Cyber Connections Cafe\’

Real Stories of People Riding the Internet Wave

Archive for the ‘Community’ Category

Wild West Meets Middle East

Posted by kygans on October 5, 2006

       A few short months ago, a member asked if any SASS members might have guns worn out or damaged, unserviceable for shooting, so that he might purchase them and hang on a wall for decoration. His spouse and he were members of a SASS Posse and he was home from Iraq but his wife was serving in Iraq. He was remodeling their ‘family room’ and wanted to have it done in Western  theme for his wife when she returned.            Many members offered information as to where he might get ‘reproductions’  in realistic form, that would be so much cheaper. All were also offering prayers and praise to both for serving our country.            He spoke of the fact that as soon as his wife got home, he would shortly thereafter, have to return to Iraq, serving his second or third term there. His job there is to disarm road side bombs (IED’s) when discovered!            That was enough info for me, who has never served in the armed forces, but all my family has including my own children. I was determined to help with this project.            I replied in the forum that he may have the collection of reproduction Western handguns I bought several years ago to decorate a home I had sold. The pieces were wrapped and stored away for four years plus and were probably never again going to be hung on my walls, so I asked his address and sent them to him so that he would have the wall at least partly done to surprise his wife. Some other SASS members saw my reply and followed suit.            I received e-mail photos of the walls a while later and a most thankful e-mail along with them. I am sure all who contributed to this wall, received as kind of letters as I did.            What a small contribution I and other SASS members made for two people who regularly make the ‘ultimate contribution’, laying their life on the line daily, so that we all are able to enjoy our lives, our families and our great hobby!   Thanks for the opportunity to mention the goodness that exists out there among the SASSNET family.                                  Remus O’Dell                                       

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Cowboys, Guns & SASSNET

Posted by kygans on October 5, 2006

            A few months go I was just finishing up purchasing all the firearms needed for me to be able to ‘shoot’. I’d been two years at it now, with one ‘back-up’ rifle needed.

            ‘Flint Westwood’, one of the earliest members of SASS, was retired from the shooting, but not from SASS and was liquidating a portion of his collection of guns. Luckily for me I just happen to be on the SASSNET line when I noticed his ad to sell his Model ’92 carbine, and it was in the caliber I was gathering, .44-40.

            I contacted him, he informed me all that there was to know about the Carbine, and we talked dollars. I was about tapped out and asked for a time payment deal if possible.

            ‘Flint’ not only agreed to a time payment plan to make it possible for me, he, recognizing my financial straights, lowered the price, paid for the shipping and handling of the gun and extended the time I asked to purchase it!

            The Carbine arrived three days later, and it was the most smooth action, ready to shoot rifle in my arsenal! This Carbine has been his since he started shooting SASS stages way back twenty years ago. It looks like a century old Carbine and in perfect working condition with the smoothest action any Carbine could possibly have.

            “Flint” used it to win the ‘championship shoot’ I believe he said, in 1993.

I still have not been able to get all my stuff ready, so much to do in my life at this time, but I now have all my guns. I still would not have, if not for the kindness and consideration and the willingness to help out a fellow Pard, when he needed it most!

            I have named the Carbine, “Ol’ Flint”.

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Dark side of community – mob cyberbullying

Posted by Jeanette Juryea on August 26, 2006

I am learning about the scope of internet sexuality, and understanding the power of the internet to build community, one aspect of the web that took me by surprise is online bullying. Apparently this is a huge problem for kids. While we don’t yet have stories about this form of Cyber Connection, a quick search on Google turns up many sites specializing in this scourge.

For example, a story in http://www.cyberbullying.org tells about an overweight kid who was undressed in the locker room. Another kid took his picture and started flashing it around from cell phone to cell phone. By the time the boy had finished dressing, half the school knew about the picture. It’s a dark twist on community. They hooked up to hurt someone. What enormous power!! The wave can be used for good or bad, and at either extreme it can carry you along in its surge.

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International Play by J.J. Hudson

Posted by Jeanette Juryea on August 26, 2006

I play the oldest game known to the world. Ancient game boards similar to our backgammon board have been unearthed in the deserts of Iraq, though the variety the people at that time played we in modern times call the Royal Game of Ur. It’s quite a simple game and the finer points of strategy can probably be picked up in a night.

The beauty of the Internet is I now get to play backgammon with people all over the planet. Thanks Bill Gates! Geography is made obsolete with a toss of pixilated dice. I can’t see my international doppelganger, but I have some indication as to his ethnicity. Just today I’ve played the royal game with people who speak Hebrew, Norwegian and Japanese, somebody who speaks Francais, and a really angry Russian. I’m not claiming I’m a skilled player, but I’ve made quite a few self-appointed experts at the game very annoyed. I take pride in how the Russians seem to vanish, coitus interruptus, when they fall behind or even have a single bad roll. Such babies they are.

I feel like I’m learning a lot about the people of the world through my international play. I know the Russians are as temperamental as they are aggressive. The Japanese play very conservatively and take longer turns, which isn’t a bad thing if you need to run back to the refrigerator for another beer. The Norwegians are cold, hard strategists like they are generals looking over a black and white battlefield. As for those who speak Hebrew, they are clearly pragmatists about the game. They seem to understand the value of a loss. A loss is not to be taken too heavily upon the heart, because in the next game you can trick those previously victorious and overconfident into doubling and then doubling again. This is the equivalent of getting the executed to string the noose around their own neck while the hangman sits in the corner sipping an iced tea with lemon.

None of that probably made much sense if you don’t understand the fundamentals of the game.
I have one problem with playing backgammon over the internet. It’s the chat feature in the particular program I use. It only allows us thirty short and succinct messages to transmit to the opposition, inane comments like “Good Job,” “Thank You,” “I’ll be Back in a Minute,” and “Are You Still There?” This is unsatisfactory because I think a lot more could be done to expand the interactive functionality of this program.

How about these additions:

“Are you ducking any rockets?”

“How is the refugee situation in your part of the world?”

“Are you voting in the next election?”

“Do you have an election?”

“What do you think about President Bush?”

“It sucks.”

“He/She sucks.”

“I love him/her.”

“Fuck off.”

One thing I am alarmed about also is that there appear to be no players of an arabic or Persian persuasion. This is so shocking because the game originates from that part of the world. I just don’t believe Fox News regarding all the rich intellectual capital of the Middle East being pent up studying for jihad. We can do much to bring people together and fight this clash of civilizations that people at The New York Times and The New Republic keep fussing about. I would love to play backgammon with someone in Baghdad, Tehran, Karachi or Dubai.

Bill can you stop for just one minute giving away your money and get to work on that?

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From Sexual Reassignment to Finding Acceptance – Jamie’s Story

Posted by Jeanette Juryea on August 26, 2006


My brother struggled with his sexuality his whole life. When he was a young child in the 60’s he’d dress up like Diana and spend hours in front of a mirror singing “Stop in the Name of Love”.

He became frustrated with the toy trucks and GI Joes my parents gave him and when he found more of the same under the Christmas tree, he stopped believing in Santa Claus.

Fifteen years later he phoned me while I was living in Baltimore. He’d just completed his second six week rehab at Northwestern after being picked up by the Philly cops while driving in the wrong direction on I-95 whacked on meth and whisky. He called to announce that he was gay, and that he was ending years of self abusive behavior, trading it in for an openly gay lifestyle.

Ten years later he showed up at my front door and sat my wife & I down. He slid a book across the table and asked us what we knew about Sexual Reassignment – sex change surgery.

You see, my brother’s lifestyle had changed when he came out, but his struggle hadn’t ended. His low self esteem and self abuse had continued, masked by professional therapy and prescription antidepressants. He had recently been screened by a team at the University of Pennsylvania, he explained, who concluded that my little brother, now in his thirties, was a classic case of a woman born with male genitalia, and he was a slam dunk candidate for sexual reassignment surgery.

But he didn’t have the money to move forward and none of us in the family had the money to loan him.

Nevertheless, he went on from that day living his life as a woman, waiting for the day he could afford the surgery. A few years went by and for the first time in her life, my sister appeared happy.

A handful of years later I approached her with the money for the surgery. Call it a loan, a gift, whatever, I was so happy for her newfound personal peace that I was thrilled to help.

She smiled and shook her head when I slid the envelope across the table. There would be no surgery she explained. You see, she had met a great guy – a regional director for a large chain of convenience stores, and together they’d bought a house in Delaware. Life had never been better for her and the best part was, her partner was happy with her just the way she was.

It turns out that my little brother, now forty years later my little sister, had gotten access to the internet through her home computer and found that people like her were not alone. She discovered other men and women in the same situation – living happy, satisfied lives in a gender middle ground, but no longer in limbo, loved for who they are, the way they are, by good people.

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Redemption Station

Posted by Jeanette Juryea on August 26, 2006

Somewhere out there in the nether reaches of distant space there is a crew manning the space station, Redemption Station.

The Redemption Station’s mission is to monitor the Gamma Quadrant and answer any and all threats to the United Federation of Planets. Or as the team of players say “Tell a few stories and have a few giggles”

Redemption Station’s eight member crew, from the United Kingdom, The Netherlands, Australia, the United States and Canada, have joined together to form a bond known only by those who have served together – who have struggled mightily to achieve what others only read about, see on television and dream of.

And they accomplish all this from the comfort of their easy chairs, in cafés and on breaks at the office. That’s because Redemption Station is a virtual spaceship suspended in a time/space continuum on the internet through servers and routers all over the world. It’s the stories of Redemption Station’s crew that provide the real life pulse, drama and minutia that comes along with the operation of their unique vessel.

The crew of Redemption Station is an international group of online role players whose virtual bond has formed flesh and blood friendships.

Romany ~

I have had the pleasure of working with and having friends in some of the best story tellers I know. Over time we have become a family to each other helping with problems and offering help, a shoulders to cry on and laughing together.

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