Review 2838

I have to admit that I am really not a fan of poetry to begin with, and so to say I was not looking forward to reviewing a site named BloggingPoet is accurate. Upon opening the page however, I spotted the picture of Billy and thought this might be fun. The blog is pink, though. It’s really, really pink. More about that in a moment.

The author of this site, Billy, is a former long haul trucker. Since he has come off the road he has been a pretty busy guy according to his “About Billy” page. He has written three books, publishes an e-zine and has organized a popular local blogger meet-up, among other activities. Oh to have Billy’s energy! Billy is into Trademarks as well. He has trademarked the title “Billy the Blogging Poet” and “Poet Laureate of North America.” The latter was a protest against the government’s propensity to designate poet laureates based on political affiliations. This cracks me up because as Billy says, it’s “the coolest Google trick ever!”

Lest the title of the blog scare off “poetry haters,” you will not find anything rivaling Keats or Cummings here. Billy is more into the raucous instead of cerebral “high-brow” poetry. Currently he is writing Christmas poems in a “30 Days of Christmas” theme. “Down at the Santa-A-Go-Go,” informs us “There won’t be any Christmas, Santa’s way to drunk to drive.” Unfortunately, though, most of his Christmas themed poems are retreads of holiday songs. Billy has just changed the lyrics. I have heard it said that writers should stick to what they know best. This adage is proven with posts like “Christmas at the Truck Stop,” where Billy shines.

The author is more into rhyme than poetry. In Billy’s world rhyme is the key, and he adapts words to fit his model. In “Frosty the Snowman,” posted on February 29, 2004, Billy writes, “he makes a bigger mess than he already has. See if there’s a bucket here. If not, we’ll use that vaz. (vase).” He tries, really he does. Most of the content though, consists of bad rhymes and Billy’s re-vamped lyrics to songs. On April 29, 2004, Billy gives us the delightful ditty “Bugs Inside my Range” to the tune of “Home on the Range.” Funny concept, yes. Poet laureate this is not.

As I mentioned, the blog is pink. It is incredibly difficult on the eyes. Billy has so much on his sidebars that you may get a migraine sifting through it all. He includes everything but the kitchen sink including more advertisements than a network affiliate. He should focus his energy on writing better poetry and less time building links.

Overall, I think that the concept here is an interesting one. A blog “poet” is certainly not your everyday fare. Perhaps Billy should stick to writing what he knows instead of re-vamping old songs. That and changing the “pink” would go a long way to giving him a higher review score.

Review 2838

Ever see something that looked amazing and perfect and some else decided to add their bit to it, and then someone else, and some more people, and by the time it is over, you can barely see what was originally there that moved you so much? That is how I felt about Blogging Poet.

Billy the Blogging Poet ™, yes that is trademarked, is just what it sounds like. A blog about Billy’s poems. This is a great premise for a blog as not too many people do this. Before I dive into the blog itself, a little more on Billy. He is a published author 3 times over, trademarked the name Poet Laureate of North America in addition to Billy the Blogging Poet, was a trucker for 28 and created a magazine. Wow that is a long list of accomplishments.

Now onto the blog itself. Please keep in mind I am speaking only of the “blog part” right now. The blog is amazing. Poems that are well written, posts that actually entertained me, short stories about his life, and guest bloggers who all make the cut fill this site up. Current postings are part of his 30 days of Christmas because “12 days of Christmas ain’t squat”. This is enjoyable.

Now onto everything else that is this site. When it first loaded I was taken aback by the bright purple background, dark purple text, yellow highlights, his picture, his 2 columns of other links, and well all I could say is wow. The site is over flowing with distractions. The only thing it was missing from a late 90’s website was the animated gifs. The sidebars consist of links to other things he has done, other bloggers, donate to his site, buy his books, buy t-shirts, donate by mail, buy this, and I think you get the point.

While looking for the links to the archives, I started counting the number of external sites Billy links to. I got tired at 70 so I threw it into a script to count. There are 390+ external links! Oh yeah I did find the archives. They were listed almost at the bottom of the page. Cause below the archive list, guess what I found? If you guessed more links and sponsors you are right. This made it very hard to actually read the site as the archives aren’t even marked as “Archives”. Instead I just get links in the format of 2004.12.01. Thankfully I have been blogging long enough to know that these were the archives.

I really hate to have to score this site below average as the blog part itself is amazing and I was very entertained by it. If the site was just the blog I would have score it much higher, but the fact that there are so many distractions and links to buy stuff and to donate just took away from my experience. I understand the need to promote your own work and to try to make a living off one’s website(s), but this was over kill. I hope that Billy will cut back on all the clutter and focus on what he does best;

Review 2841

When Tara Met Blog all was well. I love the title of this blog as it has a nice little ring to it and is taken from the When Harry met Sally movie. This subtle hint that she likes movies in her title is nice.

The site loads up with a nice background of martini glasses and the main area is in a green box to not get the text confused with the martini glasses. The left column used for navigation does not have a solid background and sometimes the links get lost in the background. While the design works for the site, I would like to see something else that flows better and captures Tara’s personality a bit more (though the fun-ness of the site is evident).

The blog itself is very easy and enjoyable to read. She talks about a range of topics from movies to politics (lets be fair, everyone talked about this topic this year), to her personal life (though not in the what I did sense). I found her movie reviews to be very enjoyable, laughed at her posts about food chains, and just enjoyed my time here.

I had a problem with the navigation. The archives aren’t listed in “standard” date format. Rather you can pick from the category the posts are listed in, or you can use the god-awful calendar system. Thankfully at the bottom of the page there is an “Older” link, which takes us to the next page of the blog. The blog is very short as she started blogging in October and does not post every day.

Overall I enjoyed reading When Tara Met Blog. It was easy, light, and a refreshing voice in the over populated blogging world. After some design tweaking, fixing up the archives, and some more time, my guess is Tara will have a long list of loyal readers.When Tara Met Blog

Review 2841

I liked the name of this blog and it gave a great first impression with its green background and pink martinis in the sidebar. Tara started this blog in October 2004 and as of this writing has only had 18 entries–not a lot by blogging standards.

I think Tara should have waited a few more months to have her blog reviewed. It’s so bare. There are links in the sidebar that contain, well, no links. For example, she has “Books I’ve Read Recently” and then not a single link to a book she’s read recently. This may be a glitch in her blog template because it did appear after clicking another link or two. (“The 5 People You Meet In Heaven” is one of the books she’s read recently). Your template needs to work properly, especially if you’ve put it up for review.

I found the “Control Panel” in her sidebar perplexing. It actually has “Edit Your Blog” and “Build a Blog” in this Control Panel. (Huh?) I tried to edit Tara’s blog, but had to log in as Tara (I assume), so I couldn’t edit it. I don’t see a need for this on the front page of her blog and think she should remove it quickly before someone figures out how to edit and/or deface her blog.

Tara is working on her Master’s degree in journalism, so blogging is a good skill to have. She needs to focus on building that skill by posting every day and giving her readers more of herself. I can’t really give this blog a raving review because it is so new, and so far it can’t decide what it wants to be when it grows up.
When Tara Met Blog

Review 2838

The name of the blog, drew my attention until I clicked the link. What I found when I entered the site was something of an eye sore. The vivid, pink color of the background with highly contrasting links made me feel ill like I had just gotten off of a roller coaster after consuming way too many wands of cotton candy.

While I found many of the poems mildly humorous, I also discovered the majority of them to be a little bland and in need of some major touch up work. The overall idea of the blog is genuine but, it lacks many fundamentals that would definitely boost the quality of the site. Given more thought on the style of the layout and less time on the number of ads on the site, it could be a fresh approach to poetry in the form of a weblog.

The design really lacks the “user friendly” qualities desired by the average reader and would tend to force readers to exit the site prematurely simply because of the migraine factor involved. I also found it hard to view because the layout was stretched off of the screen. This could be solved by building a layout which, is friendly to most popular screen resolution sizes and browser types since many people still use the 800X600 viewing format.

I would recommend a think tank session by the author of this site possibly with an outside source who is unbiased and a complete remodel of the entire site. While the content can be improved by a few grammatical changes and a spell checker, I believe this site has some true potential if the aforementioned aspects were to be considered.