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Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Friends

Many years ago, I had a bunch of friends in Adelaide, Sth Australia. Simon, Ben, James, Matt, Andrew... That was between 1988 and 1992. In '92 I moved to Canberra, ACT (Australian Capital Territory). Andrew had already moved there around '90-91, so I caught up with him again when I moved there myself. Over the years though, we drifted apart. You know how it is... same city, different lives. He was married with children, and I wasn't.

Simon, Ben, James and Matt... I left them behind. Regretfully, however. Those were the days of postal letters and relatively expensive phone calls, so it took 3 days for a letter to get from Canberra to Adelaide, weeks for a reply to be written (if at all), and another 3 days to get back to me. I couldn't afford phone calls across the country, so we drifted apart. Matt moved to Canada in '92 as well, I believe, and disappeared off the radar. I lost touch with everyone else.

Until last year...

I managed to track down James, who was a professor by then in Hobart, Tasmania. It was great catching up with him by email, but again, time had moved by and after the initial relatively brief summary of our lives, we haven't emailed each other again. Different cities, different lives...

A few years ago, I tried contacting Matt, and managed to get his email address from his brother Mike, but Matt never replied. Too busy to reply, I thought, or he'd moved on in life and wasn't interested in reestablishing old friendships.

I was never able to find any trace of Simon or Ben. Until a couple weeks ago, when I was again interested in trying to track down my past. I did a search for Simon on the online Adelaide White Pages (telephone directory), and found 6 people with his surname and first initial. I was going to call each of them and then figured I'd try Ben. There was only 1 person with his distinctive surname and first initial so I called the number. It was Ben! He was extremely surprised to hear from me... which is probably quite normal.

We talked for a few minutes and briefly caught up, and then he gave me his email address and also Simon's phone number. I rang Simon that evening and spoke to him. He was also surprised to hear that voice from his past, which, like me, he had apparently never forgotten. During that period when I was living in Adelaide, Simon was my best friend. We had so much fun together; roleplaying, movies, videos... I started watching Star Trek: The Next Generation with him on video. I saw Tremors with him. He introduced me to Remo: Unarmed and Dangerous. Ah, the good ol' years...

I got his email address from him as well, and that night sent both him and Ben a brief summary of my life since we last saw each other. I'll include it here as well, just for my own interests of recording my life.
In 1992 I moved to Canberra. I think I saw you again in '93, when I went back to pick up a girlfriend in Adelaide, but that would have been the last time I saw any of you. That girlfriend and I were together for 2 years before we split up. During that 2 years, I was still into sales (after having sold those Kirby vacuum cleaners for 2 years in Adelaide), and spent most of the time selling framed certificates of the history of surnames and coats of arms. It was interesting, but wasn't long-lived. I was offered Area Manager position in Sydney for it, but didn't want to move, so I instead moved into car sales. That lasted for 2 months before I found I wasn't suited for it.

Between '94 and '96 I was doing office work here and there, getting into administration stuff. Then I started my own business as a freelance web designer, after having got a computer and internet access in '96 and teaching myself all about it. That was going along quite nicely, and then in '97 I was headhunted by an ISP who employed me as their inhouse web designer. From there I moved into internet tech support and admin, before I quit in '98 and went back into freelance web design. However, in '99 the owner of the ISP came back to me and asked me to manage the place, which I did for about 8 months before quitting again in early 2000.

By this time I had met an English woman who lived in New Zealand, so after a couple months of consideration, I packed up and moved over to be with her. It didn't work out though, so we split up after 5 months. She went back to the UK while I stayed here, as I'd managed to get myself a very nice job as a helpdesk analyst in a large IT support company. Which I'm still at today, but I've moved up in the world, so to speak, and am now doing a dual role of Systems Administrator and Service Delivery Manager.

I'm currently living with a lovely lady who I met early this year, and it seems that she might be the one I've been searching all these years for. I'm still renting a house, but working out strategies on how to create my own empire based around property investment. My partner and I are planning on moving back to Australia next year. She was born in NZ to Aussie parents, both of whom separated from each other when she was 18 and moved back to Australia, so she wants to live there to be closer to both of them. It's funny... I feel like I came here for a reason, and now that I've found it, I can return home again. *smile*

Now onto the serious stuff... Roleplaying and other gaming!

I've never left it behind. I continued PBEM Diplomacy and other PBEM games for a bit while in Canberra, but gave it up in '93. I did more tabletop Diplomacy with the Canberra Diplomacy Club until '95, and then gave that up too. Throughout that period, I also ran my own AD&D campaign, as well as Cyberpunk 2020, which was so much fun. In '96 I met some people who introduced me to GURPS, and I spent many a year enjoying various genres of roleplaying with them, until I moved to NZ. Almost immediately, I met some people who played AD&D, and I joined them. I had a break for a year in 2003, but then rejoined them early 2004 to start my own GURPS Cyberpunk / Werewolf campaign, which went for 3 months before they got tired of it. I had another break until early this year, when I started playing AD&D with them again, and last night I started a new GURPS Cyberpunk / Werewolf game with some new people. Cyberpunk is my favourite genre of roleplaying. And movies. My internet 'nickname' is Neo, which I adopted after seeing The Matrix in 1999.

In 2000 I started roleplaying by email (PBEM), playing in Star Trek settings. It's more like collaborative creative writing, where a group of people collectively write and evolve a story. In 2001 I started my own game, which was my own ship, where I was the CO and created missions and managed the game. Loved it so much I created my own Fleet in 2002, where I facilitated a number of games underneath my fleet 'umbrella'. Star Trek PBEM has been dying down a little though, so I gave up my game and my fleet early this year, to focus on other creative endeavours. I'm currently working on a new PBEM game based on some of the history used in the X Files, about aliens and secret government conspiracies. It's still being developed, and I'm probably going live with that within the next 2-3 months.

Computer gaming. Miscellaneous games over the years, with the current game capturing my attention being World of Warcraft, an online multiplayer roleplaying game. I'm a 20th level Paladin at the moment, and I started my own guild for others to join. I have too much creativity in me, and roleplaying helps me exercise it, and forming 'environments' for others to be part of is just another aspect of it. When I enjoy something, I help other people enjoy it too. It seems to be the story of my life over the past 10+ years.

Spirituality. I discovered in 1992 that there was more to reality than I thought, and I gave up being an atheist to become a spiritualist. I taught my own spiritual development group in '93-94, but gave it up when I realised most people didn't know how to deal with reality, let alone SPIRITuality. I moved away from teaching and learning about it and moved more into just learning about life and human nature. I figured that it's best to help people grow by understanding life and their role in it, rather than by helping them understand things that had very little meaning in life. Who cares about spirits and reincarnation? They want to know how to deal with the stresses of life, like how to feel less stressed about things, and how to have better relationships with people. THOSE are the important things. Anyway, I'm more into Taoism these days as well, which nicely reflects my attitudes. Or maybe I reflect the attitudes of Taoism... not quite sure on that one yet. :-)

I'm working in IT because it's enjoyable, it pays nicely, and I do a lot of what I want to do. But it's not what I'll be doing forever. I'm moving forward into psychology and counselling, with an emphasis on relationship counselling, maybe even just male relationship counselling. It's where I see my future. Too many guys don't have a clue when it comes to women, and they screw it up for themselves. So I want to help them do things better.

I can't believe I've just explained my life and me in just a few paragraphs! There's SO MUCH between the lines. Wow. Anyway, I hope you enjoyed reading it, and I hope to hear back from you with your own adventures through time. *grin*
I didn't get an email reply from either of them, so I called Simon again on the weekend, and Ben happened to be there too. They were playing a game... ah, the memories. So I spoke to them both, getting more information from Ben about his life than from Simon, but it was good to chat to them both. I also got Matt's email address from Simon...

I sent Matt an email, briefly 'announcing' myself, just in case the email had been spelt incorrectly and I was sending it to the wrong person. Less than 12 hours later, I got a reply back from him. Woohoo!

He'd included some photos of himself, his wife and his new child. How amazing it was to look at the photos and see him looking very proud and happy - and just like the Matt I remember. Although a bit older... hehehe. Time waits for no one and everyone changes. He had the same eyes though, and the same mouth. Less hair.

After 13 years of being 'apart', I'm now back in touch with my best friends of 13+ years ago. I feel great about it!

But how long will this contact remain? I hope for a long, long time. When I go to Australia late this year, I'll be in Adelaide for a week as well. I definitely intend catching up with Ben and Simon. And maybe Matt will be back there for xmas, but I don't know. I'll find that out later.

It's awesome to get back in touch with people that were once very important to me.

Posted on 6/28/2005 11:35:00 AM Backlinks


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(C) Alan Howard 1998 - 2006