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Best Local Blogger: A self-effacing chronicler of East Bay life 

Your Waitress

Now that the blogosphere has been overrun by would-be memoirists documenting their every mood shift via emoticon and each new hairstyle with pouty bathroom mirror photos, it's time to set a new bar for blog excellence: They should tell the reader something about the blogger's world without being, you know, all about them. Enter Berkeley's Valerie Cochran, full-time waitress, secret shutterbug, and proprietress of the Your Waitress photoblog, wherein she documents her Bay Area adventures without ever saying a word or, in fact, ever showing up in frame. Her gift is for taking familiar scenarios and faces you have probably passed on the street a million times and making you see them in a new way: protesters with their picket signs, buskers and spare-changers on the Avenue, skateboarders getting air. Perhaps because waitresses have a good view of life on the retail strip, she has fantastic shots of people at work: shopkeepers with their work, some poor chump dressed like a gigantic Quizno's drink cup handing out coupons, the strangely trapped-looking faces of window mannequins on display. Doubleplusgood: The site is easy to navigate (photos can handily be viewed in thumbnail form), frequently updated, and mercifully unnarrated. You see what Your Waitress has seen, and you draw your own conclusions.
(Sorry, no information is currently available for other years in this same award category.)

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