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  I got my first real computer (real in that I don't consider writing
three line BASIC on my old Apple IIe as applied computer experience) in
1993. It came with a Prodigy account. Prodigy was really something back
then, kind of like AOL but without the Gestapo tactics. However, one
thing they were firm on was people paying their bill. So, after they cut
me off, I decided to look through the yellow pages to see if there was
anything else out there. That's when I found out about the BBS.

  From the first logon, I knew I wanted to do something like this. It was
a chance to create something out of nothing more than some artfully
placed code and my own imagination. I soon realized just how easy it was
to set up and had my own BBS running in no time. It was originally called
the "Astrological Love Lounge" (after the Lester Shy & Shyphonics song
"Do The Brown-Nose") until its first makeover when I named it "Bowling
For Jesus." I'm not sure where that name came from, I think it's just
something I woke up with one day, but it was a toss-up between that and
"Fondling Wombats" so I tried using them both equally for awhile but
people seemed to prefer "Bowling For Jesus."

  I used Renegade software, which really seemed to bother my fellow
sysops, most of which were using WWiV. I liked WWiV but it was only
configurable if you bought the license. Renegade was 100% customizable.
They finally lured me in by having one of the paying WWiV sysops make a
few mods for me and leading me to believe that the WWiV Network wasn't a
complete waste of time. But, the network was the jumping off point for a
lifetime of silliness.

  When I first joined, I became familiar with Net36 and joined quite a
few networks. They started streaming in like you wouldn't believe! It was
almost like having real callers! Of course, the increased activity lead
to real people actually calling my BBS and participating. This, of
course, lead to problems. One user would irritate people in a networked
music area, another would make suggestive comments to people in adult
areas (which is what we thought they were for but what did we know?),
etc. It finally came to a head when a tagline I used in my posts (from
the Green Jello video "This has nothing to do with anything else but ...
penis.") angered the network coordinator who then wrote me a long letter
about using profanity, having no respect for other users, yadda yadda
ding dong. Basically, he thought it was inappropriate using the word
"penis" in a private area that was only accessable by sysops. I disagreed
with this, dropped the entire network and used my newfound knowledge of
Net36 to start my own network, you guessed it ... PENISnet.

  Around this time, a small group of sysops started an alliance called
CHAOS (Christian Alliance Of Sysops) and made it their mission to get rid
of us. They would call our BBS in the middle of the night and hang up in
an attempt to take the line down so no one else could get through. They
would leave profane messages in our message areas or start flame wars for
no apparent reason. If they knew our home phone numbers, they would call
and hang up on us over and over for hours at a time. So we retalliated.

  This is when PENIS (People who Encourage Nonconformity on the
Information Superhighway) was born. Since it had irrtated them so much
before, it was even better the second time around. It worked marvelously.
We didn't even have to do anything and they were mad. We proved (if only
to ourselves) how easy it is to anger someone who takes themselves that
seriously. The point was lost on them but we spent quite a bit of time
laughing at them and that makes up for it.

  The only thing we ever really did to them was logging into one of their
bulletin boards under a fake name. We used a number that they could call
and verify but the person behind it was one of us. He started by hitting
their message areas with extremist Christian points of view, going so far
as to argue with his own posts from earlier that day. He eventually
gained their trust and became one of them only to logon one night and
post homoerotic literature in their message areas. They simply removed
the offending posts and never spoke of him. They also stopped bothering
us after that. But, there was very little time left on the clock for us
by then anyway.

  The internet started gaining popularity by that time. A very elite few
had actual accounts they could use to access information (porn) from
anywhere in the world without having to call a BBS long distance. Most of
us still used our old "com" programs (I prefered Telix) to dial into our
local BBS service and then go to the internet from there. Netscape was
around at the time but people were used to text messages and ascii art so
the idea of a fully graphical web interface was alien to most of us.

  It was around 1996 when I put up my first web site. I kept the BBS
going for a couple of months but, in the end, it wasn't even worth the
$6.95 I was paying each month for distinctive ring (another fine feature
of Renegade). I retired my BBS with much of its dignity intact. Most of
the users migrated to the web where our alliance remained for a couple of
years but, without the easy option of calling for a "get together," most
of us went our seperate ways.

  However, with the creation of community blog software and scripts, I
believe there is hope for the web.

Ed Yuban
Webmaster & SysOp


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