Jordan heard about Thinkquest sometime in the fall of '99 while residing in Egypt. His life was changed forever. He didn't take it seriously when Andrew Dempsey (now our coach) told him about a web design contest for students. Over the course of the next couple of months, however, things changed. The contest started to look like a real possibility, and Jordan became excited about joining a team. He didn't really know what he had to offer, but he'd take the next bridge when he came to it. This was during late Fall.Bootz hears of Thinkquest - Early Winter 2000
About this time Bootz was sitting at his computer in Vught, the Netherlands, hearing of Thinkquest from his little brother, and was thinking of being part of his brother's team. He entered himself into the Thinkquest database as a Perl programmer.Matthew doesn't hear of Thinkquest - Early Winter 2000
About the same time, Matthew was sitting around in Minnesota, joyfully oblivious to Thinkquest.Jordan tries to connect. Other parties meander. - Early Winter 2000
Because it still seemed early, Jordan was in no particular hurry to grab onto a team (This was, as he realized later, a grave mistake), and was slowly and randomly sending notes to programmers and researchers listed on the Thinkquest database. A few responded, but nothing ever came of it. At most communication would bounce back and forth a couple of times. He didn't like thier topic. They already had a full team. They didn't need a quasi-programmer, researcher, writer, artist. While this was going on, Jordan was slowly finding his niche as a site designer: digging into HTML, and pondering artistic styles. Bootz was meandering. Matthew was meandering.Matthew is found - Mid Winter 2000
During mid winter Jordan started going after potential teammates with vengeance. He got a couple slightly more solid holds, but nothing took shape. His dad then asked him about the possibility of asking a couple of my friends from the States. He took up on it. Right away he emailed his two first choices: Matthew, in Minnesota, and Charles Michael, in Colorado. Both responded; both said yes. Jordan was the team leader from the beginning. Here's part of an email correspondence between Jordan and Matthew shortly after Matthew's joining.
From Jordan to Matthew - 1/8/2000:
_________________________________start of email
Great! (that you'd like to do Thinkquest.) To answer your questions: 1. We can have up to 3 coaches (one for each member). I have somebody who can help here, but you can go ahead and get that other guy too. 2. Yes, I have a good friend in Colorado who's agreed to join. He's 15, and his name is Charles Micheal (his email address is *********). 3. I don't have any really solid ideas for a topic, but I'll list a few bellow. Go ahead and tell me yours. We should like get on some kind of chat system where the three of us (me, you, Charles Micheal) could talk about stuff. Here are some of my ideas for topics (like I said, nothings solid):
1. Computers, what they are, what they do, and their future
2. The World of Fantasy Authors
3. Careers, what they are, and where they might take you
4. Mathematics, how it affects our world
5. The Greatest Strategic Military Generals of All Time
6. Exploring the Depth of the World we Live in
7. The Middle Ages
7. Shampoo, what it has been, and what it is today =)
Whatever we decide, the process will be devided into 7 main areas of developement:
2. add graphics, pictures, sound, etc.,
3. get copyright permission for anything we need to (*ugh*),
4. add interactivities and stuff,
5. create the layout,
6. put the whole thing into HTML and Java Script (Oh dear),
7. other miscellaneous things.
P.S. The fact that you don't have internet access at home will give us more points for diversity of network resources.
_________________________________end of email
Team complications - Early Spring 2000
It seemed that the team was formed, unfortunately, Charles Michael had to leave the team shortly after joining due to various circumstances. So Jordan went on the hunt again, while he and Matthew twiddle. After a couple of weeks it was thought that a third team member was finally found: a talented Italian programmer. As communication continued, another possibility surfaced: Christiaan Bootsma, from the Netherlands.A final team is formed - Early Spring 2000
Around this time Jordan had begun fiddling with a site design, and he and Matthew were having a weekly chat session every Saturday (the seven hour difference in time made setting up a common "green zone" difficult, not to mention the fact that Matthew didn't have the internet at home). To make a long story short, the Italian guy somehow fell through, and Bootz ended up on the team. At that point we had no idea how well we would work together. All parties were hesitant, but time was running out.A topic is chosen - Early Spring 2000
Emails were exchanged, and, due to interest all around, a topic was finally chosen: World of Fantasy authors.Site design is created - Mid Spring 2000
By this time Jordan decided on a final site design. The idea of having three main site versions was one of his thoughts from the beginning, but a key design was needed to allow them to be seamlessly integrated and updated. The "border and main page" design was the answer. Having all the main sections of the sight displayed as buttons at all times was also an initial decision: Jordan had always hated sites in which you became easily lost. Another primary decision that turned out to be a life saver later on, was to use style sheets, which allows the entire sight's look to be changed instantly, and painlessly. One interesting note is that it was a conscious decision not to include overly many graphics directly on any of the pages; but to have them linked to. Being in Egypt, Jordan realized the value of a fast loading site. Of course the "frame" or "border" has to be loaded, but that never has to be reloaded, so he made that as nice looking as possible.Content is chosen - Mid Spring 2000
Through all the team members' collaboration, and careful weighing, the actual content to have on the site was chosen, from Current Fantasy to Creating a World to Say What?Barely squeezing in on time - Late Spring 2000
By now the deadline was approaching, and the team had a problem: no coach. Thinkquest rules clearly state that it is advisable to have a coach by the entry deadline (like, if you don't have one, you're out). Desperately, Jordan lunged at Andrew Dempsey (the guy who had originally introduced him to Thinkquest), who fortunately became the registered coach, 36 hours before the deadline.
By this time Jordan had actually put the site design into HTML, and messed around a bit with various things, but it was much too late. He would be traveling around the states all summer, and computer resources were unknown. He started working like crazy, and feeling very stressed. He started thinking about entering the site for Thinkquest 2001.Matthew's so far unmentioned research - Late Spring 2000
Matthew was by this point reading lots of books. It was decided that he would be the main researcher, and he was reading everything from author info, to general fantasy, to Shakespeare. When Matthew first started research on the sight, he asked his dad for some ideas. (He’s a college English professor, so Matthew figured that he’d know the proper procedure for this kind of thing.) Well, Mr. Fisher told Matthew to collect references like he would for a normal report (which Matthew has to do a lot of, being homeschooled with an english prof for a dad) and write some suspiciously report-like essays. Well, it turned out that, with the sections Matthew had to research, that was what Jordan wanted him to do also, so he (Matthew) took a whole bunch of books out from the library and promptly discovered that none of them were anything near what he wanted. It seemed that really good fantasy resources were either nearly impossible to find in the reference section of the Duluth library, or nonexistent. It turned out that for quite a while he was taking tiny things out of lots of different books, returning them to the library, and taking another armload full of books home and repeating the process.Bootz saves lives - Late Spring 2000
Jordan, at first unsure of his last-minute choice of Bootz, was becoming more sure all the time. It was probably due to the fact that Bootz cranked out a couple of tough scripts in barely no time at all. Bootz was also becoming more confident with his decision, as the team seemed to be working together well. He was also learning a lot more about Perl.Jordan finishes in Egypt - Late Srping 2000
Before leaving Egypt Jordan worked as hard as possible, and got some more work done. Using Multimedia Fusion, a powerful program from IMSI, he finished the "Enhanced" version of the site, and got most of Trilogy Trivia completed (Matthew provided the questions). He also got the rights to, and implemented, lots of fantasy art. Finally, with the help of Matthew, he researched and implemented some creature definitions (he planned to enter more later, but never had time). By this time he had regained a little confidence, and was hoping to have the site done in time for Thinkquest 2000.Matthew continues to work - Early Summer 2000
This whole time, of course, Matthew continued his research. From every source he could find he grabbed books. "Fantasy worlds," "Old Wives Tales," "Tolkien," "Mythology," "Fairy Tales," "Monsters," and more.Jordan struggles in the U.S. - Early Summer 2000
Now in America, Jordan had problems. He had a large amount of stuff, and needed a fairly decent computer. It looked like he'd be lucky if he found a computer at all. Fortunately, the first people he stayed with in Rhode Island had a usable computer (if not quite incredible). For the next couple of weeks he worked hard, and managed to accomplish a bit. He found applets, got permission for games, and messed around with the design a bit, among other things.Jordan takes a forced vacation - Early Summer 2000
For the next few weeks, Jordan's family was driving all around the U.S., staying with all kinds of people. Good luck trying to work. He decided to call it vacation.Matthew and Bootz struggle on - Early Summer 2000
While Jordan was on his vacation, having the time of his life, Bootz and Matthew were slaving away in the dust. Bootz cranked out the "Fantasy Forums" script.Jordan struggles on a laptop! - Mid Summer 2000
Yes, you heard right. Due to extreme circumstances, Jordan decides to try to work on his dad's laptop (kids don't try this at home). He comes up with the idea of having "header" graphics for each of the main sections, and creates a few of these. Also does a few other miscellaneous things. This is at his grandmother's in Oregon.
By this point, time is becoming a very expensive thing. A thing which there isn't enough of. Jordan's family departs from Oregon, and heads for the rest of the family, in Minnesota. He goes to basketball camp the first week, but gets right to work the second on his grandparents' new computer. Matthew lives nearby, so they get together and "chat." Things look possible. Barely possible.Bootz cranks like crazy - Mid Summer 2000
Meanwhile, Bootz goes into top gear, and starts spitting scripts all over the place. The Search script, Quest Book, counter, and Quick Poll come roaring out.The final mile - Mid Summer 2000
Back in Minnesota Jordan is driving everyone crazy, working on Thinkquest all the time. He finishes up all the "header" graphics, creates the Site Map, Writes various sections of the site (like About he Site, About Us,), puts together all the links he's gathered, gathers Current Fantasy news, and even manages to produce something of an intro video.Busting the Ribbon - Mid Summer 2000
At the end there was no sleep. Because of various circumstances both "Famous Authors" and "Creating a World were completed the day before the deadline. Site testing was done, and final writing was finished, such as this section here, and Jordan flew back to Egypt two days later.
I learned that it's not easy to collaborate with people from around the world.
I learned that things which seem impossible are actually possible.
I learned that managing time is never as easy as it seems. I learned that hard work pays off.
I learned that friends can be made from across the world.
And finally, I learned that completing something which you have worked your butt off for leaves you very, very satisfied.
I learned never to ask if you can please, Please, PLEASE FOR GOODNESS SAKES TAKE OUT THIS REFERENCE BOOK FOR JUST ONE DAY! I REALLY REALLY REALLY NEED IT AT HOME NOW!
I learned how nice it is to have a father who is a college professor, since the library will let you keep a book out for as long as you want if he checks it out.
I learned the importance of deadlines, especially when they suddenly get moved up two and a half days.
I learned that it really does make you sick if you flick your eyes back and forth between a computer screen and a book a lot.
I learned never to overestimate the power of the human brain, at least in terms of retentive abilities.
I learned that teamwork truly is essential. I learned that nobody except me reads enough ("you mean that you read a book willingly? You must be insane!").
I learned never to put off until today what you can do yesterday.
And, most importantly, (although I learned this a while ago), fantasy literature is both the best and the worst, but, whatever you read, it’s a great way to get into reading and realize that it’s really, really, cool!
I learned more about Perl than I already knew.