Like that knife His Shadow used on Kai.
Despite my difficulties with reading, since I wasn't reading anything else, I forced my way through deep digging through forums and articles that wound me so off the actual Lexx grid that I started finding other things out. I didn't keep notes and I don't really remember user names, but I accidentally found one tight little forum with a handful of people that no one in the main public fandom ever knew by those usernames. They were comparing notes on some of the collectibles, and at one point while I was researching that knife, I watched information on it just literally disappear off the internet. Back then searching was very different than it is today. There weren't algorithms in the way. The whole operation was about as wysiwyg as it could be, with mainly the most trafficked sites winding up on top. Nowadays the digging gets really challenging, between algorithms and paid placement.
Because of that, I was able to find most fans pretty easily almost anywhere on the globe. Finding the Russian fansites was like cake and ice cream. After I found more in several other countries, I started matching up names with forum users, and it wasn't long until I found myself hooking up with a few. Creating a link list isn't easy work when a library can grow to hundreds of links, and I was manually coding each one with their personalized headers as buttons. I didn't get very far into that, maybe fifty to a hundred links or so, not all in the same place, before I realized I'd bitten way more off than I could handle. I tried diverting to more content, taking breaks from site building, but that also got fairly challenging. It would take days to organize and execute even the simplest goals with the problems I was having, so sometimes I simply diverted my frustrations back into the forums.
Late in 2005 I joined the littlelexx.net forum, and late spring of 2006 I joined the LexxZone forum. I managed to get another job in 2005 and worked 15 months through to about the time I joined LexxZone, the sickest on the job I'd ever been in my life and didn't miss a single day. Over that winter I spent long empty hours during the tourist and traveling off season working on content filler for my fan blog. It was all I could do to hide from coworkers and people checking in that I could enter only one digit at a time from a credit card, keeping my thumb in place at each number, because I could not remember even a very short 2-3 digit string of numbers. I was able to hide massive problems because that business was so slow and still get the books done correctly before I left each night. The entire time was very painful, but I hid that as well as I could, as well. Everything sucked. I focused on grinding my way through writeups and transcribing and making more plans for coding later.
About that time, Tony Tellado did some podcast interviews with some of the Lexx cast. I had friends who couldn't listen to it without various physical or tech challenges, and other friends who wanted to translate, so I spent three very grueling days playing sentence fragments over and over and over through my headset at work while I wrote it all down, word by word. Even doing that, I still happened to be the first timestamp publishing one of the transcriptions, and even though other fans had also published on their sites, I was threatened with being ratted out for not getting permission. Tony contacted me, I explained my reasons and asked for permission to keep the transcript up, he said absolutely not, so I deleted it off my fansite, but not before a clever Russian fan had pulled a complete copy over to a Russian site. As far as I am aware, I am the only Lexx fan who Tony Tellado personally contacted and requested removal of his material. I never made a countermove back. I mean, I had the guy right there talking to me, I could have said By the way, someone else did it, too, but I didn't.
I am a fandom junkie. I have always protected fandoms, regardless. I have always looked to fans for what I want to find, and they very rarely fail me. Fan wars don't bother me. I'd been through plenty, to the point where a player in the Xena fandom got so excited that she drove twelve hours to my house, and then went home and stole my ragtag rowdy bunch away. I was that gullible. I've been done really dirty a few times, and nothing phased me in the Lexx fandom. I remained impressed at the biker bar baditude and took the punch.
How does that saying go? Play smarter. That was one of my many lessons in site building, and I'm grateful to have learned it.
Over several years I finally realized that if I'm going to stand out like a sore thumb in a fandom, I need to do things correctly, legally, without malice or intent other than simply enjoying what I'm doing. For someone who'd been the rowdy mess for years, that was a big thing to learn. It's not about shining brighter, being bigger, having the most. It's about whether I am enjoying what I'm doing. I don't have to win anything.
For some things, though, it's best to lay low. I had a really hard time learning that one.
Summer of 2006 I tried reverting back to college and barely made it to the end of summer semester. During that class, though, I finally had access to a computer network on campus that could pull up my fan blog, and I just sat there staring with little tears in my eyes. That was the first time I'd been able to see the outcome of all the work I'd been doing, and it was like a glossy, shiny online magazine. I'll never forget that brief minute before the test we took, and then I had to leave.
And then after that, my health plummeted so badly again that I finally sought out a lawyer for advice on how to get disability. We'd already gone bankrupt over my medical bills, and there was no other direction to go. I obviously hadn't died yet, but neither did they find any kind of devastating damage anywhere. I literally went from an ACT score of 32 capability to not being able to follow a story on a movie without multiple viewings, and I still wasn't able to read through more than a page at a time in a book yet. No sign of physical damage in my brain or anywhere else in my body, no tests coming back positive for anything. The weird decisions I kept making while driving got more and more dangerous to the point where I was discussing becoming medically diagnosed legally as a non driver.
But that never stopped the Lexx, did it?