It is 10:30 on a Saturday night and I am lying alone in my living room looking at a list of New Orleans area BBSs and feeling impossibly old. This is promoted by someone asking “what was your first screen name” on Twitter and me replying that it was “Raccoon” on a bunch of c64 and ms-dos BBSs*. Mostly running Ivory and WWIV.

Later on I switched to “F.R.E.D. III” which was the name of a robot character I drew for a while. Then there was the Internet and mucks and moving to California and, well, about twenty years of things happening.

Most of the boards I was on aren't on that list. No c64 boards, very few Amiga boards. But a few are. Assassin's Guild. Ravenloft. The Bowels. The Land of Rape and Honey, which changed its name from that Ministry reference to something I can't remember. And other names are hanging at the back of my brain, not quite coming out. All my notes from then are long gone so I'll never find an old notebook with records and phone numbers to trigger memories.

I sort of miss the days when it was this weird little zone of freaks and nerds and weirdos. Now everyone's on the Internet. Your whole family's on Facebook and there's Uncle Racist posting another hilarious reason Facebook tries to hide posts it thinks you won't enjoy.

And on the other hand last night my ex-with-benefits told me some of the younger postfurries** are getting excited about rebooting the MUCK my exes ran back in the early 00s. They're digging up the old database and the wiki and using it for a starting point to reimagine it. I got asked if I wanted to have a hand in writing the new version of one of the zones (Strangewarp, infested by a curiously polite dataplague) and kept on almost falling asleep, then having to pick up the iPad next to the bed and scribble down ragged fragments of broken prose hinting at my vision for the place and a new character to play in it and and and. I don't know if my having discovered the joys of marijuana since Puzzlebox collapsed will make my contribution to the new version better or worse; I don't know if anyone will be able to tell since I plan to try and write it in the disconnected, fragmented syntax of the repeat-suicide butterfly I played for a while.

Nostalgia. I don't have a point here. I'm just thinking about what triggers it for me. Apparently a list of 504 BBSs can.


* BBS: Bulletin Board System. Run a terminal program on your computer, connect it to another one sitting on a phone line, leave public and private messages, swap files of various types and legalities. What we had before the Internet ate everything. Usually very local because long distance calls cost money back in those days.

** Postfurry: a combination of “posthuman” and “furry”, a bunch of furries who like to pretend to be robot cats and hypnotizing alien space vixens and silver metal elephants instead of plain old animal people. Possibly a bunch of pretentious over-educated asses, possibly just a bunch of genderqueer nerds with more brain than they know what to do with, depending on who you ask. Puzzlebox is now a legend among the younger generation of this subset of furries.