I met Randy at a movie theater in Beaumont, Texas. He had come to Beaumont to visit JimD, meet me and catch a screening of Superman: The Movie. That's one of two times we've been able to hang out, but I've been there online to find out he was moving to Tennessee, getting married, and now, he's on his second child.
10 years, y'all.
Here to Randolph and making friends across the internets!
I had a version of this e-mail ready to go, but then I read Steven's letter, and managed to get an advanced copy of the 10th Anniversary post, so I re-worked it. Is that cheating?
I vaguely remember receiving an email from JimD many years ago telling me that I must read this blog a college buddy of his started. As with most things JimD recommends, I ignore it the first couple of times. (I do this despite JimD's amazing track record of recommending insanely awesome things). I - again - vaguely recall clicking the link, quickly scanning the first few posts, and moving on. A few days (weeks?) later, JimD's second email was along the lines of "you need to read his blog or he'll stop writing and that would be a tragedy". And for whatever reason, I clicked the link again and started reading a post. God knows what was the subject of that first post (probably comics), but I was hooked. I probably didn't start regularly visiting the blog for a few weeks (This was pre-Google Reader), but for at least two-thirds of the past 10 years, I visited League of Melbotis more than once a day, and commenting constantly. In fact, after Google Reader came along, I didn't add The League's feed because I would visit the site more often than Reader refreshed the feed. Good times.
I wrote this before, but I'll repeat it here for the general audience. I've known Ryan for as long as he has been blogging, more or less. I've met him twice, and has probably spent less than 6 hours with him face-to-face. Yet, I consider Ryan a friend. I feel silly saying Ryan is a "good friend" because I question if anyone can become "good friends" simply via blogging, Facebook, Twitter, and email. But, if I was somehow in Austin County one night, I know that Ryan would bail me out (and I would call Ryan not only because he's the only person in Austin for whom I have a phone number). And that is probably the one of the highest compliment I can give anyone. (Seriously. That's how I judge my friends: "Would they bail me out of jail? And would I be embarrassed if they did?").
It has been interesting watching the content of The League's blog change during the past 10-years. When The League first started, it was more like an open book into the lives of Ryan and his merry band of characters. I regret never meeting Melbotis (the other regret? Not purchasing the domain http://melbot.is for Ryan before he shut down The League, Vol. 1), but I think I fell in love with that dog just from reading Ryan's account of him. Something I didn't realize until much later was how miserable Ryan and co. was in Chandler. I assumed his complaints were exaggerated a little, this being the internet and all.The blog changed when The Steans's moved back to Austin. It stopped becoming an open book and more like curated opinion pieces by Ryan. I assume it was because Ryan actually had people with whom he could spend time and chew the fat. He didn't need the blog as an outlet any longer. This saddened me in a bit, because I couldn't participate in those conversations anymore. But things change.
Look, I could go on about Ryan and his blog, and all the ways it's affected me, but this is not about me.
Blogging is hard. I know, since I tried it several times myself. As everyone has said, it's amazing that Ryan kept doing it for so long. And - again - like it's been said, it's not like Ryan is one of these famous bloggers who earn six figure incomes from their writing (crazy sidenote: I read that Daring Fireball pulls in $500K/ year from his blog. And I read of a mommy blogger who bought a house solely from her blogging income). Ryan deserves an award. And he deserves all our friendships and all the happiness in the world. I'm lucky to know Ryan and I'm lucky that he considers me a friend. The Admiral and KareBear did a fine job with him.I can only hope my kids turn out as well-adjusted as Ryan.