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The Streets of Rhy'din: A Journey Into The Whimsical World of AOL Chatroom Roleplay

We’ve all done things we are horribly embarrassed of, lets face it.  You live on this planet long enough you’re bound to have something in your past that, upon recollection, makes you cringe just a little.  Sometimes we must silently bear these scars alone, but not I.  For you see, my tragyic past is something of a shared experience.  A group effort, if you will, forged through the ever cool and not lame bonds of online roleplay.  More specifically chat room based, late 90s, AOL Roleplay.  Ah the late-90s, Dragon Ball Z was the hottest anime on TV, Final Fantasy 7 and 8 were released, along with a re-release of Star Wars, and The first Matrix film.  It was a time of great entertainment milestones, iconic moments in the world of gamer and geekdom, a glorious time for a socially maladjusted nerd like myself to fully engross himself into.  What better place to do it than RP Chatrooms on a dial-up modem?

In AOL Roleplay the realm was named RhyDin or Rhy’din or just Rhydin.  It was based on the rules of ‘uh…. what were the rules again?’  There was dice, but no one seemed to pay attention to it.  There was no level-up system.  No DM.  No universally recognized rules or real ways of enforcing said rules.  The RP community was so vast and there were so many variations on the rules that if you found two people following the same ones in an open chatroom it was the RL (Real Life for all you non-RP coolkids) equivalent of finding the Yeti riding the Lockness Monster like a jetski.  There were however some universal rules that most everyone seemed to follow, and I wished they hadn’t, some of the more notable ones were:

  1. Every room has rafters for the Vampyres to lurk and hiss in, even if the room is called ‘OPEN GRASSY FIELD WITH NO RAFTERS.’ Also, even if they don’t mention it in their profile, in character, or at all, virtually everyone is at least 25% vampire.
  2. Every child character is a super-genius of some kind, and can speak ‘perfect’ English, do magyick, and in general outsmart you at every turn, even if the person who is RPing him/her can’t seem to spell properly or show any signs of said advanced intelligence.
  3. Every female character is a badass battle maiden who don’t need no man with massive heaving tits and a seemingly endless libido.
  4. Virtually everyone is a ‘dark’ and ‘wycked’ and will endlessly make reference to using a ::wicked grin:: or a ::sinister laugh:: repeatedly in conversation, even if you’re just asking for directions.
  5. Everyone either wears all black hooded outfits, billowing capes, or some sort of celestial battle armor forged by Jesus.
  6. The Medieval crowd will insist on speaking in ye olde English, even if their only understanding of said dialect is that you add random ‘y’s into words and ‘e’s at the end of others.  If you speak to these people in any other way they will pretend you are speaking martian to them and yell at you in the dreaded out of character brackets in instant messages.
  7. Everyone has a tragyic past.  No one has gone through life apparently without their whole village being murdered while they were out gathering berries or some shit.  As if it’s an entire realm filled with JRPG protagonists.  Almost every female character has been raped, sometimes repeatedly.  Sometimes male characters too.
  8. No one has a normal name.  You must have at least three names, all with special characters and accent marks. (¯`’·.¸.·::»¥« Trîllÿånå §ådærå-Ðrågðñ »¥«::·.¸.·´¯), is an actual example and not something I just made up.  Seriously.
  9. Your Geocities, Angelfire, Homestead, etc. website is only allowed to use RED on BLACK colors, and everything must be bold text.  NO EXCEPTIONS.  Animated .gifs from Diablo 2 optional.  ::wyckid grin::
  10. Never, under any circumstances, question how it’s possible to be 25% werewolf or 50% vampire and not just a werewolf or vampire unless you’re prepared to listen to long typo-ridden dissertation containing elements of all of the above rules.

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The Occupy Movement’s Goal – The Largest National Mace Demo Ever

Remember back a couple of years ago when thousands of people decided to march on Wall Street and protest … something?  Well unsurprisingly the actual demand or point of the protest itself is still up in the air.  It wasn’t just Wall Street, even our fair city of Orlando had an occupy movement as well.  Which, sort of ambled about in a couple of local parks near the Bank of America building downtown.  All that seemed to do was draw the ire of local law enforcement and virtually no major reaction from the community.  The real party it seemed was over in places like NYC and Berkley where it degenerated quite rapidly into a virtual smorgasbord of police violence.  I mean you had so many options to choose from, getting punched, beaten with knight sticks, and my personal favorite mace to the face.  For any reason really.  Even sitting still, fuck you have some mace.  Predictably one of the most famous cases of which, by the way, led to the charges against the police officer being dropped even though there’s video evidence of him just walking along macing everyone in his path with little to no rhyme or reason.

The Orlando Occupy movement, after the national tolerance for the whole affair seemed to wane on it’s facebook page degenerated into the typical collage-hipster dabbling into the whimsical world of communism.  Going so far as to quote people like Mao and Stalin, who were, as we all know, paragons of morality and righteousness.  Both, having a collective body count that actually beats Hitler’s best estimates almost ten times over.  When I think of men to inspire me to greatness, lord knows that’s my first choice every time.  Don’t get me wrong though, I don’t think that the occupy movement was a bunch of collage communists who got what they deserved.  The problem was trying to start a non-movement movement to begin with.  The issue with Occupy Wall Street was that it’s greatest strength in the opinion of the people involved was also it’s greatest weakness.  You can’t expect people to rally behind a cause when you advertise the real reason for your cause as some vague and esoteric mystery that you are either clued into or are not.  As hinted in the movement’s ‘official’ poster:

What in the fuck.

Try and explain how this poster makes sense, is inspirational, or in any way helps define a major social movement.  Go ahead, I dare you.

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The New American Dream

For a long time the neighborhood in which I am currently occupying was ran by a board of directors consisting of annoying and bothersome old people who felt the need to intervene on everyone’s decisions as to the appearance of the property that they, most of the time, actually owned. It’s a fascinating thing, the American Dream, you search for it and when you finally obtain the very thing that you had been seeking you immediately find ways and excuses to project your ‘sensible’ notions on why every house should be a boring gray with white curtains and fretting over cats walking across your lawn.   Now, when I refer to the American Dream, I’m talking about a family, a retirement, a nice house or condo in a quiet neighborhood and, with any luck, a white picket fence.   Maybe a chance to grow old and sit on your lawn and lazily yell at young people to get the hell off said lawn and quit drawing penises on your lawn gnomes with a sharpie.  These notions of the ideal existence were what was shoved down the throats of suckers during the, what I lovingly call, the ‘old days,’ which roughly consists of all the time prior to the date I was born.  The thing was, in chasing the American Dream, most people were broken, or didn’t like what they had built up to turning into a royal hassle, or didn’t like what they became in the process.

This article is about those people, because, somehow, this neighborhood is a net for those kinds of people.   Those from the older generations that may have tasted the American Dream, and then… lost it.   This neighborhood, with it’s ugly gray condos stacked uniformly with it’s ugly bushes and ugly walls that reek of plainness as it seems to me, has always looked like the kind of place place that the old go… not to retire, but to linger through the last of their days till they keel over and die.   I know, I know… that sounds terrible.   Think about it this way, most of these people are already dead on the inside!  You say that doesn’t make you feel better?   Well, I guess you can’t please everyone. My point is that they very boring, very old, and very nosy people have managed to keep this neighborhood safe from most of the problems of the Orlando sprawl simply by it’s intrinsic nature.   The moment some kinds wandered in the cops were tipped off right away, the moment someone yelled, cops called.  Pretty much if you were making more noise than it takes to knit, you had the cops called on you.   This is good for me, in a way, because I make hardly any noise at all.   This bad for, say, any college kids that want to throw a party or anyone selling drugs out of their houses.

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