Mastodon CounterSocial January 2015 - Nyssa's Hobbit Hole

Articles from January 2015

Online Shenanigans–College Memoirs: Life At Roanoke–March 1995, Part 1

One day, Speaker offered to let me use his alternate screen name, Alone.  He didn’t let everyone know it was his account, so I could be incognito that way.  I think I was out of hours and he wanted to keep talking to me.  He even trusted me enough to give me his password.

While I was in teleconference with Speaker and Krafter and probably others, Nobody came in and began to troll, which is cyberspeak for stirring up trouble, giving out insults, trying to start arguments, etc.

He told all the people in tele how sad it was that they were on the computer on a Saturday, and to get a life.  (Yet he was in tele on a Saturday, too!  And I know I had a life, one that existed long before we got the modem.)

Pearl or Sharon was watching at the time.  I posted that he probably said all these things because he had no girlfriend.  He said to me, “And what about you, ALONE?”  But that didn’t bother me because I had a boyfriend.  Speaker wasn’t sure he liked my comment, though, because he had no girlfriend, either.

Nobody trolled some more, getting everybody mad, until all of a sudden he disappeared from tele: Krafter killed his connection.  He was now banned from TCB for a time, though he came on again soon with a new screen name (I believe he was Sub-Zero).

Along with my other usual online exclamations, I now included, “Purrr…<lick!>”  Guys weren’t always sure quite how to take that.  🙂

I also “nuzzled” Speaker and Stimpy.  This was my own action word, made by typing “ga is nuzzling Speaker.”

The “ga” stands for “global action.”  Whatever you typed after “ga” showed up onscreen after your name, just as you typed it.  My ga showed up as, “Nyssa Of Traken is nuzzling Speaker.”  Misty also popularized this: “ga is innocent.”  This was especially funny because we knew he was not innocent.  I and others also liked to type “ga is innocent.”

Oftentimes in tele, I said I was Nyssie, the Loch Nyss Monster–“but a cute monster!”  Stimpy typed, “I’ll say!”

One popular expression among TCB users was “doh!”  It was generally used in Farwest Trivia when someone didn’t answer a trivia question for one reason or another.  I began to use it online after a while, and I think my roommates did as well.

My roommies and I helped each other out in Farwest Trivia.  Also, Ish told Pearl once that the answers to the music questions were generally the Bee Gees or the Beatles, and he seemed to be right.

Krafter paid for the first month on TCB ($5) for both Sharon and me.  Now that he was dating Sharon, he still paid for her, though I didn’t expect the same and paid my own fees.

****

Catherine and I went to lunch together every Wednesday and Friday after Chaucer.  Usually the first ones to get to the cafeteria, we’d talk about such things as Chaucer, the ridiculous sex scenes in the bodice-rippers she kept reading, Cugan, and Stimpy.

Charles often joined us later on.  Catherine flirted with him as if he were a stud.  He looked at her strangely because she was married.

But it was all just fun and games with her, lots of raunchy humor but nothing meant seriously.  She did this to all the guys, and enjoyed their discomfort.

I believe this was my first introduction to the concept that heavy flirting can be harmless even when you’re married.

With all the guys now in my life, I told Charles and Pearl once that I was having more fun now than I did when I was engaged.

Catherine wrote a story about Cugan and me in the style of her bodice-ripper romance novels: “The Coy Mistress.”  I couldn’t believe what she wrote.  Yes, there was a sex scene.  I can’t imagine writing something that explicit about my own friends.

****

One evening, Stubby drove Stimpy and me to his house for a Beavis and Butthead party.  Though I used to hate the show, Phil got me into it.  For a while, it probably reminded me of him.  But now, watching it with Stimpy and attaching new memories to it, I liked it even more.  I also loved being the only girl in a room full of guys.

Stubby said he was engaged to a girl from Indiana whom he’d met online but never seen in person.  We thought he was crazy.  Stimpy said when he saw her picture, “How do you know this is really her picture and not her daughter’s or her niece’s?  How do you know she told you the truth about her age?”

Stubby was supposed to go meet her at some point.  I don’t know how the whole thing turned out, if he ever actually married the girl.

Once, Stimpy and I were in Teleconference, cuddling and kissing and all that, when all of a sudden, Crystal Dragon hosed us off.

One night, with Krafter, Stimpy and Randy at the apartment with all of us roommies, we watched The Lion King and my copy of Wayne’s World.  My youngest brother gave me World for Christmas a year or two before, but I’d been saving it, waiting to watch it when all my friends were together.  This was the perfect time.

Now that I could hear everything and had my friends around me, I could enjoy it and realize it actually was funny.  My first time was at the Zeta party, when I was uncomfortably shy and could not hear the words.  Several of my friends saw it in the theaters, so it was the second time for them, as well.

****

Stimpy was only nineteen.  I hadn’t dated someone that much younger before, unless you count Aaron in Sunday School when I was 5 and he was maybe 3 or 4.  It was only two years’ difference, but when you’re twenty-one, that seems like a lot.

Sharon was seeing Krafter, a whole five years older than she.  That was unbelievable.  Even the Vampire, at only four years older, seemed like an old man.  Charles seemed old, too, though not as much.

In college, just as in adolescence, even one year’s difference seems like a lot.  Cugan was twenty-seven, making him seem positively ancient.

****

People online joked about computer geeks, and I said, “I like geeks.”  I wasn’t one myself–I didn’t sit around talking about computer programming languages and the latest upgrades–but I liked geeks.  If I didn’t, I wouldn’t have liked Krafter or Stimpy, and I thought they were cool.

Ish Kabibble was a cool guy of about 33, generally regarded as the nicest guy online.  Even the trolls Avenger and Lima liked to talk to him.

One day, he said he found an obituary saying Ish Kabibble had died.  Now, for him, “Ish Kabibble” was some nonsense word that popped into his head when he chose his handle.  It turned out to be the name of a comedian.  It was weird to see his own obituary.  (The comedian died on June 5, 1994.)

Turtle, a teenager and jailbait, had an obvious crush on him, and made passes at him whenever she found him online.  Ish, of course, didn’t encourage her, but it amused him.

Ish, on the other hand, met Pearl online and wanted to meet her in real life.  Pearl didn’t know what to think.  He was much older, and she didn’t know what he looked like or what he was like in person.

Index 
Cast of Characters (Work in Progress)

Table of Contents

Freshman Year

September 1991:

October 1991:

November 1991:

December 1991: Ride the Greyhound
January 1992: Dealing with a Breakup with Probable NVLD
February 1992:

March 1992: Shawn: Just Friends or Dating?

April 1992: Pledging, Prayer Group–and Peter’s Smear Campaign

May 1992:

Sophomore Year 

Summer 1992:

September 1992:

October 1992–Shawn’s Exasperating Ambivalence:

November 1992:

December 1992:

January 1993:

February 1993:

March 1993:

April 1993:

May 1993:

Summer 1993: Music, Storm and Prophetic Dreams

September 1993:

October 1993:

November 1993:

December 1993:

January 1994:

February 1994:

March 1994:

April 1994:

Senior Year 

June 1994–Bits of Abuse Here and There:

July & August 1994:

January 1995:

February 1995:

March 1995:

April 1995:

May 1995:

 

College-Style Living–College Memoirs: Life At Roanoke–February 1995, Part 9

In my second letter to Cugan, I used a more familiar tone.  I made no secret of my attraction to him, though I didn’t talk about it much.  After all, now he knew how I felt about him, and he already knew Catherine was planning a movie night to get us together.

One night around this time, Krafter and Sharon left Stimpy alone with me and went off by themselves, which was agreeable for all of us.  I took Stimpy to the Muskie for dinner.

I had fun showing him the campus and the Muskie.  There was probably a commercial on the TV for Step by Step or Family Matters, or else one of them was playing, and Stimpy said how much he hated those shows.  I said I used to watch them, but didn’t anymore.  (They were okay when I was still in my late teens, but around twenty they began to seem lame.)

I also showed him the campus to get him to want to come to Roanoke.  He’d never gone to college before, and some of us were trying to convince him to.  If he did, though, I hoped he wouldn’t join the Zetas.  Wouldn’t that just beat all?  (Peter was a Zeta, Phil had just joined, and now Charles was pledging–Charles!)

I talked with him a little about my relationship with Phil, that it was “borderline abusive.”  I told him we got engaged too quickly.

As you’ve seen, I had a tendency of getting engaged (officially or unofficially) after dating a guy for only about two months.  Then the relationship crashed and burned, and I soon discovered that this “perfect man” was SOOOO not the person for me.

“Next time,” I said, “I want to wait at least six months before getting engaged.”  He agreed this was a good idea.  (And no, there was no hinting here.  I didn’t even think of referring to marrying Stimpy, and I don’t think he took it that way.)

I carried out this resolve: Cugan’s first proposal was after about eight months, which I didn’t accept, and his next was after about ten months.  (I get the impression that modern generations find even this too “fast,” even “creepy,” but in those days, there was nothing seen wrong with it.)

****

Though far away from everything else on campus except the two scary-dorms, living in the apartment was liberating.  With the kitchen and the occasional Friday late-night grocery run with my friends, I could make lunch or dinner when need be.  I even had frozen treats sometimes.

So on weekends I could sleep in and then make my own lunch, instead of getting up at 11 or 11:30 so I could shower and get lunch before they closed the doors to the cafeteria line.  I often slept until somewhere between noon and one.

And on weeknights, especially Tuesdays or Thursdays, when my roommies were out and I went online for hours after class, I could either choose to get off and go to dinner before the cafeteria closed, or simply make up some Spaghetti-o’s, eat them in front of the computer, and keep talking with my Stimpy or with Krafter et al.  There was also my frozen chicken to zap in the microwave (like I did my Spaghetti-o’s), or my mac and cheese.

TCB was addictive, and my favorite users would come online around dinnertime.  Once, I used up all of my daily allotted five hours, and next time I spoke to Stimpy online, he said, “See?” because I discovered just how easy it was to use up all those hours.

One night I told Stimpy I was eating a Mississippi Mud ice cream sandwich in front of the computer for dessert.  He typed, “Mmmmm! Can I have some?”  So I gave him a cyber-Mississippi Mud.  People online liked to feed each other cyber-food when someone said he was hungry.  Krafter had his “pizzia delivery.”  You could go into the games menu, order a sausage, pepperoni or smurf (blue) “pizzia,” and a few minutes later it showed up onscreen in primitive pixel art.

My roommates introduced me to the wonders of stove-heated s’mores.  I thought you had to roast the marshmallows on a stick over a fire, but my roommies knew you could stick them on skewers and hold them over a heated burner on a stove.  It didn’t have to be a gas burner with a flame: Even electric coils could heat up the marshmallow.  I began making them all the time.

My roommates and I didn’t bake much, but sometimes Astrid came over and baked something, such as cookies.  We often smelled delicious odors wafting from the apartment above ours, and were jealous because they cooked more often than we did.  We wondered what they were cooking, and wanted some of whatever it was.

Our appliances still got much use, however.  Nuking Spaghetti-Os in the microwave or, in my case, cooking Kraft Macaroni and Cheese at the stove were done quite a lot.  I wasn’t the only one making my own lunch on weekends: Pearl often got up between noon and one or two.

I had been keeping up with Beverly Hills 90210, which I always called “Beverly Hills” while everybody else called it “90210.”  But lately it was too boring.

I’d do other things, such as ironing, while it was on, and barely pay attention to it.  Brenda was gone, Andrea was having problems with her new husband and looking at divorce, there was no couple I really cared about, their view of college life was unlike anything I’d ever experienced, Brandon had turned into a nice but “I’m cool and I know it” type of person, Dylan never got back together with Brenda even though everybody wanted him to, and Dylan and Kelly made an awful pair, totally mismatched.  Kelly and Brandon began to like each other, and that seemed more believable to me.

The show had gotten too soap-opery.  The couples would never stay together, so it wasn’t worthwhile to care about any of them.  Brandon and Kelly looked good together, but they were still hard to care about.  The Minnesota kids had turned into just Brandon, and he had become totally Beverly Hills.  His parents didn’t even show up anymore, and they’d helped make it “real.”

It was sad because, at the very beginning of the year, the show got interesting again: Dylan had a near-death experience and the episode was mystical, weird and cool.  The actor playing Dylan was now directing and said he would make it less soap-opery, more like it used to be.  But apparently he had little success with this.  It wasn’t long before I stopped watching for good.

Stimpy said he chose the handle “Stimpy” “when Ren and Stimpy were still cool” and Beavis and Butthead hadn’t taken their place.  Of course, people always said to him online, “Steempy, you EEdiot!” just like Ren.  He joked about taking away the privileges of people who liked to do that and thought it was funny.

Krafter and Stimpy went to an Mystery Science Theater 3000 convention in late 1994 I think.  Many people were in costume.  Someone was dressed like the Head That Wouldn’t Die.  An older woman even came on to Stimpy, which was really weird to him.

I often called up registries for people I knew or didn’t know but saw online.  Nearly everyone, including me, and especially the guys, listed alternative as their favorite music.  I wondered if alternative was “geek music” just as Mountain Dew was the “geek drink.”

One of the younger teenagers online really liked Sharon.  He kept logging in with new names, and one day, Sharon logged on to find Son of Ziggy.  It was this boy.  She thought it cute.  Krafter found out about it, though, and killed his account because the users weren’t supposed to use all sorts of different names like that.

Since the demo class allowed for full use of the system in those days, a person could use one name until it ran out of credits, then log in with a different name, and never pay money to Crystal Dragon (CD).  CD didn’t like this, of course.

CD, the sysop, was about thirty, with a wife and a new arrival: a cute wiener-puppy, Peanut.  CD joked about him online.  He presided over a BBS full of mostly teenagers, some of whom would bully and verbally abuse others, then complain “freedom of speech!” when CD forced them to stop.

Stimpy and I could get into conversations on Beavis and Butthead or personal things, but trying to start one with him on almost everything else didn’t work.  We just didn’t have enough in common.  We could meet on lowbrow humor, but that wasn’t enough to establish a long-term relationship.

He was also agnostic.  As long as we weren’t serious, his lack of religion didn’t matter, but in time it could.  (I was not supposed to marry people who were not Christians.)

I knew early on that there would be a breakup, though I didn’t start dating him with this on my mind.  I knew it would be soon, and that I would probably be the one to do it.  I knew it would make me sad.  The only consolation was that, for once, a breakup would be my idea and not the guy’s.

Index 
Cast of Characters (Work in Progress)

Table of Contents

Freshman Year

September 1991:

 October 1991:

November 1991:

December 1991: Ride the Greyhound

January 1992: Dealing with a Breakup with Probable NVLD

 February 1992:

March 1992: Shawn: Just Friends or Dating?

April 1992: Pledging, Prayer Group–and Peter’s Smear Campaign

May 1992:

Sophomore Year 

Summer 1992:

September 1992:

October 1992–Shawn’s Exasperating Ambivalence:

November 1992:

December 1992:

January 1993:

February 1993:

March 1993:

April 1993:

May 1993:

Summer 1993: Music, Storm and Prophetic Dreams

September 1993:

October 1993:

November 1993:

December 1993:

January 1994:

February 1994:

March 1994:

April 1994:

Senior Year 

June 1994–Bits of Abuse Here and There:

July & August 1994:

January 1995:

February 1995:

March 1995:

April 1995:

May 1995:

%d bloggers like this: