1. What is your name?
Ten years. Fuck. Fuuuuuuuuck. Actually almost eleven, but that's how long I haven't logged in in.
2. Tell us something about you, your background, and what you've been up to lately?
I need to properly answer the first question. My E2 name is Walter, but
that's not my real name. My real name is Jeff Picanso. I told Twitter, I
can tell you guys. Ahhh. It feels good to be internet naked. I can feel
the breeze of the freedom on the hair on the junk of my identity.
are a lot of E2 people (or "nedors") who call me Walter in real life.
This is fine. I have nothing but the fondest affection for the time when
I devoted my entire brain to trying to make people think Walter was an
chose "Walter" because I love the Big Lebowski. That's the entirety of
what I tell to people who ask. But there's a deeper reason. "You're not
wrong, Walter, you're just an asshole," is something that people have
said to me many times, or at least should have more than they did. I had
rage issues even as a child. I remember telling my friends in high
school that I cared about facts more than feelings. I don't think I
actually had Asperger's but I was locked in some kind of self-smithed
course, Walter's best friend, The Dude, is actually named Jeff, and I
like to think that in the past ten years I've slowly morphed into
someone who's much more Dude. Without the weed. Well, with it at first,
but not anymore.
background is, I went to film school and I focused on screenwriting
(and on puns). When I found E2 after graduation, it became the place I
did most of my writing for. Then, around the time my E2 interest dried
up in 2004 or so, I spent my creative energies on writing songs and
playing keyboards in a rock band.
Then, after I turned 30, I woke up and was like "What the hell am I doing with my life?" Not just the once, every day.
my band broke up the week before I visited southern California and I
was like "Oh, right, that's why they built the film industry here.
Because it's beautiful all the time." So I rearranged the elements of my
life and moved to LA to be a screenwriter like thousands of other dumb
3. How did you discover Everything, and how did you become a noder?
misspelled that. Anyway, around April of 2001 QXZ (I almost typed
@QXZ, hahah) emailed me: "You should check out this site, it's really
pretty cool." I was like, uh, I think I know where all the cool stuff on
the internet is, thanks. I didn't check it out for a month.
first E2 name was not Walter. That one I'm not giving you. All of that
stuff got nuked immediately by dannye. And with good cause!
I was immediately addicted. A lot of people say that the leveling
system meant nothing to them. Not me. I am a big Final Fantasy nerd, and
experience points were a huge motivator, as was seeing my name move
above other people's. Does that make me shallow?
4. What are your favorite writeups -- both your own and from other noders?
me go to my homenode to check. Ha! It has a bunch of stuff about my
band! Adorable. I am level 12? Under the old merit system (by which I
mean the controversial "new" system from October 2002) I was barely a 5.
Yay? I don't know how math works.
output here was roughly five movie reviews for each painfully true
story. I'm proudest of the true stuff. Well, that's not true. The one I
keep coming back to read because it just makes me happy is soar
winner. (IT IS A PUN DO YOU GET IT) There's also the constellation one, which is hippie haze mumbo jumbo for
sure but a wide window into who I really am, or was. Lastly the
sad one, which only one person is able to understand all of what I
accomplished there, but she told me she was amazed so I'm good. I guess I
should be proudest of node slam, not the writeup, but that it turned
into an actual thing that people kind of still do.
list of my favorite writeups by other people can be found in August 6,
2007. It, like this and everything else I've ever written, is long.
5. What are your favorite and least favorite memories from E2's history?
my favorite memories would all be from the bazillion gatherings I went
to. Once you went to a gathering, all the web thrills paled in
comparison and the site just became the way to get at the actual people.
See we were lonely but we didn't know it, or at least I didn't. Like
World of Warcraft (which I used to play with other ex-E2 people, or
"nerdos"), this site is way too much work for a person who has a life.
We were all trying to forge an emotional connection with other people
who were intellectually omnivorous.
least favorite memories were people getting fed up and leaving. I was
in denial like Homer watching the roast pig shrink to a speck: "It's
just a little airborne, it's still good, it's still good!" Unfortunately
I drank the Kool-Aid. I always wanted to be SRS RIETUR U GUYZ, so I
assumed everyone else did too.
there was a big problem with this idea, which was that (Man, I know
someone somewhere has a quote about this that's better, but hopefully
you'll get the idea) a lot of really talented writers, especially the
ones telling true personal painful stories, have no self-esteem
whatsoever. If you tell these people, "Hey, we're just fuckin around
here, post whatever you want, it's Everything, right?" Then you'll get
great stuff. But if you tell them, "We're raising the bar" they'll go,
"Gotcha. Can't win, don't try."
I'm not trying to say that my least favorite memory is when anyone in
particular oppressed me or whatever. Like I said, I thrived. And, AND,
even in the summer of 2001 when I got here there were a lot of people
huffing about how much fun it no longer was. But the memory is just a
vague overall sense of how so many people got so butthurt I had to go
find them on other web sites.
6. What keeps you coming back?
as I said, I don't keep coming back. But what did was the community.
And the sense of discovery. Related to what I was saying above - a
climate where all types of submissions are welcome ends up helping
everything individually. In other words, the funny stuff is funnier when
it's next to sad stuff. I love exploring, and unpredictable maps are
the best kind.
will say this, though: I've been addicted to Twitter for years now, and
when I started it felt wonderfully retro, because I was using the same
muscles I developed in the catbox in 2001.
7. What do you hope for E2's future?
COLUMNS, you guys, seriously. It's not hard. If the New York Times and
your niece's blog are both using the same layout, that's probably the
one people need to have so they can actually be able to process long
chunks of text.
I don't mean this in a hurtful way, but I have a hard time seeing what
purpose E2 serves in today's internet. I think your time is better spent
on Wikipedia or Facebook or Tumblr or Reddit instead of on one kludgy
thing that tries to be all those things. E2 was amazingly ahead of its
time, but it didn't adapt, so it got left behind.
8. What does E2 mean to you?
could not mean more to me. It was the bulk of my life for years, and
even after those years, some of my best friends were people I wouldn't
have met without it. And other squishy heart-related stuff that's too
9. Who are your favorite noders? Which ones do you miss the most?
Way, way too personal.
10. Who would play you in the Everything2 movie?
Davies. The week after he started appearing on LOST I had fifteen
different people approach me at work and say, "Do you know you look like
that guy?" I also have similar problems with too many hand gestures and
too little eye contact.
I went as him for Halloween once and someone blurted out "Hey, that guy looks like... that guy!" Ah, tautologies.
11. Please fill in the blank: "E2 is to the Internet as ___ is to the world."
I will quote from David Foster Wallace's character Michael Pemulis
invoking Jean Baudrillard: "It's snowing on the goddamn MAP, not the
TERRITORY, you DICK!"
12. Any questions that I didn't ask that I should've?
shot about forty hours of interviews for a documentary about the
relationships forged in the real world because of this site. It is a
giant mess, I don't know if I'll ever have the time or the money to
finish it, and no you can't be in it.
was also an attempt - and again, I didn't let myself be fully cognizant
of this - to process what I'd experienced here. I think it worked.
I can detour into evolutionary psychology for a minute: For the vast
majority of human history, people moved in tribes or settled in villages
of around 150 people. More than that, you lose track of individuals;
less than that, it doesn't feel communal.
if I, as a hairless ape, am lucky enough to be born at a time when new
miracle typing technology allows me to locate through self-selection my
ideal tribe HOWEVER I'm still stuck in my own geographical location far
away from them, all that I've managed to accomplish is to feel a bold
fresh unique loneliness.
realize that sounds like a defeatist outlook, and usually I'm a pretty
upbeat guy. However, I would not trade the experiences or even just the
words for anything. I was so so so obscenely lucky to find this place.
Everything2 Decaversary Interviews
If you have questions or comments, please contact Walter or Jet-Poop.