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The BBS Documentary and Multicom-4

I enjoyed the BBS Documentary series, although it focused mostly upon commercial BBS software and fidonet. I was slightly disappointed that all of the advancements I had made in 20 years of BBSing was never considered for this series. At least GLIB was mentioned.

I started CACTUS-800 (Charles Antonelli's CompuTer Users System on an Atati-800) in 1979 on an Atari-800 with software I designed and wrote long before the internet came along. It was a one-line, 300 baud BBS and didn't even have a Hayes Smartmodem (self-answering) for its first three months, as those modems were expensive ($279 in 1979, keeping in mind that $279.00 in 1979 had the same buying power as about $950 today!) It utilised a Signalman MK IV modem, powered by a 9V battery! I operated the board from 4PM-midnight, manually throwing the 'answer' switch when a call came in.

When I came out of the closet as a gay man in the 80s, my BBS soon followed and become the first gay BBS in the Rochester, NY area (to the shock and dismay of many of my users at the time). In 1989, a user on Multicom-3 by the handle of Arthur offered an IBM-PC 286 clone if and only if we could raise the money needed for a monitor. Another user donated the multi-user BBS software package "The Major BBS by Galacticomm" with its very expensive source code and a C+ compiler. I stared the Multicom-4 fund and could be seen at The Bachelor Forum several times a week selling 50/50 raffle tickets to raise the required money for the monitor. (Note: If anyone knows where Arthur is, I'd love to get back in touch with him! He left Multicom-4 after he felt we were becoming "too commercial" and for some reason, I have no record of him in the old MC4 database...)

After several months of re-writing/re-compiling the BBS software, configuring it and getting Rochester Tel to drop four new sequential hunting phone lines, the old DATA number for Multicom-3 (716-244-1669) became the VOICE SUPPORT LINE for the NEW Multicom-4, with it's new sexy phone number of 716-756-4300. Dialling in was a nightmare at first as it was always busy, busy, busy!! After-all, we were the first multi-line BBS in Rochester and we has four 1200 baud modems! Chatting with other people (paging) real-time?!? Wow! Who remembers typing a late-night plea like this: "/P BARBIE Please give me some credits -- I'm running low!!"

Multicom-4 was the first non-elite BBS that I knew of that voice-validated each and every user. We promptly ditched the term "user" and started calling them "members", as they all helped defray the cost of running the service and without them, we wouldn't exist.

Just like my brick-and-mortar retail leather store which expanded exponentially since we opened in 1989, the BBS grew too! Eight 2400 baud lines, then sixteen 2400 baud lines then more and more and more!! When we added more lines, we expanded to a Gay & Lesbian BBS, then adding the bisexuals as we hit 48 lines.

Even with my horrid memory, of the over 5,000 real-life people that created accounts, I still remember a handful of my closest companions on MC-4 by their handles. Merman (Paul Pape) was my right-hand man after terrible experiences with co-sysops over the years. He was always there to help me recall who people were when I had brain farts.

We added a remote node over 60 miles away to allow residents of the Buffalo/Niagara Falls area to connect without long distance charges, naming it "The Buffalo Connection". We also provided Phillip Dampier's fidonet hub in Rochester a free gateway to Buffalo. A member living with his parents in Grand Island facilitated the space for us (little did any of us know that AT&T would be digging trenches in his parent's suburban yard to bury the fibre optic connections!) The huge original Motorola multiplexors were donated to us by "Sir" (Russ S) from Xerox's building 200 throw-away pile, but promptly replaced through a grant from Motorola themselves when they discovered that their antique equipment was still being used!

By 1996, we had our first webpage up on the internet! Straight (heterosexual) people flocked to us when we started to offer complimentary UNIX shell accounts on our new "fangz.com" system. This facilitated our members (and Heartbeat BBS' members) the ability to create their own webpages on the newly announced World Wide Web. We also started to offer an unlimited monthly account, rather than the 50¢/hour rate and internet access (via SLIP or PPP). Multicom-4 formed an official 501(c)(3), 509(a) as donations were in the 10s of thousands and I was fearful of the tax liability. These were the glory days for Bulletin Board Systems. We were a "CLASS C" ISP, meaning our IP range was through Multicom-4 sat at, Heartbeat BBS (Ashley's system) was at and Fangz.com (our unix box) was at

It was April 1999 when Multicom-4 shut its doors, we had amassed 128 incoming lines (channelised T1 circuits from an OC-3 in our basement) and were the first ISP in Upstate New York to offer high-speed dial-up V.90/k56Flex internet access. Multoicom-4 was such a momentous thing in my life that my internet handle has been "MC4BBS" since 1998.

If anyone has any photos from any of the Multicom-4 gatherings, parties, picnics, field trips, etc., I'd love to get copies! That goes for RCL photos too...

If you were involved with BBSing from the 1970s to 2000s, I highly recommend watching this series:

Beow Heong Lim Temple (妙香林寺)

"Even the gorgeous royal chariots wear out; and indeed this body too wears out. But the teaching of goodness does not age; and so Goodness makes that known to the good ones."

Beow Heong Lim Temple (妙香林寺) at 503 Hill Railway Rd in Penang will be the final resting place for myself and K.K.

Allow me to explain why I plan to be cremated, shoved in a yellow jar with red writing and shipped half-way around the world when my time is up... but first, do you know what a columbarium is? Simply explained, it's a series of cubicles measuring approximately one square foot stacked together to form walls where the remains of deceased persons are entombed. In the photo on the right, you'll see someone standing before a metal rolling table with candles, incense, (vegetarian) food and tea praying for a loved one. This is typical for how one would pray for a loved one at Cheng Meng or at the 100th day after death or any other special occasion.

Some columbarium cubes (such as the ones displayed in the photo on the right) have an etched glass covering so you can see the vase holding the cremated remains of the deceased, while more commonly, they are granite or marble tombstone enclosures -- not unlike a headstone in a western cemetery. The ones with glass are kind of cool, as you can see miniature objects left for the deceased to take with them in the afterlife, some items I have seen have been packets of cigarettes, motorcycles, cars, homes, bottles of alcohol and just about anything else you can imagine!  (note: Columbariums exist in the western world as well! See this example in San Francisco, California. Also, some columbariums aren't as humble, such as this example with gold Buddhas and laser lights, which is planned very close to Beow Heong Lim Temple)

Beow Heong Lim Temple has a sizeable, yet humble columbarium and it is on the beautiful tropical island of Penang, Malaysia in the loving shadow of Kek Lok Si Temple (極樂寺), the Goddess of Mercy. It is also very cost-effective for those that wish a permanent place of residence in the afterlife, on average it costs about $2.5k USD per cube on a exterior wall (i.e. a view of outside)

During Cheng Meng, "Grave Cleaning Day" or "All Soul's Day", each 4th of April Beow Heong Lim Temple becomes a flurry of activity with all sorts of chanting, praying and burning of incense and joss papers. [Joss paper (金紙) is also known as ghost money and are paper-crafts made into burnt offerings, common in various Asian religious practices including the veneration of the deceased on holidays and special occasions. Joss paper, as well as other papiér-mâché effigies, are also burned in various Asian funerals, to ensure that the spirit of the deceased has lots of good things in the afterlife.]

Beow Heong Lim Temple is where K.K.'s mother, grandmother and two aunts remains are kept. It's the reason why we travel to Penang for Cheng Meng every April. The upper photo on the right shows the actual tombstone enclosures of K.K.'s aunt (who adopted him when his mother died 30 years ago) as well as his grandmother who passed 5 years ago. You'll notice that K.K.'s name are on both tombstone enclosures.

It's such a beautiful location and so peaceful that K.K. and I chatted for over a year about making it our permanent home when our time comes. In April 2015 we made our purchase. We have our paperwork and instructions in our safe deposit box and stipulated in our wills so that when we pass, someone will be paid to take our remains to Penang and have the monks make arrangements. Here are our final resting places:

Here are some general photos of Beow Heong Lim Temple on FourSquare.

Traditional Chinese Funeral Arrangements

The funeral ceremony, which traditionally lasts over 49 days, the first seven days being the most important. Prayers are said every seven days for 49 days. The number of ceremonies conducted is dependent on the financial situation of the family. The head of the family should also be present for the burial or the cremation.

I have two videos of the traditional method of placing bones and ashes into the urn. They are of K.K.'s Grandmother's ceremony: video #1, video #2   (note: these videos might be disturbing to sensitive individuals.)

After 100 days a final prayer ceremony is conducted.

In the Mahayana tradition of Buddhism (which most Chinese Buddhists subscribe), it is believed that between death and rebirth there is an intermediate period called "Antarabhava". This is an important period which has an influence on the form that the rebirth shall take. If the family ensures that proper assistance in the form of prayer and remembrance ceremonies are duly performed, the departed is better able to take a favourable rebirth.

Here is more information about Chinese funeral customs.

The Bijou Theater is closing in four days.


"The Bijou Theater, the oldest consecutively running gay porn movie theatre and sex club in the United States, officially closes its doors on September 30 at 9AM"


Yahoo Mail & Windows 10

Yahoo Mail is back!

Whilst futzing around on the interwebs today, I accidentally discovered that quite quietly, Yahoo Mail has re-activated FREE POP3 service! Who would have thunk it?

I have re-incorporated Yahoo Mail into my Microsoft Outlook after nearly TEN YEARS of renewing my "out of office"/"vacation response" every six months on Yahoo to indicate just why I don't like nor no longer use Yahoo e-mail!

Windows 10 Trial

I took two of my spare laptops and installed Windows 10 on each of them this past weekend to give Win10 (a/k/a WinX) a trial run.  I must say that after the disaster of Windows 8.1, Windows 10 was a delight -- many of the things we used to know and love are back, and some things we found annoying are gone (or well hidden!)

I'm still running the two side-by-side and trying to determine exactly what logging on via my Microsoft Account does in respect to synchronising the two up. Speaking of synchronising, I also started using Firefox's Sync so I can have all my bookmarks aligned on all of my systems. I would really have to say is that when it comes down to it, a computer's operating system is becoming less and less important as most of the things you do are online and in the 'cloud' these days. Firefox on a PC or Unix looks and functions like Firefox on a MacBook or Android tablet!

On a similar note, did you happen to tell Windows 10 it's okay to spy on you? This article on LinkedIn tells a tale of woe about the latest (and apparently last version) of Microsoft's Operating System, Windows.  It's worth the read!

Practise Safe Surfing!


If you're going to surf on a computer, you should have protection these days! I avoid many Google products now for privacy's sake. My home page is protopage.com which allows you to configure your home screen to show RSS feeds and other items of use (like Google used to!) I also use DuckDuckGo extension as well as in the search default, as they do not track you. I use Firefox (not Chrome nor I.E.) and my standard Firefox extensions (add-ons) include:

- DuckDuckGo Plus
- NoScript (blocks scripts XXS and more)*
- AdBlock Plus (stops banner ads and more!)
- Saved Password Editor **
- Cookies Manager+
- Video Download Helper (downloads nearly anything)
- Downloads Window (old fashioned download window)

* NoScript is a pain to get used to and configure your whitelist at first, then you'll never know how you surfed without it!! Well worth the PITA.

** Saved Password Editor allows you to peek in your Firefox saved password database, make corrections/changes, save passwords on websites that typically don't allow your browser to remember a password and more.

With Mozilla Firefox, do take advantage of the CTRL+SHIFT+P to browse privately from time to time when you want no evidence left in your system or on theirs!

On your computer's desktop side, ClamWin (clamwin.com) is a FREE and awesome anti-virus tool. Note: it will sometimes report a false positive, which can be easily checked for free online at virustotal.com. I'd rather have a false positive, check it, then filter it than have it miss something entirely, wouldn't you?

And lastly, DO NOT SURF without MalwareBytes installed! Go to malwarebytes.org to purchase this tool, it's the best!!

Facebook vs LiveJournal

I'm unsure which is better...

It seems that facebook appeals more to those with short-term memories.


Friend-Worthy? Nope.

I've been in an unfriending mood on facebook recently as my odometer prepares to click another year by. Today, Mark Strickland, a gay and recently self-admitted, self-hating christian has won that spot. Mark is quick to point out how awful gays are and how oppressed christians are.

Well I've had enough of his selective censoring on his wall and I don't want to see his shit any more. Gone.

I was further amazed to see we have 51 of mutual friends, such as Carl Wildman, Scott Bukovac, Scott Erickson, Mark Groaning, Joe Jervis, Daniel Birnbaum, Patrick Kellogg, The Buffalo Bull Dogs, Larry Warnow, Aaron Sheppard, Michael Polsenberg and others!

Of course, I'm not going to tell anyone who they can and cannot be friends with, but as they say, "birds of a feather" -- and you shall be judged on the company you keep.

Mark Strickland was once a cool guy, but ever since the Supreme Court's ruling to allow same-sex marriage nationwide was announced, Mark has been on a rampage of right-wing hate that I can no longer brush off as being "a phase" and I, for one, will not be involved with someone so full of hate and bile.

This post was originally on facebook, but was removed. I've moved it here for posterity.

12th Anniversary of my Boston move...

Yes, I'm still alive!

I just posted the message (and photos) to my facebook wall.

The 12th anniversary of my move to Boston is upcoming!

It was the day after Valentine's Day in 2003 when I packed up my most important personal items, records and clothing (which filled 14 medium boxes) and loaded up the U-Haul with them, my 1100 Yamaha Virago motorcycle and a cheap, used Saturn automobile and with the help of Kelley Liese, I left a toxic home behind me for fresh start in Boston, MA. I was very depressed and couldn't stop crying -- my life, as I had known it had ended. The challenge ahead: start over, alone.

I shared first South-End apartment for six months with two college students, one straight female and one gay male. Photos are attached.

I started a blog at http://blog.chazhome.com/ on 3rd March 2003: http://blog.chazhome.com/2003/03/03/ to try to cope with the depression and isolation. After being unable to find any social clubs to integrate with, I chose to 'lead by example' and founded the Boston Bears on 31 March 2003. The Alley Bar opened soon after that, then we passed gay marriage and the Red Sox won the World Series for the first time in over 80 years (coincidence? no!) smile emoticon

When my temporary living situation was over and I moved in with Dennis Ford at 135 Willard St, Quincy, MA in July of 2003. I had already come a long way with my healing in those six months; however, I still cried nearly every day. It would be almost a year later when I moved into my condo at 25 Gothland St, Quincy MA 02169, taking Dennis with me as my room-mate. My life was turning around for the better after 18 months.

... the rest is in my blog.

Welcome to 2014!

The 1st quarter of 2014 is coming to a close and almost all the snow has melted finally!

As I mentioned earlier, the age of blogging appears to be a thing of the past. God forbid someone writes more than one sentence of text -- it will be passed over. This is not accusatory, it's simply the truth. I too am guilty, having of become accustomed to glancing at keywords and skipping over most posts. We live in a short-attention span world, and the "elevator pitch" to sell your idea online is probably less than three seconds now.

Still with me? Amazing!

I've become somewhat active on facebook, looking for me there? I'm at https://www.facebook.com/ChazNYC -- facebook is a nifty social medium, but it lacks subsistence. Furthermore, their terms of service and hidden agenda of data-mining people to the Nth degree and selling that information to whomever wants to pay for it is kinda scary.

I just posted a fresh version of "Where's Chaz", showing all of 2014's travel plans to date. There's a lot of travel in the works for 2014!

Empire City MC is turning 50 years old this year, which means there are a LOT of club events in the calendar as well... Our first event is "Biker Weekend" over Memorial Day Weekend, then our annual Bike Christening & Biker's Picnic. August 2nd-10th will be a week-long trip to Deals Gap, NC and October 10-12th will be an in-town anniversary run and dinner cruise on a private yacht! Interested in any of these events? Go to http://empirecitymc.com/ and check 'em out!

Oh well, 2013 has been a disappointing year in the world of leather/motorcycle clubs.

At the last minute, the Baltimore Shipmates cancelled their annual run (Keelhaul) -- then, a few weeks later, the Knighthawks MC of Virginia also cancelled their annual run (which would have been their 20th anniversary!) All due to low registration. The Rochester Rams' Run is this weekend and apparently only 25 people registered for this year's run, a run which used to get an average of 100 men.

The recent lack of club event registration can't possibly be attributed merely to joblessness. Times have been changing and traditional club runs aren't appealing to our younger generation (those folks who have their faces constantly buried in their smartphones whilst walking, talking to others or clubbing).

Some dramatical changes need to be made, and quickly -- or these wonderful, real-life social (and very often sexual) events known as "runs" will go the way of the dodo. Time to re-invent the club run guys!

Tomorrow we depart on the motorcycles for The Ranch in Hemlock, NY (MAP POINT C), then Friday we go to the Rams' Run (MAP POINT D), on Sunday we head to Toronto (MAP POINT E) -- here's the ride map: http://j.mp/2013rams

If you're coming to the Rams' Run or live or will be in Toronto, let me know! We'll be in Toronto until Wednesday morning.

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