember the reference.

The content of the blog is actually quite fullfilling. Andrew, the author, warns the author to “suspect grammar and spelling abound,” however, I can’t find much that shows that. The entries are very interesting to read about various different things going on in his life. One of the things I check most often is why a blog was started, and you learn that Andrew originally started on LiveJournal. His entries are very interesting, at least for me. He writes a bit about what’s going on recently in his life, something going on at school, conversations he’s has with friends and family, then proceeds to mention tidbits about comics, books, music, art, etc. Had it not been for Andrew, I might not have read one of the funniest articles ever. He writes often and well. Most of the entries are quite amusing. I can’t help but find his little mini-rants about American news to be quite humorous. Not to mention his great taste in music.

Onto design. The main portion of the site is quaint. Nothing extravagant or over the top, but It works, and is very functional. The archive pages are very plain making the reading of entries easy, but navigation a little more difficult. Text is easy to read, and the blog itself is easy to navigate. Nothing much to be said about the design otherwise. Functionality is definately better than visually appealing.

Andrew gives you a lot of little extras in his entries. I definately enjoy the older entries as opposed to the newer ones. Where I mention above about his tid-bits on comics, books, music ect. While the newer entries are more personal, still funny and a good read, I missed having the little article bits after reading so much of the archives. He does, however, incorporate various subjects into the actual entry portion now.

Overall this blog was a fun read. I enjoyed it very much. The author updates on a regular basis, giving his readers an opportunity to interact with him without falling into the blog blackhole, only to suddenly come back. This blog review was an easy one to do because I enjoyed reading it. Hate Week

Review 2558

Wow – the first impression on this one was definitely “this one looks promising!”, and it sure is, though in a different way than I hoped.

Let’s start with the easy & superficial things: The author is a delegate to the Republican Party Texas State Convention, that’s about all personal info I found. The blog itself is very well written, easy to read and navigate, and looks quite professional. It has a three-column layout that makes it look a little like a magazine site, and that fits the content quite well.

Now to the content itself: a lot of political and religious stuff, and, frankly spoken, I disagreed with about every single line of the King. Thing is, I am a European, agnostic pacifist, he seems to be a proud American patriot who’s quite religious.

However, considering how well written and researched most posts were, it was easy for me to read his opinions open-minded and interested, although I disagreed. He’s bringing good arguments, and I’m pretty sure I’d enjoy debating with him (having a good beer).

Time to sum it up: a very good blog, and I’m pretty sure it’s going to be a daily visit of mine during the next weeks. It’s 4.5 instead of 5 just because I didn’t find much information about the host, especially blogs like this should give more info about the background of the author.King of Fools

Review 2529

My first impressions of this site were generally positive — the layout is crisp and clean, and includes a sidebar, a main column for text, and a cool original header. The color combination in the text areas — a black font on a purplish background — is a bit hard to read, but it’s not terribly distracting, once you get used to the look.

The author of ‘…leave your ego at the door’ is Glory, who’s currently in high school and using her site to capture her thoughts and experiences. The archives (which are accessible from a popup window opened from a link on the top menu) extend back to last February, though Glory writes that she’s been blogging elsewhere for a couple of years, as well. Digging into the archives, the first few posts are pretty much what I expected from the FAQ provided on the sidebar — most of the entries deal with school, Glory’s friends, and the ups and downs of growing up.

Don’t get the wrong impression, though. This is no quick-hit, ‘l33t-speak’ weblog. Glory’s posts are substantial in size, well-written, and generally focused on a specific topic. She’s very articulate, and her personality really comes through in each entry. The language may be a bit rough for some, and it’s risque at times, but I for one enjoyed Glory’s writing.

On the technical side, there are a few extras here — a tag board and guestbook, plus a couple of separate ‘about’ pages available on the top menu. Many of the other features commonly seen in blogs are missing, however. It appears that the site is completely hand-coded; while I give kudos to Glory for taking the time to do so, it would be nice to also have features like comments and trackbacks to foster further interest and a greater sense of community.

Overall, I was impressed with the content of ‘…leave your ego at the door’. It’s a quality weblog, written by a young author with eloquence beyond her years. I wish it was updated more frequently — there’s typically a week or more between posts, and none so far in March — but the content that is there is often funny and always interesting. I might suggest that Glory look into a full-featured blogging package or site to make her blogging job easier, but she’s doing just fine in the writing department as it is. I rate this site a four out of five.

Notable Quote: ‘Every female who has undergone puberty understands being emotional and moody, it comes with the boobs.’..leave your ego at the door

Review 2561

Tokyo Times is one of those sites that you really don’t know what to do with. I’ve never been one for News and Links sites because most of them are boring, frankly. But Tokyo Times seems to be a bit more entertaining than the usual humdrum news sites. I liked it – a surprise to me – and I read a fair number of them before actually bothering to check out the obligatory ‘about me’ page. A definite sign of an interesting site.

As it turns out, Tokyo Times is actually authored by a Brittish guy, Lee Chapman, who traversed the oceans to live and teach in Tokyo for a year with the initial thought of returning home one day – but didn’t. No, instead he’s still there and married a local and as he says: “…it looks like I’ll be here for a fair bit longer too”.

The design of the blog is your typical links down one side, content down the middle and more links down the other side layout. Boring but functional. On the plus side, it’s very easy to read. I did have a minor problem with the resolution though, as it didn’t fit on my 1024×768 screen, but so long as the content was viewable, I think it’s a moot point in retrospect. Everything is all set out and very easy to find if you wish to jump straight into a category listing or read the blog by archives. Everything loads relatively quickly too which is also a plus for slow connections (sometimes a bare site can be a good thing, I’ll admit!).

So what does Tokyo Times have to offer for the avid news reader/watcher? Well, you’ll love it if you like news features that focus mainly on Japan. Japanese culture, coutour, sex, transport, language, imports and exports, art and more! Lee discusses everything from Sony’s new artificial pets to odd-looking sideways scooters (Segways) to condom exports (a brief post that made me giggle). All the posts are delivered with humour, wit and intelligence and the odd picture here and there to add to the entertainment value. I’ve always found it intriguing to read an outsider’s quiet observation of what is a foreign culture to me. As it’s a relatively short blog (started in December 2003) and all the posts are pretty short and concise, it was easy enough to read through almost the whole thing and not get bored – which is a definite first for me.

I think Tokyo Times is definitely one to add to the favourites listing – which I have! Thank you, Lee!
Tokyo Times

Review 2561

The Tokyo Times comes (as you can see) under the News/Links category, so when I first entered the site I was expecting a rather dry, factual site based solely on the latest news events and current affairs in Japan. However, The site is a lot more reader- friendly than that, a lot more personal and a lot more fun too.

The site design is fairly plain- simply black and white throughout, though there is quite a groovy title bar. For some reason, the title bar disappears intermittently on my IE browser, but this maybe because the author is a Mac User (I think) and there is a resulting compatibility issue. Use is made of the various standard Typepad features, though these could be enhanced a bit further (book and music reviews for example, instead of just links.) There are a lot of photos in the entries themselves though, which brighten things up quite a bit. Overall it is not an unpleasant site to look at, but it could be improved from average to great with a little more effort.

Despite a few minor shortcomings in the site design, the content is great though. Like I said in the introduction, the site is very enjoyable and fun to read. This is mainly due to the viewpoint of the author- he is a British ex-pat now living in Japan (for about five years now). He is therefore able to give a rather quirky slant on Japanese culture. Many of the stories are either funny in their own right, or are made funny due to the author’s take on things. There is a nice little series about how badly some Japanese phrases translate in to English and use is made extensively of toilet humour, which I enjoyed tremendously. There is rarely a dull story to be found in the archives (which sadly only go back to just before Christmas) and topics mainly cover Japanese technology and culture, politics, football, sumo wrestling and a few other titbits thrown in for good measure. The author also manages to strike a good balance between news stories and some more personal ones about his life there as a teacher.

Overall then, this is an enjoyable site to read if you want a laugh, or a light hearted look at Japanese culture. There are no angst ridden personal postings to be found or intellectually astute political commentary, but the humour and cheeriness of the writing more than compensates for any lack of depth or weighty content in the site.Tokyo Times