So without further ado, here's my list....
Hopefully some of you might find one of your new five favorite blogs after reading it! =D
5. Gorilla vs. Bear http://www.gorillavsbear.net/
Gorilla vs. Bear is an alternative music blog. I'm a huge indie rock band fan and I think it's wonderful when people take the time to promote bands, bringing two communities that each have a need together. My cousin Nicole and her husband Robbie were part of a band in New York City for nearly a decade or perhaps a bit longer even. I know a little bit when speaking with them about the challenge of finding your audience. They were able to have a good bit of success over in Europe but never quite got the foothold they were hoping for in the States. Bands are looking for fans because fans are the support necessary to keep the dream of making it big alive. Gorilla vs. Bear does a great job of giving some of these wonderful bands a chance to expand their fan base. Their blog also helps fans find new music without having to hop on a train or take a flight to New York City, the heart of the Indie music scene.
While I may not like every band's music that they link, the exposure has helped me find a few of my favorite Indie bands. We have a local Indie Rock station, WEQX up here in New York state (located in Manchester, Vermont actually... which is near the NY State boarder). They have a listener advisory board, where listeners can suggest music to be played on their station. Gorilla vs. Bear helps me find some of the bands I want to hear more of, and the listener advisory board at WEQX allows me to introduce some of the music I love to other fans. Not to mention, I kind of like the name of the blog. I'm rooting for the Bear of course! =)
4. Filmstalker http://www.filmstalker.co.uk/
I'm not a big movie goer, mostly because of finances these days, but I have been in the past and do fully enjoy a day out at the movies. There are a whole slew of movie review sites out there. What I enjoy most about Filmstalker is the layout of the site. It really reminds me of looking through the newspaper for movie reviews. I can browse the snippets to get some sense for what might interest me, and then continue reading the review in greater detail then what I would get normally from the newspaper. I think the blogger has such a smart design because it's not cluttered and yet it's condusive to browsing without having to sort through long posts and several blog pages.
I think the writer's style is humorous and engaging. He makes little quips at times which might get to some people, but for the most part he gives an unbiased back ground story, which allows the reader to determine if it's something they might like to see or would rather not see. I think it's a fun and easy to use site that can really aid the movie-goer when he/she might be caught between a couple of films or want to try something different. The number and variety of reviews is impressive and quite an undertaking as well.
3. A Day Older and a Day Wiser http://www.adayolderadaywiser.com/
Anyone who knows me for more than 15 minutes probably learns quickly what a baseball fan and particularly what a New York Mets fan I am. A Day Older and a Day Wiser is the blog of former New York Met's pitching prospect Collin McHugh. It's an incredibly honest, well written, bear bones account of the life of a Minor League baseball player trying to "make it" in the Major Leagues. It's easy to associate riches and prima donna personalities with many of today's professional athletes. Often times they come off as celebrities who live a life style we could only dream of but never truly relate to on any real level. Collin McHugh just comes off as a normal guy, playing a game he loves and realizing how that game changes when it becomes the manner in which you try to make your living.
His struggles and the ups and downs he has endured as a Minor League pitcher in three organizations, originally the Mets and then the Colorado Rockies and now, most recently with the Houston Astros shows what life is like for the fringe prospect trying to hold onto a lifelong dream. Thankfully Collin really seems to be coming into his own, and he was brought up from the Minor Leagues to pitch for the Houston Astros Major League team recently. He has had a tremendous first two games back up in the Majors. His initial major league start was one of the best ever for a New York Met's pitcher in his first major league game, but the majority of his time in the majors since then has been at the other end of the spectrum. It's great to see a good, hard working person work their way back and make the most of what is now a third opportunity. McHugh's blog is a story of inspiration and dedication and provides a surprisingly refreshing and relateable view of a professional athelete.
2. My Milk Toof http://mymilktoof.blogspot.com/
My Milk Toof was first introduced to me by Carlyn. It's a brilliantly imagined, artistic, cute, funny and educational blog site by Inhae Lee, who is also the author of a book by the same name. My Milk Toof follows the trials and tribulations of ickle and Lardee two of Inhae Lee's former baby toofs who showed up at the door step of Ms. Lee's apartment one day, as she relates the tale. ickle and Lardee have adventures that arise out of mundane, normal, everyday activities. Her artwork in creating the teeth and all the little tools and instruments that they use in their miniature world is quite extroadinary. The story lines are a kind of pictorial anectdote of the day to day lives that ickle and Lardee live and often reflect the more demure activities of the author's life. It can be educational for children because of the little lessons that ickle and Lardee learn throughout the course of their adventures. There is an innocence to ickle and Lardee as well, and their impish, mischievous ways are so child-like. So the humor is the kind of innocent humor that adults find in the things that a child might do or say. My Milk Toof is a blog the whole family can enjoy, appealing to adults and parents because of how intelligently written and creatively thought out the stories are, and appealing to kids because of how much they can relate to ickle and Lardee, the ways they act, and the ways they learn or use logic to solve their problems. If I'm feeling down a bit and just want to feel good about something, visiting My Milk Toof always brings a smile to my face.
1. Metsmerizedonline http://metsmerizedonline.com/
I can understand why Metsmerizedonline might not be the favourite blog site of the typical visitor to our blog, but as I professed earlier, I am a DIE hard Mets fan, and it is by far the blog I visit most often. There are a ton of blog sites out there aimed at attracting Mets fans, we're a bigger community of people then some might realize. What sets Metsmerized apart though is how Joe DeCaro, the owner of the site allows fans to participate. Many of the posts are written by the readers of his blog. It's the voice that Metsmerizedonline gives to the Met fan that makes it so unique and enjoyable. There is such a dichotomy to the fan experience ranging everywhere from the idealistic, "ya gotta believer" ( a phrase popularized by Tug McGraw of the 1973 Mets) to the beaten and broken down pessimist who's suffered for the nearly 30 years that the Mets have gone now without winning a Championship.
The Mets are such a unique New York story. We're the "red headed step child" of New York Baseball, because of all the pomp, glory and history surrounding the New York Yankees. The Mets began as a franchise in 1962. The Brooklyn Dodgers and New York Giants, two beloved New York Baseball teams who rivaled eachother and the New York Yankees moved away from New York to California in 1958. So the only New York baseball team left were the Yankees. A half century of Dodger and Giant fans were left without a team. Until 1962 when Major League Baseball expanded and the New York Mets were born. We were the "lovable losers", as the 1962 team still holds the Major League Baseball record for the worst team ever. For the first 7 years of the Mets history 1962-1968 they were the worst team in the sport losing over 100 games every season. Then in 1969 the Miracle Mets won over 100 games and were the best team in baseball, defeating two powerhouse teams, the Cincinatti Reds and Baltimore Orioles on their way to the teams first world title. We have one world title since then in 1986, which was won via a different "miracle" when in game six of the World Series, the Mets, down by two runs and down to their last strike on two occassions, rallied with 3 hits, a wild pitch and a slow ground ball that trickled through the legs of an 18 year veteran ball player, to win the most unlikely, remarkable comeback in baseball history. The celebration champagne was already in the locker room of the oppossing team (the Boston Redsox) and had to be shipped out, only to get shipped into the Mets locker room the next night when they won game 7 of the World Series and their 2nd World Title.
Metsmerizedonline captures all of that and more in it's fans. The essence of what it is to be a Mets fan, the fan of a team that goes long stretches in the shadow of the New York Yankees, only to rise up like the Mets Home Run Apple and capture the hearts of New York City at these little pin points in history. Other Mets sites seem beholden to the organization and how the owners want Mets fans to see the team. Metsmerized allows fans to express their own thoughts, views and opinions of the team, for better or for worse. It's the Democratic, American, all fans are created equal fan site, and that's what makes it my number one blog site on the internet.