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Salzypat  (Level: 161.6 - Posts: 5414)
Wed, 5th Mar '08 12:24 AM


I wrote my weekly column for Friday on friends, and most specifically referred to several friends on Sploofus.

I have permission from the Sploofus Support Team to post this, and also permission from the North Platte Telegraph. I am posting this at Smaug's suggestion since it's rather a pain to log on to our Web site, fill out a registration form, choose a password, all to read one or two columns.

If you would like to jump in with your definition of "What are friends," please feel free to do so.

Who are your friends? Is it your next-door neighbor? A co-worker? Perhaps it's someone from your church or club group.

In the past, when you mentioned "my friend" it was understood you were talking about someone you knew personally. The Internet has changed that and some of your "friends" may live halfway around the world.

Let me introduce you to some of my "friends." They live in London, New York, Australia, Wales, Scotland, Tennessee and Canada, from the East Coast of the United States to the West Coast and points in between.

I've written before about Sploofus, a trivia game site. The site includes a chat room, where members talk about anything and everything. Out of this association I have developed some long-distance friendships.

For instance, there's the retired lady who is moving across Canada to help care for her elderly mother. She sends me lots of funny e-mails. She seems to know when I really need a good chuckle before going to bed or before heading out for the day.

Another interesting person I've "met" is from England. He married an American woman so now he's living in South Dakota.
"I love it over here," he writes. "It was a real culture shock at first. There is so much open space!
"It's a great place to raise kids though .... The Black Hills must be one of the most beautiful places I've ever seen. It's a real privilege to be here."

Wow! When was the last time any of us said, "It's a real privilege to be here." Sometimes it takes a newcomer to open our eyes to see what has always been around us.

A new friend saw the pictures of my dogs on my profile page and e-mailed me to tell me I have gorgeous dogs. I knew I had a new friend right there.

This young lady lives in Wales. She described her village to me.

"The village I live in is an old mining village. The pit closed years ago taking local jobs with it. The village suffered two mining disasters: The first was in 1901 when 81 lives were lost. Then in 1913, in the worst (mining disaster) in British history, 436 lives lost, leaving 205 widows and 542 children were left fatherless. The pit closed in 1928.

"I guess you could say the women were the backbone of this valley for many years. Welsh women are strong and determined."

She added this link for a castle near her hometown:

One game player, who has no shame when it comes to giving me a thorough skunking when we compete at games, has found great solace in the Internet.

"When I became disabled in 1998, I thought my world had ended. I love to learn new things and the Internet opened a whole new world to me. Back surgery in April 2005 helped ease some of the pain I had endured for years .... The nerves in my back continued to weaken and by October 2006 I was unable to get out of bed.

"We found a way to get the computer set up by my bedside. We installed a satellite Internet service and now I can spend all the time I want online at Sploofus.

"The Internet is truly my lifeline," she writes, "and I treasure the friendships I've made."

Her father died in February and she posted the news in the chat room, including the fact that her physical condition meant she couldn't make the trip to attend his funeral. Within minutes, people from all over were sending their prayers and condolences her way, along with suggestions on how she could be a part of her father's funeral. One suggested perhaps having an open telephone line so she could hear the service. Another suggested she find someone to make a video of the service for her. A few days later she sent an e-mail to me saying that three of us were her "angels" that day, playing games with her and being supportive. We didn't realize it, but it was the day of her father's funeral.

I have other friends to write about but too little space, so part two will be published next Friday.

In the meantime, think about friendships. How do you define friendship? Is it possible to be friends with people you'll never meet face-to-face? How do we develop friendships and what does it take to be a friend?

Luvnmexsun  (Level: 147.4 - Posts: 711)
Wed, 5th Mar '08 3:18 AM

While increasing my learning of the world and life, my skills and mind, I have found friends, caring, support, help, laughter and love through my Sploofus time. And yes, from all over, even up in Canada and down under...not in hell, but Antipodeans,...and Georgians. People I have met, people I may never meet, but have made such a difference in my life.

It's as good as's as good as it gets.

Thank you, those that know I speak of life is enriched.

Salzypat, you are on the right track in expressing for me what I have found here. THANK YOU FOR THAT!!!

1mks  (Level: 219.5 - Posts: 5925)
Wed, 5th Mar '08 9:24 AM

Very nice and eloquent....thanks.

Smaug  (Level: 144.7 - Posts: 2765)
Wed, 5th Mar '08 10:21 AM

smaug dissed. Expect papers from my attorneys.

Eesusbejesus  (Level: 75.0 - Posts: 3641)
Wed, 5th Mar '08 11:11 AM

Shut yer piehole, Smaug. She mentioned New York.

Be happy that she didn't point out the creepy guy in the spring frock and red pumps from New York.

Pepperdoc  (Level: 152.5 - Posts: 4285)
Wed, 5th Mar '08 11:42 AM

...and the wardrobe-defining paisley scarf.

Ricksdusa  (Level: 22.6 - Posts: 69)
Wed, 5th Mar '08 11:47 AM

When I think of friendship, I think of levels. There are various degrees of friendship and each requires a certain level of trust and reciprication. It's like peeling an onion. First of all, when you feel some empathy for someone, and share some common ground, then it's quite easy to call that person 'friend' and begin to trust them with your friendship. Deeper than that, it's about the exchange of ideas and information, whilst still remaining in your comfort zone. That's a big bonus of the internet, the fact that you are allowed to develop friendships without the conventions of traditional society and preconceived ideas. It's a classless society in a very real sense. Of course you will meet and befriend people who turn out not to be such good friends, but doesn't that happen anywhere? At least this way you've got the option of graceful withdrawal. Speaking from very personal experience, having the courage to trust is the most important part of developing a good friendship. I am lucky. I met my best friend on the 'net. I've known her for five years now (almost) and she is still my best friend. We got married a couple of years ago, on a gazebo, on a lake, with just a few close friends in attendance. It was picture perfect, all the more special because there wasn't a huge entourage and all the palava that goes with it.
That's my take on it anyway! Thanks for the article Pat - fabuloso.

Tuzilla  (Level: 144.8 - Posts: 3839)
Wed, 5th Mar '08 11:47 AM

Excellent (Monty Burns hand rub) I still cruise safely below the event horizon of the radar screen.

The moving bus driver buses, and having bussed, kicks back on Bourbon St. for a week whilst the busees pound nails.

Jank0614  (Level: 67.1 - Posts: 4593)
Wed, 5th Mar '08 2:15 PM

Plus, not one of you will ever complain about my cooking.

Siouxsie  (Level: 104.6 - Posts: 145)
Wed, 5th Mar '08 3:01 PM

All right, Steve, I caught the allusion to Omar Khayyam, but other than that I have no idea what you are talking about. Did you accidentally post one of those punchlines from the other thread?

Smaug  (Level: 144.7 - Posts: 2765)
Wed, 5th Mar '08 6:05 PM

I'm tired of the wardrobe abuse.

Does trying to be saucy make me a bad person?

Chickfbref1  (Level: 120.7 - Posts: 2011)
Wed, 5th Mar '08 6:13 PM

I eventually tired of the "HUH" looks when I mentioned my internet friends. So I stopped qualifying my friends, who really cares where they come from as long as they're good people.

My favorite was when Lodi stayed at my house and we were at the CVS said "hang on, waiting for my friend", in her usual way, Lodi doesn't even miss a beat "We don't really know each other, just met on the internet", got the GTFO look again. She did however steal all my silverware and still looking for a few pieces of china, so be careful when inviting "internet" friends to stay with you.


Eesusbejesus  (Level: 75.0 - Posts: 3641)
Wed, 5th Mar '08 6:17 PM

Laughing. I forgot that. I think the clerks couldn't wait for us to leave.

Queentxf  (Level: 90.6 - Posts: 55)
Thu, 6th Mar '08 2:43 PM

Reminds me of good friend from a different forum. She was relating a story about me to her coworkers, and at every phrase they looked at her more and more like she'd lost it.

"My good friend on the internet, Jodie... well, that's not her real name, but anyway, my friend... well, come to think of it we've never actually met, but anyway, she's my friend, and she doesn't eat blue M&Ms."

At this point they started questioning how she can be friends with someone she's never met.

Her best answer, "I don't know we just ARE!"

As the confused faces continued staring at her, she simplified the story for them.

"Fine, there's a girl in MN who doesn't eat blue M&Ms."

Then, she trotted back to her computer to tell her "Internet" friends about her idiot coworkers!

Larefamiliaris  (Level: 135.2 - Posts: 877)
Thu, 6th Mar '08 5:50 PM

That's lovely Pat.

I think 'friends' are people who just get you - and that you get in return.
Doesn't seem like physically meeting up is that important after all!

(and if you'd asked me a couple of years ago, I'd have very much disagreed with the above - but I'd have never of 'met' all you charming people then!)

Hey: if I drink even more beer, World Peace is a distinct (albeit blurry) possibility...

Eesusbejesus  (Level: 75.0 - Posts: 3641)
Thu, 6th Mar '08 6:07 PM

Thanks to modern technology, I spend more time with my "internet" friends than my in-town friends. And what's a really weird thing, is that once you actually meet them in person, you immediately slide into this "old friends" groove because you've already established the relationship.

Its an odd sensation to feel you've known this stranger your whole life.

Smaug  (Level: 144.7 - Posts: 2765)
Thu, 6th Mar '08 6:46 PM

Easy has several of her internet friends in her basement chained to her furnace.

Eesusbejesus  (Level: 75.0 - Posts: 3641)
Fri, 7th Mar '08 8:27 AM

Still bitter about your wrist burns, I take it.

Smaug  (Level: 144.7 - Posts: 2765)
Fri, 7th Mar '08 8:43 AM

Get help.

Kaelin  (Level: 49.2 - Posts: 1685)
Fri, 7th Mar '08 9:11 AM

I have several friends from the internet I've met that without the internet I could not have.

I especially enjoyed meeting Pepperdoc this year when she & another friend came to Canton for First Monday several times. Especially enjoyed going out to eat with them to find that we all do the same thing before we eat - unusal in this day & time!

My programming partner of 10 years and I met through a mutual client, who eventually stiffed us for a dollar amount that I won't even mention, but we picked up, and have produced some wonderful websites for clients (who DON'T stiff us) and has enabled me to continue my hosting, programming and design business, something I could have never done without him.

One of my dearest friends, amazingly enough, met through the same client who stiffed me, is someone I cannot imagine my life without. She is older than I am but we have a friendship that is so close that living next door to each other could not improve it.

And of course, Sploofus friends...through the bbs, we know much more about each other than sometimes maybe we want too - but the encouragement from people like Lodi & Chick & Pepperdoc through the rough times that have visited my family have been a great help - don't think I would have made it through the water well pump replacement WITHOUT Lodi -

Hugs for everyone - even for Smaug today!

Pepperdoc  (Level: 152.5 - Posts: 4285)
Fri, 7th Mar '08 9:53 AM

Pat, enjoyed your column, and Lorri, glad we met through Sploofus - we'll be making more Trades Days visits. And invite me to a band contest anytime - it was fun!

Sploofus is the first internet website where I've made friends. (Will probably get started on Facebook soon.) Usually hit and run on other special interest sites. But this one is set up where there are different ways to chat and share things in common while trying to beat the socks off each other at the same time.

I've picked up some interesting info outside the quizzes, including the mystifying but true Vicks Vaporub thread.

Salzypat  (Level: 161.6 - Posts: 5414)
Fri, 7th Mar '08 9:55 AM

Here's the second and final part of my Internet friends columns. There are some of you I consider friends and I wish I could have mentioned you. Thanks to all of you who did allow me to use a little of your information.
Reprinted with permission from the North Platte Telegraph.

Who cares where friends come from so long as they are good people

If you recall, last week I told you about some "friends" I had met through Sploofus, an Internet trivia game site.

I then asked you to think about how you define friendship, whether it is possible to be friends with people you'll never meet face-to-face and what it takes to be a friend. We'll deal with the answers to these questions later.

For now, I want to introduce you to a few more of my Internet friends.

There's the young man from Australia who often writes about his beautiful little girl who is 3 years old. He has her with him often, especially on weekends. One weekend he described them making paintings.

"We made a MESS. We painted hands and feet and had a great time!"

Can't you just see father and daughter laughing in joyous fun while smearing paint everywhere?

I learned from him that the fairy floss they enjoy at a carnival is the same as the cotton candy we enjoy. I like the term fairy floss better.

Then there's a world traveler who lives on the East Coast. I don't remember how the subject came up but one day he sent me this link to a video of a dressage competition:

The places this man and his wife have visited sound like a travelogue: Egypt, Germany, Scotland, Russia, England, Holland.

Since I don't travel at all (a trip to Omaha is a really big deal!), I am in awe of their trips.

"If you carry your e-mail card, you can make friends for life," he wrote. Among others, he said, there is a Turk who calls him uncle, an Egyptian who loves his jokes ... about five Germans, a Beefeater at the Tower, maybe seven Brits and at least five Scandinavians on their Christmas list.

I can't forget the friend who lives in the West (west of me anyway!). She makes me laugh. A lot. She is smart and sassy - a fun combination. I love it when she gets into a war of words with a couple of the other people on the Web site. She is one of those people who delivers immediately the perfect come-back answer - the ones most of us think of four or five days later and we say, "THAT'S what I should have said."

One of my Internet friends, who lives in the Northeast, touched my heart with his impassioned e-mail about 9-11. We all watched the events of that day over and over on TV. To read his still raw, emotional words - from someone who knew people who died that day - brought the events of 9-11 even closer.

He wrote: "We want 9-11 to be over .... But radical Islam doesn't think in months, they think in decades. When they didn't bring down the towers in 1993, they waited eight years and came back at us and slaughtered 3,000 civilians at their jobs in a most horrible way. One of my neighbors was a (World Trade Center 2) roof jumper. Ponder that. Three young kids. And why? What was the sane and rational reason?

"My church lost 18 parents on 9-11. I could smell the stench from the ongoing fires for over a month .... That is why so many cars around here have bumper stickers that say "Never Forget." Because those ... looking to kill infidels and go to paradise don't forget their goals."

These are just a few of the people I have learned so much from and who have enriched my life.

Let me make this clear: I am not advising everyone to rush out and get on an Internet site. One has to be careful in today's world. I'm just sharing with you some of my experience. Proceed with caution.

So, what is your answer to the question: Is it is possible to be friends with people you'll never meet face-to-face?

Some of these Internet friends expressed the answers most eloquently, so I'll share their words with you.

"While increasing my learning of the world and life, my skills and mind, I have found friends, caring, support, help, laughter and love .... People I have met, people I may never meet, but who have made such a difference in my life. It's as good as family ... it's as good as it gets."

Another friend wrote: "I eventually tired of the 'HUH' looks when I mentioned my Internet friends. So I stopped qualifying my friends. Who really cares where they come from as long as they're good people."

Eesusbejesus  (Level: 75.0 - Posts: 3641)
Fri, 7th Mar '08 9:56 AM

Feeling something foreign. Its like a warm fuzzy feeling. sniff.

Pepperdoc  (Level: 152.5 - Posts: 4285)
Fri, 7th Mar '08 10:06 AM

Put some Vicks Vaporub on your feet...the feeling will pass.

Eesusbejesus  (Level: 75.0 - Posts: 3641)
Fri, 7th Mar '08 10:11 AM

Oh god the burning, the burning! Wait. Feet?

Pepperdoc  (Level: 152.5 - Posts: 4285)
Fri, 7th Mar '08 10:13 AM

Please, no snort-inducing comments this early...I'm trying to inhale caffeine.

Smaug  (Level: 144.7 - Posts: 2765)
Fri, 7th Mar '08 3:50 PM

Very nice, Salzy.

Of course, you have to pick the grimmest thing I've ever said here

Kaelin  (Level: 49.2 - Posts: 1685)
Fri, 7th Mar '08 4:16 PM

Smaug - at least she didn't comment on you pilfering Lodi's underthings and selling them on ebay!

Dwayla  (Level: 199.3 - Posts: 150)
Fri, 7th Mar '08 6:43 PM

A GREAT two part column. Hope some people visit Sploofus because of you!

Smaug  (Level: 144.7 - Posts: 2765)
Fri, 7th Mar '08 7:49 PM

TRYING to sell them on ebay.

Still available at shipping cost in 400 lb lots. Hell, any lots.....

Rowlanda  (Level: 70.0 - Posts: 2853)
Fri, 7th Mar '08 9:05 PM

PAT. that was a wonderful column and it will make some people think...
and some people will just SNORT and shake their heads!!!! Your paragraph
about Chyenn made me realize again - what good people are on this Island.
I LOVE YOU ALL....even though I'm absent almost all the time now - you're
in my thoughts....

Pepperdoc  (Level: 152.5 - Posts: 4285)
Sat, 8th Mar '08 9:52 AM

The "snorting" had to do with something funny Lodi said. had nothing to do with the wonderful columns Pat wrote.

Pat, I hope you'll post the feedback you get from your readers. It will be interesting because more and more people are meeting online regardless of where they live geographically.

Thanks for sharing.

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