Charlotte's Web

Blogging my world since 2006

Tales From The Web


Number Five, February 2009

The Things to Make You Smile, But In An Ironic Way, Edition

I don’t know about you, but for me January has been long, dark and slightly depressing. There have been protracted bouts of cancelling the car, I have read 11 eleven books (always a sign), my kids keep coming home from school with infectious illnesses which they pass on to other members of the family and a bad thing happened to some people I love. Being Ms Glass Half-Full, I have to admit there have been good things – I’ve got a new client, and a new writing gig which I can soon tell you about, a cheque which was lost in the post was kindly re-issued, Barack Obama was inaugurated and we’ve re-jigged things in the family routine to allow me more writing time. But somehow, the gloom has prevailed.

Now that it is a new month, and we had a great day yesterday celebrating a ninth birthday at the ice-rink, I am ready for perky. I’m ready for sunny. I’m ready to be amused. It is my self-appointed duty today to introduce you to some funny stuff.

I do love the Germans, and I also love laughing at them. Since some of my dear German friends read my blog, I have to avoid being too brutal. But this guy pulls no punches – he’s got the Germans down. His blog is called Ich werde ein Berliner, and is written in the same style as the now-famous Stuff White People Like: each post is part of a catalogue explaining the Germans. I especially like these on Christmas, cafes and Irony.

I have a blog crush on the Crabmommy. I am not a huge fan of Mommyblogs generally, but Ms Crabster has subverted the genre and produced something cutting, funny and dare I say it, ironic. Her manifesto is thus:

On this website I will never:
*speak of the enchanting constant joy and transformative wonderment of motherhood
*dispense little nuggets about what my child has taught me
*tell any mom to stop and smell the diapers “because it all goes by in the blink of an eye”
*make jokes about bowel movements and baby body fluids (because it’s not my thing and it can be found abundantly elsewhere)
*use the word “miracle”
*count my blessings
*chart my child’s developmental milestones
*seem to be in a good or grateful mood
*be mean about my friends or family because they’ll get me back

If you trawl through her archives, you can watch her craft toys from tampons, mock Gwyneth Paltrow and post embarrassing photographs of herself during her South African schooldays. But the ultimate post, and the one which converted me to a die-hard fan, is this one which starts: “Barack Obama is a great man, but frankly I voted for him because he is hot.” Go and read it, and see her justification for voting with your eyes. (If you are moved to comment, tell her I sent you and maybe, just maybe she’ll come and visit me so that we can share our Barack Obama crush and our weird South African past.)

Laura, aka Ms Honey Pie Horse, is consistently funny about many things: living in Germany, being married to a German and explaining things – including God and sex – to your children. For me her post on spa terrorism is a tour de force.

PaddyK, an Irishman living in Sweden, is the ultimate Internet snarkster, and has been oft-quoted in TFTW. Paddy has recently started an expat blog carnival, in which I have taken part, and through which I found Po, the spindrifting South African sea monkey. Po has drifted as far as England, where she likes, as is tradition in that country, to take the mickey. All her posts are funny, but see these two: Smallish Britten and Smallish Britten – unleashed. Watch out for the emperor in his new clothes, and then come back and agree with me on the sheer brilliance. Po, you deserve plaudits.

Ms Waffle, formerly of Belgium but now back in Ireland, mines a rich seam of humour, particularly with regard to raising three small children and working fulltime. I have long been, and still remain, a fan.

I don’t know if any of you have noticed, but the sub-theme of this Smiling/Ironically edition is Barack Obama. I may have mentioned that I am more than slightly enamoured of the Prez. A couple of nights I ago, I dreamt that I met him at a party and was able to advise him on his South African policy. He was deeply grateful. I have had discussions with friends as to the source of my crush and we agree that Barack is of a similar type to my husband: tall, skinny and intellectual, but with a twinkle in his eye. However, my friend Diane woke up to find that her own husband had actually turned into Obama. See what happens here.

The last post is nothing about humour, but it is the best blog post I have read this year – and that is saying a LAWT, since me, I go for quality – and I need to share it with you. Ian is a Canadian expat living in Germany and this year, when the canals froze in Holland, he drove 500 kms to go skating on the ice. 10 Things I Learned About Skating in Holland embodies everything that is good about blogging: great writing, a glimpse into a world unknown and superb visuals. Ian, I wish that National Geographic would pick up your post, publish it and pay you wads of cash. You deserve it.

On that note, I leave you, hopefully amused, uplifted and, most essentially,  fully equipped with the essential skill of how to order coffee in Germany and drink it in the most ironic fashion. Latte machiato, God forbid!

Yours sincerely

Little Ms Sunshine

Author: charlotteotter

Novelist, feminist, crime writer

15 thoughts on “Tales From The Web

  1. Hi Charlotte (what a nice name btw),

    thank you for the kind words and linkage!


  2. Thanks for this Charlotte, now I know what to read tonight. My Bloglines is empty as I’ve been procrastinating on work all today, so I need some fresh blog meat.

    Hope February is a better month for you. If it’s any consolation my kids have all come back from school with thick colds this week, despite the summer weather. They’d better not pass them on to me or I’ll be pretty grumpy too.

  3. Mmm… I can relate to coming out of a “dark month”, it will get better and soon you will be back in the driving seat instead of “cancelling the car”! May February be full of the sunny stuff and if Mother Nature doesn’t play the game I’ll send you some African sunshine! Trust me today we were given a whole lot of ‘sunny love’ infact so hot I lay under the aircon and “cancelled the car”!

  4. Wow Charlotte, thanks for the mention. I keep finding lots of cool blogs on these communal post things. I also love crabmommy, but I seem to have removed her from my blog list. Will readd her.

  5. Thanks for all the fun links. I especially love Crabmommy’s header! I can go with you both on the hot Obama thing most of the time, but then there are shots of him where he just looks odd. But that’s a million-dollar smile if I ever saw one. Plus smart, that’s always attractive 🙂

  6. Charlotte, your mention of my Holland post absolutely floored me when I read it at work yesterday. I just read it aloud to my wife, who is urging me to submit a proposal to them.

  7. Thank you for the wondrous new links – I fear much time will be lost in following them up. I send much sympathy and virtual hugs for the grotty month of January, and here’s to harbingers of spring, but Charlotte, sweetie, you may take the tap shoes and the sparkly costume off every once in a while, you know. Melancholy has traditionally been quite popular in Europe and fueled much extraordinary art. Someone once told me – whatever experience throws at you, accept it, live and then put it into your art. We all love you, happy or sad.

  8. Thanks for the mention and the tips, Charlotte! I can’t wait to read up on tampon toys, reach out to the ‘Obama is totally hot’ support group and explore all these high quality blogs. Also, I guess I need to qualify #7 – what I meant was, unless you have offensive hair, no one but you cares if you have a bad hair day. That said, if you shave it all off you or stop showing or something like that you might start beeping on a few radars. I’m totally available to discuss.

  9. Sorry meant ‘showering’ not ‘showing’

  10. I’m making a list of SA Expat blogs. I added you. If you wish to be removed, please let me know.

    It is a great place where you can read other blogs written by South African expats.

  11. Awww. Thanks for the shout out! I am looking forward to checking out your other recommendations.

  12. 1. January has sucked.
    2. February will be better.
    3. Barack is hot.
    4. Thanks thanks thanks for the links…I love finding new blogs!

  13. Thanks for the links – will check them out. (Am actually running the blog carnival thingy with PaddyK – in fact, he’s the one who inspired me to blog… Yeah- blame him!) Next carnival this weekend, so send him a link or two.

    Luckily, Feb is a short month, and we should soon be into the perkier month of March.

  14. What wonderful links Charlotte! Now why aren’t there more hours in a day for me to explre the Web??

  15. Pingback: Strange Shores #3 « Paddy K

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