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So there I was, in St. Kilda, Victoria, watching the sunset over the bay while seated at a corner table draped in painfully bright white starched table linens, and pouring the absolutely most delicious oyster I may have ever tasted onto my tongue straight from the shell.

"The weirdest thing, Miranda," This is Ben Quick speaking from his seat across from me, "is that we're like old friends! We have so much to catch up on!"

Ben, or Quicky as I've always known him, spent a year in Vancouver B.C., and has been to both Seattle and San Francisco. But that's not how I know him. Not exactly.

It's probably time for a little history lesson.

You see, years ago, back in 2005 soon after I first started IAAJD, some friends and I were putting together a multi-con blog called Team Tenderloin when I found a little South Carolina based blog called Four Ninja Food Groups. It was the funniest thing I had ever read so I was, of course, immediately obsessed. As I read it, I kept noticing that this one amazingly hilarious kid was commenting on post after post, so I linked to his blog through his profile, read his entire annals in one sitting, and wondered how he had stumbled upon a South Carolinian blog all the way from Melbourne. That was Thao Nguyen, or Thaozee as I've always known him, and through his involvement in a Canadian Blog War I mediated that spring, we've been buds online ever since. Quicky, whom Thao had blogrolled, is his best friend.

Excuse me: mate. Best mate. Lord, I'm so bloody American.

Within a year or so, half of the Four Ninja Food Groups kids, whom we all kept in touch with, moved to San Francisco to join our gang. You heard that completely correctly--Pant, Kristen, and Moto were all part of Team Tenderloin within about a year, and to this day I think the only member of FNFG that I haven't met in person is Muffin.

Let's just pause and appreciate handles, just for a moment. Mine back then, if you were wondering, was Milkshake.

Anyway, Thao and I have birthdays very near each other, and almost every year be it on Blogger or MySpace or Facebook, we've always made these elaborate plans to meet one day and have an incredibly extravagant joint birthday party involving capes and masks, plastic weapons, skateboards, garbage trucks, all night indie punk rock, and lots and lots of laughing with our fists stretched to the sky.

So there I was, last Friday, on Tattersalls Ln. in the Melbourne CBD, and I'm snaking my head around a hundred moving bodies looking for a familiar face. Near the bar, in the back, I finally saw someone flash me a peace sign, and my face erupts into a smile when I realize, for the first time ever, I am gazing upon my dear friend Thao.

Some of you are new and some of you are old, and you may not have read us all back then or maybe you did, but in a way, none of that really matters. This blog, as silly as you may deem it, is real. It describes and leads to very real relationships and that's just one reason I'm not so keen on giving it up again these days. And hey, maybe you only read me because you're friends with one of my exes and you need info to report back. Maybe we were once best friends and you'd like to know what I'm up to. Maybe I sat on the edge of your bed inside of two weeks ago and watched your face flush when I told you I was in love with you and now you're trying to fill in the blanks between my scant text messages. Whatever. I love all of you, read away. Just know that sometimes, because of this little site right here, people take rights when they might have otherwise taken a left, and now I am an American in Melbourne surrounded by friends. And you are reading the very blog that has made that possible.

And maybe those friends introduced me to more friends. 

So you should expect a part 2.


p.s.--There are some alarmingly funny and cool links peppered throughout this post. Click away.

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