June 21, 2004

The Internet: Social or Anti-Social?

I first used the Internet in 1998, to find out about overseas travel. I was recently widowed after 17 years and had no friends to speak of. I visited the ‘Thorn Tree’ at Lonely Planet.com…the ladies message board. I was quickly contacted, by an American gentleman, with whom I struck up a friendship. (I should have asked myself why he was reading the ladies message board!) I then gained confidence and joined an instant messaging service and ‘met’ another American man, who was a teacher. We both shared an interested in the American Civil War and during our conversations, he pointed me in the direction of an online forum with a St. Louis newspaper. I made friends with quite a few of the ladies on that forum. So much so, that when I visited the United States in 1999, I was greeted with open arms by them. Some of those friendships are still in existence – some are not, for various reasons.

When I returned home after my visit, I found myself spending more and more time on-line. My chance of making friends in my hometown became less and less, as I found myself preferring the company of my cyber companions. On the insistence of one woman, who thought I needed the interaction of like- minded people, I joined another online forum and, for 2 years spent more time there than was really healthy, but did enjoy it. It was as if I had another family…to the detriment of my real children and grandchildren.

I lived for my time online. I would spend the majority of my day and night, with my cyber friends, only stopping to sleep briefly and work, when I had to. It was a wonder I found time to eat. I spent my hard- earned money on another trip to the US to attend a Gathering of the people on the forum. I also visited a friend in New Mexico and saw a part of the world I would never have seen otherwise. I also got to see Philadelphia and Boston, staying with forum friends.

Fortunately for me, I actually met my fiancé in the forum I belonged to. He is another Australian, so it was a lot easier for us to actually have a real life relationship.

One thing that made itself very evident to me, was, that if a person is unsure of themselves, socially, or has problems relating to others, it’s very easy to lose your true identity and ‘become’ your online alter ego. I found myself nearly incapable of leaving the house, except for the most routine things. It would take an empty refrigerator and store cupboard, before I could go grocery shopping …and then only at night when there were few people in the local store. I had become a virtual recluse, relying solely on the net for friendship.

Meeting my partner was my salvation…he decided that I needed to leave my safe haven and move to Sydney to be with him and further my writing career. The writing is in the doldrums at the moment, but the rest of my life is wonderful.

I had days (and still do) when I can’t get beyond the front gate, but I’m much better than I was. I have a life separate from the Internet and spend less and less time online.

I have friends, who are the way I used to be. I want to say “Get off line, go get a life!” but when you live in a small isolated community, or a huge city, as some of them do, it’s a pretty hard.

The Internet is seductive, it allows you to talk to people all over the world, without leaving your chair. It woos you into thinking that you are actually interacting, when in fact you are just as alone as you were before you switched your computer on.

While I have met some wonderful people in actuality, because of the net, I’ve also met some people I would much rather forget. It’s easy to be taken in by someone who professes friendship after a few exchanges online. There is no substitute for actual face to face meetings.

I’ve learned to be a lot more selective in whom I speak to. Life is too short to waste on near-do-wells and con-artists. It cost me a lot of money before I learned that lesson.

If you have a problem with forming friendships in real life, please, be very careful. Limit yourself to the amount of time you use the net…other than for work or resources. It’s a great tool, but a very demanding master.

Posted by Midus at 02:02 PM

June 19, 2004

Let's Hear it for the Worm!

Moth wings beating time
with throbbing temples.
I recall something about butterflies
and the Amazon forest
but thinking hurts
and I really couldn’t give a shit
if the Earth imploded…
moths, butterflies
the worm in the tequila
are all related –
right now I hate them all.

Vickie Bowman © June 2004.

Posted by Midus at 02:04 PM

June 17, 2004

The Weekend that Was

Last week-end, here in Australia was a 'long' one, with the Monday off to celebrate the 'Queen's Birthday'. Her actual birthday is in April, but we've never passed up an excuse for a work free day. I actually worked the Monday, but that was from choice, as I rather like a less stress free shift and getting paid penalty rates for doing it.

Saturday evening Rob and I trundled over to Dan and Lesley's place for "Bubblegum Crisis". Rob had previously picked up Gav & Dizzy at Chatswood Railway Station. It was one of those weekends when there was extensive track work going on and there was no service between Gordon and Mt.Colah. Imagine thinking that no one would possibly want to travel to and from that area on a long week-end...Well done guys!

Sunday didn't go the way we had planned, but I think we both had a really good time. We had a bit of a lazy morning and then headed into Hornsby to catch a session of Van Helsing...but I spotted that Harry Potter/Prisoner of Askaban had started, so, as a surprise, Rob bought tickets. The cinema was so packed that there wasn't a seat left where we would be able to see, let alone sit together! We went back to the candy bar and got a refund (no problems) and then Rob surprised me again. I thought we would come back later to follow our original plan but he bought tickets for the next session. During the wait, we had lunch at Blu...I love eating out. Then we went and stood in line outside the theatre and we got perfect seats this time. Loved the movie!

We did the grocery shopping after the film (hate shopping for groceries!) and then went home to unpack it. We had a really slack dinner...beans on toast. LOL, but then we did stuff ourselves at lunch.

I said before that I worked on Monday...well I put in an appearance. Actually I did a fair bit of work, but it was more in the order of data entry and fixing up stuff ups. I worked 11.30 to 17.30 instead of my usual evening shift, so I got to spend the evening with Rob. I had Tuesday off because I swapped a shift with a work mate who wants Friday free. So my work week is Wed/Thurs/Friday this time around.

I also got myself a winning spot in the About/Poetry workshop challenge. That's 2 in a row. The block must be lifting a little.

Gotta go...have to get in the mood for going to work. That usually takes a few games of Zuma and concentrating on smashing balls before I can aquire the right mind set. LOL

See you guys soon!

Vickie.

Posted by Midus at 02:06 PM

June 07, 2004

Viva!

Viva!

Something a little different.
The colours remind me so much of New Mexico.

Posted by Midus at 02:10 PM

Golden Triangle

Golden Triangle

Nice dichroic pendant highlighted with gold donuts.
The pendant is much prettier than it scans.

Posted by Midus at 02:08 PM

June 06, 2004

Winter Night


‘Neath the soft down of geese
we seek each other’s warmth
breathe in with each breath
love’s familiar scent.

Curled inside your curve
safe from terrors of the dark
sleep flirts with heavy eyelids
as I kiss your mouth goodnight.

Vickie Bowman  June 2004.

Posted by Midus at 11:58 PM

Have To Get Moving!

Not a huge amount to report this time. I seem to be in a weird kind of limbo - running around in a tight circle chasing my tail.

The diabetes seems to be undercontrol with all testing well within acceptable range. I have an in depth assessment coming up on July 2nd, so I'll have a much clearer picture of what's going on, then.

Rob and I went to the movies a week ago to see 'Twisted' the new Samuel L Jackson/Ashley Judd flick. It also featured Andy Garcia. It was a nice meaty murder mystery, with all three of the main characters as police officers in San Francisco. As usual, I'd worked out the villain of the piece within the first quarter of the movie, but it didn't spoil it for me. It was well acted with a good storyline.

Yesterday, Rob and I had a quiet day at home, after staying up late finishing our entries for Rob's "Whisperers at War" Lexicon. We decided that an evening of videos was in order. I know a lot of you will turn your noses up, but we watched PJ Hogan's (director) & Mohammed Al Fayed's (exec.producer) version of "Peter Pan". We highly recommend it. It was everything that James M Barrie envisioned, come to life. The acting was terrific, the special effects were exactly that...Special! The amount of training that the cast (mainly children) had to go through, to 'fly' was incredible. The sword fighting was really professional and Cptn. Hook (Jason Isaacs) was truly magnificent in the part.

Rob watched "Pitch Black" with Vin Diesel, afterwards. I drifted in and out...mainly to watch Vin (what girl wouldn't? LOL) but I'm afraid that waiting for monsters to swoop out of the dark to eat the cast, is really not my cup of tea. I'm afraid we have a little more of the same today, with "Underworld" being the fare for this afternoon.

Never mind. While the movie is on, I intend to have my jewellery making tools in hand and be just a little distracted. :)

Work has been really stressful lately. There's a flu epidemic plus a gastro outbreak hitting nurses and nursing home residents. Trying to find enough healthy nurses to keep things running has been horrific. Just when you think you have all the bases covered, one or more of your assigned nurses rings in sick. It's like trying to juggle chainsaws! More than once, I've felt like pulling the pin and just walking out. It's a shame we need the money.

Enough of my whinging...time to get moving and do something other than stare at my monitor.

I'll back...sooner rather than later.

Vickie.

Posted by Midus at 12:24 PM