Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Linda Kellie - You Will Be Missed

I write this blog post, even without really ever getting to know her. However, her charity in freebies have given me an ability to work with things to help create skins  and model avatars with, as well as to help me in building my own places in OpenSim.  Without her work, yes, I do believe I would have had less in my life to help build inspiration, especially at a time when I could use it.  Does that mean I consider her a goddess? Nope.  But I do think heroine does aptly fit her.  I could go into the whole hero's journey to justify why, but I won't.  All I will say is that what she did that positively impacted the metaverse should be given its due merit. That she still has up her freebies for free use is also to her merit as well.

Are people that go about blogging their opinions bullies?  Depends.  It's one thing to critique, and expressing perspective while having facts straight and having an honest agreement or disagreement.  It's another thing to run people down with dishonest accusations and mischaracterizations.  This happens with business, religion, and politics alike.  I have confronted it in two places, even as a Christian among Christians.  Brotherhood takes on a whole different perspective when your 'brother' is calling you a heretic just for having a difference of opinion.  I have been called an extreme liberal by conservatives, and an extreme conservative by liberals - I find both mischaracterizations of who I am amusing at best, and sheer slander from the depths of Hell at worst.  Depends on how well I know the person, and what I feel their intentions are.  But to say it doesn't get to me at times would be lying.  I am, after all human, regardless what I dress my avatars up as.

For those reasons, my sympathies lay with Linda Kellie. I feel bad that I only spoke with her once in a comment on her blog and didn't take her up on her offer to visit her in SpotOn3D.  It was when I finally looked through my email today and worked on updating my premium membership there that I thought to see if she was around.  That's when I found her message on her profile there:

"I am not in any virtual worlds. I did not leave SpotOn3D because I didn't like it here. I loved it here. I hope you will too."

To me, it feels like she was driven from what she loved by the people who hated her.  Having been in that position a few times, both in real life and in Second Life, I can understand that sentiment all too well.  Even people that claim to be the great defenders against bullies show themselves for bullies and do more harm than good.  And yes, I do believe these people had been bullies and ruined it, not just for one person who felt forced to leave the virtual worlds she loved, but also her friends that cared for her.

Of course, people say that this is all 'just a game', that we shouldn't feel sorry for the RP of someone else.  Those are the people who just don't get it.  The metaverse is not a solely a game, not everyone out there is actively RPing in a fantasy setting. Some people interact in the metaverse in real ways, communicating with real people.  They aren't acting out a character for a story arc in a place like Midian or some Star Trek or Star Wars sim or region that is designated for such active story line RP.  Some people are just on there in their avatar to socialize and do a virtual business, or otherwise create, work, play, and communicate in other ways that have nothing to do with roleplaying. And to impose your roleplay on them and claim that is the only way that people can interact on the metaverse is absolutely intolerant and plain stupid. Worse is it is destructive to a human being.

Now I'm not saying I'm perfect and I haven't lashed out at people who have hurt me, actually personally hurt me both in a physical and virtual way.  It's part of our baser nature.  But here's the thing, just because it's part of our nature does not make it good.  There are reasons to hold your tongue, and one indicator that might have one thinking to do so by how much of an ass you felt after saying something.  Sometimes that's not even a good indication either.  Sadly, some people don't even have that sort of asshole indicator in their persona, or otherwise have been taught to ignore it, or even embrace it.  That is unfortunate, for the greatest of asshole is not merely from their words, actions, and deeds, but also in as much as they have no humility to admit when they are wrong and repent from being assholes.

Now, I hope that Linda Kellie, if she were to see this, as me using her name to rant.  It's not my intent.  I honestly feel bad about what happened to her and that I may not get a chance to meet her.  Honestly, I think that she would be someone I'd like to get to know. I just feel bad that the negative drama out there ruined it for here and ruined it for her friends.  I also hope that they find closure and can move on, and that if Linda Kellie does find her way back into the metaverse that she can find the joy that she had before, and much better.   My only advice is to ignore the bullies. Don't let them ruin all the good things and all the good friends that legitimately what to get to know you and see you for the person you are, rather than the persona that they perceive you as.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Imaginative Anarchy Under The Guise of Conservativism

I posted this as a commentary for the following article on The Imaginative Conservative blog here. It was mainly meant to critique on the opposite of a bloated big government, which would be anarchy - though apparently aligns in the article more with wanting bring about a monarchy and new serfdom. I figured I might as well post my comment here on my own blog, for anyone interested.

The Commentary 

Monarchies fought monarchies for power and to grab land from defeated foes.  How is this any different from conservative corporatism, where companies with the most amount of goods fight other companies for power and to grab the property of the companies that they run down and take over? If anything, the sort of conservatism proposed here just plays into the hand of the corporations, making them the new monarchies, while the rest of us become their serfs to no longer be controlled passively by commercial incentive and free market to persuade us of how good they are, but more directly because they privatized the world and put us all on 'term life policies'.

Plus, true democracy is not majority rule.  Populist democracy allows for another check and balance where, if our representatives are misrepresenting us, we can recall them, or put up initiatives to vote on in order to challenge the current policies made by representatives.   Being that it is in the constitution for states and local communities to have their own constitutions and charters, we do have freedom to shape our communities.  If you don't like a community, you can live on your own, or participate as little as possible in community involvement.  Self autonomy is simply self governing. And if you can't govern yourself, then you ought not have right to govern others, regardless of how long or short you're in an office to do so.

As it is, regardless of all this 'anacrhy conservatism', you still have your own community rules here, such as this:

"Please demonstrate a generous spirit in all comments. Comments deemed to violate a high standard of civility or which do not enhance discussion within the Imaginative Conservative community will not be published. Publishing of comments occurs after a brief delay while they await approval of the moderator."

How do you define a 'generous spirit'?  What is the 'high standard of civility' and who makes that judgement on the standard, not to mention whether or not a comment 'enhances discussion'?  The same old "who watches the watchmen" to which comes down regarding any form of government can also be applied here, in this Imaginative Conservative Community.

Obviously there is someone, or a group of someone's in charge here.  Do they follow a monarchy, a democracy, an oligarchy, an aristocracy?  If an anarchy, then how so, especially if any sort of governing system of policy is considered tyranny?  People either agree or disagree to participate in the Imaginative Conservative community, so how could it be anarchic when it compromises individual liberty to give a certain amount of control to the moderator(s) of this community?

I'm trying to be generous, and feel this is a written comment and critique made in the spirit of honesty and generosity.  People are entitled to their beliefs, and I can agree with some aspects of libertarian, but will not forsake a populist, constitutional democracy  and be thrown in the chains of a monarchy because people have abused the system. Neither will I give up my Christian beliefs and become an atheist just because of church and laity abuses.  This is the problem of anarchy in general - that all it seems to be about is giving up, and pretending to be independent while being enslaved by one's own selfishness.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Difference Between Virtual and Real Life costs - Dances

Virtual Dance Animations

-  Single dance animations: free - L$250 (US$1.32*).

-  Group dance animations: free within groups/clubs that make them available, up to L$10,000 (US$40.79*) for purchase of individual HUD packages.

- Investment: Depending on how much you go out virtually clubbing and value individual expression (as well as how you define individual expression and originality), the cost for the latest and greatest dance animations and/or packages can be considered a waste of money or priceless.  When starting out, the freebies are certainly entertaining, and a gateway into the virtual world of animation on the free and open metaverse.  Whether one ventures out to buy the more impressive commercial animations depends on the variables of whether one wants to shell out money for the particular commercial dance or package, or if they want to put in the time to learn a software program that is able to make poses and animations.

On the value of spending money on dances, the factor to consider is that, what is the latest and greatest US$40 package one day, may be resold some months or year or so down the road for at least half as much.  Cost of virtual goods always is a depreciating expense, and you're none the better for it beyond the basic experience that comes from using the animation(s).  However, if you put in the time, and possibly a bit of money invested into learning an animation software, or a multipurpose 3D program like Blender, you have learned a skill that has a certain amount of transferability into real life applications.

Real Life Dance Lessons

- Single/Individual Dance Lessons:  Depends on the instructor, but generally around US$45 - US$65 per hour lesson.

- Group Lessons: Depends on the group, but can be anywhere from free to US$12 per hour session.

- Investment:  For real life dance lessons, the investment is always personal. It's dependent upon what you value more. If you want  the individual attention of a professional instructor for the purposes of honing in on personal dancing skills for a particular dance style or method, then a personal instructor is the way to go.  However, if you are seeking a more social route to either learn the basics or just enjoy learning and improving skills among a peer group of dancers with similar interests in dancing, then group is much better.  Dancing in real life is a use it or lose it sort of deal.  Sure, as you grow older, depending on how one's health depreciates, so too will one's ability to dance depreciate.  However, if you have a passion for dancing, and are willing to commit to the cost of the lessons, for those that enjoy dancing, and work hard to maintain their health and physic as best as possible, the value is priceless.

The point is that your money goes to what you value.  If you're willing to shell out between US40 on up to nearly US$70 (which are fairly conservative estimates, both for virtual and real life), then that is your prerogative. Likewise is true if you prefer to put more time and effort into group/community oriented activities.  What shows, really, and maybe not entirely objectively, but objective enough that generally, the individual activities cost more in money.  The more group/community oriented cost more in time and effort.  This is what investors don't always get.  Well, aside from focusing on the family - often the wealthy, supposedly non-dysfunctional, practically a fantasy family that goes to Church at least every Sunday -, the Dave Ramseys of the world just don't get why community projects and experience is important.  Either that, or they are to focused on partisan politics and counting their money to care about real people beyond a superficial monetary 'need' - and I use the tern 'need' rather loosely here.

*  All exchange to US$ currency is according to current SL lindex Buy L$ calculations as of 8-15-2012, 11:15AM PST.

The information on real life dance prices comes from the web page info Cost in Learning to Dance from the Kansas City Social Dance website, Copyright © 1999. Therefore, current prices may vary.

Monday, August 13, 2012

The Alternative August Update

So what am I doing instead of RP?  Well, various things.  But I'll list them as follows:

1. Haven (Your World!)

It's a relatively new Opensim grid that I find has lots of potential.  It makes me think of the motto that SL used to have of 'Your world, your imagination!'  I suppose it wasn't considered a well targeted slogan, since they have gone to promoting people being a vampire, or a werewolf - something preconceived by what they want you to think you want, or is popular, rather than actually a call to use your imagination.  For that reason, I choose to support Haven and seek to help make a wonderful world within it.  And there are lots of reasons to do so. One of them is the affordability of their premium accounts and regions of land. The prim tier that Haven has is so affordable, it makes the land prices in SL look insanely bloated and overpriced.

2. Craft World

Craft is another new and small Opensim grid that I highly recommend visiting.  You might see me there working on my free home.

3. 3rd Rock Grid

 Remaining my main homestead on the Opensim metaverse, 3rd Rock Grid has a few projects I'm trying to promote.  For one, I continue to develop Jack's Hill, seeking to make it a place where I can relax, as well as accommodate  for a particular creative community that's been of interest to me since I first began in Second Life.  That would be the neko community.  This is prevalent in all grids I'm in in the metaverse, as I'm always a feline hybrid of some sort, be it a cheetah, a tiger, or a leopard.

A more current project is that with trying to bring a presence of Singularity Tribe onto 3RG.  Alexi Ayres has often been an encouraging and inspiring friend for me in SL. I first met her in Tendai while involved with the Combat: Samurai Island community.  From there, I followed her while she was active with Happy Clam and Organica. One night, we were talking about core principles, to which, with the help of others on SL, brought about Singularity Tribe.  I hope to bring about this same creative community in 3RG.  Maybe could expand to the other grids some day, but it's enough of a project to get things started in 3RG first.  Not everyone is interested in Opensim, and grid hopping seems scary at first. So it's one step at a time. First thing's first, was acquiring the Singularity Tribal Land. The basic concepts I've been considering is a natural stage, much like the Gorge at George.  There could even be a portal for a second venue in the sky, a sort of treeship/organic space station with a DJ central hub in the middle.

While I hadn't had a chance to participate a whole lot in the 3RG Virtual Games, I do want to be more active in how I participate on the grid.  Particularly of interest is The Parthenon. It just looks like an incredible venue.  Maybe it could be a place for Singularity to hold flash mobs or raves at. Or it could be a music hall for live performances. Maybe even use it as a theatre for movies or a play, hell, even a comedian or some other live performer - sort of like a 3RG Apollo Theatre style scene or something.

Anyways, these are a few of the things I have going on in the metaverse that I'm seeking to help bear some fruit and flow out in a hypergrid stargate with positive vibes.

Update August 2012

Yeah, I know the title isn't all that innovative, and might not 'sizzle' or attract an audience.  That's never been the purpose for this blog anyways.  If it started out as anything, it first was to express opinions that I couldn't at the time on Flickr without the Midian thought police at the time looking for a way to shut me down.  The ban at the time, around early 2010 RLAD, had effectively shut me out of the city's streets, but it didn't shut me up about the inequities and problems of the day.  They tried to on Flickr, but they couldn't when I moved here.  And effectively, that shut them up.

And then Auntie lifts the ban off of both Ioh and Luke. So now what?

Two years has changed Midian quite a bit.  Jade is no longer the owner, or at least not the main owner, if at all.  Apocalypse, Leviathan, and that hard to pronounce 'Q' - those three regions are all gone. Hybrid factions, including the Catwalkers all seem to be gone.  A good portion of the people that caused drama at the time of my ban are gone.  Some who were perceived drama people at the time have, or so I've been told, either taken up leadership roles or are friends of the new owners of Midian.

What does this all mean?

Good question.

Those that have moved on from Midian, this doesn't mean a whole lot.  The predictions seem to be running their course that indeed Midian has fallen, and may indeed finally go out in a slow and painful death.  So why should anyone that's left or been banned decide to return?  What would be the point, especially if your mind and heart are no longer in it - and especially if you feel better for it?

Truth is, there is no real or good reason to return to Midian, especially if you are tired of or no longer are interested in RP, or at least not the style of RP that has gone on in Midian.  There's plenty of 'dark' urban and post apocalyptic types of RPs out there.  They all generally do the same thing and appeal to the same sort of people that run around in those types of circles.  Once they've drained up the patience of RPers in one region or estate with their constant need for and craving of that addictive side of drama, these people just go on to pillage and plunder elsewhere.  It's funny how they often tend to be the loudest voices and claim to be the ultimate RPer and supporter of a specific region - that is, until the well has dried up and they no longer can get the high they crave from the place they had been oh so loyal to.

And I'll admit, I fell into that trap.  For nearly three years, I was loyal to Midian, for a couple years to NoR, CoLA, and DCS, for a year to Everwind, and a several months to Perdition, Cranberry Cove, and Covenant.  In the beginning, it was performance and enjoying a sense of creative productivity akin to ad lib, or free form/improvisational acting.  At least, those were the more high-minded reasons for getting into RP. That and a belief that such RP would lead to better writing, even creating a collaborative community to experiment on character and story development, having a real time experience of the story arc, and creating the future of fiction though 'living' through it in a more 'realistic' sense.

Sure, some of that was there.  There were people that were creative and claimed, if not actually were involved, in making their own stories.  Who knows?  Maybe there was someone who was a published author, or seeking publication within the mix of the RP population.  But, the words (paraphrased) of Stephen King about what makes a writer of fiction, in that those who want to write, ought write, always stood out.  In that sense, if you want to write to get published, you actually write with the intent to get published.  Still should work in the real world and try to find a day (or night) job to sustain yourself until you become published and can manage to gain enough of an audience or prominence in author circles that your writing becomes self-sustainable.  And let's face it, nothing in our wildest dreams or insane 'creativity' in a virtual world can compare to the real time activity in the real world around us.  Certainly, the risk is greater - particularly if your insane enough to get married in this day and age of no fault divorce and a marriage license being as easily made revocable as a driver's license, and then expect for someone to actually stay with you until death do us part.  As crazy as SL prices are for virtual goods (I'm sorry, US$40 for 52 animations to make your avatar twirl around, dance, and act drunk is insane), real goods in real life are just as insane, and have a greater impact on society as a whole than your whining over not looking like the hottest tart and/or trashiest bitch in the metaverse.  Cry me a river, and, if you could, let that and your bloated ego go to Eggo Waffles and helping out those starving and dying of thirst in the real world because of our excessive culture's political problems and planetary policing with population control for their ultimate end game scenario.

If I learned anything from Second Life and RP, it would be that what goes on in the virtual world mimics the real world.  And I don't want this to mean a negative either.  It's just what is.  And it should not be reduced to wicked and evil things, but considered in good and noble things as well.  If the real world has the good, the bad, and the ugly, so too does the virtual world have the good the bad and the ugly.  There are people out there that want to create a wonderful, honorable, and virtuous real and virtual world that can be shared by all who inhabit it. But there are also people out there that just want to stick with the status quo of vices, prejudices, hatred, fear mongering, and all that is wrong with the world. But this tale of two cities has gone on before Charles Dickens, before Dante's Divine Comedy (which actually split it between Hell, Purgatory, and Heaven), and even before St. Augustine's City of God, which was also sometimes referred to as a tale of two cities. For the Egyptians had the underworld of Duat and heavenly fields of Aaru. The Hebrews that the Jews came from had Sheol and Pardes (the divine orchard/garden, or 'Paradise'/Heaven, as translated and understood in English). Even the Greeks had Hades and Makarion Nesos, which is much like the Irish/Gaelic ifreann and Innisfail- or the Isle of Destiny to which Ireland to this day continues to claim as its true destiny as a great and noble land.  One could say that all this entails everything from human hubris to Manifest Destiny, and that ever looming Emperialism to which Corporatism and Statism have become the heirs of, for better or (more likely) for worse.

Now, don't get me wrong. I have nothing against destiny. I do distrust corporate and state destinies in as much as both are devastating to both our independent and collective destinies as individual humans and the whole of humanity.  They can be good, when they are set to work for the people, and not against them - when they serve man, rather than enslave us.  And this too is true about our virtual world. For indeed there are both the cultures cultivated there for both the ends and purposes of serving and enslaving those who participate in them.  The same goods and the same evils grow together, and do what they do under the same real and virtual suns.  And they both work to prove they are right, or hold the greatest might, in similar manners under both lights.

So what does this all mean?

I suppose it's meaningless to some, and meaningful to others. Still others might be on the fence, just trying to figure out where they fit in, if anywhere at all.  For me, the meaning matters when you're willing to make it so.  When you're willing to reach for your destiny, you find meaning, and necessity to prevent others from denying it from you.  Otherwise, if you don't give a damn, you don't care whether you are damned or not, and certainly care not if you, or anyone else goes to Hell.  Further, if you know not either way, it all seems a damned shame to be so troubled and Hell-bent either way.  So why be pulled, or let either take sway?

Maybe some day.

Somewhere, between Heaven and Hell, there is a middle ground.  But this lukewarm lake is neither safe or sound.  It might as well just be a slow boil or swell.  All paths may lead to Rome, but the many wide and winding paths, even those of good intentions can also lead to Hell.  No one ever said that the way to Paradise would be easy.  And keeping that garden and cultivating it is certainly a chore as well.  Living a good and fruitful life (not the good and glamorous 'rock star' life) is difficult, but comes with greater rewards than material riches and wealth can ever provide. To find and prosper in it, whether in the real or virtual life, takes a lot of work and patience.  It also takes discerning what is worthwhile to do and coming to terms as to why.

For these reasons, I find it hard to RP.  It never settled right with me the Midian motto of 'no heroes'. It never made sense to completely focus on the 'dark' and mockingly mimic the light.  It is also reprehensible to me to claim that the night must always be something frightening and bleak, and the day merely just a matter of the court of shades of gray.  There had been rays of hope, here and there, for a fuller story with a truer realism that has nothing to do with banishing ears and tails, but rather coming to a much better understanding of fantasy and fairy tales and their purpose, rather than making them a narrow and bigoted blueprint.

If someone could reason to me why I should honestly and earnestly have hope for Midian, I may take another look at it some day.  But for now, I would rather work on taking charge of my own destiny, and worry about my own lot in life.  I just can't reason putting myself back into that virtual city and its real strife.

As for other places, if you don't believe that any RP can devolve into these things, it may be time for you to get real and get a life.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Cat Napping And OpenSim Chatting

Already said it all here:


Might as well shot the pic here as well, in case you don't want to hear my babblings about SL, OpenSim, and whatnot.