Tuesday, July 27, 2010

I hope my sense of humour comes across in this one...

I just had a really nice weekend.  My husband, who has been away for the past two months working, came home for the weekend, finally.  This was an unexpected and pleasant surprise.  

Saturday morning, I made some espresso and was looking forward to sitting down together to catch up and make some plans for the weekend.  I could tell from the moment he came down the stairs that something was "off" with him and I couldn't figure out why.

We talked at length about his work, some exciting things going on with that, some stresses, and he told me about how he found another musician to have mini jam sessions with on the weekends.  He then asked me how I was doing.  Naturally, I filled him in on some work projects, some stuff about the kids and I started to tell him about a poem I was working on that I was going to read at a spoken word event in-world.

This is when our conversation took a bad turn and my husband, in my opinion, flew off the handle so to speak.  

My excitement about the poem, and the fact that I as being supported by an experienced poet/writer, was completely kicked to the curb because of two words...Second Life.  

We ended up spending the next 20 minutes arguing about how he was missing us so much and that he has to be all alone all these weeks and when he comes home to visit us, I'm talking about Second Life.  I mentioned it one time, which was really a moot point anyways, since Second Life just happens to be the venue for reading my poem, and not the actual point.  If I could go to the "real" poetry readings at the cafe across the street from us, I would be there!  But it's hard to do that because I work full-time, I'm caring for our two children, and I don't feel like paying a babysitter so I could go out and do something that I could do from home for free with my laptop.  I swear, in those 20 minutes, he said "Second Life" at least 15 times, while in the same breath telling me he didn't want to come home after missing us so much and talk about Second Life.  Hello!!!  You're the one talking about it, not me!

I don't want to paint a bad picture of my husband.  He is a beautiful, creative person with a hilarious dark sense of humour.  I know it's been hard for him to away from us these past two  months, but I felt that he went a little overboard with his argument. 

I was surprised by all of this because under normal circumstances, he is happy to give me my space to do what I do in SL and it has not been an issue.  One time, he even hooked up my laptop to the big tv so I could watch the Avatar Repertory's production of Alice in WonderSLand with our kids.  

It all ended ok, and we ended up having a good heart to heart about what was really bothering him.  I totally understand that he misses us, we miss him too.  But I admit that it never occurred to me that it must be very lonely for him without us, and missing your family and being lonely for an extended period of time is enough to make an emotional wreck out of anyone.  I have our children with me to keep me occupied, so loneliness is not such a huge factor for me.  I also have my blind spots too and even after 12 years of marriage, I can't read his mind.  

And after I pointed out to him that his quick dismissal of my poem and writing hurt my feelings, he apologized for snapping at me.  

He still may not completely understand what I get out of SL, and maybe he still thinks it's a silly game.  But don't the vast majority of people misunderstand Second Life?

Perhaps I could go on a mission to present Second Life in a different light to the masses, to make them understand that it's not just a stupid game that is full of adultery, weird sex fetishes, sadness, discontent and people who are generally unhappy in their lives or that it's just a big old waste of time.  But I don't feel like being a SL ambassador because I am here to have a good time and to find and do things that fulfill and enhance my mental/emotional/spiritual well-being in my Life.  It's not my job to change other peoples impressions, and ultimately, I just don't give a shit what they all think.

I do however, give a shit about what my husband thinks and how he feels.  So when I first received his text message last friday afternoon saying he was on his way home, the first thing I did when I logged in that evening was let my friends know that I wasn't going to be in-world over the weekend, that I couldn't work my SL job, attend any meetings, the items I received for review would have to wait, and I definitely wasn't going to have time to work on that poem for the open mic at Blue Angel Poet's Dive on Sunday night.  

I didn't think twice about dropping all those plans because it was the right thing to do, and because I love my husband and want to spend time with him.  

I wonder if he realizes how much sacrifices I make in my SLife for him?


Friday, July 23, 2010

Emerald is my new BFF

Last night, I finally reached my boiling point with viewer 2.1. It's taken me a long time, but really, I'm up to my eyeballs in frustration, and I'm finally jumping off the bandwagon. 

I can live with the annoying extra clicks, the slide out sidebar, the smaller and less noticeable notification boxes, but I do have two huge complaints with viewer 2.1:

  1. Search doesn't work AT ALL.  Nothing but an empty black box comes up when I open search.
  2. My wireless connection cuts off when I use 2.1.  Someone told me that this sounds like a firewall issue.
I'm not at all tech savvy, I have a MacBook and I have never had to install a firewall on it.  I have no idea where to even start to remedy this problem.  I'm quite used to being incompatible with a lot of applications/programs because I'm a Mac user, but this time I have to throw my arms up with frustration because I have never had this problem with the old viewer.  I guess I could research the problem and find a way around it, but I don't have time to search the forums or google up information because I'm busy at work (but not too busy to blog this,haha).  And when I'm not at work, I'd rather be doing other things, like playing with my kids, instead of digging thru thousands of search hits so I could figure out how or if I can use the new viewer. 

Every single time I log in with 2.1, my wireless connection cuts off.  Sometimes I can be logged in for an hour or two, but most times, I'm logged in not even two minutes before it happens.  I log in again, and the same things happens over and over.  The end result is that I usually end up practically slamming my poor innocent laptop shut out of frustration and I and watch tv instead. 

This really sucks because contrary to popular opinion, I actually like and want to use viewer 2.1.  I love the new alpha layers, the ability to create outfit folders that link to my items rather than having to copy them, I like the back and forward browser like buttons, the shared media, and the option of changing my camera view from back, side or front.  I tell you, when I first discovered that new feature, I was endlessly amused watching my avatar walk from a front view.  Silly, I know, but little things make me happy.

Ya, I know, there are a lot of valid complaints about 2.1, but I don't mind the extra clicking or the dreaded slide out sidebar.  Yet, I hope that that in future updates all of these things will be fixed.  This kind of stuff I can live with and even retrain my SL viewer habits just because I love the new features so much.  Maybe if I was a hardcore builder or creator, I would feel differently. 

But those things aren't preventing me from enjoying my time in SL the way the absence of a search feature that actually works does, and the fact that my laptop hates viewer 2.1 apparently as much as everyone else does.  If my MacBook didn't dislike 2.1 so much, even just the absence of a working search feature is enough to deter me from logging in with 2.1.  I use the search feature way too often to go without it. 

My bottom line is, I am tired of waiting for an update that will fix these problems,and I'm not going to spend my precious spare time researching how or if i can get my laptop to call a truce with 2.1.  I especially hate to waste my time on that when I know there are other viewers out there that are perfectly compatible with my beloved MacBook. 

So, as a result, I have turned to the Emerald viewer for relief.  I started using Emerald more because unlike the old viewer, it is still being updated, it is stable, my MacBook agrees with it, and the search feature actually works, complete with events listings.  Excited as I was about all those cool new features of 2.1, I'll have to put that on the back burner.  Emerald does the job and you know what?  It's starting to grow on me, and I may even be developing an unexpected fondness and attachment to the darned thing.  Emerald is quickly becoming my new best friend.

Still, I miss all those linked outfit folders I created, the tattoo layers, make up options, invisiprim-less shoes, shared media, and inconspicuous notifications and all those other things that were presented as being so appealing in 2.1.  All those little things don't add up to much when I can't even stay logged in for more than an hour before I get cut off.  Sorry 2.1, I thought we would be good friends but it seems we just aren't compatible. 

Now, you can call me crazy, but after having said all that, I have to admit that I still have a teeny tiny glimmer of hope for 2.1, and maybe, just maybe, I'll be able to use it again someday. 

Oh well.  Hope springs eternal, I guess. 

Friday, July 16, 2010

Random Nonsense

Friday, and I'm literally sweating my ass off!  This heat wave is intense and although I have air conditioning, it's not cooling off my entire house.  The a/c is old and it's about as effective as an old man blowing air.  I spend my time at home with my fan blowing directly on me and my laptop, keeping us both cool.

This week in SL has been fun and busy for me.  I got a few things done, I started a job as a hostess at my friend Experience's bar, and I made some new connections.  It's been a great week.

Last night, I was hanging with some friends chatting and somehow the topic of vampires in SL always seems to come up, particularly when there is a noob around.  I have nothing against vampires, but I wish someone would have warned me about the dangers of being bitten by a roaming vampire.  What is it with these vampires that prey on unsuspecting noobs?

Back when I was a noob, maybe a couple of weeks old, I got bit by a vampire.  You see, already, I got myself into the habit of quickly dismissing all those notices that kept popping up in the blue dialogue box on my screen.  How many times have we all done that?  You accidentally click 'yes' or 'ok' on those blue boxes like a reflex before you even read what it says. Well, one day a vampire sent me a request to let them bite me and that's what I did.  I ended up clicking on 'yes' and didn't even know what I had done.

It's not like being bitten has had any detrimental effects on my SLife.  I never would have even known about it if it wasn't for my friend Ty, who had joined a vampire clan and one day decided to inspect me with his vampire hud inspection thing.  Sorry, I have no idea what it's called.  Anyway, he told me that I already had a vampire bite and that my avatar soul was in eternal limbo - unless I contacted the vampire who bit me and asked her something about getting the wormwood potion to release my soul from lala land, or wherever the hell it had disappeared to.   He told me her name, I looked her up and based on her profile, I surmised that she didn't speak a word of English!  I don't speak a word of French, so I haven't bothered to get in touch with her.

You're probably wondering why I am telling you this story.  I'm telling you this because this whole thing makes me laugh because I'm generally a very laid back person, it takes a lot to get me mad.  But every single time discussion turns to the topic of vampires, I get all pissed off because my poor avatar soul is in eternal limbo and I DIDN'T EVEN KNOW IT!  Now my soul is eternally drifting off somewhere in cyber space doing God knows what.  And for all I know, my soul could become eternally damned should I accidentally click yes on one of those notification requests again.  I think I should start getting into the habit of reading those before I dismiss them.

But, as pissed off as I get about this, I'm too stubborn to pay the $250L to buy that wormwood potion.  Maybe I'll learn some French and make that evil vampire buy it for me.

Am I ridiculous or what?

P.S:  Thank you to my new friend Daisy...you're the first person I've talked to who feels the same way I do! We had a good laugh about this didn't we?  May our avatar souls will float off in limbo together LOL

Comtemplating Art in SL

I had quite an enjoyable time in SL the other night. It started out when I decided, for no particular reason, to log in with my alt account. It had been months since I logged in as her and I thought it was about time I take her out again.

Whatever region I was in when I last logged out, no longer existed, so I was moved to a nearby region which turned out to be one of those new Chat Hotspots. I was there not even a few minutes when I struck up a conversation with a nearby avatar, who just happened to also be in my city, Toronto.

After chatting a little bit, I decided to log out and log back in as Carrie and take my new friend, PrettyBoyFloyd, to the SL version of Yonge/Dundas Square, since he had never been there. Yonge/Dundas Square is kind of like Canada’s version of Times Square in New York City, but on a way smaller scale. It's basically the busiest intersection in dowtown Toronto, and has various events going on all throughout the year.

We explored a little, took a ride on the trolley, and then headed over to my favourite Toronto landmark, the CN Tower. It’s kind of neat and a little surreal to visit a place in SL that I pass by every day on my way to work.
Now that’s not such a big deal, I’ve met a few people in SL who live in Toronto. But what’s really cool is that I mentioned to PrettyBoy that in my neighbourhood, there is a small café that occasionally has SL events. The cool part…he has actually been to these events. 

It turns out that PrettyBoy's friend, SL resident Genevieve Silvercloud, is a Toronto artist who sells her art at a small artsy coffee shop in my neighbourhood. She sometimes organizes mixed reality SL events there too. The last event that I know of, SL musician Maximillion Kleene performed as well...performing in RL at the cafe and streaming it live into SL.

We also went to take a look at Genevieve’s in-world art studio where she displays images of her RL art.  

I’m told that Genevieve sometimes streams live video into her SL studio of her working on her art in RL.  

After some searching, I found this video of Genevieve painting on stage in SL with Maximillion Kleene performing, and streaming live video of her RL self painting. 

This fascinates me…artists/performers bridging the gap between RL and SL, and all the different ways people use SL for creative expression.

This lead me to all kinds of thoughts...what defines art in SL? what about SL performers/musicians, and even bloggers/writers....is that creative expression considered art?

I don't know the answers to those questions and maybe they are silly questions to ask. I'm a social worker for God's sakes, I don't know anything about art! But I can certainly appreciate the use of SL as a creative muse and artistic medium. This is a topic that I admit to knowing very little about, but my interest in it has been sparked. I will definitely be exploring this subject more and we'll see what kind of opinions of my own I come up with.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Blue Angel Poet's Dive

Last night I attended the weekly open mic night at the Blue Angel Poet's Dive.  I first read about the event over on Chestnut Rau's blog.  I think this event is going to become a Sunday evening ritual for me. 

I haven’t been to a poetry reading in years, so attending last night’s event in SL brought back a lot of memories for me. The poetry that was shared was beautiful, intense and powerful, and I loved every minute of it. I’m already looking forward to attending next Sunday.

While I was sitting and listening, I was reminded of a time in my life when I used to attend literary events and I even used to read my poetry aloud. That seems like such a long time ago. Was that even me? As I sat and stared at my computer screen, I felt a deeply buried but oh so familiar desire stirring within me to get up to that mic and bare my soul through my words. 

I haven’t written any new poems in years, and I don’t even know if I have it in me anymore. I felt like such an amateur sitting next to all those poets and real writers.

After I logged out, I dug out some of my old notebooks. It was kind of surreal to read through my old stuff written in my girlish handwriting. Things I wrote about so long ago…but the emotion that came off the page as I read each poem felt just as raw as ever.

I feel like those words are begging to be read aloud, they deserve to be heard.

As much as I want to get up there and share my poetry, the thought of doing so makes my heart race. I’m feeling some old feelings of not being good enough. But, I think my desire to read my words aloud is greater than all those not good enough feelings…I’m sure of that.  

If I was able to get past those feelings of inadequacy once before to read my poems to a crowd, I should be able to do it again in SL, shouldn’t I?
Weird. Just when you think you've conquered some of your demons, they creep up on you seemingly out of nowhere.