First of all...
I wish I could say that I never doubted... but there were definitely some moments! That third game? EIGHTEEN INNINGS loss to The Dodgers? Brutal. And I watched the entire thing from beginning to end while holding my breath. Last night was easier, but I was still a bit anxious all the way through. This is baseball, after all.
Blogography has never been a money-making endeavor. Even when I sold stuff it was always at-cost, which usually meant I lost money in the end. Nope, this is just a place to write my thoughts of the day and I never wanted to clutter it up with ads and other crap.
But that hasn't stopped people from trying to advertise here.
For a while there, I had a Google Page Rank of 7 out of 10. This is about as good as it can possibly get for a personal blog (8 and higher means you're a massively popular site like Apple or YouTube). Despite saying that I don't want ads unless you're willing to pay an obscene amount of money on my About Page, I was getting advertising requests several times a week. Vitamin supplements, clothing, vacation packages, makeup, cameras... even other blogs. I very nearly buckled when I got an offer of $1800 for six months... but it was for a sketchy online gambling site, so I declined.
Over the years my Google traffic has remained fairly good, but my Page Rank has plummeted to 5. When I read up on what this means, I found that it's because I am not using SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and am not actively building link-backs. Oh well. The benefit of a lower rank means that people stopped bothering me for ads, so there was a silver lining to all of it.
Then, as the internet turned into a social media machine instead of being blog-driven, Google Page Rank fell out of favor with advertisers. Sure it's still kinda a big deal if you're trying to make money... Page Rank says where you'll end up in a Google search, after all. But since social media is so huge and bypasses Google's ranking system, it's not the indicator of a website's draw power (especially blogs) like it used to be.
This little blog has been around for a very long time, is updated constantly, has a massive amount of content, and has hugely diverse number of topics (seriously, is there anything I won't write about?). On top of that, it currently has 105,483 backlinks and 1,428 referring domains. Which is nothing to sneeze at. Which is why I still occasionally get advertising offers. Like this one, which was waiting for me when I checked my email this morning...
Another sketchy gambling site, I'm sure.
Maybe... maybe... I would run an ad luring people to lose all their money if I were offered $10,000 annually. Maybe even $5,000 if I get another vet bill (STAY HEALTHY, JAKE!). But I'm not quite that desperate... yet.
Maybe I should be?
I dunno. If you ever see an ad on my blog, I haven't necessarily sold out or given up. It's just that I need the cash and my body ain't pulling on the street corner like it used to.
I've been (mostly) awake from 4:00am last Friday. As the hours all blend together, I'm finding it hard to wrap my head around what day it is. Or where I'm at.
This morning I drove from Maine to Boston so that I can fly out tomorrow morning. Early. The plan is to try and get some sleep, but first... falafel lunch and a movie.
Because you just cannot resist Charlize Theron...
Before I even get to Atomic Blonde... the soundtrack is frickin' amazing (seriously amazing, and the story behind the soundtrack is interesting as well).
The movie is a spy-thriller that takes place during the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, and here's (most of) the German-infused/inspired-pop tracks from that era that they picked...
Since I have bought almost all of those songs already, I don't even need to buy the soundtrack... I just need to make a playlist! One song I just had to have was HEALTH's cover of Blue Monday, which wasn't better than the New Order original, but it had a different "feel" I really liked.
As I mentioned, this is a spy-thriller set in Berlin in November 1989 just as the Berlin Wall is about to fall. An MI6 agent is killed by a rogue KGB operative who steals "The List" off him which contains all allied field agents operating in The Soviet Union and Europe. Charlize Theron plays Lorraine Broughton, one of MI6's top spies, who is being interrogated about her actions in Berlin to recover "The List"... meaning that the bulk of the movie is being told in flashbacks.
TEN DAYS EARLIER: Lorraine's contact in Berlin is MI6's top operative there, David Percival (played by James McAvoy). Working together (and even against each other), the movie is a cat-and-mouse game against the Soviets to find "The List" and identify "Satchel," a double agent for the Soviets who betrayed the MI6 agent that was killed. Along the way there are some nice twists and turns that kept me interested... but I have to admit the penultimate "twists" could be seen coming from miles away. The final "twist" was not something I anticipated, but it didn't really have any effect on the story, so it honestly didn't matter much. The film, while pretty great, could have been SO much better had they only made it so that the final moments were an interesting payoff for everything that came before. It wasn't.
That being said, I still recommend Atomic Blonde because the action sequences and soundtrack are just too perfect. And Charlize Theron is beyond kick-ass in every way possible. I would not mind at all seeing a sequel if it gets me more Lorraine Broughton!
If I had a negative, it would be that director David Leitch, who handled most of the movie with such brilliant ease, showed himself to be a fucking hack of the lowest order when he injected a Wilhelm Scream into the action. When are directors going to learn that the gig is up on this bullshit? Everybody knows what to listen for and, when they finally hear it, the sound effect immediately takes them out of the movie. Criminally stupid, and yet directors are still being idiots about using it. I wish studios would forbid Wilhelm Screams until the end of time.
And that was that.
Using the awesome Boston Silver Line, I headed back the the airport and my hotel for an epic nap experience. I would have loved to have gone to the Red Sox game at 7:00, but lack of sleep would have made that impossible.
Oh well. Next time, Boston. Next time.
Gutted. Just gutted.
Catcher A.J. Pierznyski has landed a one-year deal with my beloved Boston Red Sox, leaving no room for my favorite MLB player, Jarrod Saltalamacchia, on my favorite team...
A moment of silence, please...
Rumor has it that Salty will be picked up by the Marlins, which is not so bad. At least with Miami I can still root for him... unlike if he ended up with the Yankees or something.
Ah well. I can still wear my Boston Saltalamacchia jerseys in remembrance of some good times.
And now? Onwards and upwards, I suppose.
BOSTON RED SOX BASEBALL RULES!
UPDATE: And it's official... Salty is a Marlin now. Enjoy that 21 million dollars, buddy.
And there you have it.
The Boston Red Sox ascended to glory in Game Six of the 2013 World Series to be crowned champions!
I'm sure that my wearing a Red Sox jersey every day during the playoffs and the World Series helped a lot... so you're welcome, Boston! Just doing my part!
Considering that when I became a Red Sox fan, they hadn't won a Series since 1918... it's pretty sweet that they have now won three. The epic curse-buster in 2004. The beautiful sweep in 2007. And now their first Fenway Park clincher since 1918 (after which the Curse of the Bambino descended for an 86 year drought) in 2013.
Way to go, Red Sox!
Let's make it two in a row, shall we?
When it comes to nightmare scenarios, having Jarrod Saltalamacchia leave the Red Sox for the Yankees pretty much tops anything else in my head right now... including "Alien Invasion Destroys Disney World" and "Chocolate Pudding Made Illegal."
And tonight Salty hit another home-run hit his 40th double of the season, breaking the record for a Boston catcher, and banishing all fears that the guy can't produce a strong finish to the season. He's finally becoming the player I always knew he would be, and watching him blow past expectations of the stats-crunchers who dumped all over his batting average last season... despite his 25 home runs... has been hugely satisfying for a fan like me.
But his escalating success just makes him all the more appealing for a team like the Yankees, who could very much use a guy like Saltalamacchia in their roster.
Somebody is going to be backing up a dump-truck filled with money to Salty's front door and sign him to a nice fat contract.
If it's not Boston, I'll be crushed.
If it's the Yankees, I'll be devastated.
But I suppose if my worst nightmares come true, I'll always be able to look back on days like today and remember why I'm such a big fan.
The look on Salty's face when he thought he had another homer in the bag is priceless.
And... I'm ready for the World Series. Which conveniently starts when I return from vacation.
But first... some wild-card antics...
"His back's better. It shows in his swing." — Boston Red Sox manager John Farrell
"Well that's the understatement of the year." — Blogography scribe David Simmer II
It's no secret that I am a huge, huge fan of the Boston Red Sox in general... and their catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia in particular. But Boston had been playing the poor guy to death, which caused strain on his back. Rather than work him into an injury, they wisely decided to bench him for a while so he could heal up.
Which leads us to last Friday...
Yes. A game-winning grand-slam against the Yankees.
And then yesterday?
Beautiful animated GIF courtesy of the ever-entertaining Over the Monster.
Steals home against the Yankees in a three-game sweep.
As if that weren't good enough, here's Saltalamacchia's take on it...
"I mean, Jackie Robinson, Ellsbury, I'm in a pretty elite category."
Yes. Yes you are...
It's a great time to be a Red Sox fan.
And who knows what tomorrow brings?
Well, except the Orioles, of course.
Washington State is not a bastion of pro sports-obsession like you'll find in other regions of the country. Sure the Seahawks and Mariners have their rabid fan base here like any other teams do, but it's not the same level as say... Wisconsin and their Green Bay Packers. Even so, being a Boston fan when the Red Sox are playing the Mariners is not always easy... especially when you're west of the Cascades or, heaven help you, in Seattle proper.
Fortunately I was wearing my Red Sox cap and Saltalamacchia jersey in Eastern Washington while driving my car through no-man's-land during last night's game.
I had been following the events at Fenway with increasing disappointment right up until I left Spokane at the bottom of the 4th inning. As I headed out into the Columbia Basin, this is what Siri had to say...
Well, yikes. Somehow Seattle managed to score five runs. Which was all my fault because I stopped watching to go home. I knew I should have stayed and kept cheering Boston on.
Oh well. Two wins outta three ain't bad, I suppose.
I didn't give the game another thought during the 3-1/2 hour drive, and had forgotten about it by the time I got home.
UNTIL 1am WHEN I WAS LIKE ZOMG! I WONDER IF BOSTON WAS ABLE TO RALLY?
And... boom goes the dynamite.
Six runs in the bottom of the ninth to win it.
Cannot wait to read the always high-larious commentary over at Lookout Landing on this one.
In other awesome Red Sox news, Saltalamacchia is finally recognized by Siri as an actual player now...
Used to be when you tried to ask Siri about Saltalamacchia she would bitch about not knowing who "Sulka LaMacchia" was or ask if you wanted to Google "Salt La Macchiato" or something like that.
Good to know that even an iPhone can learn something new.
Especially something as important as this.
And I'm in Boston for one day so I could attend a party for a very good friend who had some extraordinary news that was worth celebrating. Yes, a day trip across the country probably seems odd to most people, but I make trips like this all the time for work, so it's old hat to me.
But before the party tonight, I had an entire day to goof off in Boston.
I started out in Boston Common because there's an Earl of Sandwich shop there. They discontinued The Greatest Sandwich on Earth... The Earl Veggie... but I was hoping to add/subtract ingredients on a boring Caprese sandwich to recreate it. Unfortunately, they didn't have half the stuff to do it, so my day began in failure. Fortunately, it was a beautiful day to walk around and see the monuments...
The Soldiers and Sailors Monument.
Memorial for the Boston Massacre.
Then it was off to the Granary Burying Ground, which is my favorite of Boston's beautiful old cemeteries that's filled with beautiful tombstones (and home to many famous dead people like Samuel Adams, John Hancock, and Paul Revere)...
Death being more common back then, some of the tombstones are kinda comical.
A lot of tattoo ideas to be found here!
I've been to Boston several times, so I wanted to find a museum I'd never been to before. That ended up being the Boston Athenæum, which is a beautiful private library that allows the public to look around. They also have a small exhibit of wonderful works that explain their part in the creation of the Boston Museum of Fine Arts. Pictures weren't allowed on the inside, but I did snap a photo of the entrance, which is equally cool...
From there I was off to a wonderful little shop called The Printing Office of Edes & Gill. They've got a terrific old letterpress that's still in operation. Every time I visit I buy a new souvenir piece, because there's nothing quite so beautiful as a letterpress print...
Seriously worth a stop if you're ever walking The Freedom Trail in Boston.
The print shop is located on the Paul Revere Mall, where his statue has been defaced with a dreaded Bruins jersey...
Rebel that he was, I like to think he would be a Blackhawks fan!
Since I didn't get my Earl of Sandwich, I headed to Mike's Famous Pastries for the next best thing... cannoli! Not only does it taste amazing, but I love the way they box it up with hand-tied string. You see a lot of these boxes carried by tourists as you wander around the city. Fortunately, the line was only out the door instead of down the block, so it was only a 20 minute wait...
That's a Crushed Caramel Pecan on the left and an Oreo Cookie on the right.
A lot of jealous looks from people when they see the box you'll be carrying!
And then it was time to head out to Somerville so I could meet up with Justin, an online buddy I was very glad to finally meet in person. He suggested an ice cream at J.P. Licks, which didn't take much convincing...
Pretty frickin' amazing ice cream, if we're being honest here.
Since my ride to the party missed their flight into Boston and was going to be late, I was left with a couple of hours to kill. Lucky me, my friend Dave just happened to be in from London! I haven't seen him since Davedon in 2009, so this was a happy (if not totally bizarre) coincidence. We decided to eat at Boston's premiere brick oven pizzeria since 1926, Regina's...
There was a line to get in, of course. But totally worth the wait.
Dave had The Giambotta, which has everything but the kitchen sink. I had mozzarella and feta cheese.
Still needing to kill some time, Dave and I decided to take a walk through the Quincy Market at Faneuil Hall. I love the place not only for the sheer variety of food, but for the decor. Each stall has it's own signage, and most of it is very well done...
So much nicer than the boring signs you usually see now-a-days.
Outside there was a juggler risking his life with some kind of show. He was capable (and funny!) if this is your thing, but I was hoping for chainsaws...
Probably not sharp knives, but you could still poke an eye out.
My friends finally landed, so it was time to say goodbye to Dave and head back to my hotel so I could get cleaned up. Along the way, I saw Boston's beautiful old State House building with a spot of sunset light on it...
Now that's a beautiful building! Though I've never been inside.
Boston is a city that's kinda a strange place for me to be right now. Yes, it's home to my beloved Red Sox baseball... but it's also home to Bruins hockey, which is currently battling it out with my beloved Chicago Blackhawks for the Stanley Cup (wearing my Blackhawks jersey is probably out of the question). The good news is that I managed to find a Jarod Saltalamacchia T-Shirt and a not-LEGO Lil' Salty action figure this trip...
Other than that, it was all good. The party was fantastic, I loved running into my friends, and my trip was a total success.
Until I realize that it's now close to midnight and I have a flight at 7:00am tomorrow morning. Blargh.
Good bye Boston.
Boston is a city I love.
I've visited many times.
I have friends there. My favorite baseball team is from there.
Not surprisingly, the explosions that targeted The Boston Marathon shook me quite badly. I've stayed at the Lenox Hotel which got evacuated today. I've been to the Boston Public Library, which is just across the corner. I've walked down Boylston Street (where the explosions occurred) more times than I can count.And I was there today... if only in a memory.
My heart goes out to everyone affected by this senseless tragedy.