1. What is your name?
Stephen Weber. No, not that one, though he did get better at acting after Wings.
2. Tell us something about you, your background, and what you've been up to lately?
I grew up in a small town outside the capital city of Michigan (no, not Detroit). I went to an engineering college which involved regular internships, the first of which was in Chicago. I studied kung fu in Detroit while I was the itinerant IT guy for a bank. One year I read 110 books, partly to be able to say I did. Something most people on the site don't know about me? I'm a fraternity man.
These days, I live on Oregon, doing web development from home supported by by my three kids and lovely partner. I practice Aikido, gardening, and have become somewhat proficient in winemaking. I continue to accrete things to write about, but I am long out of the habit of writing. I have a few writeups in my head: one is trying to explain why programmers seem to be overly-interested in Zen, another as a rebuttal to The Rise and Fall of Traditional Martial Arts. I have one writeup on paper, science fiction. A dozen or two notes on my scratchpad to remind me not to forget.
3. How did you discover Everything, and how did you become a noder?
Like many of my "generation," I found E2 via a Slashdot link: a definition of something. I seem to recall this being sometime in August, and it took a couple link-follows before I realized this was a community and something that I wanted to be a part of. Then I lurked. Then I stayed. In September, I moved to Chicago after having grown up in a little farm-town in Michigan, and I was overwhelmed and bad at my job... E2 gave me something to be "good" at (note: most of my early XP was earned via lyric nodes... so much for "good"...)
E2 was an indirect (though major) contributor to me losing that job. I took me a couple years to learn that you couldn't spend more time noding than doing what they're paying you to do and have them be happy with your work... I put a lot of heartbreak into my early nodes. I wasn't very good at humor and many of my factuals were cobbled together from other sources.
It wasn't until at least HD3 that I felt like "a noder." By HD5 I felt like an Old Noder... I guess now I /am/ an old noder.
4. What are your favorite writeups -- both your own and from other noders?
My Hot Damn 5! The Dysfunctional Family Reunion Strikes Back is both a great memory, and I think exemplifies my "mature noder style"... an early one would be Don't misunderstand this one, it was like palm against palm through a window. I put a lot of myself into Collimation.
It appears my favorite writeup by another is gone. BIGSADFACE. There are plenty of others that I like, but with that gone it hardly matters.
5. What are your favorite and least favorite memories from E2's history?
My favorite memories from E2 have been the meets. From my first one to the one I helped run last year to having noders stay at my house as they pass through, the people are what make this site something special. I still have my notebook from HD2 which I got many people to write in, yearbook-style. There are many quotes from the site that we banter around the house, and I have fond memory of many of the textual games we would play.
I don't think I have a least-favorite memory of E2. The things that came to mind trying to answer that are botched interactions with noders IRL... as with my favorites, it's the people that mattered.
That said, a memory:
On the way to Groupers and Oysters, we stopped at a Target in Atlanta. Everyone filtered out and got stuff, according to all sorts of needs. I believe that it was cowofdoom who decided to get a set of Lego Mindstorms. At the time, these were pretty new and cost a bunch... and were AWESOME. The caravan moved on, and before long we were in Panama City. That night, as everyone settled in and all manner of things was consumed, the Mindstorms was broken out on the back porch to assemble a robot. CoD wielded the laptop, perhaps pyrogenic assisting with sensor placement and the creation of aluminum-can-ashtrays... which ended up on top of our wandering robot. This was magical to me: I was a young kid who wanted to be an engineer, and I was hanging out with people who were not only fun and interesting, but were enjoying a bout of creative exploration. At a party. Without worrying about what people would think. Chess was played over breakfast. I had a fabulous chat with Mitzi about religion's place in our lives. But the robot, the jokes about having it bring us drinks, giggling when it failed and cheering when it succeeded... I learned what the community was like.
6. What keeps you coming back?
I spent some really formative years on E2. I see now that E2 gave me an early taste for what it's like to have colleagues: we have a working relationship with noders, and we have a personal relationship with noders. I worked out a lot of hurt and confusion, and I discovered beauty and joy. There is /still/ beauty and joy, and that's why I keep coming back: Once or twice a month I'll come and dig around until I've reconnected with writing. I'm still surprised I can find work from 2001-2004 that I haven't read yet. Some of the new people are doing some really good work.
7. What do you hope for E2's future?
I hope it continues on, and I hope it continues to be a creative melting pot. I hope that E2 can find ways to support people's writing and stay relevant. I hope that publishing rules loosen up so people don't have to stop noding in order to pursue their passion as a writer. I hope everyone moves to Oregon :)
8. What does E2 mean to you?
Out of my "Top 100 people I've met in this life," there are probably at least 50 noders. Mind, the rest include folks like the retired hobo I met on a train to Detroit whose name was "Cyclone', so noders are probably pretty awesome to be such a majority. I believe the next hundred people would be similarly distributed.
9. Who are your favorite noders? Which ones do you miss the most?
I really like(d) The Custodian's series about Michel in New York City. Early on, I was enamored with hamster_bong and dustfromamoth's writings (and many many others).
I miss everyone I've met... especially those who were at HD5. I'd exchanged a few sets of letters with dustfromamoth. I'd love to hang out with drunkenmonkey again.
Noders who have disappeared? Hmm... I don't keep up very well on lapses and leavings. It appears Bitriot is gone, and they wrote my favorite node How robots write poetry. I wish panamaus would write again, and Mitzi.
10. Who would play you in the Everything2 movie?
Jeffrey Dean Morgan.
11. Please fill in the blank: "E2 is to the Internet as ___ is to the world."
I wish I'd thought of izubachi's answer, "Iceland". Um... is Bauhaus too pretentious?
12. Any questions that I didn't ask that I should've?
I answered a few unasked questions in my other answers: what I'd like to write, a story, something about me no one knows. I guess the only thing left is for me to comment on site politics.
Everything2 Decaversary Interviews
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