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...