Thursday, June 19, 2008

Alaska Blogs Overview and Blogspot new Blog List Widget

[The explanation is on top. For the list of blogs, slide on down to the lower part of the post.]

When I first started blogging I wanted to post about Alaska blogs. I thought I could make a directory of blogs. But as I searched out Alaska blogs, the lists got longer and longer. I found a couple of Alaska Blog sites which got me into the hundreds. When Blogspot Profiles allowed you to see all the people at the same location, say Alaska, I got about 7000 blogs. Today it says 9200 blogs! You can see the hard to navigate list here. Anchorage with nearly half the population of Alaska only has 2500

And that's just blogspot blogs.

It appears that there were various kinds of Alaska blogs:

  • Personal blogs of people who happen to live in Alaska.
    • Daily diaries of what they did
    • More thoughtful essays stemming from what they did or read or heard or know.
  • My Alaska Adventure blogs. People who are in Alaska temporarily and are letting the world know about how they are surviving in the far north. Teachers, doctors, travelers. etc. We forget that we are exotic to the rest of the world.
  • Sports blogs - Bicycle blogs, Ski blogs, Running blogs - tend to focus on training schedules, equipment, races.
  • Mommy blogs - This is definitely NOT a put down title. It just means that these blogs are written by women whose profession for now is raising kid(s) and that is one of the topics they write about.
  • Professional blogs - talking about the law, teaching, medicine, etc.
  • Photo blogs - lots of pictures.
  • Activist blogs - keeping track of what's happening in a town, neighborhood, community.
  • Artist blogs - focus on the art they are working on
  • Political blogs - keeping track of what's happening in politics in general or in a particular party
  • Special issue blogs - these focus on a particular area of interest, anything from a specific disease to a type of music, to gardening

This is just a sampling of some categories that presented themselves as I looked at blogs. Many blogs blend two or more of these categories. And there are lots of other categories I'm sure.

And on June 5, Blogspot added the ability to have an RSS or other feed right in one's blog list which I turned on yesterday. That put the pressure on me to get this post out. But the blog list feature takes up a lot more room. So I think I'll put up the ones I check most frequently and then have a link to this post, which I'll update as blogs peter out and as I discover new ones.

Fairbanks Pedestrian suggested I set up criteria for my blog roll when I despaired about how to deal with who to put on my blog roll.

My criteria are:
1. Do I read it regularly?
2. How often is it updated?
3. Is the information unique and with some larger public purpose?
4. Is it well written?
5. Does it make me think?
6. Is it from the heart?
7. How many people know about this blog?

Actually, the criteria are an afterthought. No one can keep up with even a tiny fraction of blogs. What I have here on my list are the Alaska blogs that I find myself checking on - some daily, some every now and then. There are others that are in my radar - mudflat, for instance - but I haven't been to it enough to be able to write about it.

I also figured that I would put a link to a post that tells a little bit about each of the blogs I have linked on the front page, plus other blogs. After long deliberation it seemed that organizing by location was the simplest.


Celtic Diva
This is primo political site in Anchorage. Linda, the Diva, is the official Alaska blogger for the Democratic National Convention. She's thinks before she writes. Regular, prolific blogger.

Radical Catholic Mom I stumbled on this one and kept coming back. She's a devoted, converted Catholic who doesn't take anything for granted. Interesting peek into a world I normally would know little about. I'd put this in the Mommy Blog category, but it shows you not to assume such blogs are only about the kids. Lots of thinking going on here.

極寒日記(Life with CCKids) This is a blog by a woman who was born and raised in Japan and lives in Anchorage with her local boy husband and two kids. I don't go here too often because it's all in Japanese. But from what I can tell, it's a pretty popular blog in Japan. I got to this blog because her husband was a student of mine.

Own the sidewalk A personal blog by a twenty-something (I think) woman who has a boyfriend, but would abandon him if Mark Begich were available.

Mt. View Forum
This is an activist blog, by someone who keeps people alerted to the goings on in Mt. View, a less affluent neighborhood in Anchorage.

Bent Alaska This blog focuses on what's happening in Anchorage's [Alaska's] gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender. and queer communities and allied news.

Alaska Pride This is not another gay site. I list the site with a caution. I check in on this site because there is a lot of good, reasonably balanced - more so than many progressive blogs - posts on many local news topics, including candidates for elections. But any blog that has lots of links to white supremacist and anti-semitic (he calls the White Nationalists) sites has to be approached with caution. Many folks need to visit these places to remember that racism and other forms of virulent hate are alive and well in Alaska and the US. Of course non-white Alaskans don't have to visit these sites to know that racism is still with us.

Anchorage Divorce Blog
This is a fairly new blog by a local divorce attorney. Each weekly post explains what to expect when you visit a divorce attorney and how the process works. She's a good attorney and this could be a valuable source of information as the weeks go by and more and more information becomes available. (Radical Catholic Mom doesn't need to read this blog.)

Matsu Valley

Stress Management I don't recall how I found this blog. The description says she lives "North of Chicago," but there kept being references that fit well with Anchorage. When I asked about the contradiction, the answer was, "Well, Alaska is north of Chicago." A mother with nine kids, a car that doesn't always work, who is going to school. Always colorful.

Progressive Alaska Phil Munger's first blog was USA v. Vic Kohring. When the trial ended he started Progressive Alaska, to be a site uniting what he identifies as progressive bloggers. Phil's lived in Alaska a long time, done a lot of interesting things - radio, harbor master, music professor, gadfly. [Note, he prefers the Hebrew term "mekhapes pagam," ] Basically a lefty political blog, that strays off into other areas that come up.

Dennis Zaki Blog
I met Dennis -as I met Phil - at the political corruption trials last year. Dennis runs and independent news website that gets lots of hits. He covers local events and has a group of bloggers who post on his site. He just started this blog. Look for consistently great photographs of everything. The header photo changes just about daily.

Cabin Fever in Alaska by Artist Judy Vars An artist blog with pictures of her work and others' and accounts of events in the South central Alaska art world.

My Fairbanks Life Theresa is a writer who lives in Fairbanks with her husband and son. She write exquisite prose. I read it to be inspired by the language she uses. She sees the uncommon in the common. How about, "Before the sun can find a cloud to powder its nose behind,..." That made me reconsider clouds completely. And the sun. Longish, seemingly wandering essays, in which the various loose threads all get pulled together before the end.

Fiery Blazing Handbasket A real Alaska blog. Outhouses, wood piles, the stereotypical Alaska life style that Outsiders want to hear about - at least those who don't think we live in igloos. But that lifestyle out in the boonies, basic as some of the daily tasks are, comes with an insight and intelligence the New York crowd doesn't expect to find in a cabin in the wilderness.

Fairbanks Pedestrian
Another very literate and thoughtful Fairbanks blog that specializes in public spaces, community, and how to create infrastructure that supports a more humane way to live.

Alaskans off the road system
(well, you can take a ferry to Seldovia and Kodiak)

Freshwrestler's Reprieve Irregular posts about what's happening in Seldovia from the perspective of a relative new comer. Thoughtful observations

Grassroots Science
This blog had a unique and important role - trying to pass on information that would improve health in the YK Delta (Yukon-Kuskokwim). The posts have lagged lately, so go visit and spur her on to do more.

Kodiak Konfidential The mythical Ishmael writes a salty, irreverent blog about the goings on in Kodiak and beyond. Ish is a definite Palin fan, but I don't think it has to do with politics.

Alaskans Living Outside

Alaskan Abroad
Dillon doesn't seem to be able to stay in o ne place long. He's currently a DC political reporter for The Oil Daily, but he's worked for China Daily, the Prague Post, and the Fairbanks DailyNews-Miner, to mention a few. When he isn't listing Outside new references to Alaska politics or about oil, he writes about his dog, rugby, and The Czech Republic. Nice photos too.

The Barnyard Devil I started reading this blog when Matt was based in Girdwood where he was with the fire department. He's also a screen writer, and now is in North Carolina where his partner (wife?) is working. He writes long, interesting essays, that are well worth reading. There were great stories about his life in LA working in the the film and theater worlds. Not sure how long we can count him as an Alaskan, but I'll keep him here for now.

If I've made any factual errors in my descriptions please let me know so I can correct them. One thing that I've noticed is that with few exceptions, most of the bloggers I've listed are white. I know there are Alaskan bloggers of other shades and I'd like to see some of their blogs.


  1. Cool! Thank You for reading my blog and including me in your overview.
    Cabin Fever In Alaska
    Judy Vars

  2. Aaah. Thanks, Steve. I appreciate it and got a laugh over the Divorce Blog comment.

  3. Steve, you honor me by putting me on your list and it's a place that I cherish! I'm sending you good energy!

  4. Thanks for including me, Steve -- and yes, twenty-something is technically accurate, at least for a few more months.

    (I would also leave him for Andrew Halcro. He's aware of this -- the boyfriend, that is, not Andrew Halcro. That I know of. Unless he's reading. In which case, Andrew, call me.)

  5. My goodness. Now I will have to kick the lag in Grassroots posting. [My whinge for the month--It's been a cold spring and life in the Unorganized Borough gets complicated].

    Thank you.

    I had no idea there were that many Alaska blogs these days. A couple of years ago I looked at the number of Alaska MySpacers just around the YK area-- over 200 for a 20,000 or so population. This past year, there was a surge in Tundra Teacher blogs, mostly on Blogspot/Blogger. This coming year may see more missionary blogs.

  6. one misspelling of progressive in my listing. I prefer the term "mekhapes pagam," from Hebrew, to "gadfly," if you would be so kind.

  7. Steve - Thanks for including Bent! It actually covers gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, queer and allied news from all over Alaska, not just Anchorage.

    Philip - fault finder? An interesting choice. M'daber Evret?

  8. Hi Steve - I've recently begun a blog, and as an Alaska Native woman, might be defined as "a different shade". I invite you to take a look at Alaska Real, and see my experiment in modern culture. Celtic Diva really sparked my blog, and I'm committed to making it a quality blog geared toward Alaska Native issues and topics.

  9. Well, it is a weird hobby to collect blogs however you have to count with that people may have been giving fake locations to defend themselves against net predators.

  10. Great list, Thank You.

    I've been working on a Alaskan Google custom search engine. I personally review each site before it's included. Submission is free, name and email address are optional. Submit up to 10 URL's at a time. With your indulgence I want to invite all Alaska Bloggers to submit their sites at AlaskanBest.Com

  11. Hi, I was wondering if we could trade "blogroll" listings. I am on Immoral Minority and Palingate's blogroll lists, as well as Were Not That Stupid and Heffalumps...

    If you have not stopped by, please do sometime!



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