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Chicago Blog Review: Parking Ticket Geek

By Katie Buitrago

The Tribune has introduced its new beta platform for local blogs. Here at the Beachwood's Chicago Blog Review Desk, we'll be taking a look at some of the new - and familiar - faces you can find there.

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Blog: Parking Ticket Geek

Description: Information, advice, and fury over matters driving-related.

Substance: You may know the Parking Ticket Geek from his other home at The Expired Meter. Unlike CTA Tattler, which made the switch completely to ChicagoNow, The Expired Meter is still being updated with the same content as the new blog, for some reason. The Parking Ticket Geek follows parking-related news with incisive analysis, gives a weekly advice column on how to beat bogus parking tickets, and advises drivers on parts of town to avoid when big events are going on. It's a great mix of public service announcement and scathing attacks on Chicago's parking policies. The Geek points out hypocrisy and even does original reporting to dig up fascinating info that mainstream reporters are missing. The downfall of many a blog is that they're just another aggregator, but the Parking Ticket Geek actually brings new content to the table. *golf clap*

Style: Funny and pithy mix of populist rage and insider advice. The posts are structured well and lead up to a well-defined point, despite the conversational tone. The Geek writes very well for web.

Tl;dr Score: Some posts are on the long side, but they're written so engagingly that they don't feel tedious. Most are of moderate length.

Commenter Involvement: Lots of questions about how to beat tickets, but aside from that, the commenters are not particularly involved. It seems like his regular audience hasn't migrated from The Expired Meter. Why would they, since both sites are the same?

Linkage: High, and useful. The Geek liberally links to news stories and government agencies in his arguments.

Screen Shot:

geek.jpg

Visual Appeal: I am not a fan of the garish orange used in the motif. I mean, I get it: tickets are orange, and blinding, and only add to your fury when you see them. But the goal of the blog's layout should not be to infuriate you, too. What if someone has ticket-related PTSD?? And what about all those kids-at-heart who had their candy brutally stolen on Halloween? You'll trigger them, Parking Ticket Geek! And, as with CTA Tattler, some useful links - namely, his About page - have disappeared in the ChicagoNow formulation. The pictures he uses with many posts are generally enlightening, from illegally parked Department of Revenue vehicles to parking meter "art."

NSFW?: Well, sometimes the Parking Ticket Geek posts things like pictures of steaming piles of shit. But the pictures are a lot smaller on this blog than on The Expired Meter, so it's likely that no one would notice. It's not 100% safe, but you can probably get by.

Start Here: "Meter Meltdown Remains A Mystery, Speculation Of Planned Attack Grows."

Bottom Line: I'm not a driver, and I think driving should be discouraged when possible - yes, that means higher meter rates in congested areas, you whiny car people - but the Parking Ticket Geek has won even me over with his well-written, informative blog. There is some rank-ass hypocrisy regarding parking in this town, and we're better off having the Geek around to sniff it out.

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What other blogs are we reading? See the Chicago Blog Review archive.

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Comments and submissions welcome.



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Posted on June 5, 2009


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