The Digiclan was a group of students at Lancaster between 1994 and 1998. Some of its members had become friends in 1993, but the group did not coalesce until they and others took Digital Logic (abbreviated DIGI.LAN.2, hence the name "digiclan") in 1994. Despite being a large class (17 people), most of its members bonded quickly, driven by a love of grass orgies, a flair for computers, and a ridiculous male/female ratio. (With three girls in that class of seventeen - only one of them single - the competition was intense if good-natured, and would have social ramifications for years to come...) They rapidly grew to prominence on campus due to their close group bond, their tendency to appear as a group, and (in some cases) their highly visible individual personalities.
The genesis and development of Digiclan are chronicled here. As with so many things CTY, the Digiclan was maintained and expanded outside of CTY by the development of a mailing list. This mailing list was tremendously active in the mid-1990s, though it was eventually subsumed by LLRT, particularly as the early Digis went off to college.
Digis, who were mostly concentrated along the DC/NYC axis, were able to get together for many reunions. A particularly notable one was the beach trip, whereat the digis rented a beach house in Ocean City, MD. There are pictures of many of the early digis on this page. Exciting events of the beach trip included learning to make cclan -- basically brownies with every conceivable sugary extra thrown in - for which Kim Wallmark is to blame; estrogen-crazed female Digis, jealous of the good time the males were having, buying and immediately consuming an entire gallon of Java Chip ice cream; and getting busted by the cops for an uproarious 2 A.M. Pictionary game which triggered a noise complaint.
Notable Digiclan Contributions and Members
Dennis Clark started the tradition of wearing bathrobes on Thursdays in 1995. This was a reference to The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, as the book starts out on a Thursday and Arthur Dent is in his bathrobe. Dennis (and others around him) was known to quote: "Today must be Thursday. I never could get the hang of Thursdays."
He also later came back to Lancaster as a TA.
Tarpy (Jessi) Miller
4 March 1980 - 2 December 1996
Along with Louis Gerbarg, Tarpy burned the original Lancaster Canon CD. She was conspicuous for her sense of humor and great smile. She committed suicide in 1996, the winter after her nomore year, which triggered a great deal of mourning among Digis . Her history is intricately connected with that of "James Brown Is Dead". A web site was created in her memory, but sadly it seems to be no more, although the Digiclan front page is still black in her memory.
In 1997, some squirrels began a small group called XNMPDA (Xenophobic, Narcoleptic, Multiple Personality Disorder Anonymous). The members of XNMPDA were supposedly rejected from the Digiclan because of one of its members, Adam Feldman, and a Digi, Michael Mishkin, saw each other with a degree of enmity.
The next year, first session, XNMPDA became the HCNP,D! (Hard-Core Normal People, Dammit!), originally consisting of Erin McNellis, Ella Haselswerdt, Adam Feldman, Dan Vitolo, and Deb "Zoot" Bedoll. Then, next session (98.2), the two groups united, and formed a new generation of LLRT.
More information on the Digiclan, LLRT, and related groups can be found here. The site was initially created by Belle Saxton, and has been updated and maintained by Gabe Slamovits.
I would love to tell you a few things. For one, that link is so old! It makes me sad, like a sad kitten in the snow. I'd love to see it updated.
I'm a Digi. Was LLRT, then joined Digi when it combined. Either it's fallen apart in the past 5 years, or I've fallen out of it. Can't really tell. Most of us went to college. Some of us graduated. Some got married and/or have real jobs now. Isn't life grand?
The Supa-Happy picture for Digi linked off the main page needs a little bit of background. However, I remember that day, so I will share! That was LAN96-1, after a bright and sunny day spent in Pomm and Timmer's THEO class. We'd gotten ahold of the highly coveted hot pink lecturers' (or was it artists'?) chalk, and covers our faces with it! That, and the Pythagoras Nose colored chalk. I believe we took the opportunity to become chalk goddesses. Who can pass up a chance like that? All 5 of us were the girls in THEO, the only girls there, and we all lived in the same suite above the admin in the admin building (which I cannot remember the name of at this time.) The three girls in the middle had single rooms, the two on the ends shared a double, and life was grand.
Please, if you see this page, add more anecdotes? Think of the poor little children and kittens who will benefit!
What is a poor boy to say, anyhow? Maybe not so poor -- Google ranks me third for my not-so-rare name. Hrmph.
An oddity about tradition: there's a level of desire, for me at least, to be forgotten. New people should do new things, not old things, and being recognized is weirdly awkward. But maybe I can say something about my life at CTY and since that someone might find useful and maybe that's enough.
Nomore year came abruptly in 1996 -- turns out by 1997 the dot com bubble was far enough underway they had to hire high schoolers for TAs in CS, since every college student who could program for realsies already was doing so. Better to be a student, really; TAdom is underpaid and worthwhile only for people looking to get into college, most of whom aren't in a position to do it anyhow. My college essay turned out to be about winning the instructional staff pizza eating contest, which was probably the best thing that came out of the whole experience.
The old mailing list was quite the lifeline. So many people I'd've never seen again. I feel like I grew up on that list. And IRC, which was like Snapchat without pictures and taught all of us how to touch type. Totally worth barely leaving the house in high school (I kid -- public transit reached a surprising number of other Digis, only scarring me inasmuch as I still can't drive).
I still miss Tarpy -- we all do. Hell, I didn't even know her that well, really, but I read her emails and knew she was awesome. Seeing my name here as the only one alongside hers is strange in the extreme.
The weirdest thing about Digi, still, is the way that it and maybe CTY generally made me feel better socialized than most other giant geeks. I still have a profound sense that most of my social behavior is learned, in the sense that I follow rules I've guessed by induction rather than behaving in a way that's natural or instinctual, but it's a heck of a lot better than plenty of people who only know how to deal with people by instinct: they get confused and freeze up.
Do we still stay in contact? It's been almost twenty years but to a remarkable extent, yes. I have old TAs who chime in on my Facebook wall, old flames I call for a drink when I can, people who drifted away and back again, people I forgot but bump into in restaurants, people who I've been close with continuously for that long. My oldest friends, all.
Writing at the end of CTY for many, I feel like the thing to say is weirdly simple: it gets better and hold on to your friends. Geekdom isn't the closet and it's annoyingly privileged to think so, but it's something and the high school part of high school was no fun for more or less that reason. The folks from the summer of the THEO class where I started wearing green bathrobes are now programmers, entrepreneurs, Ivy League lecturers, NASA administrators, startup lawyers, data scientists, linguists, bloggers, nonprofit development managers, you name it. Weirdly few mathematicians -- I feel like I let down the side, a bit. I still trust everyone enough to plot with them if necessary: twenty years on, almost, we're not quite old enough to be a proper set of Secret Masters, but give it another 20 years. Trust me: it'll be better if you keep the conspiracy going.
- The Digiclan Web Site Currently defunct.