Zucket in Toronto

Sass Zucket is a twenty three year old Asian girl from Hong Kong who grew up in Vancouver before coming east to go to school. She’s smart. The girl was enrolled in the University of Toronto at age 16 and graduated at 21 with a degree in human biology and genetics. So what’s she doing now? She’s a party girl, and a world famous blogger.

Zucket is a sneak peek inside Toronto’s hottest parties from a slightly jaded female perspective. The blog is fun to read like e-talk is fun to watch, but it’s meaner and grungier than anything on television, and kind of dirty. Each post images some form of consumption and chronicles rock stars, fashion models, booze, bands and bar fights.

Zucket is a great blog because of the author’s narrative insights into these candid photos. Her readers Laugh Out Loud in comments when she reminds them that a certain friend wore the same shirt two Saturdays in a row (with photo links to prove it) or who paid for who’s drinks all night. She has meaningful conversations with celebrities, and only very occasionally writes about shopping, clothes and cosmetics and Toronto party rentals no you’re more likely to find posts detailing the nutritional value of her favourite Chinese foods.

Sass fraternizes with professional photographers, including Kavin from Shark vs Bear, and Pete Nema, Dana Richardson, Raymi’s boyfriend Phil, and Carl W. Heindl of eroder.com . When these talented artists snap shots of Sass enjoying Toronto, she hunts them down and copies them from their Flickr pages, and Facebook galleries to repost on her own blog. That way her readers can enjoy seeing her mocking boys upstairs at the Drake Hotel, or rocking out on dance floor of the Wrong Bar, or even recovering in the sunlight of a Sunday at the Lakeview Lunch.

She’s part of a community. Momentary glimpses inside Toronto’s west end nightclubs is just one of the things that makes Zucket such a premier online attraction. LG Fashion Week Finale Party: Atop the Top of the Burroughes hooked this subscriber. That post is an exciting behind-the-scenes look at a fashion party meltdown. Zucket’s descriptions are brief and leave me hungry for more details, and her friends are beautiful and candid. Readers can’t find this stuff anywhere else, except perhaps on other blogs… like Raymi The Minx ?

Zucket spawned from Raymi; she’s a spin-off. When I asked Sass about the similarities she replied: Yes, I know Raymi, she is one of my closest friends. I started reading her blog and then figured out that she lived within a 2 block radius from me. Stalked her and the rest is history. Today the keyword Raymi the Minx is the fifth largest tag in Zucket’s sidebar; the first four being Alcohol, Party, Toronto, and Babes. It’s not hard to see why this blog is so popular.

Near the beginning of Sass Zucket’s weblog, I came across something very personal, a key to understanding the origins of her blog. And when I asked Sass why she started blogging she replied, …I started blogging because I hated my ex-boyfriend and his new girlfriend with a raging passion. I had so many mean, awful things to say about them that I also thought were really funny. My friends were tired of hearing me whine but I wasn’t tired of whining and needed a venue to vent. I’m also kind of a megalomaniac so I decided a blog was a good way to delude myself into a sense of celebrity. My attention seeking tendencies haven’t changed, so I’m still blogging. It has become such a large part of my lifestyle and routine, that I’d rather blog before bed than wash the make-up off of my face.

Follow Sass on Twitter?

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Schmutzie in Saskatchewan

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Schmutzie pumpkin pin portraitSchmutzie is a female thirty something ‘personal blogger’ that lives in the Canadian Prairies. She makes her home in Regina, Saskatchewan and lives there with her husband, The Palinode.  Schmutzie describes herself as “an atheist, a photographer, a writer, a website designer, a knitter, a feminist, and a thirty-something non-gender-specific, biological female post-hysterectomy in a heterosexual marriage who spends eight hours a day in a beige cubicle.” And that bio should be enough to make anyone curious.

Schmutzie’s Milkmoney Or Not Here I Come is over five years old now, and it looks better than ever. The site was born in August 2003, and I believe the name is truly representative of her spirit, both then and now.

This website’s archives make fantastic reading, and that’s because Schmutzie is a gifted writer that’s just masquerading as a blogger. Her November 4th entry The Girl Who Came From Love is proof positive, this woman can write literature.

Schmutzie on Twitter photoCuriously, although she has already battled and survived cancer, Schmutzie still smokes cigarettes. She considers the subject closed for discussion, but I notice there’s lots of smoking / anti smoking chatter on Schmutzie’s Twitter, where she has over a thousand followers. And I should also link to Schmutzie’s StumbleUpon address as that’s actually how Canada Blog Friends came to notice her entertaining stories.

Reading Schmutzie’s blog is a privileged smart girl glimpse into a tight circle of friends.  Girls, that are friends, that tell each other true stories that are sometimes unbelievable. In recent post, Some Things Just Aren’t Meant To Be, Schmutzie relates the sad tale of an ex boyfriend who believed she was poisoning his food. And here’s a classic self reflection post where Schmutzie wrestles with the stigma of being publicly identified as a blogger; this woman is shy and doesn’t like the label.

Schmutzie on EtsySchmutzie is a web designer by day, and a random blogger at night that writes about whatever she liked, or disliked, on that particular day. So maybe she’ll start the week with a thoughtful piece about cancer survival, and on Friday highlight her latest additions to Etsy, moving through multiple genres rather seamlessly and redefining her ‘personal blog’ with every shared experience.  The quality is consistent, so although you never know what you’ll get with Schmutzie, you know it will be good.

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Raymi the Minx in Toronto

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Lauren White is a blog pioneer. She started her web log back in 2000 when Blogger itself was less that a year old and still owned by Pyra Labs. Back then, very few people knew anything about blogging, and this Canadian girl was an early thought leader in the process of discovering what’s cool, and what brings traffic.

Raymi the MinxRaymi the Minx is a classic blog that details strange happenings in the life of a sexy girl living in the heart of downtown Toronto.  Chances are, if you’ve ever spent a day surfing around the net reading blogs, you’ve encountered Raymi’s work. She’s listed on hundreds of blog rolls, ranked in dozens of indexes in many different niches, and has won numerous awards in multiple categories – her blog has inspired the first posts of some of today’s best writers.

Raymi’s work is more personal than most personal blogs. She flashes her smile as frequently as her skinny body (and her boots, and even on rare occasions, her breasts). Such self portraits are of course the highlights of her archives, and accrue many dozen comments. Her curious poses draw readers into even more intimate stories. This girl lets us live inside her relationships as she randomly explains her existence. With such content the reader begins to feel like he actually knows Raymi, and boys fall in love with her. Girls have a different reaction. Since she allows everyone to learn so much about her, she soon becomes the best friend you’ve never met.

I see my blog as a way to kill boredom for me and for you and if some days there is a bit of genius to it, awesome. Raymi, Sept 2008

Raymi the Minx in Oxford in 2000Over the past eight years, Raymi has become a Canadian web celebrity. Thousands of readers have watched her grow up on the internet and most have followed her work from the moment they discovered her domain. Here archives are indeed expansive. She would need erp software to keep track of all the products and stories that she’s distributed over the past decade. Digging back to the year 2000, it’s possible to see the young Lauren White before the metamorphosis.

Here’s me (raymi) in Oxford. that siGn between my krotch sez, ‘please keep off grass’ or something and there i am On the grass like the eFFing rebellious bitch i’ve always been.

Marketable DepressionLike every artist’s first work, Raymi’s early material seems unrefined by comparison. Backin 2000 she often experimented by altering text sizes and fonts to deliberately defy standard formats. Personally I’m thrilled she outgrew the baby talk slang, and a particularly annoying habit of spelling ‘with’ as ‘wif’. Her evolution is still in progress and now an even more prolific pen has turned to writing novels.  Raymi has inventory for sale on her website, and memories enough to fill storage units full to the brim with laughter. Here’s a link to buy Marketable Depression on CafePress, which is Raymi’s book about her younger years, when she was depressed, dabbled in drugs, and was crippled by her own poor choice in men.

Another book in the works, as yet untitled, will present sequences from an even larger story. There is no set release date as Raymi finds the idea of compulsory writing very stressful. ‘Writers constantly feel guilt over not writing and all eventually kill themselves, whether by drink or other hands-on means‘, she writes.Tanlines Not seeking self annihilation, she spends her days making art and taking beautiful photos to add to the twenty thousand images already stored in her Flickr gallery photo stream.

More than a blogger, Raymi the Minx is a poet, media darling, and a web based sexual itch. She has the unique ability to write provocative content and draw a crowd, and provoke admiration.  This painting by her friend Jamie Boud perfectly represents Raymi’s acrylic disposition.  Her mildly erotic portraits are usually punctuated with Toronto landmarks to remind us that she’s real, and lives just down the street somewhere… But her reality is better, sexier and more stimulating than ours will ever be.

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Shambled Ramblings in Toronto

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Kristen Goetz has a personal blog that she describes as a nothing blog, but that’s because she writes about everything. At age twenty five, Kristen hopes for a professional career as a writer, and so she posts insights on summer fun, bars, fast cars and the best cell phone deals in Canada. She’s looking for a suitable corporate master to repaint her profile with a purpose. Because right now, her seemingly pointless content shimmers like a reflection of herself in a fast flowing stream of events that is her life in Toronto.

Kristen w glassesShambled Ramblings started because Kristen was offered a job as a corporate blogger on the condition that she initiate a personal blogspot domain where she could cross promote the sponsor company. The enterprise launched Kristen’s blogging career. She wrote diligently for months, building credibility and refining her prose. She wrote about her recent break-up of a three-year relationship, and the possibilities of a new one. She wrote about snowstorms, grass cutting and her friend’s problems, and greasy food, and traffic tickets and the music of Kermit The Frog – it took awhile before she found her voice.

Kristen walking the winter streets in TorontoSadly, by the time Kristen finally got up to speed and truly personalized her domain, and before she ever made a dime, the initial job offer fell through, and the company that seduced her into the blogosphere was no longer in business. Other companies and media buyers contacted her but unfortunately they wanted to compromise truth, and censor her language. Since her readership had begun to grow, Kristen declined. “There was no way that I was going to endorse products I’d never used, or tone down the sarcasm. I didn’t want my personal blog to sound like anyone else.” She relates. Yet in many ways, Shambled Ramblings has a lot to do with Kristen searching for, and finding different identities.

Since many of her posts are about her recent move from St. Catharines to Toronto, Kristen punctuates her text with Canadian keywords, people, places, and Queen St W Toronto events.  A common theme is her quest to sample as many different Ontario micro brews in her local Parkdale bars and pubs, before declaring a favourite.

Kristen at New YearsKristen is a cool chick that likes to party on occasion. It’s a fact she knows the lyrics to hundreds of obscure early 1980’s heavy metal songs. She likes live music, and plays a mean game of pool. Her posts are personal and range from self-deprecating and questioning to sarcastic and in-your-face. Sometimes there’s a bit of self-improvement. It’s for that reason – the randomness of her subjects – that she concludes she has a nothing blog.

But Kristen’s blog is actually something pretty special. It’s a look into the mind and everyday life of a female twenty-something, new to the city and still searching for a career. Whether she’s ranting about an annoyance, re-capping her busy weekend, or making relevant observations about our society, Shambled Ramblings is an honest peek at a young woman learning more about herself, and what’s she’s capable of achieving in Toronto.

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Dead Robot in Downtown Toronto

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A signed scream by Dead Robot

Ted is a 43 year old fountain of wit. He’s a good photographer, and a skilled graphic artist.  A barrel chested weekend warrior, this robot is very much alive. He writes with a sharp keyboard, and a keen eye on queer happenstance, local Toronto events, arts and culture. His blog explores web development Toronto new technology, gadget fetishes, web innovations and games.

Dead Robot is an existential personal blog, and by that I mean it has existentialist themes like alienation, dread, and bad faith. There’s an overall ‘reduced to nothingness’ feeling that affects readers, both in the visuals and the text. The name of the blog, and the banner image plant existential thoughts in my brain, as I perceive old technology and broken dreams fermenting fresh new insights into life. Please understand, this blog is Fine Art simply because it’s excellent – every post is carefully concocted and cleverly styled (and often reinforced with good original photos) to make readers question social rituals.

blogger Ted from Dead RobotTed understands that he’s playing a role as Dead Robot, and while keeping an eye on the grand prize of changing the world, he writes about current events and bad corporate behaviour and whatever unpleasant things his caustic wit might colour and could change. He’s a keen observer and transcriber of all that he witnesses. He commonly blogs about the small details he stumbles upon every morning and the events and businesses that affect him. Trips to a Toronto dentist and behind the scenes photos of Toronto Gay Pride parade. This example, published Thursday Sept 4th, 2008 after he witnessed the repetitive abuse of a local food service worker. This post subtly reminds readers of the infectious nature of our emotions, and the healing power of kind words.

Canada Blog Friends was born today.

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Canada Blog Friends was born today, 22nd August 2008. It was created to be the first and best place for anyone and everyone to find good Canadian blogs for easy reading.

Here lies a network of skilled writers and a kingdom of unique content.

Another cool Canuck blog is revealed here everyday, or another aspect of our cultural experience is highlighted – comments are welcome, just click the red maple leaf in the top corner of each post to deposit your opinion.

Read and be amazed at the diversity of genres and niches presented, and yet behold the continuity of Canadian themes. The Aboriginal citizen in Northern BC shares similar values with the young Francophone in Quebec. If one blog portal in Eastern Canada looks strangely similar to a site based in Victoria BC, that’s the Canadian experience preserving the jam of our cultural identity.

Whenever possible, Canada Blog Friends goes behind the text and profiles individual bloggers inside their unique surroundings. I hope to showcase the author inside the very room / apartment / coffee shop where their most creative magic happens – each post yields precious glimpses of what Canadian Bloggers are really like as people.