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, as 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
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.” I don’t get hit on
too much. Guess I’m not cyber cute and a little too inclined to say, “Well,
you’re being silly, aren’t you?”
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>
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
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.
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