::Indy returns to the stage, reassured that his main recipient hasn’t committed credit card fraud. Grabbing a drink of water, he returns to the podium, refreshed::
Indy: And now, the last award for tonight. Also, the only award for which Fish isn’t yet eligible.
Fish (from the mezzanine): Thank you, thank you! Bless the heavens!
::Fish, now recovered, sits in the mezzanine which is now
covered with trophies. There is some talk in the audience of whether the
assurances about the load stress may have been exaggerated. Indy clears his
throat, capturing their attention once again::
Indy: The Lifetime Achievement award is named for Natasha Kashefipour, the young Rangerphile visionary who took Ranger fandom from Usenet and gave it an online home. Without her bold move, we wouldn’t have an Acorn Café today.
::The crowd applauds as Natasha’s picture is shown on the big screen::
Indy: The award for 2003 goes to a veteran Rangerphile, one who has been in the community and contributing consistently to the community’s welfare over the years. This person has made an indelible impact on all the Rangerphiles, and their name is worthy to be recognized here and added to the permanent trophy. And now, the honoree for the 2003 Natasha Kashefipour Lifetime Achievement award…
::Indy opens the envelope::
Indy: Well, how about that. We’ve got two this year. Our honorees are Jaleel and Julie Bihn!
::Julie blinks, as though the applause and music have startled her into silence. She slowly smiles, but doesn’t move to get up, not seeming to understand the situation. Finally, her escort, Shadow, climbs up onto her shoulder and nips her ear. Julie stands with a scream, dislodging her companion, and then walks onstage with all the dignity her situation (and her dress...and her homemade Gadget ears...) will allow. She stands up behind the podium, smiling nervously::
Julie: I...uh...know some of the fellas decided to wear tails, so I hope wearing ears is OK. Heh.
::Julie pauses for light laughter.::
Julie: Wow; I don’t know who to thank; if I tried to thank everyone we’d be here all night, and then I’d leave people out, and then the spotlight person would get mad at me for having to work too hard...did you think of the spotlight person?! Besides, the people I want to thank...you know who you are.
::Julie flashes a smile at a select few people, who probably do know who they are.::
Julie: Thank you to all the founding members of the community--people who were there back when we were a newsgroup, and everyone who saw the Acorn Cafe just get off the ground. Especially the people who encouraged me in the early years, and praised my “Doubt of a Shadow” and TAOGH fanfics. Heck, thanks to everyone who knows what TAOGH stands for; you all rock!
::Some scattered shouts come from the crowd, acknowledging there are a few veterans around::
Julie: Thank you to all my friends in the community, and all the people who have written and drawn, whether they’ve been recognized or not. Well, I mean, if you wrote or drew something that was the Rangers and no one recognized who they were, maybe it wasn’t a very good story or piece of art, although you know, when Jim Davis first drew cats, he had to label them as ‘cats’ so people would recognize what they were, and now he’s like the most famous cartoonist in the world, with Garfield and all—but I meant whether you’ve gotten an *award* or not. Yeah. Oh, golly; I’m rambling so much it’d make Gadget blush.
::Gadget smiles in the audience and waves back when Julie waves at her::
Julie: Um...I can’t even begin to list the people who have made posts that have brightened my day, so I won’t even try. I know! Let me just thank all of you.
::Hundreds of tiny little spotlights focus on each and every person, mouse, and other creature inside the auditorium, briefly blinding them. There’s some groans and boos from the audience.::
Julie: Oops. Um...er...don’t worry; I’m not doing anything exciting, and you can still hear, right? I know everyone here wants to make the community a pleasant place for everyone, and I hope it stays that way.
::Julie waves at the crowd; most of its members can see again::
Julie: Take care of yourselves! Thank you all for giving me some of the most enjoyable time in my years on the Internet, one I’m honored to have been affiliated with. Thank you!
::The crowd, now recovered from the spotlight blindness, stands and applauds. Jaleel approaches the podium and the mic next::
Jaleel: Around 1989, I watched my first episode of the Rescue Rangers from my parent’s bedroom. It was a fun cartoon series; even after first experiencing “Ducktales”, I was amazed to see Chip N’ Dale were given new roles as detectives. Admittedly, my early continued interest in the show came from Gadget’s introduction to the crime-fighting team. But it wasn’t until Foxglove did I feel that the series wasn’t just another half-hour Disney adventure.
Dale (from the audience): You said it, man!
::Jaleel nods and continues::
Jale: Dale was always considered the bumbling comic relief of the chipmunk duo; his scratchy voice and loud Hawaiian shirt made him noticeably different from Chip, and no one would take him seriously. Never did I think the writers would introduce a female “love interest” to Dale, especially one so interested in this romance-bashful chipmunk. Foxglove - it was hard to explain both my surprise and curiosity over this pink bat during the episode.
Foxglove (to Dale, from the audience): That’s just what you said the first time I asked you what you thought of me!
Jaleel: Unlike other female characters in the series, she was sometimes just as clumsy and vulnerable as Dale, and as a bat, didn’t have any friends other than Winifred the witch and her cohorts. Foxglove’s flirty yet sincere attraction to Dale, plus her soft voice and cute appearance is what really stuck with me. However when the show ended, I figured - like most cartoon love-interests - that she would never appear in another episode.
::Dale cries in the audience, Foxglove comforting him::
Jaleel: A few years later, after a LOT of begging from yours-truly, our family got our first computer - a Powermac 6100. I just started college at the time, and later worked for the Macintosh computer lab designing simple web pages. One summer afternoon, I was enjoying the first few days getting the internet hooked up at home, and out of nostalgic curiosity, typed “Foxglove” in a search engine.
Dale: And we’re glad you did, too!
Jaleel: That eventually led me to the original Acorn Café and Julie Bihn, who happened to mention Foxglove in a posted message. She suggested that someone compile sound bytes of her voice for posterity, along with the rest of the characters. An endearing RR fan named Tom Hunt offered a copy of the “Good Times, Bat Times” episode to grab and post some samples on a web page. Eventually the page resided on Geocities and was called “FoxWavs.”
Foxglove: Those were the good old days…
Jaleel: That page apparently was the first one devoted exclusively to Foxglove. What I didn’t realize at the time, was that other people liked Foxglove quite a bit, too. Eventually they found FoxWavs, and started sending a few fan-pictures and short stories to my email. It’s possible they felt that here, contributions featuring Foxglove wouldn’t get overlooked from myriad postings of the primary Rescue Ranger team. I was continuing to develop my web publishing skills at the time, and FoxWavs was later expanded into the Foxglove Feature.
::The big screen shows the Foxglove Feature index page, as Jaleel continues::
Jaleel: It’s rather difficult to sum up all the reasons why the Foxglove Feature continued to grow well over 5 years. But honestly, working with the Feature, the multitude of artists and authors that contributed to it, and responding to the fans that gave kudos, changed my life. I now design web sites full-time, developed a professional talent for inking and computer-coloring, and met some wonderful people on the net and IRL. This award means a helluva lot to me, to know that even after a year of stalled updates, people still consider the Feature a great place to learn about this lovable one-time character from the series.
::The orchestra strikes up a lively tune, and as the crowd stands and claps in its appreciation, Indy congratulates Julie and Jaleel once again upon joining him as Lifetime Achievement winners. Dr. Batorius’ voice comes over the loudspeaker::
Dr. Batorious: Don’t go anywhere, folks. As soon as our last break is over, we’re returning for the finale. The Golden Acorn awards will be right back…