Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Lockdown in midtown

Firstly, forgive me if this looks like cat vomit but I've never driven one of these before.

Having taken one glance at this week's blog authored by a bald headed ex-con double terrier owner, I seriously thought someone was taking the piss out of the new guy. Declining the request to run to the hardware store for a glass hammer, I decided I'd better read through the blog at least.

There is no denying that it's ugly. Black backdrop, with white text, my eyeballs now feel like they were eaten and vomited up by his two dogs. Navigation is a hassle with an archive listed by week, hard to follow. At the time of writing there are twenty-one posts on the front page. Seriously, that's just ridiculous.

You don't strike me as the type of guy who is ever going to want to put too much effort into the appearance, so to make it easy I suggest you simply obliterate all of the above, the white on black, the dreadful archive navigation and the insane number of posts on the front page. Just do the opposite of everything, black on white, make it a monthly archive, preferably a roll-up one, and the opposite of 21 is exactly 4, or maybe 3 because you are quite wordy.

Now the important stuff, the content.

The author describes himself as:

"A full on walking contradiction and all around hot mess. My writing is concentrated on, but not limited to, prison, crime, personal opinion and insight."

The bizarre fucking thing is, that is exactly correct.

He loves to write, that is clear, and there's lots to read.

This guy is funny. There is dry and morbid humour in every single post, even when he is naughty and has to delete a post for some reason, he still made me chuckle. This is an acquired taste considering his general outlook on the world around him is a less than optimistic one.

He voices opinions that will tend to leave people penning hate mail or loving him.

He writes a lot about prison, an awful lot, but it's all interesting, reasonably well crafted, and always with the 'truth is stranger than fiction' humourous undertones. A really good prison for dummies series runs through the blog.

Noticeably, his observational commentary turns into a social one, more and more as the blog progresses, which may make no difference at all for someone with a vested interest, but for me somewhat out of touch with the politics of the area, it left me inclined to skip onwards. His tendency to repost his earlier entries suggests he may agree.

The one real bone I have to pick with the writing is that he only tells us what he wants to us read. There are no real highlights or lowlights, no signs of vulnerability nor claims of greatness. Even when he says he is baring all, it remains aloof, funny but never quite touching. There is little or no change in tone through any of the entries, each post is like an episode of law & order, entertaining in its own right, crafted to a good standard, but after a few you know where it's going.

It's good, a lot better than it looks, and a small bit of extra effort would make it much better. The appearance scares people away, believe me. I get the feeling you care far more about the content, which I admire and applaud, but spend one hour on the appearance and you'll reap the benefits of the extra readership you deserve, I promise.

I like this guy, he can write, he can turn a phrase, and a wry smile, and he has balls. I want to see him really angry, I want to see him really sad, but I fear I may have to steal his Yorkie's cardigan sweater to do so.

I'd sentence him to 3 three stars but 1 has to be suspended due to it being physically too painful to read, and the slight standoffishness.


  1. Who the fuck is Father Gene? Are we just going to suffer new characters to this story without any explanation?

    I'd take keywork over some random scrub you found under a bridge - and I didn't even really like that crazy racoon's reviews.

    -10 points to Ask And Ye Shall Receive on principle.

    ~ Driz

  2. As a former Kansas City girl myself, I can relate to his stories about his hometown, my family all still lives there, and I spent my growing up days there. Memphis does have shitty dry barbecue (KC Q Owns Joo).

    He puts in too many returns between his paragraphs. It's weird that something would bother me so much, but it does.

    Welcome, Father Gene. Since you're a priest, does that mean we can't talk dirty to you?

  3. drizitche, be a big boy, put down the razor. It'll all work out just fine.

    love bites, I have no objections to discussions of a colourful nature, so long as you don't object to being taken up the vestry.

  4. Ooh, vestry. That's like anal, right? This will be fun until he goes NAMBLA on everyone. Driz, thanks. I like that I am preferred over random trolls.

  5. Miscreant is a funny guy for sure. But I still have to give my favorite-ex-con-blogger vote to micky2. He's crazy. Really fucking crazy. For a human.

  6. Come on, I'm pretty sure we know who Father Gene is, Driz.

    Nice choice for name, by the way, Fr.

  7. Nice review, Father.

    I'd say more, but I can't see my keyboard, blinded as I am by the white light of Christ...thanks a bunch, Jesus.

  8. I have no clue who Father Gene is, but I think the review was a good one.

    I didn't think I'd like this blog. I'm so glad I didn't stop at the million words on the first page. Instead I went to the very beginning to read. I don't like how he reposts, but I excuse it because his older posts are absolutely great. (I adored the Clara post.) I think he reposts because he knows the older ones are better.

    I'd like to teach him how to use a coma. I'd like to introduce him to the phrase of "run-on sentence". However, that wasn't even enough to make me leave. I like his style of writing just that much. Besides, I'm certainly no grammar queen.

    I don't care how ugly his template is or how screwed up his sidebar might be, I really like this blog. I tried not to like him. I tried to convince myself he's too preachy, especially for a convict! But the simple fact is, he's witty and smart, and I like what's he's saying.

    Do get more personal, though. Not that posts about your time in prison aren't personal, but they're just not telling us much about everything else that makes you who you are!

    By the way, Keywork, Driz called you a crazy racoon! How far off the mark is he? Or not?

  9. He's spot on, angel. Lately I've been a tad transparent though.

  10. Oh, and let me know how we should be using comas, exactly. Wait, here, you forgot this: 'm'.

  11. That's what I get for trying to sound smart. I can't even delete the damned comment because I'm not a freaking blogger person.

    Obviously my mind is in a coma. Otherwise, I'd be able to properly instruct you on the use of commas.

    Keywork, I'm so glad I have you and Nutjobber around to make sure I never make it to the top of my high horse!

  12. FG you aren't the first person to tell me the white on black thing is ugly and hard on the eyes. I'll consider changing it after a reasonable amount of time has lapsed, so I don't come off as if concerned about anyones opinion.
    As for the improper use of commas, I tend to write like I talk. I pause in fucked up places, mid sentence. Considering I pretty much dropped out of school in the
    8th grade, just be thankful for spell check.

    Thanks for the review. Give me your address and I'll send you a thank you letter and a bar of soap on a rope. Being a priest you may well need it, and my prison for dummies series as well.
    All bullshit and posturing aside, thanks for the input, it was a fair and accurate review.

  13. 8th grade dropout with the vocabulary and book smarts that you have. We know where the street smarts are coming from, but the rest?
    I want your secret! Maybe if I can find out how you've done it, I'll stop giving Nut and Key so many opportunities to make fun of me!

  14. Oh, and don't think I didn't noticed how you completely skipped over commenting on that whole "get more personal" part of your review.
    That's right. Focus on the fact that I made fun of your comma usage but not the fact we want to know what size shoes you wear.

  15. midtown miscreant - I'm pleased you see fairness in the review.

    No point in bullshitting, it wouldn't get past you anyway, I suspect.

  16. horny buddha6/19/2008 8:07 AM


    how does one become a reviewer at ask?

    I mean except of course sleeping with love bites.......

    or going to church....

  17. It's just like American Idol...with fucking.

  18. Hey, people, I'm not your whore. Unless we're talking about comments, that is.

  19. horny buddha6/19/2008 9:18 AM

    e-kisses to the above

  20. I had a feeling this was some sort of lesson in geography. Possibly anatomy as well.

  21. Nutjobber said...
    It's just like American Idol...with fucking.

    Can I just go ahead and vote for this as comment of the week?


Grow a pair.