Friday, January 23, 2009

Few and Far Between...

I guess I know how I came to lose the art forum. I was alternating between playing with my Bugbones web page, e-mailing and net-surfing. Somewhere along the line I had caved in and gotten Internet at home. Maybe it was that tiresome 20-mile drive... or maybe it was the foot-tapping of waiting while other people used that one-hour timeshare on the library computer; because by now, I wasn't the only one in our burg who knew about Internet. I'd tried the local community college and found the waiting time much less (they had a whole row of computers, sitting idle outside of peak hours). But parking at the college was a whole new ballgame. Sometimes you could barely navigate between the double-parkers. Some days I just gave it up and went home. At some point I slapped down my money, hooked up my modem, and started surfing in the luxury of my own home. One line, no waiting. All mine. Internet in living color to view as I liked on my 8-inch green screen. But sometimes, as Spock said, "having is not so pleasing a thing after all as wanting." Now I could check my favorite forums daily and surf to my heart's content. But having my own Internet hook-up brought whole new problems. Not only was there familial conflict (I'll get to that); but popping into forums, eagerly awaiting the next bit of wisdom wasn't what it was cracked up to be. Posts were few and far between. And as crazy as it seems, I had, by now, even started my own little forum: the short-lived Bugbones Buzz. What with all this going on, and with having to restrict my 'Net-surfing time, I must have quit checking art forum daily. And right about then, it just disappeared. Along with MiningCo.

MiningCo, The Artist's Exchange Art Forum, and Bugbones.

Bugbones, PauperWitch, and Art Forum

I think I began by posting on the art forum as Bugbones, the same nickname that I had used for e-mail. I don't know if it was the 'uggy' sound of the bug name, or the paranoia of keeping my e-mail private, that made me change the nickname. Maybe it was just because it was tempting to have multiple identities. The Internet let you do that, and who hasn't wanted to be somebody else for a change? It was fun. So I chose 'PauperWitch.' PauperWitch was a throwback to my love of literature. She was a character from a Robert Frost poem that I liked and it sounded really edgy; especially compared to JoeBlow24203, the typical Delphi suggestion. There were no 'wiccan' overtones to my choice and I wasn't dirt poor ~ just felt that way sometimes. So now I was regularly perusing art forum, and posting as PauperWitch, and Philip asked to see photos, and I sent them via HotMail. Not without trouble. Right away I began to learn about file size. I had carefully composed my nice e-mail and began to attach the photos that had been so hard to scan. Hotmail timed out. I didn't know it was a time out. I just knew I would hit send, everything would go blank, and my letter would be gone. Into the Twilight Zone, not into the outbox. Hotmail apologized and maybe they blamed Netscape Navigator... I don't know. I managed to get the photos to Philip and we discussed art back and forth for awhile. Then, since it seemed I could be away from forum for days or weeks and not miss much, I went back to working on my page. One day I went back to forum and found that it, like my e-mail, was now residing in... the Twilight Zone!

MiningCo and the Artist's Exchange Art Forum

One-Sided Conversation

I first mentioned MiningCo when I blogged on Christmas Eve 2008, back when I was discussing scanners, when I mentioned the 'quest,' when Philip asked for photos of my art. Philip was the art forum guide, and I had discovered the art forum through MiningCo...so I know that my discovery of MiningCo was early on in my Internet adventures. It was before my Hotmail account and before I borrowed the use of Terri's scanner for a day. In fact, MiningCo was what led me to seek a scanner. I can't say I had foreseen all this, but I can say that the day that ad flickered past and disappeared, I knew I'd lost something important. So I was glad to find them again. And I wasn't disappointed. MiningCo's directory started with 'A,' and 'Art' was included ~ something Yahoo couldn't boast, and still can't to this day. (Why should they. They have 'B,' which apparently stands for Brittney Spears, and does the world have to look further for true enlightenment?) The 'A' in Art led to 'The Artist's Exchange,' a directory of art resources. That, in turn, led to the Art Forum. I posted on Art Forum a time or two as 'Bugbones.' I was intriqued at the thought of discussing art with anyone, anywhere in the world. There were some nice thoughts posted on there, so I jumped right in. Art Forum was nice, it was interesting... it just wasn't hopping. Like many of those early forums, it was in the doldrums. The conversation was kind of one-sided. Someone would post an interesting thought, and I would find it a week or two down the road and reply. But they were by then long gone and might not be back for a week or a month, if at all. The posts were few and far between, but they showed promise. Philip was the guide, and he was pretty good to keep the threads going even then.

MiningCo and The Art Forum (The Artist's Exchange).

Finding MiningCo

MiningCo... I think the way I finally found them was through TV. Theirs was one of the first TV ads I saw for a dot-com ~ and that was after I had 'lost' them by failing to click on their banner ad in time. It's funny that I found them when I did. I had by then become dissatisfied with what I was finding on the Internet. I expected the world's largest library, but the Internet seemed to be one big smiley ~ with chat. (Later I was told that the 'Net itself wasn't at fault, that my gripe was probably with the search engines of the day.) Probably, this is true, and MiningCo was 1999's answer to that. They promised to mine relevant data as one would mine precious ore. MiningCo. A dot-com that would dig through the sludge and find the gems for you! The whole thing was a coincidence. Seeing their eye-catching banner whiz past, losing them, finding them again through TV. Just a funny name, but the tagline seemed promising of great things. MiningCo turned out to be a very pleasant surprise. For, with MiningCo came The Artist's Exchange and Art Forum.

MiningCo and Art Forum.