Next week I will be going as far west as I will have ever gone, as I head to Hawaii. It’s a six hour flight. My longest flight has been something like nine hours, and when I start to complain about that I think about the insane lengths of Garth Franklin’s flights to the US from Australia.

Speaking of Garth, he’s one of the best internet people I’ve met. Every time I see Garth the evening ends up with wild drunkeness, lots of laughter and some moderately inappropriate groping (from me). In fact, I’ve been lucky to have met some very excellent peers in the web world:

Drew McWeeny is always funny and insightful, and he’s incredibly generous with everybody else – while he could have a better-than-thou attitude because of his site affiliation, he never does. And Drew has this great thing that’s so rare in the web journalist world… he really gets excited about this stuff. There are prominent web movie types who could be just as happy doing a site about cars or about bird watching – all they want is to be the guy with the scoops. Drew sits on more scoops than any of us have ever gotten, and his enthusiasm for movies – making them and talking about them – has never waned.

Most of the gang at Cinematical are incredible people – Scott and Erik and Monika are the wonderful ones I’ve met, and I look forward to meeting Elisabeth at Comic Con this year. Elisabeth is one of those people who dresses up at Con, which makes her the most unique person I know as I have never so much as carried on a conversation with one of these people (well, I guess except Carl Cunningham). She’s much less weird than you would expect from somebody like that, but like the rest of the Cinematical crew she’s whip smart. I think they’re the second smartest bunch of writers on the web. Behind us, of course.

Kelvin from Latino Review was always one of my favorite people to see at junkets in New York, and traveling around Ireland with him last year was a complete pleasure. He was such a great traveling companion because he was always up to do something fun and he never had a negative attitude about anything. Which obviously made him like the white to my black.

Speaking of black, there’s Wilson from Black Film Dot Com, another member of the New York junket crew I was sad to leave behind. Wilson could talk your ear off, sure, but he was also just as likely to share screening and interview info, the sort of stuff that most journalists keep to themselves.

And how can I talk about the New York crew without mentioning Ed Douglas, a guy who is like my older, slightly backwards brother. I have to admit that I love riling Ed up, but I do it out of affection. I really miss Ed a lot, and he’s definitely one of the people who helped me when I was just starting out, doing this as a side gig while holding a full time day job. I’d say that without Ed I’d probably still be at that day job right now and not with this site.

Man, all this talk about the NYC crew is making me nostalgic. There are so many more, including Kara Warner, who I swear will do freelance CHUD work some day, and who is so nice that it sometimes weirds me out. And of course the memory of Dan Epstein. The whole junket game lost a lot of its appeal when Dan died. I had always wanted to know Dan for the rest of his life and I hate that I got my wish so soon.

I haven’t made as many junket friends out here in LA, probably because I go to so few of them. I don’t know if it’s that I don’t have the energy, the interest or the vehicle (it’s all three), but it takes a lot to get me out to a roundtable today.

When I do get to an LA roundtable, it might very well be in the huge SUV belonging to Frosty from Collider. I think one of the things that connect all these internet types that I like is that they’re all willing to lend a helping hand; this business can be cut throat, with people scrambling for scoops and sometimes stealing them from each other, but Steve is one of the guys who always wants to help. And this motherfucker works harder than anyone else I know in this business. And he can talk more than almost anybody but Wilson. I want to see those two locked in a room together.

When I’m at a party or an event and I see that Ryan Rotten is there, he’s who I gravitate towards. But it’s only because he’s so tall and buff and I hope to catch some of the pussy that he casts off. This has not yet worked for me, but I keep hoping. In the meantime Ryan’s just a great guy to bullshit with, and because at my heart I’m a horror nerd, we have a lot to talk about. Although I do call into question his horror credentials as he only saw Pieces for the first time a few weeks ago! I was honored to be there when he got his cherry popped.

And then there’s that whole IGN crowd. Stax is such a sweetheart, and being in Belfast with him made the whole trip so much better, as we both grooved on our Irish heritage. Stax is a real OG internerd; he’s been in the game forever and ever, and he’s seen it all. I’m sort of fascinated with the history and politics of this thing we do, and Stax is a great guy to talk with about it.

Todd Gilchrist is another IGN guy who I love so much that I allowed him to take me sneaker and metrosexual clothes shopping in Vancouver. Todd is great fun, and he owns a Carlton t-shirt, so I’m not sure why I don’t hang out with him more. Probably because I tend to only go to the bar across the street from my house. Hey Todd, let’s go to Residuals.

And then there’s Jen Yamato, new to LA, but already one of my favorite Los Angelenos because when I was desperately looking for an apartment she lent me her Westside Rentals account. That’s huge. She’s also funny as hell and great to chill with, even if she can’t take the gorier horror films they show at the New Bev. Jen probably thinks I’m a dick because I didn’t email her back last week, but that’s just because I’m actually a dick.

The problem with doing something like this is that I’m going to leave someone out and they’re going to get mad at me. But fret not, I probably like you too! Well, probably not – there’s a bunch of junket and internet types I can’t stand, but the last time I wrote about one of them I took a lot of flak. I’m not in a flak taking mood before I fly to Hawaii with a bunch of web people.

But there are more people I like – these are just the ones who leap to the front of my mind right now. There are others who I enjoy running into – Greg from MSN, for example, or the legendary Staci Layne Wilson – who I just haven’t really hung out with as much as I have with other people. Plus these are just the Americans (well, except Garth). Helen at Empire, I’ll still marry you if need a green card (although looking at the economy these days it may be the other way around) – hell, I’d probably marry the whole Empire staff, as they’re a disconcertingly decent group of people. I haven’t met a single bad egg from that magazine yet.

So anyway, these are people I like, the people who are not my coworkers at CHUD who make this crazy, weird job I do even better than it already is, and it’s already the best job I could imagine having.