Despite having had a computer of one type or another in the house since about 1985, my mom could still hardly use the family computer less than barely 10 years ago. I remember once telling her to look for a certain icon on "the desktop", and she complained she couldn't find it...because she was looking on - you guessed it - the top of the actual desk. However, she is inept no more. Since about the year 2000, my mom's computer skills have taken off in a number of key areas. In particular, she is quite adept at photoshopping, having made more "memory CDs"* than I can count on all my fingers and toes. She has also gotten involved in a couple of online communities.** The most notable of these has been Webkinz.
To be honest, I'd never really understood my mom's infatuation with Webkinz. I mean, it's for kids, right? The premise is that after buying a little stuffed Webkinz animal, you are then supposed to register it on the Webkinz site, from where you can then "buy" it things and set up a house for it and meet other Webkinz. Kind of like The Sims, but with dogs and penguins and cows, and your Webkinz is generally upbeat and happy-go-lucky rather than dour and depressed all the time (or were those just my Sims?).***
But my mom has been totally into it. She would even stay up till like 3 a.m. to participate in online "auctions" (no real money is exchanged) that take place on the Asian Webkinz site (which she also belongs to).****
However, she has now outdone herself, and I laugh no more - I am awed by her Webkinz accomplishments and participation. A week or so ago, I received this email from her:
Were you wondering what your mother was doing in her spare time? Wonder no more. She has morphed into Webberlily and here is her recent Magnum Opus, which has covered her in glory and rep points (that would be reputation points for the ignorati). In addition, I made the Front Page and Breaking News… twice! and got my own stickered position in the Guides & How-to section. Woot! as they now say. Peruse at your leisure and explore all links:
and today I finally purchased the 24th ornament and unlocked the Flickering Fireplace.
I finally had the time this evening***** to look at her guide and MAN is it impressive. In fact, it's even getting me motivated to actually finally register my own little Webkinz, a little white curly-haired terrier, which my mom gave me as a present and has sadly been sitting, unregistered, on my bookshelf next to my computer for the past few months. I just need to come up with a good name first.
* CDs of photos from vacations or old family pictures, etc., set to music and with extra animation, voice-overs, captions, and so on...
** She's even on Facebook, though you'd never know it by her low levels of activity there.
*** I never really "got" The Sims. The first character I created was called Michael. He lived in a good house and had nice neighbours and a good job, but all he knew how to do was moan and bitch about how depressed he was, no matter how many times I got people to come visit him. Then I deleted Michael and created a new house where two women lived together. They were happier - I guess because of the fact that they had built-in company, so to speak - but I ruined their happiness one day when the phone rang, and when one of the women picked it up, she was asked "Do you want to adopt a baby?", and she (I) answered, "Yes." DON'T EVER ADOPT A BABY. One of the roomies had to quit her job, both the women were always tired, and all the baby did was cry. I suspect, in fact, that this virtual event may have a direct bearing on my current and continuing state of childlessness today.
**** Before anyone makes any "Evercrack" comments, I'd like to point out she's not (entirely) addicted. Plus, she's more of a night owl than even I am, so it's not like she'd be in bed if it weren't for this site.
***** The last two weeks have been insanely busy for me at work, spilling over into my evenings and even my weekends, largely because of a new class that was suddenly added to my schedule. (I found out about it on the 21st and started teaching it on the 29th).