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 addiction, entertainment, events, Manic Elf, out of character, personal, recovery, RL, updates

I miss you.

So the next Second Life Birthday is in planning stages. 13 already. Damn. Does that mean that this June would be my 10th rez-day?

SLBs are the hardest time of year for me to keep away from SL, because they’re some of the best of what the grid has to offer all in one convenient spot: a font of creativity and genius, without the Lab putting their dirty hands on it. It’s hard not to miss that; I would be lying if I said I didn’t.

And there are people I miss a lot too. I try to keep up on emails, or chatting with them on Facebook or Twitter, but it’s really not as easy to keep that connection without the medium on which you made the connection in the first place. I want to, though. If you see this and haven’t heard from me in a while: I miss you.

I logged on my alts once, about two weeks or so ago, to shake them down for loose change. It was a little, just under a hundred bucks, and is helping us get through a tight spot. The spots are always so tight these days. My job isn’t going so great, but I’m working and trying to further myself in it. I can’t really afford my hobbies (SCA and LARP) anymore, either in money or in time.

I do have a Fiverr gig going on now, though. After playing Undertale (which a friend got me for Xmas) I’ve wanted to live in an 8bit world a while longer, so I fired up RPGMaker and now I make custom video-game greeting cards for five bucks a pop. Nothing too fancy, but cute as hell: a custom sprite of the recipient solves a puzzle, opens a door, and gets a personalized message from the sender. You should have a look! And if you’re on the evil Book of Faces, you should like my page and share the love!

I’m tempted, speaking of Fiverr, of doing machinima videos of firework greetings like I used to do. But that would mean investing myself in SL again and I don’t think I should do that.

Anyway, that’s what’s going on in my world. What’s going on in yours?

Posted in personal, RL

“Why wouldn’t I want to be Mistletoe?”

For some people, it’s an evil and sexually deviant world, with nothing positive to recommend it whatsoever, filled with people who only want to take from you and have nothing to offer of their own. A world rife with seductive delights and temptations as though coded by Satan himself. For others, it’s the very Fountain of Youth, an amazing world of limitless potential and power, a step toward a Gene Roddenberry-esque utopian future.

To me, Second Life was neither of these things. It was a Thing I Did. It was the place where I’d log on for eight and sometimes more hours a day. I’d be part of (and sometimes leader of) a community of people. I talked to my friends. I made things, and made some modest amount of money. I was Mistletoe.

And really, why wouldn’t I want to be Mistletoe? Mistletoe was brilliant, creative, talented, ultra-popular, even a little famous in some circles. I mean sure, I’m smart and creative away from the keys too, but what have I got to show for it here? Not as much as in Second Life, that’s for damn sure. In Second Life I’ve organized festivals, owned shops, owned successful pubs, run for office, played music (both as a performer and as a DJ), prepared virtual food that people adore, officiated two weddings, traveled, explored, had whirlwind romances, explored fantasies, raised a hefty donation for a RL charity, written how-to articles respected by many, danced like a pro, made costumes… hell what haven’t I done? I’ll tell you: I haven’t been sick, needed car repairs, been short on bills, wondered what to have for dinner tonight, watched dishes pile up, run out of prescription meds, or been at a loss for what I should do now. Who wouldn’t rather be the former than the latter?

And when my real life got harder, Second Life became more appealing. And when I got more entrenched in my Second Life, my real life became a garden more overgrown from neglect. I couldn’t get together with friends at this date at this time, sorry, I have a commitment. I’m not available to come in for work for this extra shift, I promised my Second Life people I’d be there for a thing then. I didn’t tell my boss that of course. And what was my solution to seeing less and less of my friends? Inviting them to meet me inworld, of course. I’ll get your avatar to look just like you want. I’ll even set you up to make a few lindens selling content that you (actually I) make. It’ll be great! I couldn’t understand why my friends weren’t finding the same joy that I did in Second Life. They didn’t find it as easy to get around, had a harder time with the learning curve, just weren’t feeling it. They left SL and don’t miss it. How could that be?

Finally my RL came to a point that I had to pull away. It was July, and I was having my annual wane in interest anyway. But besides that, we were 3500 miles away from our friends and family, in San Diego. Himself had lost his job. I didn’t have a job at all. We had a hard decision to make, and ultimately that decision was to move back across the country, just three months after packing up our lives and moving to California. That meant a forced period of withdrawal while on the road: detox time. I had real problems to face and had to face them with my undivided attention: watch the road. Stay in my lane. Get the cat into the hotel. Set the alarm to get up early tomorrow.

Fortunately none of my SL people were concerned about my absence; they knew I was moving and looked forward to having me back when the time came. Well and good.

Of course, once I got to my destination back East, I had things to do. We have to find work. We have to sort out commuting. We have to find a place to live. We’re going to have to get furniture. I have to get a new doctor, and a new prescription for the medicine I need in order to keep my bipolar managed. We have bills to pay, a cat to feed, a car to maintain. I want to look into going to school. So my period away from SL got longer, and really, I didn’t mind.

But my SL people started to worry. One e-mailed to tell me so. So I’m here to tell all of you now, this is NOT the time to worry about me. Yes, I’m having RL stress and struggles. So are all of you, I’m certain. What I’m not doing anymore, is anesthetizing myself with Second Life. When I was logging on 8 hours a day? THAT was the time to worry.

Now I’m not saying that everyone in SL is addicted and in denial. No. I’m not saying that at all. Some people can have a cigarette when they go to the bar on Friday and not need another. Some people can have a beer and be done. Some people can go to a casino with five bucks and leave when it’s spent.

I AM NOT THAT PERSON.

According to the American Psychiatric Association, there are nine criteria for the proposed diagnosis of video game addiction.

  1. Preoccupation. When I wasn’t logged on, I was thinking about SL all the time. I was talking about doings in SL with my husband the way most people talk about their day of work. When I had a job, I was thinking about when I could get home and log on.
  2. Withdrawal. For the most part I’m not dealing much with this. I’m not angry, or irritable without SL. However I do find myself with a LOT of free time and no idea what to do with it.
  3. Tolerance. Meaning, did I need to log on for increasing amounts of time, get better equipment, have more excitement in order to enjoy SL as much as I used to? I can’t say that. I do know that I’d taken on more and more responsibilities and projects and that I must have gotten some payoff from it. Enjoyment just wasn’t it.
  4. Inability to reduce/stop. Do I feel like I should log on less, but find myself unable to do so? Before my so-called “forced detox”, yes. Absolutely. And then I would feel guilty for pissing my day away on SL instead of sending that email, making that phone call, doing those chores. And then I’d log on for the same amount of time the next day.
  5. Giving up other activities. I mentioned that already.
  6. Continuing despite problems. It mentions continuing on even though I’m aware of it causing problems. Thing is, I’m not sure I was aware it was causing the problems of decreased sleep, decreased hygiene, withdrawal from my friends in RL.
  7. Deceiving/Covering up how much time spent logged on. I don’t think I’ve done that. I’ve been pretty honest about it I think.
  8. Escaping adverse moods by logging on. Abso-fucking-lutely. The more out of control my RL got, the more I wanted to be in control of something. That “something” wasn’t filling out the paperwork or going to the bank; it was logging onto the world I could control.
  9. Risking/losing relationships/opportunities. I don’t know. I honestly don’t. I mean sure my relationship with himself is strong, I think he’s just come to accept SL as part of my day-to-day life. But as for opportunities: probably. But is that addiction, or is that part of the depression with my bipolar? I can’t say.

I do know that the YouTube video “IRL/In Real Life” really spoke to me. Each time Anthony says “…and then a new expansion came out” I gave a knowing nod.

So… am I an addict, or am I just looking for an easy epiphany to explain the hole? I don’t know. I can’t answer that now. But I do know that I have LOTS of hours in the day to fill, and that I’m almost 40, no college education, not much of anything that can go on a resume, and not satisfied with that. I’ve GOT to do something different about that, and I’ve held myself back from that for six years now.

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 RL

It’s My Birthday!

…and I’ll pout if I want to.
Snapshot_birthday_001

I have to cancel my party tonight.

It’s been an adventurous birthday to say the least. I was stranded for two days away from home, thanks to an ice storm making the roads between my workplace and my home impassable (except by the sturdiest of plow trucks). Today I knew the freezing rain would continue and I just wanted to get home to my husband and cat before it got worse. So this morning, when there was a break in it and the roads were a bit more cleared, I got behind the wheel and drove the ten or so miles.

One of the scariest drives I’ve ever made. I had to stop the car twice, put on the four-ways, and get out to clear the windshield of ice.

When I got through the door my husband was there and we just hugged and hugged. I feel an overwhelming urge to curl up in my bed and not get out until spring.

I logged on at last to find out that RL plans have caused several of my friends to not be on tonight. Some have last minute shopping to do, some are departing to see their RL families, some are dealing with ice storm problems of their own. So, I just decided, I’ll cancel the party and instead get a few pictures of my outlandish party dress I had gotten from Boudoir. Hope you like it.

Posted in entertainment, events, Lionheart, photos, RL, rp, updates, work in progress

I get to be Eleanor of Aquitaine!

My Eleanor of Aquitaine costume. For the upcoming Festival of King Richard, coming to Lionheart (where else?) in May.
My Eleanor of Aquitaine costume. For the upcoming Festival of King Richard, coming to Lionheart (where else?) in May.

I love “Archimides” so very much. My RL husband and life’s partner, he is often the voice of reason when I start to getting overwhelmed. Well, planning this festival in May was starting to overwhelm me and I was in full-on panic mode yesterday.

“So here’s what you do,” he said to me last night as we were retiring, “Get a handful of your very closest friends, the people you trust the most, and form a kind of committee. People you know will be there to handle things when you can’t be.”
Continue reading “I get to be Eleanor of Aquitaine!”

Posted in RL

RL Update

We got a call today; himself’s mom passed away early this morning.

I want to once again extend thanks on both our behalf, to everyone who helped make it possible for him to go to Ohio and see her.  It really means a lot that he got to visit with her and be at her side for a time, before her passing.  Her suffering and existing-without-living has come to an end, and there’s a kind of relief at that.

My long illness also seems to be coming to an end (not THAT kind of an end).  There’s still a cough but it’s a gazillion times better than it was.  Knock on wood, I may be finally on the mend.  I’m still not feeling very SL-ish lately, but who knows if I don’t pop in from time to time.