Return to Everything2 Decaversary Interviews: dann (person)

1. What is your name?

Dann Lowell Stayskal

2. Tell us something about you, your background, and what you've been up to lately?

I'm a thirty year old human male, Czech-Texan, roughly six foot two. Day-to-day, I write software for a living, speak a few languages, and play a few instruments in a few local bands. If I'm not busy with that, I'm either running, reading, or researching, trying to ply my undergraduate degree into something more closely resembling graduate work. I'm not so much a grad student here any longer as I'm that guy who occasionally hangs out on campus, creating problems for some professors while solving them for others.

Regarding my background, I was raised in and around churches, choirs, and computers, and still have my minister's license. I've used it about two dozen times, roughly half of which to perform weddings for people here on this site. Past that, I've made a living as an engineer, missionary (non-proselytizing), linguist, tutor, sysadmin, and musician. I wrote a couple of books as an undergrad, and have rested my wayfaring soul in 43 states and nine countries so far. Much of that is thanks to you, everything2.

I currently live in Arlington, TX, but am writing this from chaotic_poet's place during the 2010 Chicago gathering. I'll probably move to Dallas here in the next few months to be closer to work while I apply to grad schools and fellowships again. Hopefully Grad School: Round Two will start in Fall 2011, though the jury’s still out on where that will be.

3. How did you discover Everything, and how did you become a noder?

Imagine a world without YouTube or MySpace, back when Wikipedia and LiveJournal were but fledgling tadpoles tossed about in the seas of a bunch of nerds' opinions on Star Trek and Linux kernels. In that world, there were question marks surrounded by hard brackets]. On July 12, 2000, I clicked on one of those question marks. That moment decided the next ten years of my life.

Now, I thought this place was pretty neat. They had articles (which they called "nodes") on just about everything, it seemed. Plus, I was pretty sure I even saw a girl there! That's not something you'd find at Fidonet parties or late-night ham radio swap meets. That evening, while basking in the Jukka flow of very smart people who knew a whole lot more than me about subjects I never even knew existed, I decided I needed to be one of them.

I spent hours pouring over my first writeup—brushing up my HTML, making sure my grammar and punctuation were perfect (because that boney guy was pretty scary). I apologized in the catbox for messing up some markup, as we didn't have scratchpads in those days. People confused me for someone else constantly. I was only my second year at university at the time, but I was already addicted to pouring my heart and mind into this "nodegel" thing I'd only learned of in that whirlwind of "oh my god these people are like me." So, I decided to stay, and the them became the us.

4. What are your favorite writeups -- both your own and from other noders?

So far as things I've written that other people like, this one seems to have been a hit. I actually wrote that first with pen and paper while driving from Scott's place in Nashville back to Dallas one weekend.

So far as things other people have written, I think "Oh, there are too many to list" is a cop-out. Here's a list—a few of them, actually. Wait, what? You thought this decaversary interview was about me? Hahaha no. It's about you. It always has been.

( We got the kind of games you can't rent at Blockbuster )

On Life, Death, and Spirituality

On Music and Film

Poetry, Prose, and Fiction

On Politics, Economics, and Military

On Science, Medicine, Language, and Technology

On Society and Culture

Wanderlust

5. What are your favorite and least favorite memories from E2's history?

Favorite: My big cross-country noder road trip. Left from Boston, drove through New York City, Atlanta, a mountain range, Nashville, a hurricane, Dallas, a desert, Tucson, San Diego, San Francisco, Portland, another mountain range, Salt Lake City, Chicago, then finally back to Boston. All so I could attend ideath's Portland gathering and nodeslam.

Least favorite: Getting the call from Laura that Adam did what he did. I was chatting with him on IRC that morning. By the time I got to work, he was gone.

6. What keeps you coming back?

That's an easy question: the people. The people here are and always have been what make E2 a home for me. As of this weekend, I've met 335 of you. That's an average rate of 33.5 noders per year, mostly at E2 Gatherings.

panamaus says The hug dann gave me outside the departures gate at Logan is among the most deeply sincere displays of affection I have ever felt in my life (dann's hugs are usually like that — I highly recommend them)
-- from his writeup here

Chances are good that I've given hugs to you:

00100 · 8LDJ · a scar faerie · acapnotic · accipiter · adebaumann · adoxograph · ailie · akatchoom · anark · Andrew Aguecheek · androjen · angela · Apatrix · aphexious · aresds · arieh · ariels · asofel · atesh · Auron · avalyn · BAR · BaronWR · Becca · beigs · belligerentmax · Billy · bindlenix · birdlace · Bitca · bjuarez · BlueAEon · booyaa · Borgette · Borgo · bozon · brainwave · brassmule · braunbeck · BriarCub · briiiiian · BrooksMarlin · brumby · burnboy · byzantine · bz2 · C-Dawg · cahla · cassparadox · catchpole · cbustapeck · ccunning · cerulian · ch'i-lin · chanbara · chancel · chaotic_poet · chex · Chihuahua Grub · Chiisuta · chinchilla · Chras4 · Chris-O · Cid Highwind · clampe · claypenny · clearpebbles · cletus the foetus · CmdrTaco · coby · codic · cody · compulsiveearnibbler · conform · Conventional Oven · cow of doom · CowboyNeal · crux · cureobsession · Czeano · dannye · DataJunkie · Dataknife · Dehablita · Delta-Sys · dem_bones · diotina · Dis · discofever · disgruntledwren · Dizzy · dmd · donfreenut · dragoon · drunkenmonkey · dTaylorSingletary · Duffski · edebroux · eien_meru · Electric Mollusk · elephino · Eliserh · enth · eos · Erika · evandyne · factgirl · FatAlbertTheta · Feldar · FelonyMPulse · fitzroy · flamingweasel · fondue · foxtrotjuliet · Frankie · Freddo · fuzzie and blue · galt · Gamaliel · GangstaFeelsGood · generic man · GhettoAardvark · girlface · gleeme · Glowing Fish · glyph · Golden Bhudda · GoodKingNerdnor · Gorgonzola · greth · grundoon · guinea pig · gwenllian · hamsterbong · hemos · herbman · Hermetic · heropsychodreamer · hodgepodge · hookskies · Ian · iandunn · iceowl · icicle · Iconoplast · ideath · illumina · ImpishLaugh · Imprecation · Indigoe · Indra363 · Infinite Burn · IWhoSawTheFace · izubachi · jack · jacob8er · jarsyl · jasonm · jaubertmoniker · JayBonci · jeeves · jennifer · JeremyLC · jessicaj · jessicapierce · Jet-Poop · JetGirl · Jethro Bodine · jmc · JodieK · jongleur · joyquality · junkets · junkets · Junkill · Jurph · just a guy · karitxangel · karma debt · karmaflux · katyana · kaytay · kenata · Kensey · kidas · kit lo · kmcardle · knile87 · kurt the pope · LadySun · LaggedyAnne · lawnjart · Li Kao · liha · Lometa · m turner · macaddict · MacArthur Parker · machfive · magicmanzach · mako · manicbliss · mat catastrophe · Matthew · mcc · Medieval · meghan of wutai · Metacognizant · MightyMooQuack · milspec · misuba · Mitzi · mkb · Modernangel · moJoe · mordel · moxie · N-Wing · narzos · Nate · neil · NightShadow · NinjaPenguin · No Springs · noahpierce · nocodeforparanoia · nocte · O-Swirl · oenone · OldMiner · Oolong · Orange Julius · ouroboros · panamaus · perdedor · Phyllis Stein · pinbinder · piq · Pitcher · polystichum · ponder · princess loulou · Professor Pi · Pseudo_Intellectual · pseudomammal · Pyrogenic · qeyser · qousqous · quizro · QXZ · radlab0 · RalphieK · randir · Rapscallion · redboot · Reitoi · renderer · RevPhil · RobNotRob · RoguePoet · Roninspoon · sarcasmo · Sauth · scarcatcher · Scout Finch · Scribe · Segnbora-t · Servo5678 · sessor · sick boy · Siobhan · siouxsie · Snowy · Sondheim · SophiesCat · Spackle · spacklequeen · sparkleface · spilf · SpinyNorm · spiregrain · splunge · srkorn · stand/alone/bitch · steev · SunTzu · Swap · swish girl · Sylvar · tandex · Templeton · The Custodian · The Gilded Frame · TheBooBooKitty · TheDeadGuy · thefez · Thyme · Tiefling · Timeshredder · Toadtido · Transitional Man · turtlebat · Two Sheds · uncleozzy · unless · unperson · upperclasstwit · ur55318008 · vandewal · Vice_hkpnx · vilk · void ptr · vruba · VT Hawkeye · Walter · wheloc · Wiccanpiper · wick · Wickernipple · will · willie trombone · witchiepoo · WolfDaddy · WonkoDSane · WonkoTheSane · Wuukiee · xeger · xWakawaka · yossarian · yru · ysardo · Zaph · zarkonnen · Zophos · Zot-fot-piq

If I've met you and your name isn't here or your name is wrong somehow, /msg me and I'll add or fix it. I promise I haven't forgotten you, but there's a nonzero chance I forgot to add someone to this list over the years.

7. What do you hope for E2's future?

GhettoAardvark says As long as we node, E2 will not die.

I largely agree.

For E2 as people, doyle's A Prayer for Everythingians pretty much sums up my hopes.

For E2 as a body of writing, my hope is that we keep writing, and that our writings outlast our bodies.

For E2 as a website, my hope is that our servers stay online and that we keep getting grant funding.

8. What does E2 mean to you?

I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness, starving hysterical naked,
dragging themselves through the negro streets at dawn looking for an angry fix,
angelheaded hipsters burning for the ancient heavenly connection to the starry dynamo in the machinery of night

-- Allen Ginsberg, from HOWL

( the only book guaranteed to be near my person at all times )

I

(2000)

Who opened my world to internet strangers without the blessings of fashion or common sense, a wandering cabal of Trotskyists under a statue of Lenin in Dallas,

(2001)

Who did it again and was stricken with peripheral paralysis, but warmly welcomed wanderers with a limp and a smile,

Who climbed into the sky with drums, with tunnels, mulespotting drinking the first spirits to cross minister lips from the hand of the creator wearing a Russian name tag,

Who sang, shouted, wandered around churches until early dawn in Michigan while Klaproth crawled the floor in a pink plastic ball,

Who drank grenades on Bourbon Street, stumbled to St. Charles before the Hurricane, seeing UFOs dot the interstate on their way back to Texas,

Who forfeit the blood for bytes for a flurry of hugs, prayers, and fake Chicago accents in Nashville,

Who danced around a time zone fire at midnight in Florida and woke up to a plate of drugs and love and black eyed peas, wandering eyes smiling,

(2002)

Who memorized credit card numbers over foosball, an accidental hoss behind a vegetarian diner in Atlanta,

Who sold their belongings and moved to Boston in a car from Dallas then turned around towards Jersey at daybreak, Irish car bombs and cigarettes to the shore where they felt at home and so did Gus, a thick haze of smoke under the pier at midnight, dragging visions up and through tattered train tracks holding high the noose of industrialization,

Who led lost tribes of Eahtoo through The Holy Land by word of St. Carla of Medford in search of beer and booty and robots, preparing sacrifices that did find favor in the eye of the king,

Who rocked the basement and cut grass on the porch in Queens, anonymous love letters in satchels wandering 2AM J and M in search of gyros and still smelled (like) grass,

Who greeted Mississippi in Ancient Greek on foot through Ohio, slamming prose into rusted mikes, lesbians and mokeys and soy! soy! soy! on playgrounds through pride parades, brown eyes smiling,

Who swapped talent in an Appalachian forest, backyard cardboard robot firefight climbing lower through PBR and hit kickers, synesthetic blue lights through boxes boxes boxes of mix CDs,

Who drove through mountains and hurricane in search of Jack into the binary flow, populating bookstores in Portland, breaking playgrounds chain smoking and ending up lost on the salt flats at sunrise,

Who piled into an abandoned Brooklyn factory with many busted flows,

(2003)

Who took another turn to Jersey, washing stale popcorn in cheap beer, driving night and day and night again to lie in fields smiling,

Who learned how to really sell a washing machine lost in Little Rock through pizza and pronunciation and litterbox duty,

Who took two wheelchairs to Atlanta to baptize his firstborn in scrambled eggs, swapping notes and back under tents made from tables and couch parts,

Who flew to Ohio to be accosted in tents and got back on a plane covered in a flammable white powder with no questions and no answers,

Who was picked up in White Plains by a truck to Poughkeepsie, sleepless dancing autistic acorns and prayer hammering the barman for something green and free,

Who performed two weddings in one weekend in Nashville, one of which is still intact behind the shadow of a redneck reconstruction of an ancient pagan monument, burning Luckies in a diner under ministerial vestments,

Who uprooted and went to Switzerland with nothing but a backpack and a smile, finding peace in the foothills of the Alps, sneaking into university to learn German using only Latin and patience,

(2004)

Who migrated to London for New Years, stealing pint glasses smoking cubans in the attic of The Librarian,

Who encircled a minor deity made of corrugated pipe in Nashville, eating the food that food eats,

Who drove from Miami to Tampa to Atlanta to Columbus to Chicago to Dallas to Boston to New York in search of theater when the damn thing broke back in Tampa and nobody noticed,

Who reconvened in a Baltimore cuddle pile when it was turtles all the way downtown through the force of a six foot plastic rod,

(2005)

Who placed an engineer in charge of a garden and disappeared in a puff puff pass of exasperation,

Who made it back to Columbus armed with bluebonnet seeds to receive love from peers and a kindly fuck off from the queen, scaring children away from playgrounds,

Who lost the will for music through dysfunctional relationship soul crushing work some idle Thursday in an apartment cursed to nothing more than perfection,

(2006)

Who raced through Kentucky to get to West Lafayette and back, pouring themselves through comics and music and plastic beads, howling at the wolves,

Who got found and lost and found on the shores of Tel Aviv contemplating entropy and time and only the most miraculous hummus,

(2007)

Who camped out again in Ohio, back porch smoking late night ghost stories, limping cane limping through the Baruch atah Adonai Elohenu melech ha olam blessings spread before flat, inconsequential areas and unnecessary politics.

 

II

(2008)

What horror of genes hath God wrought? What hell of crippled canes and forgotten medicines and fake laughter and crawling without teeth or sound, receding hairlines passing under capitalist behemoths waving sweaty manuscripts dreaming the ability to limp again? Enduring night to wake? Perhaps again to pray?

Paralysis! Alex, you must take this weight from me!

Paralysis! Paralysis! hidden pieces intact! edifice shattered! Anomie! Isolation! Paralysis! Thy name is hubris and folly and vanity!

Paralysis! Abuse and recognition!

Splitting totems of concrete shamans!

 

III

(2009)

I am with you in Oregon, if only in spirit.

I am with you in Heyworth, wondering if I still belong, freezing in the ham radio basement meditating on the 4am concrete with skunks, lecturing on physics through tired eyes flickering brake lights when you helped me stand and you gave me rest and you you you listened listened spoke listened.

(2010)

I am with you in Denton, in classical guitar girls nightmare flashlight party of late night day-bright hazy garlic tacos.

I am with you in Vegas, if only for lunch, catching up after five years, thousand mile stare holding things I can't imagine.

I am with you in Chicago, asana sleeping, chattering under the El down to Wrigley, serenading sexpot atrium cuddle piles, wandering little Asia in search of dim sum, loving through the plastic chairs, through never have I ever vodka and vodka and whiskey and more vodka, through the plastic instrument philharmonic.

I am with you in Bloomington.

Holy! Holy! Holy! Holy!

( all of these stories are true. I have photos. )

9. Who are your favorite noders? Which ones do you miss the most?

Now would be a good time to scroll back up to question 6.

10. Who would play you in the Everything2 movie?

eien_meru says Danny Devito? Andre the Giant? Antonio Banderas?

Not having owned a working television in fifteen years, it's hard for me to say. There was that one movie about the guy who memorizes phone books, though, and he was a lot like me. So, yeah, maybe that guy. Yeah.

11. Please fill in the blank: "E2 is to the Internet as ___ is to the world."

the Internet

E2 is to the Internet as the Internet is to the world. We connect people to other people using technologies and jargon that only a relative few understand. Those who get it, though, could hardly imagine a world without it.

12. Any questions that I didn't ask that I should've?

Nope, I think that about covers it, Mr. Poop. It's been a good ten years.

Here's to the next ten.

Everything2 Decaversary Interviews

If you have questions or comments, please contact dann or Jet-Poop.

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