Welcome to this months “Getting to know you” Q&A, this month we’re talking to one of TORns Four Founders, Xoanon.
Kelvarhin: How do you run a news site for 5+ years when there is no news?
Xoanon: Ah, the salad days. That was quite fun for me, I had the run of the place! There was very little…or actually NO news, so there was absolutely no studio politics involved. I think I mainly ran stories about the cast, DVD releases, game news etc..
It was quite amazing to see how fast the old gang came back together once news on The Hobbit began to hit and was real. Now there are so many amazing new volunteers and hardworking staff from the old days I cannot keep count!
Kelvarhin: What event, experience or situation has given you the most long-term satisfaction from TheOneRing?
Xoanon: I think the Oscar parties were the most fun for me, even though I did very little to help organize it…I did think they were tent-pole experiences in my life. There was something quite magical about each of those events, it was really fun.
I must also include my trip to New Zealand and having lunch with Peter Jackson, that was a great time for my wife and I…trip of a lifetime.
The fact that the site is still around and is still very important to many people, that gives me the greatest satisfaction.
Kelvarhin: What other fandoms are you interested in?
Xoanon: Wow, that is a long list! I am, and always have been a life-long devotee of Doctor Who since the early days in the mid to late 90s and of course the re-launch.
I am a huge film fan, and love everything from westers to sci-fi and crime dramas. But as far as established fandom? Let’s see… Star Wars, Star Trek, Supernatural, Arrow, The Hunger Games Series, anything comic related, Hellboy, Watchmen, Sherlock (Elementary too). I am currently finishing up the entire Sherlock Holmes original stories…that book is a bible! 1100+ pages, super small font!
Kelvarhin: Do you have a phobia about anything?
Xoanon: Good one, I have a very common phobia of failure…I think many people do. I am not good with rejection either. Oh and vomit…omg.
But more seriously, I suffer from mild agora phobia and social anxiety disorder. I can sometimes find it quite hard to do the simple things like get a haircut or go out to dinner. I have panic attacks on occasion. A mix of medication and relaxation techniques help me through rough patches. I actually insist on working quite far from work…forces me to get ‘out there’
Kelvarhin: What does it take to get you on the dancefloor?
Xoanon: A great pair of legs and some alcohol…next question 🙂
Kelvarhin: When did you become a Dr Who fan? And what’s your opinion of the Sylvester McCoy years?
Xoanon: I’ve been a fan since I was about 9 or 10..so 1987 or 1988. I love Syl’s Doctor for several reasons, first, I met him and got his autograph (!!!), but also I do love the mystery they put into the last few seasons. If they had gone through the Cartmel storyline, which was latter adapted into books, it would have been awesome.
I think Doctor Who at that time suffered from a general lack of fresh blood, ideas, and infrastructure on the part of BBC Drama. It took them almost 20 years to get things on par with some of the better American channels.
Kelvarhin: Who in your opinion would win in a Leela vs Ace smackdown?
Xoanon: Ace would use Nitro-9…but Leela would have Janus thorns…so I’d call it a tie.
Kelvarhin: Demosthenes said you should tell the story of XoanonFlash!
Xoanon: Ah XoanonFlash! There should be a link to that somewhere, I’ll try to find it for you. Essentially XoanonFlash is one of my first attempts at flash animation. I used a photo of myself and made an animation of me dancing to ‘kung fu fighting’…there are hip thrusts and music involved…a good time was had by all.
Kelvarhin: No need, we found it 😉 Enjoy people Xoanon Flash! 😀 *warning if reading this at work, turn off your sound! 😉 *
Kelvarhin: Did you get the name Xoanon from the Dr. Who episode, The Face of Evil?
Xoanon: I did indeed! But not because I have an evil face…at least I hope not. WAY back when I wanted a ‘handle’ for myself, so I grabbed my trusty Doctor Who Encyclopaedia and chose a page at random. The first word I chose was ‘Ragnarok’, but I thought that might be too confusing..so I chose Xoanon….little did I know..
Kelvarhin: As you are a DW fan from way back, what, if anything, do you think of the new series?
Xoanon: Oh I love the new series, although every season has its highs and lows. My Doctor will always be Tom Baker, but of the new Doctors it is a tie between David and Matt (we’re on a first name basis here).
I do lament the worldwide phenomenon that it has become though…I sort of liked feeling like I was the only fan in the cosmos.
Kelvarhin: And of all the DW references, why choose Xoanon, the computer suffering a major identity crisis?
Xoanon: I know, right? I think it works out in the end, I am constantly of 2 (or 3) minds of everything. So perhaps it does reflect me..maybe I didn’t choose that name…maybe it chose me… Woah!
Kelvarhin: How did you come to know the other Founders?
Xoanon: I met Erica through ICQ, I think we began talking about books and our mutual interests. We both liked Kim Stanley Robinson’s ‘Mars’ series. We just starting chatting and got onto the discussion of LOTR and off we went.
Chris and Bill (Corvar) used to play MUDs together and were friends from that, one day Chris emailed us and offered to make a website for us, one better that the free-hosting site we had.
Kelvarhin: How long did it take you to get TORn up and running having come up with the idea?
Xoanon: It was a working progression, like I mentioned above we had a green-themed site off of a free website company way back when (xoom.com or something?). When Chris approached us to make a new site we had to choose a domain and park it there. We emulated the guys at TheForce.net and chose TheOneRing.net. I can still recall Chris showing us some design mockups and getting everything working with a CMS (Content Management System) called…newsmaker? I think? This was pre WordPress days.
I think they are on TORN version 4 or 5.0 now..we’ve come so far 🙂
Kelvarhin: What does it feel like to be one of the founders of the worlds most popular Tolkien sites?
Xoanon: It is a great feeling to have that in your life, a good feeling to know that it brings joy to so many others.
Kelvarhin: How often do you browse the boards? Do you have a favourite board?
Xoanon: To be honest I haven’t spent time on the boards, or the site, for way too long now. With a demanding job and 5 year old son, things have certainly changed in my life. I don’t know how people like Chris (2 kids) and Erica (1 kid) can do it, plus all the other amazing volunteers who have a MUCH fuller plate than me, manage to keep the site running. I wish I could spend more time on it, or just visit the boards more often than I do.
Kelvarhin: What are your favourite spots in the world?
Xoanon: Certainly New Zealand, my wife and I both felt very much at ‘home’ there, we would move there if it wasn’t too far away from our families. I love my city of Montreal, it means the world to me. I often think of places I would love to visit, Vietnam, Egypt, Prague, Moscow.
Kelvarhin: How were you first introduced to Tolkien, and how did this influence your life, in the days before TORn?
Xoanon: I was given the books as a Christmas gift when I was…16? 17? Maybe? I didn’t pick them up until I had a class in college about Tolkien and his books, so naturally I raced through them and fell in love. I think one of the best experiences I had was to begin LOTR in the fall and read it though the changes of season..I felt almost part of journey with Frodo and Sam.
The key takeaways that I bring into my life from Tolkien are the themes of responsibility and duty. I truly love Sam Gamgee, and think that without his devotion to Frodo the quest would have failed from day 1. Sam felt a duty and obligation to follow Frodo into the very heart of Mount Doom, and I think we can all take a little lead from Sam when it comes to our own responsibilities and duties, especially difficult ones.
Kelvarhin: What was your favourite cartoon when you were a fledgling, and is it still your favourite?
Xoanon: Wow, change of tune from the previous answer! I was a child of the 70’s and 80’s so growing up we watched The Flintstones, GI Joe, Transformers and He-Man, those are still my favourite to this day. I actually got my son to watch some He-Man..he was all into it!
Kelvarhin: What kind of music do you listen to?
Xoanon: Good question! I am an AVID lover of music, mind you I think Bill (Corvar) has one up on me, he is always visiting bars and small clubs listening to these really obscure bands.
I am a lover of almost all types of music, and my ipod has 1200 of the most diverse music you could imagine. Hip Cop, Celtic, Movie Scores, Rock, Classic Rock, Instrumental, you name it!
Thank you Xo, for taking the time to talk to us this month.
As always a big thank you to all our message board regulars, DanielLB, Ataahua, Brethil, elaen32, Ziggy Stardust, dernwyn, grammaboodawg and zarabia, and Staffers, Demosthenes, MrCere and Justin for our questions this month.
If you would like to ask any questions yourself, just head over to our Message Boards, the sign up process is pretty painless. A lead post for questions is made at the beginning of each month on the Main board, if you don’t want to sign up to the boards just email me your questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Till next time from TORn’s resident Tiger.