Ten days ago marked the second birthday of this blog. Two years, 621 posts, 360,687 words, and as that pink box was proudly announcing, 4004 comments. But much, much more important and meaningful are all the friends that this space has introduced me to. With them I have grown, changed, matured, and chuckled at my computer screen many many times. In fact, I would be a sucka if I admitted just how meaningful this community of friends has become to me in such a short period of time. In a way, it’s been intense. And I have to step back and really reflect on just how well I’ve gotten to know the thoughts of Cindy, Elena Mary, Gustavo, and Alfonso (just to name a few) in such a short amount of time.

I remember throwing up on the side of Cindy‘s car in LA. I remember the first time I met Derek and thought he was HP, then the three of us all snacking on chicken wings and talking shit at TGIF. I remember the first time I met Karen and her husband Jake. Or having drinks at Joe‘s place before he moved to L.A. The couple times I bumped into Al at TNT. Busting a move to 80’s music with Chris. Or Myke‘s version of the taco – a hard shell with meat and cheese – while we philosophized around town in La Jolla. I can still hear him saying in his southern drawl to HP, “if you don’t shut up, I’m gonna woop your ass so bad you’re gonna have to run back to your momma and tell her you got beat up by a fag.” Good ol’ Myke.

I remember a glorious week of sunshine, Old Town, ocean swimming, and Pokez with Elenita. And speaking of Pokez, I had gas in a major way after beans and beers with Xolo there. I remember rapping about Marxism and parenting with Liza in Boston. Getting to meet Mitch – in his suspenders and hat – was a treat. It felt like just a few weeks ago that I was drinking Indios with Rolando, Hipocratico, Candy, and Moi in Monterrey. Or just a couple weeks ago, when I finally got to meet Georgia, who Ethan has dubbed the “other half of the Americas dream team.” I hope she’ll be my partner in crime for a long time. Not only Georgia, but I also got to meet Boris, Neha, Haitham, Sokari, Iria, and many more for the first time after having communicated online for months. In Barcelona, Jennifer and I stumbling around town looking for an open bar on Wendesday night around 3 a.m. and talking to each other as if we had been friends for years. It was HP who picked me up from the airport and treated me to Denny’s when I got back in town.

I wouldn’t have any of these friends were it not for this weblog. Which is a strange realization. How do I break this to a new girlfriend? How do I tell her that there is a large community – most of whom I have never met – that plays a very important part in my life and who know me much better than she ever could for quite a while. It’s all a little bizarre.

Anyway, I do have one request to celebrate the start of year number three. Remember that map I used to have of “the community” of bloggers? Well, now there’s a “web 2.0” solution called Frappr. Once you create an account, you can add yourself to whatever community(ies) you belong to online. For example, I’m on the maps of Caribbean Free Radio, Global Voices, and a couple more. My obvious request is that you put yourself on the map for this weblog. You don’t need to have your own weblog or to even have commented on here. In fact, if you’re a casual reader who rarely or never speaks up, this would be a great way to say hello. I hope everyone had a great Christmas and that you’re resting up for a wild New Year’s Eve.

Update: I’m such a sucker. I can’t believe I forgot the best (or at least tastiest) blogger lunch I had all year – Bolivian food with Eddie. Too much good food, to many good friends.