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Error 404: Friend Not Found

Posted by Rick · February 18th, 2005 · 2 Comments

I’ve spent about six hours between yesterday and today cleaning blogspam from MyLeftBrain and closing off posts to trackbacks or pings. Something’s happened to Cat — and I don’t know what.

I’m going to be at the Capital Case Defense Seminar in Monterey this weekend (four days; leaving in about an hour), so unless I find Internet access in my room there, this is my last post until Monday night. Of note, if you want to leave comments — if you know Cat or just want to comment on this post — you can bypass the moderation process on my website by registering (free) with TypeKey Registration Services and then using the comment form at the bottom of my posts with your TypeKey identity. Otherwise, any comments you post might not show up publicly until I return Monday — again, it all depends on whether I find free Internet access in Monterey, and the time to use it.

Meanwhile — as I write this note, this post is showing up on my front page — click the link immediately below to read the full “Error 404: Friend Not Found” post and/or see it over at MyLeftBrain. I’m posting it in both places in case something’s really happened to her and her blog eventually goes away.

By now, it’s perhaps banal to say that the Internet has transformed our society in ways nobody could have imagined.

Friendships for example. Just fifteen years ago, the only friends available to me were those who were close enough — perhaps unfortunate enough — to be within easy reach.

For most people, it’s more like ten years; some of us were on the Internet before there were web browsers, though. In the late ’80s – early ’90s, I used the Internet for research through the university, and quickly discovered the secret world of Internet Relay Chat (IRC). I made friends — real friends — from around the world. Helen, a jewish woman from Australia, with whom I developed a strong (platonic, for the gutter minds out there) friendship, visited me in California around the time I was in my first “real” musical.

Today, while most of the people I know solely from the Internet would have to be classified as acquaintances, this is simply because the time I can devote to getting to know them is more limited than in my undergraduate days. Although I’ve returned to school — I’m nearing the end of my third of four years at San Joaquin College of Law in Clovis, California — I also have other responsibilities: a wife, two cats, the world’s dumbest dog, two law clerkships, my own clients for whom I do computer support, designing my own legal software for analyzing criminal cases and, of course, various venues for writing from blogging to the more serious stuff of law review. Sleep these days gets short shrift. And as people with real friends know, friendships take time.

So I have acquaintances with whom I occasionally communicate via email; a few people who are in that twilight zone between acquaintanceship and friendship (Martin and Abi Sutherland and Taughnee come to mind immediately, but they aren’t the only ones); and then there are a couple of people (Avi Golden, occasionally of Israel/occasionally of New York, who I’ve “known” now for about a decade) I’ve never met, but consider close friends.

Blogging has increased the number of people in each of these categories. I’ve written most of my life anyway. I remember, as an undergrad, sitting for hours in Carl’s Jr., scribbling in my spiral-bound blog. Of course, I called it a “journal,” then. And rarely were any of those entries shared with anyone, even though many (most?) of them were of the same tone, or type — albeit of lesser quality (this sentence notwithstanding, I like to think I’ve gotten better at writing through the years) — as today’s blog entries. Now I post my musings to the Internet and thereby have the good fortune of attracting new folk into my life.

Thus the social and not just the informational transformation the Internet has had on society has impacted me in a deeply personal way.

But along with the blessings come heartaches: Where’s Cat? I haven’t seen or heard from her in nearly a month! The last time she wrote anything in response to me was February 1, 2005. I only met her via blogging so she’s one of those people still in the hinterland closer to acquaintanceship than true friendship — but having spotted her out there, and since we seemed to be walking in the same direction, I was looking forward to another rock-solid friendship. Now she’s disappeared.

Did Ashcroft finally snag her? Has she succumbed to accident or illness? Is she bivouacing — temporarily, we hope, if so! — in the camp of a Dementor, unable to write?

I need to know. There’s a new hole in my life. My Internet acquaintance, friend, fellow blogger — call her what you will — is gone. A piece of my social being is returning a 404 error and I don’t like it. Like Monk — “Lobby…lobby…lobby…” — I keep punching the buttons on her blog and my email program. And as the frustrated woman on the elevator said to him, “We’re not going anywhere.”

If anyone knows what’s happened to Cat, or if you just want to chime in to tell her she’s missed, please leave a comment. And if you know her IRL — the old IRC term for “In Real Life,” instantiating the myth that what happens online isn’t real — please tell her she’s left a few things — and potential friendships — undone. MyLeftBrain is missing.

And who, other than a Republican — hey, you knew we weren’t getting through a post here without a jab at our boys in the Whitehouse — can live with only half a brain?

Update: One of the people I sent an email blast to has found her phone number. So far, we’re just getting voicemail, but hope to reach her soon. Thanks to everyone who has written with information to help!

Categories: Blogs & Blogging


2 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Gweny // Feb 18, 2005 at 5:13 pm

    I’m so sorry. I certainly hope she’s ok, and I hope you find her.

  • 2 Steve Malm // Feb 18, 2005 at 5:40 pm

    Rick, and even better search engine than Google, I believe, is http://www.profusion.com. You haven’t given much information besides her psuedonym so I wouldn’t know what search terms to use; she may have a new provider that her former server could refer you to. SDM

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