Saturday, February 12, 2011

To The Internet, With Love

I'm not exaggerating when I say that as long as the internet has been around, I've always been a blogger.

The Internet and I go way back; we're pre-high school sweethearts. We go back to when I was twelve, back in ninteen-ninety-something. My dad brought home a computer that probably cost about a month's salary (or perhaps even more), triumphantly plugging it in and displaying it with pride. "There!" he proclaimed. "We have a computer!"

No one had a computer back then. Not anyone I knew, anyways. Sure, Bill Gates had one. Maybe the doctors' and lawyers' kids had one. Okay, even my school had a room full of flickering little Apples on which you could program the little turtle to turn left or move straight three points during the obligatory Computers class we took. But I couldn't believe that we, the humble printer's family, now had a computer of our very own!

They were training my dad at work--at the print shop--on how to move printing into the age of the future--off of the light table and into digital pre-press. Though he wasn't a flashy fellow, my dad was always interested in the basics of computers. When we were even younger, he had experimented with a Commadore 64 he picked up at some sort of a sale somewhere, tinkering with it for hours just to get it to state: What is your name? and Hello, Lisa! in reply to my typed response.

So, at age twelve I learned to master Microsoft Works for school projects, and I dabbled (with my parents' permission and oversight) in a local BBS ("bulletin board system"--those message boards of yesteryear!) for my social life. I was always a bit nerdy, I'll confess, and I had now found a niche I loved--in all my nerdy glory; in fact, I was a bit of an online junkie. Keep in mind that this version of 'online' didn't even incorporate the internet yet--no one was using the internet except the military and government and maybe a few token businesses. Within a year or two, though, I was using that 14.4 kbps modem (remember those hellish dial-up noises your computer would emit, like a machine needing to be exorcized) to gain access to the vast and endless world wide web.

I was in love.

That year, my dad proposed we learn to write HTML together, that markup language where it all began. I keenly agreed, and the very next day, he came home with a book about 500 pages thick from the local bookstore. It seemed daunting, this language of tags and caps lock, but we ate it up, experimenting with writing code on the most bare-bones little program that came on a CD in the back of the book's cover. In vogue at the time were such high-tech maneuvers as writing your page title in blinking text, or embedding .midi sound files into your page background. I didn't waste any time in starting a website for my favorite hockey team and another personal one for my rants, poetry, and teen angst. In other words, I was a blogger before there were blogs ;)

Since that time, I've never not had a website or blog on the go. I've started and stopped different endeavors over the years, changing up the content as my likes change. At sixteen, I was smitten with boy bands. In university, I posted on English and education. At all times, poetry has been an old stand-by, a constant feature of mine somewhere on the web. I still write all my code by hand, in a standard Windows Notepad file. On Blogger, I don't even glance at the Compose and Preview modes, but keep my Dashboard locked on the Edit HTML tab. I read HTML tags like Neo reads The Matrix. Colors and pages and fonts, tabs, and sidebars come together in my mind's eye and culminate when I hit Publish. Okay, so I'm an Internet old-timer. I scoff at these new-fangled splash screens with two minute Flash interludes and have no patience for learning Cascading Style Sheets. I cringe over the fact that HTML is now written in all lowercase, like that emo poetry of today's adolescents--though I confess I have made the switch-over.

What can I say? I'm that old geezer, sitting in a rocking chair on the porch of the world wide web, sucking on my corn cob pipe, just taking it all in.

Okay, perhaps I lie just a bit. I can still write code like a whippersnapper. I can tweet up there with the best of them. Social media makes me drool a little, and I suppose there is something nice about mobile publishing when you don't have your Windows Notepad handy. I've softened to the idea of swapping some of these < these > brackets for { these } ones, and people no longer look at me like I'm a weirdo when I tell them I have a webpage.

Who knows where this will take all of us in ten, or twenty, or one hundred years. Maybe we'll be updating Facebook by tapping in from our frontal lobes, or perhaps we'll read the daily newsreel on digital dividers between public washroom stalls. At any rate, whatever the internet looks like then, and wherever it may take us, I'm sure I'll still be there--blogging.

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To all my fellow bloggers out there, what is your story? I've love to read about it in the comments section, or drop me a link to your own posts on the subject! :)

- Lisa


Jodi Whisenhunt said...

Ha! I remember having a "word processor" in the late 80s...and preferring my old typewriter!! I wish I had done like you & learned HTML. Perhaps you could give me some pointers!

Hey, thanks for stopping by Magical Mouse Schoolhouse! We're giving away a FREE T-shirt to each new follower this month, but I don't see any contact information for you. Would love to hear from you at jodi(@)magicalmouseschoolhouse(dot)com. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for participating in "Stalk Hop Friday"! Next week's Follow Linky’s will be Feed Subscribe & GFC (w/ 2 linkys everyone has a chance to participate!), make sure you stop by and link up again!

I'm following you on GFC with both my blog:

Anonymous said...

I remember our when we first were connected to the Internet. We were so amazed by it! I would try over and over to log on and get that busy signal so many times before actually getting on! Haha


PS I tried to be your 200th follower but someone beat me to it! :)

Donna @ The House on the Corner said...

Thanks so much for stopping by The House on the Corner ~ I'm following back!

Darcy said...

How's this for old school? I used to run a BBS with my dad. I created ASCII art lol

I've been blogging on and off in various forms too :)

Tales From the Nursery

Rachel R. said...

I've also had a long-standing nerdy love affair with the internet and doing my own HTML. I learned to write my own HTML code as a young teenager so I could have a blog (I don't think they were called blogs back then) on sites like angelfire and geocities. I was an avid BBS participant too.

Hmm, things haven't changed much...just gotten more sophisticated :)