8:23 PM, Saturday, December 3rd, 2011:
This is absolutely a 21st Century story. I cannot be alone in this, but it may still seem strange to others who don't live online as I do. I consider myself good friend with someone I have never met. I am intimately familiar with his life, I've known him for over 10 years... never met. Talked on the phone maybe one or two times in the decade. Nearly all communications have been through instant messages. I knew him in his teens, watched him get married, watched him have children. But again, never met.
So sit back and let me tell you a tale...
In 2000, I was started an NBA Fantasy League. In typical "me-fashion" I went overboard, did every stat by hand all year, made logos for everybody and ran the website for the fun of it. People threw in $10 or $20 and I gave it all to 1st, 2nd, and 3rd at the end of the season. The most fun was honestly making the logos:
The following year I replaced 5 players, which meant 5 more logos...

I knew everyone except for the bakalaka dude. It was this 16 year old kid who saw my post about the league on an ign.com message board. Because of The Journey, he felt comfortable enough sending me $20 to be in the league and a few months later bought some minicases from me. Wow, this is like a Journey Time Capsule...

Bakalaka (actual name sis Andrew) was MiniCaser #41 and he simply liked The Journey and always kept up. I mean, always. At every turn, he would write me... and in turn tell me what was going on in his life. I remember him getting married at 19 and laughing because I couldn't say shit about it. I remember his first baby... and now he just had his third. It's remarkable how connected you can be to, basically, a story on your computer screen.
More than anything, the past 5 years he has been my goto tech-geek. Knows all the latest cameras, buys them, rents them, plays with them. He made this little short awhile back about his life that I just kinda fell in love with:
I feel like I know that kid. :-)
OK, so WHY am I writing this and repeating ad nauseum that I haven't met him? Because his unbelieveable wife is letting him fly out for two days to shoot the wedding. I just bought his ticket and I am deliriously happy. Obviously happy to meet him after ten years, but of course... he's exactly who I would want to shoot the wedding. He has a Red One and a Scarlet on the way for the video geeks out there that know what that means. "The Social Network" was shot on a Red. I'm more than thrilled it's going to be shooting my wedding. Even more thrilling is it's exactly what I wanted - NOT a wedding photographer, but someone who I could work with throughout the day and then at the end of the night get all the files immediately so I could get put a 15 minute version of the wedding online by the end of the year. Whew.
But seriously, all techincal shit aside, I just can't wait to spend some time with him. LIttle known fact, he's the reason I did the Four Square league. He made a little movie about it, I saw it - thought that was awesome and painted one in my backyard... the rest is history. And, you'd better believe we'll be playing foursquare the night before the wedding. Rain or shine. :)
So, Andrew... thanks for everything. I'm happy to cement you into The Journey as #1193. You've been a huge help (dude has actually shipped me HD cameras for free just to help out when they've broken) and I just consider you a good friend. Too bad you live in Texas, so glad you're spending this very, very special day with me.
I am going to KILL you at foursquare.