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    |  ___________     _/_/       | |  \ \       _/_/       ___________  |
    | |              _/_/_____    | |   > >    _/_/_____               | |
    | |             /________/    | |  / /    /________/               | |
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    | |      c   o   m   m   u   n   i   c   a   t   i   o   n   s     | |
    | |________________________________________________________________| |

            ...presents...      Four Oh Five
                                                      by Flack

           __//////\   -cDc- CULT OF THE DEAD COW -cDc-   /\\\\\\__
                    __      Grand Imperial Dynasty      __
 Est. 1984   \\\\\\/ cDc paramedia: texXxt 405-05/06/2006 \//////   Est. 1984

  ___    _   _    ___     _   _    ___       _   _      ___    _   _      __

       There's a feeling of nostalgia I get every time I drive past my old
neighborhood, which isn't far from where I live today.  Back when I was a kid,
my neighborhood was my entire world.  My stomping grounds consisted of six
connected blocks, surrounded by a creek on two sides and highways on the
other two.  From sun up to sun down, I was free to roam wherever I wished as
long as I stayed within the boundaries of my neighborhood. To tell you the
truth, I'm not sure going past those boundaries ever even crossed my mind.

       As you get older, perspectives change.  When the kids in the
neighborhood (including myself) turned sixteen, we got cars and our worlds
were exponentially expanded.  Overnight, our old neighborhood went from being
the coolest place we knew to the most boring place on Earth.  Before long, all
my friends had graduated from high school and moved away.

       Even though the neighborhood looks different these days, I'll always
treasure my memories, not only of the neighborhood and the people who lived
there, but of all the adventures we had together.  No matter how many years or
miles come between me and that old place, the stories and adventures those of
us who grew up there had together will be with me for the rest of my life.

       The same can be said for those of us who grew up behind computer
screens, calling Bulletin Board Systems.  Online, our neighborhoods were our
area codes, lines drawn in the sand for us by Ma Bell.  As long as I stayed
within those virtual boundaries, I was free to call whomever I wanted.  The
people I met through BBSes and the adventures we had together were very real
and a very big part of my childhood.  In fact, there are lots of people I met
online 20 years ago that I still talk to today.

       When it comes to the great BBS era, either you were there or you
weren't.  If you weren't, well, you missed out on some incredible times.  The
camaraderie between users in a local area code will never be matched through
the Internet.  Like a gang, those of us from the same area code stuck
together, ready to take on the world.

       My area code was 405.

       405 wasn't much different than any other area code.  It wasn't
particularly special or unique in any way.  In fact, there's no real reason
why 405 deserves a tribute dedicated to it over your own local scene.  Many of
the stories and ideas that appear here could and probably did apply to your
area code as well.  Unfortunately, as many of us have discovered over the
years, despite being one of the most exciting electronic eras of our lives,
nobody was taking notes. While there have been attempts at documenting the
overall history of BBSes (Jason Scott's _BBS: The Documentary_ comes to mind),
many of the local legends and escapades -- not just from 405 but from every
area code -- have all but been erased from existence.  As BBSes were
eventually turned off one by one they took their histories with them.  And
more than that, some of my strongest memories from those years were things
that happened in real life, things that didn't even happen online.  And so, if
you'll indulge me for a few lines more, I'd like to share with you just a few
of my memories from my own noggin about my alma mater...405.

                         <<<--- 4 --- 0 --- 5 --->>>

       Back when I started modeming, there wasn't much of a "scene."  For
starters,  everyone was separated by machine type; the Apple users called
Apple boards, the Commodore users called Commodore boards, the Atari users
called Atari boards, the PC people called PC boards, and so on.  Within these
groups there were subgroups, the biggest division being between those who
trafficked in warez and those who didn't.  At least in the early days, it
seemed like boards rarely did both -- you either ran a warez board with paltry
message areas, or a message board with everything but warez.  Keep in mind
that back then, running a warez BBS meant dropping some serious cash for
hardware.  Back in the early Commodore days, floppy drives cost $200 each.
You could run a BBS with just one drive, but all your system files on one disk
didn't leave much room for games.  Plus if you were running in this
configuration, people could crash your board simply by uploading files until
your disk was full, preventing the BBS software from writing to disk and
locking the whole thing up.  To run a serious warez board, you needed
multiple floppy drives; running three (one for the BBS itself, one for uploads
and one for downloads) wasn't unheard of.  The really serious guys invested in
hard drives.  In the late '80s, a 10 meg hard drive for the C64 would set you
back over a thousand dollars.

       As a result of all this separation, 405 (and as I mentioned earlier,
all area codes) ended up with "pockets" of users.  Imagine them as the kids
you started kindergarten with.  As you worked your way through elementary
school, they were by your side.  The same people tended to call the same
boards, and pretty soon small scenes began to develop.  But again, these were
mostly divided up by platform (the Commodore scene, the Apple scene, etc).
In addition, each platform was likely to have multiple scenes, groups of
people who never crossed paths.

       I had some great times within both the Apple and Commodore scenes -- so
much in fact that I've almost finished my first book on the subject -- but
none of these fractured cells can truly be called the "405 scene."  In my
opinion, that didn't happen until the early '90s.  The main catalyst for this
change was the unification of platforms.  We all got IBM PCs -- or rather,
for many of us, our parents did.  Businessmen across the country were buying
PCs with hard drives and modems to keep up in the business world.  At night,
after those businessmen went to bed, their kids would turn those same machines
back on and begin dialing BBSes.

                         <<<--- 4 --- 0 --- 5 --->>>

       As everyone began gravitating toward the IBM platform, all of our
worlds began meshing together as well.  As more people began calling the same
boards and the pool of people began to grow, cool things began to happen --
namely, "like people" began to find each other.  As a result, some really
cool things began to happen.

       One was the birth of TBH405, or simply The Brotherhood.  TBH405 was a
group of people who actively promoted the local scene.  TBH405 released
scene-related newsletters, ranking local boards and users and keeping people
informed as to the goings-on of the inner circle, so to speak.  Think of it as
the cool kids from school, if the cool kids from school had had their own
club.  The coolest thing about The Brotherhood was its wide variety of members
and their skills.  Sure there were warez hounds, but there were people who
were into hacking, and the art scene, and programmers, and all kinds of stuff.
If you were a member of The Brotherhood, you were hooked up.

       TBH405 wasn't the only group in town.  Soulz at Zero, often referred to
as the first themed lit group, was founded by The Stranger and myself in 405.
A group of five girls known as TDKEB also had some success with their lit
packs which consisted of poetry, stories, girly-gossip and in jokes.  TBH405
even managed to get their public meeting times published in 2600 Magazine for
a while.

       Like many other area codes, there were always a select few BBSes that
had risen above the local scene and made contact with the outside world.
Boards like "Scooter Dome" and "The Plutonium Project" kept the rest of the
405 scene stocked with the latest games and applications.  Even better was
when "Street Spydrs" (the Razor 1911 WHQ) temporarily relocated to our area
code.  Suddenly the scene locals were being drafted into courier positions for
the megagroup, and local boards were flooded with all the latest warez.

       Of course my greatest memories of those times weren't about the groups
or the warez or even the boards themselves, but about the people.  Since BBS
"scenes" normally consisted of people who lived within the same area code, it
was not uncommon for those people to meet in real life.  Sometimes, it was for
"business" reasons; back in the early days, due to slow modem speeds, it was
often quicker to trade software with someone in person than it was to do it
over the phone lines.  There were just as many social events as well -- BBS
Parties, as they were referred to.  A local Commodore 64 cracking group I was
a member of (the OK Krackers) hosted the first BBS party I ever attended.  It
was also the first time I ever got drunk.  I was 14.  Imagine mom's surprise
when she picked me up the next morning and found dried puke stuck in my hair
and one shoe missing.  It was a long night.

       Over the years I attended dozens of local parties.  The Brotherhood had
their own official  "Gatherings."  There were nine or ten of those, each
wilder than the last.  There was the one where Ozzymandias passed out, fell
against a wall and knocked his front tooth out.  There was the one where
someone ate pink Hostess snacks and managed to vomit pink puke all over
someone's living room carpet.  There was the one where people were doing shots
of Jack Daniels and Pace Picante Sauce.  Then there was the Gathering where
Yaun-Ti (the founder of TBH405) got so drunk that he forgot where he lived, a
fact he informed us of after several of us drove him around for hours on end.

       The interpersonal relationships that formed during those times were
unbreakable, or so we thought.  I can remember joking with people that someday
our kids might call the same BBSes we called.  It seemed like the scene would
never die -- and then practically overnight, it did.

       In mid-to-late 1994, several of us discovered the Internet.  At least,
for us, this was pre-Web days.  The Internet for us consisted of a few FTP
sites and IRC.  IRC seemed mind-blowing to us at the time.  For years, we'd
been limited to chatting with one person at a time, and all of a sudden here
there could be hundreds of people talking in the same place.

       What's funny though, looking back, is that everything we saw that you
could do on the Internet we saw as an extension of the BBS world.  The
Internet was another place you could get warez for your BBS.  Using the
Internet, you could route mail to and from other boards.  If your favorite BBS
was busy, you could get on the Internet and chat on IRC until the board became
available.  I don't think we ever realized just how quickly the Internet would
squash our little local scene out of existence.  But it did.  It killed them
all eventually.  Some hung on longer than others, but eventually as speeds
increased and the web blossomed, it became evident to even the oldest of the
old schoolers that there was no stopping the behemoth.

       Soon, nobody cared what area code you were from because it didn't
matter.  In that sense, the Internet was the great equalizer.  Nobody knew
your history and nobody cared about your little local groups.  The Internet
was global, baby.

       Just like the old neighborhood, I'm still wistful about those old days.
I try and keep touch with as many of the old group as possible.  Anacodia
married Tekin and moved to California.  False God got on with Dell and lives
in Austin.  Gatoperro moved to Texas and is now in California, I think.  Prong
moved to Florida.  My buddy Arcane lives outside of Dallas.  There are a few
of us still left in 405.  Violetta Kitten moved out of state and came back.
Leperkhan still lives here; his kid's in junior high now, I think.  The
Stranger is an elementary schoolteacher somewhere around these parts.  Black
Sunshine's got 14 degrees or something in psychology and sociology and working
on her doctorate.  Rivas works for a major aeronautical company.  I work for a
different one.  It gets harder and harder to keep track of people.  Some you
can still catch on IRC. Some have blogs.  Some I get an e-mail from a couple
of times a year.  Some have disappeared completely.

       At least one died; Ghost in the Machine passed away several years ago.
It was a strange way to reunite the old gang one last time.  In one small,
dingy church sat most of the major players from the old 405 scene.  Looking
around the room, I saw people I'd cracked password files with, people I'd
hacked ISP accounts with, people I'd gone to concerts with, people I'd drank
too much and passed out with, all sitting around wearing ties, trying to look
at least semi-respectable.  That was the last time I saw most of the old crew;
at a funeral, of all places.

                         <<<--- 4 --- 0 --- 5 --->>>

       This past weekend, my old neighborhood had their annual garage sale
weekend.  It's weird going back there a generation later, as so much stuff has
changed.  The old creek I used to play army in was paved long ago and
surrounded by a chain-link fence shortly thereafter.  The field I used to play
football in has a house on it.  Our old dirt bike track is now home to an
official softball field.  There are other parts of the neighborhood that still
look the same.  The willow tree under the streetlight across the street from
my old house is still there.  The view out my father's bay window looks the
same as it did 20 years ago.

       The old BBS landscape, however, is gone forever. The disks have been
thrown away, or were formatted, or simply rotted over time.  In my garage, I
have 3-ring-binders full of old printed out user lists and text files, the ink
of which has faded over the years.  I hang on to old spiral notebooks filled
with names, passwords and phone numbers, but the more time goes that by, the
less familiar the notes look.  I recognize the handwriting as my own, but the
meaning behind some of the notes gets more cryptic each year.

       Even some of the stories have begun to fade from my human brain.
Someone's story will start, "Remember when we..." and I'll think to myself,
"no, I don't."  Maybe it'll sound familiar, maybe it won't.  With no written
documentation, I find that many of the stories are different depending on
who is telling them.

       Rose-colored glasses or not, I'll always think back to the old BBS days
as some of the greatest times of my life.  The files, the games, the disks,
the accounts, even the boards themselves are all gone.  But the memories, the
adventures, the fun times...they'll always be with me.

       Here's to ya, 405.

         ___________    BLATTA---NON     EST---VACCA     ___________
         \         /      \    \_            _/    /     \         /
          |A G L A|        \     \          /     /       |A G L A|
          ||\/X\/||         \    EST_   _EST     /        ||\/X\/||
          || \./ ||          \       \ /        /         || \./ ||
|\        ||_3 4_||        /|NON     cDc     NON|\        ||_3 4_||        /|
| -------._((___))_.------- |EST      |      EST| -------._((___))_.------- |
|\/)(\/\   [ x x ]   /\/)(\/|   \     |     /   |\/)(\/\   [ x x ]   /\/)(\/|
|(YHVH) >A  \   /  O< (AHIH)|    \   EST   /    |(YHVH) >A  \   /  O< (AHIH)|
|/\)(/\/  _ (' ') _  \/\)(/\|     \   |   /     |/\)(/\/  _ (' ') _  \/\)(/\|
| -------' ) (U) ( '------- |      \  |  /      | -------' ) (U) ( '------- |
|/        ||  .  ||        \|    DAEMONSEMEN    |/        ||  .  ||        \|
          || / \ ||                ELIGERE                || / \ ||
          ||/\X/\||                                       ||/\X/\||
          |A D N I|          the original e-zine          |A D N I|
         /_________\         - today, tomorrow -         /_________\
      xXx  DYNASTY  xXx            FOREVER            xXx  DYNASTY  xXx
      Oooo                 xXx / RULE BOVINIA \ xXx                 / )   __
 /)(\ ( . \                                                        /  (  /  \
 \__/  )  /  Copyright (c) 2006 cDc communications and the author. \ . ) \)(/
       (_/     CULT OF THE DEAD COW is a registered trademark of    oooO
         cDc communications, 1369 Madison Ave. #423, NY, NY 10128, USA    _
  oooO              All rights left.  Edited by Myles Long.         __   ( \
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