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What's it all about at Harrumph?

It took me a few days to really wrap my brain around how to write a review for the nearly iconic blog Harrumph. I considered both skipping it, and taking it off of my sidebar so I wouldn't have to review it. But the I would miss out on Heather Champ's pretty little pictures, and a certain kind of dialogue that I have grown accustomed to.

One reason I was intimidated is that heather's archives are huge. Harrumph has been through three major incarnations: the original hand-coded pages, starting in January 2000 (!), her regular blogger pages, and then, more recently her "one post to a page" marvels. I didn't start reading until November of last year so I had a lot of Miss Champ to catch up on.

I feel a bit awkward offering actual criticism in these reviews, but to be fair I must say that much of Heather's day to day writing, as I have experienced it, is a little tepid. There's quite a bit of reference to her web friends and family, and many posts on the sweet mundanities of life, as in many blogs. It does get a little old at times. The redeeming quality to all of it, is it's clearly, as she states in her tagline "all about love, baby!" despite the somewhat gruff sounding domain name.

When Heather's blog works the best, is when she's combining her words with her visual ideas, because they are goddamn brilliant. Heather's visual presentation has only gotten better over time, culminating (so far) in her current layout. It features her now trademark dual-font masthead, and every day a short series of photos, often of the same object. As an amatuer photographer, I personally think it is fucking genius what she does with that pencam.

That's right, every post. If nothing else, Heather does the footwork, and that's what I most respect her for. She puts in the work every time to make each day's post look like a million dollars, and it does. Not to mention that she has her finger in a lot of other pies. She at least partially runs the former FOJM (friends of jezebel's mirror) now The Mirror Project, and she just seems to be at least peripherally involved in just about everything cool happening on the web. In addition, next to Kottke, I wonder if perhaps she is one of the most sidebar-ed blogs on the planet?

Also, I found very sweet her mild penis obsession. (1) (2) (3)

To her credit, her writing does sometimes surprise and delight, and I was happy to discover many gems in her sizable archives. Here are some of them:

this is your brain on camp songs
miss fiddle twiddle pick bang
got e. coli?
e. coli public service message
I punch the monkey
eulogy for her mom
heather champ is a potty mouth
oh caramello