&The Temple of the Screaming Electron has certainly changed me for the better. Pretty much anyone who has known me for a sustained amount of time will know I mention &T quite a bit given the right circumstances, and there are reasons for it. The condensed version of this blog post can be found here.
I was around 14 when I found the original &T looking for how to make pipe bombs, as any curious teenager ahead of their time would. I compiled a huge folder of phreaking, hacking, chemistry and social engineering guides from &T, RottenEggs and other text file sites. Over time I actually realised &T had a forum, so I joined.
After a few years, spending time at parties talking about chemistry and not getting drunk or copping off with girls, it became apparent I needed to find people with similar interests. I felt quite alone as the real me was nowhere near satisfied with the regular life I was leading. School was full of what seemed to be average people, or those who excelled in their respective fields, but that wasn’t my sort. People around me loved academic subjects, or would be renowned for their ability to party hard.
I was just the guy people would consult if they needed advice with computers or chemistry. When I say chemistry, it wasn’t anything useful unless you were intending to blow a limb off or trip balls.
Over time, as I got to College, I began to branch out and get in touch with local &T members. My trust was hard to acquire, but 2 members in particular still remain loyal friends to me to this very day.
The first being Tordek Battlehammer. We originally met as we were both at college not too far from each other, and seemed like identical twins with our interests. A somewhat awkward bus stop later and “hey..totse?” led to a trip to the pub and a friendship that has seen me go to raves, house parties, drug experiences that are beyond comprehension and a learning curve on life I would otherwise never have learnt on my own. This guy has helped me so much that I attribute my current situation to him (in the right ways). He pushed me on to go to University and his friends at my University kept me going. It is very useful having a friend who you met on &T know most people at your University, and thanks to this I stayed on throughout difficult times. Other ways this guy has helped me out are when it came to chemicals. Without elaborating too much, my current knowledge has all been built on advice from him and the number one rule that mixing Tramadol and MDMA would not end well has seen me survive to this day.
In short, Tordek has kept me here on this planet, and is now regarded as a member of the family by myself and my Father.
The other user is reject. I spent a weekend with him up at his University in his dilapidated and notorious tower block, getting shitfaced on any drug we could find and exploring the City he lived in. This was a day before I moved into my own University and it went down very well. Not least as I went all the way to see him and had no idea what he would be like. In short – it was a weekend I will never forget, and still look back on with fond memories. Most people I knew in Freshers were getting drunk and meeting new people for the first time – whereas I had just returned from a weekend that would rival Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas with a guy whom I’d only just met, but felt I had known for years thanks to &ToTSE.
Both of these users I still keep in regular contact with and am so glad I met them. The spirit of &ToTSE was, and to me still is, to share knowledge and rest easy knowing you aren’t alone in this world when it comes to being seen as “different” just because you see through the veil of 9 to 5, or Student life as being a hurdle in life that sometimes seems too big to conquer.
I urge ToTSEans to build bridges and rest easy, knowing you aren’t alone in the world. Once the new domain here gets rolling (because to be fair, the original domain took a while to take off, I’m sure) hopefully this experience will be shared by members here. I know that people such as trx100 and ThirdRock as well as others know each other in real life, and it is like a bond that rises above and beyond that of a regular friendship. Knowing that the lifestyle each person here leads is not that of a “regular” person. &T has seen me through relationships, ups, downs, overdoses, University, moral dillemmas, euphoria, difficult teenage years and even now getting practice for work. It’s an outlet I am so glad I have, and intend to have for years to come.
So I raise a glass to those who I have met over the years, and hopefully those whom I shall meet in the years to come. At the end of the day we are all human, but &T sets us apart in a way like no other community, and I pray it stays with us through our transition.
In the words of Tordek:
Yeah man I know exactly what you mean, certain places on the web have enlightened us in a way you can’t show, I try to make out that im oblivious to what goes on around me and that I just accept things for how they are but deep down I don’t at all, I just don’t like people to see what I know or know how I feel about the world so I keep my trap shut and just get on like nothing is up. It’s a weird life we lead but I think our curious nature and “totse” attitude has lead us to a level of enlightenment that makes us somewhat alienated amongst a world of “normals” and trapped in a life of 9-5s, taxes and materialism which shuts us away from what goes on outside our bubbles yet we can still see through it.