Review 3395

Saddle up, ladies and gentlemen… especially you ladies. Rippin-Kitten blog is a motorcycle blog written by a female motorcycle-enthusiast named Liz. She lives in the greater Boston area, not too far from me from what I can ascertain… Liz writes of her adventures with her 2004 Suzuki Volusia LE, and the reactions women bikers receive from the round world. It’s not a Harley, but it’s more of a bike than I have. So I throw her a big thumbs up and say “will my fat ass fit on your bitch seat?”

heh. Rippin-kitten don’t like it when you ask if you can ride bitch… especially if you’re a guy.

In one of her first entries, she writes: “My problem is that not all of us are typical, fringe-wearing “lady bikers” who’s nickname is “Gypsy.” I am not a lesbian or a feminist with a chip on my shoulder out to prove myself to the world. I’m not middle-aged and out there to empower myself after being divorced. Definitely not an “outlaw” or a badass that belongs to any kind of riding club…I’m a cool-ass chick looking for other ass-kicking chicks that ride (boys are invited, too, if they behave). Those who are looking to obliterate the perception of what a “biker chick” is just by being themselves (and who want to ride motorcycles instead of posing on them). Let the boys keep their trophy girls who are content to ride on the backs of their bikes. But let’s make them drool over us cute girls who ride our own and make ‘em wish that they were the riding next to us.” And that pretty much sums it up, and it is a female biker philosophy I can get behind.

The entries start back in April 2007, and the “” community blog layout she has chosen, the design of the pages, the categories and archives are easy on the eyes and make the wind blow through my hair, when I’m in a state that lacks a helmet law (take THAT Massachusetts!)

My favorite entries are where she examines motorcycle culture and how women fit into it. The “If she can do it, I can do it” entry of April 16th focuses on women motorcycle riders and motorcycles built for women, and the differences between the two. It was a really interesting read and kind of inspirational. She also writes that “a woman’s place is in the garage,” and discusses maintenance work that she conducts herself on her bike… and not just the detailing/cleaning kinds of stuff. She really takes a wrench to it, which is pretty cool. I know how to fill my windshield wiper fluid reservoirs up in my car, and that’s about it! So hats off to Liz here for her interest, her passion and her enthusiasm. I was also happy to learn that “Biker Chick Burnout” isn’t a biker lady who is tired of bike riding, and Vibe Rider looks … kinda scary and interesting at the same time. I enjoyed her photographs of her commute, her Laconia Bike Week 2007 experience, and the overall visit to this blog was a really good one.

And her favorite scene from Pee Wee’s Big Adventure is the same as mine, aside from “everybody I know has a big but…” So I had to laugh when she included the video clip in a June entry. Thanks a lot, dudes!

The only objection I had about the blog was the picture of herself with a guy from the band GWAR. That nasty codpiece he’s wearing will haunt my dreams for nights to come… Eww. And I’m not a huge fan of the calendar-based navigation to move through the archives. But that isn’t her fault, it is the blogging tool.

That minor criticism aside, I’ve added the Rippin-kitten to my blogroll. I signed up for the Weblog Review to find more blogs that are worth reading, and I’m happy to say I’m glad to have found a second one to add to my list after sifting through some less than stellar sites.

I give her a 4.0, and look forward to more stories of cycling to come… now that the decent weather is upon us North of Boston types.


Review 3350

“Success is simply a matter of luck. Ask any failure.” This is the name of this EasyJournal blog and it’s also a quote from Earl Wilson, the first black pitcher to ever play for the Red Sox and one of the most quote-worthy baseball players from his time.

At the top of the main page of this site, the author describes himself as someone who likes to read online news and articles. If this blog is any indication, he also likes to copy and paste online news and articles. As far as I could tell in reading through from the time this site started, there’s not a bit of original content on the site. At the bottom of each post, there’s either a link to where the article was originally found or a bit about the author of the previous post.

I did appreciate a few of the articles. Who knew that looking at the trees and grass outside my apartment in the midst of an intense round of gaming would be enough to refocus my eyes? I did not, but if I wanted to know, I could have found it on any site where Andrew Bermam’s articles are published. Who’s Andrew Bermam? Don’t know, but the author of this blog uses one of his articles.

The layout is a two column layout that works fine when you first open the site, but once you start going through the archives, it becomes slightly irritating. The column where the articles can be found becomes extremely narrow and a little hard on the eyes when trying to read.

There’s no creativity involved in this site. There’s no originality at all. If I had to guess without actually clicking on each of the links provided in the articles, I’d guess it’s some way to generate traffic to the other sites. NULL

Review 2806

The way I read the internet (and I do mean all of the internet) is by opening up multiple browsers in Firefox. When a Joe Cocker song comes blaring out of my speakers and sending me frantically searching through all of my open tabs to find out where I need to stop this music, I tend to get annoyed. Unfortunately, that was my first impression of this blog. Music that starts playing automatically on a personal website (with the exception of MySpace) stopped being popular in 90s.

The title of the blog is “I Can Leave My Hat On” (according to the top of the design) or “Do You Know What It Means to Miss New Orleans” (according to what the author submitted when she requested her site be reviewed). Design-wise, it’s very simply done in a standard two-column layout, where both columns are approximately the same size. There’s a large image of a chocolate-covered strawberry at the top. The actual blog content fills one side of the layout, while the other includes components like a small section about the author, a link to her Flickr photos, links to other various sites, and the aforementioned music player that pops up on every single page throughout the archives.

According to the archives I found, Laurie, the author, has been blogging at this Blogspot locale since October 2004. She writes about just about everything under the sun. From posting current and old family pictures and anecdotes to admitting her love of debunking the legitimacy of those annoying forwarded emails, there’s typically something that just about any reader is going to be able to connect with. The labels that are assigned to various posts range from American Idol, where Laurie predicted several correct results throughout Season 6, to MS Paint, where she posts quite funny altered images that have obviously been done in the Windows-standard graphic program.

In January 2005, she begins a series of posts about some Sea Monkeys she’s obtained and later named after their appropriate Hollywood counterparts. This series of posts is just one example of little gems you’ll find throughout the blog. Besides, where else was I supposed to learn that if sea monkeys are stuck together, it doesn’t necessarily mean they’re trying to make baby sea monkeys. Man, I suddenly feel more than qualified to set my own sea monkey colony.

The writing style over the entire blog is easy to follow and enjoyable to read. Laurie writes in a conversational-type manner and turns everything into a story she could very well be discussing with a friend, as opposed to publishing it for all of the internet to see.

Overall, this blog is definitely one of personal flavor. If readers happen to stumble upon it, it may take some extra digging in the archives to find out who the people are the author is currently mentioning, but for people that are looking to find a site like this to read on a regular basis, they’ll be pleasantly surprised. Do You Know What It Means to Miss New Orleans

Review 2806

I wasn’t quite sure what I would be getting with this blog. The title of “Do you know what it means to miss New Orleans” could be taken any number of ways. It could be that the author moved, it could have to do with Katrina, it could be that the author actually won a pageant and became “Miss New Orleans” and well it could be a bunch of other stuff too.

But when I first arrived, I noticed the title was “I can leave my hat on” which doesn’t mention New Orleans at all. The url mentions New Orleans, so I knew I was in the right place, just that the author changed directions.

There was one other thing I noticed: blarring music of some song I never heard of. This isn’t myspace. This isn’t the year 2000 when midi files were all the rage. It is 2007 and a little boundary for the music would be nice. An option to turn it on is always better than forcing me to turn it off (more on this later).

The author is Laurie and has been posting for a long time. A really long time. Her blog goes all the way back to October of 2004 and this is where I get the original idea for the blog. A place for Laurie to reminisce about her vacations past with friends in New Orleans.

This leads to some issues I have with blogging. Namely posting too much information. It is one thing to talk about old stories and not name names. But it is another to post pictures to go along with the stories for the world to see. I don’t know how many people I have talked to since I started this site about what lines to cross and which ones not to. Sure the pictures might not seem like they are bad, but what happens when your kids, or in Laurie’s case, her grandkids find the site and ask about the bars and the partying and all the other stuff? I just don’t recomend posting so much personal stuff.

With that said, the most recent posts about the bird were extremely funny (cause they are true) and gave me insight where the other posts would be going. Laurie posted this blog under humor, and most of the posts are rather funny. It is written in such a way that it is very easy to read and like a good comedy you know you will enjoy it.

There are two things I think the author should change. The first is the music that plays automatically. Maybe it isn’t so bad for new readers who don’t venture off of one page, but for someone like me who goes through almost the entire site, it gets annoying. The second, as mentioned, is the personal stuff needs to be toned down just a bit. While I like some of the details, as I said, some lines are just too far.

On the plus side this is a very enjoyable blog. I think most people will find themselves entertained by the way Laurie writes. It is almost as if she considers each and every reader her closest friend. Overall I have to give this blog a 3 because of the two big flaws I listed above.Do You Know What It Means to Miss New Orleans

Review 3336

Since the name Valley of the Shadow doesn’t give me much info, I looked at the url for some advice. This is a blogspot blog which isn’t always a bad thing, but it also doesn’t help matters. I went to this site open minded, not sure what to find.

The first thing I noticed was that it was a slightly modified blogspot template. It has an original banner at the top which is nice, and the entire background is blue with white text. So while it isn’t great, it is definately not bad either. The phrase in the banner says “A blog about Local and National Politics, news, culture and Vignettes from the Valley of the Shadow” so that is what I expect to read.

The blog is definately a political blog. The author Joey calls himself an institutionalist. He even defines it as:

Institutionalist:(N) Someone who respects the institutions of Government and Social protocols.

Even though he is an institutionalist he is more of a republican than a democrat.

The posts all talk about our government and what they are doing right and what they are doing wrong. I don’t agree with his point of view, but I do respect it as he presents his opinions very well. All the posts are well written and easy to read. Most of his posts have a bit of a personal flair to them that makes reading them enjoyable instead of being drab.

One of the things that stuck out to me with this blog was the huge amount of links in the 2nd column. In fact this column is huge, that it requires 16 page downs to get to the end of it. Thankfully the author is smart enough to ensure that there are enough posts on the page to not have a bunch of white space. I am not sure what all of those links are for, but it is rather large.

In addition to the links there are a large number of advertisements in the column which don’t really seem to fit in at all. Finally the one thing that drove me crazy was that between the post’s title and the body there was a blurb for donations. While this was fine the first couple of times I read it, I found it very distracting by about the 30th post onward.

Overall I enjoyed this site. While it is still early for election stuff only in the primaries, there is a lot of good information to be had. When it gets closer to the main election I am sure this site is going to be a great one to read.NULL