Today holds some degree of special significance for me. One year ago today, I posted my first blog that made its way onto the public pages. My dissection and destruction of the Modern Warfare 2 "story" remains one of my favorite blogs of my own, even if it wasn't written as I would write it now. Today, I would like to add to the significance of October 31st, at least on a personal level, by writing my 50th blog post.

I would never consider myself to be a great blogger on this site or even a great contributor, but if marriage has taught me anything, it is that anniversaries are important, and not making them special is almost as bad as forgetting entirely. So, to make this blog post a little special, I'm going to step away from the norms of my blog writing and focus on you, the community that constitute this wonderful digital realm we call GIO, and I can think of no better way to do this than to pay tribute to those who have influenced me the most and using Stranger's questions posed a couple of days back.

1. Many GIOers have forged lasting friendships with other members here. For the sake of brevity, let's limit this first question to two or three members. Now, with that in mind, with the couple best friends you've picked from amongst GIO, why did you become friends with them? How did you meet on GIO? And, what makes them continue to be great?

Kyle Wadsworth (Shootist2600 as many of us know him before he sold out) quickly became a good friend of mine on the site a year ago. While I cannot pinpoint the specific moment I would consider him to be a friend, he was the first community member (excepting Saint) to recognize the work I had put into a couple of my blogs on The Indie and Mojo Show. Kyle remains the only member of the community I have knowingly met in person and whose family I met while on a three month on and off work trip to and from Los Angeles. He provided invaluable insight and information into a professional predicament and has been one of those people I know I can joke with. It also helps that we can understand one another and participate in older-crowd activities like yelling at kids to get off our lawns.

Mojomonkey12 is another member I quickly became friends with but could not point back to an individual instance of when we became friends. I can, however, tell you that the first comment he made about me involved comparing me to a stripper...not joking. Mojo is a guy who relates to just about anybody; he's a good guy and deserves all the accolades in the world. I once heard somebody say that the back-patting for those who openly appreciate our members is dumb, that person is an idiot. Mojo's efforts to welcome people in and make the site an enjoyable place are what helps make this place what it is. While we don't talk as much as we used to since he's an all-important mod who still works hard on his weekly podcast, I can't blame him.

Chris Mrkvicka and I share a curse. This curse forces us to unwillingly (or willingly sometimes) look at the world through an opaque dollar bill. While the gaming community sees injustice in publisher and developer decisions, we see smart business ideas and practices that help maintain the industry. Given the rabid environment that is the gaming community, it is not surprising that we would naturally be drawn together as friends. Again, I doubt I could point back to a single instance when we became friends, but I am pretty sure it happened over a game of Ghost Recon: Future Soldier.

2. If you're reading this, then you're probably at least a passing member of the blogging community. Who is your favorite blogger here? What draws you to their works over any other? And what is your favorite blog by them? If you want, feel free to do a couple here if one is just too confining.

Picking favorites of anything is a complex issue for me, and a practice I do not like engaging in. However, I have three. One of these three is Saint, but I have words regarding him later, so I will just acknowledge for now that Saint's blogs inspired me to start writing here. The other two are not well known or not well known for their blogging.

Indiejones has a knack for utilizing a fluid writing style and providing a unique point of view. Why he has not picked up a full-time writing gig solely from his work on this website is far beyond my personal comprehension. While we do not agree on everything, indie's blogs are good reads every time.

Hist has written some of the funniest and thought-provoking blogs I have had the pleasure of reading on this site. While it is sadly rare to see one from him, I always get a little giddy when I see something from him on the blog page. Additionally, Hist is an all-around good guy.

3. We've forged lasting friendships, but we've also met many other people in this community since we've been here. Name a more recent member you've gotten to know and like shooting the breeze with. What made you make their acquaintance in full? And why do you enjoy talking/interacting/stalking them?

Though he has dodged my advances to be considered in the category #1 described above, I truly enjoy the brief conversations I have with Saint. Like me, he is busy with a family and career but he also helps moderate the site and does a host of other responsibilities on the site. Regardless, Saint and I have quite bit in common and discuss firearms, Minecraft, and what cane is best for our strain of arthritis. His blog "My Journey to the (console with a) Dark Side..." is one of the big reasons I ever started writing on GI. I cannot really explain why, but it was the first blog where I really read it rather than just skimming. Regardless, one day I will be on his Xbox friends day (that totally doesn't make me sound like a stalker). I know he isn't a more recent member, but I haven't met many of you because I'm not always around much. And this is my blog, so deal with it.

4. We've have a lot of great community members here at GIO, some of whom make excellent people to draw inspiration from. Who are a couple of the members who inspire you, and/or have inspired you in the past? How did they manage to do this, whether directly or indirectly?

I am going to view this question from a light of those who inspire me to write rather than those who build me up. Call me quirky, but I find inspiration in those I disagree with rather than those I agree with. Fighting against a flow of information tends to be more thought provoking than just going with the flow. That being said, there is no blogger here I disagree with more than TOGNick. TOG has written some blogs that made me yell at my computer screen, quite literally. But my connection with him is part of the beauty of this site: we can strongly disagree with one another but still be alright with one another at the end of the day.

5. People often slip under the radar for many other members, or are otherwise underappreciated amongst the community. Who are a few of the people who stay out of the limelight and yet still manage to impact the community in a positive way? How do their contributions reverberate throughout the community, or even just to your own experience on the site?

Two people come to mind, one of which made a name for himself as an intern at GameInformer.

Jack Gardner has made a massive impact on our community and I think so few people recognize this. Some of you know that Jack Gardner was the captain of Team GIO this last year. Sure, I was vocal along with Stranger, but Jack was the puppet master behind it all. Without him, we probably could never have gotten the GameInformer crew as involved as they got simply because they have so much to do, and get so many messages that I am certain any plea from me would have fallen through every crack along the way. Jack is a thinker and an outstanding writer who deserves a hell of a lot more credit than he gets.

My second pick is going to be God of Irony. He isn't a major player on the blog scene, but he "writes" some outstanding draw blogs that make me laugh every time I read them. He's a good guy in general and is probably one of the most encouraging guys I know on this site, right up there with mojo. If you haven't met him, I recommend you do, you won't be sorry.

There you have it, a hat tip to some of the people who have made the last year as special as it has been. For nay not named, I'm sorry; it isn't that you aren't important to me or the community. Hell, I'm sure I don't land on many people's lists like this. You all are the best. For those out there I haven't met, let's chat. I'm not a bad guy, I promise, but I am strongly opinionated.

Here's to another year of me bugging the crap out of you all!