A little while ago, I started working on a blogroll for the sidebar. My goal is for this to evolve into a nice, rambly list of places I like to go on the web, if I can stop visiting them long enough to work on the list. I need to something to the blog template first, though. I really don’t like the way any of this looks any more.
Still, for better or for worse, I’ve started one, which gives me a chance to give some overdue recognition to some folks whose web presence has really meant a lot to me over the past year.
Ramblin’ With Roger (Roger Green)
I want to be Roger when I grow up. I envy his ability to reliably turn out well-written, well-thought posts on a variety of topics. He has a memory for detail and a way of expressing himself that makes his stories come to life. Roger has also reached out to me with sympathy and an occasional kind word in private that have been really helpful in the aftermath of my father’s death.
Plus, he’s got a really cute young ‘un.
Blog This Pal! (Gordon Dymowski)
If I can’t be Roger, then growing up to be Gordon would be just fine too. He’s a real model for posting on a regular, but not necessarily daily, basis but making it count with fun, readable, worthwhile posts. Anyone who can come up with 100 reasons he loves comics is worth reading. There are just too many joyless comics sites around. Having left a job or two without anything lined up, I can appreciate his stories of his hunt for new employment, which has happily come to an end. I’ve also done lots of work for non-profits.
Gordon had some really nice things to say about my Mixed Bag CD, which I’ve never properly acknowledged until now. Thanks, man. You made me blush.
Plus, he lives in St Louis, which means we could potentially get together for coffee next time I visit my brother.
Lefty’s Corner (Chris “Lefty” Brown)
Chris is the man behind the Mixed Bag CD exchanges that brought so much good music into my life this year. I really appreciated being let into the fun and games, despite the irregularity of my blogging. Working on the mix gave me something to concentrate on that was fun and a nice distraction from all the other stuff. I just wish I had been able to do the Halloween Mixed Bag too, but the timing was bad due to the work conference.
I really enjoy the musical posts he makes in his blog, and appreciate it when he talks a little about the challenge of integrating his political beliefs and faith in today’s polarized society. I’ve pretty much given up on organized religion because I wasn’t able to do what he’s attempting to do (or at least I wasn’t able to deal with the inherent frustrations).
Lefty had a really eloquent post a few of weeks ago about the death of childhood dreams. It’s one of the best things I’ve read on the web in ages! He also had an enthusiastic, unashamed comics fanboy moment a while ago that was so warm and sincere that it really made me smile.
Plus, I’m a lefty (handed) too and we gotta stick together. (And, yes, I'm a political lefty too!)
Progressive Ruin (Mike Sterling)
I had a moment of panic over the holidays, when Mike said he was clearing his sidebar of anyone who hadn’t posted in a while. Fortunately, I did manage to have a post in November, which was his cut-off month. I was very nearly freaked out about losing my coveted spot among his links, especially after he said nice things about this blog. Not freaked out enough to sit down right away and, you know, start posting more or something, but I was disturbed enough to think seriously about my lack of posting activity. You gotta start somewhere.
Anyway, should I start slacking again, I figure this post ought to buy me a few more months, especially since I’m name-dropping and all. Hey, it beats trying to do this every day.
Speaking of such, Mike’s another one of those who makes this blog thing seem so effortless. I’m constantly and consistently entertained and amazed at the stuff he can dredge up from a dusty long box of comics.
Plus, he’s another lefty.
Postmodernbarney (Dorian Wright)
I never can remember if the title should be one word or two, but I never miss reading it. Where else can you find the Bat-Buddy and Objectifying Men Week, plus commentary that really makes you think? His take on Brokeback Mountain made me even more eager to check the film out for myself. His general take on gay novels and film, and the whole GLAAD awards deal, laid out some stuff I’ve been thinking for a long time now, but in a much more organized and eloquent fashion.
One the highlights of the summer for me was going to PMB and reading the following:
“Go read Eddie-torial Comments.” Totally made my week. I should have said this before now, but thanks.
Plus, where else can you find the phrase, "gayer than a gay thing that's gay"?
Comics Worth Reading (Johanna Draper Carlson)
She renovated her site not long ago, and I’m still adjusting to the new look. I'm afraid it’s got a few too many boxes for my tastes. Cosmetics aside, though, the content has taken a big step forward (and it was already pretty daman excellent) now that she’s bringing many of her longer reviews from the old CWR site and incorporating them with the kinds of reflections and responses to comics news she does in her blog. I always knew there was a lot of good content in the old site, but didn’t want to take the time to search through everything to find it. This new approach puts everything front and center, especially now, as she reposts items from the old version of the site. (I wish she would note somewhere that the material is a repost, though.)
I think she does her best work when she writes longer pieces, and I have greatly enjoyed reading series overviews like this one for Maison Ikkoku. Another one of her strengths lies in looking at topics other folks aren’t talking about, like this thoughtful piece on pdf review copies.
She covers a broad spectrum of material on her reviews, which I appreciate, since I read a broad spectrum of material. I don’t always agree with her, and I like that. She’s praised stuff I have seriously disliked, but she always does a fine job of explaining what it was she saw in the work. It hasn’t changed my mind, but I appreciate her take on things. On the other hand, she also expresses her dislikes clearly enough that I can tell whether or not I might find something of interest in a comic she didn’t care for. And at times, her negative take on something I like has made me pause long enough to try and express, at least to myself, exactly what it was I saw in the work or exactly where I disagree with her. Maybe one of these days. I’ll get better at putting it into writing.
Like many others, I have made purchases based on her recommendations. Recently, at Half-Price Books, I picked up a couple of manga volumes that she has praised.
Plus, this is the place where I start my blogreading every day. It was through her that I discovered some of the guys above, who in turn led me to some of the others. In other words, this post is all her fault!
Comics Reporter (Tom Spurgeon)
For me, this one fills the void left behind when Journalista ended. Spurgeon doesn’t approach things exactly the way Dirk Deppey did, but I appreciate the wide net he throws in his searches for material. Inevitably, there is a link or a post every day about someone or something that I find really interesting, which I otherwise would have missed, because no one else was covering it. At the same time, he does such an excellent job of distilling and analyzing other topics that are making the rounds that I often read his pieces about topics I would normally have no interest in.
Keith's Spam-Catching Little Blog
And, finally, last, but certainly not least, we have Keith’s Spam-Catching Little Blog. Okay, so that’s not the real title, but that’s essentially what it is and I do believe in truth in advertising.
Some time in 2005, when I did my run down of the top concerts we attended the previous year, he was appalled that I had rated Kris Kristofferson at number 6! I told him that it was a great show, but that I thought there were several that were better, and number six isn’t so bad really, and anyway this is my blog which about my opinion not his, and if he really wanted to disagree with me he was free to do so and could leave me a comment or better yet get his own blog. (Deep breath!) So he did. Get a blog, that is. Where he posted exactly once and then abandoned to the spammers. I have a feeling that if my top show and top CD for 2005 list comes out, and John Prine is not in the top spot on either list, that his blog will pop out of retirement. I’m actually kind of looking forward to it. It’s the kind of thing that keeps our life together from becoming too boring.
Good lord, maybe if I weren’t so long-winded, maybe I would post more. I’m worn out after all that! How does Roger do it? Maybe I ought to rethink this sidebar thing…