Review 2780

I must admit that I entered the weblog with a small amount of scepticism because of the title but, soon found myself enjoying the posts as if I were actually there to see what the author was describing. Each post seems as though they are spontaneous, yet thought through well enough so as not to appear to ramble about meaningless topics.

I definitely found plenty of humorous aspects to this blog. While not “gut busting” funny, it has lots of subtle bits of dry humor spread randomly throughout the posts. The overall feel of the blog is in my opinion, of someone who genuinely enjoys what he’s writing about and puts forth a good amount of thought before simply typing anything that comes to mind.

The layout is a bit generic because it is obviously a Blogger template but, it’s a clean layout without any unnecessary scripts or graphics. I believe this blog has true potential to be a daily read for many people and will attract even more folks if the layout is spruced up a bit.

Overall, I think I’d have to give this blog a “thumbs up” because it is very easy to read and follow each post. The posts are closed in a tasteful manner and there is no generic rambling to speak of. I would recommend this blog as a daily read for anyone looking for an interesting read!

Freddy From Yorkshire

Review 2812

Upon arriving at The Hopeful Cynic I first thought, ‘Whoa, that is a mountain of content!’. The site borders on intimidating and the eye gets lost within the reams of copy, links and choices. Can you have too much of a good thing?

The focus of this blog is news and politics. The author offers his take on these issues both cynically and hopefully. The author is very articulate and intelligent, his opinions are well formulated with content from news sources from all over the web. It was difficult to find much information about the author himself however.

Most importantly, ergo the name of the site, he is cynical. As a closet cynic, I can appreciate much of what the author says (whether I agree or not). One might expect a news and heavy content blog to be dry. THC is a refreshing and often humorous look at news. The author doesn’t take his cynicism too seriously either, from ‘A Horse’s New Best Friend’ : ‘I don’t think the horses care too much about the industrial design, but they probably like that it is ‘designed for comfort, security and maximum ejaculatory response.’ Check out the step-by-step guide to the EquiMount, including the all important step #4: “Introduce stallion to the EquiMount.’ I’m just picturing Mr. Ed saying ‘Aw, guys, you shouldn’t have.’ -smirk-

The news content focuses on whatever has interested the author on any given day. There were entries about racism in Minnesota, being a Hooker for Halloween (this story was simply disturbing) and of course the election. The author is an admitted Republican but has a great entry entitled, ‘A Message to Kerry voters and Democrats’. It is an interesting read regardless what side of the fence you are sitting on.

The entries themselves offer different options to use his research/content as well. You can e-mail an article, comment on an article and link to an article. The website design is rather spartan, clearly content here is king. There is an occasional picture to complement the story but there is primarily loads of text, quotes and statistics. The colors used are primarily gray and white, this makes reading off the screen pretty easy. *Note, there is at least one link to a site with ‘adult oriented material’.

If news and politics is your cup of tea, you can enjoy a pipping hot pot of it at The Hopeful Cynic. I certainly didn’t think there was too much of a good thing here. The author tries to balance hope and cynicism (heh, good luck) with more success that I thought humanly possible. Regardless of your views this site will challenge you to think, which I believe fewer people seem to be do these days. Kudos to the author, you have some really insightful stuff here.The Hopeful Cynic

Review 2812

The Hopeful Cynic. What a great title for a blog. And a life. A very clean Typepad template, this blog started in late 2003 with some major gaps in posting here and there. Lately it leans toward political postings (doesn’t every blog, it seem?) but its design is to present ‘news’ and ‘links.’

I’d really like to know more about the blog’s author. I searched and searched and could only find his name and the city he’s from but very little else. This frustrates me about bloggers sometimes. I mean, you are out there reading blogs which are, by design, a personal journal for the world to see, and then you don’t get any of the personal info you need or want.

Why is the Hopeful Cynic hopeful? Why did he start this blog? His first post is about the Motion Picture Association of America’s war on digital piracy, which doesn’t tell you much. It certainly doesn’t explain why this blog was started. He goes on to talk about the FDA, National Public Radio, Abu Ghirab, and most other current events–even movies he has seen. His posts are well informed and include plenty of links to his sources.

With such a well designed blog, you’d think he’d want to let you in on him just a little more.The Hopeful Cynic

Review 2743

Merialc opens to a very pleasant muted sage green color scheme with a photo of the seashore. Very restful and elegant. There are two thumbnail photos of books she is currently reading. I can say she, but it took me quite a bit of reading and searching to find out about the author, as there is no about page.

I know we here at Weblog Review harp on this feature or the lack of it, probably more than any other thing. But trust me, one little sentence in your header can encourage people to read further. The most cursory of reference points can go a long way to welcome new readers.

I found out bit by bit from reading the archives, that our author is an engineering student in her last year of college. And to my great joy, about a year ago, her father loaned her a camera. She set out to learn how to use it. And learn she did.

If you do nothing else at this blog, you must go investigate her photography. I was thoroughly enchanted by what I found there. I explored the literally dozens and dozens of photos of everything from a study of wine corks to wonderful shots of the English countryside, complete with artful shots of decaying castles. There is also a section devoted to pictures taken during a trip to Pakistan.

Her blog entries center around a few recurring topics. Movies and books she has seen and read, what’s doing at college, work, and a some personal observations about the world around her, all done in a readable style.

There is a link to a commercial site hosted by Cafepress, where you can purchase some of the author’s photography. A nice touch, especially if you see something in her photo log that strikes your fancy. All in all I had an enjoyable visit. And I encourage you to do the same. : Life in Reverse

Review 2679

Lost Together opens to a black and white photo background of a child watching some ducks in the water. The photo is nice, but it makes a rather busy backdrop for the text of the entries. A larger font size would be helpful to the reader.

I read the first entry of this blog, which was in April of 2003 and found that the title comes from the lyrics of a song that is meaningful to the author. But I could find precious little else to help me get to know who was writing. It took me quite a bit of reading just to decipher the gender of this blogger. Even the most rudimentary profile is helpful to the new visitor.

The entries center mainly around the author’s work situation. The good days and the bad days. But again, they reveal only small hints about the writer. Holding your cards this close to your chest makes for rather. . . how can I say this? Floating entries. There was very little real flow or connectedness to them. So they become uninteresting after a while. Not to say that ALL the entries were this way. From time to time, there would be one that delved into some aspect of the author’s life, or an observation about society in general. I wanted to read more entries like that.

While the writing itself was certainly clear and understandable, I came away with the feeling that the blogging was a bit of a bother, or that the author didn’t really care that much about it. And so to a certain extent, neither did I.
Now it is entirely possible that this is not at all true. But this was the impression that was projected. Ah, I think what I am trying to say is that for me at least, this blog lacked “passion”.

There are only the barest minimum of other features here. Three drop down menus with links, blogs our author reads, and the archives. All were in working order at the time of my visit.

I think this blog has the potential to become more engaging if the author chooses to share more openly. Just because there has been a certain pattern up until now, doesn’t mean things can’t change. After all, in the immortal words of Scarlett O’hara, “Tomorrow is another day…..!”

Strange and Beautiful