Pop the Champagne! Will Blog For Food is Officially All Over the Map!

Today we achieved an important landmark on the WBFF blog.  I say “we” because this wouldn’t be possible without all my readers.  I could write the most brilliant blogs on the internet—which I do—and you could completely ignore them—which sometimes, actually, you do.

Nevertheless, today we crossed the 3,500 all-time views mark on the blog, but more importantly, we have our first month of 1,000+ views (and June is only two-thirds over)!

Traffic on the blog is moving in the right direction; ever since I quit my job I’ve been posting more frequently; and we even have a regular guest blogger on board to discuss the world’s most obscure sports.  The WBFF blog is alive and well.

As far as the geographic breakdown of my readers, 77% of the views come from the U.S.  This means that I have a 23% international reader rate, which is the 7th-highest international rate among U.S.-based blogs that have been on the internet less than six months and are run by an unemployed 29-year-old (proof of this stat is not currently available).

WBFF has gotten views in a whopping 47 different countries over its lifetime.  47!  I wouldn’t have even been able to name 27 countries before looking at the list.  As expected, most of the English-speaking countries are on board (Canada, UK, Australia), but I’m amazed by the obscure countries that are logging on to check out my work…some of them I never would have guessed even have internet or computers.  Check out the list:

United Arab Emirates?  Sri Lanka?  Montenegro?  Kuwait?  Where are these countries even located?  And is Bosnia and Herzegovina one place?  Or should I be counting it as two countries?

By the way, great job hardly contributing, Mexico, “neighbor to the South.”  Jesus, I live like 150 miles away from Mexico, and all they can do is clock in with three total views in almost five months.  Guess I won’t be scheduling a Mexico stop on my first book tour.

So here’s the deal, loyal readers: I’ll keep pumping out mind-blowing blog posts, adding guest bloggers that have something interesting to say, and tackling any topic I think I know something about.  All I need in return is for you to keep reading, spreading the word to your friends when you think something is funny or interesting, and giving me feedback on things you wish I’d discuss more (or things you want me to never discuss again).  Deal?

Oh, and Mexico, blow me, seriously.

Adventures in Relocating: Exploring the Five-Block Radius Around my Apartment

I guess by now I was supposed to have explored a lot of Los Angeles, considering I moved three weeks ago.  The girlfriend arrives on Friday, and she’s probably gonna ask me all sorts of questions I don’t have answers for, like, “Where’s the nicest beach?” and, “Where do you like to get your hair done?”

Only problem is I haven’t been to the beach, and I definitely haven’t gone to the salon since I’ve been in LA.  The first 10 days were a waste because I was laid up on the couch with a herniated disc in my back that was caused by three straight days of moving (OK, it wasn’t anything nearly as severe as a herniated disc; it was actually just a stiff neck, but a really stiff neck!).

But once I was out of the ICU, you’d think I’d start exploring my new city, right?  Am I allowed to say that exploring LA completely on my own never sounded like fun?  That I’m not in the same mindset I was when I traveled by myself through Europe and Australia three years ago, willing to go anywhere and meet anyone?  Also I knew that once Julie got down here she was going to want to explore all the popular places anyway, no matter how lame I tell her they are.  So I’m waiting.

But before I moved down here, LA experts told me that I better live in an area that had everything I’d need close by…restaurants, bars, grocery store, hospital, homeless shelter, and any friends you actually want to keep up with.  Obviously this is because of the ridiculous traffic and how spread out the city is.

So if I couldn’t explore all of LA in my first three weeks, the least I could do is explore the five-block radius around my apartment.  I wanted to know what’s within walking distance, hoping to minimize how often my car leaves the garage.

Here’s what I’ve discovered is within reasonable walking distance of my apartment:

-Essential fast food: In-n-Out Burger, Rally’s Burgers, Wendy’s…In hot weather, I typically average nine milkshakes per week.  All three of these restaurants meet my requirements of proximity and shake thickness.

-Essential fast casual Mexican: Chipotle…How I haven’t eaten here for 20 straight days is a mystery.

-Restaurants: Millions of them, an abundance of Thai places, Harrison Ford’s son’s restaurant, no big deal

-Bars: My biggest concern moving to Culver City was a perceived lack of dive bars in the area, places I could get a $2 PBR and the only food they serve is the three bags of chips hanging in the corner.  I still haven’t found any true dive bars in walking distance to my apartment, but I have found a couple decent sports bars.  They’ll each go through try outs in August to see which one turns into my Sunday football bar.

-Grocery Stores: Trader Joe’s, Albertson’s, Smart & Final.  The S&F is so close I could go purchase something right now and get back before you finish reading this sentence.

-Cosmetic Surgery Facility: For the ass implants I’m planning to get eventually.

-Hospital/ER: For future slipped disc issues

-Starbuck’s: I still don’t drink coffee, but I can suck down a hot cocoa like a champ.

-Farmer’s Market: Tuesday afternoons, meaning if you live in Culver City, you have to choose between having a job or getting fresh vegetables.

-Movie Theater: Apparently it’s a good thing this is so close because my go-to activity for when I’m bored and by myself is seeing a movie.  I’ve seen four and counting since I’ve been down here on my own.

-Frozen Yogurt: For when I’ve overdone it on milkshakes.

-Dry Cleaners: Assuming one day I come out of retirement and look for a job, might have to get the suits that currently sit in a ball in my closet dry-cleaned.

-Brazilian Steakhouse: Already bought a Groupon deal to eat here soon. If you’re unfamiliar with the concept of a brazilian steakhouse, slap yourself in the face and then go find the nearest one now.

-Sony Studios: People have suggested I should sit outside the Sony buildings and write movie scripts all day, theorizing that someone who works for Sony might see me and offer me a job.  More likely someone will see me there day after day and call the Cops.

-City Hall & Police Department: No idea what the benefit is to having these things close to me, but it can’t be a bad thing, right?

-Culver City Park: A pretty decent park that includes basketball courts, baseball fields and a skate park (three things I will never use), running/hiking areas (which I will use), and a pretty sweet dog park (debatable whether I’ll ever use this or not):

-Balona Creek: Sure, there’s nothing pretty or scenic about it (see picture below), but it’s a four-mile bike and running trail that goes to the beach, meaning you can run or bike to the beach and back and never have to deal with cars or traffic lights.  Even if some of the Yelp reviews told stories about women getting attacked by homeless people along the creek, well, good thing I’m not a woman (if Julie ever has to be on the trail alone at night, I’ll arm her with a butter knife or water gun).

-Flower Shop: Obviously good to have right next to my apartment for when I piss Julie off by suggesting she ride her bike alone along Balona Creek.

Basically what I’m saying through this long-winded blog is good luck getting me to leave Culver City once I do the obligatory one month of LA exploring in July.

Euro Update: Guest Blogger Somehow Compares Boring Soccer to Exciting Football

(Editor’s Note: Neil “nkilla” Gariepy once again guest blogged the following post about soccer.  Seems like he’s learning the blogging ropes by writing about the NFL as much as possible to distract people from the fact that this is a soccer post.)

We are officially out of the group stage of Euro 2012 and into the knockout stage. I know many of you started following the Euro after my first riveting article and already know what’s to come in the knockout stage. For the few of you that were not converted based on the first post, now is the time to get in. The knockout stage is a traditional playoff format. Eight teams made it this far, and we go single elimination the rest of the way. If you are saying to yourself, “Self, it would be great to follow the ‘playoff’ stage of this tournament because any time countries play against each other in a single elimination tournament it is fun regardless of the sport, but I missed the group stage so how will I know what is going on?” fear not, I am going to provide a playoff doppelganger for each game from last year’s NFL playoff schedule to help you understand what is going on.

June 21st – Czech Republic (Group A winner) v Portugal (Group B runner-up)
Both of these teams had very similar paths to this point in the tournament. Both lost their opening group game, and then rebounded to win their next two games to make the knockout stage. The big difference was that Portugal barely lost their first game to powerhouse Germany (0-1), and then went on to win their next two games in the toughest group in the tournament. The Czechs were destroyed in their first game by Russia, appeared to be the worst team in the tournament, but somehow managed to rally and win what turned out to be the weakest group in the tournament.

NFL Playoff Doppelganger: San Francisco v New Orleans. Portugal is playing the role of New Orleans. They are coming in as a lower seed than the Czech Republic because they played in a tougher group, but everyone expects them to win.  The Czechs are an unknown commodity like the Niners were coming out of the NFC West. Portugal seems to be getting better with each game, so they should be able to move on to the next round, but that is what everyone said about New Orleans in January.

June 22nd – Germany (Group B winner) v Greece (Group A runner-up)
Germany entered the tournament as the number two favorite only behind Spain. In the group stage they showed they probably should have been the favorite. They were the only team to win all three of their group games, and they did it while playing in the toughest group in the tournament. Greece on the other hand needed several extremely lucky breaks to make it this far. Red-carded opposing keepers, their own backup keeper coming on in the middle of a game, extra time goals, and so on. Several miracles were involved to get the Greeks this far. Hey, speaking of miracles…

NFL Playoff Doppelganger: New England v Denver. Tebow and his miracle-working took Denver to the playoffs, and in Group A Zeus provided some miracles for the Greeks to get them out of the group stage. Just remember what happened to Tebow and Denver in New England before you start thinking Greece might be a team of destiny.

June 23rd – Spain (Group C winner) v France (Group D runner-up)
Defending champ and tournament favorite Spain got off to a bit of a slow start in their first match against Italy, then woke up and easily won their second and third match to win their group. France could have won their group and avoided Spain in this round but did not play all that well in their final match against Sweden (who had already been eliminated and had nothing to play for), and had to settle for second in the group.

NFL Playoff Doppelganger: Green Bay v New York. Spain, like Green Bay, is probably feeling pretty confident coming into the playoffs as defending champs and playing very good soccer. France on the other hand, came into the tournament as one of the hottest teams in the world over the past two years but did not play well at all in the final group match. Were they just playing possum knowing that they were getting through and resting for their match with Spain? The consensus seems to be that France is either going to give Spain all they can handle and get the upset win, or get severely outclassed. Seems a lot like the divided opinions on the Giants heading into their game with Green Bay last year, and unfortunately we all remember how that ended (where “we all” = “Patriot fans”).

June 24th – England (Group D winner) v Italy (Group C runner-up)
Coming into the tournament none of the experts knew what to make of the English squad. Some said they might not score a goal, others said they could win the entire tournament. The majority seemed to think they would narrowly squeak out of Group D as the runner-up. What actually happened was England seemed to get better with each game, got their best player back from a two game suspension for their final group game, and seem like a team that can give any other team in this tournament a stiff challenge head-to-head. Italy really only played 45 bad minutes of soccer in the group round (their second half against Croatia), but needed some help from the Spanish (via a win over Croatia) in the last group game to make sure they made it to the playoff.

NFL Playoff Doppelganger: Baltimore v Houston. Really, either NFL team can be linked to either of these two soccer teams. Both played fairly well in the group stage, deserve their spot in the knockout stage, it should be a very tight match, and either could win. Unfortunately for the winner, they are going to be stuck playing Germany in the semi-final. Not unfortunate because they have no chance, unfortunate because if you play the doppelganger analogy out one more round, either Italy or England are going to have a player miss a penalty kick wide left that would have upset the Germans.