Review 2217

Eliza’s has been running Fembat.Net since 2001 and she owns a horse! She has two of
them, in fact. I know that’s a strange way to start a review, but it’s not exactly
common (at least here) to have horses, so that’s an intriguing bit about her I read in
the Bio page. Eliza’s weblog is a personal one, and the site has a lot of custom
tweaks that makes it stand out from other Movable Type blogs, which can look
generic after a while.

The entries start from April 2001, though Eliza has been blogging a month
before that. The earlier posts were lost due to a Blogger problem. I started reading
the site from the beginning and one of the first posts goes into how she got her horse
and the month’s archives ends on a sad note, and I can’t help but feel sorry for her,
even though I’m consciously aware that the events depicted here happened two
years ago. Eliza’s writing has that effect on the reader.

The first few months entries are a bit sporadic and the posts in 2002 aren’t
regular as well, but that’s not to say that what’s there isn’t interesting. Eliza posts are
mostly personal, but she has a lot of different aspects in her life and with her
commitments, it’s understandable that time is in short supply for updates. The first
two year’s posts seems to happen when something happens in her life – be it her pets,
or something more unfortunate like being mugged and having a car broken into.

However, the pace picks up in 2003 and the posts start to become regular. Eliza
has many facets in her life, and that’s what makes her blog interesting…she’s
involved in many things – she even mentions writing her first novel, something I’ve
wanted to do but keep on putting off. Her archives are organized well, giving the
reader the option of reading chronologically (year, month, date) as well as within
specific categories.

Navigation wise, Fembat.Net is structured well, with a persistent sidebar menu
which changes according to the context. The site also has a photoblog and I’ll have
to say that Eliza takes great pictures, which would be something of interest to people
interested in photography. I enjoyed the “City Views” category, I reckon that’s one
of the good things about photoblogs…you get to see another country’s sights, from
the perspective of a local. These usually show you things the travel brochures leaves
out – the daily things, simple but beautiful.

There is nothing to find fault with on I’m amazed that she can
maintain consistency with her posts and handle so many other commitments at the
same time, without burning out. The layout is great – the custom modifications to
her MT blog makes the site looks neat, I liked the “Recent Comments” and “Blogroll”
that’s minimized by default and only shows when clicked on. There is a minor HTML
tag error in the About page which doesn’t link correctly to her photoblog, but the
photoblog is accessible from the sidebar so this shouldn’t be an issue and can be
easily rectified.

Head over and see for yourself. I was going to end with a quip about guys
owing themselves to click on “Picture Yourself” in Eliza’s photoblog, but on second
thought, that would sound offensive, demeaning and totally inappropriate, so I will
refrain from mentioning the photos of herself, which I swear I didn’t click on until
after I read the blog and did not bias the review in anyway. It’s a 5/5 site, easy
navigation, flawless and customized design and good writing. This is one of many
personal blogs out there, but Eliza’s life is anything but ordinary, so this makes her
blog stand out.

Right. Moving on, I did not know horses can drink Stout until today.Fembat.Net

Review 2217

When they say that first impressions count, they really mean it. Take a classy looking blog like Fembat.Net and slap it on a screen in front of most people and you are likely to get a favourable response as it is easy on the eye but offers no clue to the content, so you just have to get on in there and start reading. It’s not often that a site is striking simply because it doesn’t actually slap you in the face.

The blog itself has been in existence since March 2001 and the ‘about’ page gives even the most curious of readers plenty of detail about how it came into being and why it exists, so I won’t bore you with that here. Suffice to say that the pages about both the site and the author, Eliza, give just enough information to answer questions without becoming at all tedious. The Fembat.Net blog archives are extensive and prove that Eliza was not always the prolific poster that she is now, but her writing has always been of the same quality. There are plenty of stories from her day-to-day life but they are delivered in such a way as to never fall into the trap that grabs so many who begin posting the minute dull details of their lives. There are also plenty of musings on wider subjects and all is both carefully written and engaging.

The design of the site is fantastically minimalist with no banner, a static background image and a soft colour scheme. However, if you prefer something a bit brighter, there are a few ‘skins’ to choose from that offer alternative layouts with more colour and even celebrity photos, should you desire. This is a great idea that I have seen on very few other sites, and is used to great effect on Fembat.Net.

In addition to the weblog, there is also a photoblog on this site. The photos are very interesting in themselves, but adding them to the site in this format, rather than by using a straightforward gallery, is a neat touch and rewards regular readers with a new photo as well as a new post whenever they visit. Aside from that and an awful lot of links to other blogs and webrings, that’s pretty much all there is. Mind you, with the amount of writing there is here, you wouldn’t have time for anything else!

I was very impressed with this site. It’s personal but doesn’t only hold the interest of those who know the author personally and there are a lot of nice geeky touches. Definitely one for the blogroll.Fembat.Net

Review 2397

Poignantly poetic, this blog definitely has more than a fair share of real-life drama. Though the author gave no personal details, you can discern most of Pamela’s unhappy background through her entries. She mainly writes about self-discovery, and her more recent entries were centred towards her emotions towards her mother (who is in jail for fraud). Her words are phrased beautifully, though you can tell that Pamela IS rather jaded about life.

The first thing which struck me was the colour-scheme and title of the blog. “my moon turned into a bright red star” certainly brought to mind a recent widely publicised astronomical event. I liked the title. It was simple gave hints regarding the content of the blog, and the real inspiration behind the title is probably this short passage taken from the very first entry, “A couple months later I turned 19. My sister sent me a bright red star lantern that made my room into an opium den.”

The colour scheme is a clean mix of orange and different hues of grey. I liked that there aren’t too many colours involved, but I wouldn’t really recommend that orange words be used on a greyish background. I had to take a closer look to read the words properly.

There aren’t that many entries to read as the first few months in the archives were pretty much limited to a max of 3 entries. Then Pamela took 3 breaks from blogging and came back in July with longer and more regular entries. The blog hasn’t been updated since 26 August, but that could be due to the fact that the author’s away (no reason stated though).

Overall, I would say that this blog is simple to read and offers a rather deep insight into the author’s thoughts. If Pamela was to keep writing, you can be sure that I would be there to read.
my moon turned into a bright red star

Review 2402

I’m a bit of a photography junkie myself, so when I saw the opportunity to review a weblog that the author thought fell into the photography category.

One of the highlights for this site, for me, was the sidebar. It’s more than just the typical sidebar including links to other weblogs, or a bunch of webrings, or something that really doesn’t relate to the site at hand. The links here direct you to the inspiration behind his love for photography, as well as give you a small insight into some of his past photography experience. His “favorite gear” link, which can be found amongst the many links down the right side of the weblog, gives you an idea of the equipment he’s shooting all of his pictures with. There’s also a section devoted to some of his prestigious awards that’s worth checking out.

The archives are listed on an individual basis, starting back in January 2002. Jeff uploads a new gallery or section of pictures a few times a month, so it’s not a site that’s updated daily. The thing I didn’t like all that well about the archives is the way that the picture previewing capability is completely missing. Instead of seeing a thumbnail shot to get an idea what you might be looking at, you’re taken to a directory on Jeff’s domain where you have to click on each file name to see what the picture might be. There are times when the file name is descriptive enough to give you an idea of what you might be looking at.

Some of the different galleries that are set up, though, are set up in a very nice fashion. There’s a next and previous link beneath each picture, as well as a link to click back home to the main page. The galleries that are set up like this also provide viewers with a small caption. I like this option much better then rifling through a directory of file names.

The layout of the site isn’t anything out of the ordinary. The javascript-rollover effect that’s used in the top menu bar is a nice touch, and the way the entries are set apart from one another make things easy to read. The site’s easy to navigate, and everything seems to be working just fine.

The galleries that are listed at the very top of the site are ones that the author could probably claim as some of his best work. Some of the photos in these categories have been tweaked with PhotoShop, some of them have just been taken with a camera that’s been picked up at a garage sale for mere pocket change, or just some really great pictures he’s taken of people or places that he loves.

As far as photoblogs go, I enjoyed this one. The format in some galleries, as I’ve mentioned, is a bit cumbersome, but if you’re just looking for some really nice photos, this is a great place to start.

Post-nuclear Art

Review 2402

Hmm! thought I after arriving at Post-Nuclear Art. Lots of colour, well-organized content and an interesting layout…it looks so easy!

As someone who enjoys photography (both 35mm and digital) I enjoy photoblogs. Post-Nuclear Art (PNA) was certainly chalked full of cool pics… and hey there is a blog too.

The photos first though… The photographer takes a lot black and white shots which I think is great. B&W for me, has an elegance and grace which is evident in many of Jeff’s photos. In particular I liked: ‘Tourists’ ‘Erin Figure Study’ (grin – curious all the ‘people he fancies’ are good looking women 😛 :D), all of the post-nuclear section, with the merged pics… very interesting stuff. Jeff’s ‘the chick magnet’ series is also very cute.

The blog is usually based on the photo series for the entry. In one entry Jeff mentions this piece of wonderful honesty regarding the cameras he uses:

‘NIKON COOLPIX 995 DIGITAL : Improved my photography overnight- solely due to “the more you shoot, the better chance you’ll get something good”

My one complaint is the photo sets could use some organization and a cleaner delivery. Most photo sets from the blog are simply a directory listing of the images… Ho-hum, bleck! Such as (which is one of my favs… mmm Halloween….)

There are so many great photo sets. You best come see for yourself. A great photoblog site ‘fer sure.
Post-nuclear Art