What a bummer.
Hopefully by now, everyone who reads this is fully aware of what Chat Roulette is. My parents know, Erin’s parents know, most of the people I work with know and apparently Ben Folds knows. For those who do not let me tell a story:
Remember when the internet was brand spanking new? Me neither. But I do remember when my family first got it and it was brand spanking new to us. And apparently according to concerned families at the time, the internet was literally just that: spanking. My folks immediately got Net Nanny installed, a program that took key words, phrases and some common built-in terms that were flagged any time that type of content showed up on the screen. This could work for any content you didn’t want your kids seeing, but in this case, it was an attempt to keep me from looking at porn since I was a quickly maturing middle schooler.
It worked. Some of the time. Actually, most of the time it worked when it shouldn’t of had. I’m not sure what my parent’s “bad words” list consisted of, but words like “Chicken Breast” and “Big Sexy” (in relation to Kevin Nash of WCW Wrestling fame) would flip the switch, causing a pop up to surface reading “A Net Nanny Violation has Occurred and Will Shut Down Now.” What this means is that whatever you were doing at the time would be recorded in the Net Nanny log for your parents to see and you were given the option to put in a password to override it, or close the window, shutting down your computer in a matter of seconds. It could have worked greatly, but it was too big of a pain in the ass to truly be effective.
Being a geek at an early age, I was able to find a way around Net Nanny, using MSN Explorer instead of IE (why did I use that in the first place?). Because of this, I was forced to start my first ever email account (I can’t remember the address) but it caused me to be able to network with friends via MSN Messenger (and later Yahoo! messenger). Friends weren’t always online, so I took it upon myself to dive into the chat rooms in search of new “friends.” That’s how it was supposed to work at least.
It seemed that the only people that ever talked in those chat rooms were lesbians who accused you of wanting to jerk off to their conversation or guys who wanted to jerk off to the lesbian’s conversations on web cam for you. Fortunately, your gender was covered before the webcams were turned on, so the accidental penis viewing was a non-issue. Most of the time. That’s neither here nor there. Going on now:
Chat rooms have since become pointless as they’re all covered with men wanting to masturbate and bots who try to trick these guys into paying money to see girls on webcam. Any Yahoo! chat room (or any chat room, really) that you go to now is at the very least 90% fake people trying to lure you into their porn site. So what’s one to do if they want to talk with strangers but don’t want to go as far as to “add” or “friend” them on their favorite social networking site?
You go to Chat Roulette (www.chatroulette.com). All you need is a webcam and a craving for mystery and desire to meet strangers face to face. It also helps if you enjoy looking at penis, but more on that later.
I was made aware of this website a couple of months ago and gave it a whirl one afternoon. I started my webcam, and “started a new game.” And *poof* a stranger showed up in a window just above my webcam’s preview. It was more than likely a nerd or guido, so I hit the “next” button, allowing the service to find another stranger for me to meet. This went on for a few minutes and 2 or 3 wieners later, decided to call it a day and left to tell my wife of my experience.
We got together the next night, wearing Halloween masks and got down on some Chat Roulette. We saw other couples, a lot of foreign guys and…peckers. They were a bit more frequent than they had been before. I was also called a “honky” that night by one of the random strangers.
Another night or two of this and the fun-ness of Chat Roulette wore off. It had become an overnight sensation and the popularity of the site swept the internet. Jokes about how many guys were using it and how many of those guys were showing their naughty parts were calculated and figured. Photos were showing up all over the place of “odd” or “funny” strangers that people were able to meet up with on the service. There were also some videos of a Ben Folds look alike making up songs about people he was seeing on there on the fly and a “tribute” video to that guy by Ben Folds himself. But for me, Chat Roulette was old news and going the way of MySpace.
Today I found out about a service called ManyCam that allows you to alter your image on your webcam much like Photobooth can for the Mac. The difference between this program and Photobooth is that this program acts like it’s own webcam, even though it’s using my built in i-sight camera. This means one could put a photo or animated .gif up on Chat Roulette and cause some pretty rad situations. I decided to give this a shot after reading about a girl who was convinced that she had a full conversation with Justin Bieber, when in reality, it was someone using ManyCam with a short animation of him. I couldn’t resist.
I took several minutes to find something cool to put up on mine, a short animation of Flight of the Conchords sitting together, slightly moving. I configured Chat Roulette to do it’s thing and we were off to the races…1 minute into my experience and I saw 6 wieners. I hung it up. Penises have overtaken Chat Roulette the same way bots have taken over the chat rooms. Can’t a brother chat in peace anymore?
What a bummer.
btw, there were 22 Net Nanny violations in this post. I also want to point out that Net Nanny is still very much in business, selling its product for $40 a pop. Same logo, only “modified” for Web 2.0. That’s on the edge, y0!
Enjoy today’s haiku:
Chat Roulette, maybe?