Personal Stories

I am an Ahhhhtist dear an Ahhhtist I tell you

I could be the worlds worst film critic. I enjoy pretty much all the films I see.

Now what makes me say this. Well last night I sat through and really enjoyed Freddy Vs Jason again for about the fifth time and still the blood and the gore still makes my spirit lift.

As some of you regulars will have noticed I have been absent for a week or so. I have hit a major funk with my Bi Polar and I took a week of from the world. It hasn’t really helped that much but at least now I am back in a position for the moment to work again and leave the house for my daily walk to and from the bus to work without shaking and making milkshake of my blood and bodily fluids.

Last week I couldn’t even muster the energy to write to you my wonderful readers. I must have started 10 or 20 posts and each of them ran out of steam by the time I got to “hello how are you”.

My elaborate plans for improvement around here got as far as my new banner up top of the page, I made that in a fit of creativity on Saturday afternoon. It helped to get some frustration out of the old system. It reminded me of the times when I used to be in VP chat and I used to paint avatars for chat users.

When things were quiet in poetry land, I needed something else to occupy my mind. Cyber Sex just wasn’t possible all the time. SO I started teaching myself how to Paint Av’s. It started innocently with me just making Av’s with peoples names on in MS Paint and creating shadows by doing it in black first and then going over the black text with a colour.. it was VERY basic but I was off.

After a while I commandeered a copy of Jasc’s Paint Shop Pro 5 and started getting more elaborate with MUCH MUCH practice.
I learned what the programme could do, cutting out the people from the background and adding new backgrounds. It was all good fun and it gave me something to do when the internet wasn’t available during the days. I slowly started to get better ( I wish I had some of those first av’s to show you but i deleted them or lost them in various computer crashes over time.)

As time drew on and I moved to the states I had a constant internet connection and more time on my hands than i knew what to do with, i started painting more and more and with the practice came more skill and new tips and tricks. I started entering paint contests. The general idea was that the contest judge would display an Avatar and set guideline or rules in which way they wanted the Av painted ie no PSP tubes or which name they wanted. The first few contests I entered I didn’t finish the paint and usually ran away and hid in shame. But as time went on (time is going on allot today isn’t it) I got bold and thought “Damn it” and entered regardless of how naff I thought my paint was. Then I started getting placed in contests and I started to get asked to paint in different paint-shops within Virtual Places. I was becoming a known painter (a small time known painter but still i was known)

Once I started winning the contests I lost the internet connection due to a puter breakdown and no cash to fix it. I was out of luck. By the time I got a new computer i just did feel the same about painting. I just did it for myself and the odd one in a friends paint-shops. I became bored with sitting in chat rooms not talking to anyone and waiting for people to come and ask for paint jobs.

So once I got back online and into the swing of things I moved on and did other things.

These days I use the skills I taught myself painting on Web Graphics (like the logo above). It’s far more rewarding working on larger graphics and there is always the opportunity to wipe the floor with my BABY brother who thinks he is all that.. but he ain’t really.

Until Next Time….

When Paul Met Linda…. This is the end…My friend The End

This I promise is the last part…

Once through the doors nerves set in. What the hell was I doing traveling round the world to meet a woman 20 years older than me with two grown daughters and a handful of grandkids. Was I mad. For the next 12 hours was the only time I doubted myself and the logic behind my trip. The 8 hour flight from London to Chicago was pleasant enough.. I got drunk on red wine and cursed the airline for banning smoking on planes. I watched all of the inflight movies and sobered up just to try and get drunk again. I couldn’t sleep. I wish I could have I wouldn’t have had to sit through George Clooney’s Three Kings TWICE.

I had a two hour stop over in Chicago and nearly got arrested for rolling a cigarette in a non smoking non loading white zone only designated for the pick up and drop of of small children and ducks on a Tuesday afternoon. I had only been on terra firma for twenty minutes at the time. Remember this was before 9-11 and getting through a US airport especially an international Hub airport was a lot easier than it is today. Mind you please take into consideration that I broke a land-speed record to make it outside to smoke once cleared through customs.

During my two hour stop over I smoked a half ounce of tobacco and relaxed as best I could. I went hunting for coffee and found Snapple instead.. go figure.. I was a bit daunted about spending Dollars as i didn’t know a nickle from a dime to a quarter. I didn’t want to be ripped of my some unscrupulous Starbucks employee. So I used a vending machine with a dollar bill I had.
Feeling proud of my ingenuity at not being ripped off I went for my last cigarette before Cincinnati and my future.

I made my way to the boarding gate for my connecting flight and sat back and waited the thirty minutes before boarding began. I took out my Walkman and pulled out my traveling tape, which had all my comfort songs on that I had been saving to psych myself up for this final leg of the trip. It mostly consisted of Pumping rock music the definitive track being Homebound Train by Bon Jovi for the New Jersey CD. I loaded it into the Walkman and leaned back and sank into the music. That thirty minutes flew by and soon I was on the plane. I had the very last seat at the back.. in fact I had both tail end seats. I could spread out.

The plane was full and with only two stewardesses getting a drink when your sitting at the back is a gamble at best. But bless them, they got me some black coffee and chuckled when I told them why I wasn’t drinking the complimentary wine. The flight kinda dragged from Chicago to Cincy. I guess anticipation slows time. I looked out over the Cincinnati skyline from the air that night and was struck with awe. As we made our approach to the Cincy Airport which is actually in Covington Kentucky (go figure) my stomach went into puke mode.. all the doubts I had had that day manifested themselves into one almighty gut churning cramp in my stomach. I put my chair and table in the upright position and put my head between my knees as Jon Bon Jovi wailed in my ears… “I’m on a homebound homebound traiiiin… I’m comin home home home can’t you see that my man” that’s what they sounded like to me and Jon soothed the savage soul and I relaxed.

Once we’d landed they put the lights on in the cabin and I was blind. they had been on low during the flight and now the bright lights were to much so I put my sunglasses on. I stood up and pulled on my leather bikers jacket that I had bought with me due to the fact that it was march and I had heard it could be cold that time of year. I got my hand luggage and through it over my shoulder and slowly humped my size 10 doc martins down the alleyway toward the door.

I thanked the stewardesses and they in turn wished me well. I heard them giggle as they walked by us a few minutes later.

I set off down that long covered gangplank to the terminal. I didn’t know what to expect except there would be a woman waiting for me.. a first for me I can tell ya.

About halfway down I saw a woman dressed in a denim mini skirt and a grey hoodie jacket. She was the only one there and I knew it was Nu. My heart stopped and I didn’t know I could walk and breath with no heartbeat but there it was.. happening to me there and then. As I got to the end of the gangway, we touched for the first time and it was like an electric shock kick starting my heart back to a regular rhythm. I was alive, and now I knew that all my doubts were pretty much allayed. We stood in the terminal talking for a minute, but then an overwhelming urge for a post coital cigarette kicked in. All we had done was kiss and hold hands for a minute maybe two, but I needed a smoke and I needed it NOW.

After the aforementioned smoke I came back inside and collected my bags and we walked out. About halfway to the door we stopped and started kissing.. and we didn’t stop, we just kept kissing. My fears and doubts were now just shadows in the wind of a cool Cincinnati night.

We made our way to Lindas beat up station wagon which I immediately nicknamed The Tank. We drove back to Linda’s apartment and introduced ourselves they way we had only been able to do with words over the previous year.

That was almost 6 years ago and we are now married and still as bizarrely happy as we were back in the days of poetry chat.

Until Next Time… See I told ya this would be the last part.

When Paul Met Linda…. The show must go on

The next night came and I was there and so was Nu, we linked our avatars and talked amongst ourselves for most of the night, ignoring pretty much everything that went on around us. That was where it all began. We became a fixture together in the chat room and as time went by we became known as a VP couple and in private we behaved like a cyber married couple. We even had a VP wedding. We invited all our friends into a chat room and we had one of our more spiritual friends proceed over a blessing type event where we gave each other to each other.

By this point we were talking on the phone whenever we could and talk was turning to actually meeting physically. No it’s not like i could jump on a train on a Friday night and come back Sunday evening, this needed some serious planning and saving.
I am not sure how I did it but I had the money for the flight saved in a couple of months and the spending money would come from the months wages before I left. It wasn’t a fortune but it was enough when converted to dollars. As the excitement grew there was a set back. I couldn’t actually afford the plane ticket when I went to buy it. Prices had spiked due to some oil crisis. So being with Nu on valentines day was out. In the end I flew out two weeks later and planned to stay for the month of March.

I had never flown on my own before and to me it was building up to be a big adventure. I was a Rock and Roll cowboy do something wild and carefree. Dropping life for a month and being reckless, knowing that when the month was over I would return back and slot back into normality renewed and invigorated and who knows maybe start the process of becoming an American citizen if things had worked out well.

The day arrived, my best friend Nigel had kindly offered to drive me to the airport to catch my flight and had come down with his girlfriend the night before. We sat around and chatted about the old days and how much of a big leap I was taking. To me it was just a holiday and I was going to visit with someone I had gotten close with on the internet. I had no idea what to exp[ect. I knew that I got along so well with Linda on the internet and I loved her. She said she loved me and that was all that we needed. The age gap was not an issue for either of us and it never was and never has been since.

The morning I left it was weird, here I was flying out of the country for a whole month and things seemed totally normal. Mum had to work (she couldn’t get the day off). As she walked out of the door she had her usual quips for me and of course she wished me every joy during my holiday and that she would miss me. She must have apologized 100 times for not being able to come to the airport with me but I understood, i really did.. or so I thought.

After she left the house, it struck me that something wasn’t quite right. I ran downstairs and out into the street and stopped her to find her crying whilst walking. She had a feeling that it was going to be much longer than a month before she saw me again. She didn’t tell me that until much much later but that is what the tears were about. She was sad that she couldn’t come to the airport to see me off on my big adventure. We had had our ups and downs but I was still her eldest son who was venturing out to a whole new world. I guess she felt abandoned and I guess I did abandon her. She went from having a full house to living alone. I do feel guilty for that but We are making up for it now.

Once at the airport, I unknowingly said goodbye to my old life. Every minute from there on out would be something new and uncharted. At the time I thought i was going on a beano for a month to recharge my batteries and to fulfill a life long ambition of seeing the United States. I waved good bye to Nigel and walked through the departure lounge door.

Goodbye old life welcome to the new world order.

to be continued… hahahahahaha

When Paul Met Linda – The Saga Continues

Once I had gotten to be a regular in the poetry room, I started to become invested with different people on different levels. Some would be jokey firends some would be flirty friends some I even called Brother and Sister.  I even had a net mommy at one point.. Dad was a downright plonker but we put up with him for Momma’s sake

I had online relationships. Cyber sex and naughty phonecalls were not unusual events for me at that point in time.  No one asked for pictures and I was as good looking as my words made me look.  Being into Jim Morrison and 60’s culture as I was at the time I fit right in to the Bohemian life style of a poet.  Because of the hours I could use the PC at home I socialised with the American crowd more than anyone.  The odd Brit or Scot would be on during the night hours but not many.. so again.. I stood out from the crowd for that.

I loved it. I was in my element. I have never found chat rooms or communities as exciting since.  It was a truly expressive period for me and I taught myself to write and I was everything my ego could imagine. I had all the pretty ladies talking to me and waiting for me to show up. I was one of the in crowd. In real life, everything was crumbling down around me. I had no money, tensions were building between Mum and I and I was, as I now know it.. having a major depressive episode. I only came alive when I was in Chat. I was addicted and I didn’t care.

Just before the end of the college year I was in full swing of days at college and nights in cyberland and one night in the poetry chat room came a very sad lady. She wrote the saddest poetry I had read and she was obviously hurting from something. I knew her screen name and I knew her Avatar but I had never really getten to know her. The screen name was Nu2u4mpom. I was buggared if I knew what it meant everyone just called her Nu. One night a very emotional Nu exclaimed that she had had enough and was quitting. She didn’t say what she was quitting just that she had had enough of all the bullshit and she was off. I sent an instant message just asking if she wanted to talk somewhere private and alone. Nu had had enough of life. She told me that much and I’ll be honest, my first instict was.. Boy this chick is Drunk as shit and talking out her bum. Well I was part right as I would find out later.

She told me about how her ex had crapped all over her and that she was living alone and she felt so alone all the time just working and trying to exsist. I didn’t talk that much that night. I just listened and responded in the right places. But I did make her promise to come back the next night and talk to me some more. When my time was up that night, I was sure I had made some kind of difference.

to be continued…

When Paul met Linda

It’s not a story I have really covered but it is one of the most asked questions by people we meet. How did you guys meet?

Normally, you get asked this by family and close friends, but because of the age gap between us (twenty years but you’d never know looking at Linda and I stood side by side) everyone we meet right down to the receptionist at our Doctors surgery. She know knows us as the “Internet Couple.” This is how we became the Internet Couple from my point of view… I may have a guest blogger tell her side of the story at some point. For me getting access to the internet was a MAJOR turning point in my life. I had no real hobbies and I lived in the theatre. I was working a few hours at the warner brothers studio store but college took up way too much of my time. I was studying at a fully operational training theatre where everything was done in house. In hindsight the college theatre was a bad environment for me. I had no real desire for theatre anymore and I was just doing it as that was all I had known. If I had played smart I would have taken A level courses and gotten my book smarts qualifications and worked for money a lot more. But anyway I didn’t and I got burnt out real quick and in the end I had a breakdown that generally marked the end of my relationship with the theatre. Through this time I was getting into the internet in a big way, I was a regular in Excite Chat and was making a name for myself amongst regulars in the poetry rooms… now being a name meant jack shit.. it just meant you got recognized by the other people who spent far too long in there. I wasn’t a great poet and I guess I never will be, but I enjoyed writing and sharing what I had written. Maybe one day I’ll share it with you out here. The way my internet access was set up was if my mother wasn’t using the PC I could.. and that generally meant that I got online somewhere around midnight to 1 am and I stayed online most of the night until she woke up and then I would go to bed. I used to do that once or twice a week to start with but as I got more and more into the chat thing and defiantly after my breakdown and after I had left college I was on every night until the wee hours. It became my new routine. It was normal for me to go to bed at 8 am get up at noon go to work until 8pm get home by 9 and sleep for a few hours and then get back up and chat all night. I pretty much stopped being social and it caused family problems. At the start of the second year at college I met Linda online and it was a bizarre meeting. coming soon……….

Until Next Time…

Computers and Life

Back in the day, when Napster was the be all and end all of MP3 Downloading we in the UK didn’t really have the technology to take full advantage of it. Dial up connections was really as good as it got unless you paid mega money to have an ISDN line. Broadband was a fantasy unless you worked for a large company who had it installed. When I first got online I didn’t know anyone in the UK who had anything faster than a 56k download speed. There was rumours from my friends in America that there was such a thing as cable and T1 connections but I had no idea what they were talking about. As far as I was concerned the idea of me having broadband was equal to me getting a date with a naked Christina Ricci gagging for some some big poppa Paul lovin’, it just wasn’t gonna happen.:twisted:

That was until I went to the states to visit Linda and ended up staying for two years (another story that I will share soon). We soon got Cable TV and with that came Cable fast Internet. It was like nothing I had ever seen before. I could download whole albums in less time than it took to make a coffee, I could watch streaming video’s without having to keep buffering the picture. It was great.. I was in hog heaven.. until it broke and then I went through severe withdrawal symptoms. NO Internet NO TV. I was reduced to listening to NPR 12 hours a day. Looking back now, now that I have my Internet addiction under some kind of control, I should have and could have done so much with all that time, but I didn’t, so there.

Fast forward to today and I now have a faster connection that I did in America and it’s normal to me. When things go wrong now and with my isp it happens more than I would like, it’s frustrating, yes, but nowadays I can get on with other things whilst I wait for my connection to come back. I can write and wait. I can digitally paint and wait, I can read and wait. Basically I can do anything AND WAIT. NO, OF COURSE I AM NOT STILL ADDICTED. OK so maybe I have some dependency issues still lingering with the Internet.

I do spend too much time sat at the computer and I could probably use my time more constructively and spend more time with Linda. When I can I do spend time with Linda so please no email saying I shouldn’t neglect her because of the Internet. The computer is in the living room and we spend every evening talking and laughing. I just happen to spend it in front of the PC.. but I am not glued to my monitor. It has even been known for Linda to sit by me and watch me play around on the puter. We are as close as two people and a machine can get (without size c batteries that is)

Until Next Time…

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