Everything2 Decaversary Interviews: dann (person)
1. What is your name?
[dann|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 [Artificial Intelligence|undergraduate degree] into something more closely resembling [Linguistics Ph.D.|graduate work]. I'm not so much a [Natural Gas and Department Politics: A Love Story|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 [The Baptist General Convention of Texas|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 ([We built orphanages|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 [Noders By The Lake 2: I've Got This Nodermeet, and It's Fucking Golden|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 [slashdot|a bunch of nerds' opinions on Star Trek and Linux kernels]. In that world, there were [seriously, have you HEARD about Linux kernel 2.2.19?|question marks] surrounded by [[I hear it even has a working driver for my token ring network card with the FAKE VULCAN EARS on it!|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 [everything2|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 [jessicapierce|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 [pedants|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 [University of Texas at Arlington|my first writeup]—brushing up my HTML, making sure my grammar and punctuation were perfect (because [dem_bones|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 [dannye|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, [Everything is a Family|this one] seems to have been a hit. I actually wrote that first with pen and paper [one hand on the steering wheel, the other writing in a notebook precariously balanced over a cup holder|while driving] from [WonkoDSane|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,|Hahaha no]. It's about you. It always has been.
( We got the [beauty|kind of games] you can't [experience|rent] at [Wikipedia|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
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 [Head West! Colonize an already-inhabited place!|Portland] gathering and nodeslam.
Least favorite: Getting the call from [templeton|Laura] that [hermetic|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)
Chances are good that I've given hugs to you:
 · [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,
[DEUM (nuked)|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,
[DEUM II (nuked)|Who] did it again and was stricken with [September 2, 2001|peripheral paralysis], but warmly welcomed wanderers with a limp and a smile,
[Revenge of Nature Trail to Hell (in 3-D): A Very Appalachian E2 Gathering... OF DOOM!|Who] climbed into the sky [Tunnel in the Key of G|with drums, with tunnels], [mulespotting] drinking [Martini of Death|the first spirits to cross minister lips] from the hand of [Hermetic|the creator] wearing a Russian name tag,
[Hollandaise VaporMeet|Who] sang, shouted, wandered around churches until early dawn in Michigan while Klaproth crawled the floor in a pink plastic ball,
[FINALLY, a New Orleans gathering: music, mayhem, beer snobs, and Bourbon Street (nuked)|Who] drank grenades on Bourbon Street, stumbled to St. Charles before the Hurricane, seeing [oenone, you know this|UFOs dot the interstate] on their way back to Texas,
[Squished tubers and dead bird: An orphans' Thanksgiving (nuked)|Who] forfeit the blood for bytes for a flurry of hugs, prayers, and fake Chicago accents in Nashville,
[Grouper and oysters and shrimp, oh my! An E2 New Year's gathering on Florida's Gulf Coast|Who] danced around a time zone fire at midnight in Florida and woke up to a plate of drugs and love and [but mostly love|black eyed peas], wandering eyes smiling,
[Get your ass to Mars: An Atlanta E2 gathering (Whizbang the Second Coming)|Who] memorized credit card numbers over foosball, [ccunning|an accidental hoss] behind a vegetarian diner in Atlanta,
[Meet Me Tonight In Atlantic City: A Jersey Shore Noder Gathering|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 [homeless|where they felt at home] and so did Gus, a thick haze of [yard work|smoke under] the pier at midnight, dragging visions up and through tattered train tracks holding high the noose of industrialization,
[I'M GUNNA BE WICKED RETAHDED: Come for the scenery, stay for the BAP (another E2 nodah pahty)|Who] led lost tribes of [E2|Eahtoo] through [Boston, MA|The Holy Land] by word of [cahla|St. Carla of Medford] in search of beer and booty and robots, preparing sacrifices that did find favor in the eye of [tandex|the king],
[I see you baby, shakin' that Astoria: You are the dancing Queens|Who] rocked [rockbots|the basement] and [yard work|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,
[HOT DAMN 2! When Ohio's a rockin' don't come a knockin'|Who] greeted [zophos|Mississippi] in Ancient Greek on foot through Ohio, [nodeslam|slamming prose] into rusted mikes, lesbians and mokeys and [SOY! SOY! SOY! Soy makes you strong! Strength crushes enemies! SOY!|soy! soy! soy!] on playgrounds through pride parades, [Bless your brown eyes smiling|brown eyes smiling],
[Son of Nature Trail to Hell: Another Appalachian E2 Gathering|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,
[Head West! Colonize an already-inhabited place!|Who] drove through mountains and hurricane in search of [Daniels|Jack] into the [portland nodeslam|binary] [did he REALLY have that writeup MEMORIZED?|flow], populating bookstores in Portland, breaking playgrounds chain smoking and ending up lost on the salt flats at sunrise,
[New York, New Years|Who] piled into an [New York City Noder Compound|abandoned Brooklyn factory] with many [Don Red|busted flows],
[Five Bucks Says Blood Bounces on Ice: Another Jersey Shore Noder Gathering|Who] took another turn to Jersey, washing stale popcorn in cheap beer, driving night and day and night again to lie in fields smiling,
[Dannye|Who] learned how to really [southern preacher uncle|sell a washing machine] lost in Little Rock through pizza and pronunciation and litterbox duty,
[We don't swim in yer toilet, so don't fuck us over or you'll need 2 wheelchairs, fool: An Partie|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,
[HOT DAMN 3! nodestock|Who] flew to Ohio to be accosted in tents and got back on a plane covered in [cremora|a flammable white powder] with no questions and no answers,
[Noders in love: Marrying my best friend|Who] was picked up in White Plains by [brassmule|a truck] to Poughkeepsie, sleepless dancing autistic acorns and prayer hammering the barman for something green and free,
[A Tail of Two Monkeys|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,
[siobhan|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 of Berne|university] to learn German using only Latin and patience,
[fitzroy|Who] migrated to London for New Years, stealing pint glasses smoking cubans in the attic of The Librarian,
[WonkoDSane|Who] encircled a [Burnpipe|minor deity] made of corrugated pipe in Nashville, eating the food that food eats,
[siobhan|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,
[indigoe|Who] reconvened in a Baltimore cuddle pile when it was [IWhoSawTheFace|turtles all the way down]town through the force of a six foot plastic rod,
[dem_bones|Who] placed [dann|an engineer] in charge of [everything2|a garden] and disappeared in a puff puff pass of exasperation,
[We miss our friends: A dysfunctional noder family reunion|Who] made it back to Columbus armed with bluebonnet seeds to receive love from peers and a kindly fuck off from [girlfriend|the queen], scaring children away from playgrounds,
[dann|Who] lost the will for music through dysfunctional relationship soul [national defense|crushing work] some idle [a stroke, or how to have one|Thursday] in an apartment cursed to nothing more than perfection,
[There Goes the Neighborhood! 2: Unfinished Business|Who] raced through Kentucky to get to West Lafayette and back, pouring themselves through comics and music and plastic beads, howling at the wolves,
[ariels|Who] got found and lost and found on the shores of Tel Aviv contemplating entropy and time and only the most miraculous hummus,
[Hot Damn 5! The Dysfunctional Family Reunion Strikes Back|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.
([the worst year of my life|2008])
[katherine the|What] horror of genes hath God wrought? [gender?|What] hell of [a writer with one working hand|crippled] canes and forgotten medicines and fake [The top secret of talking like a Woman|laughter] and [passing|crawling] without [surgery|teeth] or [joy|sound], receding hairlines [graduating|passing under] capitalist [universities|behemoths] waving [The Visceral Society|sweaty] [Owning Conversation|manuscripts] dreaming [Genderfuckery of the highest order|the ability to limp again]? Enduring [transition|night] to [walk|wake]? Perhaps again [to make music|to pray]?
[Or, the inability to move my left leg and left arm|Paralysis]! [Alex], you must take [everything2|this weight] from me!
[Shaving until your face bleeds|Paralysis]! Paralysis! [face and hands and cock and (endless) balls and arms and feet and voice and mind|hidden pieces] intact! [Gender as social capital|edifice] [rex|shattered]! [Anomie]! Isolation! Paralysis! Thy [diagnosis|name] is [a pancreas that can't handle|hubris] and [gluten|folly] and [hard cheese|vanity]!
[Bisexual polyamorous wife|Paralysis]! [divorce|Abuse and recognition]!
[Splitting totems of concrete shamans]!
([Eighteen seconds before sunrise|2009])
I am with you in [HOT DAMN 6! Westward HO|Oregon], if only in [broken|spirit].
I am with you in [Children of the Corny 5: 5'll get you 10!|Heyworth], wondering if I still [E2 gatherings|belong], freezing in the ham radio basement meditating on the 4am concrete with skunks, lecturing on physics through tired eyes [remembering that I am loved|flickering brake lights] when [androjen|you] helped me stand and [avalyn|you] gave me rest and [vandewal|you] [alex|you] [OldMiner|you] listened listened spoke listened.
I am with [Jet-Poop|you] in Denton, in classical guitar [The Ink Well|girls nightmare flashlight party] of late night day-bright hazy garlic tacos.
I am with [roninspoon|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 [Noders By The Lake 2: I've Got This Nodermeet, and Its Fucking Golden|Chicago], asana sleeping, chattering under the El down to Wrigley, serenading sexpot atrium cuddle piles, wandering little Asia in search of dim sum, loving [despite|through] the [self image issues|plastic chairs], through never have I ever vodka and vodka and whiskey and more vodka, through the [rock band|plastic] instrument [It's a nice day to start again|philharmonic].
I am with you in [Children of the Corny 6: INTO THE WOODS!|Bloomington].
[Sometimes words fall into place, sometimes place falls into words|Holy! Holy! Holy! Holy!]
( all of these stories are true. [Except for the UFO--I was too shocked to grab my camera|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 [kill your television|television] in fifteen years, it's hard for me to say. There was [Rain Man|that one movie about the guy who memorizes phone books], though, and he was [autism|a lot like me]. So, yeah, maybe [Dustin Hoffman|that guy]. [Definitely|Yeah].
11. Please fill in the blank: "E2 is to the Internet as ___ is to the world."
E2 is to the Internet as the Internet is to the world. We connect people to other people using [nodes and edges, nouns and verbs|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, [Jet-Poop|Mr. Poop]. It's been a good ten years.
[Shiny like jazz hands|Here's to the next ten].
[Everything2 Decaversary Interviews]
If you have questions or comments, please contact [dann] or [Jet-Poop].