Friday Five: Truth or dare

I decided last week to start participating in Friday Five as a method of breaking the Blogger’s Block™ that has plagued me for months now. I’m not exactly sure how or when Friday Five originated, but I’ve encountered a number of blogs that feature it every week. The idea is simple: every Friday, five questions are posted, and you answer them in your blog. (Exactly who chooses the questions is not clear. I’m not sure it matters.) It seemed like a useful exercise to force myself to write something at least once a week.
It never occurred to me that on the second Friday after I decided to do this, the questions would all be about, well, sex. I stared at the list for several minutes this morning, trying to convince myself to just take a deep breath and answer them anyway. But I think I’m going to chicken out. My children read this blog, or at least they can if they are sufficiently bored, and I’m just not comfortable listing my erogenous zones, or recalling the most unusual place I’ve ever Done It, where they can see. I’m not convinced anyone else who reads this blog really wants to know those things either.
So I’m going to scroll back through the Friday Five archives and find a previous Friday whose questions I’d rather answer. Call me a wimp and a coward if you want.
1. What do you have your browser start page set to? My private home page, which is just a table of links to the sites that I look at on a more or less daily basis.
2. What are your favorite news sites? I’m still trying to figure that out. I used to read CNN’s site every day, but lately I’ve become dissatisfied with the quality of their coverage. I’m been looking at a lot of other news sites in an effort to find a replacement, but haven’t settled on one yet.
3. Favorite search engine? Google, of course. Is there any reason to use another one?
4. When did you first get online? Define “online.” My addiction to computer networks dates from 1988, when I started my first contract job at IBM and discovered the company’s internal network. In particular, the internal discussion forums were a revelation to me. They were all theoretically business-related, but there was a lot of friendly banter and camaraderie in some of them, especially the ones devoted to language and writing-related issues. I had never encountered that sort of global virtual community before, and I loved it.
The Internet and Usenet existed at that point, of course, but they were not easy to get access to. Basically, you had to be a university student or an employee of a big company to do it. But by 1989 I had found a group of geeks in my area who has set up a local UUCP network to share a dial-up Usenet and e-mail feed (provided by Data General at first, and later the Microelectronics Center of North Carolina). It was a kludgy setup, but it meant that I could send and receive e-mail, and read and post to newsgroups, on my home computer. By early 1990 I was discussing Star Trek trivia in newsgroups.
5. How do you plan to spend your weekend? At the beach! My gaming group is spending the weekend at Fort Caswell playing Dungeons & Dragons, celebrating Denise and Virgil’s birthdays, and generally enjoying each other’s company.

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