Review 2653

Arklahoma Boy is the name of this blog and that says it all. Upon entering the site, I saw that it was a simple 2 column setup in light blue with links and such on the right and the writing, in standard blog-entry form, on the left. Now what is Arklahoma? That’s what I ask myself. Luckily, there was a link on the right titled “Arkla What?” that answered my question.

Arklahoma is the name given to the Fort Smith region on the Arkansas/Oklahoma border. And, logically, Arklahoma boy is from that region. Simple enough I thought.

Next, I read the about section to get a feel for the author. It’s set up as a simple numbered list of personal qualities and beliefs. And let me tell you, this is one opinionated guy. He loves Lynyrd Skynrd. He’s an Iraqi war veteran. He was raised a Southern Baptist and is a die-hard Republican. He loves beer, hates France and is the only person I’ve ever come across who actually wants to hear the song when some guy yells “Play Freebird!!!!” at your local bar.

After reading this, I thought of that movie quote “I came here to do 2 things: Drink some beer and kick some butt. And it looks like we’re almost outta beer.”

Now that I have an extremely good idea of what this guy is about based on all of the stereotypes you’ve heard, I began reading the archives, which were located right below links for Alliance of Free Blogs, The Rebel Alliance, Blogs for Bush, Dixie-net and Military blogs.

Unfortunately, this blog got started on May 19th and I read the whole thing in about 15 minutes. The entries that he did have were a smattering of opinionated posts written on topics that you’d expect from Arklahoma Boy. Lynyrd Skynyrd, women in the military, sissy French people, and Ronald Reagan were some of the topic highlights.

So, there wasn’t much to review and, frankly, what I did read was very expected. Perhaps I just can’t relate to this guy, but I wish he had more to read so I could form a better opinion other than the stereotypical one I was left with. ArklahomBoy

Review 2600

ily ily ily…A plain blue page with large white letters greets you upon entering. The “Hey baby…. phrase at the top, is sort of cryptic. An indecipherable and ambiguous statement, that begs explanation, and I go seeking one.

I start with the About link where I find that he has added it only because of discovering out how much we prefer them here at Weblog Review. He seems to resent the whole exercise. But hey, remember, when you publish on the internet, strangers are going to come to your site. It seems odd to be overly mysterious in such a public place. If you really want to be anonymous, make your diary private. That’s my take on it anyway.

So we find out a little about the author there, but not much of real substance. Some confusing slight of hand (pun intended) references to who he is. It’s like watching a fan dance. The words, reveal and conceal at the same time. And perhaps that’s the way he wants it. Okay fine.

I read on. The entries jump from subject to subject, some giving you the impression that you are walking into a room and joining a conversation already in progress. Disjointed thoughts, sometimes tender, sometimes poignant, sometimes shocking, along with a liberal dose of covert anger fills the posts. There are some fairly explicit conversations of a sexual nature, and frequent references to anorexia.

All these entries add up to the painful details of an unhappy life. An unhappiness that spans so many levels, one is overwhelmed by it. I must admit though, that I found it hard to connect with compassion with the author because of the seeming self-destructiveness that flares so often. These are the words however of an eloquent writer, make no mistake. But the bleakness of the subjects makes for depressing reading, and the raw nature of the emotion revealed here is not for the faint of heart.

There are only a few links on the page, to other weblogs, which seem to work fine. Not much else is going on in this blog but the author’s thoughts, which frankly are intense enough without a bunch of other distractions.

It is difficult to give a rating to this weblog. He submitted it in the creative writing category, and perhaps it succeeds to some extent in that way.

I would not recommend this weblog unless you are interested in reading a lot of details about a desperately confused and painful life. I consider this material adult in nature.

ily ily ily

Review 2568

Just like the name suggests, this blog is.. well a blog on Brain’s roommate. The idea is quite original, and here is the introduction in his own words:

This is a weblog devoted to the study of my roommate. All names will be changed to protect the weird and eccentric. For this reason, I will refer to my roommate as “James”. Hopefully, by reading this, you will be introduced to the personality and daily habits of a truly odd individual that I have the unique privilege of being assigned to share a 14.5 x 11 ft. cell/dorm room with. At this point, my roommate is unaware of the existence of this blog, which could make things interesting if/when he finds out, so don’t spoil all the fun by telling him. Enjoy!

The idea is very unique and trust me, it rocks. James is a little whacky kind of a guy from what Brain writes about him, especially when it comes to attending the classes, personal hygiene, and living in a civilized manner.

All this makes this blog a really interesting read. Though the blog started just in January, there are entries for almost everyday. And Brain’s got this style of writing some really uninteresting things into unstoppable laughter-producing entries.
Here are a few posts :

12 pieces of duct tape is apparently insufficient to hold Jim’s poster of Disney princesses to the ceiling above his bed. Sleeping Beauty, Snow White, and Jasmine must be heavier than their anorexic forms would imply.

Jimbo always strategically places the blinds every night so that the Sun will shine right across his face in the morning, presumably to wake him up. Despite the fact that it does not wake him up, he continues to do this every night, then moves the blinds back in the afternoon so that there is no glare on his computer screen. It’s like a giant, solar-powered alarm clock. Somehow Jimbo can even sleep through light that blinds me every morning when I wake up. He’s talented.

Despite the fact that the only purpose of existence of Roommate blog is to incessantly track the life of Jimmy, never once do you seem to get bored. As a matter of fact there were more than just a few times when I could not control laughing out really loud while reading this blog. I would not be surprised if Brain was to write a comedy book and it would turn out to be a best seller.

As for the design, the blog has the standard movable type design. Nothing fancy, but with a blog like this design becomes completely irrelevant as long as you can read clearly (which you sure can).

But alas, there seems to be some unwritten law that all good blogs die soon. It so happens, that on March 18 Jimmy discovered the blog, and the last entry is on March 25 when Jimmy ‘vanishes’ while Brain was taking his shower. Maybe he told Brain not to blog about him anymore, maybe he left the college, maybe there was some alien abduction (which Brain feared many times in the past when Jimmy would vanish like this). Even if the blog is not updated anymore, I would recommend everyone to have at least one read of the entire archives. Which, unfortunately, would easily be completed in an hour; partly because the blog is just too interesting and partly due to the size of the entries.
I personally would keep checking the blog in case James might return someday. 🙂


Review 2564

‘Japan Window Photo Blog’, sounds interesting. I’ve been to the site, and I constantly return (it’s even linked in my blog!). The template has not changed, it’s still dark with a black background and light gray text. I think it works, as the font is not too big and not too small. It’s not too hard on the eyes as well. The design’s simple and neat. And for many, that is good.

As I read his entries, I began to wonder who the author is. I finally found the ‘About’ link which is placed on the right side bar. The author is not Japanese (at first, I thought he was). He moved to Japan with his Japanese wife and daughter two years ago. His photo blog is mainly about his ongoing attempt to figure out what Japan is all about. Most people will find this interesting as it’s not just photos of sights and sceneries in Japan, but it also focuses on it’s culture and it’s people. In each entry, he further elaborates on what each photo is all about and his thoughts. He also ponders on his personal concerns, like in his March 09 entry, he says:

“I personally get upset thinking about salary jobs in Japanese companies. I’m used to the idea of eight hour work days, regular vacations, overtime as the exception, and just having a life outside of work. But here I see Japanese kids growing up without having their fathers around, and that bothers me.”.
It’s commendable for a foreigner to have such concern for a foreign country. Furthermore, he tells about his personal opinions on different people he sees and takes photographs of them. Either of two girls praying or old women shopping. Some of his expressions may make you laugh, but in reality they’re generally true.

The layout, as I’ve said, is dark. It’s a black background with light gray text and gray links. It’s clear enough to read, and the font size is just right. The banner’s simple yet says a lot as it has many different photos of Japan.

An extra here is the photo gallery. Here you will find the same photos but placed in different categories such as the author’s top 10 favorites, random moments, youth culture, shrines and temples, festival photos and many more. This will make it easier for you to view photos according to your liking.

Japan Window is a great experience, especially if you’re as interested in Japan and it’s culture. The author elaborates well and his photos say a lot. I think what separates his photo blog from the others is the way he takes his pictures. His pictures made me more interested in what Japan has to offer and it made my visit to the site is worthwhile. Japan Window Photo Blog

Review 2545, tales of a white boy from Africa is a prime example of why we should never judge a book by its cover, or why we should never rely so much on first impressions – in fact pick various similar analogies and apply them here. The reader is greeted with a standard two column movabletype template, with very few alterations – in fact the only real alteration is an image in the left hand column. For those who really do rely strongly on first impressions it would probably be far too easy to pass over and move on, but on this rare occasion I would definitely advise them to persist – it’s well worth it.

Mukiwa combines beautifully well written entries with exceptional photography, and I mean exceptional. There is no about me page, no self obsessed first posting here, it’s straight in and blogging. Maybe the first post didn’t grab me, but as I began to read the more engrossed I became. Each entry is usually supplemented by photography, and so what the template lacks in visual appeal is more than compensated for with stunning photographic imagery. I was, and remain in awe of this individual’s skill with a camera.

Despite fluctuations in posting consistency the author touches on a great many subjects here, sometimes personal, sometimes about issues close to his heart. I particularly liked how he utilized photographs to highlight a point – a real favourite being his images from Zimbabwe. This is someone who really can speak a thousand words with a simple picture.

There isn’t much I can say about the design; it’s a generic movabletype template with very few alterations. But I firmly believe that visitors should put this aside, because the content is more than worth it. There was the occasional error, a broken image here for example, but nothing overwhelmingly annoying.

I enjoyed my visit to; it was one of those rare gems to prove we should never judge a weblog by first impressions alone. Yes the template is generic, and as such its a little lack luster visually – but this site really does make up for in other ways – beautifully written entries and stunning photography. Give this site a chance, I guarantee you won’t regret it. If broken images were remedied, and a new template this would be a 5 for me without a doubt, as it stands I’m going to give it a grade of 4.5 – room for improvement.However, it remains a definite addition to my favorites list.
Mukiwa: Tales of a White Boy from Africa