Review 1006

When I chose to review this site and saw that it was a “Blogspot” site, I expected it to be about average — in all honesty, sort of like my own site. Yeah, I play around with design and I update pretty often, but I always figured the best Weblogs belonged to those who owned their own domain names. Wrong!



“life as it happens” stuck out right away because its design was clean, catchy, and it made you want to read further. Besides the title, the first text you see is a quote: “On the Web, everyone is famous to fifteen people,” attributed to Dave Weinberger. I liked that right away — and I knew then that I wasn’t reading a blog written by someone who hoped for everlasting Internet fame.



The content of “life as it happens” is good. It’s easy to follow, it’s not written to sound like someone trying to be “deep,” which is a personal pet peeve of mine, and it’s exactly what it proclaims to be — life, as it happens. The entries are spiced up with titles and small icons (I especially liked the entry titled “Caught in a trap,” with a tiny bleach bottle leading it off, that went on to talk about drain problems in the sink). The author, Rodney Breen, an “Irishman living in the UK” as he describes himself, is witty without trying too hard, and a really great piece of writing is his “Infrequently Asked Questions,” in which he involves himself in a somewhat trivial but no less informative discourse. Finally, according to Rod himself, the purpose of the journal is just to write, to entertain and to have fun — and I see every evidence that Mr. Breen has done just that.



Simply put, there are no problems at all with the design of “life as it happens” — at least not that I saw. Everything ties together well, the design helps the content without going too far and distracting from it, and all of the links not only work, but include some description beyond the title, so that you’re not floating in link never-never-land, which is a feature I certainly appreciate.



One great added feature appears under “Why write this?” in which the author answers the above question. He gives a list of tips for Bloggers, and he sums it up with what I consider the most important advice of all — have fun. There’s no sense blogging when your only purpose is to start a flame war, and Rod obviously realizes that. He wants to have fun, and he encourages others to do the same.



A second great feature is his journal, which is separate from his weblog and contains longer pieces he’s written. It’s great — the pieces are insightful and well-written, and breaking them out into a separate section not only gives them the recognition they deserve but allows his blog to flow as a series of short but still interesting posts that “go together” much better without the longer discourses woven in.



A final treat is the online novel, “Hurdy Gurdy,” which I wish he’d finish. It may not be the Great American Novel, but it’s honest and full of the same clear writing that marks “life as it happens.”



This site certainly is worth visiting; although there are no revolutionary or even particularly exciting events discussed, there is something to appeal to everyone over about 16. If nothing else, look to it as an idea of what a blog can be — simple, not too complicated, but all the better for it.life as it happens

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