I've just performed a bit of maintenance on the sidebar -- mainly adding a handful of blogs to the various blogrolls, removing one or two that I just wasn't reading anymore, et cetera. And since it's been a while since I explained my (hopefully) Quixotic and charming sidebar-section titles, here's how it all breaks down.
1. All that stuff at the top is fairly self-explanatory: an Elvish greeting; a bit of political sloganeering; some contact info and blog-utility stuff; my calm-and-collected (i.e., not axe-murdering) headshot; with links to a couple of bios and profiles of myself.
2. Marketplace. From time to time I put stuff -- usually books or CDs -- up for sale on Ebay; here I list the links to those auctions. Nothing is up right now, although I'll probably get around to doing more in a couple of weeks.
3. Search. I'm sure you can figure this one out. The "Search Byzantium's Shores" function isn't as exhaustive as I might like, but here's hoping it gets better as Google's crawlers index my individual post-pages.
4. Masthead image. Here is where I credit whatever image is at the top of the blog. I am featuring a different painting each month of 2004 that captures some aspect of the Arthurian legend. Right now, most of the links to the previous mastheads are broken because the site where I got most of them has ceased functioning. I'll try to fix this sometime, but it's really not a priority.
5. Various quotes from stuff I've read. I don't update these all that often, and when I do, it's to add to them.
6. Current Reading. As of this writing, this is really out of date! I gotta fix this. Maybe today. Or maybe not.
7. 2004 Reading List. I compiled this list when I was unemployed and had little to do other than reading and writing. Now I'm working again, and my reading has focused on stuff for review. I'm hoping to get back into this soon. (Whatever I don't get to on the 2004 list will simply be rolled over into the 2005 list.)
8. The Home Port. Here's where my section titles start getting metaphorical. This section contains links to prominent sites dealing with Buffalo or Buffalo locales or Buffalo-based media outlets or Buffalo food or pretty much anything Buffalo. Hang around here, and after a short while you'll quickly learn that I consider Buffalo to be the greatest place on the face of this planet. Even with all the rust.
9. Other Shores. Here are links to non-blog sites that I frequent that are not based in Buffalo. They're roughly grouped according to category, but I'm not rigorous about this.
10. Ships flying the Flag of Buffalo. Here is where I start linking blogs, with this first section being specifically blogs whose writers are Buffalonians. That's the only criterion I have for linking someone here: you're in Buffalo, and you're in. (So if you're in Buffalo and I don't have you here, let me know.)
11. Other Travelers. Here is the main blogroll, in alphabetical order. The vast majority of these are blogs I've simply discovered in the course of two-and-a-half years of hanging out in Blogistan. The political blogs here are almost exclusively liberals, since that's what I am; there are also cultural blogs, musical blogs, general-purpose blogs, and personal friends. With the exception of the personal friends, I link these on the basis of admiration of their content.
12. Pilgrims from a Strange and Distant Land. Here I link LiveJournals. I link these, as well, for my admiration of their content, but I tend to think of LiveJournals as being just a tad different from most other blogs in terms of functionality (that "friends" thing, for example), so I lump 'em all here. Content-wise, though, these come with the same "stamp of approval" that I give to blogs listed under "Other Travelers".
13. Mapmakers, Sages, and Scribes. These are professional bloggers whose work I enjoy. They don't necessarily get paid to write the blogs listed here, but they are at least professional writers who have made their blogs a part of their output.
14. The Voices in the Tavern. These are blogs with multiple posters. Lots of multiple posters. (Even if Collaboratory is barely registering a pulse these days.)
15. Vows of Silence. These are blogs that I once read faithfully but have since fallen silent. CalPundit was where Kevin Drum wrote before he became Political Animal. Out of Lascaux was a fine art blog that simply went silent one day; I hope she is OK. StarLines belonged to SF writer (well, she writes more than SF, but that's how I think of her) S.L. Viehl, and it was one of my favorite daily reads until she pulled the plug. (I hope she's OK, too, although I have little doubt that she is, because, well, she always struck me as being really plucky.) And finally, William Burton comes and goes.
16. Notable Dispatches. Here I have links to posts of mine that I've particularly liked. Over time I'm updating the links to their more reliable, "individual page" versions, so as to avoid the problem that the old Blogger archiving system used to have with bouncing all over a page.
17. Move Over Britney! This is a regular series I started last fall, highlighting famous women whom I think are far more deserving of cultural and media interest than Britney Spears. (No joke here, folks: I work with women I think are more beautiful than Britney Spears.) Some of the photos in the earlier posts in this series may be broken, because I used to "hotlink" photos from other people's sites. I've gradually been replacing those links to photos I'm hosting myself, but this isn't a huge priority, either. But starting with Andrea Parker, every photo should work.
18. Poetical Excursions. I used to occasionally post the text of a great poem with a few thoughts from me about what I thought of the poem, and though I haven't done this in a very long time (and I keep meaning to get back to doing it), I leave the links up with the intention of doing it again soon. Somehow, "soon" never arrives, but there it is. Again, I plan to sometime replace these links with their more robust versions.
19. Writings Elsewhere. I write reviews of books, music and the occasional film for the websites Green Man Review and Destroy All Monsters. Here I link those reviews.
20. Archive. If you want to dig into the stuff I've posted in the past, this is where you go. The archive pages load slowly, because I'm pretty prolific and I list the archives by entire months so as to take up less space on the main page.
21. Finally, there's my required link to Blogger and to my SiteMeter traffic info, followed by a second self-portrait that makes me look as though I have no left arm. (It's behind that potted azalia plant.)
So, that's how the sidebar works. Not all of these sections appear within individual post pages, by the way; most of it only appears on the main page, for quicker loading and better hallway vision.
(And as long as I'm navel-gazing, here's how I started blogging in the first place. More than you ever wanted to know.)