Tuesday, April 30, 2013

The Worst SL Time Zone:

I think the worst time zone for SL is SLT, specifically Pacific Time. It's the dead zone. By the time I get online at night, most everyone in the western hemisphere has gone to bed. Everyone in Asia is still at work and people in Europe are just getting up. It's probably best to live on the east coast if you're into SL.

What Keeps You Going?

“you’ve kept me going for two
years, it’s really amazing to meet you.”
“thank you,” i answered, “but who’s
going to keep me going?”
i’ve asked this question before and
all i ever get back is a gentle
but it’s a good question.
they have no notion that i may consider
suicide several times a
-Bukowski, Betting on the Muse

Monday, April 29, 2013


The Bill of Life states that human life may not be touched from the moment of conception until a child reaches the age of thirteen. However, between the ages of thirteen and eighteen, a parent may choose to retroactively "abort" a child . . . on the condition that the child's life doesn't "technically" end. The process by which a child is both terminated and yet kept alive is called 'unwinding.' -Neil Shusterman, Unwind
Unwinding means that the child's organs are harvested. This satisfies the condition that the child is both terminated and kept alive, albeit in a distributed state among recipients of the child's organs. This law came to exist because there were insufficient voluntary organ donors.

Being unwound can happen for the most trivial of reasons. A religious family "tithes" it's tenth child to the harvest camps. The state orphanage has a budget crisis and decides to unwind five percent of its wards. One of the girls is chosen to be unwound by the state because she demonstrates insufficient promise as a musician.

The story is horrifying, but works because of the matter of fact way the author describes it. The story is about a child that makes a run for it, rather than being unwound.

Tired of Losing:

There comes that phase in life when, tired of losing, you decide to stop losing, then continue losing. Then you decide to really stop losing, and continue losing. The losing goes on and on so long you begin to watch with curiosity, wondering how low you can go.  -George Saunders, Christmas

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Do You Need an Obsession?

Would you like to be obsessed? The good thing about an obsession is that it provides a purpose for your life. You could be obsessed about a lot of different things. For instance, getting a degree, finding a life mate, being in really great shape so you can find a life mate, or mastering a computer game.

The bad thing about an obsession is that you miss a lot. Plus, it can interfere with other parts of your life. For example, you may not be able to resist playing the computer game you're mastering while at the office, which adversely impacts your work performance.

I think I need an obsession.  

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Don't Be One of Those:

Don't be one of those kinds of friends. You know the type I'm talking about? The kind that adds you and then never initiates any kind of contact. Like you exist on their friends lists as some kind of bookmark because you have interesting picks in your profile or something. How hard is it to look at your friends lists and say hello to someone that you haven't chatted with in a long time? It doesn't have to be all the time, but a hello once in awhile would be nice.

The Eradication of Awareness:

We live in a universe devoted to the creation, and eradication, of awareness. Augustus Waters did not die after a lengthy battle with cancer. He died after a lengthy battle with human consciousness, a victim--as you will be--of the universe's need to make and unmake all that is possible.
      -John Green, The Fault in Our Stars

Friday, April 26, 2013

The Search for Meaning:

I was re-reading Viktor Frankl's book tonight, Man's Search for Meaning. According to Frankl, asking what is the meaning of life is the wrong question. Instead, one should inquire as to what life is asking of you. He thinks that the meaning of life is to find the right answer to the problems that life sets before you:
We needed to stop asking about the meaning of life, and instead to think of ourselves as those who were being questioned by life - daily and hourly. Our answer must consist, not in talk and meditation, but in right action and in right conduct. Life ultimately means taking the responsibility to find the right answer to its problems and to fulfill the tasks which it constantly sets for each individual.
So what is life asking of me?  The first question, how do you solve the money problem? How do you participate in the rat race without becoming a rat? I really don't know, but I have this sneaking suspicion that trading money for time is not the way to go.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

I Don't Do That Any More:

There's another poem by Mary Fons I like.  It's called Adder. What I like is the emotion, the anger, and the pain:

The restoration has been a significant undertaking.
Every detail - engineered.
Housecleaning efforts, painstaking.
Tiles scrubbed back down to rubble,
carpets beat out with muscle.
Shadowy corners since been lit.
I have hemmed up my own skirt,
I have sown up my own lip.
He doesn't believe it went down like that, for a girl like me, or maybe he just doesn't care.
But it did. I remember. I was there.
I could tell you of quiet courage amidst danger.
How each day I breathe, I am winning the war.
I could explain myself.
But I don't do that anymore.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Missing Persons:

“You never knew exactly how much space you occupied in people’s lives.”
— F. Scott Fitzgerald, Tender Is The Night
If you've been in SL for a significant length of time, you've probably had this happen. Someone on your friends list is regularly online and you chat with them semi-occasionally. One day, they disappear without warning. A week goes by, then two, then months. Maybe they suddenly died or were imprisoned or had a traumatic break and no longer log in anymore under that name. Who knows. 

The polite thing to do, if they didn't die, would be for them to put a notice in their profile that they are gone for an extended period so their friends won't wonder what happened. Just sayin'.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

The Fault in Our Stars:

There will come a time when all of us are dead. All of us. There will come a time when there are no human beings remaining to remember that anyone ever existed or that our species ever did anything. There will be no one left to remember Aristotle or Cleopatra, let alone you. Everything that we did and built and wrote and thought and discovered will be forgotten and all of this will have been for naught. Maybe that time is coming soon and maybe it is millions of years away, but even if we survive the collapse of our sun, we will not survive forever. There was time before organisms experienced consciousness, and there will be time after. And if the inevitability of human oblivion worries you, I encourage you to ignore it.
― John Green, The Fault in Our Stars
Good evening dear readers. Today I read The Fault in Our Stars and it made me weep. Like The Catcher in the Rye, the main character is a teenager. But her biggest problem wasn't about failing out of a preparatory school. Her problem was staying alive. She had cancer.

It's a powerful book and I put it up there with my current three favorites, Fight Club, Onion Girl, and Jesus' Son. It addresses one of the question that have been haunting me. What have I done that will be remembered? And the answer is nothing.

Monday, April 22, 2013

National Poetry Month

April is national poetry month in the USA. I wrote a poem to celebrate. Actually, not really. I wrote the poem for a writing exercise. And it's not really a poem. More like a snippet of a poem. National poetry month is just an excuse to post it:
My life is never ending pain and fear.
"Don't worry" she cooed, "we will all die soon."
"What's soon," I said, "is it more than a year?"
"No one knows," she said, "why don't you ask the moon?"
But of course the moon cannot talk I thought,
So why did she say such a crazy thing?
Be good, work hard, I was always taught,
What a crock.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

The Catcher in the Rye:

The Catcher in the Rye has got to be one of the most overrated books in the history of English literature. It's about a couple of days in the life of a sixteen year old boy that keeps failing out of elite preparatory schools. The novel covers his return home after being expelled from his last school for failing three out of four subjects. Instead of heading straight home, he stays overnight at a hotel in New York and wastes a bunch of money on dates, booze, shows, and a hooker. He could have just went home and faced his parents and got the matter over with.

There's nothing about the story that profoundly provokes the imagination. There's no overarching theme or great struggle. Just a spoiled kid that hasn't learned the value of money and has had virtually no life experience. It's well written and fairly easy reading. I kept reading to find out what would finally happen when the kid, Holden Caulfield, finally had to face his parents. But the author  ends the story before that ever happens.

There's virtually no plot to the story. Just a pointless story about a spoiled kid. I don't get how this novel could have been so highly rated for so long.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Two Tales of Suicide

One that followed through:
Today, is the tenth anniversary of the night you took your own life. Mom still hates you for the way you treated her as a wife. Kyler still hates you for how you treated him as a son. I hate you because I still love you, Daddy.
One that had a change of heart:
Today, on my 85th birthday, and for the 65th time, I read the suicide note I wrote when I was 20-years-old. I never followed through with it, thankfully. I read the note every year on April 20th - the day I wrote the letter - to remind myself of everything I would have missed.
Makes you think, doesn't it?

Friday, April 19, 2013

Is it Good to Experience Poverty?

What is something every person should experience at least once in a lifetime? Aside from the usually mentioned love and sex? That was an actual question posted on Quora. I thought the most intriguing answer was poverty.

According to this answer, poverty teaches important lessons in the first young years of adulthood, such as budgeting, saving, decisions about what is really important and what isn't, who your friends are, and how to work. Supposedly, you'll never forget the years of living on little and carry the benefits for a lifetime.

If you actually agree that poverty teaches important life lessons, there is goods news. The latest government programs are almost guaranteed to increase poverty and spread the benefits of being poor far and wide.

Thursday, April 18, 2013


Sadness is nothing more than the cost of being able to smile once and a while,
And grief is the trial we stand to offer evidence that your fingerprints were left on our hearts and our skin,
And in terms of proof, love can be demonstrated in giving.
Our lives consist of the efforts we give of swimming towards a lost continent
Where you are rumoured to be living.
— Atlantis, Shane Koycza

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Relative Happiness:

Last Saturday night I was fantasizing about dying. I was in so much pain from influenza that I just wanted to end it. Severe aches in my hands prevented me from writing about it. My head hurt so bad, I couldn't read. SL was no help at all. The only distraction was funny videos, and I didn't have enough.

I got through the fevers and aches, only to be left with a persistent, deep wracking cough. The kind  that bends you in half and causes strangers to make the sign of the cross. Today, despite a still horrible cough, I feel reborn.

The difference between then and now, is so great I feel like a new person. The sky is bluer and the air smells better. I suppose this could only be a momentary respite, but for at least a few hours today, I was happy.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013


One of my friends said he didn't like Shane Koyczan. Well, what my so-called friend actually said was that Koyczan was "interesting" when asked if he liked the poet. I had to defriend his ass right there. Interesting? It's a yes or no answer. Not liking Shane Koyczan is the equivalent of not liking puppies or kittens. It's a sign of a serious social pathology.

Fortunately, we had only been friends for about three years, so it wasn't like I wasted a lot of time or something with him in SL.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Happy And Sad:

So, this is my life. And I want you to know that I am both happy and sad and I'm still trying to figure out how that could be.
-The Perks of Being a Wallflower 
It's difficult to imagine a situation where one is both happy and sad at the time, but I think I know of one. What if you were suicidal and found out you had a fatal illness? You would be sad to know that your life was ending soon, but relieved to know there is no need for suicide because life is quickly coming to a close. In the Perks of Being a Wallflower, the main character was suicidal.

I suppose one could feel the same way about the long rumored death of Second Life. If Second Life did die, you would be sad, but amazed at how much free time you suddenly had.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

The World's Greatest Lie:

"What's the world's greatest lie?" the boy asked, completely surprised.
"It's this: at a certain point in our lives, we lose control of what's happening to us, and our lives become controlled by fate. That's the world's greatest lie."
- Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist
The Alchemist is on my list of books to read. I hope the translation is good. I understand the original is in Portuguese. It looks like it will have a very positive message.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

my dear,

there may be more beautiful times, but this one is ours.

look back, look forth, look close, there may be more prosperous times, more intelligent times, more spiritual times, and more happy times, but this one, this small moment in the history of the universe, this is ours.

and let’s do it with everything. everything.

falsely yours,

jean-paul charles aymard sartre

Friday, April 12, 2013

I Love You:

I found another slam poet that I like, papergirl, also known as Tennessee Mary Fons.  I especially like her presentation of I Love You:
this poem is not for the desperate,
the pathetic, the lame, the loser,
not for the one who hasn’t gotten laid in awhile,
not for the one who says they’re “choosing not to date” for awhile,
there is no such thing,
this poem is for the people who cannot bring themselves to admit that they would give their right leg for any length of time with the person on their mind.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Tell Me A Story:

Consider this tragic incident that actually happened. A man was shot and killed for assaulting a fast food worker. He was angry because the fast food outlet ran out of chicken. How to make this into an effective story? This is how Edna Buchanan did it, a reporter for the Miami Herald:
Gary Robinson died hungry.

He wanted fried chicken, the three-piece box for $2.19. Drunk, loud and obnoxious, he pushed ahead of seven customers in line at a fast-food chicken outlet. The counter girl told him that his behavior was impolite. She calmed him down with sweet talk, and he agreed to step to the end of the line. His turn came just before closing time, just after the fried chicken ran out.

He punched the counter girl so hard her ears rang, and a security guard shot him — three times.
She starts with a hook. Then she lets us know what the main character wants and gives us a few clues about the counter girl and the security guard. Evidently, the security guard wanted to make sure the guy was dead.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Bukowski v. Koyczan

Koyczan is the new Bukowksi of the 21st century. There must be something special about having a polish surname. Compare these two poems. My first love that left this world too soon, Bukowski:
I am driving down Wilton Avenue
when this girl of about 15
dressed up in tight blue jeans
that grip her behind like two hands
steps out in front of my car
I stop to let her cross the street
and as I watch her contours waving
she looks directly through my windshield
at me
with purple eyes
and then blows
out of her mouth
the largest pink globe of
bubble gum
I have ever seen
while I am listening to Beethoven
on the car radio.
she enters a small grocery store
and is gone
and I am left with
The poem works because it's a story. Bukowski starts it with a hook: the enticement of illicit sex with an underage girl. We read on, is it another Lolita tragedy? He hits us with imagery and it feeds right into our imaginations: the jeans that "grip her behind like two hands." And then he ends it with Beethoven, a classic tale.

In contrast, the work of my new infatuation, Shane Koyczan on Beethoven:
[K]ings, queens
it didn’t matter
the man got down on his knees
for no one
but amputated the legs of his piano
so he could feel the vibrations
through the floor
the man got down on his knees
for music...
and for a moment
it was like joy
was a tangible thing
like you could touch it
like for the first time
we could watch love and hate dance together
in a waltz of such precision and beauty
that we finally understood
the history wasn’t important
to know the man
all we ever had to do was
How sad is a piano with amputated legs? How Beethoven must have hated to do it, but he did it for love. Koyczan makes you listen and see, and finally he makes you cry. Listen:

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Your Choice:

God is a master player.
The universe is a pinball machine.
You get to be the pinball or the flipper.
Your choice.

Monday, April 8, 2013


Truth has very few friends and those few are suicides. ~Antonio Porchia, Voces, 1943, translated from Spanish by W.S. Mervin
Have you ever done something you hated for years? Something that bored you to tears? Something that made you think of suicide whenever you drove past the cemetery on your way home on a dismal evening?

And then you felt relief, when you realized you could just quit instead of rising before dark to repeat the same day tomorrow. But you thought how could long could you possibly survive without an income without doing that boring something day after day after day.

It's not happiness that drives most writers. It's desperation and lack of hope.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

You're Not Giving Up Today:

Another one of my favorite poems by Shane Koyczan, Visiting Hours:

You're not giving up today,
Because I live in a world
Full of seeing eye underdogs
And I'm pretty sure
We're all tired of wearing our choke chains
We're tired of being treated like walking canes
In a world so blind
No one can find each other
So we just keep bumping into each other
Like people are just buildings made of bones
Who collapsed every time they're made to believe
They were meant to stand alone
But you're not
Some of us can love
Some of us look like jokes,
not funny
it's just the way people keep falling for us

And yeah,
Some of us are going to get cancer
And some of us are going to fall in our showers
But until then you got to shine
Because all the time you get
It's just visiting hours.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Great Beginning:

      I have walked walked the three miles from Leicester prison, tied to a horse carrying the two men who will hang me. Now they are sitting on the ground, swigging their ale before they begin their dirty work: one old, one young, but both toothless.
     --Raven Queen, by Pauline Francis
Now that beginning catches your attention right away. It's the details coupled with imminent death that make it work. There's also nice bit of poetic alliteration with "but both." I had to go read the first chapter for myself to see what happened.

Show, Don't Tell:

Don't tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass.
-- Anton Chekhov

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Happiness is Relative:

Happiness is relative isn't it? Wherever you were happiest becomes the measure for where you are now. If you were happier in some previous place, you despair of ever living there again. If you return, you may find that it's not the same. What made you happy there previously, is now gone. Or you're not the same person.

Your best hope for ever increasing happiness is to start out somewhere really bad, like a homeless shelter. Then, anywhere you go will surely be better. 


We loved like an electric chair, hooked up to a nuclear power plant and plugged into the sun, and everything we did had never been done.
 --Shane Koyczan

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

The Bet:

Have you read The Bet by Anton Chekhov? It's a short story. At the beginning, the characters are discussing the death penalty and whether it should banned and replaced with life imprisonment as the punishment for murder:
The majority of the guests, among whom were many journalists and intellectual men, disapproved of the death penalty. They considered that form of punishment out of date, immoral, and unsuitable for Christian States.
However, the host of the gathering disagreed. His view was that life imprisonment was crueler because it's a long drawn out form of execution. To prove his point, he offers this bet:
I'll bet you two million you wouldn't stay in solitary confinement for five years."

"If you mean that in earnest," said a young man, "I'll take the bet, but I would stay not five but fifteen years."
And the bet is accepted. The terms of the bet are that the young man can leave confinement at any time, but will forfeit the two million dollars if it is before 15 years have elapsed. Towards the end of the term of confinement, the young man begins to despise god as seen in this passage that he wrote to the supreme deity:
You have lost your reason and taken the wrong path. You have taken lies for truth, and hideousness for beauty. You would marvel if, owing to strange events of some sorts, frogs and lizards suddenly grew on apple and orange trees instead of fruit, or if roses began to smell like a sweating horse; so I marvel at you who exchange heaven for earth.
I don't understand his logic though or the ending of the story. There's something I'm missing. What do you think it is? You can read it online for yourself at this link.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Remember How We Forgot?

 This is one of my favorite poems by Shane Koyczan:
Remember how we used to bend reality like we were circus strongmen?
Like our imaginations were in shape then.
Like we were all ninjas trained in the deadly art of "did not."
I totally got you.
Did not.
Remember how we forgot?

Living in a dream, but whose?

I live in my dreams — that’s what you sense. Other people live in dreams, but not in their own. That’s the difference. -Demian, Hermann Hesse

Monday, April 1, 2013


Hermann Hessee most famous work is a novella about the life of Siddhartha, which I enjoyed. He also has another well known novella, entitled  Demian, which posed a question that continues to puzzle me.

In story of the resurrection of Christ, Demian asked whether the thief that was crucified with Jesus and repented should be admitted to heaven. Demian thought the thief that died resolute, asking forgiveness of no one, was the better man. The thief that repented had nothing to lose at that point and everything to gain by repenting, so of course he would have repented.

Demian argued it was the other thief that we should admire, for going stoically towards his fate. That's how heroes die.