Had a conversation with a friend I've never met the other day via e-mail.
How can that be, one might say? I guess in the old days we'd be penpals. Now it's electronic. We "met" on a mountain bike forum. He has his own blog and he helped me get mine started. A couple summers ago, as he's from New Mexico, he helped me line up some trail riding in the southwest and I met a friend of his at a bike shop in Albuquerque.
Barin now teaches in Venezuela.
So, back to the conversation. We were talking about how we spend our time, besides biking, of course. He introduced me to a website where one can make their own movies and he mentioned that he spends a lot of time there lately.
I haven't watched ANY TV show other than Fox/CNN News and the Green Bay Packers and maybe a Red Sox game for more than 15 minutes at a time for probably 5-6 years. Even my wife, who was a regular for shows like ER, Cold Case, etc. only watches similar programing lately. Now, maybe the fact that she has always been continuing her education with professional designations and now working on her Masters just might have something to do with it. She loves to learn in a "classroom" type setting. I, on the other hand prefer learning about less structured things and in less traditional ways.
Then I started to think about my blog and the site that another friend 'Spoke posted in IS, his blog. Critiqucircle. How interesting that site could be for aspiring writers. Wow, there is so much out there available beyond human to human contact. Places one can go any time day or night.
Then how much time I spend on my favorite websites then thinking of the new network of friends I've made via the internet and the time I spend e-mailing them and interacting with them...some I've never met yet and throw in that for the past 10 years I realize that I'm spending my time doing what I want in my "down time" and not being programmed by stupid mind numbing tradition TV shows.
Throw in mtb, xc-skiing, motorcycling, activities I devote as much time as possible to, especially when I travel and hunting in the fall, and it's no wonder that TV time is gone.
So, what am I saying? Nothing much, but to say that there are so many new ways to learn, interact, get stimulated mentally and in general learn about the world and it seems the internet has made most if not all of it possible.
My wife and I spent 3 weeks in Alaska and were able to setup the whole trip ourselves, personalizing it to our specific interests.
On most of my/our trips I've been able to "phone" ahead using the internet. Contacting locals on where the best trails, rivers, motels, campsites, restaurants, etc, etc, are.
Also, personally meeting a lot of these folks, new found friends with specific points of interest we hold in common. To me, it's avoided a lot of wasted time, energy and frustration.
It's also inspired me to reach out personally more to these and other strangers I do randomly meet, knowing that somewhere, someplace there is probably an intersection of our lives where our interests will eventually cross. Then, once that connection is made and a frienship has been started and developed, I try to step into areas we don't have in common...politics, religion, etc. As we always have a point to come back to, if needed, to install a trust in each other again, we can afford to be free to be different and express our own thoughts to each other, should we choose to do that.
Anyone under the age of 35 might think I'm a little off my rocker, as they grew up with these tools, but us old codgers have to be make a decision to use the newfangled methods.