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?

First 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.

There 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 awesome guy. 

I 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 emotional armor. 

Of 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.

My 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. 

Then 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 people.

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

You 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. 

My 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!

But 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?

Let 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.

My 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.

A 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?

Well 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.

My 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. 

But 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."

So 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?

Well, 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.

I 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?

Fucking 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.

And 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?

It 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 personal.

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?

Jeremy 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."

Here 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?

I 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. 

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. 

If 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. 

So 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. 

I 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.