Hi there, my fine and fellow Hokeyfolk!
Yup, it’s true: two years ago today I launched this bizarre blogging experiment with a simple review of The Beatles’s most underrated album, and it’s been a weird and wonderful 730 day journey ever since. I’ve made a bunch of new friends, probably lost more than a couple of old ones, been quoted, misquoted, tweeted, re-tweeted, excommunicated, gerrymandered, and near-fisticuffted in furious bouts of anger and woe, but it’s been a fun ride the entire way.
I’m not going to get entirely and pretentiously retrospective today, but I do want to thank everyone who’s been enjoying the trip with me. When I first started Hokeyblog, I was basically working in your proverbial vacuum. I think for the first three months I was averaging about 5-7 views a day, and those were mostly people doing Google Image searches for “hot gay Top Gun pics”. But I’ve developed a small but steady audience over time, and I appreciate you visiting and enjoying my work. That is, if you have been enjoying my work. And if you haven’t… why here’s a picture of Keanu Reeves in a canoe:
Anyway, I’m not going to get too belabored here, so I thought I’d list the Top 10 Hokeyblog Posts In Terms of Overall Popularity, including their position relative to last year’s list. And why not? Let’s take a gander of what you all have really been enjoying since July 23rd, 2012!
Top 10 Hokeyblog Posts In Terms of Overall Popularity
#10 (new) — A Few Words About Orange Is The New Black
Would you believe I still haven’t seen a single frame of Season 2 yet? Shocker… especially after my rave review from last August (and the oh-so-timely Miley/VMA reference). I really liked Orange Is The New Black at first, but my deep enjoyment of the show was totally cemented about 3 or 4 episodes in. Episodic television has never been better than it has been in the past several years, and more than anything else it proves that a 10-13 episode season is infinitely superior to drawn-out, bloated 22-24 episode monstrosities that spend entirely too much time spinning their wheels in order to pad out a pointless network demand.
#9 (new) — Paul McCartney Album Reviews
Few people (with maybe the exception of the ghost of Stu Sutcliffe) don’t love Sir Paul, but most of that goodwill comes from his time as a Beatle (roughly 1960- 1970, depending on when you start and stop the clock). His musical career post-breakup has gone through massive peaks and valleys, and more than a few thicket forests filled with critical barbs and derision. FOOEY! And FIDDLESTICKS! There is so much wonderful material in his catalog beyond his various radio hits, it’s shame that it was only semi-recently the rock/pop critical establishment has finally acknowledged that Paul’s solo career contains some remarkable moments. His 1971 Ram album is now viewed as an excellent album (arguably the masterpiece of his collection, although I don’t quite think so), but 43 years ago it was considered to be a colossal piece of crap by the so-called music intelligentsia. If nothing else, Paul simply needed a good musical editor to regulate the quality of his output, but even without one he managed to impress with such great albums like Band On The Run, Venus & Mars, Tug Of War, Flaming Pie, Chaos & Creation in the Back Yard, Memory Almost Full, plus a ton of great singles along the way.
Still one of my favorite Top 10 albums of all time, and still better than Sgt. Pepper’s and Pet Sounds combined. If you’ve never heard it, drop everything and give it a listen. Right now. You’ll thank me later.
#7 (same) — App Review: Zombies, Run!
We’re now at Season 3 of Zombies, Run!, and I’m still enjoying it immensely. While a bit of the novelty might have worn off, the storyline is just as engaging as ever (at least so far). Apps like Zombies, Run! are making the process of running, getting in shape, and staying in shape that much more fun, engaging, and for nerds like us, immersive. You want to have some fun? Go out for a 4:30 AM run in the darkness by yourself, and do a Zombies, Run! mission. Trust me, you’ll learn to run REAL fast…
Dropping three positions from last year, this Beatles album review probably remains one of my favorite ever written, for almost purely nostalgic reasons. It was my first Beatles LP and as a result remained a longtime favorite of mine, and when I wrote this review it still had never seen the light of day on CD. Since then, it actually ha been released on CD… as part of the Beatles U.S. Albums box set and as an individual release on its own. I’ll probably pick it up at some point (I have a pair of buttkickin’ needledrops in Stereo and Mono), but regardless, you can read my review to find out why I think this was a seminal album for American Beatle fans in the 1960s.
#5 (new) — Race Review: Neon Vibe 5K
I was surprised at how much attention this review received. It wasn’t a hugely popular post when I first published it, but over the past 13 months it’s consistently received more and more hits every month. Who wouldn’t enjoy a nighttime neon corn starch and black light 5K and dance party? Apparently very few, as seen by this post’s popularity. I enjoyed the Neon Vibe 5K for the most part, but I’ve since spoken to others who weren’t so enamored. They’re biggest complaint was a severe lack of hydration on the course. Since I walked the thing at night with friends while enjoying a toasty cocktail, I might have overlooked this deficiency (and it might since have been rectified). Still, I had a fun time. Your mileage may vary…
#4 (-3) — Concert Review: The Fab Faux
And look at this! My former “Number One With A Bullet” review dropped to number 4 this year… I suppose it was to be expected. My Fab Faux review got MASSIVE responses when it was retweeted and hyped by the likes of Will Lee and Jimmy Vivino soon after its publishing. Since then the response has calmed down a bit, although it still gets a good share of hits every week. I enjoyed writing this review immensely, as it allowed me to really let me Beatles Freak Flag Fly. Sadly, I missed The Fab Faux this year as they came to town when I was out running a race up at Disney for charity, so I suppose I’ll have to see them TWICE next year. “Oh darn…”
My least favorite Disney run — one of my least favorite races EVER, actually! — for too many reasons. Yeah, I got food poisoning, which was not the Run Disney’s fault. Yeah, it was ungodly hot, humid, and disgusting, which also was not the Run Disney’s fault. But the race itself was strangely dull, very dark, and lacking in the fun and entertainment department; basically everything you’re paying the premium markup for. I didn’t attend the event in 2013, of which I heard things had very much improved over the course of a year. But I think I’m one and done with the Tower of Terror 10-Miler. Will I end up eating those words? Probably. But for now… ehh.
And check out this scrappy post! It went from last year’s #10 to this year’s #2, attracting a huge number of hits and views since its publishing in March 2013. In fact, if we were just gauging by the number of hits over the past 365 days instead of over the lifetime of the blog, it would easily by the #1 post. A lot of people were interested in this event. Running through the nation’s capital in the late winter/early spring is an attractive prospect, one that I enjoyed quite a bit, despite my issues with the under-staffed water stations, hills, and that crowded exit chute.
And finally, surprising very few people who have been actively following this blog, our #1 Top-Viewed Hokeyblog Post Of All Time is none other than…. (wait for it)….
Rocketing up the charts from #4 to the Top of the Pops, we have our review of the 2013 Walt Disney World Marathon, my first (and as of this writing, only) time going the entire 26.2 mile racing distance. Everything on paper seemed perfect: start out at Epcot, run to and through the Magic Kingdom, then one lap around the Richard Petty Driving Experience before heading 3 miles on side roads into Animal Kingdom, down the Osceola Parkway into the ESPN Wide World of Sports complex, then down into Hollywood Studios before returning to Epcot via a scenic route past the Boardwalk and Yacht and Beach Club resorts, with the final lap taking me around World Showcase. Yes, it all sounded wonderful, save for the fact that (1) it rocketed up to 84 degrees of sweltering heat (in JANUARY!) halfway into the run, and (2) I managed to blow out my IT band at mile 19. What started out as an awesomely fun run turned into a battle of will and determination that — forgive me if I come across as entirely too self-congratulatory here — forced me to dig real deep and discover a reserve of motivation and fortitude that I didn’t even know I had. Crossing that Finish Line was one of the most powerful and cathartic moments I’ve ever experienced. Plus now that my next Full Marathon is in four months, I’m training even harder than I did before to ensure that not only am I ready for it physically but emotionally as well. Running a marathon might be a mind game more than a physical one, but you need to make sure your heart is completely, utterly, almost transcendentally committed to it. Then afterward, a nosh!
Well those were our most popular posts of all time, but here are a few posts I’ve written in the past year of which I’m particularly proud and/or enamored. Possibly both:
Posts From The Last Year Of Which I’m Particularly Proud And/Or Enamored
How I Came To Know Ulcerative Colitis — Starting in May of 2013, I noticed I wasn’t exactly quite “well”. There was a rather rapid decline in some of my “facilities”, until a diagnosis of UC forced me to change my entire outlook on health and treatment. Instead of talking this one up, it might behoove me to just encourage you to click the link and read all about it. Certainly an eye-opener for me.
2013 Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend: Arrival, Expo, and Being Recognized — Returning to the Disneyland Half Marathon weekend was a wonderful experience. Staying at the Disneyland Hotel? Awesome. Participating in the Inaugural Dumbo Double Dare Challenge? Transcendent. But being recognized while standing in the Disneyland Hotel lobby by a fan of my blog? Possibly the most awesome feeling ever. Shout out to the awesome Sarah at Sparkly Runner, who has since (along with her boyfriend Matthew, who has impeccable taste in first names) become a good buddy indeed.
The 2013 Epcot International Food & Wine Festival — We adore the Food & Wine Festival, because, you know, food and wine? This time around we got to sample a lot of the delicacies and even got to go see The Go-Go’s. For free. And then continue fooding and wining afterward. This was an awesome day indeed, and ended up with two of the roly’est and poly’est Hokeyfolk you could possibly imagine afterward.
A Spectator’s Perspective of the 2014 Walt Disney World Marathon — I’ve always been curious on what Disney races were like from the other side of the street, and we couldn’t have picked a more beautiful day to observe the festivities. There were so many friends to cheer on, I started losing count after a while. Definitely one of the most fun times I’ve ever spent at Disney, especially getting into the Magic Kingdom at 5AM in 50 degree weather, waiting for the sun to rise and for runners to approach!
I’m Miami Famous On The Baptist Health Blog — I might have loathed the event, but being interviewed for the Baptist Health Blog about the Miami Half Marathon was definitely a highlight of the past year. Plus I got to reuse my favorite running pic!
Race Review: 2014 Disney Princess Half Marathon — Getting diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis really sucked donkey doots. Being able to raise $3,150 for the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America made me not only grateful for the friends, family, and even anonymous strangers who dug into their pockets to help fight “silent diseases” that affects millions (with, sadly, no cure as of right now), it also made running in drag that much more meaningful!
Race Review: 2014 Wings For Life Run — One of the most unique races I’ve ever experienced, and perhaps the most fun and emotionally fulfilling ones as well. This review got so much play, I even got a note from the Sunrise mayor thanking me. Plus I got to run past my home! Righteous!
Well there you have it. Thank you for celebrating two years of Hokeyblog with me. Hope you stick around for Year Three. What can you come to expect over the next year? Good God, I haven’t the slightest… well that’s not exactly true either. Oh, the usual stuff will be here. Music reviews, race reviews, training reports, random musings on God-kn0ws-what… as usual it will just be a strange and random journey. Hope you stick around for the ride, compadres. Cheers, and here’s the video: