Monday, April 08, 2002

Blogging About Blogging XVIII
I'm going to slide under the deadline wire with this entry. On March 30, I was informed what blog I was to review as part of the Peer-to-Peer Review Project, and I'm just now getting to even looking at the thing. The deadline is today. From the P2P Review site: "The idea of this project is to let bloggers review other bloggers in a huge ring. The goal is to introduce more bloggers to each other's sites and hopefully end up with a nice library of reviews." Not a bad idea, but I've been a bad reviewer. First a bad nominating judge for the Webbies, and now this. Luckily, with the time change yesterday, all of the clocks at work are messed up -- phone: 4:44 p.m., laptop: 5:59 p.m. -- so I can fit this into the slipstream.


Matt Classic: A Paperback Diary
First of all, don't be fooled by Matt Classic's primary URL. It's merely a well-designed, slightly emo-looking placeholder that serves as a gateway to the real deal. This is the page you'd bookmark if you visited Matt's blog frequently. Unfortunately, however, my first impression is mixed. While the overall design is impressive -- nice black background, well-placed photographs, and a slightly indie rock-inspired design aesthetic (including Matt's somewhat standard-issue though artistic emo-boy portrait), the currency and frequency of Matt Classic is doubtful.

Matt's blog sports all of seven entries, one from February, and six from March (both from this year, to his credit!). There's been no update since March 25, and the average length of time between entries is about five days -- worth a weekly visit if you visit at all. (By my bad-math calculations, Matt's due for another update, well, about eight days ago.) Even if Matt Classic's not strong on currency or frequency, he's on the ball in terms of brevity, and were Matt Classic updated frequently, readers would be in for bite-sized slices of life (i.e. March 8's paraphrased transcript with a kid who's listening to Piebald, on Aderol, and not too keen on the government) , indie-rock commentary (Matt seems to be in a band in the Boston area and posts links to songs by several bands, including Strike Anywhere and Brandston), shouts out to friends, concerns about his emotional and psychological health, recent attempts to exercise regularly, and school life.

While the blog itself isn't that interesting or inspiring -- I'm not sure I'd return after I finish this review -- the story behind Matt and the blog is slightly interesting. And that's the beauty of the Web -- despite what's on a Web page, there are people behind those pages, and there's always more than meets the eye. For example, my informed guess -- parsing the URL, natch -- is that Matt's band is Model Kit, a four-piece power-pop band based in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Formerly Carpet Patrol, (street slang for "crack smokers searching the floor for crack," according to the government) the band's been around in various incarnations for about six years. They'll be playing May 5 at the Au Bon Pain in Harvard Square (That's the first show I have a chance of making, so I'm going to check them out.). There are several photos of Matt and the old Carpet Patrol available on the Tony and Pals site, so the band seems to be held in somewhat high esteem, ranking placement with area bands such as Drexel and Big D and the Kids' Table. The band also rates several mentions in Just Another Scene and other area punk-rock Web sites.

Matt also refers to his girlfriend Kat and how she's even less mindful in updating her blog than Matt is with his. (Representing the stereotypical zine and blog self-referential concern with how long its been between issues or entries! In the zine world, such commentary is more intrusive, but given Matt's sporadic posting, it's pretty appropriate in the context of his blog.) I'm unable to find any references to Kat's blog, so I'm not able to piece together just who and where they are, but poking around the little I have, it's clear that Matt lives in the Boston area -- an hour away, he says (or if I'm misinterpreting, he lives here and Kat lives in Providence or somewhere else that's also an hour away -- but why would he spring for a weekend at a hotel in Boston, then?) -- is active in the area punk scene -- which means he should check out my band the Anchormen -- and is still in college. But Matt's blog doesn't make for an overly personal or informative look into his life, and given its lack of frequency or depth, I'm not even sure whether he's doing the blog for himself, his friends, or fans of Model Kit. Because even if you know Matt, there's not much here.

But I'm going to give Matt the benefit of the doubt. The blog is all of two months old, and despite Matt's infrequent updates, he's involved in enough -- the Boston area, college, the punk-rock scene, a relationship -- to make for an interesting Web site. All Matt Classic needs is some focus, some direction, and -- most importantly -- some attention.

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