I have a problem. I am fighting a losing war. I'm stuck in an infinite loop. I am locked in a perpetual battle from which I shall never emerge. And gradually, my enemy has shown himself; Everything2 is really some kind of crazy internet hydra!

The hydra is a powerful yet subtle enemy. It starts with a question. Something as simple as "What is concept?" I read a bit, perhaps nod in understanding, and take pride in the fact that I've learned something new today. But then I reach the softlinks and what's this? Cultural relativism, squatter's rights, and screen doors? I must know more about these things!

So I right click and I find the "t" key, and poof! - a new tab is opened. Three of them, actually. And that's only if I'm lucky. I've read through nodes that have produced as many as eight softlinks that demanded to be followed up on.

It seems harmless at first. I tell myself I can quit any time I want, but infinity leads to transfinite leads to who shaves the barber, and as I journey the streets of the internet I'm being shadowed. It's the hydra, and it's growing stronger. Before I know it I've got tabs for color does not exist, mindfuck, and Ian, the Techno-Pagan Octopus Messiah. I'm starting to realize there's a problem. And yet I press on. Thus enter heads named magnetic poetry, the M&M law of simplicity, and asking random people for wisdom. And my mind, perpetually in the gutter, gods help me if I should stumble upon something like massively erotic energy.

The dawn is approaching. I am trapped in futility. "Just finish up these nodes and you can go to sleep", I tell myself. I've lost entire nights telling myself that same thing, yet still I press on. Perhaps lured by the name "Everything2", I am determined to in fact learn everything. Or at least everything of interest to me. I know that somewhere there must be a limit. Though the number may be forever growing, I know that at this exact moment, there is a limit to the number of nodes I'll find intriguing, and the sooner I click on all of them the sooner I can go to sleep.

This is the reason I think of E2 as a hydra. Instead of heads, it has nodes, some filled with more teeth (writeups) than others. Did I mention I'm an abysmally slow reader? Those teeth hurt, yet I cannot stop fighting. I slay one head, and two or three or eight more pop up. And once they've grown, I can't bear to let these heads out of my sight, lest I be unable to find and defeat them later. So I've captured the hydra in a folder in my bookmarks menu. There are, at the time of this writeup, 352 heads being held at bay.


Maybe #353 should be speed reading...

Today I bought a packet of butter mints at the supermarket when I went there for lunch. There were hung on a little rack sitting right next to the checkout counter, as if waiting for someone with a weak will and a strong desire to stroll on by and pick them up. Damn you, impulse buy inducing bastards.

When I brought them back to work, they were not as popular as some of the other confectionery treats that I have previously brought back to my desk. The people at work can usually work their way through seven or eight bags of Japanese gummies in a given day if the bowl is left unmonitored. Two boxes of Freihofer cookies I brought back from the Adirondacks magically disappeared with barely a mention. Fizzy candy from Mitsua is often used to get my co-workers hopped up when things desperately need to get done, and those seem to not even hit my desk before they are snapped up. However, the butter mints sat there all lonely for most of the afternoon. I ate almost the whole thing before I tucked it over itself and put it in the back corner of the food drawer at my desk.

Perhaps the previous mobs of co-workers has been protecting me from something. Having all that candy to myself gave me the most intense sugar rush I have had in years. It's really too bad it was a slow day, because I really could have done some good. Instead, I spent four hours bouncing up and down on my office chair.

Down on a smoke break in the middle of the afternoon, I found myself hurtling through the revolving door at the office building, nearly getting both of my legs caught as someone else tried to get through the door at the same time. I told my work spouse that I had completed logging in my time for the remainder of the year (half true). I had two calls with a woman in Atlanta that I had never talked to before, and I think she got the wrong impression of me. I must have looked wild-eyed and crazed, because people were slowly backing away from me. Even now, a decent twelve hours after the gorging took place, I still find myself feeling a bit off in relation to the rest of the world.

I'm going to have to develop some will power. I don't think I can handle too much of this.

With one week left to vote on writeups entered in Lost Gems of Yesteryear, I thought it was high time for an update.

347 total new votes (+310 / 37-) have been cast on the writeups submitted to the Quest.

The top gainers in net reputation so far are Panama Hat, Love your enemies, and When life gives you lemons, grab it by the throat and demand better. Hot on their heels come Twenty-three good things about pickles and dirt, lateral fricative, I worked at summer camp, and all I got was this lousy case of gangrene, What do you say to Michael Crichton?, and Boris Karloff.

The overall change in reputation looks like this (two symbols per writeup (><) to make it look nice):

  0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 
                      0 1 2 3 4 5 6 
Where the Y axis is net reputation change , and the X axis is number of writeups at that value. As a table:
Δ rep		# writeups
 -1 		   2
  0 		   4
  1 		   6
  2 		  14
  3 		  15
  4 		   7
  5 		  10
  6 		   3
  7 		   6
  8 		   2
  9 		   5
 10 		   2
 11 		   0
 12 		   1

In terms of who is "winning" the Quest, I think it's the readers of e2, of course. But in terms of possible prizes, the top promoter is the relentless shaogo, followed by Myrkabah, junkill, and myself.

These writeups have had the least change (zero or one vote) during the Quest: Run like you are six, The One-Boobed Systyrs of the Apocalypse, No one can be unhappy with a fresh box of crayons, and Why strapping buttered toast to a cat's back will not produce infinite power.

These writeups have the fewest overall votes of the submitted writeups: Safe Passage Through the Night, The Great Figure, runner's road rage, Alaskan Independence Party, What do moths do during the day?, and Aubade.

These writeups have the most overall votes of the submitted writeups: A message from sensei, Do you remember how small your body was when you were five?, So this one-legged man walks into a bar, How did I get here, Sarah?, Why strapping buttered toast to a cat's back will not produce infinite power, and How to assassinate a third world despot with only a butt plug and a litre of raspberry coulis.

Admin note: One submitted writeup was removed from e2 by its author, dropping the total number of writeups in play to 77.

Then three new writeups were added to the roster today: pile of kittens by that girl, I suggest you dance. If you need a reason, I'm sorry. by Hatshepsut, and Touch the Puppy by theonomist, bringing the total number of writeups in play to 80. These three are not included in the above stats.

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