If you peer at the sidebar, you’ll now see something that’s been absent from this site since 2005: a blogroll. Ever since the redesign, I’ve been wanting to get something in there that reflects the variety of weblogs I’m reading now. The problem with blogrolls, if course, is that blogs come and go and personal tastes never stay put for very long. For instance, it surprised me how many blogs I read five years ago that were devoted to junky pop cult collecting, a subject I can now only stand in small doses. Hopefully the sites linked here will stay around for a while.
The current blogroll is made up of personal favorites bookmarked in Firefox over the past year, things I’ve stumbled across at Tumblr via 4 Color Cowboy, and older blogs carried over from the My Big Fat Link Log 3 post of August 2008. The latter was pretty interesting, since roughly two-thirds of the blogs linked there are either abandoned or dropped (I suppose future historians will mark the years 2009-10 as the era of the Great Blog Exodus). On the other hand, it makes me admire all the more those who have been at it for five to ten years, or longer – thumbs up!
Maybe it’s the Pinterest/Tumblr influence, but great imagery is something I never expected to enjoy from others’ weblogs (some of which is shared here). Enjoy.
When it comes down to it, I don’t leave much time for reading weblogs anymore. Blame Facebook and Twitter (where I follow my fave bloggers anyhow), but a weblog has to be something truly special nowadays to catch my eye. The experience of running a weblog and finding topics to write about makes me appreciate even more when someone else does it well. Like, f’rinstance, these three:
- Dear Old Hollywood is the handiwork of Los Angeles resident and classic movie fan Robby Cress. This is a very nostalgic weblog to this reader, not just for the films and stars he writes about (obviously) but for our love of L.A. and the luster it holds even today. A former studio page, Cress covers a variety of Old Hollywood topics with enthusiasm and a friendly vibe (hallmarks of many a great blog). Most impressive are his posts examining various filming locations of flicks both legendary and obscure around the L.A. area. Astonishing legwork in action!
- The Obscurity Factor is a relatively new enterprise from Ben Sander, the New York-based performer better known as domestic doyenne Brini Maxwell. The weblog chronicles Ben’s celluloid discoveries, rated on an “Obscurity Factor” scale of 1 (easy to find but unsung amongst the general public) to 10 (a filmic hen’s tooth). Many of the films covered are studio-backed dramas and comedies of the ’60s-’80s lost in the shuffle of passing time, territory very similar to what I’m doing on my weekly Flick Clique posts. I’ve found a lot of stuff to watch on Netflix and such via Ben’s posts, and urge others to check it out as well.
- The Second Disc is a fantastic music reissues weblog curated by two diehard fans, Mike Duquette and Joe Marchese. For those of us whose consumption of Classic Pop albums also encompass finding as many b-sides, remixes and outtakes related to said album, this place is a goldmine (it’s also somewhat disillusioning, since in a roundabout way it reveals how routinely the major labels neglect their own back catalogs). My favorite parts are the Reissue Theory posts delving into what could be included on deluxe reissues of various beloved albums. Earlier this week, stuck in the waiting process of jury duty, I spent hours delving into those Reissue Theory archived posts — they’re delightful.
P.S. I wasn’t picked for jury duty.
I was in the middle of reading about the fascinating people profiled in the annual Lives They Lived issue of the New York Times Magazine when I heard shocking news about the passing of another fascinating person. One that I knew, actually: Brad Graham of Bradlands.com. It appears that he died in his sleep of natural causes on December 31st, at the young age of 41. Yeah, I don’t believe it, either.
Brad was one of the earliest bloggers I knew of, and pretty much the kingpin of the (small) community of gay bloggers around in the early ’00s. Back then it was such a thrill to be writing on the net, and having someone else noticing what you were doing was an even bigger thrill — especially when that someone was as friendly and witty as Brad. His August 3, 2001 post, using the first Scrubbles redesign to explore childhood fear of Dow Scrubbing Bubbles, was typical Brad. We weren’t close friends or anything, but his warmth and humor was something I treasured over the years (we even briefly bonded over the ’70s kiddie-com Big John, Little John on twitter last year). I’ll miss you, Brad.