Monday, May 30, 2011

169 of 365: What's the point?

Note:  This was supposed to be my post for yesterday, but since Blogger was down again, the post goes up today.  Also, I forgot to send my photo before I left home this morning, so I'll add that later.

***************************************

So, I have this friend who kind of gets on my nerves.  I mentioned her before in this post.  She's the wife of my husbands best friend and sometimes business partner, and while there are some things that I do like about her, she really gets on my nerves most of the time, and she knows it.


On the other hand, she is always available when I need a babysitter at the last minute, or for example when my daughter got sick at school and I couldn't pick her up right away, when I need help with something, or anything really.  She does have some redeeming qualities in that she is very funny and usually has some good practical parenting advice - her kids are older than mine, so I appreciate any wisdom anyone has to offer me.  She also loves my children and is like an auntie to them. 


Still, I get annoyed when she pesters me on Saturday night to go out on the town with her and I have to say "No" over and over again.  No means no, not maybe, or I'll think about it.  So she resorts to saying things like "why, is it because you'd rather stay home and play that game, Second Life?"  


Me:  "We're probably going to watch a movie, but yes, I will most likely log into Second Life at some point in the evening"


Her:  "I just don't get what you like so much about that game, what's the point of it?"


Now I won't bore you with the rest of our conversation, but let's just say that at this point, I don't try to explain to her anymore what I get out of Second Life, or what the point of it is.  I figure if you are in my life and you don't know by now, or if you can't just accept that SL is a part of my Life, well, that's not my problem to worry about.  So just STFU about it already. 


It still does bother me though the odd time she brings this up and I wonder why is everyone so demanding of finding THE POINT to something or anything really?


I enjoy Second Life for the same reasons anyone else would sit down in front of the television to watch a movie, or read a good book in the park on a warm sunny day and be whisked away in some magical story, or spend time in their studio making music, or working on a creative project, or perhaps going out dancing on a Saturday night with friends.  Because for just a little while, I can temporarily slow down, relax and immerse myself in something that makes me feel good, and maybe even create something beautiful.

(photo taken at Milvus, see previous post for slurl)

Why must this be reduced to a single point?


So now I'm just complaining, I know.  I also had a particularly bad week at work, today I am sore and stiff as a board from a 4 hour bike ride yesterday, and this particular little annoyance about finding "the point" is an easy target for my frustrations.  


Well, now I got it out, end of story.  I do feel a little better now. 


Thanks for listening.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

168 of 365: Koinup, and a place called Milvus

Not that long ago I signed with Koinup, which is basically social network dedicated to virtual worlds where you can share your photos, videos and machinima of your virtual life.  I'm still finding my way around the site, but I have started uploading some photos, making some contacts,  and so far I like it. 


Not only is it a great way to share your virtual world photos/machinima, it is an amazing resource for finding new places to explore in Second Life and other virtual worlds. 


My username over there is is SheBear, if you would like to come check it out, or if you are already a member, please add me to your contacts. :))




It was through Koinup that I learned about Milvus, a dark yet strangely beautiful place in Second Life.  It is a private home, however the owners welcome visitors to come and enjoy the landscape.  




I think I may have went a little overboard on Photoshop with the photos, but hey, I like it, so there.


Friday, May 27, 2011

Thursday, May 26, 2011

166 of 365: 1000 Avatars Book

I had the real pleasure of chatting with Gracie Kendal tonight when I popped by her 1000 Avatars Project in-world.  




1000 Avatars will be available as a 160 page softcover book and if you are interested, you can pre-order your autographed copy before May 31, 2011 - a few days left.


I'm so happy to have participated in this exciting project that illustrates online anonymity and the creative expressions of ourselves as avatars in the virtual world.  


I tried finding my portrait on the wall, but I was way too busy chatting and having a good time to cam through all the portraits.


I'll wait I have my copy in my hands to enjoy all the portraits. :))



Wednesday, May 25, 2011

165 of 365: Ebony Coast

There's a place in Second Life called Ebony Coast which is the home of Interior Addiction and Second Architecture.  I don't have much more information other than that, and that it is a very picturesque place that is reminiscent of a lush and rich Carolinian Marsh.  


A great place to spend some time taking pictures and exploring.







Tuesday, May 24, 2011

164 of 365


Not much to say today.  It's the first back at work after a three day weekend.  Tired all day, which is my own fault because i got used to sleeping in for the last three days.  


I was bummed out because I thought it was Monday, but then I remembered that it's Tuesday, which means tomorrow is hump day and the countdown to Friday begins.  


Gotta love four day work weeks.

Monday, May 23, 2011

163 of 365: The kidz in the 'hood

We dug our bikes out of storage today, tuned them up, put air in the tires and had some fun in the big empty parking lot next door that is adorned with a mixture of wall murals and graffiti.   


I'm convinced that we live in the coolest neighbourhood in the city, and noone can tell me otherwise ;p

Sunday, May 22, 2011

162 of 365: Poets and Bouncing Boobs...

I love that every time I show up at the Blue Angel Poets Dive, I have one more "happy yellow dot" (as Crap says) on my mini-map.  Makes me feel loved.  Awwww.


I read two poems at the Blue Angel tonight.  They weren't new poems, but Ulrich is always on my case about reading there, as he should be, so I obliged.  I have some new poems brewing and when I am ready to part with them, I will read them aloud at Blue Angel.  




I never stay after the poetry to dance on the bar, but tonight I couldn't miss the chance to shake my booty up there with Crap and Persephone.  I forgot I had put that Phoenix Avatar physics attachment on earlier today, just to try it out....i was quite literally shaking my stuff up there!  How embarrassing.  It's funny how I felt myself blushing for real when I realized my pixel boobs were moving, and moving a lot...practically flopping.   Excuse me while I go crawl in a cave and die of embarrassment now. 


/me puts the Avatar Physics attachment away deep into inventory...


Good times.


I don't have much more to say tonight, so I'll leave you with a video of one of my favourite Canadian bands of all time, The Tragically Hip.  "Poets", a tongue in cheek rockin' tune.  Enjoy.



BTW, if you don't already know about it and are interested, live spoken word poetry takes place every Sunday at 5pm slt at the Blue Angel Poets Dive.  It's the longest running poetry event in SL.  

161 of 365: Some new windlight settings

I love playing with windlight settings.  Sometimes I create my own windlight settings, sometimes I might tweak some presets and sometimes I just use a preset as it is.  


The Phoenix Viewer has some new windlight presets that I have been having some fun with:







The presets are called Orac by Oracolo Janus and there are ten of them.


If you're not on the Phoenix Viewer, which they come preinstalled in, you can download the zip files for the presets here.  If by any chance you need help installing the presets into your viewer, you can find the instructions here (scroll down to 'installation').


And if you're worried that you won't do it right, or you will mess something up in the process, take comfort in knowing that if even I could do it without breaking anything, then so can you ;)

Friday, May 20, 2011

160 of 365: Totem

I made a new friend tonight.  If I wasn't so busy chatting, I would have a photo of me and my new friend to show you.  I do however, have a picture of this Totem that my new friend directed me too.  

I think it finally gave me some inspiration to do something with my place.  It fits quite well I think.  Piper Point is Pacific Northwest themed and what's a the Pacific Northwest without a totem?

:))


Thursday, May 19, 2011

159 of 365: Our Place in the Cosmos by Pixel Sideways

"Our Place In The Cosmos" is an immersive visual effects installation by Pixels Sideways, featuring an original music score and video compilation by John Boswell of Symphony of Science. This multimedia project is designed to present knowledge and philosophy through music. Ride the Cosmic Zen Bubble, see views from the Cosmos Viewing Stations and explore the sky. Open through May 22"



Wednesday, May 18, 2011

158 of 365: Sometimes you just have to wing it

I think I mentioned somewhere here in the last few weeks that I was feeling low on inspiration for my 365 photos.  Part of that was not having enough time, being frustrated, and maybe even bored with my normal Photoshop routine - crop, blur, throw a frame on.  It gets repetitive after awhile.


I started looking at a lot of video tutorials, I got a book for Photoshop Elements, and both have been helpful.  However, I have found that I am happiest with my end results when I close the books, turn off the video tutorials and just wing it and try different things.  


Book smarts are good, but there is nothing that can replace the experience you gain in trying new things, taking chances, and seeing where it takes you.  


I trust that you all know me well enough by now to know that I'm not just talking about editing SL photos when I say that :))




Photo taken at Daytime Dreams in Second Life.  Scultpure is by Bryn Oh.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

157 of 365: "Art Rules Disrupted...The Chess Revolution" by Shellina Winkler



More stuff about my RL that has nothing to do with SL

I gave up a long time ago trying keep my RL out of this blog.  Come to think of it, did I ever try to keep it separate?  Too much work for me, and besides, my RL is far more interesting than my SL, I think. 

Anyway...

Five years ago today, we welcomed my son into the world. He was born contrary to the gentle home waterbirth we had planned, by emergency c-section, in what was probably the most frightening day of my life.

I’m not going to write about his birth story, except to say that it was traumatic, and dangerous. My son and I both made it through safely, but I’m not even sure if I am completely over the disappointment of not having the homebirth I envisioned. That’s another story though.


I haven’t had a wedding ring in five years. During the surgery, by body swelled up like a balloon because of the medicine pumping through my system, so the nurses had to cut my wedding ring off my finger. It was returned to us, but somehow in all the chaos of recovering from major abdominal surgery, dealing with hospital bills, navigating our way through a foreign health care system, and of course looking after baby, I lost my wedding ring.

At the time, my wedding ring was the least of our concerns. We were in a foreign country, with a sick and vulnerable newborn and a 3.5 year old that had quickly regressed back into toddler behaviour like peeing the bed and having tantrums - all normal stuff that comes with the addition of a new baby. My husband and I hardly gave any thought to the lost ring. He has a wedding ring, but has never worn it because of his work. He is an electrician working with high voltage electricity, and a wedding band on his finger is a work hazard. So, I just never thought it was a big deal to not have a ring on my finger.

Not that I didn’t cherish my wedding ring and it’s symbolism of our commitment to each other. I just knew that I didn’t need a ring to make me feel secure about that. So, for the last five years, I have gone without a wedding band.

About a month ago, my daughter came to me with a ring sizer. I asked what she was doing when she was slipping it on my finger, trying different sizes, and she said she just found it in a box. I kind of thought they were up to something, but when Mother’s Day came and went, and I didn’t get a ring, I thought no more of it.

Mornings in my home are usually a little hectic. Sometimes there is some shouting, and when my husband is around, I get annoyed with him messing up my morning routine. I was feisty with him when I left today because I was annoyed about something that is really not a big deal, but it was just one of those mornings. You know how it is sometimes.

After a whirlwind of dropping my kids off at the babysitter on time, finding my way through morning rush hour, almost throwing my cell phone out the window because it wouldn’t stop ringing, I arrived at my office, and couldn’t wait to get to my desk so I could have a break from running around like a crazy lady all morning.

I entered my cubicle to find a bouquet of flowers and a small package with a notecard on it saying “after five years, it’s about time…”


It’s not a traditional wedding band, but that's okay because we are far from traditional anyways.  It’s an 8 karat gold ring with an opal stone that my mother-in-law gave me before she passed away. Apparently, Germany is the only place they use 8 karat gold for rings because the metal is harder. As with all things German, it is  built to last. The ring has been sitting in my jewellery box for about 10 years, so long that I didn't even notice that it has been missing for the past few weeks. Opal is my birth stone, so it is perfect I think.

After 13 years together, my husband still continues to surprise and delight me when I least expect it.  Even when he is driving me nuts and I think I can’t take any more, I still look at him and can’t help but think how lucky I am to have him.

Today is an extra special celebration for my son and for our family, and it’s going to be a great one.


Monday, May 16, 2011

156 of 365: Turning off my internal censor

I have been writing a lot. I have one finished poem that I am ready to part with, however, my strict internal censor that I blogged about yesterday, has been keeping me from sharing it. I was going to read it at the Blue Angel Poet’s Dive in SL last night, but after much thought, I decided not to because a) I would get too emotional reading it, and b) I worry that it might be offensive to some.

But then, as Maya Angelou once said, "there is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you".

I never want to make people feel uncomfortable or bad with my writing. Some of my stuff is political and I can’t help that. To stop that would feel like a self-betrayal. I write because I want to show those who are interested, what the world looks like from where I stand. That’s all. I am not angry, I am not bitter. I do not expect any more from people other than to listen with a clear mind and an open heart.

In my younger days, I used to speak out in more overt ways and was heavily involved in social justice activities. I got myself into some trouble. I received hate mail and even threats to my safety. I don’t regret any of it, but I have learned a lot about what it means to stand up for something you believe in. There are other ways to get your message across besides putting up a huge fight. I have learned that I can say what I need to say in a way that other people can relate to, which is far more meaningful.

I choose to speak out in a quiet yet subversive way, through poetry.

Peace…

********************
Operation Geronimo

he was known by his people
as Goyahkla
which means “one who yawns”
you probably know him better
as Geronimo
as made popular
in American culture

to Indigenous North Americans
he is a hero
a warrior who fought for years
to protect his people
and their lands
from invasion

you shout “Geronimo!”
doing cannonballs into the lake or
parachuting out of a plane
but do you know why?
i’ll tell you
because Geronimo is
a symbol of courage
and bravery
for standing up to fight back
in the face of fear
and adversity
to shout his name
is to wish for a tiny slice
of his courage
for ourselves

he is not akin
to a man who has reigned
terror the world over
and waged holy war on America
for all these years
“Geronimo is dead,
enemy killed in action”
i heard them say
on the news
you wonder why
we kick up such a fuss
about the Navy SEALS use of
his name to capture
and kill Bin Laden?

it angers me to see
how ignorance blossoms
and thrives in this
climate of fear and terror
reminds me of how useless
the government thinks our lives are
in this country where we have been
stripped of our rights
cheated out of our lands
forced onto reservations
only to be forced back off
for uranium and oil deposits
bludgeoned into government
boarding schools
our sacred names and symbols
turned into mascots
cartoon caricatures
of our own history of terrorization
disrespected and dismissed
when we stand up to fight back
made to feel
like we’re not even worth the time
and told how stupid it is
to speak out about
such a trivial matter

“but it’s only a name”
you say...

yes,
but don’t you see?
a name
for a hero
to call our own,
insignificant as you may think,
it’s one of the few things
we have left
that is worth
fighting for.

(In response to the hundreds of hateful and racist comments I read on the internet in regards to the “Operation Geronimo” controversy)

Sunday, May 15, 2011

155 of 365: Self-Censorship

Yes I missed my post yesterday.  I went on a spontaneous road trip and was out of the town overnight.  I've also had a sudden burst of creativity and have been writing a lot.  Like so much that at times when I could be logging into SL, I choose to sit down and write instead.  Which is great isn't it?


It is, however, I am finding that I am being challenged by my strict internal censor.  


I have a lot to say about stuff.  Important stuff.  Stuff that I think deserves an audience.  My struggle is, is this blog the right place for it?  This also brings up my issues of letting my voice be heard, standing firm in my words, and finding courage. 


I know this is all very cryptic, but it's what is on my mind at the moment.  


This afternoon, I was preparing some stuff for work this week.  I facilitate a 10 week program at my work called the Women's Empowerment Circle.  I love doing the group even though it means that for 10 weeks, twice a year, I inevitably fall behind in all my other work to maintain the group.  It's worth it though, not only because I meet the most amazing women who are working hard to improve their lives, but also because I always learn something new for myself.  


Anyways, as I was preparing for this group, it occurred to me how ironic it is that I am facilitating an empowerment group for women, when my own personal empowerment sometimes feels like a struggle, or something I have to fight for.  If you can't do, you teach?


There is no one standing in the way of my personal empowerment but myself.  It is only my insecurities and doubts that prevent me from truly expressing my voice. 


I have all this writing sitting on my laptop just begging for an audience.  I think my challenge now is to find the right place for it.  In the past, this is the point where everything I have written sits on my bookshelf and collects dust.  


Not this time.  I've been around that block too many times before to let myself get away with it again.  



Saturday, May 14, 2011

154 of 365: Girls Just Wanna Have Fun

I missed yesterday but that was because Blogger was down, which kind of worked out good for me because it gave me a day off.  

Doing a project like this, I'm usually searching for a place to do a photo or doing something related to that.  Sometimes I feel like I'm missing out on stuff because I'm so busy doing pictures.  So tonight I decided it was time to let loose, throw on some latex, and have fun.  

Ya, I like to live on the edge :p


Wednesday, May 11, 2011

153 of 365: Stuck in a rut


I was talking to Aubree tonight about how uninspired I am feeling about my 365 project right now.  Lately, logging in to do my daily photo is feeling like homework that I would much rather avoid.  


I'm too stubborn to quit now though.


I have ideas for cool photos I want to do, my problem is finding enough time and getting started on something.


My life is too busy.  I have too many things to do and too many people to take care of.  I need to do something to fill the well, so to speak.  All I really want to do is putter around in my pj's, watch chic flicks on Netflix, sleep in until noon and be lazy...and I know that is not going to happen any time soon, which is discouraging.  Sigh. 

152 of 365

Today is one of those days where I have to pull out a photo I took previously because....well, I'm just feeling too lazy to do anything else right now.  I just finished two days of intense training at work which was great, but I'm feeling quite mentally drained from it.


I have no idea where I took this photo, and I don't know who these two lovers are.  Come to think of it, I'm not even sure if I have posted this photo already before for my 365???  Have I?  I don't know.  

I'm so confused. 

Monday, May 9, 2011

Sunday, May 8, 2011

150 of 365: My City

I had a really great day with my family today.  I was treated to a brunch buffet fit for a Queen, and two homemade Mother's Day cards from my children.  


We spent most of the day hanging out on our deck, walking in the neighbourhood and enjoying the sunshine.  


It's days like today that I really love my city.  Traffic is low, the sidewalks are filled with happy city dwellers, and a good latte at a favourite espresso is just around the corner.  


Let's see if I feel the same way tomorrow morning during morning rush hour. 



149 of 365: "Anna's Many Murders" by Bryn Oh

Bryn Oh's newest build, Anna's Many Murders, made it's debut today.  You can read about Bryn's inspiration for the build at her blog here.


Once again, this a build that you have to see for yourself in Second Life.  Photos simply do not do it justice.  


If you're not familiar with Bryn's work, there's no time like the present to go and have a look.  A Toronto oil painter, she has recently been awarded a grant from the Ontario Arts Council to further her art in the digital word.  Quite an accomplishment, as it is a sign that the Arts in Second Life is finally getting the recognition it deserves. 








Friday, May 6, 2011

Thursday, May 5, 2011

147 of 365: Go with the flow

I went to Crap's 100 Word Stories last night, which is always a fun time with some good laughs.  


[insert cool storytelling picture here...if i would have remembered to take one]


It seems like all the events I want to go to take place at 5pm slt which is 8pm my time and exactly when I would normally put my kids to bed.  Problem is, the little buggers never want to go to sleep.  I hear them fooling around upstairs, tiptoeing around, and my son's very loud whisper, "she's going to hear us!".  Why does it seem like the only time they get along with each other is when they are conspiring against me?  They think I can't hear them sneaking around to turn on the PS3 and watch movies on Netflix.  So, last week I caught them red handed and took away all the cords and remote controls.  Problem solved.  


I decided to change their bedtime from 8pm to 9pm instead which seems to be working out better.  They can watch a cartoon on Netflix for an hour, and I can attend whatever event I want, then log out at bedtime, tuck them in, they are asleep within minutes, then do some quick chores and log back in to do my 365 picture.  One less hour of sleep doesn't seem to be bothering the little bear cubs and everyone is happier is all around.  


If there is one thing I have learned about raising kids, it's that with care and hard work, you will learn exactly how to handle the stage your child/children are at.  This generally will occur about 15 seconds before they move onto the next stage, and then you have to do it all over again.  That's life with children.  


Better to be flexible and go with the flow, rather than resist the changes.  By the way, that's good advice in all areas of life, not just parenting :))



Wednesday, May 4, 2011

146 of 365: Voc Linda

Voc Linda is the home of the Deviant Girls and Chocolate Atelier Boutiques.  In addition to the lovely merchandise available in the shops, this is a beautiful place to explore.  If you're camera happy like myself, you'll find numerous photo opportunities laying in wait. 










145 of 365: "One, two, three Graces" by Yoa Ogee


Tuesday, May 3, 2011

144 of 365

I'm one of those people who rarely changes my avatars clothes.  I used to change clothes about three times a day.  Nowadays, you're likely to catch me wearing the same outfit for a week or two, sometimes longer.  It's part laziness, and I like to get my moneys worth before my outfit disappears into my inventory.




I came across my next monthly outfit at Tres Blah last week while I was tagging along with Aubree shopping.  I love this cute little Mexican Peasant Dress.  It's totally my style and I would wear this one in real life...ummm, if I was 10 years younger and 15 lbs lighter.


Okay well maybe 15 years younger and 20lbs lighter...er, ummm, yeah, well...nevermind. 


If you like it, you can get it here:  Tres Blah