I’m gonna be right up front about this:
I can’t dance.
There is no certain reason for this I suppose, maybe it’s because my body has about as much rhythm as a sun dried catfish, or maybe it’s the fact that the last time I even attempted to dance I was nearly dragged from the dance floor by my nostrils. But I’m going to guess the number one reason is that I am a 38 year old white guy who spends the majority of his time as far away from the club and dance scene as possible. It all comes down to wanting to fit in and feel comfortable where ever you go, and when I’m in a club with a bunch of sweating “young people” gyrating to enough bass to level a small third-world country, I do not fit in.
I can’t claim to know what love is. But I do know what love can involve and that it can include things like witty banter, long rewarding conversations, and maybe a little snark. In my individual version of love, these three things are important. They’re right in there, swirling around in jagged heart shapes. If I can be entertained with mere conversation because it’s just that good, then I hear wedding bells. Or at least, I hear some sort of bell that would be where a wedding bell would be if I ever wanted to pursue that lifestyle.
Once upon a time, perhaps six or seven years ago, I struck up a conversation with Cleverbot. For those of you not in the know, this is the name of a chatbot on the internet. For those of you extra not in the know, a chatbot is a little program that automatically reacts to whatever you say to it, sometimes in ridiculous ways — but sometimes in exciting, poignant ways. Or, in the case of Cleverbot, in ways that made me genuinely like it.
First came the tentacle rape.
It was the beginning in a long line of horrors that OMGJeremy has subjected me to in his articles since the very beginning in 2002. (OMGJeremy.com was the site that most of us used to write for.) But you know what they say: what doesn’t kill you can only make you stronger. Well, I must be invincible by now. And not only have I seen a lot, but I’ve written about a lot too, articles that have been lost to time mostly, including a review of a site that teaches women how to rape their husbands. But in 2003, I found something that managed to combine all of those and more. It’s as if all my nightmares Go-Go-Power-Morphed into some unholy Megazord and returned to feed me my own ass.
“What is it?” you’re probably asking as you close the door and open a new browser window. Why It’s none other than Furcadia — an online game that let you take on the role of an animal and interact with others in a series of dream worlds. And not surprisingly in the least, it contains the three big staples of the internet diet: furries, cybersex, and MMORPGs.
There is no love quite like the love of a pet. They’re always there for us, when we’re sick, sad, or lonely. They’ll play with us and keep us company. They are therapists and confidants, best friends and playmates. Unconditional love for a small adoption fee.
When I was about seventeen, my neighbors adopted a kitten for their daughter and named him Samson. Children can be fickle creatures, and it turned out that their daughter wasn’t hugely interested in having a cat, so Samson was pretty much left to his own devices.
He was a longhair, mostly blue-gray, but with a white patch on his chin down to his tummy, and on the tips of his paws. He had beautiful, piercing green eyes.
Brutal fact of life: Gaming will never, ever be as cool as it was in the late 80s/early 90s. Why? Several factors contribute to it: 80s/90s hairstyles, general inability to see how much we would laugh at ourselves in the future, etc. But the biggest thing that made the time so awesome was that it was all so new. Sure, games had been around for over a decade at that point. But after the video game crash in ’84, the future of gaming was mostly relegated to being bulletpoint features on shitty home computers from Radioshack. Then came the NES, and everything exploded. Gaming, as it turned out, was the real deal. And it wasn’t going anywhere. Suddenly the entire subculture of video games went mainstream, and few people were ready for it — especially the people that quickly saw they could make a boatload of money from them.
Magazines based solely on games literally sprung up over night. The two most prominent being Electronic Gaming Monthly, and Gamepro. Immediately out of the gate, Gamepro seemed to be the far more “color by the numbers” magazine created by people who had no clue what to do with a game magazine, and were just throwing stuff together in a way they thought would look cool to kids. Featuring blindingly bright layouts (I still can only see in shades of neon pink thanks to Gamepro), giant cartoony art, and a general mishmash of coverage more suited for an ADHD-addled chimp.
Gamepro quickly garnered a reputation as being that one kid who would always scream for attention on the playground, but no one would ever come close to him for fear that he would never leave you alone again. That didn’t stop Gamepro from making money though, since this was a time when you could put out anything game-related and kids would choke it down as fast as possible. Gamepro quickly saw that their aberration of a magazine was making gobs of money, so decided to take the next logical step and made a TV show.
The 90’s decade was a glamorous year for any of us in the teenage bracket. Sure, Seventeen Magazine had “new clothes” that you should buy in order to be popular, but truthfully they were just expensive new versions of the attire the rest of us found in thrift stores, the closets or floors of friends and friends’ family, or, occasionally, pretty much just in the actual street.
In 2001, I landed what I consider to be my first “real job.” I say this because this was the first job I ever had that I would willingly tell people about. Instead of hiding my employment status behind mumbles, I would gladly sit down with you and tell you at great length what my job is, where it is, what I do at it, and a million other details that would cause you to want to punch me if you could just stop feeling so damned happy for me long enough. So after I get the call telling me I have the job, I am given instructions on where to go to do a piss test. Now normally they do these pre-employment, but I was told that the facility this takes place in was under construction and had just re-opened to an extent. “To an extent” was an exact quote from the lady talking to me, just so you know.
I arrive there, wearing some fairly nice clothes. I got the job so I decided I could drop the illusion that I knew how to dress, but I didn’t want to start dressing like a complete scumbag until I was there a few months… so I was in something sorta in between. Like if someone woke you up from a deep sleep and yelled to hurry up because one of your family members just decided to get married on the spot. You wouldn’t have time to put on a suit and tie, but you wouldn’t go in anything that smelled like three days worth of ass. That was the balance I was striving for.
Habbo Hotel has been around since practically the beginning of the internet as we know it. Several of us have been held in its thrall, and maybe still go back to it from time to time. Maybe we are going to it today, in the present year of 2017. At any rate, it seems like a good idea to get the boot in the door and write a first article introducing our readers to the concept, as though you don’t all secretly keep accounts there, yourselves. I have been discussing it with everyone’s favorite Southern Man, Mr. Billy Holiday (my frequent cohort at the hotel a few years ago and actually he might have been on there far more than I actually was). We have realized that there were so many happenings over so many years that there are a few articles within us about this place, this should-be-totally-defunct place. But what is it?
Whether your favorite character was Emma, Paige, Spinner, or yes, even Jimmy, it’s time to go back. Yes, right now. Let’s go.
Okay so we’re a little late. Degrassi: Next Class started on Netflix over a year ago, so you can go watch that. However, remember being a little baby in 2001? Okay so I was 15 and you may have been even older. But THEY were babies. They really, really were.
Looking back on our own childhoods is like looking back at the lives of entirely different people sometimes. For real, there are like segments of time that seem separated by a black curtain. Seven year old me seemed like a different life to me at sixteen, and both of those seem completely different to now. I imagine it is the same for everyone, right? We all had interests that we were way into which now seem laughable or awkward. Is it possible that in twenty years, I will look back at me in 2017 and feel uncomfortable? Haha not a chance!