John David Cholewa
One of the many Johns of the Forum, JC is a thirtysomething Forumite who continues to actively visit and contribute to the Forum. He is an avid (albeit amateur) ballroom dancer and enjoys occasionally baking for friends. He reads books nonstop serially but slowly, but he typically only watches films and television with others. In the future, he plans to go to more SF Cons.
Pre Forum History
JC was born on November 3rd, 1975 in a Long Island Jewish hospital in Queens. In 1976, after his parents' apartment burned down, he and his family moved to a house in Valley Stream, NY, where he has lived for the bulk of his life. He went through the local primary and secondary schools, being generally nerdy and playing cards (most notably Bullshit) with a small group of outcasts in his high school. Notable among his friends and acquaintances at the time were Gerry Garcia and Rob Kopp, both future Forumites.
He started working at the age of 12 initially doing delivery for a periodical called "Pennysaver". Afterwards followed years of lawn mowing, gardening and snow shovelling. In his spare time, the television and computer found themselves on frequently, and many BBSes were visited.
When it came time to look for a college, he found Stony Brook to be an ideal match and decided that it was the only school he wished to attend. It seems that this worked out quite well.
Introduction to the Forum
JC's mother worked for a pair of pediatricians in Valley Stream, and among that office's patients were Colleen and Kerry Skadl. Since it was known that he was so focused on going to school in Stony Brook, he was invited to their dorm in the Spring of 1993 for something called a "Science Fiction Convention", a thing that he'd not heard of before. He went and it was amazing. Many interesting people were met, many sights were beheld, and he was told to come back and visit a place called the Forum, which was moving from a place called Central Hall to a place called Harriman.
Upon beginning his Freshman year at Stony Brook, JC helped with the latter stages of moving the Forum into its new home. He had a chance to see the water damaged Central Hall basement that held the old Forum room and rooms of associated clubs.
Signing up for many, many hours of shiftholder duty, JC donated his soul to the Forum to the detriment of his grades (he did not, however, manage to make it into the Square Root Club). This, in addition to panic caused by a slightly abusive roommate and depression caused by his initial major not quite working out, put him on academic probation.
During his first Semester, JC was introduced to "Born Again Christians" -- or "Rebos", as the Forum called them. A nice fellow named Tom handed him a book called "1994", which explained that the world was going to end in that titular year.
The world did not end.
But JC's grades did not improve enough to keep him in Stony Brook. Placed in academic suspension, he took classes at Nassau Community College, a place with far better teachers but without awesome cool clubs. This was an interesting tradeoff, but JC learned that he was much better off as a commuter than as a dormer.
In the meantime, JC stopped mowing lawns and started working at his new school. He was an assistant librarian, a Mac lab aide and an administrative assistant for a procurement department.
Finally coming back for the following year's Fall Semester (after taking an intensive Summer, Fall, Winter, Spring and Summer classes at NCC in order to make up for lost time), JC met a newer batch of Forumites. He commuted all the way from Valley Stream, occasionally going through Jamaica, occasionally taking a car-based short cut via Mineola. After a little bit of doing this, he was invited to crash at GAMYR House, where he often brought gifts of food (according to Ryan -- JC no longer remembers this factoid) and admired the smokin' hot women who lived there. Crashing during the week and only commuting back for weekends helped in dramatically increasing his grades.
Work initially consisted of doing stock room work and occasional computer administration for a dental supply company. In May, JC was hired by Chip-Tech, Ltd. for a part time salary that was -- at the time -- very attractive for a naive schoolgoer. He continued working for this company until at least 2007, though the salary did eventually become very, very unattractive for a less naive CS graduate.
It was likely during this year that JC became Activities Coordinator. He had been running TV Night -- even so far as to produce a weekly newsletter of the same name -- for some time before this, so it seemed a natural fit.
Additionally, he and Gerry started renting in a cheap house in East Setauket.
This was the year JC finished his classes and started working full time. He occasionally visited the Forum, but most of his energies were focused on an online journalistic website (these days, one would call it a blog) that became an occasional slashdotee and eventually worked up to a regular daily readership in the thousands.
1998 to 2003
The Dark Years
These were years of hard work and depression. The Forum was occasionally visited, but it was expensive in both time and money to do this regularly, so it was not often done. JC still went to I-CON religiously and made it to the 35th Anniversary Party, which happened during this time span.
Late in 2004, JC was invited to Jim's birthday party. As with his initial visit to Stony Brook many years ago, it was an incredible experience. He was invited to visit a place called Selden House, which allowed people to randomly hang out once a week. A bit shy about this, his decision to try going there was strengthened by the fact that half the population of this house were former Forumites whom he knew (notably, Casey, Conrad Schnakenberg, Bri and DK]).
Going to Selden House was amazing. It felt like going to a one day Science Fiction Convention every single week. Watching television and films and eating with a bunch of geeks, some of them female, was an experience that JC had sorely missed since his college days. After this, it was easy to make the shift towards going to the Forum meetings before visiting Selden House. This worked out fantastically, and JC was introduced yet again to a new set of awesome Forumites.
It's crazy how life throws a grenade into the works now and then. Selden House imploded unexpectedly in March, leaving the residents there in disarray, searching for new places to live. For a time, there were no places to hang out after the Forum meeting, so JC and others started going to a local diner to get their social fix. This practice continued even after another house -- Fang Keep -- became available for hanging out. And, for a time, things were good.
It's crazy how life throws a grenade into the works now and then. Fang Keep imploded unexpectedly in March, leaving the residents there in disarray, searching for new places to live. For a time, there were no places to hang out after the Forum meeting.
It is still that time.
JC achieved a Social Singularity at some point in the late naughties (naught-eight and naught-nine, more or less). He is now heavily involved in the Burning Man community and participates in many flash mob and mass performance events in New York City. He is an avid hula hooper and an occasional costume, and he enjoys baking for events that he attends.
Closer to his roots, he attends seven or eight fan-run science fiction conventions per year, often bumping into Forum-originated SMOFs like Jeff Warner. He currently is one of the administrators on the Forum web site and has spearheaded the incredibly slow and tedious process of digitizing old Forum LOGs, the results of which can be found here.
JC did not end up in any relationships stronger than friendships during his initial college years. He was very, very interested in doing so but had tremendous difficulty communicating with people in the proper way. It was a sad story. But as such things happen, he eventually got into a long-term relationship with a pretty geek girl and, since its closure, has led a happy, freewheeling but responsible time with a handful of close and incredibly attractive female friends. Times are good.
Coined the term "useful people".