This topic is oh-so-nearly up there with Love Chunks, Sapphire, chocolate and food for its importance in my life.
Now that was a frighteningly nerdy and needy starting sentence, wasn't it? Please come back, there's no need to be frightened. I am a relatively normal person with a full and happy life that has its share of challenges, hilarities, interests, upsets and frustrations.
It's just that when my mate Deep Kick Girl emailed me a few years ago to say that she'd started a blog, I was intrigued. It appeared as though even Technotards like myself could sign up for free, navigate through a relatively simple format and wah on about anything and everything. So I did, and, in the process, met many of you. Some only a suburb away; some further away than my Gregorys Directory and wallet can conceive of.
Bloggers have left me open-mouthed at their intelligence, insight and the ability to make me laugh so hard I've accidentally inhaled instead of swallowed my meusli and hawked like a hound with a hairball for hours afterwards. All worth it though - my favourites give me regular doses of edgier, funnier, more relevant, gut-wrenching, introspective, clever, witty and perceptive writing with more immediacy than the newspaper or the television.
There are bloggers that I visit daily, even when some don't update for a few weeks, because I want to keep up with what they're doing, thinking and saying and have become a necessary part of my ritual at the computer each day. And I appreciate their skills and talents. So, without further ado, here are some of my bookmarked favourites.
Franzy - I found this guy via a friend-in-common who forwarded an email about two chocolate labradors who needed a new home after their owners had separated. Franzy wrote some hilarious comment back to Helen M-S, accidentally hit 'reply all'. It was enough to make me hunt out his blog. He talked about his wedding, the move up to Queensland for his wife's health, doing something high falutin' for his PhD and was honestly robbed of the Top Gear Australia hosting job. His video birthday party invitation was so cleverly hilarious I was almost tempted to turn up to the relevant pub and introduce myself, but the thought of him thinking I was a psychopathic stalker was too much to deal with; as was the possibility of rocking up to a place full of funky young twenty somethings. He's obviously got a brain the size of a planet but with the capacity to notice and value the minutiae of life. Lucky git. Not sure I'd order a decaff from him though.
The Half Hearted Hack - Ah, Red Cap. I'm not sure if I first commented on hers or she mine, but there were enough silly witticisms there for us to become regular visitors. She's slacked off this year due to having a real writing job during daylight hours that not only pays her food bills but also requires her to go out a bit in the evenings as well. She seems kind of shy (yes, we've met each other a few times now), but is one of those intelligent types that can size up a situation and get to the heart of it. Her efforts in making Christmas lunch for the family last year had me crying with laughter and her South African travelogue and photographs are wonderful. Maybe she could add 'travel writer' alongside her 'arts editor' skills.
Jabberwocky - I found Ariel via Red Cap, Audrey and a few other blogs who'd bookmarked her. When you find your favourites and you start checking out who they like and the same name keeps cropping up, it's inevitable you'll click on the link and check out the cut of another blogger's jib. Ariel's insightful, heartwarming, funny and eye-moistening observations of life with hubby, her child, F and his struggles with Asbergers are brilliant pieces of writing that make me sit back in my chair and realise just how woefully shallow my own are. I'm not sure what she does for a day job, but I'm sure it involves writing, editing and other artistic pursuits. And if not, it bloody well should.
Baino's Banter - How can you not love a fifty something woman who has a 'Friday F**kwit' segment that is always wisely chosen and deserving of the title? She has a love of YouTube, JJJ radio, can handle all kinds of bullshit flung at her in the office and introduced me to the Flight of the Conchords song 'Business Time'. She writes of her hopes, fears and pride about her two early twenties' children as well as her doggies, ducks and horses. And she does so in a way that I envy so much because she makes me feel as though I'm there with her helping her get through a bottle of chardie (South Australian, I hope) on the deck before she asks me to help her sort out the gardening jobs awaiting us.
Terence McDanger - This Irish Moo-Dog was a vague and fortuitious find via a via blog explosion visit. I soon forgot about sipping my tea for thirty seconds before clicking on to another site for a credit and read through his entire back catalogue of writings. He has written brilliant odes to cats having open and proud sex in his college room, why he now hates the Famous Five, the joys of Sally Fletcher, trying not to laugh during a lap dance and general Irish beer swillin' feckin magic observations.
The Loaded Blog - Myninjacockle is the Australian Terence McDanger, but, unlike Terence, is the father of two impressionable young boys and is about to (or has already) embark on a career teaching impressionable school children. His blog contains some clever pieces about his wife, Knickers and his so-called 'decorative agreement' when it comes to decisions she makes and the birth of their second son: "It was a difficult birth, my feet ached from standing, my thumbs became a little strained from massaging Knickers' shoulders and all her moans and shrieks became tiresome." Gotta love a bloke who can write a poem about shopping bags and car keys or his pride at his two year old, Noodle: " He learnt a stack of new words as well. Though his interpretation of them needs a little re-calibrating. 'Sorry' for instance means: 'I've just punched you in the face, prepare for another.' "
Stumblor - Dave is an Aussie IT nerd living and working in London who plays photoshop games to produce 'Slebs' (celebrities with mini heads), gives tiny hints that he's in love with a gal called Cath and offers us this valuable piece of advice: "When you get around to starting your Skid Row tribute band, call it "Skid Marx". Naturally you should play lead guitar and get all the babes, who'll eventually leave you for someone younger and hipper and whose band doesn't have a name that honours poo residue and glam rock in equal measures."
Not only do you get the steak knives, but there's more:
Lessons Learned from A - the chronicles of a family dealing with a hearing impaired child and the challenges and successes they've had so far. Naomi also writes about general issues about her day job, teenage boys, karate, marriage, life and what pisses her off about the job, teenagers, karate, marriage and life.....
Do I have to - Gigglewick has the amazing ability to slide from discussing Aboriginal employment issues to the joys of adding 'In my pants' to every new government policy title. I love the way her wicked mind works.
It's not you, it's me - I previously found this bloke when he was 'The Man at the Pub' and loved his particularly blokey laid-back (and bloody funny) views about life, politics, beer and love. He then briefly toyed with showing us his art works before going all shy and now, finally, re-emerging as the above title and author name of Homo J Sapien,.
Audrey - she also has 'and the Bad Apples' in her title, but unless it's some obscure GenY in-joke, I have no idea who the apples are, because only Audrey's writing the blog. She is awe-inspiringly intelligent, witty and self-deprecating and is rightly getting public recognition for her talents.
First person thirdcat - I have a vague idea that I know her as a 'real world' human, but you get amusing glimpses of her life as a struggling writer, stand-up comedienne, mother, avoider of housework and avid reader coping with some heart-rending grief. What she can say in a single sentence is utterly brilliant and often makes me feel like a mental pgymy.
Tom's Hideaway - we 'met' via Blog Explosion and he's a lovable Bostonian, fifty-year old with a grown son and enduring love of baseball and basketball. Despite having nothing in common, we both enjoy reading each other's blogs and are now utterly addicted and committed to winning each week and month's Trivia Challenge competition that he moderates. He can also cook like a good humoured Gordon Ramsay.
DeepKickGirl - the arse kickin' sheila that started it all. Parent, ranter, worker, friend and die-hard fan of all things Chili Pepper. Loves her cultural outings in Sydney which only make me jealous to read about but also devotes the bulk of her spare time to fund-raising, helping other parents of overseas adopted children, script writing, travel and supporting the Sydney Swans. Where she gets her energy and passion from is a mystery, and I'm not just talking about the Swannies.
Ashleigh's Dump - I want to meet this bloke some day. Think myninjacockle a few years further down the track when his two baby sons are teenagers and you'll get an idea. Clearly an intelligent IT egg-head, but with a great deal of knowledge about environmental issues, politics and unravelling the mysteries of investments and superannuation. I'll leave it to Ash to describe his current lifestyle: "Outer Bogansville. Side of a hill. Northern suburbs, just near the massive Golden Grove development (but not part of it thank heavens). Moved into a just-completed house. Concrete floors for 7 years. Sheets on the windows for 5 years. Cold in winter. Stinking hot in summer. Windy as all hell in November. Interest rates at 17.5%. Spent the next 8 years building and landscaping. Learned to lay bricks. Built 7 retaining walls. Laid thousands of pavers. Mixed about 100 tonnes of concrete. Planted hundreds of trees. Dug huge lotsa holes. Filled them in again. Had a coupla liddle chillens. Survived the neighbour from hell. Survived a number of The Evil Ones. Gonna leave in a pine box."
Head Rambles - One feckin' crazy Irish Grandfather with a wicked streak wider than a lorry full of potatoes. He tells us that he's a retiree who needs a hobby, so he's going to start a people-trafficking business to get them out of the recession-laden Emerald Isle and off to funnier countries such as Estonia, Uganda and Romania. "It isn’t easy: I’m having to hire containers and then ship them overland disguised as beef exports." Imagine what he could achieve if he'd only turn his mental talents to good instead of evil....
These are just a taste of the wonderfully weird and wild brilliance out there that I love to read and am very grateful.
Well done you cheeky little bloggers.