Review 2451

First things first – the last word in the title is misspelled. That never leaves me with a good feeling as I begin to review a site.

“Words from the Super-Villian” is hosted on BlogSpot, so naturally it takes a bit longer to load then most sites and visitors are initially greeted with a typical BlogSpot banner ad. The author’s done a bit of work to the layout, however, using red, white, and black as its primary colors, along with a piece of somewhat original, I’m assuming, artwork for the header logo. Several links adorn the left-hand side of the weblog, with the posts falling in the middle of the page, just like a typical weblog layout.

There happened to be quite the abundance of posts about professional wrestling and Playboy playmates, and for the sake of variety, the author covers several of the technology topics that are out and about and every now and then, you get a sports post thrown in the mix. Obviously, there’s a little something for everyone.

Most of the time, the author leaves readers with a link and a few original thoughts about the link and that’s about it. Sometimes, like with the Ten Commandments of Hip Hop, the author just copies and pastes an entire article into his weblog. Then again, there are spurts in July where the author posts nothing but links to external sites – no personal thoughts, no feelings, no opinions.

Throughout the site there were several files available for download. The files have an .nfo extension, and despite my noble efforts, I was unable to figure out exactly what kinds of files they were and the relevance they had with this weblog. There’s a separate section just for these files listed on the header menu, so I’m assuming they were of some importance and served some purpose.

Depending on the month, you may get a post every day to read or you may only get to see the author update once a week. I get the impression that when “Words from the Super-Villian” began, the author only planned on updating it whenever the mood struck. After a couple of months, however, the posts start to become more frequent, like it was something that was actually thought about on a more consistent basis as opposed to just think of it every once in a while.

After finishing the archives of this site, I could only leave feeling as if I really didn’t gain much by visiting. It’s not a terrible site, and while I didn’t run away screaming, I also don’t see myself coming back. The topics that were touched on were from all ends of the spectrum, which definitely adds a good bit of variety; however, nothing’s really focused on enough to make readers think the author really cares about what’s been written – with the exception of Pro Wrestling and Playboy models.

Super-Villain Style

Review 2449

Reading “:Dave:” was an interesting insight into what appears to be the life of a high school kid. Reading the news, watching TV, and listening to the radio, you get a soured impression of the state of our youth in the world. It’s refreshing to see a “normal” person, going through life without the hang-ups of the average adult, and without the preconceptions the years of living in the world tend to thrust upon us.

The majority of the entries in the site are short quick thoughts of the author. Occasionally, it’s just “I’m bored” or words to that effect. Strangely enough, I actually enjoyed the short five line post about the Pizza Hut delivery which, after an hour, had not yet arrived. The P.S. on the post was that it had just been delivered as soon as the post had been published, and how although the pizza was cold, the wings were great. I think I had a little flashback to my high school and college days.

Coming back to present day, I really enjoyed the first look at the site. The picture at the top of the page really says a lot. At first, I simply thought it was a nice image, and then I started to read. I realized the picture really fits well. I don’t know if it was intentional, but I’d like to think so. The color choices and layout make it easy to read and navigate. The overall feel of it is somewhat static, but not jarring. You feel like you can get a nice little trip in the Way-Back Machine.

This site is a nice jaunt down memory lane. Every post will help those of us who have graduated from school, remember the good and bad times, and help us to realize we survived, and so will :Dave:.

By the way, Dave, get the PowerBook. You won’t regret it.

Review 2449

As I surfed on over to :Dave:, I was struck by how nice the blog looked. Clean, spare, easy-to-read, and organized, it was a refreshing sight. It also features an “About Me” section, which I’m always grateful for when reviewing a new blog. It was the typical “100 things” list, but it definitely helped me get an initial sense of who the author is. That out of the way, I began digging through the archives, which only extend back to August. This is one of the newer blogs on the block.

At the beginning of one of sixteen-year-old Dave’s entries he writes, “If today were a color it would be beige.” I remember quite a few beige days at that age. In fact, a lot of the posts in this daily journal brought back some teenaged memories. Breakups and reunions with his girlfriend, angst over school and his job, his excitement over earning his driver’s license: everything you would expect from a typical teenaged boy you can find here. There are some surprises, however. He hates football, is an avid aquarist, and dislikes a dirty room (and trust me, anyone who think that isn’t a surprise coming from a sixteen-year-old doesn’t know too many sixteen-year-olds.) He’s also a technology buff and has a second blog devoted to the pictures he takes with his phone. It’s new, but worth a peek.

I mentioned at the beginning of this review how nice :Dave: looks. It’s not the most original I’ve seen and it may be a template but it’s easy on the eyes and simple to navigate, making it functional as well as attractive. There are plenty of spelling and grammatical errors, which can at times interrupt the flow of the writing, but it’s an honest day-to-day account of who Dave is at sixteen. While some may find the blog a bit tedious, I think plenty of readers, especially those close to Dave’s age, will find something here they can relate to. If the author paid a little more attention to the quality of the writing and cleaned up his spelling, I think he’d see his audience grow.


Review 2449

Dave has a Typepad blog with a fairly effective design- a nice picture at the top and it is easy to read. Looking through the posts, Dave obviously has difficulty with the more technical aspects of blogging and I guess that if his skills could improve, his blog would be a lot more striking than it is at the moment. There are a few typos and duff links which could be tidied up too.

Now Dave, the sole author of this blog, is 16. There are 100 things about him in his “About Me” page, which he obviously found trouble filling (with humorous results!) There are loads of photographs which improve the blog and let the reader in to the life of the author more.

As I was reading the blog, I was reminded very clearly about what it was like to be 16. All the posts are of a personal nature and most are fairly short, which means you could get through the archives in about 45 minutes quite easily. The trouble is, being 16 everything seems rather boring. I am sure in actual fact, the author’s life probably isn’t boring at all- he has some interesting views on music, goes to see quite a few films, has a healthy social life and girlfriend. Most importantly, being 16 he is about to enter in to (potentially) the most exciting years of his life.

Unfortunately though, because the author thinks his life is boring, this is reflected very much in his weblog. More detail would liven the posts up a great deal- there is lots of potential here which would be improved if the author only had some faith that people want to read about his life in glorious Technicolor detail. He clearly has a sense of humour too, which should be built on.

I was also disappointed to find out there was a separate private blog which needs a password. Take a risk Dave, and put some of your private blog up for us all to see!

Now I am sure being 16 isn’t easy- I know I was a mess of hormones and insecurities at the time. However, growing up could make for great blogging if the author could put some more effort in to the content and give us some juicy stories and observations to get our teeth in to!

And one more thing, whoever started the “Friday Five” questions should be shot. Finding out what is in your bathroom cabinet does NOT make for interesting, creative blogging!

Review 2396

First off, a warning: Chaos Angel is a highly personal website containing strong language and which discusses themes of an adult nature.

I get the feeling that Chaos Angel is not the author’s first weblog. The debut entry, from October 2002, talks about trouble with Movable Type and getting the domain registered; it spoke in a language that revealed a knowledge of technical matters. Further evidence abounds: a section with links concerning design, direct links to XHTML validators, and good, clean, semantically-rich mark-up. The design is a little plain, a little idiosyncratic, but works well with the content and frees the reader from the difficulties that often arise when all you want to do is read at your leisure.

The first couple of entries were poems (I am a particularly poor at judging the quality of poems so I will leave that to you to do), though quickly the number of topics increased; interestingly, each one is available as its own archive, which makes for particularly easy researching.

Quickly you learn that the writer, Pinky, is an unusual character with a distinctive voice and narrative style, peppered with quirks and bad language and often straight to the point. Her attitude is not a fabrication, nor is it born of teenage angst. Pinky is a divorced mother, proud of her children, brutally honest about her past. She confesses to having been assaulted and beaten by men, and even raped when she was 16; it could be said that this website is a means of therapy for her, a way of vanquishing her demons.

By the end of the first month Pinky becomes more assertive and more racey with her posts. October 31st discusses lesbian sex; following the link beneath that entry reveals an archive devoted to talking about sex; for many, this area will be the highlight of the site. The posts that follow are titillating, certainly, and greatly revealing. Pinky is a literary exhibitionist, happy to discuss the most intimate events in her life; her art lies in drawing in the reader, presenting difficult topics with a refreshing openness that makes the reader feel less like a voyeur using the site as a vicarious means of satisfaction, and more like a close friend able to talk rationally and maturely about sex.

Some entries are touchingly innocent; take for example in November ’02 when Pinky recounts the story of how she was told, by a stranger, that her father was gay. Or more recently, in July ’03, when Pinky’s daughter brought up the subject of masturbation.

The “About a Girl” section, the bit that acts as an “About” page that many readers use as an introduction to a site, can be a little misleading. So too the sexy photos in the “Photo-Box” section; bullet points and revealing images are no substitute for the rich texture that only a year of writing can produce. Work your way through the site slowly, and enjoy really learning about a person in a way that you just won’t find possible with 95% of other weblogs.