Monday, September 22, 2008

Non Trivial Pursuits

I've enjoyed trivia, ever since the Canadian-made Trivial Pursuit went on the market in the early 1980's. We owned the Genus, Baby Boomer and Television editions of the board game, and played them on occasion when friends came by. A game for four usually lasted a couple of entertaining hours.

About a decade later, computers came into my home, and since then, I've gravitated to Internet versions of trivia, readily found on most IRC (Internet Relay Chat) servers. As with most online venues (blogs are no exception), I've come to know several people quite well through the typed word alone. A few folks have become close enough to merit the occasional phone call and others stay in near-constant touch by email. A few times, I've lucked out and met some of these people in real life.

My oldest online-turned-real-life friend is Karen. We met almost ten years ago through a newsgroup discussing a book we had both read and loved. If you're curious, the novel was Diana Gabaldon's Outlander (Cross Stitch in the U.K. and many other Commonwealth countries). After just a posting or two, we took our correspondence to email, and became fast friends. We had a lot in common, and a love for trivia was among them, so we often visited a favourite trivia chat room together.

When we first met face-to-face, we both felt a bit uncomfortable. We hadn't exchanged photos, so we only had a vague idea of what the other looked like. We arranged to meet up at a craft show, where we'd each be with another friend. It was a short encounter - just long enough for a cup of coffee and a wish that we had a couple of keyboards between us. It took me a bit of time to reconcile the face of the person that I met that day, with the friend I knew so well online.

Through the years, we've arranged to get together a number of times and have maintained our friendship despite ongoing changes in our respective lives. Emails have dwindled over the last few years, but we always know where to find the other, and when one of us does, it usually generates a flurry of emails, laughs and general silliness.

A few years ago, Dave, a young Australian trivia player was traveling the world, and among his stops was a visit to nearby Toronto. Karen, who lives about 90 minutes from me drove to my place for the occasion. So did Frank, and it was also the first time I met him in person. The four of us spent a nice day chatting, cooking, watching summer Olympics and of course eating. What else do almost-strangers do when they meet? Oh right, we drank too!

That get-together kick-started a few subsequent visits between Frank and me. I checked in on him when he was in the hospital recovering from his heart attack later that year, and a few months after that, he decided to spend a bit of time in my neck of the woods. Our friendship evolved from there and the rest, as they say, is history.

Recently, Frank and I received an email from our longtime, online friend Zia. She was coming to Canada and wanted to see the two of us. Plans were made, dates were settled and a couple of weeks ago, we met our fun and engaging friend whom I had known for over five years (longer for Frank) if only through the typed word and occasional photograph.

She came bearing gifts - among them the world-famous
Tim Tams! And yes, they're every bit as yummy as those Aussies (or Oddsies in Frank-speak) say they are! We spent all of Saturday together, enjoying lunch out, attending our local outdoor Southside Shuffle Blues and Jazz Festival and finally back to my place for Frank's famous barbecued back ribs. Unfortunately Frank was suffering from a nasty toothache that day, but toughed it out and enjoyed the time despite the gnawing pain in his jaw. Zia had no trouble keeping us entertained with delightful stories of her travels, family life and career.

From Toronto, she traveled into the United States to visit another mutual online friend and then back home to Australia just a few days before her first grandchild was due to enter the world. We're still anxiously awaiting that news. Except for that nasty old toothache, Frank and I thoroughly enjoyed our time with Zia and I hope she'll visit again if she ever finds herself back to this part of Canada.

No doubt, there are less pleasant incidents of people getting together in the real world after meeting online, but I suspect most would have a fun story or two to tell. I know of two blogging friends that plan to meet up shortly and I'm happy and excited for them. How about you? Have you ever finally met anyone that you've known for awhile online?

Here are a few photos from the Blues and Jazz Festival. Please click on each one to enlarge them.

We arrived at the south end of the city late in the afternoon. The street was closed off to traffic and musicians were set up at intervals along the main drag. Their schedules were well-timed so that as soon as one band went on break, the group directly across from them started up their set. This clarinetist was part of the Dixieland Band seen in the smaller photo at the top.

There was a little bit of Country and Southern Rock.

And even some Rock & Roll as provided by the Tone Dogs.

This couple was a lot of fun to watch. They danced throughout much of the Tone Dogs' set.

If The Captain and Tennille were still performing today, they might look something like this.

This little terrier looked adorable wandering the street, mothering its toy puppy.

A totem pole that appears to be made just for Frank. If you look closely, you'll see that they're all fish.

Moving away from the street, we found some interesting kiosks. This one sold clothing - colourful dresses adorned their racks.

These exotic-looking masks caught my eye.

And this hat shop sported stacks of sombreros.

Zia thought that Frank would have made a good Rasta, but he just smiled and dodged her suggestion to try on this Dreadlocks-adorned Tam. He knew the camera was taking it all in.

This rooster basked in the golden sunshine at the end of a lovely day.


Frank Baron said...

It was indeed a lovely day. Meeting Zia was a treat and the fact that she came bearing Tim Tams was a terrific bonus!

It's just too darn bad that morphine isn't available over the counter or it would have been even more enjoyable. ;)

Suldog said...

Someday I'd love to meet some of the wonderful people whom I read every day. You are included in that wish, of course!

Nice stories. Isn't life wonderful sometimes?

Michelle H. said...

It's incredible how the Internet has allowed us to meet people in new and wonderful ways. There are so many friendships we would be without if we didn't have it.

A wonderful post!

Mental P Mama said...

I love meeting my online buddies! And what a great venue....I'm calling the next time I cross the border!

Anonymous said...

I met my first blogger in person last friday.

loved every minute of it and I wasnt certain I would!


Clowncar said...

I love that shot of the guy playing the stand-up bass.

Never met a fellow blogger in person. Except for a few I already knew pre-blog.

the Bag Lady said...

That looks like such a fun-filled day! And how fortunate that all of you got to get together, and got along well.
One day, perhaps I'll get the chance to meet some of my on-line buddies, but I'm guessing they'll have to travel to the wilds of Alberta, which is probably totally out of the question for most of them. ~~sigh~~

Daryl said...

Next time Frank should take 800 mg of ibuprofen and the ache would be less achey ... here's hoping its dulled out to nothing by now

What fun it is to meet bloggers ... I have gal pals who I meet at a soap opera board and now we take holidays w/o our men at least once a year ... in between its catch up by email or phone ...


Cheffie-Mom said...

What a great post and wonderful photos. I have not met any of my blogging buddies yet, but I think it would be great fun! (:

Pat - Arkansas said...

What fun! I'm so glad it turned out to be a wonderful day for all concerned (except for Frank's toothache, of course.) Your photos are colorful and wonderful (I love the reflection of the light and the buildings you caught on the side of the double bass).

Anonymous said...

I always liked trivial pursuit! Great photos!

JC said...

Great pictures. Sounds like a great time. I would love to meet some bloggers sometime.

I went to Israel this past July and planned to meet Dina that lives in the western hills surrounding Jerusalem. I met her through Sky Watch Fridays. My tour group's plans changed and our only down time was at the Dead Sea. However, I did call her on night when we were in Jerusalem from my room. She called me back and we had a lovely 1 hour conversation. She is Jewish and I Christian and I had a lot of questions. She was so gracious to answer all my questions. I know her face from her profile, now I know her voice.
Great question.

Louise said...

Fun, fun post. Love the pictures. Love the stories. Love it all!

I'm new to blogging so have never met anyone I've met through it, but 11 years ago I met my future husband after "meeting" him online.

SandraRee said...

There are quite a few I'd love to meet in person! I so enjoyed this post, Hilary!

Anonymous said...

Isn't it amazing how easily you can chatter away with someone you've only known online? I've only met a couple bloggers, but I've met up (and stayed in the homes of) e/yahoo group users.

I hope Frank is feeling better now, I think I've caught his ailment...not fun!

Leah J. Utas said...

That's sounds like it was a lot of fun.

RiverPoet said...

Before blogging I met a few people that I chatted with online when they were local. None of those friendships ever turned into anything, because as you know, many people on the 'net misrepresent themselves.

Then I was on Medifast (diet) for awhile and met more people on the support boards there. A handful of us who were in the same area got together in person and supported each other. Having only diets in common left us with little to talk about.

Since blogging, I've met one other blogger in person, and we've gotten together twice. She's very nice, funny, sweet - and she has a great little family Check out Not Afraid to Use It here..

Probably doesn't sound like I'm much fun in person, but I guess I just don't live close enough to the people with which I have the most in common, and I don't travel much. At this rate, I'd need to move to Canada to be near my best blogging friends, but I'm still meeting new folks daily!

Peace - D

Tricia said...

It sounds like a wonderful time.

Many years ago I met someone in person that I had become online friends with. We just celebrated our 11th wedding anniversary.

Anonymous said...

I have long hoped to meet some of the blogger folks out there. Glad to hear of such great experiences!

This was truly fun to read about! Now for the book you mentioned. I must look for it.

Anonymous said...

PS I loved the dancing couple picture!

Hilary said...

• Frank, I've seen you on morphine (or something close to it) and it's not pretty. I'm just glad you're feeling better and could enjoy those Tim Tams. :)

• Indeed it is, Sully.. oftentimes in fact. Consider yourself among the "would love to meet" folks on my list too. Thanks for stopping by. :)

• Thanks very much, MLH. I agree. There are dozens of people that I've known over the years who have been very important to me, and whom I'd never know otherwise. Thanks for your kind words. :)

• MPM, if you ever find that you have plans to venture this way, please do let me know. I'd love that. :)

• That's cool, Mizfit! I'm glad it worked out well for you.. I'm thinking that it usually does if you've known someone long enough before meeting them. Thanks for stopping by. :)

• Thanks, Clowncar. The blogospere is still young. You may just meet up with a fellow blogger someday. I'm glad you liked the pic. :)

• Baggie, you've already met two of the best bloggers out there.. but of course you're related to them. ;)

• Thanks, Daryl. Frank doped himself up pretty good on acetaminophen, but Ibu isn't a wise option for him post heart attack. He's much better now. :) Your soap boarding holidays sound like they'd be lots of fun. How long have you known them?

• Thanks so much, Cheffie. No doubt that will happen one day and I'm sure it will be great fun. Thanks for stopping by. :)

• Thanks very much, Pat. I'm glad you liked the photos. Only your sharp eye would catch something like that. Thanks for the visit. :)

• Thank you, Dr. J. :)

• Thanks, JC. That change of schedule must have been such a disappointment for both of you, but I'm glad you had a chance to have a long chat on the phone. I suppose the longer you've been online, the more chance you'll eventually meet up with someone. Thanks for the visit and for your very kind words. :)

• Ah Louise.. that certainly qualifies as meeting someone from online! :) And I would imagine that letterboxing kind of connects you in a way too.. at least to a concrete symbol generated by someone online... kinda... sorta.. ish. Thanks for your very kind words. :)

• Thanks very much, Sandra. I'm glad you enjoyed it. :)

• Poor Susan. I hope you're feeling a lot better soon. Try some Tylenol and a Blues festival, and then blog about it in the morning. ;) You're absolutely right about the degree of familiarity you can feel with someone you've only known online. It's a strange and wonderful thing. Thanks for stopping by and feel better soon! :)

• It sure was, Leah. Thanks for the visit. :)

• Riverpoet, you bring up a good point about how some people might misrepresent themselves. It sounds like you've hit it off quite nicely with your bloggy friend though. I'll pop over to that blog shortly after I'm done here. Thanks for stopping by. :)

• Wow congrats, Tricia! That sure is a happy online connection. Thanks for the visit. :)

• Thanks, Meredith. I'm glad you liked that photo.. and I hope you'll like the book. You will, if time travel intrigues you. Thanks for stopping by. :)

Cath said...

What a fabulous time you have had! How I wish I could get to Canada, I would love to meet you and one or two others. I have met Holly and this weekend I hope to meet Crystal Jigsaw. So far, so hilarious!

It was nice of you to talk about your internet friendships and how you met up with Frank too. These are real heartwarming stories of how it should be and how there are genuine people out there online. There are so many on your side of the pond I would love to meet and at least two in Australia!

One day....

david mcmahon said...

Hilary, we're so blessed to have your great gifts.

The shot of the sunset in the doubles bass is awesome!

Sandi McBride said...

This was a fun post Hilary...I almost felt that I was there...I wish you'd been here for the Ruby Jewel City Jubilee...a lovely rodeo and selling of cookbooks of course there was eating to be done...later there was dancing and'd have loved it! I'd have liked one of those jewel tone dresses you have in the photo and maybe a sombrero! Congrats on POTD...

Woman in a Window said...

Wow, I marvel at how brave people are, putting themselves out there for that first moment. I'm not sure I could do that. Seems it's paid off for you, though.

Tink said...

I've met Teebs of Soul Gardening and Tammy, who's blog is now private. Hoop and I met Mary of Why? last year in Orlando. I'm about to meet Newt and OneDaisy in a month and a half. I'm always up for meeting bloggers. The opportunity just seldom presents itself.

Anonymous said...

After reading all of this and after looking at all the photos I came to the single conclusion the the real dog and "mothering" her puppy is the best.

Missicat said...

Fabulous pictures - thanks for sharing your story! Sounds like a fabulous time was had by all (except the tooth).

Anonymous said...

Very nice! Thank you for sharing!

Colleen said...

My favorite pictures:
1. The doggie with it's 'baby'.
2. The totem poll of fish. I could picture that here in Seattle.
3. The photo with all the hats stacked looked really artistic the way you took it :)

Reb said...

What a great post. I would love to meet some of the people behind the day I suppose. Love your photos and Trivial Pursuit is one of my favorites. I really enjoyed that Galbaldon series, in fact I am just finishing up "A Breath of Snow and Ashes" for the second time.

Sylvie said...

Adorable photos :-)Take a look at mine if you want of course :-)
It' s true that internet could give us many friends but I'm also sure that only eyes of this person will tell you if she/he will be you friend :-)

gary rith said...

oh, so THAT is how you met Frank?

Anonymous said...

Loved your pictures, Hilary. It did make me feel like I'd been there.

Just a month after I started blogging last year, I was invited to a dinner for bloggers a couple hours away, just south of Chicago. (I was invited because my daughter was one of the organizing bloggers.) They were all much younger than me, but they were so friendly and it was such a treat to actually be able to put a face on them, and I still see those faces when I read their blogs today.

I'm signed up for a two-day "blogging 101" class here in December. Anything I actually learn will be secondary to my real reason for attending -- I'm hoping to meet some other bloggers from this area.

If you ever get close to northeast Indiana, be sure to let me know. I'd love to meet you and Frank.

JC said...

No, I can't eat just one Lay's chip so I just don't eat any. Have had a chip in over a year and don't miss them. Too greasy. Thanks for coming by and leaving me a comment.

imbeingheldhostage said...

Gorgeous photos! I'm envious that you've met some of your blogging people, what a great opportunity.

Unknown said...

That was fun... I enjoyed all your fabulous photos, as usual! I've never met any bloggers, but then again I haven't been blogging that long either.

Hilary, I have tagged you for a meme on my blog, jog on over and you'll see... :) I love coming over here with my mug of coffee at breaktime, it's always a treat!

Hilary said...

• Thanks, Cath. Nice to know you're meeting up with a few folks of your own, and hopefully one day you'll meet the more distant folks of whom you speak. I have no doubt you bring much of the fun into your encounters.. so they can't go wrong. Thanks for stopping by. :)

• Thanks so kindly, David. I totally appreciate the POTD mention. :)

• Thank you, Sandi. It sounds like your Jubilee was a wonderful event and I sure would have enjoyed it. I'm glad you like the post. Thanks so much for you kind words. :)

• Thanks, WIAW. I'm only brave when I can hide behind others. ;) But yes it was fun. Thanks for stopping by. :)

• Tink, it sounds like you've had more opportunity to meet other bloggers than many. That's great! Thanks for the visit. :)

• Thanks, Abe. I'm glad you liked that photo. :)

• Thank you, Missicat. It was indeed. Thanks for stopping by. :)

• Thanks, Mark. I'm glad you liked it. :)

• Thanks kindly, Colleen. I'm glad you enjoyed the photos. Much appreciated. :)

• Thanks very much, Reb. I'm ashamed to say that I never read past Drums of Autumn. I'm going to have to revisit that series from the beginning. Thanks for stopping by. :)

• Thanks for the kind words, Sylvie. I know what you mean about what the eyes can reveal, but I disagree that they're the only measure of discerning friendship. I've just had a few too many positive experiences which have proven otherwise for me. Thanks so much for stopping by, and I'll be around to check your blog shortly after I'm done here. :)

• Yup, Gary.. through online trivia. :)

• Thank you, Addhumorandfaith. That sounds like a great opportunity to meet others and learn something in the process. What a wonderful idea! Thanks for your open invite.. the same goes to you if you ever find yourself in Ontario. I've spent time in northern Indiana some years ago.. it's a lovely state. :)

• Thanks for the reply, JC. I don't like regular chips anywhere near as much as baked because of that grease factor. :)

• Thanks muchly, IBHH. Actually, I've not met any bloggers yet, but folks from other online venues. Thanks for your kind words. :)

• Thanks, Carol. I imagine I'll meet a blogger or two along the way too. Thanks for thinking of me when you posted your meme but I'm just not a meme kind of person so I'm going to respectfully pass on doing it, and hope you'll understand. Thanks for your very kind words. I enjoy your blog immensely. :)

photowannabe said...

I loved this entire story. Isn't the blogging world just amazing?
Blogger Renee and I have tried to get together when she comes to the mainland but her family had personal health difficulties and we never made the connection. I would love to meet so many of my on-line friends.
Thanks Hilary for this post.

Russell said...

Enjoyed this post very much. The couple dancing reminded me of Dancing with the Stars (is that the right name of that reality show?)! People are talking at work today about Cloris Leachman.

I missed it as I don't watch much TV but I saw a clip of it on YouTube or something like that. She was born in 1926 so that makes her, well, over 50.

Like that couple dancing in the street, she appeared to be having a fun time and what more is there to life than that? Heh! Go Cloris!

I enjoyed your pictures and really liked the masks a lot! The little terrier is great, too!

MamaGeek @ Works For Us said...

That terrier shot gave me permasmirk Hilary. And I MUST have you for my trivial pursuit partner (I'm awful at it)!

Anonymous said...

I've been very fortunate with the number of meet ups I've had and was never disappointed.
Glad you've had a similar experience.

Oman said...

visiting your blog always feels like i am at the front seat of the car with extended view of the surroundings. i know that i could not go to such place and i thank you for sharing these wonderful images to us.

by the way, sorry for not visiting sooner. just had a weeklong vacation and the work just piled-up. i'll catch-up on my readings/blog-hops once my sched returns to normal. have a nice day friend.

Dumdad said...

Great post. It's good to read about people having fun.

Shrinky said...

You have just described my perfect day, I was with you there every step of the way. I do feel a twinge of envy, I would so love to meet some of the special people I've come to know and care so deeply about in this blogland of ours (one day I do hope I can make that a reality).

Your photographs captured the mood beautifully, I so enjoyed this post.

Anonymous said...

Hilary, I just love your photographs and the stories that go with them. [happy sigh]

I have high hopes to meet up with another blogger next summer when I trek to Seattle. This past summer, I had plans to visit Gary Rith & his pottery studio, but he had to teach classes on the only afternoon my family could "swing by" upstate NY.
I've only heard wonderful things about bloggers meeting other bloggers. I truly enjoy reading your blog, so I'm guessing that I'd enjoy meeting you!

Anonymous said...

Oh, and that music festival looks like it was exactly my cup of tea!

Shammickite said...

I think the internet is the most amazing creation... not only can you find just about any piece of elusive trivia or information you might be searching for, you can also make friends around the world. What great time yo all had... and fancy you and Frank meeting like that...WOW, it's like a fairy tale! But poor Frank, I feel for him with that toothache, I've had absolutely awful tooth aches and they ineviably seem to happen on a long weekend when the dentist is out golfing somewhere. I hope he's all fixed up now.
I think all the TO area bloggers should meetup one day and have a blogfest. Whaddya think?

This Is My Blog - fishing guy said...

Hilary: Thanks for dropping by. The band looked neat and naturally I loved the fish totem. It was a fun post.

Zip n Tizzy said...

I for one am terrible at trivia... so I'm out on that one.
I remember meeting someone I'd met on the phone, and I found that I kind of mourned the loss of the friend I'd imagined through those conversations. It probably also had to do with the fact that she was a bit odd.
This summer I went to Blogher and got to meet quite a few bloggers I had read... it's an interesting new phenomenon, and as you have proven, a lot of people are finding more than just friendship online!

Hilary said...

• Thank you, Photowannabe. I hope you and your bloggie buddy will still manage to connect at some point. You're right, it can be quite amazing. Thanks for stopping by. :)

• Thanks, Russell. I see there's nothing wrong with your math skills. ;) I did catch a glimpse of CL on some entertainment show talking about her dancing appearance. She still looks quite amazing. I didn't get to see her dance, though. Perhaps I should also check YouTube. I'm glad you enjoyed the post. :)

• Ha, MamaGeek.. I like "permasmirk!" You can be my Trivial Pursuit partner anytime. Thanks for stopping by. :)

• Thanks, Seamus. I'm glad you had good experiences too. :)

• Welcome, Lawstude and thank you for your very kind words. If you've been lurking, I'm glad you decided to speak up. You have amazing photography on your site and I'm glad to have found it. Thanks for the visit. :)

• Thank you, Dumdad. Much appreciated. :)

• Thanks so much, Shrinky. I'm glad you enjoyed the post. And I do hope your wish to meet some of your fellow-bloggers comes true for you someday soon. Thanks so much for your always-kind words. :)

• Thanks very much KC. I'm sure your visit to your blogging pal in Seattle will go great. Too bad you weren't able to connect with Gary. I bet you'd have had no problem determining which is his house! If you ever plan to "swing by" my neck of the woods, please be sure to let me know. Maybe we can find another music festival. ;) Thanks for the very kind words. :)

• Shammie, I totally agree that the Internet is an incredible thing. After all the years I've been online, it still amazes me how accessible everything is. I honestly don't think that I really know any Toronto area bloggers other than you and Frank. Wanna come by for tea? Thanks always for stopping by. :)

• Thanks, Fishing Guy. I'm glad you liked it. :)

• Z&T I think I know what you mean about mourning the loss of your phone friend after meeting her in person. That's an apt description of when your expectations and beliefs differ from reality. I think it happens a little bit even when the person proves to be fun to know, so if you're disillusioned with their character face-to-face, I'm sure it can be quite upsetting. I'm glad you've had some good Blogher connections though. Nice to know you weren't totally discouraged. Thanks so much for stopping by. :)

Indrani said...

You have nice friends all over. :)
And I liked the shot of the dog very much.

Melinda said...

I'm with Sully - it would be very cool to actually meet some of the people I've come to know so well through blogging.

Once again I've got to comment on how awesome your pictures are! You really capture the colour and feel of a day!

indicaspecies said...

I've met online friends too and have enjoyed that.

Over here from David's. Congrats on the mention at POTD. Well done!

Hilary said...

• Thanks, Indrani. I'm glad you liked it. Thanks for stopping by. :)

• Thanks, Melinda. These days it seems more and more likely that many of us will get that opportunity. Thanks for your kind words. :)

• Thanks, Indicaspecies. I'm glad you've had good experiences in that regard too. Thanks for your kind words. And thanks again, David! :)

Chica, Cienna, and Cali said...

:) i would love to meet some of my online friends , some not sure what will we do without (As you said) the keyboards between us .......but I think it's worth the effort and what may come out of it :)

Hilary said...

Moi, it seems that if you get along with them online, you get over your shyness quickly and have a blast in real life too. I hope you do connect someday. Thanks for stopping by. :)