Tuesday, December 30, 2008
Monday, December 29, 2008
Now my wife is desktopping in the kitchen, the pfkat has gone to bed, and as I sit here I realize that I'm working the late shift today and I don't even NEED to be awake yet.
So, I can hardly say that this day is not starting out well as technically it is not even supposed to be starting yet, and really nothing bad has happened.
I think I'm going to do something next that involves more sleep. I'm reasonably sure that this is a good idea. I think.
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
Merry Christmas. May peace one day come to earth, and, also, may it come one day to each and everyone of your hearts.
Alphonsus / Steve
Sunday, December 7, 2008
I am proud to announce the release of Cataporter 3.0, which overcomes the problems with the Havoc 4 physics engine and once again allows avatars to fling themselves willy-nilly across the grid.
Monday, November 24, 2008
I got Alpha to give me permission to use her land to work on the Cataporter. I've played with several hours and have yet to even define what exactly is going wrong with it. It seems to behave randomly at times, which suggests some possibilities in itself. It's going to be a long haul getting it fixed, if it's even fixable. It might just be fundamentally incompatible with Havoc 4. Frustrating, either way.
I've started working on Wildstar's singularity story again a little. I'm going to start posting my short stories in a new blog, Alphonsus's Written Word, run through Wordpress, just so I can keep these separate. Not much there yet, but give it time.
I miss coming in as Hestia. Her only purpose for existence is to have fun, where as Alphonsus is actually expect to get work done. Princess doesn't really like Hestia (don't tell Hestia--it would break her heart. Actually, Hestia would be more likely to respond by orbiting Princess, if she knew how.)
Goodbody, every night.
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
I've lived my Second Life® as almost every possible gender: the "usual" male and female, plus a host of alien orientations, such as androgynous giant amoebae and lumps of watermelon-colored rock. This, in turn, has taught me a few valuable lessons. I was going to list them as bullet points, but they're slightly more involved paragraphs, patches of an ongoing journey. Take what you can, smile at what you will, and if it makes you uncomfortable, live on — and learn from within.
It's still a lot easier to find clothes as a girl. I don't just mean accessibility, but variety. Unless you have a flamboyant style a la David Bowie or Elton John (I do), it's hard for a guy to wear anything he darn well pleases. If you're not versed in my backstory, my first female avatar was dubbed Torley Jr., a mysterious time traveler who came to me in a dream in Nov. 2004. At the time, my first life was suffering from depression. I decided to enact a unique kind of therapy by role-playing as my daughter from the future, come back to cheer up her dad. Definitely unorthodox, and I wouldn't be surprised if we see more of this in the future. In the process, I delighted in all the wild fashions I could pick out, and wondered at my newfound cyber-femininity. Contrary to rumor, Torley Jr. wasn't modeled on a single source, but like SID 6.7 — only not a mass murderer — is based on many women I admire. I'll let your own experiences deduce which ones.Not dissimilar to first life, like how skirts on men are uncommon (kilts are an exception), a woman can wear just about anything a man can without being taunted. The opposite is not true, and bigotry and lame double standards upset me.
I keep hearing how many guys play girls, but the opposite isn't true. At least, not openly. We may never have exact numbers, but despite how hard it can be to candidly discuss this in the open, being a female avatar does make me — as a guy behind the keyboard — feel different. I don't type differently (I've long used cutesy emoticons like ^_^ as it's a continuation from my raver days, as is "Friendly greetings!"), but I do pay special attention to my lady avatar's body language through Animation Overrides. However, being me, that's soon counterpointed by contortionist, meme-infected gestures.
After several months of being a fem av, I came to the realization that beyond the snits and giggles, Second Life can be quite a healthy place to explore one's sexuality. Including the oppressed, the curious, and the disabled/differently-abled. But it can take going out of your comfort zone, perhaps bucking the traditions you were raised with to become aware of who you really are. Sometimes, I've been a furry, and while I'm not a full-fledged lifestyler, I do have several fursonas, including:
Land of 1,000 smilesSome of my roots come from Thailand, where gender is a lot more fluid. There is a word: "kathoey", which roughly translates to "ladyboy", but it also refers to a third gender. Thai culture is quite tolerant of transsexuality compared to America, where gay-bashing continues to get headlines, despite homophobia being a disgustingly archaic and cruel form of barbarism. While I'm not a "RL kathoey", I can empathize when I'm in my female forms. My personality has always been a minditching contradiction, blending gentle meekness with a fierce energy, and as different civilizations have tried to characterize this — as the Chinese did with "yin and yang" — I realize how much of the total spectrum I am, whether I'm a man…
a Dazzle Bat (courtesy of Sylver Bu)…
MELONZILLA (thanx to Milki Unknown)…
or a fuzzy cousin of the FSM (w00t Yoa Ogee)…
These, and many more each bring out different points of my personality.
The map is not the destination, the label is not the limit
As a versatile spirit of this cyberworld, I call myself an omnisexual, which means I'm open to being attracted across all genders, but my actual intrigue is very specific. Someone can't just be a man/woman, they need to possess a personality and charm which fascinates me. (I think this is true for many, but I state it for clarity.) If you've studied my past, you know I was involved with Jade Lily, who's also male in first life. After discovering ourselves and each other further, we separated and are now both with women in real life. The stereotypical knee-jerk is to assume I was in denial of my gayness, but of course, I'm far more flexible than any cramped perception… it wasn't that. As Bill Cosby would vocalize, you see, when I was younger, I termed myself a "straight guy", but I now see how that doesn't even begin to describe me and my celebration of your love across cultures, creeds, colors, and classes.
As the story would have it, I met a creative woman named Ravenelle Zugzwang who I'd rise (not fall) in love with. I mused before hearing her voice, that I couldn't sure if she was really a woman or a man. Interestingly enough, she previously presumed I was really a chick too! But what did it matter? As I'd learned in my inworld adventures, being an avatar can bring out the real us, and as dismissive as it sounds to older attitudes, our physical bodies are just "details", flesh prisons which limit us all too often, when we can see far beyond… if we allow ourselves to.
Lovecat tinies by Achamo Paine.
Get me right
It's intriguing how popular view of me has transitioned from thinking of me as male, to female, to male, and then to all manner of watermelon-colored crazy. I once was afraid of voice chat, but after making many video tutorials, 1,000s of Residents heard my genetic voice and I could muse:
Behind every great female avatar there's a great man.
(Meant with a touch of jest and a dash of earnesty.)
We wouldn't have Second Lives if we didn't have first ones. And there is joy in accepting our imperfections, growing on what we can improve, and letting the rest be. As obvious as water is wet, desires differ. For instance, depending on your priorities, having children may be a must, or for others, adopting a pet cat is what's right. But there is so much out there for us as humans, and the more I got to know Ravenelle, the more I knew she was for me. We enjoy our present together, making funny home movies…
This is a new age!
A new age where people are born with a biological gender and elect optional genders online. Just as how we can choose a new name and identity within Second Life for ourselves, gender is part of this overall package. It gets regarded as freakish by some, even some SLers, but the real forward-thinkers and -doers know how antiquated this mentality will be in years to come.
Hating someone for a choice of love and friendship is as ridiculous as banning colors from the rainbow. Nature adores diversity. My wife prefers me to be in a male avatar, but there are times when we are sexay doggirls…
Beautiful skins by MiaSnow Myriam, I must say.
The reasons for being an opposite gender have been discussed in surplus: some do it as a social experiment, others don't think much of it sexually, and others still use it to find relationships they can't fulfill "IRL". Mine has been a combination of reasons, but primarily, finding peace with myself, being a whole me by not just expressing my femininity, but my humanity!
It strikes me as strange how choosing to be yourself can take so much courage. But when I see people who've freed themselves from behaving as others expect them to, it all makes sense.
Torley amplifies your awesome with the useful and fun. The aforementioned views are my own and don't necessarily reflect the position of my employer, Linden Lab. Especially everything about watermelons.
- Torley's blog can be found at http://torley.com/second-life-bloggers-mixn-match-1-posts-are-up
- Princess Ivory, who suggested this topic, has a blog that can be found at http://hrhprincessivory.blogspot.com
- Alphonsus Peck's entry for Mix'n Match One is on the subject of "My Life and Exploration int the Virtual World" and can be found on the blog of Quirky Quaintly at http://quirkyquaintly.com
- Alphonsus Peck's suggestion for a topic was "Digital Suicide" and can be found on the blog of Second Effects at http://secondeffects.com
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
There, to the left. Do you see it?
Stephan looked off to the left after Rosa’s telepathic message, bringing glasses to his eyes to help him see better in the distance.
Yes, replied Stephan. Looks bad from here. Bring us closer please?
The great dragon extended its wings, its red scales glinting like fire in the light. It turned and dove at the same time, giving Stephan the familiar feeling in his stomach. He kept his glasses on the scene.
I see one. Not bad. Minor?
No, there are two. The other is below in the trench. I sense human death…suffering.
“Shit,” exclaimed Stephan aloud. The deaths were always the worst part of the job. They gave him nightmares at night.
How long? asked the dragon.
One minute ‘til they contact us. Our timing is perfect on this. It looks like this one is going to cause major problems.
No doubt. I can sense human anger and frustration stretching for at least three miles, and the incident couldn’t have happened more than three minutes ago.
Okay. The contact is almost ready. Just one moment…
A green light appeared on his headgear.
“Thank you, Dave. We just came on the scene of an injury-accident on east bound I-94 near Woodward, and traffic is backing up already at least to Livernois, with gawkers causing a slowdown in the west bound lane. I can see police and EMS on their way to the scene. You might want to look for an alternate route on this one. Also, we have the regular construction slowdown on I-75 at I-696. The morning rush is otherwise quiet, with traffic moving at posted speeds elsewhere. And this is Stephan Hudson on the dragon Rosefire with the WWJ traffic report.”
Stephan sighed and turned off his comm. Something about his job made him feel dirty. Down below was pain and suffering, and here he was, announcing it over the radio so that Joe and Mary Business-person could get to work 10 minutes earlier.
"Is there anything else we can do here?" asked Stephan, voicing his question rather than thinking it, as he often did right after a broadcast.
No, Stephan. Shall we move on? The automobile fumes smell like dragon flatulence here.
"Yeah, go ahead. Back to the regular routine." Stephan bit back his frustration as the dragon beat her beautiful wings, leaving the traffic far below her.
Two hours later Rosefire glided into the ranch that they called home. Stephan dismounted and removed the saddle, and Rosefire tottered off to her horde beneath the straw roof of her open stable. While the horde was breathtaking from a distance, Stephan knew that it was mostly composed of costume jewelry, polished brass, colored bottles, and other pretty but largely worthless shineys. Even though there might be some decent loot in there, no human would dare to try to steal from it. Very few human laws applied to dragon behavior, and for any human to attempt to steal from a dragon's horde... Suffice it to say that no one in history has ever successfully gotten away with it for long, and human law very much looked the other way at whatever the dragon chose to do with the transgressor. No humans were stupid enough to make the attempt.
Stephan looked at his dragon. Since he was bonded with it when he was ten, Rosefire had grown from a tiny hatchling to a strong, magnificent beast. The dragon was a fiery red color with streaks of white, and its neck stretched to nearly twice the tall man's height. In his eyes, Rosefire was one of the most magnificent dragons he had ever seen. Of course, he was somewhat prejudice because of the bonding, but still...
"This job is beneath your dignity, Rosa," he said, voicing a thought that was simmering in the back of his mind.
The dragon turned to look at him and smiled, in as much as a dragon can smile. You feel so, do you? Dignity is a human thing. I exist and do as I do. Perhaps it is YOUR dignity you speak of?
Stephan shook his head. "No, Rosa. This job is all I'm good for. Look at you though. You should be fighting wars, rescuing damsels...I don't know. Something! Something better than being a traffic dragon."
I find it odd how humans are capable of equating fighting wars with 'dignity'. No dragon will participate in a human war, and we only fight when we must. As for rescuing humans, that is your choice, Stephan. There are always positions for emergency rescue dragons. But I could only get you to the scene. You would have to be the one to do the work. And you are not...fond of the sight of blood.
Stephan cringed. He could not watch Rosefire eat. Dragons liked their food fresh and alive. The ranch had sheep and cattle and pigs for this very purpose. Rosefire ate while Stephan slept out of respect for him. Stephan felt a surge of inadequacy rise up in him. He didn't deserve a dragon.
"I don't know, Rosa. We have to come up with something better than this. You are being wasted."
What did you have in mind, Stephan? I am open to new ideas. I am content with what we do. It earns money and keeps me with plenty of meat. I miss hunting, true, but that is something I can do when we vacation, and that is adequate.
"Then I'm going to have to rise to your potential, Rosa."
Rosefire nodded. Very well, but it is your potential you must find, Stephan. I am who I am, and feel no desire to be more. I will try to help you think of something though, my friend.
Monday, October 27, 2008
Roger sighed and made a slight adjustment on the instrument he was working on. "And I can't believe how many times you can repeat the same damned statement of disbelief. Just shut up and get the job done, Bill."
"This is ground-breaking fucking work, you know that, Rog?" replied Bill, ignoring Roger's previous statement, angrily shoving a print-out to the floor and consulting another one. "This is work worthy of Nobel prizes. But will we get prizes? No! Why? Because the assignment is fucking moronic!"
"We got our prize already with the monkeys," grumbled Roger. "Any progress with the neural rewiring yet?"
"The monkeys were a cakewalk compared to this. The problem is that the neurons will take so much rewiring that I don't think the god-damned thing will still be classifiable as a frog any more."
"Just do the best you can."
"Look at this fucking thing!" shouted Bill in frustration, shaking a piece of paper in the air in such a way as if he expected Roger to jump from his seat and look at it in interest. Roger did not even glance in his direction. "It's a fucking frog! It's eyes are nearly useless for what we need. They can't see a fucking thing unless it moves!"
"Did you know that if you buried a frog up to its ass in dead flies that the damn thing would starve to death? Dead flies don't move. Frogs like to eat things that move and fly. Fly, Roger! That's why frogs like flies Roger!"
"I know Bill."
"But you know what, Roger? Human food is usually dead when they eat it. It doesn't walk. It doesn't run. And it most especially doesn't fly, unless you happen be in a fucking middle school cafeteria."
"Yes, Bill. Please...."
"And you know what else doesn't fly, Roger? Pizza doesn't fly. Therefore, frogs have no interest in pizza. It's why you don't see frog infestations at Italian restaurants."
"I know Bill. But the lady is paying us very well, so we should just do the job and shut up about it. She wants a frog that likes pizza. Forget the eyes. How about smell?"
"Yeah, frogs can smell. They use their sense of smell to find other frogs. Now, if the lady wanted a frog that would MATE with a pizza, that would be a lot easier. But sex is different than food..."
"Truly words of wisdom, Bill. Can you cross wire..."
"...Yes I can try to cross wire, but figuring out what the hell will come out when we engineer the gene is hard to predict. If we're not careful we might get a frog that tries to eat other frogs and wants to mate with flies."
"Look, just make it happen. We promise to genetically engineer any pet that the patron is willing to pay for. We got the flying monkeys, and we won a Nobel prize. We're getting paid to make a frog that likes pizza. It's possible, we're going to do it. This is our job. Now quit bitching and just fucking make it happen!"
Bill grumbled, but said nothing in response. Roger closed his eyes at the sudden blissful silence.
Blissful, but, alas, short-lived.
"And did this lady wonder for even a second about just how the fuck the frog is supposed to eat the fucking pizza? That tongue ain't going to accomplish shit unless we cut the pizza into crumbs. We sure as hell can't get those damned legs to hold a slice. Frogs don't have opposible thumbs...did you know that? And then there's the fact that frogs can neither bite nor chew their fucking food. Their teeth would come in very handy though if the damned pizza tries to get away."
"We'll just explain to the woman that the pizza will have to be pre-cut."
"Also explain to her that pizza would best be petrified, 'cause I don't know how else the damned tongue is going to pull one of those greasy things into his mouth."
Roger slammed his hands on the keyboard. The table rattled, and several petri dishes almost bounced onto the floor.
"Okay Bill. Your call. We can tell the lady it can't be done, and turn down one of the most lucrative contracts we've ever been offered in addition to spoiling our near perfect reputation. Or we can try to give her the best damned pizza loving frog that we can engineer. Either pick one or the other, but either way, stop whining about it! Please."
Bill looked thoughtfully at Roger, a rather blank look on his face. He stared almost a full minute before he responded.
"Okay, we'll make the damned frog."
"Thank you. Good."
Bill grimaced and went quietly back to his work. They worked silently side by side for a long time.
"Those monkeys were something else, weren't they?" said Bill, interrupting the silence.
"Yeah, they sure were. Too bad they're banned almost everywhere because they like to dive bomb people and throw monkey poo on them."
"Yeah, well, what do you expect from a flying monkey?"
"Yeah. You get what you pay for."
Friday, October 24, 2008
FD's idea of explaining the black whole I fell into for a while is kind of frightening to me. What I could do there is deep, insightful, extremely painful essay and the whatness of which. I'm not sure I'm emotionally strong enough to explore that one at this time. I could go a silly route, but silly just doesn't feel right for that one. 'Tis a sad tale, full of woe. We shall see.
So, I am busy working. It's just taking some time, as my availability to free time is limited and the use of the free time I have is far from optimal. I don't know if I'll publish in the order requested yet.
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
One or two years ago, I asked my wife to do the same thing for me. She would give me a topic, and I would spend some time writing on that topic. I believe my story The Can, which I recounted in an earlier blog post, came from my wife's prompt to write something on recycling.
In any event, I'd like to try a little experiment. I love writing, but for some reason I seem to do better when someone else gives me a topic than when I create my own.
So, I would like to ask my readers to give me topics. ANY topics. And I will endevor to write about it. I make no promises as to what I will come up with. It might be a non-fiction essay. It might be a fictional short story that barely brushes the topic. It may be a couple of paragraphs or it may be the first several chapters of a book. It may be silly, or it may be deeply serious. I haven't a clue...
...and neither do you.
I ask this as a small favor, and I hope to give you great returns.
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
We are, each of us, an extraordinary combination of genetics and experience. Everyone we have ever met affects us in some way, everything we have read reflects in the person that we are. Yet, there is in each of us an almost undefinable sense of "I" that we live with every day.
We are neither master to the "I", nor are we it's slave. We can try to shape it, and we can to some extent, but some pieces of it will only bend so far before they either stop moving, or will break off entirely.
So what this "I" is changes subtly from moment to moment, and from day to day.
It has been said that the true measure of one's character is not in what they say, but in what they do. This, likewise, holds some truth. Unless the person is deliberately lying, what a person says they are is the shape they want themselves to take. When what a person does contradicts the words they say, this demonstrates the degree to which we have failed, for whatever reason, to shape ourselves into the person we wish to become.
Thus, this allows people to say they are one thing, and yet do something completely different, and yet allow the original statement to remain true. They can WISH they were the thing that they say they were. The can BELIEVE that they are capable of making true to their wishes, for they wish it so badly, yet, for whatever reason, they are unable to bend the "I" to make it conform to their wishes.
Thus, they beat up on themselves. Label themselves as untrustworthy failures. The labels we give ourselves often make it so. We don't know how to bend ourselves to our desires and thus we quit trying.
What I want myself to be and who I seem to be in reality are not the same thing. I continue to make effort to bend my reality to my desires, but I am beginning to run out of ideas as to how to make this happen and grow despairingly at my ability to ever do so.
Thus, it is my own fallibilities that make me so forgiving of others. I understand how hard I struggle to be who I feel I "should" be, yet remain stubbornly as I am. I also stubbornly refuse to accept that who I am is who I will always be, so I continue to make statements of intent and fail to live up to them.
Through observation, I believe that most people share the same struggles. Forgiveness is easy for me, for by forgiving them I find it easier to forgive myself. My struggle to shape "who I am" is never ending, for there are aspects of who I seem to be that are unacceptable to me.
The world, and the people in it, are not black and white. Even those we consider evil face their own struggles between right and wrong (or at least I like to believe they do). I am imperfect, thus I generalize that all are imperfect. I struggle to forgive myself for my imperfections, so I thus struggle to forgive the imperfections in others.
And thus this is who I am, an thus how I define myself. Forgiveness to me is not so much a matter of choice, but simply a facing of reality as I see it.
Peace to all, and may those who are now hurting find some solace in my words
Sunday, October 19, 2008
Monday, August 4, 2008
We had a pretty decent time over there. I don't say great time because one of our favorite institutions, Pinheads, was gone. It was a place that combined pizza and bowling, and, believe me, it was one of the classiest institutions in town.
I spent a lot of time at the beach, while the UV rays were having a laugh at my expanse, looking for shells. On our first day there the beach was littered with them. Thousands upon thousands of pieces of small broken shell, with only a few intact ones. When we got back to our room, I thought about this. The true marvel at the beach was the quantity of the shells, and who was to say that the broken ones were in any way less desirable the the ones that hadn't broken yet. My wife thought about this and agreed, and thought of a wonderful craft project she could use with the broken shells. Our second trip to the beach revealed almost NO shells of any sort. Our third and final trip revealed only fully intact shells. You can't win for losing. I suppose we can take a hammer to the fully intact shells we collected, but that sorta spoils the whole point of my original pithy observation. Mother nature has a wonderful way of fucking with our minds.
We came home to find that the pfkat had stolen BOTH of our chairs from our den for her new studio. I am now sitting in a fru fru wussy-assed kitchen chair instead of the leather-like, black, manly-man chair I usually sit in. This situation WILL be rectified.
I had a dream last night that somehow on my first day of school our 1st grade class had been scheduled to have a boxing match against the sixth graders. I, being the shortest kid in class (this was never the case in real life, incidently), was scheduled first, to fight the tallest of the sixth graders. The "event" got canceled. I kept waiting for the opportunity to use my joke, "I would have given his shins a beating that they never would forget," but the dream suddenly had me forgetting to bring a plate of cupcakes down to a stage, so I never got the opportunity. I found this disapointing. Reflectively, why I should find that not having the oportunity for one aspect of my dream self to tell another aspect of my dream self a rather "roll the eyes" joke disappointing is one of those great psychological mysteries of life.
I have one day of actual work, then almost two weeks of ... um ... self-improvement classes in a group setting. I'm hoping to get a lot out of them.
Love and peace to all of you. Alphonsus would rather I have my own blog rather than take over his, so I'll be doing that as soon as I have the time. In the mean time, talk to you all later.
Friday, August 1, 2008
Greetings to all. Please allow me to introduce myself. My name is Steve. I am Alphonsus' animator. Alphonsus has not been making too many appearances of late, so I thought I'd take over for him for a while, if not indefinitely.
I brought Alphonsus into Second Life more than 2 years ago. He has always been within me, however. I'm not going to go into detail in an attempt to describe the relationship between Alphonsus and I. We are very much alike in that I've never tried to make him into something that I am not myself. In some ways, he is more than me. In other ways, he is naive to the functioning of the real world. I am as well, but the the problem is far more pronounced with him.
Another person whom I animate in Second Life is a chocolate colored, blond brat by the name of Hestia Enoch. This will not come as a surprise to most of you, as I have never tried to hide it very much. Many of you have deduced it, others I have told directly. The relationship between Hestia and I is far more complicated. She is still very much me, but she is an experiment with aspects of myself that I have not heretofore explored. She is thus fascinating to me, and I find her thus somewhat more fun to animate that Alphonsus. She is also as cute as the dickens.
This post, however, is not about either Alphonsus or Hestia. It is about me; the real life component of this strange trio. Unlike the others, I am not a perfect specimen of human physique. I am 45, approximately 35 pounds overweight (although I carry it well), far balder than the majority of my like-aged brethren, and I find that my ability to "fly" is limited to instances that last less than a second and do not achieve impressive heights, or, if starting from an impressive height, goes exclusively in one direction and ends somewhat painfully in the end. My attempts at weight loss through the "All Pizza" diet has thus far proved unsuccessful, which defies reason.
I am married to a beautiful if somewhat perplexing woman, and live in a very suburban home in a suburb of Detroit, Michigan. I have been diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder, which is supposedly somewhere on the Autism spectrum. This, to me, says very little, as I suspect that everyone falls SOMEWHERE on the autism spectrum. I happen to like my place on it, and I pity you Attention Surplus people who worry too much about the inconsequentials of life. Some people I suspect fall on the negative end of the autism spectrum, and are undoubtedly labeled with some other weird disorders with cool abbreviations that shrinks like to go on about.
I have also been diagnosed with depression, which comes and goes with me much as it does with most people, but it is somewhat more debilitating to me when it comes than it might be to the average human. Most of my emotional adventures are journaled elsewhere private, and will not be the subject of this blog. I may mention them from time to time, as depression combined with ADD can be quite entertaining if looked at from the correct perspective.
In sharing my real life adventures, I will be limited somewhat by my insistence on maintaining the privacy of others. The number one person whose privacy I consider important is my wife, who in Second Life is known as Princess Ivory. All I will say about her is that she is indeed a woman, her age is somewhere between 18 and 90, and she is the love of my life.
While I have not been spending a lot of time animating my alter-egos in Second Life of late, my life in real life has gone on largely unabated. Hence my need to shift this blog's focus from the virtual world to the so-called real one. Alphonsus had nothing much to say. I, however, do, thus the time has come for him to step aside and let me take over.
I don't wish to go on forever with this introduction to myself. There is much to say, but I have many years in which to say it. It is better to say in palatable sound bites as opposed to long epics. Love and peace to all of you, both my Second Life friends and their real life counterparts.
Monday, June 30, 2008
started off his seminar by:
holding up a $20.00
bill. In the room of 200, he asked,
"Who would like this
Hands started going up.
He said, "I am going to give this
$20 to one of you
but first, let me
proceeded to crumple up the $20 dollar bill.
He then asked, "Who
still wants it?"
Still the hands
were up in the air.
replied, "What if I do this?"
dropped it on the ground
to grind it into the floor with his shoe.
He picked it up, now crumpled and dirty.
"Now, who still wants it?"
Still the hands went into the air.
My friends, we have all learned a
very valuable lesson.
No matter what
I did to the money, you still wanted it
because it did not decrease in value.
It was still worth $20.
Many times in our lives,
we are dropped, crumpled, and ground
into the dirt
by the decisions we
the circumstances that come
We feel as though we are
But no matter what has
what will happen, you
will never lose your value.
clean, crumpled or finely creased,
you are still
priceless to those who DO LOVE you.
The worth of our
lives comes not in what we do or who we know,
but by WHO WE ARE and
WHOSE WE ARE.
Don't EVER forget it."
Saturday, June 14, 2008
Today, in real life, I attended a pig roast. The food was wonderful and, while my daughter was somewhat disturbed by the look of the pigs head in the garage, empty eyes staring at her, she had a good time swimming and otherwise.
Tomorrow is Father's Day, which, as is usual, turns into a somewhat stressful day for me, trying to keep everyone happy. It will work out well enough, I suspect. I plan to take my daughter out to the Cranbrook Science Museum (like I have for the previous two years), as she expressed interest in going again. This could be a wonderful father's day tradition. I love the museum my the ascots I heard.
Good night. too tired to write anymore.
Monday, June 2, 2008
I envy those people who can define their emotions in a single word. So simple. So black and white. Just the simple ability to say, "Yes, I am angry."
It's never that simple for me. I look at what looks like a seemingly simple situation and see it all in five dimensions. All of the viewpoints, all of the uncertainties about my understanding of the viewpoints. All of the misunderstandings. All of the emotional issues allowing others not to see the situation clearly, and uncertainty about my own issues that may not allow me to see a situation clearly.
Just painting my emotions with the single color of, say, "angry" does not even begin to cover the full complexity of it. Too many other variables involved.
It is partially for this reason that I've been a strong proponent of the saying, "With Complete Understanding comes Forgiveness." It has been my experience that the more I understand someone the more that the reasons for their behavior the more that their behavior, be it "good" or "bad", becomes understandable...indeed, inevitable.
Do I paint with too broad a brush or too narrow a one? Am I too much a person who forgives first and asks questions later?
I'm too tired right now. "Anger" is definitely one of the emotions I'm feeling right now. Anger comes with several dozen other feelings. It's never by itself. Nothing in my life would ever be so simple.
Exhaustion is another feeling I'm having. I need a good nap. I cut out of work really so that I could get some rest. Don't want to spoil it.
Love you all
Sunday, June 1, 2008
We can appear as anything we want in SL. We can be men or women, dragons or drow, angels or demons.
And when we can be whatever we want, whenever we want, concepts of physical beauty go out the window. True, almost everyone is physically beautiful in SL. But when everyone is the same it starts everyone on the same playing ground. Appearance begins to matter less and less the longer one stays in world. It is not the appearance on the outside that matters, but the character of the person on the inside that makes all the difference.
That is, of course, an overstatement. There are many people in-world who are superficial and will stay superficial for as long as they shall live. But those people are always out there, and we must learn to deal with them as best we can.
The real challenge is staying true to "the character inside." Second Life can be looked at as a training ground. All around us are temptations and various and creative ways to lose our souls. Experimenting with who we are is not a bad thing, but, ultimately, being who we are not will destroy us.
I'm talking about things like being true to our own personalities. Not condoning behaviors which we feel to be wrong. Not being deceptive when we don't feel ourselves to be deceitful people. Not hurting people just because we're anonymous and we can. Not giving in to peer pressure and give up being friends with people whom we would ordinarily stay friends with.
To thine own self be true. Learning who "thine own self" is is something that Second Life can help with. Sticking to that "own self" is a challenge that we must struggle with every day.
Love and Peace
Saturday, May 31, 2008
This might even be more fun if you flash them a smile after they answer the question, and half of your teeth are blacked out.
Just an idea. :)
Friday, May 30, 2008
We are wondrous miracles, each of us. We are all perfect in the eyes of creation. We are as we are, and to throw away this incredible gift of life, to me, would be unthinkable.
Even if you can't embrace the miracle of life, the least you can do is stand around and be awed by it. We are all far more miraculous then the Grand Canyon, only much closer and much easier to explore without riding on a donkey.
Thursday, May 29, 2008
So start small. Repeat the phrase over and over again: Love me, love my pancreas.
Wednesday, May 28, 2008
If I were a prisoner, shackled to a wall, my mind would still be free to do as it chose.
From 1984: "Freedom is the freedom to say that two plus two equals four." The protagonist was tortured into relinquishing even this freedom.
If I am chemically depressed or emotionally beaten, I might not be capable of seeing where my freedoms lie. That does not mean they don't exist. They are there, waiting for us to find them and embrace them again, when and if we are ever capable of doing so.
Tuesday, May 6, 2008
I have been spending a great deal of my time in an online emotional support forum. Where Second Life gives me the opportunity to seek support and to give support on a semi regular basis, this forum gives me constant, unrelenting opportunities to attain these desiderata on a constant and as needed basis.
The result of this has been, quite naturally and expectedly, a total and unreasonable obsession with the place. This seems to be my nature, and as is also the nature of such places, they seem to attract people with similar predispositions to addiction. Thus, trying to get advice on breaking the addiction from such a place is like asking an alcoholic if your one glass of wine is too much. You might get good advice, but the odds are way against it.
The result of this shift in my interests has resulted in, as is also my nature, soul crushing guilt and a sense of failure. I have not, nor am I ready to abandon Second Life altogether. I’m not one to believe in absolutes. But as I am clearly not meeting my responsibilities in this world, it behooves me to bequest these responsibilities on to one more willing and able to carry them.
My mood has varied from wonderful to wanting to slam my head against walls, also nothing remarkable. My sleep has not been as I wish it to be, and I find myself unable to awaken in the morning. I’m not sure as to the reason for this, but my only solution seems to be sleeping earlier, which my body will not find difficult in the least, but my spirit rebels against. It seems like so little of my life is under my control, my evenings, where I am free to do as I please, are precious. I hate to sacrifice this time. But sacrifice I must…my work is our life blood. As much as I’d like to walk away from it, it is simply not a realistic plan for now or for the foreseeable future.
I am thinking of leading a local depression support group in RL, and I am thinking of taking singing lessons in Summer, and I am also thinking about starting on work to get my MSW (masters of social work), so that I can retire from the library at 55 and go on to a job that I would love.
A long enough ramble for tonight. There is much else to say (as is always the case), but I’m getting tired and I did want to put in at least a little bit of book time. Love and hugs to all my friends. We shall still be spending time together, it’s just that our meetings will be all the sweeter because of my absence.
Thursday, May 1, 2008
Saturday, February 23, 2008
Warning: this blog entry may trigger bad memories. If you are very upset about a death in your family you should not read this. This is another excerpt from my unpublished book, and this one takes place near the end. The events are largely fictional, but the emotions behind the words are quite real. This chapter was one of the hardest things I've ever written, and it is still difficult for me to read. Sorry it's so long. I couldn't shrink it down any further than I did.
The speaker is Alex Taber, and he is relating the follow information to his shrink.
“Have you ever had one of those moments,” he asked, “when suddenly everything becomes clear to you--kind of an “ah-ha” revelation someone-just-washed-the-sand-out-of-your-head type of thing?
“Well, that time in the hospital was one of those times. I do remember it. I remember everything about it with such clarity: the colors, the smells, the sounds, all of it burned into memory like with a digital laser. Every moment permanently ingrained.
“And while you're sitting in this hospital room, suddenly everything is quiet and a feeling of peace washes over you. You don't want to leave the room. As long as you sit in that room and don't leave, time stops. Nothing has to go forward. You don't have to go out there and deal with the doctors and your mother and all the relatives and the other people.
“Because you've been feeling so stressed and guilty and as soon as you leave that room you will feel stressed and guilty again. But not just then. You're at peace for the first time in years because there is nothing else to do right then, and you know that this is the place you are supposed to be.
“But you can't stay there forever. She's getting cold and there are people waiting for you--people who need you to go out there so that they can be strong for you or who need you to be strong for them. The color you could see in her little face under the bandages is changing to gray. You're holding her little hand the whole time, as if the warmth of your body can some how seep back into hers and everything will be all right again. Except that you know that it never will be all right ever again. Not after you leave this room.
“But you do leave that room, and as soon as you do the shit starts again and it never really stops again after that.
“And you’re angry and there’s no one to be angry at. It’s no one’s fault. It’s not your daughter’s, it’s not the doctor’s, and it’s not the other driver’s. You can blame the ex but she’s dead too and can’t be touched. You can’t blame God or the devil ‘cause you don’t really believe in them.
“But you can blame yourself, and you are always there. You knew that the ex was a terrible driver, and you gave your daughter to her. And she was with her all the time.
“And she’s with her all the time.
“One Monday you wake up too early and grumbling because you have to get up early to buy cookies at the store so that your daughter can take them to school. The next Monday you can sleep in because you no longer have a daughter because you put her in a casket a couple of days before.
“And every thing you do after that that you couldn't do before because you were a father is tinged with guilt. Not just tinged but soaked; saturated. Everywhere you look you see things that remind you of her and you can't even talk about it with your wife because she doesn’t even know because she had filed for divorce three months before your daughter died because she couldn't take your spaceyness anymore and you can't talk about it with your parents because they're doing worse than you are.
“You see a box of girl scout cookies and the little girl on the front reminds you of her and you remember how you decided that you would just not worry about girl scouts with her because there just wasn't time and you choke down a single cookie when you used to eat them by the box and try to keep from crying while doing it because how could anyone ever understand your crying over a girl scout cookie when your little girl was never even in the girl scouts.
“And two months after that, two months after the casket and the flowers saying all the well meaning things that you pretend to find comfort in your father starts chemo therapy for something that can't be cured. The next thing you know he is shitting all over the floor and your doing what you can to keep your mother going and your father spirits up as they feed him with tubes and keep him in diapers and he can't talk because he has a yeast infection in his mouth. And the ink is just drying on the final divorce your wife has filed and you don't even know where she is.
“And as he's dying you can't even go to see him as often as you want because you're shutting down--because you really can't take it anymore. You really, really can't take it anymore for even one more second. But somehow the seconds and the hours and the days keep passing even though you do nothing to help them along and he dies and you go through the funeral shit again. And your mom can't pay for it so you help but your money is almost gone and you don't have time or the energy to pay your bills and you don't have the strength to deal with your job's looming collapse because you desperately need to have a mental breakdown yourself. But you don't have time for one because too many people need you to be a man and to be strong.
“But there's simply nothing to do but watch as your world falls apart around you. And you just keep thinking about how unfair it all is and how you really can't take it any more. You get angrier and angrier and you really can't take it any more.
“And you can’t get the images out of your head because they are so clear, but they can’t stay in there, but you can’t get them out because they are burned in, but they can’t stay, and so you try anything you can to get them out. You slash at them. You scream at them and they still don’t go away. So you pile all your anger and anxiety and confusion and depression and all that other junk on top of it just to bury it, just to forget about it for a little while. And it helps, but you start to forget other things too, and that’s okay because it has to be.
“But that anger is still there, and it's worse than ever because it's helping to bury the stuff you can't take. It simmers at the surface. And you still get more and more anger, and it still has no place to go.
“Do you want to know why I fight so well? It's all that anger, doctor. It's all of that tightly controlled rage, seething just beneath the surface, seeking some little chink, some tiny little hole, to escape from; all that helpless impotence that has been building and festering for your entire life.
“What happens when you take a life time of unfocussed, helpless rage and you suddenly give it a target? Here I come, a wandering lightning bolt, and I suddenly find a big fat lighting rod in the form of human sadistic scum. Someone degenerate, someone so incontrovertibly bad that there is no gray; no doubt, that he must be stopped.
“And all that rage finds a release, my friend. You suddenly become someone other. You are anger and rage personified. Anything that could once be called Alexander Taber now becomes nothing but fury contained in flesh. Anger grabs the rifle. Hatred splatters the bastard's intestines against the wall. Righteous indignation focuses the mind like a fucking laser beam on one goal: destroying the target.
“Speed is easy because you are pure emotion. It's all natural. It's instinct. Destroy the foe, that's all that you need to do. Destroy him in any way possible. No gray, no time to think, and no need to. It's the right thing to do. End the threat with a red wet splat and you'll be a fucking hero! Fail and you are dead, and so is everyone else--all of the innocent people--in the room. It's a no-brainer.
“It feels godlike. All that rage comes down on that poor bastard's head like a high-speed collision into a brick wall and he never knows what hit him before he's leaking his greasy insides on the floor.
“But no matter what you do--no matter how much anger you release, there's still more and more there building up and up and even when you release some it still builds up and some images still escape and you still can't take it and it has to stop and the guilt and the anger and you're the one that caused it and you're always there. No matter where you go or what you do, you’re always there. And you just want to find the peace again. Somehow, anyway you can, you want to--you have to--find the peace again.”
Sunday, February 17, 2008
The evening turned into all Triskele cleric stuff. I met with Wren and Malakyte and Stormy and Winkie and SnowBlind and Sierra. It was supposed to be a simple meeting about spells with Wren and Mala and I. Turned into a menagerie of people and various discussions. I'm ready to put out version 1.0 of the Pantheon. We added one more dark god, and made it so that the Great Spirit can have worshipers. This means I will likely change my alliance over from Odin to the Great Spirit. Not only do I like her/it, but as the Divine Emissary it makes sense that I should worship the creator god. So Odin will be left in someone else's hands, once we get everything up and running.
The first Cleric Festival is set for next week Saturday and 4pm SLT, which means I'll have to miss next week's PHC. I need to remember to suggest Atheeena to Persephone, as well as Thom Dowd. Should be great for period music, and I'm hoping Petunia can come up with some more modern jams.
I still have a cauldron to finish for the "system". I hope to finish up a working version of that by tomorrow. I've been asked to participate in two writing contests. Shaw Eames, one of the runners of one of the contests, kept insisting on calling me "THE" Alphonsus Peck. Sigh. Good for the ego, but, still, sigh.
Council meeting tomorrow at 6pm sl. My brain is a bit fried at the moment. Just trying to keep all the words sorted out.
Monday, February 11, 2008
If I knew that death were like what she said it was, I would not fear it so much. But I don't know. It is what she said it is...a veil...the mystery beyond. I don't know if there is a paradise or darkness beyond that veil. I want to know very badly, but only if it turns out to be be a good place.
Militant agnosticism. Easy words to say. But so hard to believe when the brutally unfair happens. Never is the desire for eternal bliss stronger than after to the dearth of someone who should not have died.
Cancer. The life take. The love taker. I fear your touch above all others. You took my father, my uncle, my best friend, and little Jewel.
Sigh... Sorry if this is a whining post. I'm just too tired right now to care.
Thursday, February 7, 2008
I won't bore everyone with the details of everything I want to get done because they are boring. I'm just a little intimidated that the robes won't fit me when I put them on again.
Not to worry. This is just perfectly healthy paranoia. I will be back tomorrow night. Just mildly panicking about it.
I'm still sweating abnormally because of the latent ilness. I did go to work today, but I was largely useless while I was there.
And I' too sleepy to come up with a happy ending to the post. G'Night
Saturday, February 2, 2008
I'm still not exactly up for taking on the world today. In fact, my computer chair with the desktop computer strong enough to run SL seems impossibly difficult right now. As a result, I'm planning to be quite useless today. I'm not sure yet if I will go in-world (I REALLY want to talk to Winkie and get our bonfire event set up.) Cleric heal thyself.
Massive headache right now. I've been awake for almost half an hour. Time to take a nap, I think. Toodles.
Wednesday, January 30, 2008
As virtually everything does, this brings me back to considerations of religion. One of my principles problems with the Bible is its earth-centric viewpoint of creation. "In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth." The heavens. 99.9999999999999999999% of creation is tossed away as an afterthought in that sentence.
Does the reader really have any idea how big "the heavens" are?
In my unpublished and one day to be rewritten book, Of Cabbages and Kings, I considered this question. I tried to create a version of God that was consistent with the universe as science says exits. Satan is one of the characters within the story, and he has been living largely in hiding under the name of Alphonsus Luke (sound familiar) for the past 1000 years.
At one point, he relates to the story's protagonist, Alex Taber, and Alex's girlfriend, Charlene, the tale of how he was once allowed to see the universe the way that God sees it. This is an excerpt:
“Call me Alphonsus, Charlene.”
“Okay. Alphonsus. I have to ask you something.”
“I need to know if…well…I mean, have you killed people?”
Dr. Luke closed his eyes and sighed deeply.
“Charlene, I know what you’re asking. But you’re not really thinking. The real question you want to ask--the real information you wish to divine, is if I am evil. One definition of evil is murder--killing. But really Charlene, what do you think? I’m 39 thousand years old. Those thirty-nine thousand years cover every violent moment in recorded history. Do you really think that I, as an immortal being, could have gone through that much of life without having killed anyone?
“So, the answer to your question is yes. Yes, of course I’ve killed people. Look at Alex. He’s only an embryo at forty years old, and he’s already killed people.”
Alphonsus paused a moment, remembering.
“Life long ago was much different from life of today. Just as one sample, look at language. You have to understand, Charlene, that ancient languages were not always very flexible. There were usually not a lot of words, and sometimes it was difficult to get one’s point across. Often disagreements were caused by simple inability to get someone to understand what you were talking about. Many times, if there was a significant enough disagreement, the easiest way of settling a dispute was simply to cut the other guy’s head off.
“But,” he continued, “the real question you’re asking is if I liked killing people, and the answer to that question is no. Do I think some people are better off dead? Of course, but if I’ve learned one thing after all this time it’s that sometimes even the worst people can surprise.”
Dr. Luke hesitated a moment. “Most of the time they won't, of course. But I'm not going to take it as my role to rid the world of the assholes. There's an infinite supply of them, and I have better things to do with my time.”
Charlene snorted. “You don't want to play God, in other words.”
He grimaced bitterly. “Why should I? Most of the time even God doesn't play God.”
Alex interjected, “I thought that was the reason you got kicked out of Heaven. I thought it was because you wanted God's job or something.”
Luke stared at him for a long moment, and then he smiled, closed his eyes, and began to laugh. It was not a happy laugh, or rather, not one that suggested happiness. Rather, it was a laugh that suggests irony or pain.
He laughed for an uncomfortably long time.
Finally, he stopped himself and opened his eyes again, smiling.
“Do you have the slightest idea what God is really like? Do you have the slightest idea how incredibly powerful--yet limited--He really is?
He paused and became serious. “All Knowing? Everyone assumes it. I believe it. I have seen what he sees. But have you ever given any thought to what the words really mean?
“He is capable of managing a Universe. An entire Universe, Alex! The Universe is not a fantasy. It is really out there, and it is large. You are both educated individuals. Do you have any idea of just how big it really is?
“Well, no matter what you think, you don't. I don't either. Gigantic. Colossal. No word is big enough. Not by a trillionth. The human mind cannot even conceive of its real size. The imagination is not capable of it. Think of infinity. Multiply it times infinity. Imagine what you get. Do you think your imagination is accurate? It isn't.
“He sees all of it at once. He can focus simultaneously on each of the six billion people on this planet all and at the same time count the number grains of sand on a beach on the other side of the Universe, call it, oh, nineteen billion light-years away as the trans-dimensional crow flies. And he sees every star, every planet, every dust mot, in between.
“Do you think I would aspire to do something like that? I can barely manage myself some days, Alex.”
He looked at us for a moment, suddenly frowning uncomfortably, his expression darkening. He seemed to be remembering something.
“He took me into his realm, once,” he said after a long pause. “His realm … His reality … I don't know what else to call it. He did it soon after He created me. I think He wanted to deal with me on a one to one basis; face to face, so to speak. His regular angels go there all the time. I think that's why He created me--so that He could finally deal with a human on His level. A normal human body could never survive there.”
He paused again, and then continued hesitantly. “I found it…disconcerting…to say the least. Basically, I saw…no, I can't say that I saw…I became aware of, the entire Universe, all at once.
“And then, there was the awareness of His presence. It was…indescribable…there are no words--no concepts that I can draw parallels from. You may trust, however, that the idea of some old fart sitting on a throne is mistaken. And, you may also trust that if we were created in his image, then Jackson Pollock is a realist.”
He paused. “The experience left me in a catatonic state for, well, how could I really tell how long, but at least several decades. It certainly would have killed me if such a thing were possible in my current state."
Tuesday, January 29, 2008
So much pain throughout the world. Emotional pain. Physical pain.
So much pain in my friends. So much pain in those whom I love the most.
I know the pain encompassed in my own loved ones…in my own circle of friends, and I try to imagine all the other pain that must be out there. Pain even worse than what these people suffer. What would the pain of 6 billion people look like if piled into one place. Could even the mythical Hell be worse than what is suffered by some in our earthly paradise?
I want so much to heal the world; to take all this pain and make it vanish for people. I want to have the strength to be able to take everyone’s burdens and place them on my own shoulders. I can’t bear to watch another suffer while I stand idly by.
Yet, I know that I haven’t the strength. I can’t even bear my own emotional pain. I can’t carry another’s physical pain—I can’t hardly tolerate going to the dentist to get my teeth clean.
If I was given the chance—the gift—to take all the worlds pain unto me, so that the world would free of it finally, I’m certain that I would do it. I would die from unbearable agony moments afterward, but in the moment before that happened I would be happy, knowing that I was doing the right thing.
Alas, I do not expect such a gift to be given to me. So I must suffer as I watch others suffer. Helpless. With folded hands. Knowing that whatever comfort I can offer will be at best, fleeting. I haven’t a cure for anyone, and for some there are not even words that I can say that would ease the suffering even a little.
I want to heal the world. I can’t even heal myself.
Aianna, you have my blessings and prayers today, for whatever they are worth. The same goes for my loved ones who are in pain. I don’t know what to offer other than kind words and support…
These are not enough to affect much, but even if they are completely useless, they remain all I have to offer
Love and blessings, all Please keep the pain at bay as much as possible. I may not be able to help you, but please know that I desperately want too..
Sunday, January 27, 2008
I feel like I spend the majority of my time talking about Triskele in my posts lately, and I do apologize for this to my non-Triskelian readers. It's just kinda where my brain is right now. My duties there are already backing up. It's been a bad week for me for in world activities. I'm hoping this week is better, or at least I'm more motivated.
I once mentioned that I had no dreams anymore. I now realize that this was not true. It's just that the dreams I had for my life seemed so simple and unspectacular that I didn't even notice them. Well, I'm now beginning to wonder if even these simple dreams will ever come true.
Oh well. No grousing. I have a cleric's meeting tomorrow at 5pm SL, and maybe a Council meeting at 6:30. I not a Council meeting, I want to talk cleric spells over with Winkie.
I want to hammer out the rest of our gods, and get them good and solid. We can tweak later if we need to, but lets start building from a solid draft. And I need a building. Even a temporary one would be nice.
Triskele had a pretty decent RP tonight...the first full fledged one that I participated in. The drow queen captured the Queens Council and a dragon. There was a furious battle, but we got them back, and the drow queen was bound and brought into custody. I was the one responsible for healing her wounds and getting her cleaned up. (At least I appointed someone else to do it). Cavity searches also needed to take place. I wasn't part of those, other than ordering that they happen. The drow queen was pretty cool about the whole thing. I like her.
Overall, she was treated, if not comfortably, then fairly. I treated a number of other minor wounds, including Malakyte who managed to get a number of arrows pumped into her in the last skirmish of the evening.
Hestia kicked me out of Faeria yesterday. She wanted to play, her computer wasn't working, and she said that I was "boring". I guess I am compared to her, but then not many people can compare to her when it comes to stirring things up. I still was able to listen to PHC while she played, but I felt dethroned. I'm gonna need to get revenge on that little imp.
Very tired, as usual. Good night, all. Fair thee well, and may all of your dreams come true. Warm hugs.
Thursday, January 24, 2008
Yet, as with virtually every day, I found myself being very unproductive.
I did manage to have my cleric's meeting in Triskele tonight, and that went quite well even though only 3 people were able to attend. The queen finally announced my promotion to the realm, which felt good.
The King and Queen of Everwind banned me from the Everwind forum sometime last night or today. I am truly honored. I've never been banned from anything before. I feel so...naughty! /me giggles. I might even be banned from the physical grounds. Despite how exciting this would be, it would be disingenuous for me to find out as I already made it a practice never to step on the land again.
I have a long in-world to do list, but it seems to be getting done in the few moments I am able to spend online. I am quite relaxed now, having found that my little tussle with Grace and Slip actually improved my general disposition. Safe paths, everyone. And, as always, hugs to anyone who wants or needs one.
Tuesday, January 22, 2008
I was not shocked or humiliated by their discovery of this entry. Indeed, I wrote, as I write all my entries, fully expecting that it may one day be found by the people whom I'm discussing. I know that Slip had stated that he found blog entries by former Everwinders before and was infuriated by them: rightly so, as they unfairly disparaged his character in the mater of Grace and Slip's temporary breakup. When I say something, I am always very careful about considering the feelings of those involved. This does not mean that I "filter" what I say, but it does mean that if I make a statement in a blog, I try to word it as fairly as possible, and to have adequate support for my assertions. If I am proven wrong, I will freely admit it and post an open apology. The ethics of blogging are something I hold very dear.
Slip responded not so much to my blog, but to the people who posted responses to my blog, most of whom are not Everwinders. This I find rather surprising in that most people responding to blog entries are automatically going to offer support for the blogger. They're comments are meant to help me, but they can't be expected to know the "fullness" of any situation, and they know it. Therefore, casting criticisms upon them for their statements is the equivalent of criticizing someone who sends an, "I'm sorry" card to someone who got fired. It doesn't really matter if the person deserved to get fired or not. They are there to support the person, and not to do a full investigation as to what the truth of the matter is.
Slip made a response where he lambastes virtually everyone who responded to my entry. Princess tried to make a conciliatory statement afterward, only to get further lambasted by both Slip and Grace. I was dropped from the Everwind group by Grace immediately afterward. I honestly can't say that my heart is broken by it. It seems that the two of them feel they have the right to castrate anyone who even expresses the mildest disappointment over how they handled the closing of Everwind to roleplay. I can understand anger, but theirs seems disproportionate to the crimes. Please do not lump my wife and friends into the same class as those who sent you hate notecards over Age Verification. To quote Slip, to put it quite bluntly, you don't know what the hell you're talking about.
And really, Grace, must I be spotless before I express disappointment over what someone has said? I freely admit that I am not spotless. No one is. I freely admit that I have faults. I have expressed them amply in many blog posts. I would detail them here, but I would be typing for many months and probably bore people quite to death after a while. The key is not in obtaining the impossible goal of spotlessness, but in freely admitting where we are flawed. To deny these flaws is to live in a delusion that may ultimately destroy us. But not to diplomatically express our honest feelings over what someone else has done that has hurt us would truly be to live as a victim, afraid of to say anything in fear of having one's own flaws, irrelevant to the case in quesiton, pointed out.
Anyway, those who are interested and not sensitive about being attacked are welcome to read over the comments they made. Slip desires it, and I don't wish any unhappiness upon either him or Grace.
Safe paths to all.
Somehow, within a month, I want to turn the Cleric's guild into a reasonably strong and self-sufficient union. Right now, it barely exists.
The Council meeting ran 'till 12:30 am last night, and I am exhausted today. My stress levels are high, and I don't think I've breathed in the last hour or so. This would have worked out SO much better had I been appointed at the beginning of the weekend instead of the end.
Oh well. It WILL be fun. Right now I'm just stressed about everything.
Choir tonight. Cleric's meeting tomorrow night. Pre-teen Thursday. Date night Friday. DART meeting Saturday. Sunday sleep--maybe. Cauldrons to script, gods to create, libraries to build, desks to clean, backups to catch up on, new buildings to advertise, new products to develop, diets to maintain, to-do lists to create, textures to work on...
/me slams head against table many times...
/me collapses unconscious, a smile on his face.
Saturday, January 19, 2008
The problem is is that I have time to do things NOW. I'm anxious to start setting up the guild building and to send out some group notices. I could do both of those now, but I'm not going to for political reasons. I want to wait for final approval so I don't step on anyone's toes.
Well, I guess I could be working on a guild texture. Anyway, here's draft 2 of my ideas.
The first priority for the Cleric’s guild will be to give the members a sense of purpose and activity. If we don’t address this issue immediately, our membership will drop.
In more developed sims, there was a constant call for clerics because people were constantly being injured. That does not seem to be the case here. Rather than hiring thugs to hurt people so we can heal them, we need to come up with other ways of dealing with this, and to make it apparent that clerics are there and what they are there for. This may involve “staging” role-plays at first. Perhaps an event where the queen gets sick, or a bunch of volunteers from either one or several races come down with a mysterious disease which the clerics must work furiously to find a cure for.
If all of this happens in a private area of the sim, where no one sees it, all of our efforts will be for naught. Triskele does not seem to have a “downtown”…that is, an area where all the players tend to congregate. If one of the taverns were moved to the Marketplace area near Triskele castle, it might encourage a congregation place. Baring this, the most central places are the tavern near Castle Zylamius, or the arenas, both of which are largely ooc. It should still be possible to create an IC event at one of these locations that will create murmurs.
I would also like to have a weekly meeting of ALL clerics and acolytes for at least the first month or so. Not only would this build a sense of community, but also it would bring the clerics together to combine minds and develop RPs NOW, when it is needed most. I want to have a completely structured guild within the first two months…preferably sooner. I will need a lot of buy in to reach this objective.
We also have to get the guild building furnished and signaged soon. I have a lot of furniture already built that I can just throw in there, but I’d like it to function as a hospital, a place for study and meditate, a place to meet, and a place for clerics to lay down and rest after a hard day’s healing of people. I’d like to have a picture of all the god symbols in one room that gives people a summary of the god associated with it.
Making the clerics stand out...
There is likely a lot that can be done with this, but the first idea that comes to mind is a monthly, generic festival. Something that ALL clerics (and the realm) can share. I see this as something like a giant bonfire, where the clerics all make pilgrimages to do something seen as worthy by their faith. Generically, this can be a donation (real or role-played) to charity (I’d like to find some real SL charities to give all donations too). Everyone in the realm would be invited of course, and they, too, would be invited to make pilgrimages and donations. While not pilgrimaging, people would be dancing, imbibing in special faith foods and drinks (I can see competitions growing around this), and in general be having a rowdy good time. DJs could be hired if we get enough cash inflow.
This monthly festival can be devoted to specific gods or belief if the individual faiths come up with a concept for a party they’d like to have.
Structure and ranks…
The highest ranking members of the guild will be the Speakers. Speakers are either leaders of the faiths or administrative. First Speaker will be the guild leader, Second Speaker will be his/her second. Ranking from this point downward will be determined by the player’s RP abilities as judged by the other speakers. The first speaker can also be a faith leader, as can the second speaker. Within each faith, there can also be a second.speaker of faith. This allows for multiple layers of redundancy.
After the speakers and their seconds, there will be full clerics, clerics, and acolytes. Non-Members must choose their alignment before they can become members. In order for this to be possible, a far clear description of each god must be made. People cannot base their alignment to faith based on the descriptions currently available.
When the First Speaker is unavailable, any of the other speakers can take the role and make decisions on the part of the guild. He/she will be equal in power to the First. My goal here is to build in multiple layers of redundancy so that, with luck, there will always be someone in world able to make executive decisions about the guild.
Promotions in rank…
I like the idea of having the promotions being quest oriented, but I’d like to make it so that the quests involve a little bit of role-play, or at the very least make the quest results give out instructional notecards as to how to do things at the rank you are questing for. I don’t want to have promotions based solely on how good you are at finding things, otherwise we’ll have a bunch of clerics who aren’t necessarily good at role-play.