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    Voar Tok

    Interview With SkiGeek, Cyber Mom

    Editor's Note: SkiGeek filed paperwork to change her username to Meg after this article was first published, so look for Meg, not SkiGeek! :P

    We all know of the admins as being a wonderful and good-natured bunch that spend countless hours helping to maintain this wonderful site. In that same good-natured spirit, they have agreed to be interviewed. This is the first in the series.

    -- How did you first find out about ST and what convinced you to sign up?

    I found it on Google. I had never played a SimCity game before and had no idea what I was doing. This looked like a good place to find out.

    -- When did you first start playing SimCity?

    Shortly before I signed up here. So that must have been about February 2003.

    --You conducted a few game experiments in the past. Which one was the most fun to work on?

    I like the one about education. Those are my first cities that looked semi-decent. It was fun watching them grow.

    --Do you still play SC4?

    Sometimes. I'll go through phases with it, where I play for a while, then get too busy with other things and go back weeks later.

    --Besides SimCity, what other games do you like to play?

    I am currently addicted to Snoodoku. I've always had a tendency to be addicted to games. Thankfully, it no longer requires pumping quarters into machines like it did when I was a kid.

    --That do you think was the first game that got you hooked?

    Hmm...that was a while ago...maybe it was Centipede? But that was an arcade game. If you are talking about PC games, it would have to be the original Soviet version of Tetris.

    --It says in your profile that you read the chat logs. Why do you read them? Are they like therapeutic bedtime material?

    LOL - I wouldn't call them therapeutic, although they can be funny sometimes. I'm just checking to see how things are going. Some days there is only time for a quick scan through them. Other days I wind up banning people for things they did earlier in the day.

    --Since you are the cyber mom, do you feel that we are like your cyber kids?

    In many cases, yes. I do feel very protective of the kids around here. If any nasty people come sniffing around my cyber-kids, they get banned. I once banned a guy because the email address he used to register indicated that it came from a kiddy porn site. As far as I know, he didn't post here, he never went into the chat room, and never had any contact with anyone here. But he is still banned. Many people get a second chance. Not this guy.

    --All of the members know that you are an administrator here at ST, but what do you do for a living in real life?

    In real life, I really am a retired computer geek. Aside from collecting my pension each month, I work at investing my IRA money so that it will still be worth something when I'm old enough to withdraw it. (and, no, I'm not currently old enough to withdraw money from an IRA without penalty.) I'm getting serious about various kinds of investments.

    --Most adults your age know very little about computers and probably don't care about learning either. What gave you the desire to work with computers?

    LOL - most adults my age? Guess you never met my former co-workers. I've spent my adult life working with people working with computers. I first learned to program in high school. They were teaching Fortran at the time. I was fortunate enough to have a knack for programming at a time when the world wanted to train and hire programmers. The Fortran didn't last long but I've been paid to write in a dozen or so different languages since then.

    I only spent about a decade or so actually programming, though. I turned out that I can speak both techie-ese and bureaucrat-ese and wound up in various jobs where the main task was to translate. Not that they called it that. And I am a second generation computer geek. My father's old boss claims that my dad was the first person to write a program that ran successfully on a US Department of Defense computer. My dad doesn't believe that, though. He thinks his old boss is exaggerating. He is 81 but his memory is still pretty good.

    --Have you ever built your own computer?

    Heck, no. I'm not into the hardware. My brother is the hardware geek in the family. He likes to tell that joke: How many programmers does it take to change a light bulb? (None; it's a hardware problem.) While I quote back to him the famous saying of a hardware geek co-worker: "My system would be just fine if the users would just leave it alone!"

    --Judging from your user name, is it safe to assume that you like to ski?

    Yes, I like to ski. I learned during university ski club trips during the semester breaks. Rather amazing, really, considering I have virtually no athletic talent. But I learned in New England which gives me an advantage in what some people consider adverse conditions. (Ice? The people in the Rockies think *that* is ice? Ha!)

    --What kind of skiing do you like to do?

    Downhill skiing, preferably in the Rockies (it's not that I like the ice). But that isn't always possible seeing as how I live in Maryland. Cross country skiing is just another form of jogging and the only form of jogging that I like is deep water running. I've torn the ligaments in both ankles and they don't react well to high impact activities.

    --What hobbies do you have besides skiing and playing SimCity?

    I enjoy sewing. The process of making something useful is gratifying. They say we all have the need to make something and, these days, most of us don't actually create anything tangible. Which is supposed to be one reason why people are so cranky. This past summer, I was in a Youth/Adult bowling league, which was rather amusing. My team did well in the league, mainly because we were highly erratic and could beat our handicaps.

    I've also done a lot of genealogical research which I'd like to put into several books one day, one straight factual for my relatives and one slightly fictionalized. Truth is stranger than fiction and it turns out that my great-great-grandparents lead lives worthy of a soap opera. There should be a book in there somewhere. But I guess many people think they are going to write the great American novel one day.

    --What do you think about the fact that you are on Google?

    LOL - everyone on Simtropolis is on Google. It was odd, though, to see that someone else managed to come up with the same stupid name that I did. That

    was kind of weird.

    It's more interesting, though, that Google recently broke 400 on the stock exchange. For people who bought the stock shortly after the IPO and held it, the rate of return is around 200%. (and, yes, part of my IRA is in Google.)

    --If you could bring back one aspect (design layout, color scheme, etc.) of any of the previous versions of ST, what would it be?

    I have hopes of the snowy banner coming back soon. But... there it is already!

    --Do you have any suggestions for the people that are new to ST?

    I like Joe's advice: Lurk before you leap. I haven't been on many fansites out there but, as I understand it, our rules are a little stricter. It would be nice of people would bother to read them before they start posting. It's not like I enjoy banning people. Although I was quite happy to ban that guy I mentioned earlier.

    --Before we wrap this up, is there anything that you would like to say to the


    I would like to thank everyone for all of the fun I have had over the past couple of years. I think it's great to be part of such a friendly inter-national community.

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