"My non-cyber life is pretty full. I have a great wife and kid, lots of friends, a job that would consume all of my time if I wanted it to, civic responsibilities and social engagements that make my week sometimes a struggle to get through, because there's so much to do. And that life has the advantage, if you will, that I can and have insulated myself completely from people whom I find impossible to get along with."<br><br>yes, but this "life" can be turned on and off whenever you feel the urge...and, you don't have to worry about having that one couple over who like to stay about an hour longer than you'd like.
<br><br>i started at MC in about 1998 as a place to have my mac questions answered. there was a poster back then named joshua thorpe who was very similar to a ron clark/macmatt112, but with a LOT more immaturity. i lived in a very liberal college town at the time and didn't encounter anyone in my daily life who espoused similar viewpoints. i was intrigued and started a dialogue with him just to see if he was for real (i was in my late 20's at the time and had grown up a bit sheltered). anyway, i started enjoying testing my own beliefs on things and realizing that my understanding of an issue was sometimes very easy to counter and that i'd have to delve a little more deeply into a particular topic to get beyond the surface-level you hear in a 20 minute crossfire episode...i began to ask myself "why?" and to do a little more research into myself. well, joshua's immaturity caused him to get banned, but there have been others to fill that void. anyway, i just appreciated the forum for providing me with a chance to feel like i am growing as a person even if some people think the content is frivolous or a waste of time. since that time, we have moved to perhaps the most conservative community in the united states. stark contrast. now, i look more to the forums as my social network of friends since my best friends, beyond my immediate family, are all many hours away. <br><br>i am one of the original members of this forum coming over at the request of kate "ethel" sorenson. i always appreciated stan and figured i'd give this place a shot -- for nothing else, just to show my support to him. it was pretty much on again / off again for the longest time until the split at MC. i avoided the lounge at MC for a while after the split, but this place didn't pick up like i wanted after that initial tidal wave. i've kept both places on my most viewed list since then. <br><br>here's how i see things as they currently stand. MC made a mistake of splitting the general discussion into two and making the lounge. when the lounge and mac talk were combined in one general discussion, we always had a much better self-policing movement afloat and (beside the "lost weekend" -- which i avoided) almost always kept politics at bay enough that most people enjoyed a little of this and a little of that. i remember being proud that i wouldn't start a political thread, but i often participated in them if someone else had "the nerve." now, they have multiplied exponentially (okay, that's a bit of a stretch). i think the split is partly responsible because it suddenly made politics part of the "anything goes" in the lounge -- nobody felt guilty starting a politics thread. fine...i didn't want a split and still don't appreciate it, but i am not bitter. that being said, i think there is another equally large force causing the increase in politics on the forum...2000...the changing of the tide. from maccentral's start, bill clinton was in power and the generally liberal crowd had "that" to hold over any naysayers. the election of 2000, with all of its quarks, really changed the tone. suddenly, the liberals (me included) had something to whine about...we felt wronged -- and it was by a guy many of us felt couldn't put a complete sentence together -- "oh, the madness...the unjustice...oh woes me."
. this created a bad taste for many (i am sure clinton did as well, but conservatives are in the minority). anyway, the tide changed and the forum split and you see the repercussions.<br><br>i should stop there, but...<br><br>back in the mid 90's, i was in graduate school and enjoying life. i had some friends who were "alternative" and a gal i liked who was part of the "preppie" crowd. i used to frequent bars with her and also with them. as much as the two crowds were different, they were very much the same. if a "preppie" showed up at the replay lounge (altertive hangout), he would be ostracized. people would make snide comments and give him bad looks, etc. it didn't wash. at the yatch club (preppie hangout - duh!), the same was true...someone dressed in grunge would get stares and comments, etc. as much as one group was better than the other, they really were just two sides to the same coin. that's how i see the two forums that i frequent. MC and MM are not really that far apart...one just has many more members, which can multiply any perceived problems. most of the time, i enjoy it all. when i don't, i go away for a day or so...it's easy to just turn you off and that's part of the appeal.