Inkwell: Authors and Artists
David Chaplin-Loebell (dloebell) Sun 24 Oct 99 11:46
Jef and Geno slipped.
little modem on the prairie (lizabeth) Sun 24 Oct 99 11:55
I haven't thought of TBBS in years. Another case in point would be the folks who created Wildcat!, then bought Qmodem and various offline readers to become a complete BBS solution. Mustang Software, that's their name. Soon after that, the ability of BBSs to get net email and newsgroups made software like Wildcat! and PCBoard really popular. There never was a really good mail tosser for those products that would link those boards with Fido. Instead they were linked with nets like ILink, RIME and others. Then ISPs popped up, along with the web. BBSs closed down by the thousands within 2-3 years. It happened so fast, in retrospect, that most sysops didn't even see it coming. Or lived in denial about it. From the early 80s, it does seem that BBSs/MUDs were on a parallel track from those folks who were early to the net. But there were tens of thousands of people involved. Chump change by today's wired standards, but still a sizable number of folks involved. I would think this book is aimed at them. And perhaps to those who were on the net who didn't know much about BBSs/MUDs, and vice versa. Both have rich histories and both had rich cultures.
little modem on the prairie (lizabeth) Sun 24 Oct 99 12:00
Three slips. There's even non-shallow parts of AOL, although god knows you have to dig for them. Geno, you are more than welcome to participate. I agree it's best to leave JSF elsewhere. Perhaps you'd be interested in the Well's flame.ind or weird conferences. I remember flame echos like Fido's, or the very unofficial one semi-attached to ILink called Bytebrothers. And war boards that were mostly populated by teens. I'd rather see Indra's book become the center point of this discussion. Bringing things back to that, Indra, here was part of my post before yesterday's festivities: Indra, I want to just list some things I remember from the book, text that was very potent, and see if you would comment on some of it. Feel free to quote from Cybergypsies as well: * The time you forgot about picking up your child from school because you were online. * Biffo's abandonment of his family to Scientology, and how that mirrored some of your own experience, especially recognizing that when Eve gets very angry and throws things * The entire cannobalism/death story, where Lilith tells you that it's all a "safe" thing to do because it's all in the imagination -- your mental response to that was perhaps one of the more compelling parts of Cybergypsies for me. * Taking three months off from the net after you found out about your heart condition, and then coming back to the huge war on Shades -- could you recount a bit about that war and how it escalated? * Your non-meeting with Luna, and how it changed you. I'm very interested in your accounts of these, and how they tie into the themes of your book.
Mahatma...and a PS to Jef (indra) Sun 24 Oct 99 12:02
Geno, it should be Gandhi not Ghandi. Please don't make this mistake again. Oh and I still haven't received those pictures of Brandi. Jef, I forgot to add, Cybergypsies isn't just about MUDs and Fido type bulletin boards, it is also about people doing human rights and other work on Greennet, about real world work with Amnesty, Kurds, Bhopal victims including eyewitness stories from Kurdistan, Tibet and Bhopal, about the British government's record on arms sales, about the Kama Sutra and the genetics of nematodes, about Venice and Kissimmee Saint Cloud and Ireland, about Sussex woods, old stone circles, a search for a circus, a conversation with Don McCullin, about Jack the Ripper, about a strange trip to the west of Ireland, and a porn actress from LA, about a visionary building built by an obscure French postman, it is about getting involved in Green politics, and being asked to spy on a nuclear installation, about the architect Carlo Scarpa and the politics of Northern Ireland, about a meeting with Ian Paisley Junior, Sussex carnivals, receiving a special package from the Dalai Lama, a visionary Scotsman, about trying to trap a child pornographer, being bollocked by Lord Jeffrey Archer and composing a song in his honour. It's several people's love stories, not least mine: the story of a loving marriage put under intolerable strain, and what was done to try to save it.
Addendum, and hi Lizabeth (indra) Sun 24 Oct 99 12:25
...I forgot to add scientology to that list, and a monomaniac Indian bookseller. Hello again Lizabeth, feel like I'm shouting to you across a crowded room. The book *isn't* aimed at the ex-BBS and MUD people, or net people in general, it was intended for the general reader. I would like to put an end to the I-was-there-first or my-net-is-better-than-your-net arguments, not merely because they're deeply unintelligent, but because they are missing the point. The book isn't fundamentally about the net, it's about people and what they do in their imaginations. This afternoon I was in the middle of writing a post to you about this when there were three loud bangs and the electricity went. High winds and rain all night - must be the tail end of your recent hurricane - a branch had blown into a transformer two fields away and lit up the sky with a flash like lightning. It's only just come on. Thank god it didn't go during the England v South Africa world cup rugby match, albeit we got hammered by the Springboks, but what a brilliant team they are. Did anyone else see it? I was going to say that a potted version of the non-meeting with Luna and the cannibalism thing are in the article I mentioned I wrote for the Times, at http://www.cybergypsies.com/times.html. The easiest way to talk about some of the other things you mention might just be to quote a small chunk from the text. I'll do that soon.
Hail Gail (indra) Sun 24 Oct 99 12:35
Gail I thought your question (#26) to Geno was very perceptive. I guess he has no objections to how I portrayed him - well I am extremely fond of him and it shows. He jokes about Cyber Trailer Park Trash, but what he didn't mention is the unofficial nursing work he had been doing, which I have been urging him to write about. That really is an amazing story, which I guess he ought to tell you himself...if he wants to.
Geno, medicine man (indra) Sun 24 Oct 99 12:53
Geno, do you fancy talking about the rock tribe at all? Another thing I meant to ask when I interviewed you for the website was your view on the strange symbiotic relationship between the virus writers and the anti-virus people. Didn't Tiphoid Mary fall foul of both sides? And what was CRiS really all about? I don't even know if NuKE is still going...on or off the internet...you sent me a nodelist about a year ago, but I didn't recognise any of the BBS names.
Brian Slesinsky (bslesins) Sun 24 Oct 99 13:08
Hey, I thought MUD's were mostly on the Internet and didn't have modem lines. Wasn't that a separate crowd from BBS's?
little modem on the prairie (lizabeth) Sun 24 Oct 99 13:09
Not at all. There were a lot of MUDs and other role-playing game sites that were not accessible from the net.
Brian, re MUDs (indra) Sun 24 Oct 99 13:35
Hi Brian, the multi-user games I played in the eighties and early nineties were not on the internet. The Vortex ran on a PC covered in candle stubs and wax stalactites, it had four lines, each with its own modem. That was it, for years. In fact it is still like that. The other game, Shades, was run first on a closed British Telecom network called Micronet, then, when Micronet imploded, on a couple of private numbers. It has now found an internet incarnation (telnet://games.world.co.uk) Nearly all the early MUG/MUDs were direct dial ups to people's homes. (The vast majority claim descent one way or another from EssexMUD which was written at Essex University in the seventies. Shades is a first generation descendent.) Only in the last few years have MUDs exploded onto the internet. Having said this, if anyone knows of an NT server willing to host a telnettable experimental MUD free, please let me know.
F#$%'em if they can't take a joke! (vasudha) Sun 24 Oct 99 15:51
Sorry for the typos Joggle not goggle. Vedantin not vendantin. I think I am going to run to 12 St. and see if the book is in yet at Strand. (1/2 price) Cause I'm curious about it. Though frankly I started to read the part on the Web page about cannibalism; it interfered with my dinner. Not the first thing on the list for a vegetarian to get into. The part about meeting Luna I found very creepy. Myself, I hate arranging to meet people in public who I have met on-line. I always seem to end up missing the people and it gives me the creeps. In fact I will refuse to go to meet someone unless they tell me *exactly* what they look like, give me a phone number in case something goes wrong etc. Otherwise I just get too spooked out. There were a lot of people I became very close to through the Audio "BBS" the Apology Line. When Mr. Apology died we had a rendez-vous in Central Park. Some people held back and spied on the others. In this case it was fairly creepy since criminals who had confessed on the Line had in the past threatened Mr. Apology. That's why he had been forced almost right away to hide his identity. But when we did meet we found out we knew each other better than anyone. That was also very wierd. A very deep bond had been forged. I curious, Indra, you don't seem angry at all at Luna for the trick she played on you. Why?
Re Luna (indra) Mon 25 Oct 99 03:50
Marguerite, you're about to read the book, so I'd rather let you discover the answer to that question, but the experience was pivotal.
Excerpt: *Prophecies* (indra) Mon 25 Oct 99 04:18
With hindsight it is easy to see that heart thing, or something else just as dramatic, had to happen. Something had to change. From the instant the Rollright witch gave me the key to cyberspace my old life vanished. Night after night into the small hours, with jobs undone, letters unanswered, bills unpaid and work the next morning, I'd sit tapping keys and piling up debt while upstairs, alone in our bed, Eve grew despairing. My promises to her about the house, the garden, were forgotten as voices from cyberspace lured me away. At first these were the voices of real people, but gradually my life became peopled by cyber-entities, imaginary beings, bodiless golems which nonetheless had the power to act, start chains of cause and effect that ricocheted back into the 'real' world and rebounded on Eve who had no chance to understand what was happening. All she knew was that I had persuaded her to come from a comfortable house to this damp, rotting place, then abandoned her. Eve had been more than my lover, more than a wife, she was my greatest friend. We had shared everything, ideas, travels, discoveries. Now there were all these places, creatures and things I had seen but could not share with her, partly because it was too difficult to explain, partly because I no longer dared. And the Grolius curse was reasserting its pattern. The hours I was keeping were so extreme that a day could go by without speaking. More than once, I came home to find a note taped on the computer screen, because that's where Eve knew I'd go as soon as I got inside the door. Riddled with guilt, with contempt and anguish, I nevertheless lacked the power to fight the addiction. On the contrary, while my guilt grew, my experiences and pleasure multiplied. "Around the world thoughts shall fly in the twinkling of an eye." So the original Rollright witch, Mother Shipton, had prophesied. I had the huge power to travel the world in an eye-blink, conjure sprites from the past: spirits at my command came bringing weird intelligence and knowledge of arcane sciences and arts. Like Dee, I crouched over the phoshorescent crucible of my screen, conversing with demons and angels. Outside the garden, which had begun to be under control, reverted joyfully to the wild and on windy nights as I sat at the computer the brambles came tapping again at the windows. A thing from that time. Winter, darkness come early. An evening of blustery gusts. I'm at home, have promised to collect our small son from school. By 5:15 p.m., pick up time, it's already dark. In my study, lit by the flickering screen, I suddenly notice that it's 6:30. Eve will kill me. Rush to the car and drive on leaf-slippery lanes to the school. Now 6:45, a remote place, no houses near. A teacher must have stayed behind with him. Perhaps he'll be in the school office. ALl is dark, no lights anywhere. I pull up in a panic, the night loud, air full of drops of water, not rain, but raining from the trees. Sudden silence, drops drumming on the bonnet of the car as I get out, wind chucks under my chin with cold unfriendly fingers, somewhere a door is banging. It's pitch dark, not a soul around. Where is he? Someone must have taken them home with them. Why didn't they call? Who else might have come by this lonely lane? I walk round, the yard empty, area by gate empty, door to the school shut and, I try it, locked. Now I'm really scared, don't dare leave, don't know where to go next. Bushes caught by the wind, shaking wildly. Then out from the deep shadows by the gate a small figure steps, satchel over his shoulder, comes forward with a little brave smile, as if to say he'd always trusted I would come, had just waited to make sure it was me. He doesn't reproach me or say how cold or terrified he must have been. I touch his chubby child cheeks, tears are rolling down my face. He says "Don't worry Dad, I was only a bit scared, I knew you'd come."
F#$%'em if they can't take a joke! (vasudha) Mon 25 Oct 99 05:49
Sheesh. Your son sounds like a very sweet boy. Mine would likely have had the police there, been setting off flares to attract attention and/or crying dramatically in the center of a circle of neighbors. How discreet and kind of him. You are very blessed. Don't know if this is the right place in the queue to put this. But I received a reply this morning from S. Shankarananda. Relevant portion: "I remember that story from Baba telling it. It was about King Janaka and, according to Baba, it is found in one of the Upanishads. Only the deformed sage Ashtavakra could give a satisfactory answer to Janaka's question as to which was the reality, the dream or the waking state. Ashtavakra pointed out, like a good Vedantin, that both dream and waking are unreal. Only the Self is real, everything else is a temporary illusion. But you are entirely correct about the Yoga Vashishta. It is full of stories in which a person meditates in one world, and then undergoes many lifetimes [in other worlds through the portal of meditation] only to reawaken from his meditation in the original place. Vashishta was Lord Ram's Guru and the book is his teaching to the young avatar. It is Vedantic-psychedelic, with a hint of Shaivism's "all is consciousness". A very interesting medieval work. The most accessible translation is by Swami Venkatesananda a disciple of Swami Shivananda of Rishikesh. Venkatesa died years ago.......... .....Your dialogue with Indra Sinha is very interesting. We too have lived many realities in this one lifetime. Which of them is real?"
Thanks to Shankarananda (indra) Mon 25 Oct 99 06:25
Classic bit of 'forest wisdom'. It reminds me of a riddle, possibly also from one of the Upanishads: The flag on the temple-top is flapping in the breeze. What is moving? Is it the flag that is moving? Or the wind?
little modem on the prairie (lizabeth) Mon 25 Oct 99 14:53
That account of your son at school is so vivid. Indra, how much time do you spend online these days? Does it ever concern your wife and family now?
Libbi Lepow (paris) Mon 25 Oct 99 15:35
God, it surely was. Having had my own little online-jones for a few years, I'm still struggling with the residual guilt of not being there for my son when he was younger. I never forgot to pick him up after school, thankfully, but I sure did closet myself in my office at home, glued to the monitor screen for countless hours. My payback is obvious, however. My son (now 14) spends as much, if not more, of his free time online than I ever did.
Time online (indra) Mon 25 Oct 99 16:34
Doing this is the most time I've spent on the net lately. Usually I just check my email and sometimes look stuff up in search engines. But I am in touch with old friends. Looked into Shades earlier and half an hour ago bumped into a lot of old players in the Vortex. It isn't a problem anymore. Libbi, what you say rings bells with me too. My three kids are all online, emailing their friends and on ICQ and whatnot.
Question for Vasudha (indra) Mon 25 Oct 99 16:39
I forgot to ask, how do you know Alastair McIntosh? Must be through your ecological work. Were you involved in any of his campaigns?
Jesus Slut Fucker (jesuschrist) Mon 25 Oct 99 16:56
So little time, so many assholes to flame.... Oppsie forgot I've been banned from here. I'M JUST A SEX OBJECT TO YOU AREN'T I....? -ROCKEY TO BULLWINKLE Carry on as you were. -Jesus, Son of Gawd
Geno (jesuschrist) Mon 25 Oct 99 17:05
Indra, Concerning the pictures, I've taken some more of Brandi and I at the Gym (not sure if those will come out, flash wasn't working that day) and some of Maggie. Had I more time I'd argue with Jefie on fido technology used today in and on the Web. He really should read more about modem transfer protocalls and compression technology, but who wants to argue? Bit scrapped for time right now, but I guess I could go into the Rock Tribe stuff here though it seems a bit off topic. Could also tell about one of NuKE's biggest stunts that was never published anywhere (George covered a bit of it). How we managed to put a virus inside of Thunderbyte and have Jeff Cook (who was at the time the North American Thunderbyte distribution site) spread it around for us. Cook actually showed up at the hospital I worked at wanting to kick my butt over that one :) It was pretty funny. -Geno
Gail Williams (gail) Mon 25 Oct 99 17:15
Ah... the *persona* is banned. Makes perfect sense now. Geno, what's Rock Tribe?
Thunderbyte (indra) Mon 25 Oct 99 17:43
Well I'd like to hear the story. The Thunderbyte guys, Frans Veldman downwards, always seemed so unbearably smug.
Cynthia Dyer-Bennet (cdb) Mon 25 Oct 99 18:08
(BTW, for those of you wondering where you can get a copy of Indra's debut work, try http://www.well.com/bookstore/index.html and click on the image of "The Cybergypsies" book cover)
Re Edwin Cleton (indra) Mon 25 Oct 99 18:24
Geno, have you any idea what became of Edwin Cleton after the fiasco in the virus echo? Explanation: Cleton, moderator of the Fido virus echo, had a habit of abusing people whose views he didn't like and threatening them with what he called his "electronic baseball bat". This was irresistible to the virus mob who turned up in numbers to take the piss, the biggest wind-up being Jesus SF's coup d'etat. This is told in George Smith's excellent book "The Virus Creation Labs" and also in "Cybergypsies". Only when writing Cybergypsies did I realise that an "electronic baseball bat" is an electroshock weapon. In a bizarre coincidence, at the height of the Jesus-Cleton ruckus, a parcel wrapped in muslin was delivered here to my house. It contained three electro-shock weapons that had been smuggled out of Tibet by a Buddhist monk called Palden Gyatso, who had been tortured with them. Gyatso bribed a Chinese prison guard to get hold of these vile things and then made his escape to India, where he presented them to the Dalai Lama. They came to me because I was doing an appeal for Amnesty about the use of shock weapons in China and these were the only ones we could get hold of. They were lent to us by the Dalai Lama who asked that they be treated with the utmost respect, because they were the symbols of his people's pain. Strangely, six months later, I was approached by the Tibet Support Group and asked to write an ad about Palden Gyatso, who was coming to London. And the little muslin bundle turned up at my door again, with the same horrible objects inside, their electrodes corroded with green and blue salts and spotted with some gummy substance. In Cybergypsies these two sections, about Cleton's electronic bat and the Chinese torture weapons, are juxtaposed. I did it for the same reason I juxtaposed Lilith's gleeful account of the cannibal feast in the Vortex with Don McCullin's anguished memories. I wanted to demonstrate the power of the imagination to create worlds, and the consequences of its failure in the real world. It's after 2am here, very quiet after the wind and rain of the last couple of days. Not a sound, not a breath of air. Clear sky and bright full moon. You could hear a leaf fall.
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