As I wrote this, it was August. It was very hot in Tenerife where my gaming buddy, Jamie, lives and they'd had forest fires. We used to chat online in the game and do quests and missions together. After joining an Australian Guild (The Blitzers) with many European members, I kept a little world-time thing on my status bar telling me what time it was in Spain and in Australia and so forth. Eventually the global time differences started to be an impediment, so I left the Blitzers and joined Aeon, an American Guild. My buddy in the Canary Islands is on my friends list. I can see when he's online and chat with him and do a Mission or two.
Some folks I know met online and ended up getting married. It's funny how in an email or a text chat you can get a very good conception of what the other person is like, just from the way they use the written language. The, then current, Leaders of The Blitzers Guild got married and declared their intent online. Guild members met together in a suitable amphitheater-like place in the game framework (Henge of Denravi, in the Maguuma Jungle in Kryta) to bear witness and to raise a virtual toast The leadership of the Guild was passed to others while they took two weeks leave for the honeymoon. There was free virtual beer. They're Aussie so beer is important.
I've also been party to organizations with a real-time existence but my connection to them was mostly virtual. I do publicity for groups from time to time. You can get all kinds of people coming out to a meeting that is organized entirely through email or an online Forum, such as Meetup.com. This non-tangible way of reaching out to people brings their actual bodies to a place at a given time. This communications method has been used to good effect by cyber wags to organize (I'm making this up) “Everybody meet here and wear a false nose” and a virtual mob descends on a real time location. There are also flash mobs that act as virtual vigilantes but that is outside my personal experience.
For many years, I forget how many but it must be about 12, I've been going to EMCC, a computer systems programmer matinée beer bash at the Imperial Pub here in Toronto. We go upstairs where they have old time classics on the jukebox, Dave Brubeck and Peggy Lee and so forth. There we sit with a nice Guinness and talk computer shop and anything else that comes into our heads. Their keen, analytical programmer's minds (I'm not a programmer but they are) can dissect just about anything. I remember one discussion about whether camels were kosher. With the help of the barkeep and a Google wifi connection it was determined that they were not kosher. Wrong kind of feet. They chew the cud but they only have partially split hooves. Giraffes are kosher but their necks are too long, making Kosher butchering problematical.
This group keeps in touch virtually. We mail each other obscure computer-related jokes and snippets of news. Our fearless leader reminds us of the date of the next meeting through emails. I won't go into the origin of the EMCC name of the group. It's obscure and computer-related.
There's a sort of interweaving of virtual life and real life. I haven't
made any virtual enemies that I know of although there have been a few
virtual tiffs. I have run across a few virtual predators, mostly harmless.
In my case, early on, it was teenage boy trying to connect with a female,
any female. The usual line was “I LIKE older women.”
Now in the pre-Internet days back in my home town things worked a little bit differently socially. I remember that sometime after my mother became a widow she was paid a visit by a older farmer, also widowed. He came to see if he could have some of her corn stalks from the back garden for his pigs. She gladly gave consent for him to take the stalks but did not encourage him by asking him to come in and sit for a spell. He came back a few more times and finally admitted that he had absolutely no need for corn stalks as he had plenty of his own. He just thought she might fancy a 'clean old man' as a suitor.
People Google me or find me through my Podcasts and write to me. A young gentleman in England, interested in magick because of the current Harry Potter craze, wrote to me. I have a Podcast on Magick with a 'k' on the end. He found it and we corresponded a bit. I'm not out to sell anything in the magickal line, so I just warned him politely about some of the attendant dangers and pitfalls.
That Podcast on Magick got over 4,000 hits in July 2007, which is a lot for me, not for someone else, but a lot for me. The popularity will pass. The hits corresponded with the release of the last Harry Potter book. These things go through phases.
Speaking of magic, with or without a 'k' on the end, I remember a sleazy stringer for "The Toronto Globe" newspaper, a so-called Christian, who wrote a 'tell all' piece of slanted journalism that appeared prominently in the weekend paper. He had lurked and listened on a Pagan Bulletin Board System I frequented. He then wrote a piece coloured by his own religious bias. It was rather nasty. He came back on the system briefly to catch the furor and I organized a “Let's out Jesus him and turn the other cheek" campaign. He simply did not know what to do about being forgiven by <gasp> Pagans.
I have a daughter in Montreal and we don't always get along in real life but through cyberspace we manage, now and again, to connect and share news. There we form a relationship that doesn't exist in real life, only online, but still, we're connected.
If there is any point to this somewhat rambling discourse, it is to say that cyberspace has interconnected with my life. It's real. I am part of a global community connected by the gossamer strands of email and Internet links.
Two shout outs at the end here.
I made a friend, Joan, in Wiltshire, England. She found me through my Podcasts and has created several delightful Podcasts herself.
Also, my sponsor, at http://www.quartette.com
released a new CD
© Sonia Brock 2006