Is there a heartbeat?

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retroc64
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Joined: 05/11/2008

Hi all,

I haven't been on recently and I noticed the boards are looking a little dead. There seems to be much less people on and posting then a year ago. Is this due to industry or competition or both?

Thanks.

Mark Vergeer
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Friends - fideonet

Back in college I could even end up talking for hours on the phone to some of my friends who just lived in the same apartment building. But I do prefer live conversations over phone conversations most of the time.
Funny that you mention Fideonet Rob, I was a 'point' in the Fideonet and one of my friends hosted a Dutch bulletinboard focusing on Atari-ST it was called Brainbox. I was 'chatting and mailing' with quite a few people on the Fideonet back than. But I got access to the web very early on and the Fideonet became obsolete. Some folk even 'upgraded' their BBS'es so that they would run over the web through telnet sessions but after Gopher and eventually Mozaic became more mainstream it was all over with BBS'es for me. Still had some good discussions back than. But haven't made any internet friends at all apart from the people I've met on the Armchair and the Shane Monroe websites.

Hey this is extremely funny. I actually found one of my old messages from way back 1996:

Message 4257 1996-03-03 05:33 11 lines by Mark Vergeer
Area: Sinclair Spectrum
Subject: Zx spectrum emulator for Windows?
------------------------------------------
Hello All!

Does anyone know if people are working on a windows spectrum emulator for PC?
I am running a spectrum emulator on my dad's mac (reads z80 and sna files from
the dos versions) but would also like to run speccy software on my pc in
similar slick windows.
It is possible to run the spectrum emulator on executor (a macintosh emulator
for pc) but that is very very very slow.
Any help?
Groetjes,
Mark
--- timEd 1.01
* Origin: Thorbecke's first point!!! :-) (2:281/908.22)

End of message 4257 by Mark Vergeer
Comment in message 4279 by Brian Gaff <0>
Comment in message 4286 by Ian Kirwin <0>
Brainbox Systems
070-352361

Seems there is a whole archive of old fidonet messages on the internet. Weird huh?

The Internet is an excellent way of staying in contact with friends and family though - I went as far as to create my own website (http://www.markvergeer.nl) with a private login for relatives and some friends and we have our own bulletin board/forum system very much like Armchair Arcade where I share photos and movies of my travels and events happening in my life. There's a public part to it as well, a lot of it is in Dutch though.

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Rowdy Rob
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Friends
Matt Barton wrote:

I have to admit to being a hypocrite, though! Here I was complaining about no friends, but then I get pissed if people call me just because they are bored.

I actually enjoy talking on the phone.... I frequently have hour-long (or more!) conversations! I can socialize on the phone sitting in my underwear, then after I get off the phone, *click* and I'm back on the computer doing what I was doing without getting dressed. (Not a pretty picture, I know).

As for making friends, one thing I have learned in my 42 years is that a good friend doesn't necessarily have to be someone like you. All my friends are good-hearted, helpful, give-their-shirt-off-their-back people, even though there may be little else in common between them (or me). That having been said, it would be great to have a good, geeky team of local friends to pursue game programming or something. That's something I really miss about my high school friends.

The Internet is great, but the "global" aspect of the Internet seems to make it harder to find "local" friends. I was quite a lonely guy when I first came back to the states until I discovered local "BBS's," and soon made many friends that I was able to meet personally! I even discovered some Atari 8-bit users, and we started an Atari 8-bit users group! The fun was the fact that it was local, not global. When "FidoNet" started hitting the local BBS scene, things seemed to become less cozy and local, until finally the Internet hit big and "localness" died out permanently.

I even once chatted with Shane Munroe (of "Retro Radio" fame) on his "Dark Unicorn" BBS back then in "Sysop" mode (he was the "Sysop."), long before "Retro Radio." (I'm sure he has no recollection of this.) He apparently lived in Charleston, SC, less than two hours from me, when "Dark Unicorn Productions" was a pretty ambitious shareware group for the Amiga. I still wonder what might have happened if I actually went down there and attended their meetings!

qoj hpmoj o+ 6uo73q 3Jv 3svq jnoh 77V

Matt Barton
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LOL, reading Rob's post

LOL, reading Rob's post reminded me that having lots of "friends" isn't always a good thing. I used to hate it when friends cock blocked (whether intentionally or not) or just bugged me when I wanted to be left alone. I still get that in the form of phone calls. It's not that I don't want to talk to them, but I like to choose the time and place. I don't want to stop playing Fallout 3, for instance, to chat with someone on the phone, especially when I know it might be one of those aimless conversations that takes an hour or feel like I'm responsible for trying to make the phone call entertaining or relevant. I kinda want to just say, "Yeah, what do you want?" sometimes, but usually just don't answer it and say "I'll get it next time." I actually vastly, vastly prefer emails or forum posts with friends to the 1-on-1 of a phone call, since with that I have to drop whatever I'm doing and deal with the call and only the call right then. I'm not one of those types who can do other things when talking on the phone, and there are few things in life that piss me off more than somebody trying to "multitask" when wasting my time on the phone.

I have to admit to being a hypocrite, though! Here I was complaining about no friends, but then I get pissed if people call me just because they are bored. Obviously, that's something about a friend if talking to me is more interesting than, I don't know, chatting with co-workers or reading a book or something. I can't imagine just getting bored one day and start calling people, but that's just me, maybe.

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Bill Loguidice
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Friends
Rowdy Rob wrote:

It's not like high school, where I had a good group of like-minded best friends who shared my interests and ambitions. We were a group, we did just about everything together (go to movies, play D&D, make home sci-fi movies, played computer games, etc.). It's not like that anymore with my current friends. I have no "group" of friends, just a collection of "different" friends.

I think that's a truism and is certainly a common theme here. Friendships and the types of friendships one has evolves both with the stage of life one is at and with one's life situation(s). I haven't had truly deep friendships outside of people I met at work since high school, and my current job that I've been at more than a year and a half I have no real friendships. I just keep in touch with two people from my previous job who I go to lunch with roughly once a month (we meet at a common location between the two places of work).

I wonder if it's even possible to have a great friendship at this point. I'm 36, married, with two kids, and not terribly social with strangers. I have very specific interests and thinks that make me happy. I think I could be great in-person friends with many of the people around here, but the reality is most of us will probably never even get the chance to meet, let alone live close enough to have a real friendship. Sad, really, but if not for the Internet and places like this, we'd NEVER get to know each other at all, and that would be truly unfortunate.

At the same time, I must say I'm very satisfied with my life outside of my main job, which sucks the life from me and is a pretty horrid commute. Otherwise, I'd say everything is pretty perfect. Having friends would be gravy, but I sometimes can't even spend enough time with my family, so there you go.

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Bill Loguidice, Managing Director | Armchair Arcade, Inc.

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Rowdy Rob
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Friends and stuff

I make friends pretty easily now(male friends, anyway). but I had a rough time when I first came back to the states. Now, I sometimes think I have TOO MANY friends. Usually, I want to be left alone to pursue my solitary hobbies (gaming, writing, art, and technical ideas), but I'm always getting calls from friends who want to talk, want me to come over, need my help with something, etc. I'm starting to resent it... I can't tell you how many times my creative "mojo" has been killed because of social "obligations." Heck, most of my "internet" time is spent here at AA, and then its off to help someone or make an appearance somewhere. Even tonight, I have to go watch "Monday Night Football" at some friends' house to stay in good graces with my girlfriend. (I'm going to get in trouble for posting that....). When am I going to get to play a game?!?! It's almost to the point where I have to accept that the REAL "Rowdy Rob" has been killed off by my relationships instead of enhanced by them! Yet I like having relationships... I dunno...

Don't get me wrong, my best friends are as good as family to me, and it's not all one-way... I owe them a lot too, in some cases my life! But none of them are like me, and I have to "spread myself" amongst all my friends. A couple friends I can talk about sci-fi, martial arts, politics, and other life stuff, but not computers, art, science. Other friends I can talk about computers, gaming, and other tech stuff. Others are more philosophical and religious, and we talk about life, the universe, and everything, but no "geek" stuff.

Around some of my friends, I'm "Rowdy Rob," the hilarious jokester, and others, I'm "Robby the Robot," and almost Spock-like subdued person. I don't necessarily like the "robot" persona, but that's what comes out around some of my friends, and I don't really know why. Although I have a good selection of friends, none of them know each other, and I'm not sure they'd like each other if I got them all together.

It's not like high school, where I had a good group of like-minded best friends who shared my interests and ambitions. We were a group, we did just about everything together (go to movies, play D&D, make home sci-fi movies, played computer games, etc.). It's not like that anymore with my current friends. I have no "group" of friends, just a collection of "different" friends.

I do go to church occasionally, but not as much as I used to. I moved too far away from my church, and it's sort of a hassle to go now, since I'm usually too lazy on Sunday mornings to go, even though I miss it to a certain extent. I don't recommend going to church just to make friends... if you're not a believer, you will feel like an alien sitting in church, a real outsider, even though other church members will fall over themselves to make you feel welcome. I'm not going to preach here (I'm no preacher, and this is an inappropriate forum), but I think going to church requires at least a basic belief, or at least a curiosity and open-mindedness of the religion in question, as well as a "teacher" who can explain the religion to the intellectual satisfaction of someone like Matt (which would take a serious scholar in his case). I don't hang out with anyone from my church, though, or even talk on the phone with them.

qoj hpmoj o+ 6uo73q 3Jv 3svq jnoh 77V

Mark Vergeer
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During my medical training I

During my medical training I tended to develop close bonds with my direct colleagues as we would experience quite hectic and gruesome stuff. I know quite a few of those colleagues as I do know my oldest friends, yet beyond work beyong the training these bonds are gone. It's like living in two Universes. Separating work and real-life this way is in some way necessary to cope with it all.

I've noticed that playing teamsports really got me some social interaction that laster beyond my college years. But once medschool was over and internships started social interaction with friends grinded to a halt. That is in the sparse hours of freedom in between I did manage to hang out with friends etc as I was still living in some sort of dorm-like housing facility.

Once I started working and moved into my own apartment that changed and I lost contact with my mates from the University housing more but I have managed to keep quite a few good friendships going. I still have quite a few friends I picked up during my studies and also highschool/childhood friendships that have lasted decades. I've got a couple of deep friendships and quite some casual ones.
I am a social animal but have a strong dislike for spending evenings in smokey and crowded pubs. Elise and I hang out together or with friends and we like it this way. We are not sorry we are missing out on the children-bit at all.

Matt, going to church might be a good thing to get to know some people. Faith is something that can bind and form good friendships. It can also inspire you to think about life and the universe even if you aren't religious. For me after researching and experiencing (the two first only) Protestant, Catholic and other Christian and connected faiths (Muslim and Jewish) I have come to the conclusion that I should label myself a Humanist or agnostic - probably pretty much like Bill. Despite that some wise life lessons can sometimes be heard from a reverent. It just doesn't strike a chord with me nor Elise. We didn't even got married in a church because of that - despite the fact that my parents and perhaps even Elise's parents would have preferred that.

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Bill Loguidice
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Matt Barton wrote:

My grandpa has been on me for years now about going to church. His argument is that even if I don't take the religious stuff seriously, it's a great way to meet good people and enrich my social life. He may have a point. I hate fanatics and zealots, but I know that most people who go to church aren't like that. Elizabeth is resisting heavily, so I may just have to go it alone. At any rate, I think it'd be worth checking out. The only other option to meet people is bars, and I am really hating that scene now.

That's been suggested as well, but with my being agnostic these days, I'm not comfortable in putting up with man-made Church rituals just for some friends. And yeah, it's not like you'd make friends in a bar anyway.

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Bill Loguidice, Managing Director | Armchair Arcade, Inc.

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Matt Barton
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My grandpa has been on me

My grandpa has been on me for years now about going to church. His argument is that even if I don't take the religious stuff seriously, it's a great way to meet good people and enrich my social life. He may have a point. I hate fanatics and zealots, but I know that most people who go to church aren't like that. Elizabeth is resisting heavily, so I may just have to go it alone. At any rate, I think it'd be worth checking out. The only other option to meet people is bars, and I am really hating that scene now.

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Bill Loguidice
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Friendships

Christina and I don't really have any friends we hang out with ourselves, which is disappointing to us, but a reality for a variety of reasons, including finding it difficult to be compatible with other couples in terms of interests/attitudes/etc. We each have work or ex-work friends that we hang out with on rare occasions, and very occasional childhood friends, but it's not the same and they're certainly not deep friendships.

We're thinking maybe once the girls are in school we may develop some friendships with other parents, but at this point, I just don't know how possible that will be. Developing really strong adult friendships seems difficult and we're not two of the most outgoing people (for instance, I have a low tolerance for small talk).

Vintage Games book!
Xbox 360: billlog | Wii: 1345 2773 2048 1586 | PS3: ArmchairArcade
Bill Loguidice, Managing Director | Armchair Arcade, Inc.

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Mark Vergeer
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Friendship, kids - the cycle of life

People in their 20's, 30's and 40's are just going through the motions, busy with life kids and work. I guess you are experiencing this cycle of life and not particularly liking it.
Old friends focus on their careers and their families more. An equally rewarding period in your life but it is vastly different than the social environment in high-school and college. Remember how impossible it was to just stay home and read a book with all that social stuff going on? Well now you can! Remember what it was like to either have tons of friends and be in the popular click, or be a nerd in a click or a social outcast not having any friends in highschool? Social interaction could not be avoided even if you tried. Sitting in a large group having lunch it really becomes hard not to make friends with people.
Now with work, lunch breaks can be really short. There aren't so many possibilities for social interaction during the day. It sure is different from highschool or college.
Being in a marriage without having kids - like Elise and I - sort of leaves us in a different place from almost all our friends and relatives as we are not always going on about our kids and don't have to run from baseball practice to ballet lessons. But folks with kids tend to be enormously busy and just hanging out for an evening can be a huge undertaking. If they do manage to 'break free' all they can talk about is their kids. Which is fun and such but Elise and I are very happy not to have any kids as we do have time to wonder about the world and just be bored an ENTIRE EVENING!

Matt, perhaps the term 'Tweeners' is something to read up on. Tweeners are people who feel 'in between' generations'. Here's an example of a website on the subject matter. Quite a few of my unmarried or childless friends - who are just a tad older than me - really fit into this category.

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Editor / Pixelator - Armchair Arcade, Inc. | www.markvergeer.nl

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