a reunion of sorts
One of the things I've always loved about the Internet is its incredible usefulness as a communication tool. Ever since I prowled Louisville's bulletin board systems (BBSs) over my old 2400 bps modem, I've been fascinated by the ability of computers to link people and ideas. I have chatted on America Online (although I don't recommend it) and thru services like ICQ (which I hardly ever use any more) and Yahoo! Instant Messenger (which I do, sometimes). Now, blogging is the latest incarnation of that for me, and it's both put me in touch with many wonderful people (anna, Bret, Jaquandor, Jeff Cooper, susanna, and others), and given me a further insight on people I already knew (Dodd, Musashi, and Patty, for example).
It's always amazed me how, through computers and the Internet, people can get to know each other and form friendships even though they've never met. Just as one example, over the past year or so I've written for Destroy All Monsters, Musashi and I have become pretty good firends; he's an extremely cool guy, and, as we both grew up with kung fu and kaiju flicks, enjoyed games like Battletech, and discovered punk in the '80s, we've found a lot in common to groove on.
I was thinking about this because in the last month, I've been contacted by two friends that I used to chat with a lot, but had lost touch with over the years. My friend Sunny from Taiwan emailed me several weeks ago, and we've been catching up since. And last week, I got a message from Heidi, a young woman from Canada I'd become very close to while chatting. I hadn't heard form her in a year (and ironically enough, had just dropped the Canadian calling area from my long-distance plan because I'd figured I wouldn't hear from her again...), but as soon as her message appeared, we were catching up and digging our firendship just like before. She just emailed me that she has started a blog of her own, too.
In fact, even when we moved from Louisville five years ago, I kept the email address at the ISP I was using (the one that hosts this blog; it's located in southern Indiana, actually...) so I'd be easy to find if someone wanted to. (I was also gratified to see that Planet Swank is now Google's number-one search result for Gregory Harris. c00L!)
One of the things about Internet friendships is that they can and do vanish like data from a computer that's switched off. But more than once I've been surprised by an old friend turning up, either an Ineternet friend or a real-time friend who use the 'net to look me up. The Internet is a wonderful too, but it's the people it's put me in touch with that's made it especially valuable to me.
Update: My lovely wife informs me that our ISP's address is now in Louisville, not Jeffersonville. Of course, goodness knows where the actual servers are, but you get the idea.