The time has come for me to make a difficult announcement: August is my last month as a staffer at io9. I am taking many slow, deep breaths and trying not to cry.

I realize this is terrible timing, what with Robbie Gonzalez heading off to Wired to spread his tireless curiosity and funny animal GIFs to a whole new audience. (Way to steal my thunder, Robbie.) But I’m going back to school; I’m working on my MFA in Comics at the California College of the Arts. My parents are very proud.

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My life at io9 started in 2008, when I was still trying to figure out what to do with my post-law school life. Fortunately, Annalee Newitz and Charlie Jane Anders liked my penchant for writing goofy lists and my weird interest in web traffic analytics and took me on as an intern. I started out pulling all-nighters that involved scaring up videos of humans punching aliens and researching fictional political systems. I was hooked. I’ve been at io9 off and on since then in various roles, and things have only gotten—happily—stranger.

There are way too many current and former io9ers to thank: Annalee and Charlie Jane, who hired me, guided me, and saved me from having to become a lawyer; Graeme McMillan, who has held my hand through all sorts of personal and professional ordeals (and amazingly, still responds to my text messages); Meredith Woerner, who has always pushed everyone to be better and who is permanently lodged in my heart; Robbie Gonzalez, the only io9 staffer who has had the dubious pleasure of working with me in person on a regular basis (and made bug cookies with me); Rob Bricken, whose brain travels at speeds incomprehensible to mortal geeks; Katharine Trendacosta, my fellow legal profession refugee, who is even funnier behind the scenes; Ria Misra, who has been my sounding board when I needed it most; James Whitbrook, who has floored me with his insights, his writing, and his hard work; Esther Inglis-Arkell, who leads the very best field trips; Cheryl Eddy, a bottomless resource of the horrific and terrifying; and so many more: Alasdair Wilkins, Cyriaque Lamar, George Dvorsky, Germain Lussier, Mika McKinnon, Diane Kelly, Andrew Liptak. You’ve made this place special.

And of course, there are all you readers and commenters who stuck with me through manic Lauren Weekends, goofy Legend of Korra and Orphan Black recaps, and my peculiar taste in art, comics, and short films. You may see me pop up from time to time, but it will be sad not interacting with you folks on a day-to-day basis.

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io9 has been such a big chunk of my adult life, and while I’m excited for the next chapter, it’s sad to say goodbye. I’ve felt so privileged to be here and to share my favorite works of art and offbeat tales of history and science. By the way, if you still want to send me webcomics or tear-jerking zombie movies you think I’ll enjoy, please do. You can also pass them along to Katharine Trendacosta if you’d like to see them featured on io9. Tell her I sent you.

And whenever you see a GIF of a monster or an alien that makes you inexplicably uncomfortable, think of me.

GIF from the stop-motion short film OMEGA. Top image from The Wicked + The Divine.