online romance

Back in April, I wrote a series of posts about the Internet … or rather, how it started for me, personally. Finished off the latest one with telling that «LiamSeamroige» became my hubby, and that I’d write about that at a later date. That date has come now, but first, here are the earlier posts in case anybody’s interested:

It was 1997, I had a computer at home, Internet set up and all was well. I was living alone with my cat, Hadassah, and had all the free time you could ever wish for to spend online … communicating with my newly won friends all over the world [mainly in the US, though]. Got more contact with some of them for different reasons … it’s all about how you connect, I guess.

Sometimes someone posted links that contained sound and my computer didn’t have sound! No sound card! One day … I was on vacation, I took a walk to a nearby computer store and bought myself a sound card. Back home again, I opened up the big box — the CPU — and installed the card myself. All of a sudden, my old computer had a voice! This was merely a parenthesis, but it goes to show how much more courageous I was back then with regards to computers. I installed Win95 and it came on twenty floppy disks. It felt like I had a better grip of the whole thing then.

«Liam Seamroige» was the screen name of a man in Canada with whom I communicated a lot … more than the others. He was retired and lived in French-speaking Quebec. We had a lot of interests in common, we exchanged thoughts and ideas … eventually more on the instant messenger than in the public chat room.

On Christmas Eve 1998, I talked with him on the phone for the first time. I knew he was going to call me, so it wasn’t a surprise, but still …. My tongue got all twisted … I felt that I made all kinds of grammatical mistakes … I’d been typing in English for such a long time, by then, but not spoken it!

It’s hard to tell exactly when the romantic part came into play but it was some time in 2002. Over the years, the friendship has deepened … all those instant messages and emails … In my wildest dreams I could never imagine that I’d ever get to even see him in real life. I’d come to terms with that. Often, when I walked to work in the mornings, I was thinking I was okay with that … that my life was really good. Good job, nice home, virtual relationship 🙂

2003 I was at a  conference of sorts. It was with my work place — twice a year they had this thing, when we shut down and went away to some place to TALK. Talk about goals, relations, problems … all kinds of stuff like that. Sometimes they even had some type of motivational speaker there.

In the evening there, after supper, I was out walking with my co-workers, and my cellphone rang. This was an unusual thing, I picked up, of course and lo and behold … it was HE! «LiamSeamroige», who by now was Gerry to me. He was asking how I’d feel about him coming to see me in September. I remember how it felt like my head started to spin … this was too good to be true! But it was real, and I don’t remember anything of all the motivational talk on that conference after that call!

This happened some time in August, and the 21st of September he touched down on Swedish ground. I’d taken a bus down to the airport, to meet him as I didn’t own a car. I can honestly say that it wasn’t until on the bus that it started to get real … and I got sort of nervous. All kinds of thoughts were rushing through my mind, I was thinking ‘this could go either way’.

Well … it went one way. It was Love! He spent one week with me in my hometown, and that week was the lousiest you could ever imagine, weather-wise. It was either fog or rain each day.

After visiting me, he went to France to see his friends, but it was soon decided that I’d go over to Quebec and see him for Christmas. I decided, in order to see if this was real, to take out all vacation I had in store [in Sweden you can save an accumulate vacation] — I had seven weeks, and December 13th that year, I took off.

On December 26th … Boxing Day … we got engaged, May 4th the following year I moved to Quebec … and the rest is history 🙂

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A Day on the Web

In the morning, I feel like I really want to write something here, even though sometimes my mind is blank. This is one of those days. Basically, it’s for myself — I like the idea of being able to go back here in a few years, and read about what we were up to or what I was thinking about.

Last night, I was thinking a great deal about Facebook and The Web in general. Facebook introduced the new profile page to everyone, which caused a great deal of stir … as usual when they change something. Last time I looked at the comments they had received on that post, there were 4,200 and they all said the same thing: ‘it sucks’.

My thoughts started to wander … over the years I’ve been online, how it has changed … the places we go to. There were a few years when I hardly left Yahoo over a day — I had my email and our blogging community there, news, everything. Personally, I was never into MySpace but millions of people were, and that was their main place — I’m sure they were just as upset over changes there as people are now in Facebook.

Now that I can use Facebook as an email address if I wanted to, I guess I could spend my entire, online time there. I notice, however, that many people haven’t even chosen a user-ID for themselves, so that would make it impossible for them to use the email function when they get it.

What if Facebook were to shut down, all of a sudden?! So what? We move on … there will certainly be a successor.

In the beginning of Facebook … I signed up 2005 … I didn’t like the idea that I had to/was supposed to state my real name. This was before the times when everything was supposed to be so public. People still had screen names. I’m still not really comfortable with it, even though I appreciate that that is the whole concept of Facebook — otherwise no one would be able to find you. Somehow I feel that I’ve allowed myself to be dragged into all this just because everyone else and his dog is there. I honestly don’t care if they were to shut down tomorrow.

Now … I don’t think they will do that just yet.

How much do you trust all these big web companies like Google and Facebook with your stuff? Google could go away too … you never know. Even though it’s a verb LOL. Lately, there has been a lot of talk about having everything in «the cloud» … to have everything stored online. That’s very cool and convenient most of the time and I’m such an insignificant person so I won’t have to worry about being subpoenaed by some authority. It’s easy to get a little paranoid every now and then, though.

There are times when I think perhaps it was better to use a desktop client for my email and only use my server’s address.

Here’s a guy who won’t have to worry about ANY of this stuff. I’m not worrying either … these are just thoughts.

Internet 1997 ~ At Home!

Rockwood Park today

As I wrote in previous post on this subject; to buy a computer of my own was out of reach. I continued my early morning chats, plus the weekends. It’s hard to imagine now, that I actually walked to my work place early Saturday or Sunday mornings [or both] to go online. Because of the time difference I had to be there rather early. 7AM meant 1AM EST so basically I met the ones on PST. The ones on the east coast had gone to bed.

It was still 1997 — May, I think — when my work place finally decided that they needed to upgrade the computers. All the new ones arrived with Win95 on them, and I could take one of the old ones home!!! Yay!  The same afternoon as I had it in my apartment, I went down to Telia — the major phone/internet provider in Sweden — to buy a, what they called, Internet package. That was an easy procedure, until I saw that the installation files were on a CD. My computer didn’t have a CD drive … only floppy. Went back to Telia … they were still open … and told them I needed to change to floppies. No dice! Had to wait almost a week for them to arrive. Those were long days, I tell you!

Wigeon today

Finally they arrived, I had taken some time off, so I had a few days to play with this. Got hooked up in no time and the feeling was unbelievable! I could surf, drink coffee and smoke — all at the same time! In my own home! Got an email address with Telia. It was really long and cumbersome — it was like they told you exactly how it should be formatted: firstname.lastname @ nameofcity.telia . se  Shortly afterwards they changed so that you could make up a shorter one.

One of the first things I did was installing Icq. That download took about an hour. I had dial-up and paid per minute! Don’t remember seeing any progress bar — just those files flying from the earth to a folder … endlessly, and every minute meant more money for Telia. I became one of their best customer 🙂 — they gave me a free, cordless phone one year and a caller-ID.

If my memory serves me right, I think I’d been clever enough to install Netscape before I took it home. My favorite hang-out, WBS, didn’t work very well with Internet Explorer, but with Netscape it scrolled automatically. We had an IT-guy at work, who I think, installed it for me. He suffered from Asperger’s Syndrome — so he stated publicly — he was really … anti-social, to put it mildly, but somehow I got along with him.

To keep this on track, and not get totally lost down memory lane … the first nights I stayed up really late! Even chatted with random people on Icq, but WBS was my main place. I had many, new friends now! Apart from Angharod and Tipman that I mentioned in previous post, there was now also Liam Seamroige, Cemoor, LadyB45, Stargazer, Ivan, LadyHawk, Glenstal, MikieinGA, BostonBelle, Jace, Fleurkat … oh my, the list could go on and on… The first six people here are actually on Facebook now, seven if I include myself.

Liam Seamroige is now my hubby! How about that?! 🙂 That’s a whole different story — there’s lots more to come!

I put in a couple of pictures, just to break it up a little 🙂

Internet — January 1997

…and the Internet nostalgia continues. This is part II.

I’d landed at a site called WBS. Webchat Broadcast Server. Bear in mind I was totally clueless about everything internet related. I had to sign up! Was extremely hesitant because I had to state an email address and the only one I had was my work address. It was too tempting though, so I got brave and went through with the sign-up procedure. Got the confirmation right away and that was my life’s first email!

Now … I had to chose a user name for myself, or “handle”, as it was called. Typed in Hadassah. That was my cat’s name. Thought I was rather clever and was almost in disbelief when it said «user name is already taken»! Got some numbers after my name. Okay … that was alright. Then I had to fill in ‘gender’. I didn’t know what that word meant, so I had to run upstairs and get the dictionary! 🙂

When I was finished with all this, it was time for me to start working — this took place early in the morning — but I managed to get to the huge list of ‘chat rooms’… all countries you could ever dream of, age groups, special interest groups … and more.

I clicked on Ireland. There were not too many people there, but there were a few and they were all in the States. I said «Hello». Almost immediately several «Hello Hadassah!» appeared on my screen! I was extatic! They answered me!!!

Today I’m not sure about who they all were that very first time, but Angharod was there and Tipman. Went back downstairs at lunch — I was forever hooked! — but then only one person was there … in the ‘Irish Room’. This was strange because this person … I even remember the name … I never met again after this lunch. He was extremely kind and helpful … explained so many things to me about the workings of the chat. He was from Helena, MT.

Now I started to go to work really early in the morning … for two reasons: I wanted to spend as much time as possible with my newly won friends AND the earlier I was there, the more earlier it was in the States, needless to say. There was six hours time difference between Sweden and the east coast. I even went to my workplace on Saturday and Sunday mornings!

I noticed that most of the people there had little pictures beside their handles. I wanted one too! They were not necessarily pictures of themselves … one had a sunflower, for example. Started to ask around how to achieve this. Someone told me to find a picture and just copy the URL. I didn’t know how to find a picture, didn’t know what a URL was and even if I had known I wouldn’t have known how to copy it.

Somehow I managed to find a duck … my favorite bird … and got the URL in the right box. I never forget the feeling when it showed up on the screen! Here is the very duck! I’ve saved it for sentimental reasons 🙂 Imagine that! After all these years and many computers, I still have that bird!

This became a routine of mine and I quickly got to know these people in the WBS Irish Room. I wanted more time and I wanted to learn so much more. Read about something called Icq that many of them talked about. Didn’t really get what it was but it sounded like so much fun. Couldn’t download anything on my work computer though. To buy a computer to have at home was way beyond my financial limits at the time.

In order for this post to end, and not turn it into a novel, I’ll continue later … This whole thing changed my life forever so I want to write it down.

Internet ~ December 1996

My first internet search was «santa». We had just been hooked up to the Internet at work. We were all clueless. A co-worker and I decided to try it. We saw an icon that said “Internet Explorer”, so we figured that must be it.

We were taken to the search engine Alta Vista … a box that said «SEARCH», so, as it was just before Christmas I typed in Santa. The first hit was some huge, animated Santa and we were in total awe!

That’s how I started my internet experience … at work, on our lunch break. The computer was a .386 and the only one that was hooked up, was placed in a conference room in the basement. The operating system was Windows 3.something … Here’s a reminder in case you’ve forgotten what it looked like: LINK

This doesn’t sound like much, but I was sort of hooked anyway. I’d heard the word ‘chat’ being mentioned with regards to the Internet, but I didn’t know how it was done or how to get a hold of it.

During the holidays that year, I read an article about chatting in one of the Swedish evening papers, and they even gave a link — I didn’t know it was a link then — to a Swedish chat server. I carefully jotted it down … made really sure that I got the http:// right.

As soon as I was back at work, I tried it! One thing I also remember about all this is how carefully I typed — like I was afraid of destroying the damned thing.. I don’t know. Either way, I was taken to a Swedish chat and there were lots of people in there, maybe because it was lunch. You could even see at which company they were … it said the company name beside their handles, Alfa Laval, Atlas Copco, ABB and so on…

I guess I said “hallå”. They were friendly enough and I wanted to know how to get in touch with people in other countries as I figured I saw enough Swedes in my daily life. One guy answered «look at the links to your left». Well … as I still didn’t know what a link was, I had that explained to me also, and then I bravely clicked on ‘foreign links’ [or some such in Swedish].

Landed at WBS … Worldchat Broadcasting System, but that will be another post…