• the evolution of online BFFs.

    Decided to join this month’s Indieweb Carnival and talk about Digital Relationships. Thanks to Manu for hosting!


    I can’t tell you how many people I have met that have turned up their noses at digital relationships, saying they aren’t nearly as connected or deep as in-person relationships.

    To that, I call bullshit.

    Almost all of the people I know and call close friends in my life I have met online, or I have developed a deeper connection because of being online. I would have never considered how much the internet and using it for connection would have affected my life the first time I sat in front of a computer.

    I grew up in the 1980s. The first computer I ever got on was an Apple IIe back in my Gifted classes in like 4th-5th grade, I think? But the first time I really connected with a person at the other end of the keyboard was when I was in college (well, the first go-round anyway) back in like 1994 or so. In my first Journalism class at SLU, the professor insisted that we use the school’s Journalism Usenet newsgroup to pull up his weekly quizzes, and we would have to copy the questions from there, post them into an email, and send him the answers.

    Well, what started as me getting on Usenet for class turned into me joining a few other newsgroups, namely the rec.music.tori-amos one. Through that group I met a few people online and started emailing them. One guy, Pierre, was in school in Toronto, Canada, and we hit it off. We even wrote each other handwritten letters when I was on summer break and couldn’t get to a computer. Of course, once I left college, I left the newsgroup, and never heard from him again. I often wonder what happened to him. I’ve tried doing a little Google search now and again, but I don’t want to risk contacting the wrong person. “Hey, by any chance, were you into Tori Amos back in like 1994-1996 or so?” Yeahhhhhhh no.

    After that, there were so many connections. Chat rooms, ICQ, AIM, forums, LiveJournal, my old personal blogs, comments, Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr…

    Some of my most memorable connections were with people in the assorted things I’m into.

    My husband – who I did meet in person first – we became good friends through AIM chats and forum posts in our old Vampire LARP forum. A few months later, we started dating. We still message each other on Discord daily.

    On Facebook, I connected with a group of awesome people through an old group devoted to the vintage-inspired brand Trashy Diva. One of them is my best friend now, and we see each other at least once a week (we got together for dinner last Saturday). Others that live all over the country, I’ve gone to visit. From DC to Seattle…Dress Cult is Best Cult. Now we may not all be as utterly devoted to TD as we used to be, but we still stay in touch, and in fact, one of them is coming to visit me in March and we’re gonna spend the week hanging out, getting fancy every so often, and even getting tattoos together.

    The Loki fandom on Tumblr landed me two good friends that I still talk to 10 years later. I lost touch with them for a bit, but we always reconnect in little ways.

    Most recently, I’ve been connecting with people over Discord, mostly in the K-Pop fandom, and I’ve gotten really close with a few of them. I’ve visited a few, met up with some of them during concert trips, and even had one come stay with me in October when I ran my ATEEZ cupsleeve. I got to show her around New Orleans and get her some good food, which is always fun.

    Some of my good friends I still haven’t met! We only communicate online in assorted ways. We text, we send each other memes and voice messages and emails. I count them as some of my very best friends and they have been there for me in some of my darkest moments.

    I see these relationships, these friendships, no less than any other in-person friendship I’ve ever had. I even commented to my hairstylist last week that it is an utter pain in the ASS to make friends as you get older. It’s harder to find someone that you have a connection with randomly, in real life. Online, you can discover people that are in the same circles as you, and you already HAVE that thing in common, making striking up a conversation much easier and smoother. I’m too much of an extrovert to totally write off meeting people in person, but I have to admit that making those initial connections digitally is much easier.

    Don’t write off digital relationships. They’re just as critical for connection and meaningful friendships as an in-person relationship.


  • Next project! Set up my laptop to dual boot Windows and Linux Mint. I’ve been poking around looking at Linux Mint this evening and it seems like a pretty good option for someone who’s testing the waters for Linux. After the whole AI installation last night, I think it’s just time for me to look at other OSes.

    Plus, I have Linux courses coming up in the next few semesters at school, so getting a little headstart in learning about it will be very helpful!


  • I woke up this morning and logged on to my computer and found that Microsoft had just decided to install Copilot on my laptop? Like. NO. I didn’t ask for this or approve it. I don’t want AI on my desktop.


  • one year.

    One year ago, I was in the lowest space mentally that I’d ever been. I was desperate and scared and hated myself so very much. I wanted to…not be. There were other things happening in my life that was exacerbating the problem, but I felt entirely, totally alone. I was surrounded by people – my best friend, my husband, people I talked to online, coworkers. I was even seeing my therapist regularly.

    But I felt like they’d all be better off without me around.

    One year.

    If you ask me how I came out of it, I can’t tell you. It wasn’t easy. I got a psychiatrist. I started telling my husband and my best friends about how I felt. I added a second therapist that I started seeing weekly for a while. I focused on work. I focused on my mental health. I made slow and steady and regular changes. I got medicated – well, even more medicated.

    I clawed and scraped and scratched and fought through whatever pit I was in. If people weren’t willing to help me up, then I left them behind.

    One year.

    I told my therapist today, “It’s amazing what one can happen in one year.” When I left her office, the sun was shining, a little breeze in the air, the traffic on the highway was backed up. And I took a picture.  There’s lines in my face, my lipstick is kind of worn off, my eyeshadow is smudged.

    One year, and I’m still working on being better and getting better.

    One year, and I’m still here.

    And I’m actually glad to be here.

    Picture of Karen. She has a purple bob hairstyle, is wearing a green patterned dress and a navy cardigan, and is smiling at the camera.

  • There is something SO DAMN GOOD about that first sip of coffee in the morning. Iced, hot, whatever. That first hit is just AAAAHHHHHHHHH YES THANK YOU MINE EYES HAVE BEEN OPENED.


  • I’ve been pulling weekly and daily tarot and oracle cards for a few weeks now and it’s a really lovely way to start the week and the day. I’m not using them to “predict” anything, per se, but more along the lines of “what do I need to focus on today” and “what can I remind myself of today”. It’s also a nice prompt to journal and is a relaxing way to start the morning.


  • i’ll read it.

    One of the things I missed the most about the personal internet of the early 00s was the fact that you could lose yourself in finding some REALLY good blogs just through poking around other pages’ links. Forget diving down a wiki hole, I loved falling down a blog hole. So many people, all over the world, sharing little snippets of their lives.

    While poking about today and looking for new blogs, I came across this post from Manu:

    “I don’t know what to write about” and “what if no one will read it?”. These are the two most common reasons why people don’t want to start a personal blog. I already addressed the first one, so let me tackle the second one in the easiest way possible: I’ll read it. If you decide to start a blog in either English or Italian, I’ll read it. I don’t care about the topic. Start a blog, write something, send it to me, and I’ll read it. And you’ll have your first reader. If you add an RSS feed to your blog, I’ll add you to my reading list, and I’ll keep reading what you post. As soon as a bunch of you have blogs, I’ll compile a list and make it available on this site. Hopefully, more people will read what you write. But I promise you that if you start writing, you’ll have a reader.

    One of the concerns that I feel most bloggers have is that their words that they put out will just be lost in the ether. You put yourself out there day after day after day, week after week after week, and you find…silence. Nothing. It’s intimidating as hell. It makes a lot of people give up personal blogging and online journaling.

    So, I’d like to offer myself up as one of your first readers. If you have a blog, drop me a line and let me know. I’ll read it. I only have two requests:

    1. Your blog must be in English (I wish I could read other languages, maybe soon!)
    2. If your blog has an RSS feed, let me know so I can add you to my reading list!

    Let’s connect and maybe have a good conversation or two. 🙂


  • There’s something about Sunday mornings that I absolutely adore.  It’s quiet, no one’s awake, I can do my chores and drink my coffee and I feel more relaxed and focused than I do all week.  Am I the only one that feels this way?


  • new digs.

    Hello and welcome to my sparkly new blog! Well, new-ish. If I transferred all of my posts from my previous three blogs, does that count? Ha.

    God, I just felt like I was back in 2002 or so when I typed that. I just got a full on recollection of when I started my LiveJournal. Daaaaaamn. Anyway.

    So, yes. Hi. If you’re familiar with my old sites, you may notice that this is a lot simpler. 2024 is going to be the year of a significant change for me, I am paring down, social media-wise. I’ve already started moving to Mastodon as my preferred social network, and I’ll be posting more here instead of all over socials. I’m not sure if I want to drop Meta stuff yet – even though I dislike Facebook with a burning passion, I still have a LOT of friends and family there and on Instagram. So, for now, those can stay. But Twitter/X/TwiX? Nah. It can go. I’ve made my peace with losing people there. The people I really want to stay in touch with, I either communicate with them on a personal level via Discord and text messaging, or on the networks I choose to be on. As much as I want to follow all the K-Pop news, I don’t need to. Plus, since I’m in school again, I simply don’t have the time that I used to, and I’d rather cultivate connections that are meaningful rather than just numbers and follower counts.

    So, welcome. Hello to online friends new and old alike. It’s gonna be a good year. 🙂


  • Digital Photo Class at City Park, June 2022

    Last June, I took the second photo class that Christy Lorio offered over at City Park. I’d really enjoyed the first one she offered, focusing on the basics of composition that could be used with any camera. The second one was more about fully learning about photography with a DSLR. It was a drizzly day when a few of us met up at Cafe du Monde again, but luckily the rain ended right before the class, leaving the sky gray and overcast.

    This was actually good, because I’d become WAY too used to taking pictures with full sun and blue skies, and so I was able to play more with my aperture and shutter speed to see what worked in this kind of lighting. I still struggle sometimes with aperture when it comes to lighting – yeah, I know the Sunny16 rule – but I still tend to take a lot of “test shots” to see what the right setting will be. I don’t know why I struggle with it so much, but I just do. I have found that when I am doing those test shots and seeing the difference, it helps make it stick more for me.

    We stuck closer to the Cafe this time since rain was still imminent, but there’s a small island close by that has some really cool overgrown spots and foliage, which I found very cool.

    I’m always drawn to locations that have that “overtaken by nature” or “deserted” feeling – old houses back in the woods, decaying structures, graffiti, weathered wood and stone and rust. I am terrified of trespassing, so you’ll never find me sneaking into the old Six Flags site or an abandoned home – but IF there was someone who would LEGALLY bring me there and stay with me while I walked around and shot pictures, for safety reasons, I’d be happy as a clam. I ain’t about getting arrested or falling through the floor for a hobby. Sorry. *shrug*

    Anyway, these are some of my favorites that I took that day. I like how the colors are just slightly muted – except the greens. After the rain, grasses and trees POP in summertime and stand out beautifully.

    Thank you, Christy, wherever you are now, for the lessons you taught me and for the super short time we got to meet.


Karen Avatar

Hello, I’m Karen!

I’m a Gen X eldergeek, currently working in IT and going for my degree in cybersecurity. I’m passionate about photography, vintage inspired fashion, K-Pop, gaming, sci-fi cons, my two doggos, and lots of other assorted oddities. I’m a proud bi liberal feminist, I support LGBTQIA+ rights, believe that Black Lives Matter, and am a firm believer in mental health support. BE NICE OR LEAVE.


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