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== continued from Part 1 *** Parties and Things in Callahan's We've already mentioned the New Year's Pizza Party, which is held at the appropriate time each year. It was started because the newsgroup used to be a pretty empty place over the holiday season, with people on vacation and all, and it's a nice way for the ones left behind to share some holiday spirit. There are also birthday parties occasionally. The Didi-Sprite keeps a list of Patron's birthdays, and newcomers who want to be on it should post their birthdays. Since there are so many Patrons, every day is _someone's_ birthday, so parties tend to be held only for long-standing or very well-known Patrons. What happens is: Someone contacts a large bunch of the victim's friends, collecting birthday greetings and Virtual mayhem from them in e-mail, then formats it all together and posts a humongous birthday party built from everyone's messages. It's quite an honour to have such a surprise party thrown for you, but the sheer number of Patrons means nobody should feel bad about not getting one. Party posts are often quite long, and the threads can go on quite a while, so the keyword PARTY should always be included in the Subject line of any party post. And if you want to get weekly reminder messages on upcoming birthdays, contact Didi at firstname.lastname@example.org . *** Callahan's and Real Life Since Callahan's is full of real people, they sometimes find they live close enough together to meet up in Real Life (RL). This has led to the idea of the RealSpace, in which a bunch of Callahanians get together and have a great time. There are several groups of people who met in Callahan's and now get together regularly in RL. A few romances have started this way, and even a marriage or two! There are other ways in which Callahanians can share RL experiences. People have posted invitations to open parties, and stage performances in which they appear, and to events like science fiction conventions. The keyword REALSPACE is sometimes used to announce, organise, or report on any such gatherings. And when a Callahanian travels, well! There are often other Callahanians scattered around the destination and this makes a great excuse for a get-together. Several Patrons have had dinner or attended parties with people from other countries, and many a Patron has given free travel accommodation to a visiting Callahanian from across the country or across the world. *** Callahan's Books by Spider Robinson (and others) The alt.callahans newsgroup, as mentioned earlier, is based on some books written by a fellow called Spider Robinson. Here is a list of his Callahan's books: Callahan's Crosstime Saloon, 1977, ISBN 0-441-09043-5. Time Travellers Strictly Cash, 1981, ISBN 0-441-80713-5. Callahan's Secret, 1986, ISBN 0-441-09074-5. The Callahan Touch, 1993, ISBN 0-441-09075-3. Off The Wall at Callahan's, 1994, ISBN 0-312-85661-X. Spider has also written two books about Lady Sally, Mike's wife and proprietor of a very classy bordello... Callahan's Lady, 1989, ISBN 0-441-09072-9. Lady Slings the Booze, 1992, ISBN 0-441-46929-9. All of the above books are published by Ace Books of New York. They are not the easiest books to find, and you may have better luck perusing second-hand book stores for some of the earlier ones. Spider has also written several science fiction books which have nothing to do with Callahan's, including a few with his wife, Jeanne Robinson. The Callahan's Place books are collections of short stories (except for _Off_The_Wall_, explained below), whereas the Lady Sally books are novels. All of them (plus his other books) come highly recommended by most of the Patrons who have read them, although some of us don't like them - hey, we encourage diversity and nobody ever said you have to think any particular way to post here! The Callahan's Place described in the books is quite similar to the one in the newsgroup in some respects, but quite different in others. The general philosophy is pretty much the same, but the decor and traditions vary a bit. In the books, the characters indulge in regular pun contests every Tuesday night, Wednesdays are for tall tales, and Monday is Fireside Fillmore night, in which some of the characters jam with their musical instruments. There is a counter-clock (a mirror-image of a normal clock) on the wall, an ornate iron spiral staircase leading up to the roof, no bar stools, a free lunch of ham sandwiches on the bartop, and no mirror behind the bar (the wall is covered with scrawls of some of the best (worst?) puns from Tuesday contests - and _this_ stuff comprises the _Off_The_Wall_ book). Much of this has never made regular reference in the newsgroup, but occasionally someone might mention some of it. And if you're curious, yes, Spider _does_ know about the newsgroup. He does not read it, though (at least as far as any of us know), and he has never posted anything here. A few of us have met him in person (at science fiction conventions, for example, where he is sometimes a guest of honour), and the reports are that he is quite a nice guy. If you happen to meet him, please be considerate and don't pester him with questions about this newsgroup! There are three stories which may explain why Spider doesn't hang out here: 1) Chris Davis met Spider once at a Boscone convention, and he said he didn't have time for the Net because he was worried about getting sucked into it. (Fair enough; we know how addictive it can be!) 2) Taldin met Spider at I-Con IX, where he said he didn't want to read any fan-fiction about Callahan's, because he was leery about getting sued for copyright violations if he sees an idea and then later accidentally uses it. This could possibly be extended to include the sort of things people write in alt.callahans. 3) Hearsay from an unknown source says that Spider once saw a printout of some of alt.callahans and didn't see much of a resemblance to how he envisioned the Place. So, it could be that Spider is actually a little tired of hearing about us already. As we just said, _please_ don't bother him about the newsgroup if you happen to meet him. There is another book related to Callahan's - it happens to be a source book for the role-playing game GURPS by Steve Jackson Games. It was written by Chris W. McCubbin, with help from Spider: GURPS Callahan's Crosstime Saloon, 1992, ISBN 1-55634-221-7. And if you turn to page 73 of this book, you will see alt.callahans mentioned specifically. As a Patron of this Place you are therefore, in some small way, famous. *** Other Callahan's Resources on the Net (and off) The Callahan's Round Table: Apart from the newsgroup alt.callahans, there is a #callahans channel on Internet Relay Chat (IRC). At the moment it only operates on Wednesdays and Sundays (USA time) and mostly during the US evening, or late afternoon on Sundays. If you know how to use IRC, simply join the channel #callahans at the appropriate time and you should find a few other Callahanians on-line and willing to chat. The VR space used in IRC is a big, round, oak table situated at the bar. The people there do all the things they do in alt.callahans, except that it all happens instantly instead of posting messages and waiting for a reply. At the moment, the conditions there are much less crowded than in the newsgroup. The Callahan's Round Table is ideal for anyone with access to IRC and who feels the volume of posts in alt.callahans is just too overwhelming. As it grows, the Round Table will eventually expand to other days of the week, to help keep things small and manageable. The Round Table was set up and is administered by Elana Beach. If you have any questions about it you can e-mail her at email@example.com . Here is a quick time conversion chart for the Callahan's Round Table: US Eastern Time: 18:00 - 00:00 US Pacific Time: 15:00 - 21:00 UK (Greenwich) Time: 23:00 - 05:00 (next day) Australian Eastern Time: 09:00 (next day) - 15:00 (next day) If you don't know how to use IRC, then you should either check your on-line help or ask a local expert on your system. HoloMUCK: HoloMUCK is a multi-user game running on a machine in Montreal. Many current and ex-Callahanians have characters on HoloMUCK, and logging in is another way of meeting up with them in real time. The telnet address for HoloMUCK is 18.104.22.168 (port 5757). The e-mail contact is Sjade, at these addresses: firstname.lastname@example.org for information; email@example.com to set up a character. If you want to have a look at Holo first, telnet to the above address and connect as a guest. Instructions appear when you open the telnet connection. If you don't know how to use telnet, either check your on-line help or ask a local expert. Callahan's on the World Wide Web: Several people maintain World Wide Web pages with Callahan's related information. Here are the URL addresses and brief descriptions. Danger Mouse (firstname.lastname@example.org) maintains the original Callahan's WWW page (originally produced by John Ockerbloom). The page contains links to several Callahan's documents, and also a few classic posts from the past. http://www.physics.su.oz.au/~mar/callahans.html Tink (email@example.com) has a Callahan's page with links to home pages of several other Patrons and even a few pictures! http://www.rpi.edu/~tinkha/callahans.html Ceallach keeps a Callahan's Portrait Gallery, with Patron photos. http://www.clark.net:80/pub/ceallach/patrons.html Signe has another small Callahan's page, with links to various things. http://gwis2.circ.gwu.edu/~signe/callahans.html Kathy (firstname.lastname@example.org) maintains a Web site based on the Callahan's Virtual Irish Pub SIG forum on Delphi. http://www.netline.net/~kathy/callahan/ As usual on the Web, these pages all contain numerous links and cross-references. A bit of searching, and who knows what you will find! If you don't know how to access the Web, ask a local expert about it. The Callahan's FTP Sites: Danger Mouse (email@example.com) maintains a small Callahan's anonymous FTP site at suphys.physics.su.oz.au (22.214.171.124), in the directory /pub/mar/callahans . This site contains the latest copies of all the regular informational posts, and some other stuff of interest. If you do not know how to use FTP, check your on-line help or ask a local expert on your system. If you have any problems accessing the site, send e-mail to DM. frood (firstname.lastname@example.org) maintains another Callahan's FTP site at bach.cs.columbia.edu (126.96.36.199). This site contains an archive of Callahan's posts, as well as a copy of the Callahan's Cookbook (see sections on the Cookbook and Archives below). DO NOT try to log in (via TELNET) to these sites as "guest" or "anonymous". No such accounts exist on either machine, and your request will be denied. These sites are for anonymous FTP only. The Callahan's Cookbook: Danger Mouse has compiled a collection of recipes from Callahanians. Most of the recipes have been posted to the group, and DM collects any new ones which appear. The current version is 2.1 (June 23, 1993), which contains 57 recipes, contributed by 32 different Patrons. The Cookbook is available from the Callahan's FTP Sites and the Callahan's World Wide Web Page. It exists in three formats: Plain ASCII (a text file like this), LaTeX (a text formatting language), and PostScript (a graphics format suitable for laser-printing). On frood's FTP site, the appropriate directory is /pub/cookbook . The files there are in GNU zip compressed format, with file names: cookbook.asc.gz, cookbook.ps.gz, cookbook.tex.gz . Patrons in the USA should grab the book from this site, to save trans-Pacific traffic. Each format is available from DM's FTP site both normally and Unix compressed. Here are the file sizes in bytes: 125001 cookbook.asc (ASCII) 57257 cookbook.asc.Z (ASCII, Unix compressed) 301200 cookbook.ps (PostScript) 121449 cookbook.ps.Z (PostScript, Unix compressed) 135166 cookbook.tex (LaTeX) 60063 cookbook.tex.Z (LaTeX, Unix compressed) The Callahan's Coffeehouse: This is a collection of songs performed by Callahanians and compiled by John Ockerbloom in 1991. It contains songs by the Mandelbear (Steve Savitzky), Windsinger (Rhodri James), The Green Tiger (James Birdsall), and Taldin (Jeff Young), all original compositions. The recording quality is not very good, but the songs are fun. Getting a copy of the tape for yourself these days may prove difficult, however. Please don't bother John for a copy - he hasn't the necessary equipment to make new copies. If you want a copy, the best way is to find another Patron who has a copy and ask nicely for a duplicate. *** Other Regular Informational Postings in Callahan's In addition to this Allabout file, there are a few other regular posts which appear in Callahan's. The reason they are separate from the Allabout is that they contain information which is either posted or updated much more frequently than the information here. You will see them posted every so often, or you can grab them from the Callahan's FTP Site or the Callahan's World Wide Web Page. The files are: Flames: Probably the most important regular post, this describes the action to take (or not to take) when people start getting insulting or abusive in the newsgroup. To summarise: ignore the flamer and e-mail or post friendly support to the victim. Posted weekly. Callahan's New Patron's Guide: This gives a rundown on net-etiquette and technical information on posting to newsgroups for new Net users. Posted every two weeks. Callahan's Keyword Guidelines: This post describes the practice of labelling posts with Subject line keywords (to assist readers) and lists all the keywords in common use. Posted every two weeks. *** Related Newsgroups to alt.callahans Several people have thought that Callahan's is such a good idea there should be more newsgroups like it. Some of them went out and created some! There are now a few groups which were inspired by alt.callahans, most of them under the alt.pub.* hierarchy. The first such group was an attempt to create a bar like the Chatsubo in William Gibson's novel _Neuromancer_. The group alt.cyberpunk.chatsubo is now a bit of a mix of that plus a lot of people posting cyberpunk style stories. Another such group, alt.pub.dragons-inn, began as a place similar to Callahan's but with a strong fantasy theme. It and its sister group, alt.pub.cloven-shield, have now become places for building fantasy stories in a VR environment. The next group, alt.pub.havens-rest, continued the idea in a science fiction theme. More like Callahan's is alt.pub.coffeehouse.amethyst. It shares much of the same philosophy as Callahan's, but is not so heavy on the VR. *** The Growth of Callahan's The newsgroup alt.callahans was created in November 1989 by Chris Davis. Since then there have been over 100,000 posts to the group. (The number listed at your site may be smaller, since many sites did not receive the group until much later.) Nobody really knows how many posters have contributed, but it must be several hundred, perhaps over a thousand. Many of those have since disappeared, but now there are about a hundred 'regulars' and perhaps a similar number of semi-lurkers who post occasionally. It is impossible to tell exactly how many people read the group, but the last official estimate (February 1995) was 61,000. So it seems that lurkers outnumber regular posters by quite a margin! With the explosive growth of the Net, these numbers have been increasing constantly, and it is likely they will continue to do so. And even today, the volume of posts in Callahan's can be quite daunting. A report from February 1995 listed alt.callahans as the 151st top newsgroup by number of bytes, and 172nd top by number of articles, with 3100 articles, totalling 6300 kilobytes, posted during January 1995. It is also interesting to note that Callahan's propagates to 60% of all Usenet sites, which is very high for an alt.* group. A few times people have suggested a split of alt.callahans in order to make the group more structured and hence manageable. Each time there was a lot of discussion and a general consensus that splitting the group would rob it of one of its chief virtues - diversity. The great range of topics and cross-linking of conversation threads is probably the most important thing in maintaining that special and somewhat magical atmosphere which seems to pervade the Place. And that same conclusion will almost certainly be reached any time someone ever suggests that a split might be a good idea. But a positive attitude did come out of all those discussions. And that attitude was that, if more people want to participate in a group like Callahan's, we should simply create more such groups! Then all the newcomers can spread out over several new groups, and the size of each will remain reasonable. In the words of Nick Chopper, "Colonise Cyberspace!" The group alt.pub.coffeehouse.amethyst was the first of these, and there will probably be many more to come. *** Archives and Databases There is no single collected archive of all Callahan's posts. Taldin has an archive of the first 14 months or so (November 1989 to about February 1991), but not in an easily accessible form. frood has an archive of all posts received at his site since August 1991 to the present. This archive numbers about 40,000 posts, and is well over 100 megabytes in size - and obviously growing. You can FTP single month's worth of articles from bach.cs.columbia.edu (188.8.131.52). The files are in GNU zip compressed tar format, and have names like: /pub/callahans/Y-<yyyy>/<Mmmyy>.tar.gz e.g. /pub/callahans/Y-1992/Aug92.tar.gz Individual articles or Subject threads cannot be searched for or retrieved. If you have any questions about this archive, send e-mail to frood at email@example.com . If anyone has the resources to set up a better article retrieval system (including search facilities, for example) from such a large archive, please contact frood to arrange details. Red Bear (firstname.lastname@example.org) has collected a database of as many Patrons as he can find. He makes a regular post, requesting information from new Patrons for inclusion. His database is in Paradox/dBase format, and you can get a copy by contacting Red Bear. The database includes Patron names, e-addresses, RL location, favourite drink, and a few other things. You will _only_ be included in this database if you send information directly to Red Bear. For privacy reasons, he does not collect information about people without their full consent. *** Dedication and Credits This Allabout is dedicated to: Caeilte - The first to leave us. The Artful Dodger - May you forever roam the deserts you loved so much and which you shared with so many of us. Viola - Life was a stage - may the intermission be short. Tony Kidson - Ever thoughtful, always wise, the words from your Bromley cat-warmer will be sorely missed. None of you are forgotten. The original Allabout file was written by Taldin the Blue Unicorn. Nick Chopper maintained and upgraded the information for several years, with the help of many un-named Callahan's Patrons. This version was compiled by Danger Mouse, with much help and input of text from both Taldin and Nick, as well as Firehawk, the Didi-Sprite, kitten, /*, Jezebel, Draco, Elana Beach, Nicarra, Big Al, Aurora, frood, Tink, John Ockerbloom, Rowan, and Red Bear. If you have any suggestions for additions or changes to this file, please send mail to Danger Mouse at email@example.com . - Danger Mouse.