Online Resolutions

Echo, New York's legendary computer bulletin board, shares its goals for 2005

Your New Year's resolutions for 2004: The real self-overhaul happened in 2003, when I quit my seven-year, two-pack-a-day Marlboro Light habit and adjusted another bad habit; 2004 was a continuation of these resolutions. I also wanted to see the inside of the gym more frequently, to get into really good shape and shed some unwanted pounds.

Did you follow them? My real resolve kicked in after Memorial Day 2004, when I opened an item in Echo's FOOD conference, #318: "My kinda Low Carb, kinda other things too Food Journal"—an ongoing inventory of my eating and exercise habits. Other Echoids have added theirs. Being accountable for everything I ate, not only to myself but to readers, helped me stay on the straight and narrow.

Results? I reclaimed my girlish figure.

Resolutions for 2005: To spend more time away from the computer and more in Real Life with other people, entertaining and socializing, especially in my apartment. To update my website. To resume my also-put-on-hold artistic projects or switch gears and try to figure out what exactly I really want to do instead. To learn Arabic, improve my French, and fix up my German.

To relearn to ice-skate. To learn to meditate.


SCREEN NAME
SMOKE [Mark Russell]

On Echo since 1992. The man who helped install our network at P.S.122 turned me on to it. He left. I stayed. I fell in platonic cyberlove with Stacy Horn. Stacy and I used to tell each other we had the best jobs in New York. Having a virtual New York neighborhood has been a touchstone for me for many years. I love its secret corners, big characters, passionate and funny writing. It's the community I turned to during 9-11, the election, or whenever I needed to hear another voice in the madness.

Your New Year's resolutions for 2004: To get through the year with a positive attitude. And lose 20 pounds.

Did you follow them? Tried.

Results? Lost 10 pounds. Kept the attitude positive for the most part.

Resolutions for 2005: Lose 20 pounds.


SCREEN NAME
VISIGOTH [Douglas Anthony Cooper]

On Echo since 1993 or 1994. I discovered Echo during those heady days when the prefix cyber inspired a frisson rather than a cringe. For a long time, a good third of my social life was Echo-centric. Then I realized that it wasn't all that social—it involved, well, sitting alone in a room with scrolling ASCII characters. So I left, for many years. I'm now back, because these days I'm almost never in New York, and Echo's a nice postpartum umbilical cord.

Your New Year's resolutions for 2004: I resolved to move to Mexico and finish a novel.

Did you follow it? I did.

Results? I laughed, I cried. I fired my agent. I got a contract. It's coming out in June.

Resolutions for 2005: To finish the second book. (It's a two-book contract.) To cure myself of my Internet addiction, which will probably involve quitting Echo again. To stop hanging out with gringos, so that my Spanish will begin to exist. To conquer apathy, purge lethargy, terminate the brute procrastination.


SCREEN NAME
ALLISON SOMMERS

On Echo since 1997. In the summer of 1997, a few months after my husband died, I was only What Had Happened to Me; I had become only Richard's Poor Sad Unemployed Widow, Waiting for Something Else to Happen to Her. Two Echoids, Hadley and Angus, sat down at my computer after dinner one evening and brought up a screenful of goofy names with little stories and relationships attached ("He's the One Who Makes Porn Sites"; "She's the One who Stalked the One Who Used to Date the Dancer"). Echo was where I could go and take only as much of My Story as I chose, or none. I could sit down on this bar stool in a strange town and tell everyone my name was Persephone and I'd been raised by circus folk. I could just be The One Who Types With Too Many Capital Letters.

Your New Year's resolutions for 2004: To seek out and recognize joy when it bites me in the ass.

Did you follow it? No.

Results? Very little joy.

Resolutions for 2005: See above.


SCREEN NAME
RASSA FRASSA MERMAID

On Echo since 1994-ish. It's where I go for all manner of advice, from how to fix a lamp to how to get my Mac to do what I want it to do. It's a bunch of old friends, some of whom I've never met, who have watched me evolve from a West Village girl to an Upper East Side stroller mom to a minivan-driving expatriate, living in the suburbs and yearning for Sable's lobster salad.

Your New Year's resolutions for 2004: If I made any, I've forgotten them.

Resolutions for 2005: One big one: to do a better job of being with my husband and my kids—not just being in the same space at the same time, but really being focused and present; not contemplating the next thing on my to-do list while I go through the motions of playing dolls or doing puzzles; paying attention and listening when they talk to me, not waiting my turn to speak; really being more in the moment.

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