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Old 12-10-2013, 01:41 AM   #1
decision_
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Is my online identity more important than my real one?

I went to three high schools in three countries. This blog will start with my adventures and misadventures in Jakarta, Indonesia and Beijing, China and the nearby countries of Malaysia, Thailand, Philippines, Singapore, Japan, South Korea, and Australia as a teenager, including but not limited to:

-close-encounters with Komodo Dragons (as someone pointed out, modern day dinosaurs)
-getting lost in Kuala Lumpur without a cell phone
-Bali parties (where a teacher from my school lost his life in the Bali Bombings)
-post-9/11 in a 90% muslim country (it's not what you think, although school did close for 3 days and the government provided armed guards and 15-foot metal gates)
-Korean barbecue in Seoul (my aim is to convince one of you to fly to South Korea for the sole purpose of sampling Seoul's local food and drink - hint: you get to make your own food!)
-living without proper lodging or toilets for 5-day period in Javan wilderness
-writing my first sci-fi/fantasy novel
-with a flu and bad fever, scoring the game-winning goal in our end-of-season tournament in Manila, Philippines (don't worry, I don't think I am Michael Jordan)
-highlights from a 10-week internship in Manila, Philippines, including a soccer tournament final against the Filipino Air Force in which our opponent's (the Air Force) could foul us as much as they wanted (the referee was also from the Air Force)
-a failed attempt to steal a street sign from P. Burgos, the entertainment street in Manila (my friend was arrested although my other friend and I ran to safety)
-breaking the law in China by climbing past a sign on the Great Wall stating clearly: "No tourists beyond this point." I also convinced three others to join me (we were not gunned down)

When I wrote the first 2 on this list the memories came swirling back from this epoch in my life - I'm sure you've had these moments. Memory is a curious thing at the very least. I then wrote down the next few bullets above. I will aim to be as honest as possible (memory has a way of changing things for better or worse such that it isn't always easy to ascertain the truth, whatever truth means). Also, be forewarned that although I was a thoughtful teenager, I was not immune to making mistakes. I know a lot of readers here have made mistakes, which is only human, and I trust you will give me the benefit of the doubt in the mirky circumstances I find myself in our the dubious choices I make in the stories of my teenage years in East and South-East Asia.

I'll rest awhile then consider which to expand upon. I do enjoy writing for many reasons, including taking a walk down memory lane, sharing important stories with others, and simply because it is fun (that is, it brings me joy).

See you very soon.
Erik van Mechelen

Last edited by decision_; 12-10-2013 at 01:47 AM. Reason: Added motivation (my reason for writing) below the bulleted section. Cheers -Erik
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Old 12-14-2013, 12:01 AM   #2
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Re: Is my online identity more important than my real one?

Looking forward to it. I've only shared a couple locations with you, Seoul and Australia and had a lot of fun and great meals in both locations.
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Old 12-25-2013, 12:39 PM   #3
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Re: Is my online identity more important than my real one?

Do continue, would be interesting blog to read...
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Old 12-25-2013, 08:23 PM   #4
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Re: Is my online identity more important than my real one?

Would be nice to explain the reasons behind your blog title.
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Old 12-26-2013, 02:05 PM   #5
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Re: Is my online identity more important than my real one?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Doc T River View Post
Would be nice to explain the reasons behind your blog title.
Thank you for asking! I assure you I didn't merely use a provocative title to draw readers in although I do think titles and topic sentences matter.

My current and future interactions with the world and most importantly with the people in it (like you, the readers!) tend to be based upon a mutual curiosity for something. In the poker world, it is first poker, then travel, then culture, then life. I value these connections to others because with each new connection I have the opportunity to grow in some way. I like to live by the sentiment that you can learn from anyone so long as you ask good questions. That is, if you cannot learn from someone it is not his or her fault, but yours.

But nevertheless, one's identity matters, for I am still more likely to engage with someone who is interesting to me in some way than someone who is not.

Pragmatically, this is where the internet and one's online identity matters. If I am clear about what my interests are, then I stand to engage with others who share the interests or topics for debate.

In this way, my online identity may matter more than my real one (although I think they are linked closely). Note that I am not talking about one's identity in a superficial realm (like an online poker room, where we debate the gender of the likes of my fellow MN resident, dmoongirl, or others). Nor I am referring to alternate identities that one can take on in, say, an online forum to BE someone else that they are not.

I am speaking, instead, on one's real identity manifested in the online world. In summary, it is true that we can be whoever we want to be online. But I think it far more interesting to expand upon who we actually are so that others may know us as individuals better.

I've recently learned first hand that memory and perception are in some ways the same thing. (Grand Master of Memory Ed Cooke, who I've learned a bit from, did some TED talks on this topic.) In preparing for the USA Memory Championship in March 2014 I've noticed more and more how my memory works. And how it doesn't work. There is so much to learn, but I've also seen how my identity (and my perception of it) is influenced through memory.

The influence of memory and perception on my identity has in part led me to write over the years (I've taken journals of many of my travels) but also compels me periodically to reflect in written form on these adventures. Because poker played a central role in my late teenage and college years (and still does), 2p2 seemed a natural place to expand on these ideas with those who I perceive as intelligent, questioning, fun, and otherwise good-natured people.

When I write stuff down new pathways (old ones?) are re-opened. They are links to a recognizable time and place (I am usually the hero) but they are also fresh and usually fun if not instructive.

For these central reasons I am writing.

I do enjoy any and all responses, questions, and debates! So please leave a note!

-Erik van Mechelen
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Old 12-26-2013, 04:04 PM   #6
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Re: Is my online identity more important than my real one?

Ask a question, get an encyclopedic answer. And a good one to boot.

Thanks.
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Old 12-26-2013, 07:16 PM   #7
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Re: Is my online identity more important than my real one?

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Originally Posted by Doc T River View Post
Ask a question, get an encyclopedic answer. And a good one to boot.

Thanks.
Cheers Doc T River. I will expand on these topics steadily over time and adapt to what the audience here appreciates most.
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Old 12-26-2013, 07:19 PM   #8
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Re: Is my online identity more important than my real one?

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Originally Posted by Professionalpoker View Post
Looking forward to it. I've only shared a couple locations with you, Seoul and Australia and had a lot of fun and great meals in both locations.
That is excellent. Perhaps then there is a case to open the proceedings with an adventure from one of those two places. As to which, it may be a coin-flip.
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Old 12-30-2013, 01:39 PM   #9
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Re: Is my online identity more important than my real one?

Close encounters with Komodo Dragons



When I was 15 my family joined 3 other families on an 8-day sailing adventure in the Indonesian archipelago. We lived in Jakarta, Indonesia for almost 7 years. There are many tales to tell and lessons learned. We'll start with a fun one taking place nearby on Komodo Island.


I’m on the left in this photo. Older brother Mark (middle) and younger brother Ryan (right) with me. Ryan said he was feeling a bit sick from the sail that day (thus the grumpy face).

Our second day of sailing brought us to Komodo Island (perhaps I will do a separate post on the sailing trip overall). A trail from the coast carried us to the park base-camp, a small building where guides met with tourists like ourselves. On this day our group of 15 seemed to be the only tourists on the island.



After about an hour of hiking through the hills and valleys and over small creeks I began wondering if we would ever find these modern-day dinosaurs. It was hot and humid which made the hunt progressively less inspiring. We were a long way from air-conditioning (there was none on the island) and had limited water supply. Fortunately my soccer coach didn't mind working us hard in the heat so fatigue wasn't a major factor. Nevertheless, if I was impatient I bet the others were too. When your breathing is audible to those around you it is hard to hide your feelings.

We soon came upon some of the komodo's prey, the water buffalo, though, which the guide explained was a good sign. Apparently the komodo's venom fells these creatures (over time) after one swift bite. This had me curious about how long we humans (weighing a fraction of the water buffalo) would survive if attacked. We read later that you had little chance of survival if bitten.



Over the next hill our guide motioned for us to stop. He pointed along the path ahead of us. There it was. The giant monitor lizard we sought. It strutted toward us, about 50 meters away. Oddly, I could taste its size and strength. Maybe the heat was getting to me. The group was hushed with excitement. We’d found our dragon.



After the creature lurched a few more steps toward us our guide waved his hand for us to get off the path. (We found out later these paths were part human and part komodo, so it made sense for us to clear the lizard highway when one passed by.)

Only slightly weary of venomous snakes, we moved into the tall grass. There wasn't much to be afraid of, really, since our guide did have a weapon to protect us. And what a weapon it was: a long stick with two forks, shaped like the tongue of the lizard it was used to defend against. How remarkable that we felt safe heading off into komodo-infested hills with nothing but a twig to defend us. I felt a little less safe now. But I was also 15 and wasn’t afraid of much.

The dragon followed the path toward us. Our guide held his stick at the ready. Later Dad would joke about how dangerous this whole operation was. We found out, too, that we probably wouldn’t have been able to outrun a dragon, despite how methodically they walked. The oft-spoke phrase as-long-as-you-can-outrun-the-slowest-person came to mind.



The lonely stick to protect all 15 of us seemed a bit useless at that moment. This was a far cry from hunting rifles our guides in the jungles of South Africa had wielded when we’d come upon a lioness feasting on her prey at night.

I don’t recall the komodo dragon caring much that we had walked on his highway. I don’t think he even slowed his gait as he came within 10 meters of our position in the tall grass to the side of his path. That is, unless you count the long forked tongue thrusting out into the air, then back into his massive mouth, like a party favor.

Perhaps it was best, after all, that he didn’t acknowledge us. He maintained his strut. He was king of this island.

We saw a few more of the great lizards in the hills of Komodo Island that morning, but none that politely asked us to move off his path nor any that came us close to us as this one.

That afternoon we were off to explore the next island.



Please let me know what you enjoyed and what you didn’t like about this post. I will take the feedback and adapt it for the next post.

Last edited by decision_; 12-30-2013 at 01:50 PM. Reason: Edited photo links.
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Old 12-30-2013, 06:16 PM   #10
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This is almost too cool for 2+2.

Heard of Reddit?
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Old 12-31-2013, 04:26 PM   #11
decision_
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Re: Is my online identity more important than my real one?

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Originally Posted by trucdouf View Post
This is almost too cool for 2+2.

Heard of Reddit?
Thanks for that and thanks for reading! Glad you enjoyed. I'll link it up on the travel section there. Of course you can feel free to as well!
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