Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Coming up short

The natural complement to the Mommy Blogger is the Daddy Blogger. Due to those pesky lingering gender roles, the Daddy Blogger is a rarer beast than it's feminine counterpart. Like Mommy Bloggers there are some fantastic Daddy Bloggers (check out Dutch, Jim and Ray) and some truly crap Daddy Bloggers (come on, I'm not that nasty). If you'll indulge the Professor a little secret, come a little closer, I'd really like to be as good as one of the great ones. Maybe it's because I yearn to be one of the fraternity, but I love a good Daddy Blog and was thrilled to see that the Lady Bites had sent one my way this week.

I really wanted to like Greg, the author of Dissonance. His story, from what I can glean, is a great one. He's a single Dad raising his teenage daughter Gabby in Houston, Texas - a difficult gig. I get the impression that he and his wife didn't part on the most amicable of terms. It's a great back story for a Daddy Blog and enough to give it the potential to stand apart from the crowd. Problem is that Dissonance doesn't live up to its potential.

Sometimes Greg is fantastic. This post, which at it's root is just the story of a bad day, is so good that it's almost painful to read. I can relate on almost every level to the frustration of a modern civilized man who has to deal with the reality that there are more choices than just flight or fight. When Greg is honest and bare about his struggles and questions about raising a teenage girl Dissonance is dynamite. The problem is that there are more duds than there is dynamite. Greg falls in to that trap that so many of us do - posting far too much of far too little. In other words, too many posts with nothing that people really want to read. I include in this category things like which American accent you speak with (don't care), whether or not the new Wordpress dashboard works (test it and keep it to yourself) and all manner of life's minutiae that you can't turn into a humorous, heart-rending or just interesting story.

You've got template problems as well, Greg, it's dead dull. And a pretty ugly shade of dull. Liven things up a bit, or if you're a fan of clean (bland) then go for a nice simple black and white. Chris Pearson does some wonderfully simple Wordpress themes. I like that you post pictures on your blog, but play with them a bit and they'll shine. You also have a bad habit of posting the link to videos or images rather than just posting the video or image. Call me lazy, you wouldn't be the first, but I can't be assed to click. I want to see it in full color in front of me.

I'm not trying to go all harsh on you, Greg, because I do dig your site. I spent a fair bit of time wandering through the archives and did enjoy myself. I want to help you make it better. Here's one idea. I trolled through your site for ages (add a search feature) looking for more about what happened to get you to where you are in life now. I found little teases and snippets but not the whole story. How about instead of going for the pithy one-liner About, tell your story. Tell it in a humorous way or an emotional way, that's your chance to get my attention as a new reader and to suck me in. Tell me about your wife-turned-violent-shrew, tell me what happened for you to get custody of your daughter, tell it to me in a way that tears my heart open and makes me yearn to know more about you. Make me want to read more.

As I said at the start, I really wanted to like you. In a lot of ways I do and not just because of empathy. When you're at your best, Greg, your on par with any of the best of the genre. But there is far too much filler. My suggestion - don't write just for the sake of the exercise. Write when you have something to say. For now, I'm going to give you three stars and a sincere hope that you take this review in the spirit it was given. Live long and prosper.*

*I am not now, nor have I ever been, a Trekkie. But "Godspeed" sounded suspiciously religious.


  1. I was all set to HATE this blog when I clicked over to it yesterday just because the template is ugly as hell. I hate that two-column terror on the right.

    But he surprised me. I ended up liking the guy, and I couldn't agree with your review more, Prof.

    I want more of more and less of less! I really want to get to know this guy. Besides, teen daughters are the worst kinds of evil at times. I want to read about someone else's nightmares to occasionally escape my own.

    As it is right now, it's a bit too sterile for me. Of course, that may be just the way he wants it. If it is, he has nailed it.

    However, if you want loyal slightly spastic readers like myself to hang on your every word, show us more of who you are and what you're about! Write it, Greg, and we will come!

  2. "Sterile" is exactly the word I was looking for, Angel.

  3. I love me a good daddy blog! There was one post where he wrote "Gabby caused a. . . " What?! WHAT did Gabby cause? Don't tease me! And I wanna know about his crazy wife and I love that he cleaned the toilet with her tooth brush, even though it makes me want to vomit. I want more of the good stuff.

  4. Ok, I ran into this fella during my time at Laurie Kendrick and I like him. On a personal level. I agree with this review though, the template kept me from frequenting Greg's blog. It doesn't fit his writing. Which, when he's on, is wonderful stuff. Being a former Houstonian, I appreciate his spin on life as it is down there. But Greg, please, get a new fucking layout. You're missing out on a lot of potential readers with that grey shitpiece of a template. That's all for now.

  5. Good review, Booty. You nailed it for me, as well. It just needs more of everything. It reminds me of an MxPx song...more laughter, more tears, more reasons, more cheers, more everything, in all the ways, and more...

    And the template totally does not fit this blog. AT ALL.

  6. The writings seems cool, but when sentient computers the world 'round are applauding the design-choice, I'd think about a revamp.

  7. That design makes me want to click away immediately. You're right on the mark with this review, Booty.

  8. My thanks to professor booty and all the rest for the brutally honest review of my inane little blog. Thanks also for having the comments enabled. It allows us to see more opinions other than the official review.

    I did not know that my template was so repulsive. I chose it because I like simplicity. I don't like flashy, blingy stuff.

    I have heard all of you and I am actually going to change the template. I don't know CSS so I'm just going to go with what default templates I can find. Tell me what you think.


Grow a pair.