Internet life started for me a few years ago. My son got his first real PC and immediately got it hooked up to the internet. On days off from work when my partner had to work her stupid rota [includes every other weekend] I would get a shout to go and look/watch something my son had found on the net. I have to admit, I was intimidated by computers and the internet back then, thinking one mistake would send the whole thing into meltdown.
I already had one e-mail address, set up via digital television so I could place bets without having to go to see the bookie. I could also buy lottery tickets that way as well, which was great as our little local shop lost its facility to sell lottery tickets.
My son, being ever the enthusiast, told me to use the net when he wasn’t around. He showed me a few basics, explained security protocols and left me to browse. He set up a user account for me, which I had no idea about and I was away. I joined Friends Reunited straight away and was instantly in touch with a couple of old friends that drifted out of my life. That was the beginnings of my love affair with the internet.
I was sending e mails back and forth with old friends and was having a ball. Someone I loved long ago came on the scene and we talked on messenger whenever possible. I found myself aching to get online to talk to her again. I would spend the free weekends chatting to her whenever possible and I found myself falling in love with her again, after the best part of 20 yrs of having no contact with her at all.
I found the delights of chat rooms and spent a lot of time there, until they did away with them due to all the problems with paedophiles [don’t get me started on that subject]. I found a trivia chat room very addictive. There was a small hardcore of us who spent as much time there as possible. Constantly trying to outdo each other with our general knowledge. It was fun and it was the first time I felt I belonged to something worthwhile.
When they decided to stop chat rooms in the present format, I was homeless, or so it felt. But I came across an adult site called The G Spot. It was a great place and I made myself at home there and was part of a great community. Then that got stopped in the UK as it was an American site and MSN prevented access from outside of the states. That really upset me. Again, I was homeless.
I still enjoyed the net and spent a lot of time using it. My son and I both had betting accounts and then we found online poker and both soon had poker accounts on Coral. We played whenever possible, never winning much, if anything. I had no idea there was strategy involved in a card game and just learnt by playing. I had no idea what a cbet was or a 3bet, when you should shove all in and when not.Bad Beats? Suckouts? uh uh, no siree, not a clue.
I was still using messenger and e-mail and also discovered internet radio. As a lover of music, I really enjoyed the huge options for listening to music. Classic rock, that’s my main genre. So I found Radiostorm 101 [formerly Star 101] and listened everytime I was online. There were some songs never heard before that I got into and of course, plenty of tracks I did know. There was also a chatroom [tagboard] attached to the place and again, I got involved, knew all the regulars and spent a lot of time there when I could. My son upgraded by then to ADSL broadband and everything was lightning fast as we are just around the corner from our local exchange. I met someone there one day who was having a hard time with her life. We got to talking and before long, we were regular on messenger with each other. I was getting in deep with someone and I was helpless to stop it.
My present relationship was going through its own hard time and for 3 months, we separated. A lot of it was caused by my confusion and inability to separate real life from my virtual one. I was secretive and spent every moment I could online, with old flames and new ones. The chat scene was great, a real laugh most of the time and a joy to be around. Then Radiostorm went down and that community fell apart. I still had a couple of folks there I talk to, including my love affair and of course, my old flame in the background. But once again, I felt homeless.
Then I came across 1ClubFM. Another radio station with a real community there. I made some new friends quickly and became very active in the place. Again, there was this hardcore of users that all got along so well. We had private groups set up, private chat from cbox and chatngo and all helped each other whenever the occasion arose. I know people from all over the world and all walks of life. All from chat rooms or radio stations.
Its kind of ironic at this point to point out that my last two downfalls have both been German. Coincidence? Has to be.
A new arrival at 1Club was sixpack. Along with myself and Merc, we became the 3 musketeers of the place. We chased the idiots out of the chat room, helped new users find their way around, ran our respective groups and had a ball. We could send all kinds of messages with flashing images. Every weekend was the same.Sending all our friends [sic] messages to have a great weekend etc etc. Then things started to go wrong. This sixpack was using multiple accounts and using them to chat women up. A real lothario he was. He started to cause trouble, playing people off against each other. No one knew at the start, what was going on, but the divisions appeared, arguments broke out, ill feeling created and trust broken. We were tight, very tight. But this bastard split us right down the middle. It all turned nasty and I, along with others withdrew away from the place. It’s still there, revamped and looking modern, but it’s not what it was and most of our group have blown to the four corners. I was in touch with some of them via Facebook, but I had some little nasties from that network, so closed it down. I did set up a new account there, sometime later, but again, I dropped it because of all the crap going around. Again, I was homeless.
I got myself a little PDA, a sort of handheld mini PC. I could get online just about anywhere with it and spent ages on it talking via messengers. I reached the stage that I was hardly doing any work. I did what had to be done, no more or less. I was still chatting to my online lover from the states and my old flame and a few others. Still spending a lot of time online on my sons pc. He was spending less and less time at home, as young men do, so that left me to play whenever I felt like it really. I tried to get my partner involved. I set her up her own e-mail account, showed her what could be done and I was always around if anything should go wrong, or she needed help. But she just never took to it and still hasn’t. At that time, the pc was shoved away in a walk in cupboard in my sons room. It meant that if I was in there, online, my partner was alone watching tv or reading the paper.
Just over 3 years ago, I went down with chickenpox. Never had em as a kid it turns out. It was bad. It put me in hospital for 12 days, pumped full of drugs to keep me alive. Things went wrong. The virus somehow got into my spinal column, headed north to my brain and has left me with some serious balance issues, sight problems and a few other side effects. I have been off work now for 3 yrs and not driven a car since. Now I have all day every day to waste.
So I treated myself to a new laptop. I could sit with my partner and be online. I found myself playing more and more online poker. I was joining forums and reading about the game, the strategy, the math behind it all. It was interesting and kept me amused for the long hours of days and nights. I found a poker community called Pokerspacer. It had its own tournaments on different networks, you could earn points and exchange them for cash and again, there was this hardcore group who played every game, or near as. The blogs were always fun, some personal, some poker related, some just bitching. Again, I spent a lot of my time there and met some very pleasant people. I was also suffering from depression, mourning the loss of my former life [all in the healing process] and people at Pokerspace helped me through some tough times. I will always be very grateful to those people, they helped me get back some sanity.
Sadly, things there got bad. the main man in admin is German. I got on fine with him most of the time. he is young, full of cum and can be very dumb. He is learning, but he has this attitude, that most Germans seem to have, that he is always right and knows better than everyone else. I shall leave it at that. Anyway, a new member was fitting in well and organised a new tournament. To access the game, you had to pass a poker quiz. It was fairly tough. There were blog posts flying back and forth, messages etc etc, as a few of us were bustin our balls to solve the puzzles. In one exchange with this person, I, mockingly told him I was taking a contract out on him, and if that failed, I would go and sort him out myself. It was banter, that’s all.
So this person, for reasons unbeknown at the time, told me to goggle his name. I thought nothing of it and carried on doing my thing. But it bugged me, why would someone tell you to goggle their name, are they really that vain? The long and the short of it was, his brother was a pro boxer and that’s what he expected me to find. That was his protection against my jocular threat to have him beaten up. That I know now, but didn’t then.
What I turned up horrified me. this person, I use the phrase loosely, was a convicted paedophile. Not accused, convicted. I read a few items and articles and thought, hang on, I have pictures of Tinks on Pokerspace, I don’t want that bastard looking at them or using them in any way. I should point out here, that we were all able to adjust security and privacy settings to prevent this. But why should we all do that because of one pervert?
I sent a message to admin of Pokerspace, telling them of what I had found and asking for his removal. If he had been accused and found not guilty, or had not gone to trial yet, I would not have asked that, but he was convicted, given a jail sentence on appeal and banned from coaching children. [ he was a swimming coach and school teacher].
I had no response to that message. So, I set about warning all the members on my buddy list that this evil bastard was about the place and to watch out for him. I didn’t want to start a riot of a witch hunt or the like. I just didn’t think this person should be a member of our community and a lot of members agreed with that.
Anyhow, I got into a real fight about the subject, ended up suspended from the poker forum and due to those events, lost any respect that I once had for the admin of the site. I thought it cowardly not to ban this person and some of the reasons and excuses for not doing so were, in my opinion, bullshit.
Anyway, I am finding it increasingly hard to continue in that community. I like the place, most of its members and the games, but just have no respect for the arrogant, condescending twat who runs the show.
I am struggling to keep in touch with people I owe a lot to and again, I am finding myself homeless.
My head doc [psychologist] said that starting a blog or diary might help with my battle with depression. I started blogging in may 2010, but found it hard going, so stopped. Early this year  I decided to tray again. My head was in a better place than back in may 2010 and I found I was enjoying the experience. I am learning something new all the time. I have unearthed a creative streak I didn’t know I had. I am writing whenever possible, about this and that. I turn out poetry, some good, some bad, almost daily and have had some encouraging feedback. I still have lots to learn, but its enjoyable, it’s a release and its helped get my head straight. Theres a hardcore again, of poets and writers who always pop up at the same prompts, the same events and sites and they all appear to be good people. I am enjoying myself again.
I am sad that I seem to be losing contact again, with people I know and care about. That is a constant in my online search for a home, something to which I belong and accepts me for who and what I am. I try to be pleasant, try to be honest, polite and kind, but I have a dark side I know only too well.
So maybe I have found a new home with blogging, maybe not. I still play poker, most nights, even met that fucker of a paedophile a couple of times at the tables. I write, listen to music, read and do what I can to help my partner and son out and love looking after Tinks whenever needed. She usually stays over on Monday nights and all day Tuesday. That will stop in about 18 months, or less, when she starts school full-time. I am not looking forward to that, but its inevitable and I just have to accept it.
So that’s my online life, from start to present. I am online almost every day, sometimes all day and night. Its my connection to the outside world. I don’t venture far alone. My partner works as do my son and his partner.I drift along, doing my thing and try to enjoy the good days and survive the bad days. I am off for a week to my spiritual home in 10 days or so and that will be a much-needed and enjoyable break for us both. We love the hills of Northumberland and have a little cottage right on the edge of the national park. Can’t wait to get there now.
Adios, arriva derci, toodle pip, ta-ta, auf weidersein, good-bye.