April 12, 2005

Result's Are In!

Sory these are late. A few technical difficulties, but all is good! Here goes:

News From the Great Beyond

King of the Blogs Tournament: Week 14 Judging

All hail King George of GM's Corner - he has won the crown twice, but can he defend his crown this week against another crop of contenders? (No really, can he? I'm curious...)

Overall Blog/Design

GM's Corner: George has done a bit more tweaking to his template this week, including addition of a lovely eagle photo faded in the background. It's subtle, it's tasteful, and it doesn't make the text on top of it unduly difficult to read, so I'm giving it a thumbs up. A few other subtle changes, everything appears in order, and I'm going to give George another 4.5. The only way it could get higher is with some spanky graphics, maybe as a banner graphic or something. But it would have to be simple and tasteful to go with the rest of the scheme here.

Jaded Sunburns: Wowwwww... now speaking of spanky graphics... Jade has not one, but four professional-looking graphics schemes. The first I saw when clicking on her site was the Jade - Red Pinup version, which is just lovely. I like the font used in the banner graphic, and I really dig the spirals. I'm a big fan of spirals. One of these days I'm going to get a site redesign including spirals. *grin* The farthest right sidebar is a bit cramped for the content (especially with the KotB javascript placed there - it overhangs the margin) but overall it looks very polished. The "Simple Green" scheme is nice, clean, cohesive and yes, simple. The "GanjaPress" scheme has some issues in Firefox, but it does look better in IE. The "Blue Curves" version is really cool, but there are apparently graphics that don't load, because neither in IE nor in Firefox could I see anywhere that the name of the blog appears. Anywho, very nice on the aesthetics... for the technicals, I see comments - trackback is difficult to find but it's there if you hunt for it. We appear to have a working search function - very nice... Good "about me" info here, including pictures. As a fellow Arizonan, I appreciate the FAQ's about Arizona. *wink* All in all, a good site graphically and technically... just a few quirks with either Firefox or IE, but I won't hold that against her. Jaded Sunburns earns a 5.

He Says, She Says: Oooh, another lovely site. Two different graphic themes here - the feminine and flowery "she says", and the very masculine and sporty "he says". Both are spectacularly well done, and visually interesting. Suuuuuuperior. We have comments and trackback - check... We have a working search feature - check... My only complaint is that there is no "about me" information to be found. There are e-mail addresses for both "he" and "she", and I can gather that the two of them are in Belle Chasse, Louisiana (or are from there) because of the weather conditions in the sidebar... But I really, really like to know a little something about the blogger/bloggers I'm reading. Just a bit. Gender, approximate age, general geograhic location, interests, religious affiliation, political party, SOMETHING to give us a frame of reference about who this person is who's talking to me. That, as I said, is my only complaint, but it's a significant one. This site impressed me visually, and all the technicals are there, but (future pretenders to the throne be advised) never, never, never underestimate the importance of having a decent "about me" post. He Says, She Says gets a reluctant 4. It shoulda been a 5.

Submitted Post

GM's Corner: This week, George treats us to a humorous look at aging, complete with parenthetical commentary from "Roger L. Simon's muse". The story of his attempt to give blood in Mexico is engaging and painful to read at the same time. That takes talent. *grin* There were some minor capitalization issues and questionable punctuation at points but nothing significant enough to mention and nothing to make the internal English Teacher sit up and pull out her red pen. Good job, George, you made me smile. GM's Corner gets a 4.5.

Jaded Sunburns: For her submitted post, Jade gives us a bit of a bipolar post... it's obviously got two distinct parts, which she even draws attention to. As a whole, it's well-written, but I'd have to say it's not as "well-crafted", if you get what I mean. The distinction between the two sections of the post is a little too great to have it be a coherent whole. At the beginning of the post, Jade is contemplating How Stella Got Her Groove Back, and wishing she could find her groove. This section of the post is light, humorous, and has a lot of potential. I think I'd like to have seen this idea explored a little more and the post concluded. However, Jade then launches into a rant her upcoming wedding and a "friend" who was the opposite of supportive but is now whining about not being invited to the out-of-town ceremony. This part of Jade's post has a completely different tone, a bit strident and angry - deservedly, it seems, but very much in contrast to the first section. Now, I know most folks don't sit down to write a blog post and contemplate the writing as if they were trying to get published, writing and rewriting, paring down the unnecessary and editing the word choices. But since this is a competition, and this particular post was a pretty glaring example, I'm giving Jade a 3.5.

He Says, She Says: Aaron presents us with a political post dating back to the day after the election. When reading this post, I had to make a mental adjustment to recall the emotions and mindset in October and November of last year. Another well-written effort here. Aaron's tone is "full-on political rant" throughout, so he avoids the pitfalls of Jade's submitted post... although, the last paragraph was a bit out of place. We went from general political and religious themes to a very specific abortion argument - and a parenthetical one at that. It was a teeny bit jarring. However, this week's contestants have managed to keep the English Teacher at bay so far, which is quite the accomplishment. He Says, She Says earns a 4 for this effort.

Challenge Post

This week, the contestants were presented with this challenge:

Create a made-up product, and write an ad for the product in comical style.

GM's Corner: King George continues his tradition of flattering the judges, this time with man-on-the-street interviews in his Cactus Cuz infomercial. You can just hear the announcer's too-fast patter and cheesy "radio" voice when reading this challenge response. I'll ignore the minor punctuation issues because I'm just not in the mood to be that picky tonight. I'm judging this post on the humor, and the suck-up factor. GM's Corner gets a 5.

Jaded Sunburns: Jade's made-up product is an apparently peanut butter-based first aid treatment... an amusing idea whose time has come. I'm going into the kitchen next time I get cut shaving and getting the Skippy. I think the color is going to be tough to blend with my white skin though. One little nitpick (and everyone's been so good this week about not making me nitpick *sigh*) ... the word for a small cut is spelled "n-i-c-k", not "n-i-c". It was starting to annoy me. Otherwise, Jade did a great job answering the challenge - it's funny, it's silly, it's just a strange thought. BUT... and this is a big but... (stop snickering, I didn't mean THAT) I have seen no serious attempt to suck up to the judges. Jade did leave me a comment shortly after the contest started - but aside from the contest javascript thingy, there have been no links to the judges, no obsequious flattery, no trackbacks, none of the brownnosing that we judges love to see. Therefore, Jade's challenge post gets a 4. The Queen has spoken.

He Says, She Says did not submit a challenge response. Zero points.

The Queen's Rulings

GM's Corner: 14

Jaded Sunburns: 12.5

He Says, She Says: 8

Ogre's News and Politics

Judgment Day for the King of the Blogs! Yes, folks, once again the King of Blogs tournament is under way. Well, actually it's been under way for an entire week now, as two fine pretender blogs attempt to steal the throne from the two-time defending champion, GM Roper
This week is a little different, and not just because the contest took a Spring Break. This week I have struggled mightily regarding my very serious duties as a judge. I was faced with a situation and I really didn't know what I should do.
The Judge

I have vacillated repeatedly this week, trying to decide what to do. I know it's only a game and all in fun, but at the same time, there are those who take this contest very seriously, and everything should be kept fair -- at least as much as possible.

I've had various consultations with the Council of Llamas, and we have
finally agreed and come to a conclusion, even if it was not unanimous
because Larry the Llama would only spit when asked his decision. No
matter what conclusion was made, there would be those that were not
pleased with the decision. I'll apologize in advance to anyone who
might be offended, annoyed, disappointed, or anything else with the
decision (So nyeah).

Here's the situation: This week I received cash monetary (is there any
other kind?) considerations for work done by a company which I am a
key part of (Assistant Chief Head VP of High-Up Muckety-Muck). It was
or was not revealed or made known to an information source close to me
(gotta have that plausible deniability there) that the aforementioned
source of funds appears to have come from another information source
that may or may not have been involved in a competition related to the
competition (King of Blogs) in question (it did and he was).

In addition, it appears there may have been some sort of
information-sharing or collaboration between some individuals who may
or may not have been working with the aforementioned company and the
other previously mentioned potential competitor in which the
individual from the company or organization may or may not have
assisted the additionally mentioned competitor in actual designs of
web sites, web pages, blogs, or other computer-related information,
which were to be a potential factor in the competition previously
discussed (could I be a politician or what?).

Therefore, we (the Llama Council) regrettably announce (with spitting)
that the judge that may or may not be known as one "Ogre" must
preclude passing judgment on this week's competition of the blogs
known as "King of the Blogs" due to a conflict of interest.

Final Scores:
GM Roper: 10
He Says, She Says: 10
Jaded Sunburns: 10

Doesn't seem fair, does it? Oh well. Many people not in politics
often scream and yell when there is a conflict of interest that isn't
revealed, so I thought I should reveal this one, even if it is tiny,
nearly meaningless, and involves a silly competition. Hey, maybe
honesty really IS the best policy.


GM Roper:

Post - Cool story, for what it was - an old geezer
bemoaning his geezerness. Why on earth anyone would
consider getting any kind of critical health care in
Mexico is beyond my comprehension. For the most part,
the post for me was disconnected, though GM showed an
incredible amount of courage submitting an entry that
would, for the most part, give the reader pause when
considering him as a possible travelling companion. 3

Site - I'd like to point out, as a matter of general
blog courtesy, that it's impolite to give trackbacks
to your site without a referential link. Many blogs
will delete with extreme prejudice trackbacks that are
not linked in that manner. Some will even kill. I'm
not nearly that sensitive, but I would recommend this
bit of blogosphere courtesy be followed even after
GM's retirement as King. That's not to say I don't
like trackbacks - but usually when they're connected
to a link.
Nonetheless, the site looks as clean, readable, and
graphically pleasing as ever. 4 points.

Challenge - OUCH! I love the idea, think it's
marketable for all the insolent brats out there, but
couldn't quite get past the strangely surreal
interviews-on-the-street. In a focused effort to
extend his linky love (for which I give my admiration
and gratitude), he sometimes veers out into left
field, no pun intended. 3.5 points.

AZ Jade:

Post - Ma'am, this is a family coronation! I'm not one
to censor Jade's most intimate recollections, but I
reserve the right to use my your-honorly power to
recommend participants refrain from peppering their
entries to mainstream competitions like this one with
four-letter words. I'm not sure if it's a trend here
as well, but this week seems to be prime time for
journal-type personal entries. There's nothing wrong
with those, it seems, but if you're going to pen an
entry for general consumption, make sure that it
interests a wide circle of people, or that you're a
remarkable purveyor of prose - otherwise it just won't
come off well. 2.5 points.

Site - Let me be the first to applaud the motif and
design. I also appreciate vote-whoring comments on my
site, so let me add that such niceties are not
forgotten, especially for the unavoidably sassy. The
template's got a lot of good points, like I said the
scheme and the layout make it a first-time
eye-grabber (not the least of which is the provocative
mascot in the header). Jade's got the archives, got
comments and a nice summary of comments in the
sidebar, and a readable layout.
The few gripes I have are minor. First, her attempt to
use a three-column scheme doesn't come off quite
successfully enough - a lot of the third column runs
over into the second. The page is certainly long
enough to accommodate a mere two columns, but if Jade
wishes to continue the three-column layout, I would
suggest not that she uses a smaller font (it's small
enough already), but that she expands the third column
just a bit or puts more suitable items in it than her
blogroll, which is of notoriously variable size. Also,
the second column is bare up until the time the third
column is finished - I would imagine the Stylesheet
offered some trouble. Finally, no trackbacks.
As far as content, Jade is certainly as spicy as her
blog suggests and her writing is pretty good, and a
lot is interesting. She has good potential, and it
looks like she's got a great blog future. 4 points.

challenge -

First word, "Ladies." Light switch inside head goes
off immediately. No experience here with shaving under
arms; wouldn't know what it would be like putting
peanut butter under them anyhow. Fix a Nic Nutter may
very well have a use in the adult market, however. I
was somewhat disappointed with the lack of linkage, I
can be bought with a price if the price is high
enough. If the razor nicks, you must acquit
switch blades! 3 points.

He Says, She Says:

Post - Here's a great example of a concise summary of
one's political views. Aaron (and I don't know how he
did it) manages to sum up points of several issues in
a post that spans the length of but one visible page.
Incredible! I couldn't have put it better myself. But
then, I was thinking, "Isn't this particular opinion a
bit overdone... you know, out of date?" And indeed, I
was right - if there is such thing as a stale post,
this one's gone soft and mold is beginning to form. I
would recommend to any future kings that your very
best post may not be the best post for the competition
if it seems or looks outdated. November is a great
month to be submitting to the Best of Me Symphony, but
it's a bit aged for competitions which judge the state
of the current blog. It's a great post, but
Aaron didn't have to dig so deep. 3.5 points.

Site - This is a joint blog, right? I'm still trying
to figure out the pink color and the pretty flowers. I
guess SHE won the argument. I like the overall content
of this blog; it's also along the lines of a personal
journal, but it's got enough things that relate to the
audience and just enough personal opinion to graze the
line of mainstream consumability. This site, like
Jade's is a three-column site, but it appears these
folks have the layout down to a science. No overrun,
neatly placed divisions, and a whole lot of room to
put the post text (though the font may be a little too
small for our visually impaired judges). They've got
the trackbacks and comments, nicely placed combos for
archives and categories, and a truckload of hibiscus.
Great post separation by the way! This is a nicely
done blog... Aaron's feminine side comes out quite
well, by the way. 4.5 points.

Challenge -

Judge's Totals:

GM's Corner: 34.5 Jaded Sunburns: 32 He Says, She Says: 26

Poll Results:

GM's Corner 3
Jaded Sunburns 2
He Says, She Says 1

Trackback Challenge:

GM's Corner: 3

For a grand total of:

GM's Corner: 40.5
Jaded Sunburns: 34
He Says, She Says: 27

and once again we have a dynasty! Congrats to GM's Corner. We'll return next week, but stay tuned for special announcements.

Posted by Nick Queen at April 12, 2005 09:31 AM

I want to thank you so much for giving me the opportunity to participate. My only wish is that I would have been able to participate fully.
Shortly after the contest began, I lost internet. *sigh*
I just got back online fully yesterday.
There would have been way more smoozing and a better post submitted for the judging that's for sure!
I apologize about the foul language in that one. I'd forgotten there was any. I was simply trying to get a post submitted in my 30 second time frame I had internet and didn't read it fully again.

I really enjoyed it, however, and do believe this is a great and fun thing you've got going on here! I feel honored to have been able to be a part of this! :-)

Maybe I'll get another shot, another time when I can fully participate.
I do apologize for my lack of presence. I really wanted to put forth 100% to this contest. My ISP thought otherwise! LOL

I'll keep watching and keep reading!

Congrats to the King! Again! ;-)

Posted by: Jade at April 15, 2005 04:25 PM
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