Friday, July 23, 2010

A "Schneider" Might Have Made It Better

Ladies, Gentlemen, Raptors, and Vermin -- you are getting the Abbreviated Edition of the Woperchild Review this week. It isn't that you aren't worthy of a more insightful, thought provoking set up and review and all of that. I've just spent the last couple of weeks trying to jam ten pounds of shit into a five pound bag, and am just plum tuckered. But I will not disappoint Shiner. I have committed to this, to her, to you, so I am giving you my best effort possible. (No, I am not 'phoning it in.' Stop saying that.)

Notes on a Blog: One Day at a Time, by Tabor.

Template: Clean, unassuming, pleasant. A fairly long list of crap that I don't care about in the sidebar, but most of the unimportant stuff is below the important crap (archives, about me, etc) and didn’t seem to slow down the page load, so it didn’t bother me. Some reviewers here might ask that the blogroll and followers and labels list be moved to a new page, one accessed via tabs or some links in the sidebar, but I’m not one of them. Especially since I appreciate that Blogger isn’t as easy to create new tabs with than Wordpress is. And the tags were pretty helpful in finding samples for linking. All I need is what you've done -- keep the ones I don't want out of my way.

About the Author: Tabor is in her sixties and is documenting transition to retirement, and all that comes with that -- visits with kids and grandkids, filling one's days with hobbies and activities and such.

She comes across as well-educated and intelligent, if occasionally a bit pretentious. Case in point -- her template has been modified to refer to Comments as "Elements of Repartee,"  (Well, lah dee dah.) and she uses a "Zen" label. She seems like a nice person, a helpful person, one who goes with the flow. Generally calm and non-disruptive. Introspective, free-spirited, having a fondness for nature. (Okay, maybe not always.)

But I’m not sure that makes for the most compelling blog fodder to someone who doesn't know you.

Content: Well written and consistent, but based on the subset I read, a bit mundane. It comes across a lot of the time like the opening paragraphs of a novel, but doesn’t really ever get to any of the crisis or inciting incident or rising action or any of that. I suspect that if I knew Tabor in real life and considered her a friend, this would all be much more interesting, as it would probably be pretty enlightening about what goes on inside that head. But I don’t know her. So I found myself getting halfway through a post and wanting to skip ahead to start the next one far too often.

I should clarify -- it wasn’t that she writes poorly or anything. It isn’t even that she’s necessarily boring. It’s just that that slow-paced, ‘today-I-worked-in-my-garden’ approach is just simply not where I am right now, or even anything I can get my head around. Accuse me of having ADD, call me impatient, whatever. The fact is that those things that are fascinating and appealing to a sixty something year old woman with lots of time on her hands do not always appeal to me.

Now I need to issue a caveat -- as I alluded to above, my schedule over the last few weeks has been a bit brutal, so I did not have a chance to read as much of this as maybe I should have, (I read early posts, late posts, and spot-checked in between) so it is very possible that there was a ton of drama that I just plain missed. With six years’ worth of content, anything is possible. So often, when I turn in a review that summarizes the content the way I see it, someone responds "Well, if you’d read the whole thing, you’d have seen a lot of posts that were very different." To which I’d respond -- "I’d have loved to have read the whole thing, but I have this whole ‘life’ experiment going on the side, so I have to just do the best I can with the time I have." This mindset does apply here.

But here's the thing -- I did find some pretty cool shit. I just had to go pretty far before I found it. So, I am willing to bet that there's more of that there. And you sure as hell could do worse than to spend a few hours digging for the odd gem or two here.

What to do to Improve: Sometimes I hate this category because I feel like the only way I would suggest to improve is to write more like me, and I am empathic enough to realize that variety is the spice of life, and some people don't want to read Hunter S. Thompson all the time, and sometimes want a little Eat, Pray, Love or something. The fact is, Tabor's not doing anything wrong, per se. Just because I didn't find it hilarious or cathartic, which is often what I look for in reading material, doesn't mean it's bad or needs improvement. And it's clear that I'm not in her target demographic, so I guess I can't in good conscience tell her to pander more to former Romanian circus trapeze artists or CIA operatives or what have you.

The Verdict: After all of this, I'm going to go with two stars.



For those of you wondering about the title, who might be younger than me, One Day at a Time was a sitcom in the 70's. Schneider was the wise-cracking building super with a heart of gold and a brain of lead.

22 comments:

  1. And thusly hath Tabor been heretofore annunciated unto.

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  2. Even when cramming it in, I thought your review was spot on with one exception. I could do with a little less Schneider. He annoyed the hell outa me - which further proves your summation. Just because I thought he was a superfluous character that could have easily been written out in a bad elevator accident - doesn't mean he was necessarily bad.

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  3. Maybe it's me, but a 'Schneider' sounds like an aberrant sexual practice, and I think that would clash with what she's doing here.

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  4. Oh Scorpio, you're so dreamy.

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  5. Wow, I usually pass by blogs that are this bright red--but your colors fit you nicely. I mean that in a good way.

    Have you ever considered getting a geezer (or geezerette) to join your ranks to help review blogs that are out of your demographics? Your advice on how to arrange sidebars, choose colors, etc. is good stuff, and helpful to all ages. However you are unabashedly aimed at a younger, edgier group, and you are too scary for seniors to approach.

    Good on Tabor for being brave.

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  6. Interesting thought, Kerry, but that's not how it works. We're a round robin team -- you take the next blog in the queue. We don't match reviewees to demographic fits or anything. That said, I suspect I'm about as Geezer as they get around these parts.

    Shiner -- If I said to someone "You're so dreamy" there's no way in hell I could say that without being sarcastic. So, this is why I now must ask: are you fucking with me?

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  7. Kerry, for most part compelling writing is age independent. While we may not be the target demographic for a blog (any blog, one suspects looking at past reviews), reviewers can tell if you're doing a good job with whatever you're working with.

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  8. I don't think the demographics of the reviewer is really relevant - on a personal level, I prefer blogs with high tension and personal energy and no grammatical errors, unless poor grammar is their shtick. The writers' ages span from 18 to 68, people from around the world and with different cultural backgrounds.

    But most importantly, Kerry? The site address is iwillfuckingtearyouapart. Not "I will be less edgy so old people are comfortable."

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  9. Besides, have you seen Forcemeat? That chunk of meat is actually the back of his raw, veiny head.

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  10. What demographic should we throw at him?

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  11. I think Shiner's being serious, but saying it in a dorky way.

    Shiner, by "writers" are you implying the reviewers or the writers of the blogs we review?

    I don't know the other reviewers at all, but I assume (for some reason) that I'm the youngest of the lot, when I'm pushing 30.

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  12. The dorky comment was in regards to the dreamy comment, FYI.

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  13. For the record, I am dreamy...

    But remember, nightmares are dreams too.

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  14. Raptor is right (again) in that good writing is the key. But content has to be second. If the world's best writer blogged about growing roses or offered housekeeping tips, I wouldn't read it because I'm just not interested in mulch or sponges or aphids no matter how well-written.

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  15. Point(s) taken folks. Shiner you genius, I am going to start a site with the address you just suggested: lessedgysooldpeoplearecomfortable. Instead of red and black I'll do it in pink and gray.

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  16. Blah, Blah, poorly rendered avatars and well, this: http://helterskeltertops.blogspot.com/2010/07/fuck-police-fuck-police-fuck-this-shit.html

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  17. What the fuck was that? A drive-by ghosting?

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  18. Sometimes I get all ghetto when I'm plastered. Drive-by hauntings are the new 'leave your comment'.

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  19. So...you're not Key anymore?

    Fuck that. HELLOOOOOOO. How've you been? Fuckin? Good.

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  20. Hey, Rass. I've been busy. Doing what, I couldn't tell ya.

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  21. Things without you are way less raunch.

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  22. Rass, you have no idea how good that made me feel. I think my stitches tingled for a bit there.

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Grow a pair.