So, I've been attempting for the last few weeks to make some kind of milestone thread. I tried the namedrop route, then I tried something more formal and ceremonious. Neither way worked. Really, I just came to realize that I don't really post here all that much anymore. When I do, it's normally about Game of Thrones. I actually spend more time on Reddit nowadays. Which is not to say that Reddit's discussions are in anyway superior to what I've found on the Jedi Council (never!), but the sheer quantity of material that Reddit aggregates and presents for discussion just can't hope to be matched these days by our little corner of the internet. Reddit has nothing on the intelligence of the discussion here or on the well-known and authentic posting styles of our users. Anyway, since I don't really post here that much anymore, it just feels wrong to make some big bonanza of a milestone thread. Instead, I want to talk about gratitude. My gratitude. Even though I'm not all that active anymore, there was a time when I was, and this place had a huge and positive effect on my life and its direction. When I signed up as Jedi_Poltergeist in July 2003, I was fifteen years old. Some of you might remember, I was one annoying little twit. Either I annoyed you or you found a way to view my idiocy as entertainment. I think some of you know who you are... AssassinDroid21, droideka27, goodfellas, flying-fishi, Stackpole_the_Hobbit, etc... whatever happened to all those guys? Well, except goodfellas, who I know still posts sometimes. I still remember all the C_o_r_u_s_c_a_n_t parody usernames. Truthfully, I just loved the idea of a place where I could be myself without being teased for the sound of my voice. I used to have (and still do sometimes) a really high-pitched voice that made me an instant target for mockery every time I opened my mouth in junior high and high school. It probably had something to do with my hearing impairment, and the fact that I overcompensated on pitch to be able to hear my own voice before anyone even knew I was extremely deaf. Here, where it was your writing that people saw instead of your voice that they heard, I could get around that barrier easily and just be myself. "Myself" was a nitwit who would annoy the crap out of me today, but myself, nonetheless. It was an all too healthy thing to indulge in, after I had repressed myself and been anti-social for years and years. JC, you helped me grow up. Where I was just too damn afraid to climb out of my shell in my high school environment, I could make mistakes and piss people off and learn here on these forums. It's kind of ironic, considering my parents and all the counselors I ever had always said I had to branch out and get my feet wet and socialize and make friends, and then I joined this quirky little internet messageboard and found exactly that. My parents, though, saw this place as all too dangerous of a habit to pick up. Not a healthy outlet. Yeah, right. It works just as well as any other. JC, you helped me get to know myself. In my first years here, I wanted to be a moderator. Why did I want to be a moderator? Was it for the power, the buttons, the bans? Was it for the colors, the glory, the vanity? I think, honestly, it was just because it was there. Modding seemed like the natural next step after registration in the whole messageboard experience. I learned to examine why I want the things I do, and whether I really want them at all. JC, you opened up the world to me. I talked to people all over this green and blue rock, and soon instead of just seeing red, blue, and yellow, I got to see the whole spectrum of colors, like a mantis shrimp. For a boy who grew up in a family of men with very little feminine influence, I finally talked to girls all over the place. Mostly, I just irritated them and revealed my astonishing ignorance of all things the opposite sex. But it was important to learn how ignorant I was, because then I got to use my imagination in ways I never knew it could be. And for a boy who was to the right of Arlon and was driven to school by a Savage-listening grandma (sorry, grandma, love you and hope you're doing well up there), with Fox News the cable news channel of choice in the family room, I finally got to understand and even come to agree with the different viewpoints people hold, even if I first had to run through a gauntlet of shock, disbelief, anger, and rejection to eventually get there. JC, you trusted me, even if I let you down. You placed responsibility and tools in my hands, which sometimes I used well and sometimes I misused to disastrous result. I was a capricious, inept, even corrupt game host, but after all this time, I still like to think we can look back and see that it was mostly a good time. If not, that's fine, too. I got the opportunity to **** up big and as a result have a gaping regret or two. That's good, because the next time in the next place, wherever that will be, I'll do better. If I ever argued with you, called you names, abandoned all semblance of tact in communicating with you, and if you altogether believe that either you or I burned all bridges in a friendship or were always just plain enemies, then you should probably give yourself a pat on the back. I'm way too stubborn and proud to admit it, but odds are, I was wrong every single time. You were crucial in the formation of my own character, you helped me select my values and prioritize, and you forced me to use my imagination to see just where other people come from. This is my gratitude, JC. You have my lifelong thanks, and someday I hope I can express to the doubters just why it was so important in the end that I wasted so many untold hours in this place, this home on the internet.