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BDMNQR2: 20 Years Online!

June 1, 2018


20th Anniversary!

Today, it’s been 20 years I’ve officially been online!

I actually had my first AOL screen name in 1997, when my wife and I shared a computer with our close friend, who held both the computer and the main account.
Leading up to this, after the much heralded release of Windows 95, many more regular people began getting their first computers. So in 1996, we began looking to getting one of our own. I remember being intrigued by TV ads for early services like “Prodigy”. It sounded so interesting, having all the world at your fingertips, right from your own home. No longer having to hike to distant libraries, who still may not have what you’re looking for.

Anticipating this, I even jumped in a job-sponsored after work class on computers (and I used to hate any kind of classes! Now I know, with introverted Thinking; I need to learn at my own pace, and filter what I think is most relevant and not have information crammed down my throat) Using Computers A Gateway to Information (Shelly, Cashman, Waggoner, 1995) was the textbook (still have it!), but for some reason, the class just stopped after just a few sessions.
This was also the exciting time of the announcement of rewritable CD, and the soon released new medium DVD (see, which would figure heavily for computers, since they were the first and main venue the new drives would be used on.

Finances pushed the computer back a year, but finally, it came. Everyone remembers the sound of the dialup tones, and waiting to get connected (loved seeing that “people” logo AOL used when it finally got connected), getting knocked off, annoyed at how many others must have been on at the same time, and then conflicting with someone in the house needing to use the phone (and incoming calls would knock you off too).
But in addition to all of this was having only limited time to be in the other person’s house to use it! Don’t know how I ever survived!

Knowing nothing about the brand new medium of the Internet or “World Wide Web” I didn’t know if it was wise to use my real name (as our friend and others I saw, all used aliases); so I chose a cryptic-looking array of letters, based on my main interest, the subways. (And wasn’t even working there yet. Still braving the “Five Points” Collect Pond air of the County Clerks’s office).

Even though I had recently married into the distant Ridgewood/Bushwick area, my mind was still on the other side of Brooklyn I grew up in. Back in those days, that part of the subway was stuck seemingly forever in the “Manhattan Bridge North Side Open” pattern, where the “south” side, leading to the Broadway line, was closed, the N line banished to the longer tunnel route, and the Q moved to 6th Avenue. It was taking forever to finish the work on that side, to then move to the next phase, swapping sides (another four years away at that point, and it had already been like this for a whopping eight years already), and then finally, the work complete, which would be seven years later.

So I was always thinking about those lines over there, and what would happen when the bridge work advanced; drawing up suggestions and sending them in, etc. My last time at WTC was this same year, when the MTA had an “East River Crossings” presentation, with volumes of material on the different “alternatives”. Including a lot of wild ideas, they nor we would never imagine the final plan, where the B and D were swapped from where they ran continuously in one form or another, for 34 years!

So I chose a sequence of route letters. Since 34th Street (Herald Square) was like the “center” of the affected part of the system; a huge hub where the 6th Avenue and Broadway lines cross, and the truncated 6th Avenue lines would terminate when that side of the bridge was closed; plus one of my favorite areas from being the center of NYC Christmas, with Macy’s and all; I wanted to use the lines that crossed there: BDFNQR.

However, I didn’t live on any of those lines anymore. I lived on the M, which at the time didn’t even go to midtown, but rather looped from one side of Brooklyn to the other, through the short, downtown Manhattan Nassau St. line. So I instead chose the next best thing; the downtown Brooklyn hub where the M did cross with most of those other lines (and then some): the Atlantic terminal-Pacific St. complex (now known as “Barclay’s Center” from the arena more recently built there), and thus BDMNQR.

This is what my original screen name and e-mail address was, and what I would post under on early AOL interest boards and the old USENET. Main boards were transit, cartoons, and music (Stevie; EWF. On the latter, I was surprised that another member recognized what my screen name was).

Since the friend had long dropped AOL, upon calling them to find out when my accounts started, they did not have on record her old account. Not sure how long we shared. Didn’t seem that long. It may have been since December (1997), and the original plan was to do this article that month sometime, being the absolute 20th anniversary of my internet life completely; but working on other projects, I let it slip, figuring I wasn’t sure anyway. However, I was able to get the date of when I finally got my own AOL!
June 1st, 1998!

Our friend got a new computer, and gave us the old one, a 1.7 GB Packard Bell.
However, since I had the screen name under the old account, I couldn’t simply make that a new main account, so I had to create a whole new e-mail. I chose to add “2”, which served both as indicating it’s the second one, but then also was another line that ran through the same hub (along with the 3, 4, and 5). Thus, “BDMNQR2” was finally born!

So that was the main account I used to the present!
(The irony would come in 2010, with another, [even more] “unthinkable” service change, of actually rerouting the M up 6th Avenue, to Forest Hills. So now it actually goes through 34th St! I could have chosen the Herald Sq. lines including the M, if I created the screen name today: “BDFMNQR” or now, “BDFMNQRW”, with the W eliminated with the service changes that merged the M and V, recently brought back! I actually thought of changing it, but having the name so long and especially with the 20th looming, I decided to keep this one!)

In 2000, after getting nowhere having my two main religious and one political writing published (Trinity, CCM Controversy, Right Wing politics), adding another one on fundamentalism and psychology (this and the CCM one after having attended IFB classes on both issues), and wanting to post my own narrative of the rapidly re-burgeoning Scooby Doo cartoon (after finding this new internet medium filled with hatred toward the Scrappy Doo character, and the whole decade of the show when he was present); I then learned I could host my writings on AOL.
(It had gotten so bad, that someone had taken the “breast cancer death awareness” ribbon and emblazoned it with pictures of Scrappy, for all the haters to display on their pages. There usually would be no other reference to him —they pretended he didn’t exist; and then that ribbon, often at the bottom would let you know they were deliberately ignoring him. On Usenet, and sites like “” [later integrated into] people then spewed out all of the hatred, of what they wished they could do to him, and how he ruined their childhood. One cartoon fan had crafted this whole history where Scrappy’s arrival singlehandedly ruined the whole show, and this became the inspiration for me to write my own history of Scooby free of such bias toward one temporary character.
This thinking, believed to be from a small but loud minority [as the character’s developer Mark Evanier mentioned on his blog after discussing original voice actor Lennie Weinrib’s total befuddlement at all the hatred he found on the internet], then spread like wildfire into the production studio, where he was still basically barred from any positive uses in new stories, but nevertheless thrown in as a cameo to take cheap shots at him; the worst being the live action Scooby Doo Movie, where he was in a last moment afterthought made the villain.

The entire TV animation studio Filmation [second only to Hanna Barbera in the 70’s] also received constant criticism in these early days of the internet, due to its “limited animation”. Thankfully, as more cartoon fans spoke up, the atmosphere became more balanced for both of these entities.

I had already learned a bit of HTML from using one transit forum whose posting feature used the code, and then arming myself with HTML For Dummies and Sam’s Teach Yourself To Create Web Pages, then learned how to create them from scratch. (Hence, them being so simply text formatted, which one visitor described awhile ago as “like a simple early page from years ago”).
The address format was simply “[screen name]”.

Since I was writing against cranky old fundamentalists, I felt the need to separate the less serious Scooby project, and so created a second screen name, etb700 (as in “700 Club”, which I never followed, but couldn’t think of anything else religious, and by that time realizing it was safe to use my initials) to host my Christian writings, and correspond with ministries I wrote to.

On a side note, the most shocking and ominous occurrence these past 20 years was on Sept. 10th 2001; fresh out of “school car” for transit, and having worked the F, with the view of the skyline on the highest point of the system, the “Culver Viaduct” over the Gowanus, and not knowing that would be the last time I would ever see the skyline in that form.
At almost 9PM that evening, on the aforementioned transit board, someone starts a thread called “100 Years From Now”

One hundred years from now, assuming that an H-bomb or an earthquake (it is possible you know) doesn’t wipe the place out I wonder what the transit system in New York will look like. I doubt not that the underground portion of the subway system will be intact. Most of the Els, but possibly not all of them, will be gone as well as some of the East River bridges. I’m pretty sure that the Empire State and Chrysler Buildings as well as the World Trade Center will still be around though I suspect that the rest of the skyline will be up for grabs. There will still be a Pennsylvania and Grand Central Station with the LIRR going to the latter. None of us will be around to see it but I doubt not that it will be interesting.

Thought nothing of it; just a routine post on what we think will happen in the future. Well, noon, next day (I was off), I’m then responding to this post, adding to it’s title “NO, NOT EVEN ONE DAY!!”

“How eerie…who would think that 12 hours after this original post it wouldn’t be around!”

This, of course, after hours of watching this unbelievable event unfold. It was the biggest shock any of us had lived through!

In about 2003, I joined Yahoo which used a “listserve” format, for a coworker-oriented group, and then joined a few others, and re-used the original BDMNQR. After learning about type a few years later, I quickly joined one on temperament (Keirsey), but learned it was populated by mostly Feeling types who thought I was being rather “impersonal”, not just for all my logical theorizing, but also my unusual cryptic “handle”, and didn’t even know my real name. At the time, when you posted on Yahoo, it just defaulted to using your e-mail, and I didn’t know how to change it to show a different screen name (like you can do now). But that eventually cleared up, and I’m still there.

This is how it was, until 2008, around the tenth anniversary of the AOL account, and halfway to the present, that AOL suddenly announced it was shutting down all of its members space. (But the e-mail box would of course remain). So I then bought my own domain name, and moved everything over to there. (By this time, having added dozens of interest, religious and political pages. Didn’t bother keeping the less serious interests separate. This blog came about three years later, for smaller articles and current events).

So then, here we are today!

I had remained mostly on boards until the up coming new venues called “social media”, namely Facebook, which I imagine was initially supposed to be a mostly photo sharing site (like Instagram is now), but then became an all around “news” and socialization site; and it was so amazing being able to connect with a range of people I’ve known, spanning my whole life; many of whom (including some distant relatives) I used to hardly ever contact otherwise; and then making new friends!

I’m thinking this whole dynamic actually does funny things with the introvert/extravert scale. I’m Supine, which is very reserved as a technical introvert, yet “wants” like an extrovert. So the internet is the perfect medium to interact, without the difficulties of face-to-face interaction. I can also think out what I want to say, being a much better writer than speaker. So on one hand, it seems like an introvert’s paradise, but many other introverts, such as Melancholy types I know of, are just as avoidant of the medium, and there are many extraverts (such as Sanguine types, like ESFP’s) who also love the interaction and attention. My wife, however (ESFJ), is not big on the internet, saying her Sanguine needs depend more on face to face interaction. You would think the pure Sanguine would be like that, and perhaps some are, but the difference might be that their “Feeling” attitude is actually introverted (this is the auxiliary function, and they’re extraverts because of the dominant extraverted Sensing), and the ESFJ’s dominant extraverted Feeling might be more likely to want an actual tangible environment of people. (extraverted Sensing would want that as well, but if they can’t get it, then I guess a screen will do).

So me, having “so much to say” in the world, the internet is one of the greatest things to have been invented!

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