A Whole Lotta Questions Going On!


As I’ve said repeatedly, I’ve quit answering the same old bloggy questions. But! When I find interesting ones, I am happy to jabber on. And on. Warning: long, boring post ahead.

Cyranny asks a few intriguing questions.

Have you ever hitchhiked?

I bet people would guess I haven’t, since I’m always talking about being safe, cautious, and introverted. But guess what? I wasn’t always this way! Well, I probably was always somewhat introverted ~ even as a child I enjoyed spending time alone reading or coloring or arranging my stuff ~ but I used to be much bolder. For some odd reason, people say that boldness is good and caution is bad, though I do not understand this. It’s a mindless cliché. When I was bold and brave, I ended up with many more problems and stresses. No, I do not want to catapult into my grave, naked and covered with chocolate, screaming yay what a ride! Ick. I would prefer to expire quietly while wrapped in a snuggly blanket and reading a romance novel (not a mystery cuz I wouldn’t know how it ends). Please put that in my file, thanks.

In any case, yes, I did hitchhike, not so much officially with my thumb out, but I took rides from random strangers (all men) back in Illinois when I was in the mood. I also picked up hitchhikers, sometimes with a girlfriend, other times alone. When I was 22, I slept with a random man I picked up off the street in the San Fernando Valley because he was cute and funny. I even paid for the hotel room.

That guy turned into a stalker, calling me multiple times a day, and threatening to tell my mom what I had done. I told her myself and we had a good laugh. Mom was cool. Finally, he stopped calling.

Lesson learned: don’t give your phone number to randos. Unfortunately, I hadn’t made my number private on my old FB account and a wacko from Missouri (not you, Roy), called me late one night to yell at me for being a “breeder.” Ugh. Many sensible ideas about being careful in-person apply online as well, though some folks disagree and blurt out unsafe and rude things on the daily. Speaking of rudeness…

In the long run, do you really think it pays off to be the kind type?

Depends what kind of payoff you’re seeking. If you want to have good relationships with family and friends and coworkers/customers, then yes it does make sense to be kind, honest, trustworthy, and emotionally generous. However, if your goal is to primarily make a boatload of money by destroying your competitors, then probably not.

Rory also asks interesting questions today…

Do you remember your early days? Like for instance, when you first got an internet connection? Dial up as opposed to broadband?

I do. My ex had an AOL account and showed me how to go online to buy and sell beanie babies in 1998. Naturally, I soon found forums to troll as well. It was a lot of fun! I also looked up everyone I had ever known and discovered that the boss I hated had died young. It’s not good for your health to be mean to me, just saying.

When was your first time with a blog, or a forum or even a game online?

My first forum was alt.collecting.beanie-babies, a Usenet group. What a bunch of lunatics! That place erupted in huge nasty flamewars all the time, which isn’t something you’d expect from connoisseurs of cute little stuffed toys. Just goes to show ya!

The first online game I got addicted to was Minesweeper, also in 1998. But long before that, around 1980, my mom had purchased an early computer from Radio Shack (remember them?). We played lots of games that came pre-installed, especially this one called Ladybug. I guess it was a bit like Pac-Man? Your bug gobbled up things in a maze faster and faster to get to new levels. And you saved your writing on floppy disks. But we weren’t “online.”

What mistakes did you make the first time ever that you … you can fill in the rest yourself. But this is about your early days as a writer online, or a gamer online – when was your first ever blog or forum?

I was a combat prose writer in Usenet forums, where we tried to out-clever each other with vicious attacks. Since everyone participating had agreed to take part, it was not unkind to write this way. There was also agreement not to dox, but some broke that agreement and/or disagreed on doxxing parameters. I had a lot of anger inside me then, and writing this way provided a release. Eventually, I grew tired of it all and stopped. The worst mistake I made was in not being completely anonymous. You can still find some of the trash I wrote, if you know where to look.

My first blog was Ultrablog (because my online handle then was Ultraviolet). I was deliberately controversial to get hits, though I mostly avoided mentioning family or work. My mistake there was in failing to police my comment section, which ultimately ruined the blog, and I took it offline. Now, I’m vigilant about making sure no flame wars or icky spammers infect my comments. I have no issue deleting comments ~ I don’t owe anyone freedom of speech here.

Now, let’s move on to Fandango’s provocative (and somewhat related) question

How vulnerable do you feel about potential hacks or intrusions while using your smartphone? And if you do feel vulnerable, what steps, if any, are you taking to protect yourself and your data?

I do feel vulnerable to hacks and such online, and I take the reasonable steps, such as protecting my passwords and not clicking suspicious links. But there’s no way to be completely safe except to quit being online altogether, or to be Asbestos Dust. To be clear, I’m talking about being afraid of actual criminals who steal info to steal money. I dgaf about companies “spying” on me to shovel ads in my face. That’s the price of all this crap being mostly “free.” It’s not free ~ we de facto agree to become a product sold to advertisers.

Finally, I address one of Melanie’s SYW asks from this past Monday…

What is one thing you’ll never do again?

This is tangentially related to the above because it has to do with an online activity, namely dating sites. Now, I realize some have met their soul mates via these sites, and I’ve seen it firsthand among family and friends. That’s wonderful! But it was a nightmare for me. I was a magnet for liars and scammers and psychos, and the stress of trying to filter them out became unbearable. The far and few between “nice” guys were sadly not worth the time and emotional energy I had to expend dealing with the jerks.

So I will never again join any type of dating site or singles meetup group or forum, online or off. I’m not going to say I would never go on a date again, but the fact is that for me, unless I join one of these groups or sites, the chances of my meeting a man “in the wild,” so to speak, are zero to none. I’ve been to grocery stores all my life and never once have connected with a kindred spirit in the cookie aisle.

Mmmcookies. So much more satisfying than dating…


Image from Pixabay.

©️2021 Paula Light and Light Motifs II. No unauthorized use permitted. Please check out Paula’s books for sale on Amazon. Thank you.

39 responses to “A Whole Lotta Questions Going On!

  1. Nice to learn more about you, Paula. I’m not sure what dox is? I love this part:
    “No, I do not want to catapult into my grave, naked and covered with chocolate, screaming yay what a ride! Ick. I would prefer to expire quietly while wrapped in a snuggly blanket and reading a romance novel (not a mystery cuz I wouldn’t know how it ends). Please put that in my file, thanks.”

    Liked by 2 people

    • Doxxing is snooping around and collecting bits of a person’s real identity in order to humiliate or threaten them over stuff they said online. They could simply expose the person as a hypocrite to the online community or try to get them fired by showing their boss what they said under their online name. It was a bigger deal way back when; now everyone thinks it’s OK to “expose” racists and such…

      Liked by 2 people

      • Thanks for the explanation, Paula. Speaking of flamewars in usenet, I used to hang out in a couple and the trolls were thick and pretty much ended up obliterating any content the groups had.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. My parents hitchhiked through Europe in the early ’70s, which apparently was quite common.

    I was hooked on Minesweeper around the same time as you. My roommate thought I was being very studious spending so much time on my laptop, but nope, Minesweeper.

    I’m careful about the things I can reasonably be careful about online, but if someone wants to spy on me through my phone, I really don’t care. I’m really not very interesting.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. My mum was obsessed with Beanie Babies around that time too, I had a school trip to Germany and she sent me on a hunt for one called Germania! She still has most of them

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I enjoyed your collection of questions. I do like to answer questions
    and often do so. For some crazy reason, I was hooked into buying Beanie Babies. I went to various places to get ones that I thought were cute.

    I would add them to gift bags I gave to people. The weeding couple got the wedding ones, the pig lover got a pig, the cat lover a cat, the dog kid’s party for my grandson (each child got a dog in their goodie bag,) etc. Eventually, I put them all in protective containers and settled them in the attic.

    When the horrors of immigrant children being put in cages came to light, someone I know was asking for hand made cards to be sent to the kids. I contacted her and asked if I could send the Beanie Babies. She contacted the center and was told if there were enough for each child, then it was OK. I had my grandkids go with me to the post office and stuff the Beanie Babies in 10 priority game boxes. I sent off more than 200 Beanies. Never did I feel so good about donating to a worthwhile cause.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I found the hitchhiker portion of your post to be very interesting, but you were right all of that computer stuff was boring.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Interesting answers Paula. I agree with you on internet security. We do what we can and that’s about all we can.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. You picked some fascinating questions to answer, Paula. And your responses were revealing. 👍

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Oh my, Paula… I never went to a grocery store to look for a guy. But there was a moment I looked back and realized a fairly nice fella was trying to “meet” me in the tea aisle — asking about the specific tea I picked up. I usually bought three boxes at a time.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. I have never used my phone for my banking, and I never will. I just can’t, lol.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. A great, sort of epic, post. The bit with the alt.beanie.babies.whatever frequently erupting into flame wars will have me chuckling throughout the day.
    And I’m a big chicken–never, ever, hitchhiked and never ever picked up a hitch hiker.
    Being kind, that’s interesting. I finally figured out (maybe) that being kind is the only way to go, except the challenge is to know where kindness lies under the layers of cause and effect you set into motion. My favorite quote, I think, is “Evil has no foresight.”

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s tough. I blocked several people on FB this year I had been friends with for a long time. It didn’t seem “kind.” But arguing with them was also unkind. Staying silent while they spewed all manner of ick made me feel complicit ~ I don’t feel complicit when strangers spout garbage, since I haven’t interacted with them much or at all in the first place. Sometimes kindness takes different forms…


    • I’ve not heard that before, that I recall. It’s a good one.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Thanks, Paula for Sharing Your World (through many forums!) I agree whole-heartedly about the dating sites, because before there was internet there were ‘personal ads’ in the newspaper. I visited the sites and I wrote a couple of personal ads in the day, and all I ever got for my trouble was more trouble. I met hubby at a laundromat IRL, so I guess there can be love in the cookie aisle (so to speak), but I think it’s really rare. I hitchhiked once in my teens and got picked up by a van full of hippies (real hippies, even though it was 1976). I rode with them about three blocks and the smell of pot began to overwhelm me (even though I didn’t know what they were smoking, only that it stunk) and I told them to drop me off which they did. They were really friendly. As a young woman I used to routinely pick up hitchhikers, until the last time when I picked up a guy that gave off such a weird vibe (a bad one). I suspect I dodged a bullet and there’s something to be said for small aggressive dogs (I never picked anyone up if my dog wasn’t in the car with me). My dog did not like the guy at all, and about four or five blocks after I pulled over and told him to get out. He said as he was leaving “You know, you need to be a lot more careful about who you pick up.” Never picked anyone up again after that. Brrrr.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Wow, interesting stuff there! You could write a whole story about that hitchhiking/doggie scene…

      Liked by 1 person

      • That dog was a very friendly dog usually. But with that guy (who I bet was some sort of criminal or had severe mental health issues) my dog growled and got under my car seat and stayed there. The guy was really twitchy, and kept staring at me and moving around. He asked if I wanted to go home with him (a firm NO) and just acting so odd. I think I was lucky he just got out of my car at all.

        Liked by 1 person

  12. Some very interesting questions and answers combined Paula. I think everyone looked into BB’s at some point or another, l was looking at them in the first years from 2000. Hitchhiking – that brings back memories, there were days when it was easier – wouldn’t do it now.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I did in Germany in 1977-1980. You could hitchhike. Rest of Europe was useless. USA, never safe.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. I remember getting a computer and modem in 1997… and discovering Usenet. And you. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

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