Monday, July 2, 2007

not the final answer

Went to the bank today and met with the Vice President. Since Farmers & Merchants is a small community-oriented institution, the amount I'm asking for has to be approved by the board. So a financial statement, business plan and copies of our 2006 tax returns all need to be submitted to the board, who meet again on the 12th. All in all, this isn't bad news. The VP seemed pretty positive overall. Even so, I'm still awash with nervousness. In other news, we had Michael and Theresa up for dinner last night, and a good time was had by all. I really like our family. The deer, having denuded the flowers, have moved on to the vegetable garden. This morning i found that the bean plant that was actually budding had been chewn up. Truly not a great moment, let me tell you. I'm more interested in a garden wall than ever, and when I mentioned the damage to David he sighed and said, "So thus begins the war." Thanks to Shayne for sending along the Palisades High School voice mail ehoax. Even though it's not true, it should be. And finally, even though physicians are recommending that video game obsession be classified as an addiction, much like that of gambling, it hasn't been approved. Yet. Internet addiction disorder and gaming addiction have been hotly debated in the past decade, but evidence continues to mount. Instances have been reported in which users play compulsively, isolating themselves from social contact and focusing almost entirely on in-game achievements rather than life events. Quotes from the article I found interesting:
The typical gamer is a 30-year-old male who spends about seven or eight hours a week gaming. According to the authors of the AMA council report, video game overuse is most prevalent among users who play against others online in "massive multi-player online role-playing games." "The concern came up because one of our psychiatrists here in Maryland was seeing older people who were losing their social contacts," specifically because of their overuse of video games, Wasserman said before the vote. "It was ruining their family life. So, it was not unlike gambling addictions or alcohol, where it was having a profound impact on the lives of individuals." "Basically, you're using a disproportionate amount of time on the video game, and it's what you are thinking about even when you're not on the video game," he said. "And even though it's having negative consequences for you in school or your family situation, or it's taking a disproportionate amount of your money, you still continue to do it. You spend less time with your friends or in other social things." One theory why certain individuals spend so much time on online games is that they prefer the experience to real-world interaction. According to the report's authors, the "current theory is that these individuals achieve more control of their social relationships and more success in social relationships in the virtual reality realm than in real relationships."
While internet addiction and gaming investigation often focuses most on children and violence, this investigation seems to be more informed. We all know who the gamers are: they are the adults in cubes near us. We all know what they play: MMORPG's such as Ultima Online, City of Heros, World Of Warcraft, and EverQuest. This is such a severe problem in our society that the term "gaming widow(er)" is used to describe partners of gamers. Support groups exist with tales of widow(er)hood and to let victims of spousal addiction know they are not alone (if you can bump the gamer off long enough to get online). A lot of cracks are made about it, and it's the butt end of much joking, including a South Park episode entitled "Make Love Not Warcraft" (which actually sounds like a great idea to me). But i've seen game obssession destroy jobs, lives, friendships and marriages more than once. It's pathetic, really. Gamers talk about their responsibilities to their online communities, putting guilds or quests above resonsibilities in their real lives. Which game they play and on which server is a serious mark of where a gamer "lives:" moving servers within a game is akin to emmigrating; switching to another game is akin to treason. All in all, the children are the ones who suffer most, certainly, but not because they are online.