Monday, September 30, 2013

Saving Someone to Save Yourself:

What if you had to save someone to save yourself? Maybe you were shipwrecked with a doctor that was seriously injured and you had to save the doctor because you had appendicitis and needed surgery?

But what if it was something less urgent? Maybe you needed a reason to live. Deep down, you felt it necessary to have a justification for your continued existence. Even though you didn't consciously realize it, helping someone was the justification. Perhaps it was essential for you to forget yourself for awhile and believe you were someone else, someone good.

And when you stopped believing, you died.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Simulating RL

In SL, a block of land on the grid is known as a "sim". That's an abbreviation for the word "simulation" because the servers simulate some aspects of the real world, such as gravity and wind and so forth. Most of the simulation isn't accurate. For example, in the real world, we can't teleport or fly and we actually float in water, rather than sinking like a stone.

But the simulation is a pretty good representation of the real world when it comes to the economy. In SL, just like in RL, most jobs pay so little for the time required that they just aren't worth the effort. To get ahead, you need to an equity interest in something scalable.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Boat Pron

I've been following Orca's blog. It's mostly about sailing and she encourages everyone to post a photo of their sailboat. So here's a photo of my sailboat docked at my shop. There are three sims of open water in front of my shop. It's not the Blake Sea. It's more like a great lake.

There is barely enough room on this plot to fit everything. I have the shop at sea level, another shop in the sky for vending sky domes and my Sky Bubble, and another Sky Bubble where I live. When the boat is rezzed, I have only 19 prims left. Sometimes I have to go to a sandbox to unpack if it's a fancy box that takes up a lot of prims.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Dance Invitations:

One of my friends was asking why the guys at Franks go there, but do not ask any of the ladies to dance. Faith Huet inadvertently provided the answer in her blog post the The Dance Invitation. It's this line in her post (emphasis added): Let's see if we're even compatible before we spend an hour dancing. 

Us guys don't want to get stuck dancing with someone for an hour. We're bored after ten minutes. That's pretty much the reason right there.

Faith was also complaining about guys that just IM "hi" and after she responds with "hello", she doesn't hear from them for five minutes. My suggestion is to spice the conversation up a bit by lying (the lies are shown in italics):
Guy: Hi
Gal: Hello, I was waiting for you to IM me.
Guy: Really?
Gal: Yes, I'm psychic. Do you want me to tell you what you're thinking now?
Guy: Sure.
Gal: You're thinking about asking me to dance.
Guy: You're good.
Gal: Okay, let's dance.
Conversations are a dance too. You don't always have to follow, sometimes you can lead.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

J. Peterman:

Have you heard of The J. Peterman Company? In the description of a product, the company tells a story about it. Here's an example of how a striped shirt is described in the current J. Peterman catalogue, the Picasso at Vallauris:
The greatest artist of the 20th century is trim and muscular at the age of 70. Daily swims off the Côte d'Azur help keep him vigorous.
When he's not at the pottery in Vallauris, reinventing the art of ceramics, or working furiously on his latest mural, you might see him presiding at the bullring, wearing this shirt.
It's a favorite of his. He borrowed it from the local fishermen (there's an almost identical shirt in his Night Fishing at Antibes). I can't promise you this shirt will increase your creative output. But as the man himself once said, “Everything you can imagine is real.”
What if items for sale in the SL marketplace were described in the same style? Here's my attempt with one of my products, the Sky Bubble:
There once lived a littled girl that dreamed of touching the sky. Depending on her mood, her touch changed the color from blue to pink or from night to day. If she was sad, the sky wept and washed her tears away with rain. If it was winter, the sky shed fluffy snow flakes to kiss her softly until she forgot her troubles. She grew up as little girls do and forgot her childhood dreams, but the sky never forgot her.

Do you remember your childhood dreams? Have you ever wanted to touch the sky? To paint it with a different color? With the Sky Bubble you can. It's your personal world. Color the sky, change the earth or make it rain and snow with a wave of your hand. It won't make you a god, but it might make you feel like one.
Does my description make you want to buy one?

Sky Bubble, 32 meters to 100 meters

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

My Favorite Part:

Some people write for the masses. They try to make that one blog post that will go viral and be read by millions. I don't do that. My writing is specialized. It's for a smaller audience. An audience of one: you. Only you. The Internet doesn't need another person writing for most everyone. There are already too many bloggers like that.

What the Internet needs is someone writing for you. My writing is never going to change the world. I know that. But there is a possibility I could write something that in some small way may change your world. And by changing your world, maybe I can change mine.

I know that you don't visit everyday to see what I've posted. Most times, you're busy or have better things to do and that's okay. Sometimes you don't visit for weeks or months, and that's okay too. Because I'm going to keep writing and my posts will be here for you when you return. Like a long letter sealed in an envelope with all the hope and peace I can find.

Sometimes I don't post for weeks. I'm sorry for that. My faith is weak. It deserts me and leaves me powerless. I am ashamed of how long it has taken me to post this. You deserved to read this much sooner.

But no matter how long it may be between my posts, remember one thing. My favorite part about blogging will always be you.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

The Great Desperation:

In October 1929, the US stock market crashed.The ensuing decade became known as the Great Depression because prices kept falling, i.e., prices were depressed. The unemployment rate was about 25% and poverty was widespread. There were huge camps known as Hoovervilles, where homeless people lived.

I'm wondering though, if it was called the Great Depression because of the falling prices or if because so many people were depressed emotionally at not being able to find work. That's the way I feel in the current economy, depressed and also desperate. Maybe the decade following the stock market crash of 2008 will become known as the Great Desperation.

I doubt it, though. Historians have no sense of humor. They'll just mark it down as the Second Great Depression.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Fatal Flaw:

Breaking bad is drawing to a close and Walter White is in serious trouble. What do you think was the fatal character flaw that did him in? Was it an unwillingness to accept help? When Walter was first diagnosed with cancer, his old friend offered him a job at Grey Matter Inc.. Walter declined the offer though because he didn't want to accept charity.

Was it too much loyalty? He saved Jesse's life early on and in the end Jesse betrayed him. Walter refused to kill his brother-in-law, Hank, and paid for Hank's medical treatments. What if Walter had let the drug dealers kill Jesse instead of saving Jesse's life? What if Walter had killed Hank when Walter first suspected that Hank was on to Walter's illicit activities?

Was it complacency? Why did Walter work all those years as a high school teacher for such low wages? What did he do with his summers?

Was it a lack of basic ethics? Selling drugs illegally is wrong even if you're dying of cancer and you're family will be impoverished? That seems to have been the fatal flaw that really got him.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Linden Realms

I finally got around to trying Linden Realms. You can make a few Linden dollars there, emphasis on a few. The blue and green crystals are worth the most, but those crystals are few and far between. The next most valuable are the orange ones, but you need fifty of those to get five L$. After that comes yellow and pink.

If you try to fly, the clouds will get you and teleport you home. On the ground are these big fish looking things. If they get you, you get teleported to a starting place in Linden Realms. Anyway, it's a way to kill a few hours and make a few L$. You would be better off doing almost anything else though to earn Linden dollars.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Getting the Last Word:

The best to way to mute someone in SL is to set a message that is automatically sent to anyone that sends you an IM if they are on your mute list. For example, something like this:

This is an automatic response! You've been muted.

That way you don't have to send them a message that says muted and then add them to your mute list. You just insult them and then quickly mute. When they reply to your insult, they get your automatic response so that you always get the last word in.

You find the automatic response settings for muted people in advanced chat settings on Singularity.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Anxiety Disorder:

Long ago, when I lived at home with my parents, my father contracted a severe anxiety disorder. Verifiable, psychiatric level. He obsessively turned off the light in my room when I left it, even if I was gone for just a few moments. I explained to him with calm, reasoned logic how that light could not possibly require more than a few extra cents to simply leave it it on. But there was no persuading him.

Years later, I've came down with the same affliction. There's something about being responsible for the electricity bill that makes you succumb to neurosis.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Tell the Truth:

Tell the truth even if you have to lie. I know that sounds paradoxical, but you can't always state the truth directly. That's why Jesus spoke in parables. If he had spoken in plain, ordinary Latin that most people could have easily understood, the authorities would have executed him much sooner. He had to speak his truth indirectly, through stories and parables.

Unfortunately, speaking truth to power can get you killed. Sometimes you have to tell the truth through paintings and songs. And other times through imaginative stories. That's why it doesn't matter if god is a fictional character.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

My Defeat-Dream

Why were Jack and his brother digging post holes? A fence there would run parallel to the one that already enclosed the farmyard. The Welches had no animals to keep in or out - a fence there could serve no purpose. Their work was pointless. Years later, while I was waiting for a boat to take me across the river, I watched two Vietnamese women methodically hitting a discarded truck tire with sticks. They did it for a good long while, and were still doing it when I crossed the river. They were part of the dream from which I recognized the Welches, my defeat-dream, my damnation-dream, with its solemn choreography of earnest useless acts.
   ~Tobias Wolff, This Boy's Life
You know what another earnest useless act is? Sending out resumes. Why bother? You're lucky to get a two-line acknowledgement from a potential employer addressed to "Dear Sir or Madam", if they respond at all. That's my damnation-dream of an earnest useless act―sending out resumes. I would be better off beating a discarded truck tire with a stick for a good long while each day than applying for jobs. If I used a sledge hammer, I could probably get a pretty good work out.

My other defeat-dream? A job erasing bollywood escort spam from the SL forum. The Linden gods are no match for a determined spammer:

Sunday, September 15, 2013

I Do:

do you ever have that one person who you just lost contact with because of reasons and you just wonder if they’re okay and what they’re doing with their lives now and where they’ve been and if they’ve changed and how they’ve changed and what’s still the same about them and how they look and if they ever think about you like that from time to time

because I do 

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Ain't Bragg'n

One of my favorite lines from Cormac McCarthy's No Country for Old Men, is when someone asks the sheriff how he is and the sheriff replies "I ain't bragging." Have you ever wondered why it's okay to boast about being happy or doing well, but not about other subjects? For example, it would have been perfectly acceptable for the sheriff to have replied, "I'm doing great. My wife and I have never been happier. We have a wonderful relationship. Marrying her was the best thing I ever did."

However, there are some subjects for which it is rude to brag about. For instance, wealth. It would not have been okay for the sheriff to have replied, "Excellent, I've never had so much money. Have you seen a $500 bill," while reaching into his pocket for his billfold.

Why do you suppose it's okay to brag about being happy, but not rich? Is it because everyone is capable of being happy, but not everyone is capable of being wealthy? Isn't it easier to be happy if you're rich?

Is wealth like intelligence? If you have to tell people you're rich, then you must not really be rich? People will just naturally conclude you're rich because you drove up in a new luxury automobile and fly to France regularly by private chartered jet, and live in an enormous house?

To be honest, I don't like people boasting about being happy or their great relationship with whomever. It's too hard for me to relate.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Undercover Work

I often hear women complain about men in Second Life. Usually, the complaints are about requests for "teh sects" and how many men just have no class. So I went undercover as a woman to see if it was true.

A couple of men contacted me. I was at Franks, in a very attractive dress that showed just the right amount of cleavage. I would post a photo, but it would blow my cover should I need to conduct further research. The men seemed nice enough. The first guy tried some lines like "that's a sexy dress" and called me "baby" and so forth. The second guy politely asked for a dance, which I declined.

I contacted a third guy on my own initiative. He had a list of attributes in his profile, with a request to contact him if he had left anything out. I sent him an IM and suggested the word "modest". He took my suggestion gracefully.

So I'm not sure if all the complaints I'm hearing about the men are justified. I'm thinking not and that the complaints are exaggerated. Admittedly, my sample size is small and I didn't engage in any extended conversations. Perhaps more research is warranted.

Friday, September 6, 2013

The Red Lantern

Have you heard of the Iditarod? It a race by dogsled in the Alaska over 1100 plus miles.  It starts in  a little town called Willow and finishes a couple of degrees short of the arctic circle. At that latitude, the wind doesn't just bite, it devours.

A widows lamp hangs near the finish line. It remains lit as long as there are still teams on the trail. When the last team crosses the finish line, the lamp is extinguished. The Iditarod doesn't end until all competitors are off the trail.

A team consists of one or two humans (usually one) and sixteen dogs. To win, the humans have to get their dogs to trust them. Fundamentally, it's a team sport. The humans can't do it alone.

Each team to finish gets a brass buckle and a patch. The last team to finish gets a red lantern. It's a sign of respect for having the strength to plunge on through freezing wind and snow to a distant place.

I don't think I will ever be awarded a red lantern. I'm not good at finishing things, not even blog posts. It's one of my fatal character flaws.

Thursday, September 5, 2013


Seth Godin posts some fascinating material on his blog. One of his posts was about the phrase "a disaster waiting to happen." Sometimes it's expressed as "an accident waiting to happen." You've probably known someone like this, someone that's accident prone. They break things, they get into car wrecks or back into something, they drive their car on empty and run out of gas, they get parking tickets and on and on.

But what's the opposite of an accident waiting to happen? Have you ever known someone like that? Someone that always has a solution, can fix anything, is utterly dependable and reliable, and comes through no matter what? What's the phrase to describe someone like that?

A miracle waiting to happen. 

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Another Riddle:

Where can you have a hundred friends, but none of them real friends?

In Second Life. If you want real friends, you have to go out into the world as it is.