Happy Birthday Hokeyblog! So let’s get all analytical, or: “My Tribe went down in the hall of fame…”

blgchmtstHello again!

Well it doesn’t quite rank up there with Slim Whitman’s birthday, but with a Beatles album review on July 23, 2012, my little blog experiment came to life exactly one year ago today. Back then, and perhaps just as much today, I wasn’t quite exactly sure what Hokeyblog was going to be about. I wasn’t even sure I liked the name “Hokeyblog”, but since I’ve gone by the moniker ‘Hokeyboy’ for some time now, it seemed rather apropos and– hey wait, since it is our One Year Anniversary, here’s a completely pointless revelation I’ll throw out there as my gift to you.

How I Became ‘Hokeyboy’

In 1997 I went out on a date with a buxom young blonde lass who, unbeknownst to me, decided to invite along half a dozen of her Gay Best Friends to meet up with us after dinner at a local bar. This was mid/late 90s South Beach, so having a gaggle of Gay Best Friends certainly was no surprise for any Fag Hag/Fruit Fly of strong character. Needless to say, getting sized up by several Queer Eye precursors wasn’t my idea of a great time, so I judiciously decided to turn up my usual sarcastic charm and caustic wit and general pain-in-the-ass’edness to ELEVEN (I wanted nothing to do with this girl at this point — even without her Crew showing up, she was kind of a pill — but I was intrigued at the prospect of how much goofiness I could throw her way). Everything turned into gag and joke fodder for me; no matter how corny or zingerific, I amplified it to exponential levels. Finally (and perhaps quite exasperated from all my obnoxious and sarcastic jokery) she turned to me and muttered, “Man you’re a real hokey boy, huh?”

It was almost like you could see the little light bulb go off over my head with a “DING!” bell tone. And from that day on… I was reborn from the ashes as an entirely new entity. Huzzah, Hosanna, and Hallelujah! Amazing? Astounded? Aren’t you sorry you asked?

You DIDN’T ask? Oh…

Well moving on then.

I figure since it’s our One Year Anniversary, I thought I’d break down a few Top 10 lists for you. And why not start with the most obvious candidate? Without further ado:

Hokeyblog’s Ten Most Popular Posts

In descending order…

#10 – Race Review: 2013 Rock ‘N’ Roll USA Half Marathon (03/16/2013)

Yeah, you knew there were gonna be a few Race Reviews in this list, right? I knew this one was going to get some hits, as the Rock ‘N’ Roll series is pretty popular among runners. I had a pretty good time at this Washington, DC event. Boots and I went up with a bunch of friends from my running group, did a ton of sightseeing, and had superb weather throughout. It even snowed (flurries, but it counts) on the day we left, and race morning started with highs in the upper 30s. Cold weather running rules! Too bad I had ZERO experience with sustained hill running (bridges don’t count), thanks to the flat terrain I’m used to in South Florida. No matter. Running past landmark DC monuments and through some forested areas was a blast. Unfortunately, the same can’t be said about the way RNR manages and staffs their hydration stations. It was my only complaint, but a big one.

#9 – Film Review: “Top Gun”

After director Tony Scott took his own life in August of 2012, I decided to go back and revisit a review I had written in 2004 for his seminal 80s flick Top Gun. I updated and revised it and pushed it out there. The whole “Top Gun / Gay Porn” allegory is nothing new; it was long since thoroughly analyzed when I wrote it in 2004. Still, it remained one of the more popular/infamous reviews of my review-writing period. It even incurred some hate mail and more than a few death threats from enraged alpha-male-closet-cases everywhere. I was either slandering the military or trying to push a homosexual agenda, or something in between Awesome stuff. You wouldn’t believe how many people ended up on my blog after Googling for some variation of “Top Gun gay”. During my early lean months, this drove a huge chunk of traffic my way. No matter. I welcomed them all. So read it for the review, but STAY for the hot pics. Especially the Paul Lynde cameo.

#8 – Album Review: “Paul Stanley” — Paul Stanley (1978)

The first album review on the list is Paul Stanley’s buttkickin’ 1978 “solo” album (one nonetheless branded as a Kiss title). I’m almost entirely sure that it became so popular because people were looking for an image of that iconic album cover. While that’s probably the case, I hope that more than a few stuck around for my thoughts on the music contained therein. It’s one of my favorite Kiss records (solo or otherwise).

#7 – App Review: “Zombies, Run!” (Android)

I’m a huge, huge fan of Zombies, Run! and if you’re a runner/interactive storytelling/fitness/zombie nerd (any combination works), you should be too. Developed by British developer Six to Start in association with author Naomi Alderman, Zombies, Run! allows you to log your training miles while enjoying an engrossing storyline that integrates the music on your phone while you set out out on missions, avoid zombie hordes, gather resources, and other such silliness. It’s all great fun. The story is all parts tragic, strange, grim, hilarious, satirical, and altogether too addictive. I’m convinced the Zombie Chase interval option took six minutes off my best Half Marathon time. If you run and are looking for something new to add to the experience, while still being able to listen to your tunes, this couldn’t come any more highly recommended.

#6 – Race Review: 2012 Twilight Zone Tower of Terror 10-Miler (9/29/2012)

This is the first of two Disney race reviews that made my Top 10 (I’ve written three thus far), and it’s sadly my least favorite of the three. If you’ve read the review, you know why. Ouch. Reading it again, I came to the realization that I didn’t really write much about the race itself and how I felt about I felt about the race organization, logistics, course, entertainment, etc. Truth be told, it was the least impressive of all four Disney runs I’ve done. It was dark, flat, and mostly pretty dull. (It was also REDONKULOUSLY hot and humid that night, but that’s not Disney’s fault). If I could say one good thing about the race, it was that it introduced me the words of Paula at Eat:Watch:Run, who not only has one of the most entertaining blogs I regularly read, but she also managed to photobomb one of my Start Line selfies. Small world huh? WAIT was that a Disney pun? Weak…

#5 – Race Review: 2013 Tough Mudder Miami (03/02/2013)

Tough Mudder is the type of thing I’ve wanted to try my entire life: a ginormous obstacle course that gets you soaking wet, muddy, banged up, knocked around, near-drowned, and tortured with up to 10,000 volts of electricity at the capricious whims of a sadistic obstacle management crew. No matter. I loved every second of it. I may not have been able to complete every obstacle, but I damn well attempted every last one of them. Oh, except the Berlin Walls. Eff that noise. Not much will get me down to Homestead on a Saturday morning, but this was worth the trip. And that beer at the Finish Line? Beyond well-earned!

#4 – Race Review: 2013 Walt Disney World Marathon (01/13/2013)

My first (and only) full marathon was last January at Walt Disney World, and BOY did I write up a novel about it. It’s funny to look back on it now. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I’m insanely proud of the accomplishment, and it’s one I hope to continue again in 2014. I thought I had injured my quad during the run, when it turned out to be a pretty harsh IT band injury. I didn’t even know what an IT band was before then! Two and a half months of pain from that… blerg! That said, while my favorite race of all time will be my first one (the 2012 Walt Disney World Half Marathon), it is this one of which I am the most proud. I ran the gamut of emotions here; felt elation, strength, pain, doubt, confidence, joy, agony, determination, and in the end, VICTORY. Was it the hardest thing I’ve ever done? Easily. Which makes it so much sweeter a memory.

#3 – Album Review: “Yesterday… and Today” — The Beatles (1966)

I had a hankering to write up my thoughts on this long-since-discontinued record, as it was probably my favorite Beatles album growing up. You can’t find it anymore, except at used record shops scattered throughout the country or on eBay. When The Beatles made the transition to CD in 1987, they decided that the British albums (which were different from the American records through 1967) were the “definitive” albums, and Capitol (their American distributor) ceased all production of their American LPs. You can’t even find this one on CD as part of their retro box set from 2003/2004. It’s gone, man. Too bad. I think it’s a great collection, and an important part of Beatles history because of that infamous butcher cover. And besides, the darn thing opens with “Drive My Car”, ends with “Day Tripper”, and features “Nowhere Man”, “Yesterday”, “And Your Bird Can Sing”, and “We Can Work It Out” in between. What’s not to love?

#2 – Album Review: “The Kinks Are The Village Green Preservation Society” — The Kinks (1968)

Strongly considered to be one of the greatest landmark rock albums of all time, I’m not surprised VGPS was such a popular post. I’d reckon not a day has gone by in the past year where this entry hasn’t been viewed by someone, somewhere. I’ve reviewed a lot of Kinks albums here — can you tell I’m a fan? — and have heard their entire catalog, but pound for pound VGPS is still my favorite. I likened the album as a musical trip to Disneyland, where you visit various lands, people, attractions, and atmospheres. While it retains the artificiality of rose-colored memories of something that may or may not have existed, that just makes the experience that much more enjoyable. And the music and song-writing is just top notch. Even Pete Townshend called it Ray Davies’s “Sgt. Pepper”. Pshaw. It’s a better album than that.

blgdrmrlSo now, the magic moment has arrived. We’ve taken a wondrous tour through nine of our most popular Hokeyblog posts over the last year. We’ve laughed together, we’ve cried together, we shared tender moments and tales of outrage and derring-do, and it’s all boiled down to this. The Big One. The #1 Most Popular Post on Hokeyblog. Hold on to your butts people, because here it comes…

#1 – Concert Review: The Fab Faux — Ft. Lauderdale, FL (10/27/2012)

Nothing else comes even close.

Let me tell you folks, Hokeyblog simply EXPLODED when I published this review. I poured a lot into it: as a Fab Faux fan and a mega Beatles nerd, blogging about this concert (the 5th time we’ve seen them) was a no-brainer for me. But I really wanted to it (and the band justice). I wanted to capture why it was such a wonderful experience; why the Fab Faux was so important as a Beatles tribute band. No wigs. No costumes. No gimmicks. Just a group of insanely talented musicians, singers, and all-around entertainers who capture the Beatles album experience and recreate it onstage to an absolute fault, while still retaining all the energy and spontaneity of a great live performance. I also wanted to flex my Beatle-Fu by going into a song-by-song analysis, listing who sang what, what US and UK albums they came from, and my thoughts on each one. Plus it was the entire Magical Mystery Tour album (plus another full set of other Beatles classics)… live! What’s not to love?

After publishing the review, I posted links on The Fab Faux’s Facebook page, hoping other fans might check it out as well. What happened next was simply volcanic. Not only did I get some thanks from whomever is running the band’s official page, but I was blown away when band members Will Lee and Jimmy Vivino themselves tweeted and linked to my review! I was gobsmacked by that, and by the avalanche of views that came as a result. We’re talking about hundreds per day. Dwarfing anything else I’ve ever written. The review got a ton of likes and retweets/reposts, and to this day stands as the most viewed post in all of Hokeyblogmania.

So I’m pretty goshdarn pleased about that. 🙂

Well there you have it, my Top 10 most viewed posts. Hopefully I can keep the ball rolling into Hokeyblog’s second year, which will be comprised of who knows what. More race reviews? Most likely. Music? Sure. Movies? Definitely. But I would like to branch out a little bit more. More actual active than reactive content. How will that play out, I haven’t the slightest, but I hope you’ll stick around for the ride, fellow travelers. Thanks for being part of my first year of blogging.

To wrap things up, here’s a list of posts that meant a lot to me, one way or another.

Unexpected Triumph: When I hit a half-marathon PR at the Allstate 13.1.

My First Two Part Epic: Detailing our travails at the Keys100 100-mile relay run.

Recipes For Fellow Drunks: The infamous Bacon Bourbon Apple Cream cocktail.

Something I Wrote For Practical Purposes: I needed some way to remember all my karaoke songs.

Why I Don’t Do Politics Much: Because sometimes I get really, really angry.

Coming To Grips With The Loss Of A Best Friend: Finally accepting Lisa’s death, ten years later. This one was so damn healing for me, I can’t even begin to describe.

Get To REALLY Know Me!: I think I brought my best lulz with this workplace saga.

There’s probably lots more that had deep personal meaning, but I think brevity is the soul of wit. Or was that necessity is the mother of invention? A stitch in time is worth… ahh forget it. Do me a favor, since here’s the video? Click play and dance. You know you want to!

If you're reading this blog, YOU'RE AWESOME! Let me hear your thoughts.