Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Stumbling Along

It has been five months since my last post. What, you may ask, have I been doing in that time? I have been stumbling.

I discovered StumbleUpon.com quite a while ago. For those unfamiliar with the site, here's how it works: sign up, set your interests, install the Stumble Button in your browser. Then, whenever you want to aimlessly wander the Web without actually thinking, just click Stumble.

Yes, I stumble several times a week, and I have gained a new perspective on blogs and those who write them. (Yes, I understand the irony of that statement.) This is what I've learned:

  • There are some very talented people out there. Chefs, crafters, writers, historians, photographers. I've stumbled upon some true winners.
  • There are some very sophomoric people out there. StumbleUpon comes with a "thumbs-up" and a "thumbs-down" button. I use the latter for potty humor, racism, sexism, violence, and just plain stupidity.
  • There are a lot - a LOT - of average people out there, and they all want to be famous.
One thing that surprises me is the low quality of work in many of the how-to blogs. I would have thought that if someone was planning to write a tutorial about whatever his or her specialty, the blogger would put his or her best work on display.

Unfortunately, that is often not the case. It's sad to find unappetizing photos of food (with comments like "OMG!!! To die for!!!"), sloppy crafts, or incomplete instructions. Worse than that - long, rambling commentary without actually giving the instructions promised.

The above sounds mean, though it's not meant that way. It's just my observation. Let me point you to some of the better blogs. I hope you enjoy them, maybe learn something or just smile a bit.
  • CookingComically.com - The recipes are pretty basic, but they are presented cleverly, with the help of a comic book hero. In fact, a graphic cookbook is in the works, and Tyler, the author, now has an online store with a self-designed apron and t-shirt. 
  • HungryNative.com - Okay, I really like the logo most of all. This site features restaurants and regional favorites (Massachusetts), plus some original recipes.
  • CravingChronicles.com - I see a theme here. More cooking. This blogger tends to be chattier than I like, but she's a good photographer and her recipes are yummy.
  • JamesDarrow.deviantart.com - I don't know who James Darrow is, but this site featured a fascinating tutorial on bookbinding. Yes, as in making your own book (and it's not a cooking blog).
  • BookshelfPorn.com - Don't get excited - it's not that kind of porn. The site features photos of interesting and unique bookshelves, libraries, and book collections. It's just made for geeky bibliophiles.
  • SmittenKitchen.com - What's not to love? Variety, integrity (doesn't accept free stuff like some sites), beautiful make-you-drool food photos, step-by-step instructions - it's all there. Me like.
There are lots more, but it's late and I'm tired. Go stumble. Find something different. Have some fun.