Posted in day-to-day, out of character, personal, updates

In this world

I miss the Grid so, so, desperately much right now.

It’s so hard, day after day in this world.

I’m getting by. I’m safe. I’ve got people around me.

But I miss the beautiful Otherworld and its bubble and its magic so much. I miss being Mistletoe so deeply. I want so badly to take a break from this world that words fail me. I’m on the wagon, but fuck, it’s so hard.

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Posted in day-to-day, updates, work in progress

Revamping and rearranging

This Blog is going to be undergoing some changes in the coming days. Don’t get me wrong, I still love to hear myself talk, but I want to refocus a bit on what I hear myself talk about. So here are some things that I plan to change, and things I plan to keep the same.

First, what’s not going anywhere, or else will be more of:

  • Advice for online business, just no longer strictly limited to Second Life
  • Free cool stuff I made, to download and enjoy, including some of the printables I’ve already added.
  • Talk about mental illness and video game addiction. It’s a day-to-day process and I know it helps me to know I’m not alone, so who knows, maybe that will help someone else too.
  • The Know-It-All Pages are totally staying, but will likely be updated.
  • Occasional sweary rants. Where the fuck else am I gonna?
  • Cats. Because we all must do our part to power the Internet.

What’s going, or else you won’t see further:

  • Things I made that are on the Second Life Marketplace, largely because I’m not even in Second Life anymore. Because of that I no longer offer support for things I’ve made in the past. The listings will remain, mostly for sentimentality’s sake, but you’re on your own to stumble cheerfully upon  them. I’ll be deleting posts here that link to them in the coming days.
  • In-character stories. They hearken back to my earliest days of this blog, and were fun at the time, but I think ultimately are a little confusing the way they bleed between RL and RP, as well as more than a little self-serving. And, they remind me of a time in my past that I think I’d do just as well to not remind myself of.
  • My personal stuff, except as it relates to the first list.
  • Announcements for past events in Second Life will be deleted. Too confusing.

So, in conclusion, if you want to have a record of some of the things I’ve written or listed in the past, get ’em before they’re gone.

Posted in building, day-to-day, entertainment, events, RL, SL13B

This SLB…

In years past, I’ve explored SLB (Second Life Birthday) expos and excitedly reported back to you all about the true awesomesauce I witnessed.

But this year, I’m on the wagon. I’m fighting the pull to log back in, which is stronger this time of year than any other. I love me some SLBs. Just… everything about them (except lag) is just the culmination of everything I loved about SecondLife: the creative displays, the excitement, and the people I’ve met and friends I’ve made.

This year, I won’t be able to share a Green Guide with my favorites of the favorites to lead you to… this year, YOU have to tell ME.

So! Today was Opening Day. I long for some pictures and descriptions. I want to know what you were enraptured and fascinated by. If Mistletoe were there with you, where would you take her?

Posted in day-to-day, depression

Dr. Phil, Second Life, and Gaming Addiction

So, as no doubt you’ve heard by now, Dr. Phil made an appearance in SL, and Ebbe made an appearance on Dr. Phil.

Kudos to Dr. Phil for making clear that video games and virutal worlds are not by default bad. As I’ve said myself, they’re neither good nor evil, because they don’t think and don’t have intentions one way or another. For many people they’re therapeutic.

But I could really sympathize (though on a lower level) with Justin saying that it’s much easier to just anesthetize himself than to face the harsh realities of the world, especially when he feels like it’s too late in his life to make anything positive of it. The feeling of having missed my shot is one that resonates with me as well; I’m 40 years old, no degree, diploma by the skin of my teeth, with huge gaps in work history that make it really hard to make look positive on a resume.

But if by some chance you’re reading this, Justin? No. It’s really not too late. It’s easy to feel like you’re lost when you’re 23; lots of people do.

At 23, JK Rowling was broke. Tina Fey was working at the Y.M.C.A. Oprah had just gotten fired from her first job as a TV reporter and Walt Disney had declared bankruptcy. None of these wildly successful individuals could have predicted what was in store for them next but the one thing they all had in common was that they knew that there was more to them than what they were doing at the time. And that’s what you have in common with them, too. You know that there’s a bigger, better version of yourself to bring to life. You just haven’t gotten there yet.

That doesn’t mean that you have to become the next JK Rowling or Walt Disney. It simply means that there’s so much more ahead of you, and within you, that you don’t even know yet. And it’s scary but it’s also exciting.

And, the same goes for me. Did you know that Phyllis Diller was almost 40 when she first gave stand-up comedy a try? Or that Julia Child was 49 when her groundbreaking cookbook got published? Stan Lee was 39 when he published his first comic book. Vera Wang went into fashion design at 40. Darwin wrote “On the Origin of the Species” when he was 50. Laura Ingalls Wilder started writing books in her 60s. Harland Sanders was 62 when he franchised Kentucky Fried Chicken.

My point is, it is NEVER too late to be successful.

And it’s frightening because, for me at least, fear of failure and that nagging lie of “IT’S TOO LATE” are always always hanging over me. Or fear of making a wrong choice. It’s so much easier to just not make any choice, and curl up, and let life happen while I’m deluding myself that I’m making amazing things happen too, just in a virtual world. It feels GREAT to be ultra-popular in a virtual world. It feels GREAT to have the ability to make anything, do anything, go anywhere, and be seen and appreciated for it. It hurts like hell to walk away from that. It’s HARD AS HELL, Justin, and it might take lots of tries, but I believe that you CAN do it!

One thing the show only briefly touched on, though, is HOW. I know that On-Line Gamers Anonymous tends to preach the hard line that all video games are bad, all relationships in them toxic, and you’re 100% better off without them. I don’t agree with that, and from the sounds of things, neither does Dr. Phil. I think maybe for some people it’s easier to talk themselves out of an addiction by convincing themselves that the thing to which they’re addicted is absolutely undeniably BAD. I believe personally that the hard (but necessary) first step is to face the IRL dragon. Look what you’re running from in the eye. For me, that was financial troubles. I had to do a lot of paperwork, make a lot of appointments, pay a lot of debts (and as a result, make a lot of sacrifices), and it was draining and overwhelming. It helped to break things into small pieces, and give myself some kind of reward (preferably tangible, not virtual) for accomplishing smaller goals. For example, if I sit down and pay all my bills and get them sent out, I go and treat myself to a favorite junk food snack while I’m out at the post office. Or, I get a new bottle of nail polish. Or something at the fabric store. Or art supplies. Or a matinee at the theater. Things that I have to be AFK to enjoy.

I’ll reiterate to Justin and all the other Justins and Mistletoes out there: it’s FUCKING HARD. But you can do it. It may take years and years, and you may stumble on the way, but you can do it. We can do it!

Now if you will excuse me, because I reached my goal by sitting down and writing this blog instead of playing on FB, I’m going to go and treat myself to some embroidery floss and a nice walk outside to get it.

Posted in day-to-day, personal

Another Phase Out

Deleted a chunk of people from the friends list at SL yesterday. People that I talk to already out of SL (so no need to keep them on my friends list), people I’m likely to never talk to, or else haven’t talked to in like five years, or else have no recollection of who they are.

I am the WORST about letting go of things. I keep people on my friends list when I know for a fact that they are literally not breathing anymore, because I like to hold onto the reminder of them. I kinda horde in that way. And I won’t even START about my inventory.

But, I am trying to let go of this thing, and one of the ways to do that, is to make steps to clear out my friends list. So while I try and say to myself “they won’t mind…” the more likely fact is “they won’t notice”.

In other news, the friend who wrote me and said “I don’t want to be [Avatar Name] anymore” has taken the plunge, sold their land, and cashed out. It’s one person I won’t have to remove from my friends list because I’ve already been removed from theirs. We still keep in touch via email, and it sounds like things are really looking up in this person’s world.

A hard thing for me is that I kind of replace one addictive behavior with another addictive behavior. Lately my addictive behavior is stupid Facebook games. I like to think I’m practicing moderation, and relative to eight hours a day, I am. I’ve still got a way to go. Bit by bit. I’m really being tested lately, because there’s Uncertainty About Life going on, but I’m doing my best to bravely face what I need to before zoning out in front of Monster Busters.

Posted in day-to-day, Philomenaville, RL, updates

Again, July

The moon is shining on the East Coast and the sun’s an hour away from setting where I am now. Right about now, all my SCA friends back in New England are gathering around their campfires for music and stories and tales of absent friends. And I’m the absent friend, wishing I was there now. Here it’s traffic and car alarms and motorcycles and piles and piles of loneliness.

Don’t know why I’m saying all this, except it feels like I’ll spill over if I don’t say something.

So back last April, not even a full page of blog entries ago, my love and my cat and I made the trip of a lifetime, towing a trailer behind a little Sunfire from the geographical center of Nowhere, Maine to the city of San Diego. We’d begin a whole new story of our lives. Only, halfway into the first chapter, an unexpected twist in the plot came.

Now, we’re going to pack it up and make the trip of a lifetime, again. We’re starting over, again. We’ve got so much to do, including getting rid of almost all of our worldly possessions (again), planning the route (again), job and apartment hunting (again).

But this time we’re not moving 3500 miles away from the campfires and the stories: we’re going back to them. Or, at least, within a day’s drive. We’re going to a place that himself knows and loves; a place that I hope I can get to know and learn to love. A place where someone as anxious about driving as I am, doesn’t have to drive to get around. A place with rain, and green grass, neither of which can be easily found in San Diego. I never knew how much I’d miss them both until three months without them.

We’re going home to Boston. Maybe I should say shipping up to Boston, like the Dropkick Murphys song.

Additionally, it’s July. If you’ve been along with me for the ride for some time now, you might know what that means. For those who don’t know or don’t recall, July tends to mark the low point in my interest in Second Life. Between having lots to do in RL and just some kind of seasonal cycle of interest, I simply don’t get into it as much. It’s long been my desire in SL to create something that can hold together without me there all the time to do it myself, and damned if the community in Philomenaville isn’t starting to do just that. Mind, I didn’t create that, not all on my own, not by a long shot, and I’m not the only one who maintains it either. And frankly, I like it that way. I like that it won’t collapse without me.

This weekend I’m supposed to relax and do some fucking off at the beach, because after that, we won’t have much fucking-off time at all.

Posted in building, community, day-to-day, I wrote this, Philomenaville, roleplay, roleplaying, rp, updates

How to Improve Your Community in Two Words

Philomenaville is coming along swimmingly. I’ve sent in our application to have a presence at SL11BCC and am waiting to hear on that. Some buildings have been moved around and shifted about. The outdoor freebie market is gone, replaced by a thrift market for people to sell leftovers from gatchas (is it gatcha or gacha? Anywhoodle.) A welcome center is being put together in one wing of Town Hall, a meeting area in the other. The park is sporting a cool new Conservatory building which contains the prettiest damn dance machines you’ve ever seen. The trolley is running well and is no longer spawning additional trolleys (they were everywhere!). We’re gearing up for our first ever dance in the Conservatory this weekend (Saturday! 4PM! Join us in Bushside!) and we’re also gearing up for some RP event type stuff in a week or two. It hasn’t been without some pains in my ass but all in all, it’s going really well.

One thing that hasn’t been going well is that the Friday afternoon Social Hour at the Cafe has been a flop. And the more I talk about it with other people the more I think people just aren’t really sure what to do, or else are bored by the idea of all meeting in one spot without there being any music or anything. It’s not like it’s a town meeting mandated by the Mayor or anything. What do you talk about for an hour? So it annoys me when people don’t show up, but at the same time, if I wasn’t running it, I wonder if I’d skip it too. So I’m hopeful that Saturday afternoon dances at the Conservatory will fill that social void a little better. There’s music. There’s watching yourself dance. There’s lighthearted interaction. People are just more likely to show up.

And really, that’s the secret to making a community work, I think. It’s not me planning the events; it’s everyone else SHOWING UP. It’s not Thaddeus initiating group chat; it’s everyone else SHOWING UP. It frustrates me that I can’t make more people show up so, listen, whatever community you’re in, if you want to make it better, richer, more enjoyable… SHOW UP. You don’t have to be an event planner, you don’t have to be a prolific builder, you don’t have to be a dazzling conversationalist, just show up. That’s all.