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The new kids on the block.

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Roughly nine years ago, the first online journals crawled out of the sea. These were shocking things, these chronicles of lives, these barings of innermost thoughts and feelings right there on the Internet. Putting your private life online? Absurd!

That was a long time ago. Now opinions are changing. It seems nowadays that a homepage without a journal is unheard of. The explosive popularity of weblogs, or "blogs," has brought escribitionism to the masses. But with thousands of new online journals and diaries coming online every month, it's increasingly harder to wade through the cacophony of life stories to find the gems.

Since 1998, Launch has served as one small way to spotlight these special personal sites, the new or relatively unknown. Oftentimes, a quality journal gets overlooked in the tangle of the more established. Here, the "underdog" has a venue.


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Tuesday, September 28, 2004

The Blog of Pratt
Feel like an insight into a suburban family man from Pennslyvania? Be my guest. The Blog of Mr Pratt is an interesting and regularly updated blog full of tidbits and thoughts concerning everyday suburban life. You'll also find a large number of pictures liberally spread throughout the journal. There's nothing like seeing a place to really get a feel for the atmosphere, and nothing like seeing cute rabbits to make you go "ahhh".

"I love Ikea names. A great drinking game is to gather friends -write down Ikea product names then try to repeat the list..loser then takes a drink...
"Tore.. Leksvik..Galant..Fniss..Toftbo..damn I forgot to say Bror and Ektorp!! DRIIIIINK!"

Of course I should play this game AFTER I put the new desk together. I hate it when my Ecktorp and my Bror won't work properly."

Dom   [ Link | 48 comments ]

Thinking Woman's Diary
For a launch journal, Thinking Woman's Diary is a very polished site. All entries are split into 10 different categories as they're added to the site, and in each you'll find interesting and well written entries. The author has a powerful and mature voice that enlightens many aspects of the world around us. Drop by and see if you agree with her. The question is; are her ears burning?

"Do your ears get hot sometimes when you’re just sitting around doing nothing? Like red hot – hot enough to heat your hands? That means people are talking about you – or at least that’s how the old tale goes. Whether they’re saying something nice or not is a mystery…but at least you know you’re a topic of conversation somewhere."

Dom   [ Link | 50 comments ]

Snapped Shots
Snapped shots is an interesting journal, as far as I can tell, written in the anonymous style. SS tells us many things about his life and illustrates each of his entries with a relevant photo. Regularly updated and full of wit, it's well worth a visit.

"The first stuffed animal I got specifically for Murphy was Barney. Not this Barney. This is the fourth or fifth incarnation of Barney. Sometimes I get her other stuffed animals, anything I can find; but nothing lasts longer than the Barnies. Of course, since the first stuffed animal was “Barney” she thinks “Barney” means any stuffed animal. Perhaps that’s only really cute to dog owners."
- Taken from The Indestructibiliy of Barney

Dom   [ Link | 55 comments ]

Sunday, January 20, 2002

"My life is filled with drama, but I'm usually on the outside of it," explains this 28-year-old Canadian, vegetarian, and Asian "goth girl artist nerd." Sure enough, her friends, and their relationships with her and each other, often take center stage. Comfortable with the written word and keenly aware of her audience (or, at times, the lack of one), she waxes on and often about shopping, clubbing, insomnia and insecurity. And about sex, and what's sexy. "There's something classy, but at the same time very exotic and sexual about the corset," she writes. "I feel like I'm in a different body when I'm wearing one I see a different silhouette, one that is rigid, yet also sensual and very feminine." Her dark but thankfully elegant and readable site is actually her second attempt at the journal thing, after she made the mistake of telling her friends about the first one. "I guess I'm glad that I can go back to being anonymous. I can discuss whatever I want. And I probably will."
Ryan   [ Link | 78 comments ]

Strands in the Wind
The writings of an underpaid and overeducated hospital worker might alone be rich with comedic and dramatic promise. But this 31-year-old also happens to be deaf and blind. She doesn't obsess over her disability, but she doesn't shy from it, either, and the entries that touch on how it affects her everyday life be it walking with a cane or surviving public transportation are enlightening. "I have not really seen something unless I've touched it," she writes. "I will sometimes hold an empty glass or bottle while listening to music because I can feel the vibrations in the glass." And whether providing care for her quadriplegic roommate and friend, or working at a pediatric oncology unit, she always keeps life in perspective. "I'll bet you didn't even know you could buy sympathy cards in a ten pack," she writes. Whatever you do, don't miss her personal epiphany on the 'Why?' of online journaling, titled 'Permanent Record of the Oppressed': "When I die, I don't want the only written record of me to be a bunch of social service, court and medical bunk. I want there to be a true understanding of who I am from my voice."
Ryan   [ Link | 68 comments ]

Ice Age Coming
Even when headlines from the Middle East don't make the front page in America, John Halski is living them every day. "So there I sat, on the same bus that just two weeks ago exploded from the inside when a suicide bomber detonated himself with a nail bomb strapped to his belt underneath his jacket," he writes from Israel. The 23-year-old from St. Louis took a college trip to the region last year, and wrote his senior thesis on the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians. But after graduating, he felt he had to return. Thus, "Ice Age Coming" was born a chronicle of the year he will spend in Israel working for a civil rights group. John's site is much, much more than a journal. He endeavors to include in each entry an update on the now very local political scene and a piece of regional history, as well as his day-to-day experiences and thoughts the latter perhaps most compelling. "By the Jewish clock, the day begins at sundown and ends at the subsequent sundown," he recently explained. "Accordingly, we waited to see the first star appear in the sky before we could catch a taxi to take us back after the exhausting tour." The result? An irresistable combination of cultural insight and discovery.
Ryan   [ Link | 60 comments ]

Catherine Wheel
Meet Annie, a 20-year-old petless, plantless apartment dweller in San Francisco. While she hates her job in the insurance industry ("Corporations suck," she concludes), working overtime affords her valuable journal writing time ("I am the worst employee ever!"). And does she write she's only been journaling online since early December, but she's written almost every single day, be it about music, peoplewatching on San Francisco streetcars, getting stoned, rediscovering El Salvador, or wearing control-top pantyhose. She also dotes on her aptly-nicknamed boyfriend "Prince Charming" (whom she met on USENET) and the antics of her family (her dad's diary nickname is "Jerk"). Nothing is TMI, be it menstruation, zit popping, or birth control: "Pap smears, birth control, and vaginal insertions don't embarrass me, and they shouldn't embarrass you." Her colorful, conversational writing is well worth putting up with the accursed "Comet Cursor." Says she: "I am a interesting person, damnit!"
Ryan   [ Link | 54 comments ]