So here's the deal: E2, and the E2 experience, can be taxonomically categorized into the bits that can be explained to a non-noder and the bits that can't. It's a fluid, ever changing taxonomy that is a complex non-linear function of time, space, the educational background of the noder doing the explaining, and a new irrational universal constant (for which I have invented a new Greek letter) representing the immutable stupidity of the average semi-computer literate schmuck. It's a fascinating subject and I'll be pitching a screenplay based on my work in the area to Darren Aronofsky as soon as he's done shooting the new Batman flick. But I digress.

One of the key elements of the E2 experience which I do not believe most people bother telling about when they explain why we spend our time and our energies here is the experience of a noder coming into focus. Because there are so many users, and the reading of Everything2 as a hypertext has for the most part little continuity of authorship, we retain, initially, only the most high-profile users at first. The first time we flip through the database ("Jesus, there's a lot of stuff here!") it is an anonymous experiece. After a few weeks we know some names, even if we don't know much about the person. But the experience of the enduring user is that having accumulated a good sense of who most of the high-profile and prolific folks are, one still finds that on a regular basis a username suddenly makes a sharp transition from being just another name, that generates the faintest or even no sense of recognition, to a person, who has wit and style and often, to our happy satisfaction, no small number of contributions to the nodegel for us to peruse. Suddenly, we feel, Everything2 makes just that much more sense; we have reached the next quanta of clarity.

It doesn't happen very often. I remember very vividly when certain users came into focus for me. It used to suprise me. It still does, but only because I don't know when it's going to happen. I think it's one of the reasons I've made this a permanent home.

Saturday in LA was my first BIG gathering, and the whole evening was an explosion of clarity, focus, and "Man, how did I miss this user until now?" I spent the evening in awe that a complete misanthropist like myself could show up at a party largely populated by people that in some sense I'd never even heard of, and I pretty much wanted to get to know you ALL. And while I failed in that regard I have a checklist above from Igloowhite (I never even saw the sign-in sheet, sorry) from which to spend my next several months allocation of reading time and daily vote allocation.

I'm thinking maybe next weekend we could all meet at Igloo's again so I can get some QT with those of you I didn't get to really one-on-one with.

There was a fantastic balance of old friends and new people at the gathering. I was a little overwhelmed when I first arrived, but seeing misuba, factgirl, Akasha, Ouroboros, and Bindlenix all in attendance helped set me at ease. A few more noders were folks I had chatted with in #e -- jasonm (who accompanied Ocelotbob in picking me up at LAX. Thanks guys!), Ælien, Kenata, Eraser_, panamaus, and eventually Sparkleface. The rest of you, for the most part, fell into the vaguely familar... but no longer.

The party was that great mix of people who have just enough in common to have lots to talk about and enough differences not to know each other's jokes. You all impressed me terribly and I am at a loss for words (the 6k words of this writeup notwithstanding) to communicate that. Come to my neck of the woods and by all means bring more noders with you. While I can't promise to be the stunningly good host we found in Igloowhite, I'll do my best.

Lastly, I want to publicly thank Ouroboros for helping make my trip financially possible. Having met me only once before at a noder meet, his unprovoked act of generosity brought me to one of the best times in recent memory, and I fully intend to pay it both back and forward. We discussed the possible establishment of some kind of "noder travel fund" and while there are no concrete details yet I will be working on the concept and details. At the very least I hope to be able to assist at least one noder in traveling to the planned April-ish Bay Area gathering. I encourage you all to help me thank my generous benefactor by voting on his recent writeup, How to bake a potato.

See you all at the next meet.