I went online the first time on May 15, 1999.  First computer and everything!  I knew would be addicted immieately if not sooner..lol.

So, picture this - I'm sitting at my computer with MSN.com staring back at me.  My mouse arrow is hovering over the "chat" button.  How bad can it be?  I can always leave if I don't like it, right?  All those horror stories about the net can't be right, right?!  Heck, it wasn't long before you couldn't drag me out of the chat room kicking and screaming.  But I digress..

That first time I couldn't believe all the genuine niceness (is that a word?) I ran into.  Okra was the first person I met.  (Okra?  What kinda name is Okra I was thinking).  Then all the "nicks" started popping out at me - MissMissy, Gandalf Stormcrow, LoLo, Mixster, clASSic, Dilbert, Thumper, Deafie, ClamBoy, FogHorn, SirZeke, DACC, Mackerby, LovePirate, MsBethy (where the heck did these people get these names?!  I thought RedFern was odd enough..sheesh).  BUT I couldn't believe how helpful everyone was.  They were all so willing to help this newbie..I was home!!

Then Okra had this newbie (remmy, new computer and everything..not at all familiar with PC's) downloading MS ComicChat (whatever in Hades that was).  "Is it really gonna be better?" I ask in all innocence.  Okra said it would be sooo much better.  Okay, I'll byte.  I downloaded it.  Whoa!!  A whole new world opened up for me.  Rather than text it looked like a comic strip with all these bizarre characters talking to each other.  Sounds simple enough, but believe me you, it makes all the difference.  "Text sucketh", as Gandalf told me.  No kidding.

I couldn't wait to get online every day after work.  I didn't want to go to bed at night.  One week I got 15 hours of sleep - the whole week.  The next week it was 12.  I couldn't keep that up for long and I didn't, but I was there all the time.  My record for being in the room was 17 hours straight.  Gods, I had it bad.  I'm not there anywhere near as much anymore, just a couple times a week.  But I love every second I spend there.  I've met so many more great people in my almost 2 years in chat.  Gabbi, Prip, GEM, Jen, Murf, Nipper, Kit, FedUp, CatQueen, DonQuixote, Sniffles, Ice, Chester, Elfsong, Shae, Seeker, Tamara, MisterCU, Moof, Amiga, Chaos, Seeker.  Gods, I could go on and on..I've met so many awesome people..y'all are awesome!!  And don't cry if I forgot your name..just let me know!!  Mea Culpa!!

That's not to say there haven't been bad times with the good.  We've had hackers that'd bump us from the room again and again, but we'd just keep going back until they got tired of it.  We've had arguments, fights, people that you just can't get along with.  We've had deaths - we've lost a couple chatters that were close to many of us.  We'll miss them always.  We've had "cyber-deaths" - people who just stop coming to the room, people you thought were friends just disappear.  I think that's the worse part of chatting.  But we keep chatting.

We've had to move from one server (MSN) after their rules become ridiculous.  Don't get me wrong, they were okay in the beginning, nothing we couldn't handle.  But it got crazy and we moved to another server (chat.annexcafe.com - #ComicCafe is the room) and most everyone made the switch.

I have sat in front of my computer with tears rolling down my face - in sorrow and in laughter.  It's been wonderful and will continue to be so.  It helped me with a personal thing or two.  I've been horribly shy all of my life.  #Newbies and the people involved really helped bring me out of my shell.  I met the the
love of my life there as well.  But that's another story..

Maybe our chat room is the same as all the others and maybe it isn't.  I tend to think it isn't.  Every newbie that comes in is always floored by how friendly it is, how everyone always says "hey there" when you come in.  I personally think it's the greatest place to chat on the net.

One more note -

Chat is real life.  Don't ever forget that.
Those are real people in the rooms you go to.
Play nice.

You wanna learn to make
your own
My Chat Character - RedFernVargas
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Home Again Finnegan
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