Brad Opening His Birthday Present, February 21, 1987
It was twenty years ago, on February 21, 1987, when we had Brad's birthday at the local POPnet Party at Mountain Mike's Pizza in Dublin, CA.
Yes, believe it or not, in the ancient pre-Internet days, there were already online communities getting togther and hanging out, complete all the celebration, cameraderie, angst, and drama, just like today. (It just happens at a faster pace these days). The POPnet parties were the place to be, as POPnet was one of the first real-time chat systems out there. Most of us ran BBS's back then, but they only had one phone line, so only one user could connect at a time. Brad, Tom and I would hang out and work on BBS code, do all-night programming sessions and go cruising around the streets of Dublin, Pleasanton and Livermore. The things we did, well, we're lucky the statute of limitations has run out on all that stuff now. (One benefit of being old)
Brad ran one of the more popular BBS's in the area at the time, but the computer he was running it on had no clock card. (Yes, there was a time when computers couldn't tell the time). The mark of a truly l33t BBS back then was to be able to tell the time, especially if you had a hard drive (W0W!!!@!). The card to get back then was called the ThunderClock, which most BBS programs supported out of the box. (This is also when most BBS software only supported a handful of modems, too)
So Dream Weaver, System Gremlin, Dr. D, a few others and I hatched an eeeevil plot to get him a clock card for his BBS. The trouble was, those were around $200 new, and most of us were all high school students that didn't have that much cash. We managed to buy one for only $100 used from another BBS that didn't need it any more, and little did Brad know that we were all setting up a huge get-together to give him a surprise party, right there at the POPNet Party at Mountain Mike's.
There were about 20-40 people at the Mountain Mike's that were there on a pretty regular basis, the turnout was especially heavy for this one.
Brad Is In Da House!
High Fives All Around (and most of the main instigators)
Blowing out the Candles (all 17 of them, back then)
Popping open a Jolt to Celebrate (we all drank lots of Jolt back then)