Put on your party hats and goat-skin leggings, guys and gals, because we’re celebrating today! That’s right! We’re talking Hokeyblog’s third birthday — three years ago today, we went live with an album review of Beatles For Sale, which got the attention of absolutely nobody, given that I had zero promotion, SEO, Q-rating, Alexa ranking, “street cred”, “hype”, “mojo”, “pants on”, etc.
Seriously. You should see my Google Analytics for those first few months. You thought Terminator: Genisys flopped miserably? I’d have killed for that degree of branded awareness back then…
Standard disclaimer, I haven’t seen Terminator: Genisys, nor do I plan to. If I wanted to see an old muscle dude battle a naked younger version of his muscle-dude self, I’d have stayed in NLP therapy for another baseball season…
*ahem* Anyway… after floundering about for a while I think Hokeyblog found its footing. We do running, we do music, we do movies, we do a little about anything and a whole lot about nothing. I don’t see that changing anytime soon, so if you’ve been enjoying the ride so far, stick with us. We’re going places, kids! Maybe even downtown Fresno!
Well, as not to get TOO belabored on non-sequiturs, let’s hit our various lists of popularity and what-not and find out what people are enjoying here at our burgeoning bastion of bucolic bloggitude. Let’s start with:
The Top 10 Most Popular Hokeyblog Posts From The Last Year
Here’s what people have enjoyed the most since July 23rd, 2014:
I injured the heck out of my IT band during the 2013 Walt Disney World Marathon. The strain it put on my knee was pure agony. Nothing seemed to help… until I discovered these stretches on YouTube. I was back to running in a matter of days, and my IT band hasn’t bothered me since. I pimp the hell out of anything that has value and really works. This video accomplishes both, easily.
Let’s list all the gotchas on this one: Disney race. Half marathon. California. Superheroes. Avengers. Disneyland. Holiday time. And a big fat freakin’ PR. Not even the Santa Ana winds could have slowed me down or diminished my enthusiasm. This particular race doesn’t seem to be as equally adored by Run Disney fans, but I loved every second of it.
The Kinks remain one of my all-time favorite bands. While I haven’t written up a new album review in a while, my enthusiasm for their vast catalog of music remains as buoyant as ever. The way I see it, if I can get people to listen beyond “Lola”, “You Really Got Me”, or “Come Dancing” and discover more of what makes them such a massively incredible band, then it’s all been more than worth it. If only the band could get it together for one last tour…
My buddy Sarah from Sparkly Runner wrote the first (of hopefully many) guest posts here at Hokeyblog, and she really knocked it out of the park with this amazingly descriptive review of the Jingle Jungle 5K, held during the Wine & Dine race weekend in November at Walt Disney World. And believe you me I’m grateful for it, since her post got a massive amount of eyeballs over the past year. Yo SR, we need to do this again soon! Plus our Blog Anniversaries are like a day apart. Hard to believe!
When I first reviewed The Fab Faux back in 2012, it quickly jacked my stats up to near exponential levels. Having the blog link Tweeted by the likes of Jimmy Vivino and Will Lee helped immeasurably. And sure enough, the same thing happened when I reviewed their February 2015 show at the Parker Playhouse in Fort Lauderdale. Their performance of the entire of Rubber Soul album was pretty much paradise to this hyperventilating fanboy. My review got a ton of hits. Again, Will Lee and Jimmy Vivino Tweeted a link to the review and both really seemed to enjoy it. I love it when a happy history repeats itself!
#5 — Running Disney!
The continuing popularity of my Running Disney landing page is pretty self-explanatory. Combine running nerds with Disney nerds and you have The Perfect Storm of happily obsessive nerddom. I’d write more about it but you might as well just click the link and enjoy.
This one puzzles the hell out of me. I really like this record, but it’s one of Kiss’s most obscure, least-selling, and most forgotten albums by all except the band faithful. And of all the Kiss album reviews I’ve written, it has absolutely smoked the competition when it comes to blog popularity. It gets a consistent amount of views every month, landing it in the Top 5 of the year and as one of the blog’s all-time most popular posts (see below). Whatever the case is, I’m glad this forgotten LP is getting some attention. It deserves it.
You know (SPOILER ALERT), this is the most popular post on the blog. People absolutely love this one. I have no idea why. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I’m proud of the review, I liked the race but with some serious reservations (that apparently have been corrected since), and the Rock N Roll series is a popular one. And what’s not to love about a half/full marathon in Washington, DC? But I really never thought this particular review would have taken off as much as it has. I think it has to do with the picture of the hot redhead — a Disney cast member dressed as Merida from Brave. Washington (on St. Patrick’s Day weekend) was chock full of cute redheads. Maybe that’s it. Who knows?
I suppose this one should come as no surprise, but I’ll reiterate what I’ve been screaming from the rafters for a LONG time: Paul McCartney’s solo career (and his stint with Wings) had been derided, scoffed at, trivialized, and disregarded for decades… at least until the last ten years or so, during which critics and fans alike have given his work since 1970 a serious reappraisal. A forgotten LP like Ram is now regarded by many as a classic rock album, and why not? It’s pretty damn amazing. That’s not to say that Sir Paul didn’t have his moments of throwaway piffle, tactical oopsies, and unfortunate collaborations and film projects, but there’s still so much great material that he has released over the past 45 years, it hardly abides the telling… except that it does!
And finally our most popular post over the last year… can we have an egg roll please…
Half fanboy testimonial, half concert review, and chock full of Boots’s photographs, my coverage of the May 2015 Rush show in Tampa was probably one of the most fulfilling blogs I’ve written, especially as an unabashed Rush fan. It wasn’t even just the best Rush show I’ve ever seen, it was one of my favorite all-time concerts, period. The consensus among Rush fans around the intertubes seems to feature the same level of effusiveness, and even the snooty-snoot rock press are in somewhat begrudging agreement. Rush is more accepted and respected now than they ever were, and this tour celebrates 40+ years of a fantastic, evolving, and uncompromising musical career. I’m very proud of this post. It gives the feels so warm, it burns me…
Well those were the Big Ten over the past year. Let’s also take a look at our lifetime most popular posts, including change and position relative to last year, with a little number we’d love to call…
Top 10 Hokeyblog Posts In Terms of Overall Lifetime Popularity
#10 (-3) — App Review: Zombies, Run! (Android)
Anything that makes your run more enjoyable and interactive is a great thing. While I haven’t been keeping up with Zombies, Run! as much as I’d like to, I still use it every time I’m on a race that I want to PR. Aside from the amazing audio adventure using my integrated music playlists, the Zombie-Chase speed intervals push me to move faster when I want to go for a faster time. It works. I got that PR at the Avengers Half Marathon listening to ZR and incorporating a few sprints mid-race. Good show.
#9 (new) — Running Disney!
My first Fab Faux review, and the original #1 post on this blog, now retired to the #8 position. As mentioned before, this was the first Really Super-Popular Post to ever appear on this blog. So as such, it will always remain a nostalgic favorite. I’m kinda mushy like that.
#7 (new) — The Kinks Album Reviews
This particular race oddity was notable for my mid-race discovery of food poisoning coursing through my body, and for randomly meeting Paula from Eat:Watch:Run. Otherwise, I wasn’t much of a fan. Run Disney took it off their race schedule for 2015. Whether it’s coming back or not is anyone’s guess. Since they’re doing a ton of construction, rebuilding, and re-branding at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, it might be awhile before it returns at all, and if it does it might come back as an entirely different event. We’ll see.
#5 (new) — Album Review: “Unmasked” — Kiss (1980)
#4 (+1) — Race Review: Neon Vibe 5K
This was a fun time — a nighttime race full of cornstarch and black lights and music and what-not. I didn’t run this race; I walked it with friends while enjoying cocktails. A few other friends ran it, and complained about the complete lack of water stops and crowded finish area. Overall I enjoyed it more as a fun, party experience than as a race event.
#3 (+6) — Paul McCartney Album Reviews
The former #1 drops to #2, but remains an overall favorite. This was my first full Marathon, 26.2 miles of the various trials, tribulations, tribbles, trekkies, and traumatic trappings one can come to expect from a first Marathon. Listen, if you’re going to run 26.2 miles for the very first time, you couldn’t do it in a more friendly, welcoming atmosphere than Walt Disney World. Running through four theme parks? Awesome. Characters and costumes and music and cheering spectators? Kickass. Blowing out your IT band somewhere around Mile 18? PAINFUL. Finishing your race anyhow with a respectable time? TRIUMPH!
And lastly, here are some other blogs I’ve written over the past year that I’m particularly proud of, happy with, or just kvelling all over!
- Rush Album Reviews — Working through one of my favorite band’s discography
- Race Review: 2014 B.A.A Half Marathon (10/12/2014) — I didn’t expect much from this race except for a fun time in my one-time hometown. Instead I had the time of my life.
- Race Review: 2014 Space Coast Marathon (11/30/2014) — I spent six months training for this one. It was worth it.
- Race Review: 2015 Lifetime Miami Marathon (1/25/2015) — Running a full marathon on my birthday with some great friends in perfectly sunny, mid-50s weather. Awesome.
- My Success Story over at the Fitzness Blog! — I used to be a Big Fat Guy. I got better. Learn how.
- Jeff Galloway’s Training and Motivation Tips #4 — Sarah and I teamed up again for a back and forth on Jeff Galloway’s latest running tips. I really loved this exercise. Dream Team, indeed!
- Race Review: 2015 Egg Hunt Triathlon (4/4/2015) — My first triathlon! OK it was “only” a sprint, but it still took a lot of training. Doing it for the first time with six of my buddies, four of which who were ALSO first-timers, made it even more incredible an experience.
- Race Review: 2015 Mayor’s Midnight Sun Marathon (6/20/2015) — A marathon in Alaska. In June. In 50-degree weather. PARADISE. This was the ultimate running experience for me so far.
Well there you have it, Hokeyfolks! Another fun year of blogging, with more to come if work doesn’t completely kick my ass over the next few months. I’m definitely not one of those “Live To Work” kinda dudes. I have the basic deal: I give the organizations most of my waking hours during the week, they fund my lifestyle and allow me to indulge in my passions. I’m looking to expand those passions even more between now and July 23rd, 2016. Hope you stick around for the journey, friends. Here’s the video: