Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Did I say that out loud?

I promised y'all last week that, regardless of merit, I was gonna hate on my reviewee this week. Now, chances are I'm a liar, because I'm pretty much going to review with my gut, and if it happens that I like a blog, I'm going to say so. But dagnabit, I do like it when I'm able to get all vitriolic because y'all tend to comment more that way. And bloggers are all comment whores. Leave the money on the dresser.

It's come to my attention that I've gotten a reputation as "the nice one." This is perhaps deserved, insofar as I'm not one for conflict, I don't like to stir up shit, and I tend to go a little easy on the flaming fingers. I'm fairly even-tempered, and I like to give people the benefit of the doubt. I'm a glass-is-half-full (of wine) kind of girl.

But I'm nothing compared to this chick: Thinking Out Loud.

People, it is pretty much sunshine and lollipops over there. Problem is, I'm not entirely sure what "over there" is. Is this a blog or a self-help site? What is the purpose? The header says, "My rants or ramblings about life," but I don't believe her because there are all these posts about money (35 posts) and blogging (21 posts) and such. If it's a finance blog, say so. If it's self-help, say so. And why all the posts about blogging? Are you trying to be a resource for bloggers? What the hell is the purpose of this blog? Your "Meet the Blogger" page doesn't say. You're all over the place. There seems to be a website. And a blog. And a weightloss blog. Why? I'm so lost. Hold me?

About the design, I don't mind the colors, and it's clean and easy to read (barring having to click to read more -- HATE! Unless there's something spoilery after the jump, just leave it all out there, don't make us work more to get to the goods), but ultimately what you've got here looks like a corporate blog. It looks like somewhere I'd go to find out about mortgage rates or human resources seminars.

Who is this cartoon person following my cursor? I want to smack a bitch.

What's the difference between "flash back" and "recent posts"? You really don't need more than maybe the last 4 posts, and you've already got an archive page at the top, so watch the overkill. You've got the recent comments dealio, but there aren't any actual comments there, just the names of the people who commented and the post they commented on. Who cares? If you want to spotlight your commenters (which, why?), actually include the text of their comment. Otherwise you're just creating more and more filler. Filler that makes me, the nice one, want to get out the birch rods.

Jesus, archives AND a calendar? No. Just no.

Otherwise, the writing is... chipper (Look, people: I used ellipses! Correctly!). It's very Good Housekeeping-ish, chatty, "studies show," rah-rah. There are some chuckles. Chippy, cheerful chuckles. No one's cackling with glee here.

And holy lord, there's some shameless blog promotion (at least she admits it). Advertising? Your blog? That feels dirty. She's a very different blogger from me and those whose blogs I enjoy most. It seems like she approaches this like a job, like a way to break into something. It's all marketing and spit-shine and I want to hate it because it's gutless. Yes, gutless. There's nothing on the line here, there's nothing revealed. We don't get to see who Valerie really is beyond helpful saving suggestions and surface twaddle. There are no relationships explored, no real memories shared, no meat, no dimension, no sexiness. And I don't mean it's gotta be raunchy (although that'd be great, please) -- I mean sexy like interesting, piquing, engrossing, bulging, tightening... ooops, got carried away there.

Also, I've seen Rodin's Thinker in situ, and you're not doing him justice. Art, girl, ART! Be lyrical, be emotional, be thoughtful, be meditative, be exposed.

Look, Valerie, you're a nice person. I can tell that. You're even an interesting person (Stuck in an elevator in Cartagena? Locking people out of bathrooms? Yes! More of that!), but it all gets lost in the acres and acres of self-helpy "I'm a personal organizer. Ask me how!"-type crap. I don't want to discourage you because you've obviously put some effort into this, you write consistently and not terribly, and I don't hate you. But for the love of Shamwow, find some focus, figure out why you're blogging, what you want to gain, and who your audience is. If it's a general blog about your life, be that and leave out all the money-saving crap. If you're trying to break into the self-help or financial consultant field, put that out there. But don't go all infomercial on us and expect me to like it.

You knew it wasn't going to be pretty. You knew you were sticking your neck out. Because of that, and because you're nice and devoted and eager and you smile like you really mean it, I'm giving you

But because you lack focus, I feel like you're selling me something, and you haven't broken the surface, I'm giving you

I say these things because I care. And it hurts me more than it hurts you.

Nah, it doesn't. Use some ointment for the sting.


  1. Thank gods somebody said it. I clicked over there earlier this week and felt all dirty cuz I didn't have a purpose for being there.

    By the way, I would never think of you as the "nice one." I would never insult you that way. Now...the "damn she's hawt with a dash of kewt, do ya think she'd hurt me and do ya think I'd have to ask?" one, sure.

  2. Hitting the nail so cleanly on its head leaves little room for addition, comment-wise; you're pounding nail after nail with these reviews, Calamity, and, personally speaking, I'm just nodding in agreement instead of commenting.


    With the exception of Laurie Kendrick, whose otherworldly sense of entitlement is perplexing, I think most people agree with your reviews, and, thus, aren't commenting with the ferocity expected.

    Ah, theories...and ellipses...

  3. I hate self help shit. Find a goddamn shrink, people.

  4. She may not have the "read more" button, but the posts do have the "read the full post" truncation. I hate that. I find this a poor excuse for people who want to run off at the mouth. I hardly ever click on it, just because I despise the whole idea. And 20 posts on the front page?? Holey Freaking Cow!

  5. I couldn't agree more. That's a website to me, not a blog. A blog is personal and creative. That site made me want to take notes or buy some over priced product.
    I admit, I didn't read much because it was just too sterile and uninteresting. I rarely click the link to read a full post, either. That gets on my nerves.

  6. Storm: I'm actually not insulted by nice, but if you want me to spank you, I will. Lightly. Ish.

    Jubblies: Shucks. I'm positively perfect in every way, aren't I? Well, in the ways that matter, which are anonymous blog reviews and tying cherry stems in knots with my tongue.

    Captain: I don't mind self-help, as long as it's right out there up front. Don't sneak it up on me.

    Jan: Yeah, don't make me work so hard!

    Angel: Exactly!

  7. actually this was a good review...that's who i am. i'm all over the place. i have no focus, i'm just thinking out loud. lol.

    i thought you were going to hurt my feelings or something. good try! :)

  8. i could hurt you for sure stormcarver...

    but i like self help captain steve

    yipper jan b, 20 posts on the home page. if only i could squeeze more. something might catch someone's eye. lol

    well angel, what really is a blog?

    do try to stop by again. if i told you my personal stories, you wouldn't believe it.

  9. Valerie, try us! Give us your personal stories and see. :)

    Thanks for being a good sport.

  10. Calamityyyyy, this is me whining. Oh no. I know A LOT of people and if I told my personal stories, I would cease to exist. I have to work with what I got, you feel me? I'll see what I can come up with though..personal stories. Nope, notta one. Sad dad left us when I was about 5, were on public assistance and had to wear holey shoes. I ate spoiled food once cause we I was hungry.....kinda makes you cry doesn't it. LOL. You don't like my money posts? Egads. I love giving financial advice..did I mention I also have a money blog. ROFL. What's wrong with self help, everybody I know needs to be on someone's couch, including me. Okay let me stop...I do have a sense of humor. kekekeke.

  11. Valerie, I'm sure your page is a blog to you and your readers, but to me a blog is more personal. It can be informative, but it's more entertaining. A better look into someone's life and thoughts. I like to agree and disagree with someone. I want to laugh with them, cry with them, share in their happiness and sadness. There are millions of straight forward websites. I want to read blogs that are made unique by their authors.

    At least, that's what I look for in a blog. Good luck with yours, though!

  12. valid points angle. i'm going to have to go THINK OUT LOUD about this. i did just come up with a new tagline, let me know what y'all think:

    if you're looking for focus, go stare at a dot. you won't find it here?

    anybody have any ideas on a better tag line, no cussin'.

  13. No cussin'?

    Can't help ya.

  14. I like it. I'm not all that fond of blogs with focus. I like them all over the boards because if I don't like today's post, I'll probably like tomorrow's better!

    That no cussing thing is gonna get ya hammered around here, though. But they do it with such grace and style!

  15. Valerie, you know, I think I was mistaken about you. You obviously have a very interesting personality, and you are certainly a good sport!

    I usually go back a few days after the reviewers here have done their damage to see if the blogger has changed anything and what they've said about their reviews. (I'm seriously bored now that I'm no longer employed.) I've noticed the blog defenders have slacked off here because they attack these reviewers on the site... where it's safe!

    I just went back to "I Do Things..." and got a good laugh over the way they bad mouthed Nutjobber and this site, but you were so cool! You even agreed with your review! Mostly.

    It might not make a difference to you, but I didn't think I'd go back to your blog. Now I think you're worth digging a little deeper.

  16. I think the combination of corporate-esque blog design and money stuff just creates distance between the blogger and the audience. It makes it feel like a transaction rather than a relationship. Perhaps if the template were "warmer," the advice-y bits of the blog would go over better with me.

    But maybe not. ;)

    As for focus, I don't mean you have to stick to one topic and one topic only. Just maybe give an explanation of why you feel qualified to give this advice, why these different areas (self-help, money, blogging) come together for you. A little more background might make it more approachable.

  17. I was SO waiting for this review since I saw it on the list.

    It was like reading 'exchange & mart', a bit of everything up for grabs, most of it utterly useless.

    Natural, you seem like a really nice person in a totally removed from reality kind of way, I can't figure out if you are a little slow or a lot crafty.

    As punishment for that atrocity against cyber humanity, you should be made explain your reasons for requesting that review.

    Have a nice day.

    Now if ONLY there was website that listed the top 7 places where I could have a nice day.

  18. I was waiting for you to rip her a new one about the marital advice... Do I fight with my spouse over money? Uh, no. Because I don't spend more than I have.


  19. I can't rip what I'm guilty of.

  20. Angel said: "I just went back to "I Do Things..." and got a good laugh over the way they bad mouthed Nutjobber and this site . . ."

    But what do you expect from loyal readers of a particular site? Sure, commenters are going to leap to my defense--that's how it works. Now, if you read my post, you'd see that I didn't jump all over Nutjobber either.

    Just sayin'.

  21. JD, I didn't say you, I said "defenders". Nor did I say I didn't expect them to do it. I just stated they no longer come here to do it. If you read through the recent comments here you'll see everyone teasing one another about how nice they're all being... how no one is fighting. I just pointed out it may be due to the fact the blog defense is happening on the actual blog and not here any longer.

    And I did get a good laugh because complaining about Nutjobber and this site over cussing is really probably a compliment to them. At least that's the impression I get of him. However, I have been wrong before!

  22. angel...truth is, if I had to read a blog just about what you did today, where you went, who you saw, i would (not you) are not all that interesting enough for a blog. lol i don't care about what your 5 year old did. i can't stand to see one more baby picture. so what you went to work today, so did i. i'm not all that interesting either, if i had to write all about me, i would fall asleep and die of boredom.

    no cussin on my "blog". if you take out all the cussin on some blogs, you'd be left with just the template.'s okay. i'm really comfortable in my skin. had you called me normal, i'd be worried. it's easy to fit in. i plan to make a few changes to my blog, like i do need a new tagline, i was working on that the other night. came up dry. go figure. lol

    gotcha calamity. more background on why i'm qualified. darn, i never finished high school...somebody called me a know it all once. i guess i ran with that? i watch jeopardy, whaddya want from me. lol

    Xbox4NappyRash, yes i'm slow. i'm laid back, i'm cool, calm and crafty.

    Sue Doe-Nim i don't give marital advice, but i'm always in class every week. just my way of sharing things that have helped couples/people who may have problems or need a little guidance. i can't help but one shared with me when i was growing up. i kinda had to learn a lot on my own through reading. i'm guilty of passing stuff along to a fault.

    what's up JD.

    this review was accurate enough. i posted a new post on my blog, but please don't read it asking for more suggestions. i'm a first year blogger, but i'm not one to sit in the corner and cry about it. thanks yo'

  23. Credit IS due to Natural for sucking it all up so well.

  24. Xbox4NappyRash - i'm cool like that, i'm cool like that. wasn't that a horrible rap song.

    i'm good. i almost like yall a little bit, but no cursing around me. my bloody ears!

  25. Hellfire. Every time I try to be nice it backfires. I'm just going back to being a bitch.

    Point taken! I won't read your boring blog, and you don't read mine! After all, that's what it's all about. People find blogs and websites that are interesting to them, and those are the ones they stick with.

    I'm glad you're happy with who you are and what your blog represents. That's what it should be about! But if you ask for opinions, you're going to get them. The question is, can you say you're completely confident and satisfied with what you're offering if you feel the need to ask for the opinions of strangers?

    However, I don't really remember calling anyone anything... other than "good sport" and COMPLIMENTING you by saying I think you have an interesting personality.

    I promise! I won't do it again!

  26. Rowr?

    For the record, I took a peek at I Do Things' "aftermath-post", and Ms. JD took the review in the spirit that it was intended: fun!

    She actually took it it same way I would've taken it had positions been reversed (though she managed less swearing than I would have, obviously), which is lovely.

    As for compliments, the idea that Ask is "too much" for some of her readers is the best of the bunch!

    So, really, a good time was had by all...and, again really, what more can one ask for in this workaday-world?

    [contented sigh]

  27. Angel, "Sometimes you have to be a high-riding bitch to survive. Sometimes being a bitch is all a woman has to hold onto." ;)

  28. I have visions of some 'i do things' readers swooning into a 'chaise lounge' needing to be fanned back to consciousness by the house help with a satin handkerchief due to the positively abhorrent profanity here.

  29. I sincerely hope so, Mr. NappyRash, because those are some spectacular visuals.

  30. Why thank you, I got them from sears.

  31. I was right. He took it as a compliment. No where did I say those comments on that blog would be poorly received here. I said I LAUGHED!

    Calamity, you are absolutely right! I may be slow, but I do eventually learn my lesson. I'm going to take notes from you. You are now officially my hero. I was only agreeing with you! But you're just that good. You tear'em apart, and they beg for more!

    I think I will eventually submit my blog because I'm already a pro at taking it up the butt on here.

  32. Xbox, that reminds me of something my grandmother told me once:

    Southern women don't fart. They have attacks of the vapors. If you see one fanning herself and leaving the room, she's going to let one rip in the bathroom.

  33. Nutjobber: Yup, I think we all got what we wanted. I heaved a sigh myself.

    xbox4nappyrash: Maybe that's why no one commented on this post. There's a swear word in paragraph 3.

  34. hey I'm not mad at the review. I did ask..thought it would be interesting to know what someone else thought.

  35. Ah yes JD, I do recall the great bible belt swooning debacle of October '07,

  36. I think it's funny to watch a bunch of biddies who wouldn't say the word shit if they had a mouthful of it try to bag on this site. heh.

    I liked "i do things," don't like the last three, including this one. Just, not a fan.

    And yeah, what capt. steve said.

  37. Natural:

    The regulars here are just disappointed because they like it when fan sites swarm here with all kinds of crazy and they can make fun of them. When our reviewees are all gracious and nice, it's very sweet, but it makes for boring comments. And yes, I did just make up a word.

  38. okay gotcha, love bites. i'm a little slow. lol

    i'm off to find those 7 have a nice day websites for you Xbox4NappyRash. I Do Things too!


  39. Regarding my original comment, I'm erring on the side of 'a lot crafty'.

  40. I'm wary of people that don't hurl obscenities on a regular basis. Here's why: they're up to something, they want something, or they are up to something because they want something. Fucking manipulative, the lot of them, fucking manipulative, I tells ya.

  41. What I like most about blogging is the diversity - a peephole into lives of others we don't know. It doesn't have to be perfect because not one of us are. Blogging should be used for everyones' rants and ravings, likes, loves - whatever is on your mind posts. Here's something for you to blog about "Why am I such a negative bloggerbich"? OOPS sorry, I was THINKING OUT LOUD!!

  42. I love it when people can't even say bitch out loud. Please. You leave anonymous comments? You're a bitch, too. Own it, sweetie. ;)

  43. Pot, that kettle has issues. ;)

  44. Some people shouldn't be allowed to do anything 'Out Loud'. Oh, and you misspelled 'bitch'. Bitch.

  45. I love, love, love, love, love people who are wankers about profanity. Oh, it just warms the cockles of my soul to watch them purse their little church-lady lips at me in disapproval. Stupid twits. I would love to run them all over with my car.

    But they'd put me in jail for that, so I don't.

    P.S. Yes, I do have ODD. Thanks for asking.

  46. Poison the well. That's hard to trace. I wish we could just run over them. Also, today's lesson: if you can't handle the truth, don't ask for it.

  47. Jack Nicholson, is that you?

  48. maaaybe. Or, maybe I'm just Kathy Bates, in disguise.

  49. Maybe this is as good as it gets.

  50. p.s. I wish the church ladies would come and play. Oh, how I adore baiting the disapproving.

  51. If I am Jack Nicholson, then Kathy, get in the hottub.

  52. Whee! only if you promise to bite my neck and scratch my back. ;)

  53. I swear. Whether I'm writing or speaking, sometimes nothing is more effective or necessary than a good fuck. Same goes for all the other words. I can't get through my day without a good shit or a nice, juicy cocksucker. My favorite insult is "dumbass," but if I went around calling everyone a dumbass all the time, how much impact would that have? And as a writer, if I say "fuck" every other word, I'm worried less about offending anyone than boring them.

    I'm reminded of Madonna on the David Letterman show, some years back. She peppered her banter with "fucks" and clearly thought she was being provocative and scary and offensive. My reaction--and I think the reaction of many viewers--was not so much shock or disgust but boredom. And disappointment that she didn't have anything more interesting to say.

  54. nothing is more effective or necessary than a good fuck

    I've always believed this.

  55. I've personally found it more necessary than effective, but that's just me...

  56. See? Choose your expletives wisely, and you can come up with some pretty awful double entendres.

  57. Some days, I need a good fuck more than anything. Like yesterday, in fact.

  58. Also, it's not so much HOW something is said, really it all comes down to WHAT is being said. 'Fuck' is a great transition word for everyone. Much like 'dumbass' is a good description for most people.

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Grow a pair.