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The_Ink_Goddess
08-15-2014, 12:41 PM
Perhaps a silly thread to post in an "expert" forum, but I was born in '94, so help a sister out! I'm trying to write a dual POV novel, from the perspective of my MC, in the mid-late 2010's (nonspecific) and, more importantly, her mom when she was a teenager (16-17), starting in summer '98 and finishing in winter '99. I obviously don't want it to be A 1990s Encyclopaedia, but just little details, such as: biggest 'alternative bands', biggest TV shows, fashion crazes, scandals....anything that comes to mind. She lives in an isolated farming town in rural Kansas/Oklahoma (I haven't decided yet), if that makes any difference.

I know that this is the kind of thing I can Google, but they all made me feel like I was writing, "Hello. I am not a robot." on my page.

Some more specific questions:
- Were pagers still a thing?
- How operational was the Internet? I mean, I remember using insanely slow/expensive dial-up in the early 2000's so I'm guessing not very?
- Did ANYONE have cell phones?

alleycat
08-15-2014, 12:52 PM
By 1999 the Internet was much like it is now, although I'm sure not as many people were connected as now and many were probably still on dial-up (a few still are).

The Y2K scare was a major concern. Some people were convinced all the computers in the world were going to stop running and panic would ensue. I had one friend who actually took all her money out of the bank.

I can't really remember about the phones. There was a time when people had "car phones" (and antennas on their cars). Having a car phone was at one time considered a status symbol, but that may have been earlier than 1998.

And, of course, they played 1999 until you wanted to scream for it to stop.

chompers
08-15-2014, 12:55 PM
Yes, pagers were still being used. Cell phones was becoming more common. They were starting to use SIM cards in them.

Back then people could greet you at the gate when your plane landed (pre-9/11). Now it's at the baggage claim.

Gas was much cheaper. A whole tank could be less than $10.

Boy bands were big (N'Sync, 98 degrees, Backstreet Boys).

Internet speed was getting faster. There wasn't as much dial-up by this time. More Ethernet and DSL.

alleycat
08-15-2014, 01:02 PM
Let's party like it's 1999!

http://www.80svideos.tv/play.php?vid=162

sunandshadow
08-15-2014, 01:07 PM
Oh, I'm only a year older than your character; though, I grew up in a pretty high tech suburban area in a mid-sized city, so that part's probably different. Actually there was lots of internet that year, including the first kind of ethernet; MMOs were already getting started, and Usenet was on the way out because people's computers had become able to handle graphical messageboards like this one. (I first used the internet at school around 93 I think.) Not cell phones as much, they were still more of a pricey thing that businesspeople had. Wireless phones were getting pretty common, and phones had pretty much all been switched over to touch-tone instead of dial; payphones were still in common use. Pagers, sure, though again it's something doctors and maybe firemen had, not teens.

Biggest bands, hmm... I have vague recollections of people talking about NIN, Garbage, Red Hot Chili Peppers, but also older bands like U2 and Pink Floyd. Nirvana and the plaid that went with grunge music were in there somewhere. 99 was one of the last year I saw fully makeupped goths and punks walking around, but in a rural community that probably wouldn't have been a thing. Rural communities are often a full decade behind the more urban parts of the country.

alleycat
08-15-2014, 01:23 PM
In the news:

The Columbine tragedy.

The impeachment of President Clinton.

JFK Jr.'s plane crash (hours and hours of footage of the ocean).

The Matrix and Titanic movies were blockbusters.

Baseball was in the news a lot because of the home run chase by McGwire and Sosa.

alleycat
08-15-2014, 01:27 PM
I seems to remember a lot of tornadoes in the Midwest about that time (I mean, more than usual). I would have to look up the exact year.

My hometown in Tennessee was hit by two tornadoes in 1999. It looked like Berlin after WWII.

http://www.mchsociety.org/files/Graphics/Events/Tornado/3dStr_op_640x480.jpg

http://cmsimg.theleafchronicle.com/apps/pbcsi.dll/bilde?Site=DA&Date=20090122&Category=NEWS01&ArtNo=901220315&Ref=AR&MaxW=640&Border=0&Tornado-10-years-later-Our-fight-back

snafu1056
08-15-2014, 01:42 PM
Are we talking about the UK or the US? I cant speak about the UK. In the US most people online were using AOL. And yeah, most people were still on dial-up, meaning if someone wanted to use the phone you had to get offline (unless you had a dedicated line just for internet. Not everyone did). Napster was around and file sharing was just getting started. I remember downloading songs thru Napster using dial -up. The fastest speed I could get was like 4 or 5 KB per second. My entire hard drive back then was only like 4 gigabytes. But it was enough because I wasnt downloading many big files. The Sims was one of the big computer games of the time. There was less uniformity and slickness on the web. Most websites were very unpolished and used clunky designs like frames and imagemaps. Many sites were just black text on white background. Hardly any video anywhere also. Streaming sucked and video files were too big for dial up (broadband really transformed the internet). Chat rooms were still very popular. No such things as blogs, just personal sites people would whip up on their own via free hosting services like Yahoo Geocities and Angelfire. Oh also no Google. It existed, but it wasnt everyones default search engine. There were many search engines then. If you had AOL youd proba ly just use their built in search engine.

Some of the popular music I remember from back then is Lauryn Hill, Matchbox 20, N-sync, 3rd Eye Blind, Goo Goo Dolls, and Ricky Martin. The Sega Dreamcast was the hot new console. And of course Y2k. Austin Powers was still pretty popular (I think part 2 came out in 98 or 99), so if there are any really obnoxious characters in your story theyd probably be the type to go around saying "Do I make you horny, baby?" (I knew a few of those people).

tianaluthien
08-15-2014, 02:53 PM
In terms of TV, shows like Dawson's Creek, Friends, Frasier, the X-Files, Sabrina the Teenage Witch, and Buffy were big. Seinfeld ended in 1998 and Powerpuff Girls were just starting.

PeteMC
08-15-2014, 03:18 PM
XKCD once did this lovely tribute to the '90s internet - it really did look this awful back then (not that we knew it was awful of course!):

https://nullroute.eu.org/mirrors/xkcd-geocities/xkcd.com/

I had a pager and a cellphone in 1999, both provided by work. The phone was one of these:

http://static.knowyourmobile.com/sites/knowyourmobilecom/files/styles/gallery_wide/public/2/99/6110.jpg?itok=cFH-zVOm

It did phonecalls and text-only SMS, and that was about it. Cell coverage was lousy outside cities.

The_Ink_Goddess
08-15-2014, 03:21 PM
This is really stupid of me, but do pagers keep 'texts' on their system? Is it battery-operated or chargeable? I ask because I think I may want my MC's mom to have had one in the 90s but I then want the MC to find it in 2017. As it's incredibly rural, I think I can get away with their Internet and cell coverage being really bad. Would she still be able to see messages sent from 1998-1999?

PeteMC
08-15-2014, 03:30 PM
My pager took a single AA battery, which lasted for months. Messages stayed on it until I deleted them, but I'm not sure how many it would hold before it filled up - can't imagine it had much in the way of memory in it.

EDIT: Amazingly, they still make them!
http://www.pageone.co.uk/services/paging/pagers#messagepager
http://www.pageone.co.uk/downloads/information-sheets/2-line_pager.pdf

Marlys
08-15-2014, 05:00 PM
Since you have such a narrow time frame, I'd suggest going to a library and pulling up local (for your MC) newspapers for those months. Then you can see exactly what movies were showing in town on what dates, what was on the best-seller lists, what the major news stories were, etc. You might also check out Entertainment Weekly, Rolling Stone, and other magazines for those dates.

snowpea
08-15-2014, 06:00 PM
People did not use facebook or myspace. They used friendster (I believe that was around then).
People were using Napster to download music illegally.... Like EVERYONE was.
Emo was still underground.... And it was very different than it is now. Bands like Death Cab for Cutie and Sunny Day Real Estate were considered emo. Emo kids dressed a lot differently too.
People had cell phones I think... But the "nonconformists" (me, punk rockers) thought they were silly and refused to use them.
There was no wi-fi.
....If you want any information on the music at the time, particularly punk, i can help you out.

Christabelle
08-15-2014, 06:12 PM
I graduated H.S. in 1998 and was a college freshman 1998-99. I had a cell phone. It was bulky but not too bad. It fit in my purse. No one I knew had a pager. Voicemails were popular. Making up funny messages for your phone and leaving them for others.

I had dial-up at home and in my dorm. It was slow, but it wasn't too bad. I spent a lot of time online. AOL, Yahoo, and MSN instant messenger were great. We'd stay connected to IM all day so people could leave messages while we were in school.

Boy bands were the big thing. Everyone wanted to marry Justin Timberlake.

Dawson's Creek, Friends, and X-Files were really popular. We'd schedule time to watch them.

Cheap gas.

Green Day, Sugar Ray, Savage Garden, Third Eye Blind, Aerosmith, Goo Goo Dolls, Brandy, Smash Mouth, Matchbox-20, Sarah McLachlan, etc. In my area the "old" alternative bands weren't that big, but they've always had a special place in my heart.

Xelebes
08-15-2014, 06:23 PM
We remember
All the times we had
Spent together


Oh sorry, no contranostalgia?

Myrealana
08-15-2014, 06:55 PM
I was still on dial-up in '99. Didn't get cable internet until 2000, and it was a big deal.

I got my first cell phone. It was huge and slow by today's standards. I think I had space for 9 speed-dial numbers. The battery took up twice as much space as the phone, and held a charge for like 6 hours. I had to carry a charged spare battery with me everywhere.

I remember watching Friends, XFiles and Ally McBeal on TV.

Cable had like 100 channels, but no one had ever heard of a DVR or OnDemand, so you either taped your show or watched what happened to be on. DVDs were still kind of new. I think I got my first DVD player in about '99 (Which I still own, and occasionally use), but I still had VHS for most of my movies.

Small breasts were in, and women's fashions tended to de-emphasize the chest with sweaters, vests and shrugs, but at least shoulder pads were mostly gone. Skirts were short. Jeans were tight and often acid-washed.

Atkins was the big diet trend. Meat, meat, meat and more meat. It wasn't a "low-carb lifestyle" then, it was just "Atkins."

"The Mummy" came out that summer, and I remember being very impressed by the computer graphics. The FX of the walking corpse blew me away at the time.

That was 15 years ago? Wow, I feel old.

Alpha Echo
08-15-2014, 07:06 PM
I graduated H.S. in 1998 and was a college freshman 1998-99. I had a cell phone. It was bulky but not too bad. It fit in my purse. No one I knew had a pager. Voicemails were popular. Making up funny messages for your phone and leaving them for others.

I had dial-up at home and in my dorm. It was slow, but it wasn't too bad. I spent a lot of time online. AOL, Yahoo, and MSN instant messenger were great. We'd stay connected to IM all day so people could leave messages while we were in school.

Boy bands were the big thing. Everyone wanted to marry Justin Timberlake.

Dawson's Creek, Friends, and X-Files were really popular. We'd schedule time to watch them.

Cheap gas.

Green Day, Sugar Ray, Savage Garden, Third Eye Blind, Aerosmith, Goo Goo Dolls, Brandy, Smash Mouth, Matchbox-20, Sarah McLachlan, etc. In my area the "old" alternative bands weren't that big, but they've always had a special place in my heart.

I graduated in '99 (high school) and just wanted to reiterate all of this. Every word.

Ah, memories...

WhitePawn
08-15-2014, 07:29 PM
The internet wasn't so ubiquitous as it is now. People who had it were on dial-up or DSL. Cable was a newfangled thing and expensive. We're talking $10/mo for dial-up, $15-20/mo for DSL, and $30/mo for cable. Consider, in 1994 the internet was fairly new and only available at libraries and schools, if at all. I graduated HS in 94 and the few computers we did have were glorified word processors. Most papers were typed. Granted, that was Wisconsin, maybe other folks in less backwards states had it better. A computer in every home wasn't a thing yet. More so in 98, but again, not there yet....think of their presence like smartphones vs the regular kind in terms of prevalence when smartphones first hit the market.

I road tripped cross-country in 2001, and the most expensive gas was per gallon at that time was $1.29, but I'm pretty sure that was because I accidentally drove through the whole Sturgis thing. People complained a lot about gas being too expensive, yes, at $1.29/gallon. Mostly it was ~$1.09/gallon. Gas was likely cheaper two years prior, though I don't recall, but you can make an educated guess from there.

Academically, at least in my college, you were still encouraged to do library research. Googling was faux pas and the mark of an amateur. We kids still checked out stacks of books and did index research. Science journals were in a database only in part, and that was fancy. Again though, you'd be in stacks pulling bound books of journals.

The internet browser was Netscape. The free internet email, apart from AOL, was netscape.net. Your protag could still have a netscape.net email dating back to the 90s (I do) though it is now owned by AOL and it now, annoying so, says "you've got mail" when you log in. MSN messenger and Yahoo Messenger were the instant messaging bits you used for friends cross country.

Yep, Napster before Lars and DRM. No one bought music.

Doc Marten's and Birkenstocks. <3

TV was terrible, notable exceptions were Buffy, Star Trek, and the X-Files. The X-files was huge. There was a cult following and weekly update in my college. Probably the most quality network TV had ever seen at that point.

Portland, OR was getting their California influx but it wasn't so damned glutted with transplants and traffic and people who don't know how to drive in the rain as it is now.

Film cameras all around.

Phones were flippies, not smartphones, and not everyone had one yet though it was getting damn close.

thedark
08-15-2014, 07:30 PM
Awesome thread. Weird nostalgia moments, for I was there and not there too.

Just a few tips for a small town. With Y2K coming, most folks in small towns, especially farms, had electric well pumps, and the concern was that power would go out, and thus water. Most rural folks who "believed" were storing water, or at least eyeballing their creek or pond as a water resource.

Internet's been covered in accurate and amusing detail. I just wanted to add that in addition to AOL, which began to fade in market share around 1999, there were local ISPs (Internet Service Providers) that provided internet access on a regional basis, like county-sized, through telephone lines. You could call your local ISP for help getting online, or with weird internet questions (what IS a virus? should I open this strange attachment that ends in .exe?). They also had their own search engines, and were default home pages back before it was so easy to set your own.

Also, if your MC's mom was quite innocent or unexposed.. well, let me share a funny little story.

In late 2000, I was starting in Community College in a smallish town. I was 16, and and spent the last several years unexposed to modern media and news. The whole Clinton Monica thing was everywhere, and I was so very unexposed, I didn't get it. I mean, I heard people talking about Clinton and Monica having oral sex and I just didn't understand what the big deal was. In my innocence, I thought oral sex meant talking about it, like telephone sex (it's hilarious to think back on this now). So I thought, sure, that's bad.. but why the nationwide ruckus? hehe. So just how rural is your MC's mom, and how world-wise is she?

And in my case, phew, I found a wonderful community of friends who cheerfully explained the whole oral sex thing until I was wide-eyed, educated and laughing. :)

And a pager can totally store data that long, as long as the battery was removed back then. For some reason, I still have a PDA from 1999. If I ever had a whim to put batteries in it, I bet it'll still work just fine. So long as it's been stored inside, you know. I could test it out, if you wanted, just for kicks. Probably high time I cleared it and tossed it anyway.

KellyAssauer
08-15-2014, 08:01 PM
such as: biggest 'alternative bands', biggest TV shows, fashion crazes, scandals....

1998/99 the alt scene still had that bad habit of going to see the opening band, and then leaving. Eve 6, Barenaked Ladies, Goo Goo Dolls, and Hole were the chart toppers, but the cool thing to do the summers of 97, 8 & 9 was the Lilith Fair. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lilith_Fair)

The second stage stuff was so intimate I remember being in a small crowd just inches away from Victoria Williams (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Victoria_Williams) when she played.

The Cure had released Wild Mood Swings back in 96, so we all knew the words... Morrissey released maladjusted in 97 for more singalong fun, and all my friends were still trying to come to their own personal terms with A Thousand Leaves - the Sonic Youth release of May 1998. Elliott Smith had released XO in 98. Supercar, Nuetral Milk Hotel, The Halo Benders, System of a Down... wow so many. =)

Christabelle
08-15-2014, 08:12 PM
The internet browser was Netscape. The free internet email, apart from AOL, was netscape.net. Your protag could still have a netscape.net email dating back to the 90s (I do) though it is now owned by AOL and it now, annoying so, says "you've got mail" when you log in. MSN messenger and Yahoo Messenger were the instant messaging bits you used for friends cross country.

I still have my same Hotmail address from 1999. :) It's complete with messages from way back then that I can't make myself delete.

Putputt
08-15-2014, 08:15 PM
Boy bands were the big thing. Everyone wanted to marry Justin Timberlake Nick Carter :D.

Dawson's Creek, Friends, and X-Files were really popular. We'd schedule time to watch them.

Cheap gas.

Green Day, Sugar Ray, Savage Garden, Third Eye Blind, Aerosmith, Goo Goo Dolls, Brandy, Smash Mouth, Matchbox-20, Sarah McLachlan, etc. In my area the "old" alternative bands weren't that big, but they've always had a special place in my heart.

Guuuuhhhhh I have all those bands in my iPod. Uhh, along with Backstreet Boys, of course. It's amazing how I can sing out pretty much any Backstreet Boys song today and there will always be a handful of people who sing along. Not that I go around singing Backstreet Boys songs or anything. :D

I remember being on Dial-up and having to limit the amount of time I spent on the internet. Also, whenever the phone rang, I'd get disconnected, which invariably led to MUCH RAGE AND ANGUISH OMGZ. I can't remember exactly which year it was, but my friends and I started chatting on IRC, then ICQ, before graduating to AIM. I still remember ICQ's "Eh oh!" notification fondly.

Oh, and yes to Napster. It was ground-breaking when it first came out. We were texting one another about this amazing new thing called "mp3". Before that, my friends and I were making mixed tapes for each other. After Napster, we started burning songs onto CDs. Pure magiiiic.

...damn I'm old.

I don't care who you are, where you're from, what you did...

Christabelle
08-15-2014, 08:31 PM
Not that I go around singing Backstreet Boys songs or anything. :D

Of course you don't, Putty. We would never expect anything less of you. :D

My husband is attempting to turn our 5-month old into a Sugar Ray fan. That's amusing ... but I digress.


Mixed tapes still happened, but if you were cool, you had a CD burner.

Jeans, sweater vests, short skirts, platform sandals, understated makeup, denim, flannel, lots of baggy T-shirts.

As of 2007 (the last time I tried to save a voice mail), my cell phone carrier would delete messages after so many months. If you had your MC had an answering machine, she could probably keep messages that way. I really don't think pagers were the thing in high school at that point.

Trebor1415
08-15-2014, 08:46 PM
The internet was different back then and the "digital revolution" wasn't nearly as complete as it is now. I mean, it just hadn't quite permeated EVERYTHING yet. There were more "holdouts" or late adopters back then.

Google was launched in Sept '98 and wasn't THE search engine yet. I used Alta Vista a lot myself, and sometimes "Ask Jeeves."

I had dial up, but the idea of internet at home was still new to me as we'd only had it less than a year. Before that I went to the local college to use their lab. Remember, the web "as a thing" had only been around since '94 or so, so it was pretty new still.

People weren't connected online all the time, browsing while they did other stuff at home, or checking Facebook (which didn't exist yet), etc. For me, I'd go online with my dial up modem, listen to those horrible modem noises, check my e-mail and maybe a couple Usenet boards or web forums, and then log off. That way we could still get phone calls. It's just a little hard to explain but the web just didn't seem to be as much a part of everyone's daily life. No twitter, no Instagram, no Facebook, etc.

The Y2K problem had been talked about for a few years when people started to realize it would be a problem in the mid 90's. There were crash programs to get computers and networks up to date. The press would run stories ranging from horribly laughable to fear mongering about it and would generally ignore those experts who did think that nothing was going to happen. Many people did make preps in case water or power was out, or planned to stay home from work with the kids, etc, "just in case." Some, a few, people went to the extreme and stocked up on food, guns, etc, and even relocated to less populated areas. They were seen as more "whacko" than normal by most people though.

I still shoot film in a Nikon 35mm SLR. The digital cameras of the day were around 3 or 4 megapixels and were just starting to get good enough to become more popular. There were no cell phone cameras or anything like that yet.

The X Files was still on TV, and still pretty big, but nearly the end. Buffy the Vampire Slayer was on at the same time, as was Friends.

The other big thing was, this was pre 9/11, and it's hard to explain to someone with no real memories of that time. The Cold War had ended with the fall of Berlin Wall in '89, and then the Eastern Bloc countries, and finally the Soviet Union. That was all within the last 10 years and we were talking about "The peace dividend" and "The end of war," as the largest threat we'd faced since WWII was over and we were still getting used to that.

We didn't have the types of post 9/11 security concerns and govt overreactions that we have now. Airport security just tried to keep you from getting a gun on the plane. Heck, you could legally carry small pocketknives. Liquids, sure, whatever. And the private run security was much more efficient and less surly than the TSA.

Gun Control was "more of a thing." The assault weapons ban that kept people from buying new magazines that hold more than 10 rounds of ammo or certain rifles that were defined by specific features was still in effect. It started in '94 and was set to expire in 2004, but everyone thought it would be renewed. Not as many states allowed legal concealed carry and there was no such thing as the "open carry" movement. People tended to think we'd move towards more gun control, not less.

We still had a space program, and a shuttle, and (I think) the Russian MIR station was still up and we'd send Astronauts up there. The Columbia didn't burn up on reentry until 2003 and we were far enough away from the Challenger disaster of '86 to think space flight was "safe" again.

It was only 15 years ago and a lot has changed, mostly because of the pre 9/11 and post 9/11 divide, along with the increase in our "digital lifestyle."

Trebor1415
08-15-2014, 08:49 PM
I still have my same Hotmail address from 1999. :) It's complete with messages from way back then that I can't make myself delete.

Me too. It's my primary since it's the one all my contacts have for me and I kept changing ISP's and couldn't rely on an ISP generated address.

chompers
08-15-2014, 09:09 PM
I still have my pager from then. I can go check later to see if kept any messages (if they hadn't been deleted by me way back when). haha

Oh, and Beanie babies. HUGE craze.
And the Princess Diana death conspiracies was still going on, even though she had died in '97. There was a Beanie baby made in her honor too.

jeseymour
08-15-2014, 10:13 PM
Maybe I was an early adopter, but we were on the internet in 1989. In 1999 we did still have dial up, I think. Bigyellow sent me a tee shirt for doing a beta test on their new online yellow pages. Google was brand new. Amazon was brand new, but I ordered online from Barnes and Noble.

We had this thing called usenet, which contained groups like rec.arts.mystery and rec.equestrian. Sort of a bulletin board, it was attached to my email. Google took over the groups in the mid 2000s, I think they're all gone now, except for the remnants on facebook.

My husband had a cell phone for work. Pretty sure it was a blackberry.

Monica Lewinski was the big news in the summer of 98.

I was playing Civilization II, I think. And Railroad Tycoon. Watching Survivor. My mother in law had cable and she taped the Sopranos for us.

Trebor1415
08-15-2014, 11:34 PM
With Usenet you could either have stuff delivered to your e-mail or use a variety of "news reader" programs to read it in a central location. That's what I did as I didn't want it cluttering my mail.

Usenet wasn't exactly a bulletin board, per se, it was more of a forwarding/routing system, in my understanding. The info was pushed and decentralized.

Usenet is still around, but it's pretty deserted now.

Siri Kirpal
08-15-2014, 11:53 PM
Sat Nam! (Literally "Truth Name"--a Sikh greeting)

We bought our first computer in 1998 and were on dial-up (until 2008). We knew many people who still did not have email. A few still don't.

The people who had cell phones were often people who had business activities in multiple locations (realtors, for instance). Kids were starting to get them, but it wasn't as common as it is now.

As stated upstream, people could greet you when you arrived off a plane; they didn't have to wait in the baggage claim area. But there were security checkpoints in airports; they just weren't so intense. (You didn't have to take off your shoes; bringing a bottle of water was no problem, etc.) Nearly all long distance flights included food service.

Fewer people wore black. Fewer cars were black. Fewer appliances were black.

Hope that helps.

Blessings,

Siri Kirpal

KellyAssauer
08-16-2014, 12:19 AM
The Palace Avatar Chat (http://www.thepalace.com/help/manuals/win95/ver35/Output/images/mainscreen.gif).


=)

Beachgirl
08-16-2014, 03:44 AM
My son was born in 1999 and I got my first cell phone while I was pregnant. We also got our first computer then and had dial-up and AOL. You've Got Mail came out in 1998, immortalizing the voice on the computer that told you there were new emails in your email account.

The movie Titanic also came out and won 11 Academy Awards.

Travel was easier and everything seemed much more innocent before 9/11. Events that happened in other parts of the world didn't really touch us on a personal level before then. We got on airplanes without examining the behavior of our fellow passengers, we weren't limited to tiny amounts of shampoo in our carry on bags and we could walk right up to the gate to meet people or say goodbye.

snafu1056
08-16-2014, 07:38 AM
With Usenet you could either have stuff delivered to your e-mail or use a variety of "news reader" programs to read it in a central location. That's what I did as I didn't want it cluttering my mail.

Usenet wasn't exactly a bulletin board, per se, it was more of a forwarding/routing system, in my understanding. The info was pushed and decentralized.

Usenet is still around, but it's pretty deserted now.

The great thing about Usenet is you got free access to it with AOL. For years I just thought it was part of AOL.

kuwisdelu
08-16-2014, 07:43 AM
Smashmouth.

NSync and Backstreet Boys.

(I was a Pink Floyd and Zeppelin kid though.)

KellyAssauer
08-16-2014, 07:55 AM
OP asked for: "biggest 'alternative bands'"

*although this may have inadvertently answered the question: why Johnny can't read...*

Sage
08-16-2014, 08:00 AM
Summer of 98? "Good Riddance" was a huge song if you were graduating. Boy bands were hot and you couldn't escape "My Heart Will Go On" that year.

Internet was okay. AOL Instant Messenger was big for my friends and I.

I was obsessed with Buffy the Vampire Slayer at the time. WB was pretty hot, only 2-3 years old, so you still had things like Dawson's Creek and possibly Felicity at that time.

eyeblink
08-16-2014, 11:37 AM
I am and was in the UK, but I do remember 1998/9 very well, (A big event here was the total solar eclipse of 11 August 1999, but that wasn't visible in the USA.)

Titanic was released in US cinemas in December 1997, so in your time period it would have come out on VHS. DVDs had just been launched (I bought my first player in 1999) but the great majority of people still had VHS - which would have been NTSC-format in the USA.

As mentioned already, The Matrix was a huge hit in the summer of 1999. Also relevant to your protag being a teenager, and released that year: Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace. I remember huge anticipation and in many cases huge disappointment, but it was the #1 film that year at the box office. Another big one of 1999 was The Blair Witch Project - and there was a lot of online activity concerning that. I spent a lot of time in Usenet newsgroups, so your protag might well do too. Fight Club was also a 1999 film, but I always got the impression that it meant most to boys/men between late teens and late 20s than it did to me, though it was and is a very ambitious and interesting film nonetheless.

KarmaPolice
08-16-2014, 12:56 PM
I hear you, Goddess - I asked a very similar question a few months back (about '94) and feel it's time I repaid the favour. I'm guessing you don't want the stuff you can find easy online (film, music, clothes etc), you want the feel of the era.

Note - this is from a male, UK and suburban perspective. But some of this may be useful. In no real order...

- It's the 'Indian Summer' of magazines. It would be rare to find a teen who didn't read at least one; and often it would be kicking around their school bag (handily showing what 'kind' of person they were). Wednesdays were great, for it would be the time I got my new Kerrang!, Melody Maker, and N64 Magazine. It was quite often the most reliable way of finding out about new things. (Memories of going through the small ads at the back, wondering what catalogs I should ask for.)

- Arrrgh! Y2K! It's laughable now, but people then really did think the world was going to end. I remember being a little freaked out by the UK Government's 'mascot' for it; a sinister-looking microchip.

The historian/sociologist within me sees this as a sign of how safe we felt back then; a world where 'global warming' (then called 'the greenhouse effect') was only mentioned in dusty science lessons, 'Islamic terrorism' was some odd idea Hollywood used now and again, Anglo-Saxon capitalism was held to be inherently good and without fault, Russia was a joke and China was just a huge sweatshop that couldn't produce a car without causing peels of laughter.

- The internet is waiting in the wings, at least for us masses. This is the time that many teens first got the taste of it at home, where their parents had heard enough about this 'information superhighway' from TV/newspapers and decide to finally get a 56k modem for the family computer. For most, email seemed to serve as not much more the swapping of internet links; searches (I remember I used AltaVista back then) were clunky and it took forever to find what you wanted, that's assuming you actually did. My teachers actively derided it, not accepting it as sources of information. In fact, my science teacher actually told us in '99 that the Internet would never replace books as a source of information. Oh, and nobody would actually buy anything online (at least nobody I knew).

- TV is still king. While most teens had access to a separate telly in another room or their own, the habit of wanting to use the 'big telly' got worse in some ways, as it was often the only one with a screen 20 inch plus, had a VCR and perhaps was connected to cable / satellite. In this period, my TV in my room was a tiny black-white tune-in-by-hand number with 'halo' aerial which you'd constantly be fiddling with to get a good signal.

- All hail the CD. Nearly all teens have a CD player, and a few had Discmans. Many magazines gave free CD's, giving your music collection a little more depth, 'cos CD's were pretty pricey (unless you wanted the cheap crud from supermarkets). Copy a CD? PC disc-burners did exist, but they were real expensive and not really reliable - so if you wanted to copy a mate's Greenday CD, you had to do it with a cassette. While Napster 1.0 was waiting in the wings (or had just launched), nobody I knew had a bandwidth big enough to take advantage of it.

- Argh! Dead battery! Know how often this came up? Before Lithium batteries, all the stuff seemed to die real quickly. With the exception of mobile phones, everything required old school batteries. Memories of going round the house nicking AA's from remotes/clocks/the kitchen drawer so I could listen to my Walkman on the way to school. In fact, I remember the Fire Service doing a series of ads telling parents not to nick the batteries out of the smoke alarms to power their kid's presents at Christmas.

- VHS rip-off! You liked a TV series? Want to watch it again? Well, here's the video for it. Only 10 for Series 1, part 4 (of 8). A whole season would take up a good 8 inches of shelf-space. The fact that some makers milked this for all it was worth was even worse; while a tape could handle 3 hours of viewing, they'd often only put an hour/hour-half on it. The Simpsons were pretty bad, but South Park was the worst of the lot - 2 episodes (~40 mins) per tape. Though this was the time when it was at the peak of cool.

- Cash is (the aeging) king. If you pulled out a card to pay for a coffee and magazine, expect to be tutted at or to be told point-blank it didn't cost enough for you to use it. Some stores still didn't have the facility for it either. Having wads of cash didn't immediately mark you out as a drug-dealer... though was starting to get a little suspicious.

- Wow! Pay-as-you-go! I'd say it was this that allowed mobile phones to enter the territory of 'mass market'; allowing teenagers to get hold of one without threatening their parents with bills at the end of the month. In '97, no kid had one, by '02, around 75% did. This was the zenith of Nokia, remember their 3210 (launched '99) was like the coolest phone to have. Battery life was pretty good, sturdier than most of the phones around today, and you could even send these 'text message' things! (Phone credit was cripplingly expensive back then).

Lonegungrrly
08-16-2014, 02:15 PM
In the uk, the x files was HUGE the first movie came out in August 1998 and I remember it was what all the teeny boppers watched.

Texts were like 15p a go so you were very frugal with your communications!!! I had a Nokia phone, played snake a lot.

It was msn messenger and chat rooms in terms of social networking! Aww those good old days ....

Oh dear lord I just remembered!! I could only get online after 6pm coz my mum had an evening and weekend plan! If I was reading something *cough* fanfic *cough* I'd actually disconnect the dial up and then connect again to refresh the page coz it cost money the amount of time you were online. That dial up sound still haunts me !

SBibb
08-16-2014, 06:52 PM
.... all the teeny boppers watched...

Oh-- I just remembered! Ty Beanie Babies!

(Sorry, teeny boppers made me think of teeny beanies...)

I seriously collected those things when I was a kid. :-)

Not sure that helps you, but it's 1998-1999 nostalgia.


EDIT: And I just noticed someone else referencing the beanie baby crazy earlier. But yes, the craze was huge. I don't remember the exact years, but there were times I'd call into the florist shop and Hallmark to see if the new ones had come in yet. And then there were limits on how many you could buy. That may have come later, though. Not sure.

Also, according to wikipedias, Furbys also came out in that time period. And they were a major craze. Even trying to get a hold of one was difficult, though I never had too much of an interest. There were big worries over the recording device in it, though.

King Neptune
08-16-2014, 07:29 PM
Don't forget the Russian bond default in 1998.

williemeikle
08-16-2014, 07:51 PM
I was 40 in '98. You kids are -so- cute.

Xelebes
08-16-2014, 09:30 PM
I was 40 in '98. You kids are -so- cute.

Hey, can I borrow a twenty? I want to take Jen on a date.

Saanen
08-17-2014, 04:09 AM
In 1999 eBay was HUGE. Practically everyone I knew was buying and selling on eBay. I made enough most months to augment my pathetic salary as a used bookstore clerk.

MMORPGs were pretty big. I played Ultima Online ALL the time. It was $10 a month and I had dialup at home. I didn't have a cell phone so while I was online no one could call me. They'd get a busy signal. I was forever losing connection from the game, which was frustrating to say the least. I also used ICQ to instant-message friends.

Gas was incredibly cheap, about $1 a gallon where I live (southeast US). It didn't start to creep up in price until after 9/11, with the big spike over $2 a gallon in early 2005 if I'm remembering correctly. I was in grad school at that point and remember one of my professors telling us gas would eventually be about $4 a gallon and we would think that was normal. He was right. In 1999 when I stopped for gas I'd usually get $5 worth and that would half-fill the tank of my Ford Escort.

I didn't have a DVD player yet. I didn't get a CD burner until 2004. I played movies on VHS and all my music was on CDs. I knew a lot of people who used Napster and other places like that to download music but I never did. Ripping CDs wasn't easy like it is now--you had to have special software and know what you were doing (or maybe I was just clueless). I can't remember if my car had a CD player or a cassette player. I know I still had some cassettes at that point and you could still buy them at the store.

I can't really remember what music I was listening to in 1999. It definitely would have been alternative--I listened to the local college radio station almost exclusively--but all the 90s/early 00s music blurs together in my memory.

The Harry Potter books were huger than huge. The first I heard of them was in '98 or maybe even '99 when one of my coworkers showed me the third book, which was still new, and said we should put it in the display for people to see when they walked in the store because the books were getting really popular.

Hopefully some of this helps you! Oh, I still paid for a lot of things with cash instead of debit card in 1999. Fast food places didn't accept cards, just cash. You didn't have to prepay before you pumped your gas. I was in my 20s and all my friends were broke because we had terrible jobs, but everything was really cheap so we squeaked by. I couldn't do it now. Everything's too expensive.

ScienceFictionMommy
08-18-2014, 07:21 AM
I didn't read all the previous posts, so forgive any repeats.

I sniffed at beanie babies and furbies alike, although I did receive one of the latter for a graduation gift in '99.

Obsessive forwarding of emails and email chain letters was reaching a fever pitch. I think my family moved beyond dial-up around this time, and my college dorm (99-00) had high-speed. I had an engineer for a father, though, so we may have been ahead of the curve. ICQ was the instant messenger service I used for a while.

More and more people were getting cell phones, although they were big, clunky ones. I had a few friends with them throughout high school, and friends/roommates in college (personally I disdained them until I got pregnant in '08, mainly because I didn't like the way people put their real lives on hold the moment their cell phone made a noise--something else people did obsessively in '99.)

Somebody mentioned Columbine. I went to high school about an hour south of there, and things were pretty shaken up for a while. In addition to the usual fear, heartbreak, and realizing how mortal you really are, rumor flew all over that our high school was "next," and that Columbine was small compared to what was going to happen to us. I never believed that, and figured the same rumors must be flying at all nearby schools, and probably beyond. A lot of people took it seriously though, and on the day that "it" was supposedly going to happen, the normally crowded hallways were so empty that I could extend my arms out full and spin in circles without hitting anyone.

The following is from the scrapbook I made for my senior year:
Whose Line is it Anyway?
Dharma and Greg
Friends
Titanic
Star wars Episode 1
Shakespeare in Love
Sagging jeans
Wallets with chains
Dying hair with Kool-Ade
Baby t-shirts
Lanyard keychains
$6.50 movie tickets
$2.00 milk
$0.33 stamps
$3.00 Girl Scout Cookies
$143,000 average home cost (no idea if this was local or what)
Clinton/Lewinsky
Matthew Shephard