So a long, long time ago in a board not so far away
...I came upon a group of fellow Lord of the Ring fans, thrilled about the movies. I was not among the first, I think I caught up to the Ringnuts (though we had not officially dubbed ourselves that yet), in the build up to the Two Towers. There were (and still are) amazing people here. Everyone loved and knew Tolkien, everyone here contributed to what was an amazing community of intelligent, fun, caring people, surprisingly tight knit and for a while, my best friends.
Lord Natrone, I still have his recipes. A fan who was smart, probably one of the best read of the bunch, and incredibly generous with his time and knowledge. Nate lived a three hour drive from me, we even talked on the phone, but I never got in my car and drove down to actually meet him. I consider that to be one of my few regrets in life.
Snowball, who with her cool intellect and sense of fun helped me feel welcome. Akalder, with her common sense and more fun. Anettea, truly kind and positive in her strength. Dirtum, community leader and resident music expert. (I still remember one of the first exchanges we had, "You're telling me New England jokes from California?"). CTS-1, whom I learned a lot from and helped me out. BB-15, wise and wacky. Bellbird, a trough cookie who was a lot of fun and took no crap, and shared a love of furkids with me. Ptero, the dedicated hippy in the best sense of the word.
Gimlet Son Groin (best sign on ever), Ungoliant.
There are others that I have known them by their real names for so long that I have forgotten their sign-on, so to all of them, I shout out with gratitude to Liverpool, and Poland, and Wisconsin, and Melbourne, and Malta, and so many others around the world that made this group truly special.
I have forgotten his name, the chess player, the older one who passed away? He was Portuguese, I think? I feel like an idiot not remember so many sign-ons. He was another one of those fonts of Tolkien knowledge.
I dropped out of that nightly satire, did Bill the Pack Pony remain the Ringbearer?
I will even thank Aule, with whom I was politically at odds, hammer and tongs, the entire time I was here.
I came, as I did in those days, with a lot of fire and abrasiveness and looking to start fights. I was eventually dubbed the Resident Dragon and it was not for my glittering scales. (And they took my emoticon, dammnit!)
What I did not realize, and people at the time could not have known as the Dragon stamped among them between intermittent baths in the swimming pool with tequila and limes, was that I had not yet been diagnosed bipolar and would not be for several years. And then a few years after that to get my medication right.
But despite all that, the people here were patient, more understanding than I deserved and much smarter than I. They are people for who I will always have great admiration and to who I will always have the great gratitude.
And for the hurts that I caused, and I know I did, I give my sincerest and deepest apologies. No one deserves to have a bomb like I can be dropped on them and I am sorry.
And again, thank you to every Ringnut for making this such a special community.
And to you all, shoot me an PM (quick!) if you want keep in touch.
If not, then I wish every Ringnut who is, or ever was, the best that life has to offer, from here into the West.