My first impressions of the site were not good. What I now know to be a negative image of Tom’s visage stares back at you looking like something nasty from a B horror movie. I imagined reading the witterings of a sci fi geek or worse the ramblings of a violent thug.
I had been looking forward to reading through the web log after seeing the title, hoping for some wit and self deprecation. Fortunately the title gives a better indication than the picture.
The design is straightforward, simple and effective. The page has black text on white making it easy to read. It has a left side panel which contains the usual archives, about me including a disclaimer and lists of his stuff, most read web logs and an active most recently updated list of web logs. There are a host of adverts too and it was a little busy for my taste. The about me section was great however and an indication that the wit I was hoping for was present. There is some use of pictures and a gallery of pictures is referred to but has now been removed.
Tom’s site has archives back to August 2003 but I sense that this site has been going longer in one form or another. The first post certainly isn’t one of welcome or introduction and there are other hints to this throughout the posts.
The theme of the blog seems to centre on Tom’s life as a working family man trying with some success to bring up his brood. The posts generally report on the tribulations of living a busy life in a busy home. He regales us with stories of his wife, kids, pets, neighbours and his days at work. He is very self aware and honest and his almost 100% daily posting keeps us up to date with life in Illinois. He collects and discards enemies over time and his latest spat with a neighbour and his lawn mowing activities are highly amusing. His vernacular style works well and the posts are enjoyable and easy to read.
There was a letter from a “fan” decrying his occasional shift into self analysis and references to current issues or interesting asides. I liked this side of the blog and found his wit and style carried over from his reportage well.
The site makes occasional use of links but they open in the same page which is a hassle. They work and on the whole the site is easy to navigate around. There are some pictures and links which do not work further back in the archives however. A space issue perhaps?
There were occasional comments and a couple of regularish commentators. He occasionally asks for reader’s input and on the whole gets it.
On the whole I found this a great read and refreshing. Given more space in overloaded schedule I might become a regular reader.
As Tom suggests stupid is as stupid does. Give him a visit. I might keep coming back and I’d give it a well deserved 4 out of 5. It’s well above average.