That said, I can also honestly say that I don't think I would trade my involvement in Stargate fandom for more of that same ignorant bliss. Sad as it may be, both the show itself, the fandom, and the people involved in both have made a huge impact in my life, and mostly for the good. Of course I can't say how my life would be different if I had never tuned to that specific channel on that specific summer afternoon. What I can say is that, before Stargate piqued my interest, I had finished only one story that wasn't an actual school assignment... and it was pretty crappy. The inspiration I got from Stargate - and Sam and Jack in particular - got me writing more than I had at any time previously. I really don't feel I can say whether that writing was better, but I have gotten quite a bit of feedback for the Exile trilogy. And Exile was, like, the second thing I wrote.
Through Stargate I've made tons of great friends. I was a member of XF lists in my pre-Gate days, of course, and we had a lot of fun... but I'm not in contact with any of them to this day. I still own the list I ran back when, but other people moderate it and the traffic is fairly low. And I certainly never travelled to another country (or travelled anywhere at all, actually) to meet them! The friendships I've made in this fandom... well, some have come and gone, but others have been very constant -- for years now! I just think that's amazing, and I consider myself to be very lucky.
Then there are all those hours of entertainment. Even when involved in silly little wars of words with, shall we say, unarmed opponents, I have fun. I enjoy myself. I complain about writing and vidding, running the samandjack list and doing the sj fic awards, dealing with neurotic shippers and egotistical fic divas and crazed pre-teens on GW, but - and maybe this is the machoist within - I have fun doing it all. I love having projects going. I love technical stuff - except when it bites me in the ass - and being artistic. And fandom brings that all together.
Fic, travel, online friendships... this fandom has inspired a lot of firsts for me. I certainly never imagined that I might - for going on four years in a row - fly up to Vancouver, Canada, and actually meet some of the actors from my favorite show. And never would I have thought I'd end up being friends (or at least friendly) with the people behind the scenes (because to me, they're just as awesome, if not more so, than those onscreen. But that's me *g*). I hope I can, without sounding too sappy and inspiring someone to slap me, say that fandom - and this fandom in particular - has opened up a new world to me. I've done things I can't picture myself doing otherwise for this silly... little... TV show.
Maybe that makes me pathetic. But I think that without my writing and other artistic endeavors, without my fannish 'adventures', without my friends... I would be even more pathetic. So there, all you casual viewers, all you "normal" people. I embrace my inner fan!