Sunday, June 30, 2013

177 Days 'Til Xmas:

Christmas shopping is probably the last thing on your mind now. Nonetheless, today, June 30, marks the day that the year is half over. For me it's a sad day. Half the year gone and nothing to show for it. I'm not getting anywhere, I'm just getting older.

It's time I got out of the house and stopped screwing around so much with an Internet game that's ten years out of date. I should exercise more and find a less demeaning job or an equally demeaning job that pays a little more.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Our Time:

How do you think future generations will view our time? Do you think we will we be despised for not dealing with global warming? Or will we be ridiculed for ever believing it in the first place? Are we leaving too much debt for people in the future? The reason I ask is because in the year 2000 someone claiming to be a time traveler from 2036 begin posting on an Internet message board. His name was John Titor and according to him:

You should probably know that this time is not remembered for its selflessness, charity or ability to work together.

I don't know of any past time that is held in deep contempt. Maybe the Soviet era. That was a grand experiment that never worked. Rome's debauchery is looked upon with amazement, not moral judgment. The Nazis are viewed as the definition of evil, but nobody really blames 1930's Germans. Maybe that will change with the invention of time travel. Entire generations will be appraised and held to account:

Have you considered that your society might be better off if half of you were dead?

The time traveler though, appears to be a hoax. One of his key predictions didn't come true. He said there was a civil war starting in the US in 2005. That never occurred. He also claims that a larger global war starts in 2015 in which half the population dies.

But it's a fascinating story. So much so, that a film is being made about it. The tentative release date is 2014.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Advantages of Being Poor:

1. You don't need anyone to help you move because everything you own fits in a grocery cart.

2. It makes you smarter because you can't afford cable TV or a smart phone.

3. No need to worry about dieting because you walk everywhere and get all the exercise you need.

4. Lots of unstructured time.

5. You make other, richer people feel better about themselves because they think of you during times of personal misfortune and say "things could be worse, I could be that guy."

Thursday, June 27, 2013

The Question I Hate Most:

The question that I hate to be asked the most is:  

If you're so smart, how come you're not rich?

My mother asked me that once, and it cut me to the core. It's such a painful question that I don't even subconsciously ask that of myself. I keep it carefully suppressed to protect my fragile ego.

There is an assumption that wealth is a sign of intelligence. Even SL blogger Nalates Urriah believes this as shown by her discussion of SL losing users:

Then there are the bloggers that write as if they know what the Lab should do. Of course none of those writers are making US$45+ million per year.

From this statement, I can only surmise that she thinks LL is smarter and more knowledgeable than anyone that makes less money than the Lab. Maybe so. And maybe I was never as smart as I thought I was.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

The Shadow Network:

Your korass is the shadow thought network of people that you are connected to in ONLY an indirect or virtual way. Their individual presence in your korass offers individual clues to the ancient methodology you used to create material existence. Therefore, always respect all korass members.
-Wiki Answers
All my friends and acquaintances in Second Life are part of my korass. I am connected to them only virtually. I don't know any of them in real life. But I don't see how my korass offers individual clues to an ancient methodology that I used to create material existence. I arrived in this world without my consent, just like everyone else. I didn't create my existence, someone else did.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Best Ending Ever:

I've seen a lot of excellent openings for novels, but not a lot of really memorable endings. Beginnings are no doubt more important because if you can't hook the readers on page one, they're not going to get to the end. Nevertheless, endings are important for a really great work.

The ending to The Novelist by Angela Hunt is unforgettable.
     But I take his hand and hold it tight. "I love ya, Dad."
     I turn and walk away, not sure if he heard or understood. But sometimes you say these things for your sake as much as for the other person's.
     Because love's the thing that holds us together.
     Love's the thing that keeps us sane.
I'm not sure about love keeping us sane, but I understand about saying things for your sake as much as for someone else. It's like a lot of my blog posts.

Monday, June 24, 2013


I saw this on Serendipity Haven's blog:
A blind man asked a wise man: Can there be anything worse than losing your eye sight?

The wise man replied: Yes... losing your vision.
The reminds me of the saying that a person who has lost faith has lost everything.  Of course if your faith is misplaced, then losing your faith has cured you of a delusion. For example, you may have faith in magic crystals. Unfortunately though, the things never seem to work. Despite having an abundance of magic crystals, you have nothing but bad luck until finally you lose your faith.

Now, I'm not saying that magic crystals don't work. I'm saying I don't know what to have faith in.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Basic Wants

There are seven basic wants:

1. Money;
2. Love;
3. Revenge;
4. Excitement;
5. Safety;
6. Peace of mind; and
7. Meaning.

First, is money. That's why we get up and do boring activities everyday: for money. Money  means freedom and independence.And with sufficient money you can satisfy most of the other basic wants.

The question is still out on whether money can buy love. You can certainly buy a dog with money that will love you. But it's not quite the same as love from a human, even if it is steadier and less prone to betrayals. After a while, most people give up on love and just watch videos.

Revenge takes a lot of energy. You have to be really angry to want revenge. Otherwise, it's just too much trouble to key someone's car, put superglue in their locks, and flatten their tires.

By excitement, I mean the opposite of boredom. People will do crazy stuff to escape boredom, such as crossword puzzles, read the bible, sleep with completely inappropriate partners, spend lots of money to sleep in overpriced hotels, and spray graffiti on walls.

Safety means being free of fear. People will take whatever they can and move to another country if the threat is great enough. I always thought that would be a good opening for a novel: Take whatever you can carry and follow me.

Finally there is meaning. It's almost as bad as boredom for the insane things that people will do. For example, people will join monasteries, fast, drop acid, and danced naked all in the cause of finding meaning.

In sum, money and safety are the only basic wants worth focusing on.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Why RL Sucks:

1. Tier is way too high.
2. Jobs do not pay enough.
3. Most people don't look as good as they do in SL.
4. Can't fly (except on airplanes).
5. Lack of teleportation causes massive traffic jams.
6. Clothes don't fit as well and get dirty.
7. Tattoos are not removable.

Friday, June 21, 2013

My Problem With Mesh:

Mesh clothing has a well known drawback. It does not conform to the avatar's body and therefore an alpha layer must be worn under the mesh. Nevertheless, mesh has become accepted because it looks better than prim and system clothing. In particular, people have been willing to put up with wearing mesh over an alpha layer and dealing with mesh clothing that comes in multiple sizes.

However, the alpha layer ruins the immersive experience with short skirts. You look up a woman's skirt to check for underwear and all you see is sky because there's an alpha layer. It's very disconcerting.

That's my main problem with mesh.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

SL's 10th Birthday

Second Life's tenth birthday is on June 23, 2013. The celebrations have already started. I was more excited about previous celebrations. There are just too many exhibits and sims to visit, and to be honest, most aren't interesting. I've visited a few of of the sims, but mainly have spent my time watching and listening to live performers at Spellbound.

Too bad the Lindens don't measure the age of SL in days like they used to for residents. SL would be 3,653 days old on June 23, accounting for the leap years of 2004, 2008, 2012. We could have celebrated every thousand days, which would make for fewer and more interesting celebrations.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Questions I Ask Myself:

Why am I such a loser?
How did I screw up my life so badly?
How could I make more money?
Why am I so tired all the time?
Where are the car keys?

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Would You Rather:

Anything that doesn't take years of your life and drive you to suicide hardly seems worth doing.
― Cormac McCarthy
Would your rather do something important that takes years off your life and drives you to madness or just be normal? The problem with normal is that it drives you to madness too. You're basically a cog in an enormous machine and the machine doesn't care about the cogs. The machine cares about itself. Cogs are expendable. They have a certain shelf life and when that's reached the cog is replaced.

So what would you rather do?

The Lover:

One day, I was already old, in the entrance of a public place, a man came up to me. He introduced himself and said: "I've known you for years. Everyone says you were beautiful when you were young, but I want to tell you I think you're more beautiful now than then. Rather than your face as a young woman, I prefer your face as it is now. Ravaged.
    -Marguerite Duras, The Lover
That's the opening paragraph from The Lover by Maguerite Duras, a French writer. There was also a film based on the book. It's a good opening. It certainly makes me want to keep reading. 

Duras was a favorite author of Xiaolu Guo.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Don't Ask:

After further research, I've discovered that people do not like to be asked about their love life at all, either on-line or off-line:
“How's your love life, anyway?"
Oh GOD. Why can't married people understand that this is no longer a polite question to ask? We wouldn't rush up to THEM and roar, "How's your marriage going? Still having sex?
― Helen Fielding, Bridget Jones's Diary 
So I'm going to have to come up with another catchphrase to replace "how's your on-line love life?" As love involves combat, I think I'll ask "how goes the battle?"

My Secret Fear:

"You look like you're going to spend your life having one epiphany after another, always thinking you've finally figured out what's holding you back, and how you can finally be productive and creative and turn your life around. But nothing will ever change. That cycle of mediocrity isn't due to some obstacle. It's who you are. The thing standing in the way of your dreams... is that the person having them is you."
— xkcd, "Pickup Artist"

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Inspirational Writer:

I found Xiaolu Guo to be inspirational in 20 Things of a Ravenous Youth. The main character suffered through so many hardships in China: Six moves in one year, a crazy ex-lover that destroyed her stuff, swarms of cockroaches, three day train trips to get home to visit her family, and dead-end jobs. Somehow she perseveres and keeps writing through all of it. I'm thinking if she could keep writing, I should be able to as well.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

I Cry At Weddings:

Lindal Kidd covers Second Life weddings and she always cries. Not because she's happy, but because of tragedy. She has an informal rule:
I have developed an informal Rule:  the more elaborate the SL wedding, the shorter the partnership.  It's not always true, but I have found that those who put the most emphasis on the trappings of a marriage are those who will put the least emphasis on the relationship itself.  Partnerships that begin with a huge wedding are often dissolved in a couple of months, or even weeks.  The shortest one I can remember is the one where the couple divorced the very next day...because she caught her new husband cheating with one of her bridesmaids!
What do you expect? After all that planning, there's simply nothing left to chat about. The only thing to do is split and repeat the whole process again with someone else.

The Bravest Thing:

What's the bravest thing you ever did?
He spat in the road a bloody phlegm. Getting up this morning, he said. 
― Cormac McCarthy, The Road
If you're not familiar with The Road, it's about a father trying to keep his little boy alive after an apocalyptic event. Ash covers everything and blots out most of the sun. The father-son duo are on the road, traveling south towards the coast where the weather will be warmer.

Many families committed suicide, as did the boy's mother. She couldn't deal with the world as it it. So getting up every morning really was an act of bravery.

The boy is the father's reason for living. As Nietzsche wrote, those with a big enough why, can take almost any how. 

Facebook Integration

The "wall" was just the first step of Second Life integration with Facebook. Next, every avatar will have a "like" button. See the avatar below. There is no escaping Facebook. You will be assimilated.

Friday, June 14, 2013

I'm Psychic Now:

This morning I had a strange dream. A large dog was sitting in the cab of a truck between two men. One of the men held the dog while the other pressed the end of a hose to the dog's forehead. The dog's eyes turned white and the dog fell over.

I awoke feeling groggy and with an astonishing ability to foretell the future. I will tell anyone their future if they send me an IM.

Thursday, June 13, 2013


I recently read 20 Fragments of a Ravenous Youth and the main character used this fascinating catchphrase: ''Oh Heavenly Bastard in the Sky.'' Now I have all these questions. Who is this bastard? How does a bastard become heavenly? And most urgently of all, how could I slip that phrase into an actual conversation?

The best characters often have a memorable catchphrase. Augustus "Gus" Waters from The Fault in Our Stars always replied to how are you with "I'm on a roller coaster that only goes up." Sometimes I say that. People kind of like it.

Gus also had a characteristic gesture. He would put a cigarette in his mouth like he was smoking it, but never lit it. It was a metaphor: "you put the killing thing right between your teeth but you don't give it the power to do its killing.”

I'm thinking I need a catchphrase now and perhaps a gesture. There is one catchphrase I made up earlier. When people ask me how I am, I sometimes reply ''between hope and despair.'' And occasionally I greet people by asking ''how's your online love life?''

But I'm thinking I need something better. Something unforgettable, like heavenly bastard.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013


I think if you were Satan and you were settin around tryin to think up somethin that would just bring the human race to its knees what you would probably come up with is narcotics.
― Cormac McCarthy, No Country for Old Men
It isn't narcotics that brings people to their knees, it's addiction. Addiction to an online virtual world, gambling, sex, video games, alcohol, drugs, foods, blogging, or whatever. I'm probably borderline addicted to Second Life.


Check out this post entitled Someday my Prince will come by Taleah Mcmahon of Second Life Snapshots. Her post reminds me of  something I read in a profile at Lar's:
Sometimes your knight in shining armour is just a retard wrapped in tinfoil.
-Arwen Shacleton
 Wise words indeed.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

As I Feared:

Creative work is often driven by pain. It may be that if you don't have something in the back of your head driving you nuts, you may not do anything. It's not a good arrangement. If I were God, I wouldn't have done it that way.
― Cormac McCarthy
Carl Jung was right. Usually, a person must pay dearly for the divine gift of creative fire. But I can see the logic in God's design. A happy person wouldn't do anything all day except sit around being happy. It's the discontented that get things done. 

Maybe that's the real reason God cast Adam and Eve out of the Garden of Eden. They were too happy.

Monday, June 10, 2013

This Isn't Blogging:

You see, my ancestors plowed those fields everyday. And then they chose a day to die. On that day, they would tell themselves: today I will die. And they died as if they had never lived. The died like an ant dies. Who gives a damn when an ant dies?
   -Xiaolu Guo, Twenty Fragments of a Ravenous Youth
I don't want to die like an ant. I want my life to have meaning beyond mindless service to the great collective. I want page hits, a Wikipedia entry, Twitter followers and Facebook friends.

If this seems like blogging, it isn't. It's desperation. It's the inconsolable wailing of a sad little ant.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

The Book of Love:

According to Peter Gabriel the Book of Love is long and boring and so heavy no one can lift it. I can believe it's long, but not boring. I think it must be full of agony, despair, betrayals, murders, and suicides that separate one moment of heaven from the next. The Book of Love is so fascinating, nobody can put it down.

A band called Book of Love was creating music in the 1990s. My favorite song was Modigliani (Lost In Your Eyes). It starts off dramatically:

Darkest night, candlelight
Your hands were soft, your skin too pale
White on white, I had to turn away
From your light... 

I was in love then with a very special woman, but not now. The Book of Love doesn't usually end the way you think it will.

Saturday, June 8, 2013


Should Walmart greeters get tips? If baristas at Starbucks get tips, why shouldn't Walmart greeters be treated the same?  If you go to Subway, there is usually a tip jar by the cash register. Even greeters in Second Life get tips. If you have ever been to Franks in Second Life, there's a greeter at the entrance standing behind a podium that has a tip jar on it.  

Tips would probably improve service tremendously by Walmart greeters. Instead of you being required to wipe the handle of your shopping cart, a greeter would probably get a cart and wipe the handle for you. They could wear white gloves and dress a little nicer.

The only question is, where should they keep the tip jar? The best way would be to put a small table just inside the entrance with a tip jar on it so that everyone would see it as they walked in.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Trading Futures:

Do you remember what you used to do before Second Life? You must have had some hobby before Second Life came along and stole all your time and deprived you of sleep.

I used to trade securities, all kinds, stocks, options, currencies and futures. Futures was originally started for farmers. Say for example, the price of corn was good and a farmer wanted to lock in the price now, but his corn wasn't quite ready for harvest. He would sell a contract to deliver the corn in the future at today's price for corn. Hence the term futures.

Tonight I was thinking how odd the phrase futures trading seems. It sounds like your trading your future with someone else. What if you could really do that? Sell your future and buy another from someone else?

I might go back to trading futures. Mine is not looking so bright. This isn't the life I dreamed of.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Where is God Now?

    One day when we came back from work, we saw three gallows rearing up in the
assembly place, three black crows. Roll call. SS all round us, machine guns trained; the
traditional ceremony. Three victims in chairs – and one of them, the little servant, the
sad-eyed angel. The SS seemed more preoccupied, more disturbed than usual. To hang
a young boy in front of thousands of spectators was no light matter. The head of the
camp read the verdict. All eyes were on the child. He was lividly pale, almost calm,
biting his lips. The gallows threw its shadow over him…. 
    The three victims mounted together onto the chairs. The three necks were placed at the
same moment within the nooses. “Long live liberty!” cried the two adults. But the child
was silent! “Where is God? Where is He?” someone behind me asked. 
    At a sign from the head of the camp, the three chairs tipped over. Total silence
throughout the camp. On the horizon, the sun was setting. “Bare your heads!” yelled
the head of the camp. His voice was raucous. We were weeping. “Cover your heads!” 
    Then the march past began. The two adults were no longer alive. Their tongues
swollen, blue-tinged. But the third rope was still moving; being so light, the child was
still alive…. For more than half an hour he stayed there, struggling between life and
death, dying in slow agony under our eyes. And we had to look him full in the face. He
was still alive when I passed in front of him. His tongue was still red, his eyes were not
yet glazed. 
     Behind me, I head the same man asking: “Where is God now?” And I heard a voice
within me answer him: “Where is He? Here He is – He is hanging here on this
     -Elie Wiesel, Night
That's a true account, not fiction. The Nazis sent Elie Wiesel to Auschwitz in May 1944. He survived there until the US Third Army liberated the prison camp on April 11, 1945. It took the army nine months after D-Day, June 6, 1944 to get there.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

The Future is Here:

The Smithsonian had a conference last month called the Future Is Here. The Smithsonian is late. The future arrived at least twenty years ago. It just wasn't very evenly distributed. William Gibson announced on NPR in 1993 that the future was already here.

Unfortunately, the future still isn't evenly distributed. Governments are working overtime trying to redistribute it more "fairly." Maybe it's only now being distributed to the Smithsonian.

Gibson wrote a famous dystopian novel about the future, Neuromancer. It's cited as having one of the best opening lines ever for a novel: The sky above the port was the color of a television tuned to a dead channel. 

Gibson wrote Neuromancer in "blind animal terror." It was his first novel and he thought it was beyond his abilities. He was afraid of the future, like I am now.

In the Beginning:

In the beginning, the Universe was created. This has made a lot of people very angry and been widely regarded as a bad move.
  -Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

Tuesday, June 4, 2013


     Thoughts get derailed when someone enters the picture. This tall, slender, smoking hot gotta-be-an-actress with stellar gams and straight black hair that almost meets her I-swear-sometimes-God-is-an-artist perfect ass. Love her right off the bat. Trust me, you would too....
I introduce myself and we shake hands. Touch of her skin confirms a smoldering attraction. The smile in her chestnut eyes ignites it.
    -Phil Brody,  The Holden Age of Hollywood

Let me introduce you to Share. Phil Brody sent me her photo. Does she match the description? I envisioned her a little older, but she certainly would derail a man's thoughts.

OMG, Is This True?

The lives of artists are as a rule unsatisfactory - not to say tragic - because of their inferiority on the human and personal side - there is hardly any exception to the rule that a person must pay dearly for the divine gift of creative fire.
-Carl Gustav Jung

Character Dressing:

Lackey dresses daily for the job he wants, not the job he has. His suits boast designer tags his paychecks clearly cannot support. Shoes always shined. Cologne offends. Even his never-a-strand-out-of-place haircut pissed me off from the moment we grudgingly shook hands.
-Phil Brody, The Holden Age of Hollywood

Monday, June 3, 2013

Randall's Character:

Hello, I'd like to introduce you to Randall, he's short, witty, frequently morose, obsessed with women, and makes a lot of of innuendo-laden jokes when he's nervous.

The Best SL Radio Station:

What do you think is the best radio station in SL? I like the Best of Second Life, abbreviated BOSL. It almost always has some good music streaming. Oftentimes I don't like to leave home because a good song is playing.

And now, I can take BOSL radio with me wherever I go because it has its own homepage. Just go to to listen. If you want it for your parcel's audio stream, select about land and put this in the audio tab:

Sunday, June 2, 2013

A Recurring Problem:

What do you do when someone is wearing the same shirt or hair as you? For me, the problem is sometimes clothes, but usually it's hair. There are only about four decent hair styles for men in SL. Do you just ignore it? Maybe derender the person so you don't see them and it doesn't bother you as much? Or do you immediately change? I always change. 

Everything Dies:

In some remote corner of the universe, poured out and glittering in innumerable solar systems, there once was a star on which clever animals invented knowledge. That was the highest and most mendacious minute of "world history" - yet only a minute. After nature had drawn a few breaths the star grew cold, and the clever animals had to die.
— Friedrich Nietzsche, On Truth and Lies in an Extra-Moral Sense

Saturday, June 1, 2013


I've been trying out some different greetings and replies just to spice things up. In a previous post, I mentioned my "hope and despair" reply. That actually doesn't work very well. People always think something is wrong. So I've changed it up.

Now if someone asks me how I'm doing, I say "I'm on a roller coaster that only goes up." That works much better. Usually they remark something about roller coasters not being able to go up forever and that at some point a roller coast must go down. Thereafter the conversation segues into a deep philosophical conversation about whether suffering is the price we pay for moments of happiness.

Incidentally, that's a line from The Fault In Our Stars by John Green. It's the reply that Augustus Waters used when asked how he was feeling. He was on a roller coast that only went up. The best answer to that is to say "and it is my privilege and responsibility to ride all the way up with you."

I have a new greeting too. Some people like it, but others not so much. The greeting is "how's your online love life?" That has led to a couple of unfortunate defriendings.

The Avatar Reader:

What does your avatar say about you? I met an avatar reader and had my avatar read. I wasn't wearing my favorite hair though, so I'm not sure if it was an accurate reading. Here is what she thought my avatar said about me (this was at Fogbound Blues):

#1- I am friendly
#2- I like this place
#3- I care about my "rig"
#4- I am probably over 40

What she had to work with is shown below. What does your avatar say about you?

My God, My Heart:

Hands on your breast can keep your heart beating.-Jenny Holzer