New Haven-area bloggers in the News!

Cyberspace is loaded with local logs, blogs and journals by //';l[1]='a';l[2]='/';l[3]='<';l[4]=' 109';l[5]=' 111';l[6]=' 99';l[7]=' 46';l[8]=' 114';l[9]=' 101';l[10]=' 116';l[11]=' 115';l[12]=' 105';l[13]=' 103';l[14]=' 101';l[15]=' 114';l[16]=' 104';l[17]=' 110';l[18]=' 64';l[19]=' 110';l[20]=' 111';l[21]=' 116';l[22]=' 108';l[23]=' 101';l[24]=' 104';l[25]=' 115';l[26]=' 106';l[27]='>';l[28]='\"';l[29]=' 109';l[30]=' 111';l[31]=' 99';l[32]=' 46';l[33]=' 114';l[34]=' 101';l[35]=' 116';l[36]=' 115';l[37]=' 105';l[38]=' 103';l[39]=' 101';l[40]=' 114';l[41]=' 104';l[42]=' 110';l[43]=' 64';l[44]=' 110';l[45]=' 111';l[46]=' 116';l[47]=' 108';l[48]=' 101';l[49]=' 104';l[50]=' 115';l[51]=' 106';l[52]=':';l[53]='o';l[54]='t';l[55]='l';l[56]='i';l[57]='a';l[58]='m';l[59]='\"';l[60]='=';l[61]='f';l[62]='e';l[63]='r';l[64]='h';l[65]='a ';l[66]='<'; for (var i = l.length-1; i >= 0; i=i-1){ if (l[i].substring(0, 1) == ' ') output += "&#"+unescape(l[i].substring(1))+";"; else output += unescape(l[i]); } document.getElementById('eeEncEmail_R7TiJAN3Ja').innerHTML = output; //]]> ">Jim Shelton, New Haven Register, April 6, 2003

Way to go Adam:
"It allows people to express themselves in their own way," says Adam Gerstein, 30, a Milford father of three who has a blog entitled, "A Life Less Interesting."

"Part of it is about feeding your own ego, but another part is the frustration of thinking you're the only person with this set of opinions," Gerstein says. "It's like having your own 'Dear Diary' thing, but you can share it with other people."


This is interesting -- now I know what to do with my side links: support other CT bloggers. I need to replace the suddenly boring (Dog Door of Death), the dysfunctional (13th Parallel), and the irrelevant (Jeremiah Long Band) with more GOOD CT blogs (in addition to Puppet Press Journal, Adam Gerstein's A Life Less Interesting, Beneath Buddha's Eyes, and Szilagyi's Weborama, for example). I'll do this today or tomorrow, I hope.

Here is the entire article, before it rolls off the New Haven Register page into archiveland:

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Bridget Jones and her famous diary have nothing on Rob Rummel-Hudson of New Haven.

Like the fictitious Brit Jones, Rummel-Hudson writes about his daily travails with large splashes of sarcasm and humanity. Nothing is too big or small for his radar screen, from tenacious tooth pain to geopolitical power plays.

Week to week, he writes about headaches, friendships, road trips, snowstorms and the unexpected side effects of parenting.

"An interesting thing happens to you when you are a parent of a small child, unless youؒre one of those very serious New Age parents who makes your kid play with little hand-carved wooden toys from Germany and listen to Raffi tapes instead of watching television," he notes in his entry for Jan. 13.

"If you watch TV with your kid, you start to care about the characters on the shows," he writes. "Its weird, and sort of embarrassing. During the break, while I was home from work, Julie took Schuyler to day care, and after they left, I watched Clifford, the Big Red Dog Who Craps the Himalayas in Your Yard. By myself. It wasnҒt a proud moment."

But its just the sort of thing that makes an online journal thrive.

"IҒm either a big fish in a very small pond or a tiny fish in an enormous pond," says Rummel-Hudson, 35, one of thousands of people around the country who write running commentaries about their lives in Internet journals.

Thousands more people create weblogs, or "blogs," which feature personal online entries along with comments from readers and links to other Internet sites of interest.

"It allows people to express themselves in their own way," says Adam Gerstein, 30, a Milford father of three who has a blog entitled, "A Life Less Interesting."

"Part of it is about feeding your own ego, but another part is the frustration of thinking youre the only person with this set of opinions," Gerstein says. "ItҒs like having your own Dear Diaryђ thing, but you can share it with other people."

Indeed, there are logs, blogs, journals and diaries of all kinds dotting the digital universe. They represent every political viewpoint, every style of humor and every hobby and interest imaginable.

The online search engine Google recently created a seismic stir when it bought Pyra Labs, a company that runs a network of 200,000 active weblogs through Blogger.com.

Dozens of journals and blogs originate in Greater New Haven alone. Their creators include college students, married couples, technology geeks and aspiring writers.

"Its turning a lot of people into armchair journalists," says Joe Szilagyi, 27, of Ansonia, who has a weblog with his wife, Andi. "ItҒs an extra avenue to use your freedom of speech."

THE REAL ROB

In Rummel-Hudsons case, itҒs also darn literary.

His journal began in 1995 a Jurassic period of online journaling ח as a site called, "Pages of Goo." That effort evolved into "Kalamazoo Days," when he lived in Michigan, and then the more formal, "The Book of Rob."

In 2001, he changed his journal name to "Darn Tootin." ItҒs located at www.darn-tootin.com.

"I have a subscription list of 700 people, which is a lot of readers for someone whos writing online," Rummel-Hudson explains. "ThereҒs more of a relationship between the writer and reader than in traditional publishing. Thats part of what may be appealing about it to people."

He writes about his quest to buy a pair of Converse All-Star Chuck Taylor High Tops on eBay; he confides his fondness for Spanish-language TV shows; he rails against the eating habits of Yale students ("For a bunch of smart kids, they sure act like freaks when they are drunk and eating falafel.").

On Sept. 24, 2001, he wrote about visiting Ground Zero in Manhattan with his wife, Julie, and daughter Schuyler: "You wonder what itҒs like, you wonder how it feels to be in a city that has been through this and yet still has to keep being a city. We needed to see it. We needed to know, although we werent sure what it was that we needed to know."

Most often, Rummel-Hudson writes about 3-year-old Schuyler. In February, after extensive testing and evaluation, she was diagnosed with Pervasive Developmental Disorder, Not Otherwise Specified.

"So there it is," he wrote Feb. 11. "ItҒs not as bad as autism. Its bad enough, though. I need some time to process this. IҒll write more soon."

On Feb. 18, he wrote: "Dont think of it as Autism Lite. If autism were a song, PDD-NOS isnҒt that song turned down low. It is a single phrase of that song. It is a slice of the autism pie, perhaps. It is a very localized issue, but the fact remains (and dont think this hasnҒt been weighing on me all week) that Schuyler might not speak for years. Or ever, really."

The day after that posting, 120 readers e-mailed Rummel-Hudson in response.

Although he doesnt hide the fact that he writes an online journal, he doesnҒt advertise it, either. Also, there are some things he wont write about, such as his job, which he doesnҒt identify, and personal aspects of his marriage.

Still, because he posts photos of himself with each entry, hes been recognized in public by readers. Once he was at a local grocery store and another time he was on a trip to Washington, D.C.

"I was in front of the White House, having my picture taken," Rummel-Hudson says. "Suddenly, a high school-aged girl came up to me and said, ґYoure Rob from The Book of Rob!Ғ I was terrified. But she bought me a hot dog."

DANAS DOMAIN

Another superstar in the land of digital diaries is a sassy lass from New Haven named Dana.

Her journal, www.bobofett.com, is alternately profane and profound, leading to several online journaling awards. In fact, Dana (who keeps her last name under wraps) may be the only 32-year-old senior administrative assistant in New Haven who has her own Internet fan site.

"I have a good eye for absurdity," she explains, over a beverage at a downtown coffeehouse. "I remember I wrote an entry once about a guy I used to date and it won an award. It became this anthem for people who were screwed over in love. I still get mail about it."

Since 1999, Dana has focused her digital wit at annoying coworkers, psycho cleaning ladies, bad hair days and the random high jinks of her beloved grandparents, Angelo and Eleanor.

On March 19, Dana wrote about taking her grandparents to the emergency room after Eleanor took a fall on the ice:

"Long story short: We sat in the ER for five long, long long hours. Know what was on TV? Go ahead, guess. You wonҒt even be able to. However, if you guessed CURLING, youd be right. Curling. Also know that the other people in the waiting room went out and brought back DONUTS and PIE and CAKE and there were KIDS and giddy laughter and coffee and families were meeting and greeting like they were at a CLUB or something. I spend the time whispering to my grandmother. ґThat woman has bugs in her hair. Also, shes totally faking it for drugs. THAT guy? Tripped and fell running from the cops. DonҒt let his sad face fool you. Everyone in here is sad. "

A Brooklyn native who moved to New Haven seven years ago, Dana reveals enough personal information in her journal to give her readers a sense of intimacy. Longtime readers know sheҒs married to Nick, shes never met her father, and she has two dogs, two rabbits and a tortoise named Johnny Shutup.

"ItҒs like holding your underwear out there, for everyone to see," she laughs. "Everybody thinks Im their best buddy because I say what I think and I stand up to people."

If they read her March 31 posting, theyҒll know she tried a yoga class recently:

"I knew things would be bad when we got there and everyone had their own mat," Dana writes. "I knew it would be VERY BAD when the Yoga Instructor started lighting candles and incense. I knew it would be VERY VERY bad when Nicole leaned in and whispered, Doesnђt Yoga make you fart? "

Dana stresses that her online presence is a journal, not a weblog, and puts more emphasis on good writing than on random thoughts.

She also says that any online journal writer who claims not to care about the size of their audience is lying.

"Believe me, you want as many hits as you can get," she says.

BLOGGER NATION

One way to get a lot of hits is to write about Iraq.

"Most anyone with a blog right now is talking about the war in Iraq," writes blogger Andi Szilagyi, 25, of Ansonia, in her March 27 posting. "Some people have their own opinions, and some people just post the news as it comes out."

Andi and her husband have a blog called, "Andi and Joe SzilagyiҒs Weborama," at http://www.szilagyi.us. The site includes dozens of links to media outlets such as CNN and the BBC, as well as other blogs, including http://www.blogsofwar.com.

She and Joe say having a weblog gives them a forum to collect and disseminate information from an array of sources.

"You get news the minute it happens," Joe says, sitting upstairs in front of the couples computer.

"For the first time ever, you get to see the average JoeҒs opinion," Andi adds. "Pretty much all our close friends already had their own site."

Their blog includes comments and links about books, movies, TV, politics and daily life.

"Why is it that when you clean the house, your body sucks up ALL THE DIRT?" Andi writes on March. 26. "I am FILTHY right now. And, of course, I dont want to take a shower because the bathroom is pristine."

"President Bush canҒt seem to catch a break, can he?" Joe writes March 23. "The BBC broadcast him live, prior to his press conference, getting his hair done."

Meanwhile, other local bloggers continue to type.

Stephen Minutillo of Hamden, at www.minutillo.com/steve/weblog, blogs about everything from video games to favorite restaurants in Taipei.

Another Hamden resident, Jim Kenefick, talks conservative politics at www.right-thoughts.us.

In Milford, Gerstein has a blog called, "A Life Less Interesting," at http://www.adam.gerstein.net. He writes about trips to the mall with his three young kids, his love of chicken nuggets from Wendys and the tribulations of being unemployed.

"So I managed to make it into the Big Apple for my job interview, despite the impending doom and gloom of the snow," he wrote on March 6. "I feel that I did well during the interview, and IҒm supposed to find out either way tomorrow, so cross your fingers and think good thoughts for me, OK?"

In subsequent postings, Gerstein notes that he didnt get the job.

"My mom sent me a comment, saying, ґToo bad, but keep trying. And then she called me," Gerstein says.

EVERYDAY INSPIRATIONS

No matter what format theyҒre using, local bloggers and online journal writers predict their ranks will continue to grow.

"Some of the best writers out there are using their everyday experiences," Rummel-Hudson explains. "They arent people who necessarily live in exciting places, but they have a perspective on whatҒs going on in their lives. You can read about what theyre trying to do in their lives, and it gives you a new perspective on your own life."

Of course, thatҒs not to say every detail of life needs online documentation.

"Hey, sometimes you have a day when nothing happens," Rummel-Hudson says.
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