One of the first experiences I had with The Shroom was reading the ever-impressive Holiday issues that released every December. They were always chock-full of hilarious articles, holiday-themed fun and animated Christmas lights. In one such issue, there was a particular section that stood out to me as an informative, humorous and simply impressive analysis, and that was Walkazo's A Genetic Analysis of the Koopas. An idea brought on from Miyamoto's statement that the Koopalings were not Bowser's kids inspired Walkazo to deduce, through simplified genetics, how the Koopalings could possibly be related, despite their diverse traits. Being the science and Mario nut that I was (and to an extent, still am), I was so enthralled by this idea that I simply couldn't stop reading and rereading it at the time. Although I ended up pursuing another field of science later down the track, I simply cannot forget the pure joy and inspiration I got from reading Walkazo's section, and it continues to be one of my favourite articles The 'Shroom has published to date. In the years since, I was able to experience her generosity and willingness to help when I was editing the Wiki, as well as her creativity and plain coolness through debates on the Wiki Collaborations forums, the ever mindless threads of the Mindless Junk forum and especially though the creation of Dragon Problem, possibly the greatest love-letter to the community ever constructed. However, its the article that I spent hours reading that sticks out in my mind as my most cherished Walkazo memory. It just demonstrates Walkazo's unrivaled passion for both her field and for Mario, a passion that has inspired many of us and will absolutely continue to do so in the future. Rest in Peace, Walkazo.
I'm sort of in an interesting position here. Because I've been around so long, it's assumed by many that I know a lot and have an opinion on everything. This couldn't be farther from the truth. I'm really no smarter than the average man nor am I much more talented. While I have grown into the skin of an administrator slowly over the last decade plus, I think it's obvious to most that I'm not a content creator nor, at times, a very good manager. What I am is a janitor and general repair man, an archivist content to work behind a desk, hidden under a pile of papers. A wiki roadie, stepping into the light when needed and trying to fix a problem without being seen, then vanishing back into my office. I had no problem just running through the special lists, leaving a note where needed and not interacting with the community past that point.
Enter Walkazo. In all the time I had known her, she both accepted my feelings and encouraged me to engage in community activities more. A major reason I've become more active on the forums, agreed to being coming an administrator again, and accepted the NIWA rep position was because Walkazo approached me about these things and wouldn't let up. That might read like "she bugged me till I gave in"... well, that's what she did, but with less 'bug' and more professional encouragement. I'm glad she did. It was good for me. Questionably good for the wiki, but that's another story.
If it seems like I'm dancing around the point, it's because I am (and thank the Titans The 'Shroom has talented editors to clean this up. Dippy note: No kidding. You edit the wiki with that grammar? For shame.). It's difficult for me to put into words what Walkazo meant to me as a person when we were not near as close as others were to her. We never had comics or stories, no late night Skype chats... What we had was a strong professional friendship. I could present ideas to her and she'd take them at face value, assess them, then discuss her assessment with me. We'd exchange messages about archiving philosophy. We'd disagree on how to handle a situation and come to a compromise that was, normally, better than what either of us had initially come up with. I'm sure this seems rather plain and basic to many people who are going to read it, but it's the kind of person I am. She understood. :)
I'll end with this. As I was thinking on how to word the first part of this a few weeks ago, another editor came forward and told me that Walkazo had stated that she looked up to me and had a few endearing nicknames for me. I... never knew any of this. I never knew she thought so highly of me and I'm still at a loss as to what I had done to deserve it. I wish I could speak to her about this new information, and pick her brain again over her reasonings. But all I can do now is be thankful for the profound ideas she left me with and new ways of thinking she opened me up to.
Walkazo was an exceptional editor. Under her tenure, the wiki saw some of its most ambitious and necessary expansions in content and policy. On the admin board, she always offered the most detailled and insightful posts, and most of the time, all we could do was nod in agreement. She was a witty, and scaled writer, as great as describing Mario is Missing than at writing mock rap battles. And despite frequently lamenting she didn't dedicate as much time to the wiki as she could, she always managed to get in edits and valuable widsom on the admin board despite juggling the wiki, her studies and her three part-time jobs.
But more than a skilled wiki editor, Walkazo was a friend. Since we had good chemistry in policy discussions, I asked her if we could talk over instant messaging, and she obliged. Initially we only talked about wiki things, but as time went on, we began to converse about things like our jobs, politics, animation, games and so on. By our last year, we had a tradition of riffing on shows together. When I was on bad times, Walkazo was always there for me. But I wasn't always there for her.
One time, she told me she didn't like my habit of leaving without a word. I told her I'd stop, and for a time, I obliged. But one night, I left without saying bye, thinking it was not that big of a deal and that I could offer half-baked excuses if she brought it up next time we talked. It was the last time we did- she died three days later.
I miss you, Walkazo.
Walkazo has been perhaps one of the nicest, most helpful and active people in the Wiki community, what she has achieved here is extraordinary. Walkazo has made what the Super Mario Wiki is today, people who use our wiki to research the serious wherever it's for fun or for projects have her to thank for a lot it. While she may have not written all of it, she has played a major role in the polices on how the wiki is laid out. She's also been great in social community as she's a great artist. Without a doubt one of the most influential users this community has had or will ever have. Thank you for what you have done.
On March 27, I lost one of my very first friends. I joined this community in 2008, and got to know and work alongside Walkazo for two years.
My awful memory unfortunately prevents me from remembering so many of our interactions from those years, and the last personal conversation we ever had was in June of 2010, through private messages on the Xephyr Board. To my knowledge, I never talked to Walkazo personally ever again after those PMs - and I will never forgive myself for that.
What I can most definitely say is that Walkazo was one of nicest and brightest people you could ever possibly meet. My friendship with her never truly developed to the extent that it did with others, but all the moments I remember with her, and all of the memories I have heard from members of this community since her passing, cement the fact that she was absolutely incredible. The proof I can share from myself - personally - is from a post on the forums that I made a few days before her death. I had just returned from a considerably lengthy hiatus, stretching a handful of months, and a relatively somewhat popular thread at the time was a topic where people could share their problems to the rest of the community. I thought it was a fantastic thread, and I hopped on it and made a very long post about the issues I have gone through in my life - and one of the people who liked it was Walkazo.
I made that post a little after 11AM EST on March 26. Walkazo lived the final full day of her life taking time out of her day to read about someone else's problems and ensuring that person, me, that she cared. The same caring and passionate person I had met 8 years prior, who had helped me get my feet set and wet in this community, who I used to have discussions about Guitar Hero with back on the old Userpedia Forums along with Stooben and Dippy back in 2008, the same person who dedicated her time and energy to ensure that Userpedia, the community as a whole, would survive the transitions after Scribblewiki's crash and the tumultous times at Wikia, that very same person still cared after so long. I know I don't share the same memories, particularly compared to people who talked to her consistently... but to me, just having that initial support on that post made me happy. It actually genuinely made me smile that she, out of anyone, liked that post, after so long of not even having a single discussion. I had planned to message her after I saw that, but didn't get around to it for some reason... and then the 27th happened.
It felt like a living nightmare, being on IRC that night when the news broke. Never in a million years would I even think that somebody from our community would be gone forever, and yet, it happened in the matter of seconds. To me, it was truly the first time I had ever lost a friend. For the first time, it dawned on me that we weren't invincible, that out there, past all our nonsense on the forums, wiki, and chatrooms, was a world that can so tragically take us as easily as anyone else. I guess it sounds really silly thinking otherwise, but... to me, it just felt so surreal that the one thing I thought would never happen, well, happened.
I would be lying if I said I didn't look up to Walkazo, because I did - and I will forever look up to her. Her love and care for this community, and the time and dedication put into everything is absolutely inspirational and amazing to anyone who got to witness it first-hand
I don't... really know where to leave this off, truthfully. All I know is that I want to take this moment to say I love you all, each and every one of you. This community goes through its bad times, but that will never change the friendships and relationships that have been built and have lasted for years, even decades. I would not trade a day of my life spent here for anything - and the community coming together as one and embracing one another after March 27th cemented that fact. We are a family, and I have never been prouder and happier to be a part of it.
I love you all, and we love and miss you so much, Walkazo.
Oh boy. I could go on and on about all the experiences I had with Walkazo, but since I'd rather not be too verbose, I'll tell of a few. Before I start, though, I should mention that I'm staring at my phone thinking back on Walkazo and her legacy in the community.
I remember this Mindless Junk thread where Walkazo, Meta Knight, and I were all writing rhymes. We all constructively criticized each other (Walkazo did most of the criticisms though), and improved our songwriting skill from that. There was another thread where something similar was going on, and I wrote "I used to be terrible at writing rhymes" or something along those lines. Walkazo chimed in and said "You still are." To this day, I haven't written any more rhymes just because of that.
I more remember Walkazo for her adminship on the wiki. She was there to help me out when I changed my name to that of a blocked sockpuppet and couldn't log on because of a weird MediaWiki glitch. I did the majority of my vandal reporting to her as well. In fact, on March 25, a sadly ironic thing happened; I reported someone, and she replied with "If he does this again, let me (or another admin) know." Two days later, she passes away in a car accident.
All in all, Walkazo may not be with us anymore, but she won't ever be forgotten. I think I speak for all of us when I say this:
Goodbye, Walkazo. I'll always remember you.
I don't know what I can say that has not already been said by myself or (perhaps even more eloquently) others prior to today. Walkazo was one of the closest friends I've ever had. I miss her so much, I can't even properly articulate it. Whenever I am not distracting myself with projects or hiding my feelings behind stupid jokes, the reality of what happened sinks in and I simply find myself incapable of dealing with it properly. Even now, it's hard for me to just type out the truth. I know it's not exactly healthy, and it's not like I refuse to believe what happened, but... She was so young, so full of promise, and capable of so many great things, my mind can't comprehend why she had to be taken away from us. From her family. From the world. Nothing feels the same anymore. I don't know why this is so difficult for me to come to terms with, but I can't imagine ever getting used to this sort of sinking feeling, this...inability to change the outcome. It's maddening, and focusing on it only seems to make things worse.
In 2014, I was asked by to create a theme song for the landmark user comic, I heard you have a dragon problem, which I gleefully accepted the responsibility for. After a series of three-way conversations between Walkazo and Gabumon (talk), and a bit of a trial-and-error, I got a very good idea for what the theme song should sound like. However, for personal reasons that are irrelevant to this memory, I chose to not record and show them the final product. I thought that life would reach a place where I could show off the theme song at a later date, but...this was not the case. I have the whole song composed, and I even wrote lyrics for the piece back in early 2015, but I chose not to show it to Edo or Walkazo despite the beautiful artwork they had made, not just for me, but for the entire community. This is perhaps one of my deepest regrets. Even if it is too late, I want to amend this mistake as best as I can by fulfilling my promise and releasing the theme song this year. I am sorry I let you both down.
We worked together professionally from 2008 to 2010, and had grown extremely close between 2010 and 2013; after that, my contact with her heavily wavered. I wish I had spoken to Walkazo more frequently in the last 3 years than I chose to. That's something that I felt long before her death, but life consumed much of my time and the choices I made ate up the rest of what was left, resulting in her largely being excluded. Considering everything she had ever done for me, all the times she had my back, supported me through times of personal difficulties, collaborated with me on wikis, and helped keep my forum (Xephyr) active, I feel like I have taken Walkazo's friendship for granted.
Still, I have been searching for silver linings in the wake of her death. While doing this, I have pored over the thousand-plus messages she sent to me over the course of our friendship. In the second-to-last PM I ever sent her, I told Walkazo how important she was to me, and how sorry I was for not spending more time with her. I wanted to get in frequent contact with her again, so she gave me her Skype address. I created an account and added her, only to, once again, choose not to speak with her. I don't know what was wrong with me. Now, whenever I log into Skype, there is only one name I see in my friends list — Walkazo ワカゾ. Her status is listed as offline and I am so sad that I will never see her come online now.
I am grateful I told her what she meant to me before she passed away, even if it was 10 months before the fact. While that was still too long to go without talking, at least the final words I said to her made her feel appreciated. I told her I didn't want her thinking I had ever forgotten about her. To get to the point of this long-winded series of memories, she was touched by that, and made a reciprocating comment that, "At least for [her], it takes a LOT to give up on a friendship". Maybe it's not much, but I hope those words can bring some sense of relief or closure to other friends of hers who regrettably fell out of contact. Walkazo did not forget about you — now it's up to us to not forget about her.
There will never be another person in my life like you, Walkazo. Rest in peace, dear friend.
My first friendly interaction with Walkazo was when I was learning do draw and do computer art. I messaged her about starting a comic and asked for an event log or something similar, and she gave me a detailed response that really helped me. As thanks, I sent her a picture I drew, and she commented on it and gave suggestions for improvement. She was definitely the main reason I wanted to continue with my digital art. Once I'd started drawing my first comic, I had a conversation with her about character roles and plot, and that's when her kindness had really dawned on me; she didn't even know who I was and she was supporting and helping me draw. Without her help, my art hobby would be much worse off; she was the starting boost that gave me the motivation to be a part of the community.
Throughout my time on the wiki there's only been one constant, and that is Walkazo. Ever since I was promoted she has been there; to borrow Stoob's words when he promoted Walkazo, she was "the epitome of the quintessential Administrator". We may have not always seen eye to eye on Wiki discussions, but she was the one to calm my impulsiveness in more than one occasion and for that, I thank her. Having Walkazo on the team gave me, and I'm sure everyone else too, a great sense of tranquility; you knew for every problem that could arise, Walkazo would have a solution. And not just any solution; a well-thought and practical solution. She was never one to do half-assed things or to leave situations to random chance; she carefully thought and planned her actions, and she always gave her 100% in everything she did. We only talked privately a couple of times; the first one about our usernames, I asked her if calling her "Walka" was OK and she told me that if I was gonna shorten it, I better go all-in and shorten it to "Walk", and she said to me the only variant she disliked was "Walky", because it reminder her of her cute pet lizard and that she didn't do cute, heh. In forum threads and over at Xephyr we interacted more frequently; our last interaction at Xephyr keeps echoing with me... Reading it again for the first time after the accident was just, um, enraging, infuriating... I don't know. As much as the subject of the conversation is not pleasant to read again, it showed how she always cared for other people. Our last interaction was her giving me tips for a trip, and the vast majority of the interactions I ever had with her reflect how she was: a friendly, caring, attentive, and helpful person who was always willing to listen. We will all miss her, and she shall never be forgotten. Thanks for everything, Walk.
I think my best memories with her come from working together on the admin team. She really had it together; she was active almost every day, she always chimed in on admin board discussions, and she was dedicated to all of her projects. Even with work, bird-banding, and all of her other hobbies and obligations, she always made time for us... I looked up to her to some extent. She helped me through my first few months of adminship (which basically consisted of me panicking a whole ton, heh). She tried to take a calm and rational approach to things, even when others, including me, were apt to get hot-headed; I tried to learn from her advice and not rush head-first into situations.
I still regret not getting to know her any better... I'm sure everyone shares that sentiment of "if I had known, I would have done a lot more things beforehand", but it doesn't ease the feeling. It's been a few months now, and I still have some trouble coming to grips with how... permanent it is, I guess? It's jarring not seeing her around voting on proposals and commenting on threads. I really miss her, and I'll never forget about her... but ultimately, when she comes to mind, I want to focus on the good times instead of the bad ones. I can't speak for what she would want, but keeping positive feels like the least I can do.