Tuesday, November 12, 2013

How I Got My Family Banned From America On-Line

There was a time where the internet was slow, where it took 20 minutes to download a song, where literally all there was on the internet was information. This was before broadband internet -- this was dial-up. Before the Comcasts, Clearwires, Verizons... There was was only one real company connecting all of America to the internet. It was called America On-Line.

And this is how my 9-year old self got my family banned from America On-Line.

I was in elementary school. My family recently got our first computer --  a 166mHz Gateway2000. Being the curious, nerdy, Asian kid that I am -- I naturally gravitated towards it. I read all the instruction manuals. I played with all the packaged software (I spent hours on Encarta97). I could tell you anything about that computer.

So when I installed America On-Line and got my family on the internet, I definitely thought I was hot shit. I was all over that thing -- reading up on all sorts of random stuff, going into all sorts of chatrooms on some "a/s/l" type stuff tryna get girl's pictures (I would say I was 16 when I was 9, felt like a badass), reading about what video games were coming out. I was hooked.

This was also the time where I was heavily interested in Magic: The Gathering -- a card game where you create your own deck to play against other people. A nerdy card game that I was getting my ass routinely beat by one of my best elementary school friends -- his name was Mykel. (srs)

I needed help at Magic. I needed to build a better deck. I needed to beat Mykel.

Naturally, using my America On-Line know-how (lol), I venture confidently into the Magic: The Gathering chat room. I stride into the room and my 9-year old self proclaims, "i ned help buildin my magic deck plaes help me".

No response by the 50+ deep quorum. I repeat again, "i ned help wit my deck please!!!" 

Still nothing.

Frustrated, I downloaded a macro program that pretty much hacked America On-Line and allowed the user to do things that weren't allowed. One of those capabilities was being able to e-mail mass amounts of people for any number of e-mails. I was going to e-mail these people in the chat room directly. I needed to get help with my Magic deck, and my 9-year old self was going to break the rules to do it.

I open up the program, select everybody in that chat room and indicate that I want to send 3 e-mails to each -- you know, a little feeler to get some interest (lol). I go to compose my message...

"hi my name is james i need help building my magic deck. i like red but i have alot of blue and green cards. please help"

Content and satisfied with my message, I hit send. I just sent over 150 e-mails in under a second. Asking for help. With a card game.

Not going to lie, I went to school the next day super confident. I was finally going to get the help to push me over the edge -- I was finally going to be able to make a strong deck! I got home and rushed to the computer -- I couldn't wait to see all the replies from everybody in the chat room.

Instead of being knee deep in Magic: The Gathering tips, I couldn't log on. It wouldn't let me. I got banned from America On-Line.

I didn't know what hit me. I was astounded. My papa made me call AOL and find out why we were banned -- it was because of those 150 e-mails. I was in deep shit, lol.

I just got my family banned from America On-Line by asking for help with a card game.

Safe to say I got grounded for awhile, lol.


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