A good father never...

Learning opportunities happen every day.   I was at the vet this morning with my dog who had a few seizures of the last couple of days.   As we were checking out, the vet tech was showing me how to split the meds so I could up his dosage a little bit.   It was a neat little trick, and the other dog owner standing nearby made a comment of "well look at that, you learn something new everyday" (he had never seen the little trick either).

That got me thinking about how much we really do learn every day.   I would qualify that by saying if we are open to it, we learn something new every day.  Sometimes we learn something about ourselves, or other people, or just how life in general works.

As a father, I try and help my boys learn every day.  Sometimes that education comes from letting them make mistakes (as long as the mistake is not life threatening).  I have the same philosophy when it comes to my Second Life.

Ever since Alicia and I set up our winter cabin (I love winter cabins), I brought Rocky out so he could play in the snow.  He really does love the snow, almost as much as he loves the beach.  At the end of the day, I always bring him back inside, so he can sleep by the fire and keep warm until we come back, and he can go out and play for a bit again.  Well, that little bugger always seems to find a way OUT of the cabin, because more often than not, when I log in, he is outside rolling around in the snow.   But of course as soon as I log in, he is all whiny about wanting to come back in.

Well, today, I decided he needed to learn a lesson.

Rocky needs to learn that there are consequences to his actions.   If he is gonna break out of the cabin without knowing how to get back in, then he is gonna have to suffer some of those consequences in order to learn that lesson.  It is what a good father does right?

Ok I admit, as much as I want to be a good father, I am also a softy at heart.   How can I resist that face!  I did open the door and let him back in.   MAN!   It is HARD to be a good father!

Oh well.   I do try.

I hope each one of you learned something new today!

It's that time once again...

Good morning fellow grid travelers!

I wanted to share a few things with you this morning since I have a few minutes to spare.

I realized the other night while I was trying to help a new friend with a male makeover that just about all my landmarks for guy stores are no longer valid.  I should clarify though, because it was not I that was actually in charge of the makeover, but since I was the only other guy in our little group it fell to me to point out good guy stores.

When asked, I started to tp around to some of my old haunts like Lookr, Blacklisted and such, only to find out they are gone.   This made me a bit sad, but also gives me a reason to drag Alicia around the grid for a change to rebuild my arsenal of guy stores.

Anyway, as Alicia, Ulaa, Drazala and I popped around the grid the question of good guy hair came up.   Of course the ladies' first thought was TRUTH, but I personally have not really been fond of Truth's guy hair.   It has always been a little too metro for me.

BUT...I also knew he had finally come out with some new guy hair, so we went over to check it out.   After looking at the new stuff, I actually wanted to try on.   So I grabbed a couple of demo's and kept following the pack around the grid for the rest of the evening.

Now last night Alicia and I actually had a bit of nice quiet time together, so we were taking away and going through our recent inventories, which included several demo hair that I had picked up.

Both Rocky and Elle were happy to see us, as we have not been to the cabin in a few days.  Elle even tried to climp up into Alicia's head a time or three.

Even Rocky was falling apart from laughter.   I really think Elle just wanted Alicia to give her a bath, which she did and she was a very happy kitty once again.

Besides...who wouldn't want to be close to this face right?

Sorry, I got a bit distracted there.

Anyway, so the evening was all said and done, I actually found a Truth hair that I like.   I don't change my basic appearance often, but I am not opposed to it at all.   There are some new guy skins coming out later this week also that I am interested in looking at.

Anyway, here is the result of the new hair.

It is a little different for me, but I am liking it so far.

Even though I in no way consider myself a fashion blogger, I have been kinda trained so I will do my best to give you the details of my look.  Alicia will have to add hers in comments if she so desires.

I am wearing:

HAIR - >TRUTH< Eric - night
SKIN -  -Belleza- Jonas SK 6 (hair)
SHIRT - + Blacklisted + This River (UrbanDigi) by TG (no longer available)
JEANS - Zaara : Classic jeans for men *sky*

For those who do not follow me on plurk, I received my Christmas present early this year.   I got a brand new Dell Laptop.  It has made Second Life run SOOOO much better for me, and it will allow me to even run the graphics as anything higher than LOW and still be able to move around.   I am in heaven.

The other thing this means is that I am going to try and find time to do more work on my other two blogs, which have to do with pictures more than anything.   Now that I can do more photography, I am looking forward to playing around with that more.  Stay tuned.

Have a wonderful Thursday everybody.

A funny thing happened on the way...

Greetings fellow grid travelers.

I have been itching to do some writing and you would think that with 2 blogs I would have no trouble finding things to write about.   Somehow it never seems to work out that way.

Actually I do have a lot to write about, but it seem that something always comes up that keeps me from actually sitting down and writing.   I feel like my skills are deteriorating, so I am going to put some extra effort into it and write even if I think it is silly.

This is not a silly post however.

In my over 4 years of grid travel, I think I have just about seen it all.   So I find myself having an idea to write about, then I look and I realize I have already written about that subject.   Sometimes it is about SLife in general, or about a new toy (I have really cut back on my shopping over the past year, mostly because I HAVE everything in one form or another).  I don't usually talk about things that happen TO me, because they are personal, and while I share my personal insights from time to time, the other stuff is just boring to anybody but me.

But it is always interesting to look back.   I have been cleaning a bit of inventory, and files from my laptop.   I am waiting for my NEW laptop to arrive (I cannot WAIT!), and while I am waiting, I am trying to clean up some of the old files that I no longer use or need so I don't have to transfer them over to the new laptop.

It is interesting to see the progression of things.  Being the thinker that I like to think of myself as, I try and look back and see how I arrived at this day.   What brought me to this point.

Not only has this trip in the wayback machine been started because of a new computer, but because yesterday was somewhat of a milestone.   While it seemed like an ordinary Tuesday for most, it was the day that marked 5 months of Alicia and I being together.

I chose that phrase "being together" because that is what it is.   We are not partnered, engaged, or married in my mind.  We just are....together.

(I will interject in here that as I wrote that line above, in my head I heard a "yet".   Funny thing is, it wasn't her voice saying "yet", it was mine.  Interesting)

I have always had an interesting take on relationships.   For me, having someone in my life is not about filling a role (i.e I want a gf/wife/partner), it is about having the RIGHT person in your life.   Someone who just fits, without drama and is a positive addition to your life.

That is how I look at it.  When I consider a relationship, I try hard to be a positive addition to that relationship.   I am not looking to be mommied, or to prove that I am worthy by saying "LOOK everybody!   I am worthy of being special to someone!" because I know that I am worthy.

So I don't rush things.   I watch, listen, and contribute.   I see how things grow.  It is a hard road sometimes, because many times, things just don't grow the way you would like.   That is life though, so I don't let it get me down.

But when it DOES grow in a way that makes you happy, it really is an amazing thing.  When it grows naturally, with very little extra work, it is even better.   I truly think that makes it have an even stronger base, because it wasn't something that was forced, or pushed, or even coaxed.   Some would say that makes it "meant to be".  They could be right.

Alicia and I have been friends for a very long time.  I have always enjoyed her company when we were just friends.  She has always struck me as someone who was kind, sweet, funny, and just a joy to be around.  These last 5 months have proven that I was right over and over again.

Because 5 months ago yesterday, we decided to be more than just friends.  Best. Move. Ever.

These last 5 months have also shown me once again, that my instincts are not as out of whack as I was beginning to think they were.

I am not surprised at how this has all worked out, because everybody deserves to be in a relationship like this.  I am just overjoyed that it is happening to us!

The last 5 months have been amazing with this wonderful woman.   I look forward to many, many more.

Have a wonderful Wednesday everybody!

Hello, my name is Al and...

...I am a Second Life Snob!

It has been so long since I have blogged about anything in Second Life.  Every time I get the urge to blog something, I look back and either find I already have done it, or the subject is already been done to death.

I little while ago Alicia and I were out enjoying an evening together, and something came up that made me think of something that I wanted to blog about.  I have been trying to actually do this post for about 2 weeks but things keep coming up, and I was having trouble doing the pics for it.

So today, I had a day off (kinda).  I didn't get called to sub, and although I had to fix a broken toilet I had the day basically to myself.   So I got Codie on the line and worked through some of my imprudence crashing and picture issues so I was actually able to take the pics I wanted.

So I got the pics done...and now here I am blogging.

The idea that came up was about being a Second Life Snob. I totally am. I recently got a new neighbor in my sim, and it has been very entertaining to watch them set up the land. Knowing that these two avatars were just a few months old, I can forgive to a degree the stuff they put out on the land.

Now, given that I have been around the virtual block a time or 3, I have found that I definitely have my tastes for things.  I know what I think looks good, and tend to buy stuff that is more "modern" in Second Life, meaning good textures and some sculpties.  Whether it is a house, or clothes, or even toys I can see when something is "old", as in, inadequate textures, no sculpties etc. It is just something I see.

So when I got my island, I went house shopping and did find a place that I thought looked really good and fit perfecting on my island.

When you look at the two lots side by side, it is like night and day.  Part of me wants to IM the guy and give him a few pointers.  But, he already has a girl, and has now set up a party place next door to me that you even have to buy a pass to get into.  Obviously he is doing something right? Maybe?

I feel like looking down on his stuff makes me a complete snob.  Granted I joke about it with Alicia, and I wonder how they can see what else is around and not think to themselves "wow, where do I find that cool stuff".  But then again, if they do not put money into this game, or don't want to find work to earn more lindens, why not use what you have or whatever you can find for free or 10Lindens?  And if your woman is still willing to jump on a 2006 heart shaped sex bed with you...does it really matter?

I admit that I have high standards.  But these standards are mine, and I have chosen to live with them.  Granted these standards have gotten me a great little island and house to call my own, and a wonderful woman to spend my inworld time with.

So does that make me snob? Probably.  Do I care?  Not in the least.

Have a wonderful day, even if it is from 2006!


So last night I took the plunge.  I got my very own SIM!

Before you start to congratulate me, let me explain.    I have been playing around with all the different viewers recently, and exploring some of the other "grids" available out there.   I had a long talk with a friend about inWorldz for example, and even spent some time on OSGrid.  It was strangely reminiscent of my early days in SL, but it did have an air of excitement to it.

During my chat, I mentioned how great it would be to have a SIM that I could load on my home network to build stuff on.  I was promptly given a link to such a beast!  I could not believe it!

Of course I downloaded it right away!  700megs and 1 burned CD later, I booted up one of the "spare" computers I had laying around, and VIOLA!  I had my very own SIM!

Since I use the Rainbow and Imprudence viewers almost exclusively, it was very easy to connect to my new SIM!  A quick login, and BOOM!  There I was, my own island in the world.  All those prims and room, JUST FOR ME!

Now  granted, this little world is pretty darn small.  This SIM is not connected to anything, so all I can do is walk around.  Even that was a little sketchy.  I mean, it IS OpenSIM.

Don't get me wrong, I completely support OpenSIM.  It just is not up to SL status yet but I have no doubt it will get there someday.  When someday will be here, I have no idea.  But I like that it is completely open sourced, so if other open source projects are any indication, at some point it will really start to take off.

I was thinking about what this could mean.  Imagine you are content creator, and you have your own private sim you can build on, upload textures too for testing, and all without any charges.  I am not sure there is a way to transfer stuff from OpenSIM over to SL just yet (I have not researched it much), but I would say if there is not, I bet that eventually there will be.  The possibilities are really amazing.

So while I actually DO have my own private SIM, it is kinda like owning the same car you had when you first got your license to drive.  Definitely some fond memories of those times, but not sure I would use it for everyday stuff...YET!

For those of you who like to see what might be possible, and an extra computer laying around, here is the link to this neat little project.


Also, some more information about OpenSIM

OpenSIM Main Site

Get your Geek on!

You can dance if you want to...

...you can leave your friends behind.  

I was catching up on some TV shows tonight, and I was able to watch the latest installment of Glee (Dream On episode).   It had a song in it that came out when I was in high school.   The Safety Dance.   It was a one hit wonder for the group Men Without Hats, but we sure loved the song, and the group name actually inspired a few friends of mine and I to form our own little group.   I will refrain from going into that more at this point.

Anyway, I thought the timing was interesting, because not just the night before I went out dance shopping.   I am very picky on what dances I will use for my avatar.   There are some really great dances available in SL these days, but most of them make my avatar look a little too feminine.   I actually enjoy watching all the ladies use them, cause they look great, but I don't like them on me.   So up until last night, I had my standard 4 dances that seem to fit my personality pretty well.

My favorite place for guy dances is Akeyo.   I always try there first.   This particular nights shopping adventure started at 3fx.  3fx really does have an amazing assortment of not only single dances, but couples dances as well.   I highly recommend you take a look there if you need to add some new dances to your repertoire.  After checking out the new couples dances, there I was back at Akeyo.

One of the other things I have been meaning to do was tweak my AO a little bit.   I have a few stands that I am not wild about, and I always like to look around for some new ones to add in to freshen it up a bit.   The first thing I notices when I arrived at Akeyo was the new AO vendors, so I decided to take a look.

I hopped on the vendor and started to cycle through the animations.   Most I liked, some I have seen too much of recently, or the stand just moved a little too much for my taste.  I kept going back and forth, trying to narrow down which ones I liked.  I finally just decided to get the whole AO, so I could play with all of them on my own time, and not take up the vendor for hours on end.  So I plopped down the $1,800 lindens for the Rudeboy AO.

I checked out some of the new dance moves that had arrived, bought a few of those, then headed home.   I unpacked my new purchase, and immediately wore the new AO.   I had to laugh because just that morning I was teasing a friend about wearing 2 AO's, and here I was doing just that.  Like can be kinda funny that way.  I noticed a few things right away on this new AO.

First, my first impression of the HUD was good.   It defaults to the upper left hand corner of my screen, where I do not usually have anything anyway.   It is horizontal, as opposed to vertical as so many AO HUDs are.  There were quite a few buttons I needed to explore, but the standard ones were there (Stand, Sit Override, Ground Sit).   One new thing I found was the "Dance" button, which is not uncommon these days, but my current AO does not have that option.   I use a huddles HUD for my dances, and I will probably keep using it for the features that it has on loading different sets of animations.   I am not always dancing in a club, so it's nice to be able to load up a few casual dances if I am listening to some live music.

Anyway, so I was playing around with my new AO HUD, and I figured I would add my new dances to it, just to experiment.   This is where I found the neatest part.   Up until now, when I had to configure an AO, it was all about editing a notecard to tell the AO what animations to use for what.   This Rudeboy AO did not have ANY notecards in it at all.  So I went exploring around to see exactly how I was supposed to get this all to work.

As a guy, I always try to see if I can figure stuff out before I fall back on reading the directions.   This time was no different.   But based on past experience, I knew that I would have to drop the AO onto the ground before I could add anything to it.   So, with it sitting in the sand on my beach, I dragged my 4 new dances into the AO.

All of a sudden, I saw in my chat history that the AO had detected I had added some new animations.   This is not really all that new, but what was really interesting was that it was able to automatically determine what catagory to put them in!   I have to say, that was impressive.   I am pretty sure that it was able to figure this out by using the names as a clue, because it was Akeyo dances I added.  BUT...I have to say, it was nice to see some thought put into how this HUD worked.

I poked around a bit more, thinking that it would not be able to automagically know where to put ALL the animations throughout SL.   What I found out was actually pretty ingenious I think.   There is a "reconfigure" button on the AO (you have to expand

I am not sure if I am quite ready to give up my Vista AO quite yet.  My original plan was to strip the animations out of the Rudeboy AO and add the stands I liked to my Vista.  After playing with the Akeyo AO for a little bit, I am not sure if that plan will still be my plan A or not.  Who knows, maybe I will try out this 2 AO thing a little.

I am always happy to see progress made in making our lives in this world a bit easier.   The process of setting up an AO has been one of those things that is rarely attempted in the first months of being in SL.   Even veterans of this world tend to not change AO's very often because of the effort required to do it.   With the system that artoo Magneto has created with the Akeyo AO's, I can see a time very soon where changing your AO becomes even more commonplace, and done much earlier in a persons Second Life.

So once again Akeyo has come through for me.   I was able to find a few more dances that seem to suit me, and some new AO stands to liven up my current AO a bit.   

Now if I can only find the dance that Aritie did at the mall.   

*Helpful Info

Akeyo_PowerAO_Rudeboy (v1.5) - $1,800 lindens


A small shift...

I came to realize a short while ago, that while this blog was originally designed to be a place to talk about all stuff Second Life, that more recently I have been using more for general musings.  I wanted to get this particular blog back to my original intent, so I have made a small change.

I have started a "personal" blog, located over at Al Unplugged 

As I have mentioned in previous entries on this blog, writing has really been a great outlet for me.   I want to do more of it, but I also do not want this particular blog to wander too far away from its original intent.  This blog will still have thoughts, but those thoughts will be specifically about Second Life. 

There is much to discover about Second Life, and my goal is to write about that.   Anything else that I might feel noteworthy, will be over on Al Unplugged

I hope you find at least one of these blogs worthy of your precious time.

I thank you for all the comments I have received so far.   I do appreciate them more than you know.

- Al

Being self critical.

***Please Note - This entry is mostly about RL, and I only put it here because it is a bit long for a Plurk (http://www.plurk.com) so I just decided to put it here.  If you have no interest in reading something a little bout my RL, then I direct you back to whatever you were doing before.  :)***

As some of you already know, I am a part time DJ.  I do mostly weddings, but I also do school dances, corporate parties, birthday parties etc.  I have been doing it for about 4 years now, and I get lots of compliments on my events.  There have been up to 6 DJ's total working for the company I currently work for, and I have been the top tip earner for 3 years straight.

When you work alone on stuff like this, it is hard to see what you might improve on, because I don't see other DJ's do their thing.  I try and catch other events when I am not working, but it doesn't always work out for me to catch other DJ's doing thier thing.  I always strive to improve my work, so most of the time I am left with sefl evaluation only.

This past weekend I was able to help chaperone our local high schools Jr/Sr Prom.  My wife was in charge of the event, and even though they decided to NOT hire me for it (mock indignation inserted here), my event of that day ended early enough so I was able to come over and be there for the last 2.5 hours or so.  This gave me a very good sampling of how the DJ they did hire does his events.

Without going into too many details, I was not impressed.  His setup was not done right.  His speakers were too low, so while the base was able to be heard properly, his mids and highs were hidden behind a wall of kids, so the sound was not able to travel very far.  This made the music sound very muddled to most of the room.  I was able to get a good look at his setup from behind also.  All I could say was ...um...really?  Are you planning on using those turntables?   Are ya gonna scratch for us?   *shakes his head.

Even before I checked out his rig, I was listening to him.  His presentation was very broken.  He did not flow very well on the microphone.  Now I realize not many people would notice things like this, but it stood out to me right away.   He also had too much dead air between songs.  If you are trying to keep people dancing, you want to keep the music flowing.

At one point, the DJ instructed the kids to bring all the chaperone's out onto the dance floor.  My wife and I were standing over near the entrance, and about 20 kids ran over and grabbed both of us and pushed us onto the dance floor.  We even got the principle to come out and do a fun dance.  After we did our cute little dance, things just kinda stagnated.  Much to the chagrin of my wife, I asked the DJ if I could have the microphone.  He happily handed it over, not realizing what I was up to.

I started talking to the kids, getting them yelling, pumping them up.  I got them clapping, stomping, while my wife had the DJ cue up a song for me.   Just as I got the kids to a fever pitch, I queued the DJ, and we all exploded into a very fun dance.  The dance floor was just going crazy.  Wifey and I danced 2 more songs, then went back to our duties.   The dance floor settled back down into a steady group of dancers, and kept going for about anothe hour or so.

Overall, I do not think the DJ did a bad job.  It was just, nothing special.   His selection of music was appropriate for the most part.   There were only a few songs that I thought "really?  why would you play that".  And watching the kids on the dancefloor, I would say that overall they had a good time.   I did overhear the DJ talking to one of the event staff afterwards, complaining about how hard this event was, given that the school administration was fairly strick on the playlist.   Once again, to myself I was thinking "really?  hard?  are you kidding me?"

It is not often I get to compare myself to others in my profession, and I would definitly not put that DJ as somebody to try and emulate, but seeing how he did his job, I can look for other areas to improve my work, and not worry quite so much about some of the basic stuff I had worried about in the past.

So not only did wifey's prom go off very well, I ended up feeling pretty darn good about what I do, and how I do it.

Ok, I am done patting myself on the back now.

Happy Tuesday everybody!

Honest is the best policy....


I do try and be honest.   It's not always easy, and I don't always succeed at it.  Sometimes I am not honest because I think that being honest would just hurt someones feelings, or because I don't think it will accomplish anything.

I have had a few instances over the last several months, where I decided I didn't care about the consequences, and I was brutally honest with someone.  It was not the "I hate your shoes" type of honesty, but more of "This is how I felt about what you did".  I was hurt by something, and even though it was MY hurt, and I did not "blame" the other person for my hurt, for some reason I was driven to make sure they knew about it.

The funny thing is, that after I expressed my "feelings" on the issue, I noticed that my anger and frustration about that particular situation seemed to diminish greatly.   I should qualify this, cause this "discussion" I had was not in any sort of public forum.   It was a private conversation.   We were having a discussion and while it started out as a casual conversation, it turned to a subject I was not happy with, and I brought up how I was feeling.

Anyway, I did find it interesting how much my "pent up" anger and frustration was now gone after that particular conversation.  For the most part, I do not "fight" with people.   I honestly feel that words spoken in anger do more harm than good.  I would like to think that in this particular instance, that while I was "angry", what I expressed was not a just said to spite someone, but was a true expression of how something made me feel.

I don't think this experience is going to make me start going around telling everybody about how something makes me feel, but I think I might be a little more open to, given the right circumstance, express my "feelings" about something to help me process through it, and then let it go.

It is interesting however, to note that while talking to others about an "issue" can be helpful (i.e. bff's, significant others, therapists etc), I think it is not quite the same as actually telling the person you have the "issue" with.   This is not always possible, and usually can lead to more arguements.   I don't recommend just blindly going out and telling every person you have "issues" with exactly how you feel about them, because truely the "issues" are with you.   But if there is someone in your life that you are "angry" with, and you think you have a good handle on "why" you are angry (i.e. what is it that you are "really" angry about), if that person is important enough to you, you might be able to have that conversation about it, and then maybe you can get past it and start moving forward again.

Most people are not able to handle someone telling them exactly how they felt about something they did.    Most will get defensive and take it like an attack on them, which kinda defeats the purpose.  This personal experience however, has made me realize that even if I am listening to someone tell me how something I did made them feel bad, or angry, or sad, or whatever, it is important to let them express those feelings, because while I cannot undo something that I might have done, hopefully by being honest with me about it, it will not fester and become something much bigger than it has to be.  Unresolved anger/frustration is nothing but a cancer that eats away at our very soul, so I hope I can be a better friend/husband/father by taking what people might tell me, and hearing it for what it truly is, an opportunity for growth.

I can always hope, right?

Happy Friday everybody!

Those special moments.

We all have them.   Sometimes they are shared with others, sometimes not.   Sometimes it is just a moment when the world is not banging down your door, and you can just be.  Those moments where you are not thinking about what you have to get done that day, or the next, or what you are gonna make for dinner, or any of those daily things.

It is a time to let your mind wander a little.  Maybe even reflect a little bit.  Think about where you are, and where you might be going.

Some people dread these moments.   It can be a reminder of how things are not going the way they want.  Others just ignore these moments, because they are too "busy" to even take a few to just....be.   I try and recognize these moments as often as possible.

I tend to be the last person awake in my house.   I would not call me a nightowl, but I stay up later than the rest of my family.   Sometimes I wonder if it is the guardian in me, making sure everybody is where they are suppose to be, safe and sound before I finally rest from the day.   Whatever the reason, I do get more "moments" because of it.

The other day, we had a rainstorm come through.   We don't get many were I live, so when I woke up to the sound of rain on the roof, it really did make me smile.   I woke up a bit earlier than normal, and put on my thick robe and went out on our back deck and just sat down in the chair.  Our house faces west, so from the back yard we get a direct view of our sunrises.

It was early enough so that most of the surrounding world was not really moving yet.   I had about 20 minutes of just listening to what was going on around me, and letting my mind just ride the universe.   The sounds, the smells, everything about it was just...there.   I was just...there.    I love those moments.

It is during those moments, what I personally take stock in my life.   I look at what I have done, what I am doing, and what I have planned for my future.   While my life is not perfect, I do have to say, I am a very lucky man.  When I look at where I am, I feel that while I might not be exactly where I want to be in my life....I am not far off, and I am very happy with the people I have surrounding me.   

So after recognizing my moment, and enjoying it for what it was, the moment was gone, and I started my day like any other.  On this particular day however, I had a little wider of a smile, because I was comfortable with what I saw during my "moment".

I hope you have your own moments.  Whether you use them to redirect yourself, or to just remember to appreciate what you have, I hope you take advantage of these "moments" when they present themselves.

I have not been doing much SL photography recently, and I have really missed it.   I have wanted to capture one of these "moments", and with the help of my plurk friends, found the items I needed to create a visual of a "moment".  I did not do any post processing on this shot, but I thought it captures that idea pretty well.

Have a wonderful Wednesday everybody!

You are what you....


As you may have already figured out, I think a lot.   I also observe a lot.   I think about observation a lot.  I observe thinking, not so much unfortunately.

I am a brown belt in Tae Kwon Do.   I have taught classes for years, and I always enjoy that "WOW" moment from kids when you show them something very exciting and new.

I was teaching an Adult class the other day, and I had one of those "WOW" moments from a few of the adults when I did a very simple demonstration.

This was an off the cuff idea, that came from teaching a Womens Selft Defense class last summer.  The demonstration had to do with the power of the mind.

If you have a baby around your house, or you remember it well enough, you will know what I mean when I describe this.

The demonstration I did was how easy it is to change your body with just your mind.    I had one of the smallest girls in class come up to help me.   I stand behind her, and using a bear hug, pick her up.   It was very easy, given that she is a tiny little thing.

Next, I tell her to imagine that she is a concrete block.   Thats it.  Picture it in her mind.   She does, and I TRY to pick her up.   When I say try, I mean TRY!   I cannot do it, no matter how hard I try.

I have the rest of the class try it.  It works EVERY SINGLE TIME!

How does a baby play into this?   Think about it.   When a child WANTS to be picked up, it's pretty easy to pick them up.  If the do NOT want to be picked up, they weigh a ton.  SAME PRINCIPLE!

So, if all it takes to change the density of your body is simply picturing yourself as a block of concrete, imagine what you could do if you focused on, say, other stuff?

Think about it.  And do the test yourself.   I dare you!  :P

Have a wonderful Hump Day everybody!

A Very Special Day!

Today is a very special day in my world.

Today is the day that my first child was born.   Actually at 10:43pm on April 14th my first son was born.

For as long as I can remember, I have wanted to be a father.   Having children was never something that we just did, both of my kids were very, and I mean VERY, planned.  But even with all that, it has still been a very interesting journey through this.

I remember the day very well.   My wife and I took all the baby classes, and we were very book smart when it came to the whole process.  We had EVERYTHING planned out, down to making mixed tapes for the hospital room of all my wifes favorite songs.  But as things rarely do, it was not long before our PLAN was out the window.

It was a pretty normal Thursay for us.   I was already home from work, because our due date was passed (by about 2 days I think).  This day was seemingly going to pass by without any activity also.   Then it started.

In all the classes, they talk about how things build up slowly and that you will just know.  Well not for us.   When the contractions started, they started HARD.  After a few of them, I called the hospital to let them know we were on our way.   I got the typical "oh, first time parent overreacting" tone from the nurse, so I listened and then told the wife what she said.   One more big contractions, and we both said "fuck them, we are cominig NOW".   Which is pretty much what I told them when I called them back.

On the way to the hospital, I called all the appropriate friends (we only had my sister in law in the area family wise) to let them know that it was happening.   We got to the hospital, with all our crap, and they casually brought us in, and got us up to the room.   They were moving very slowly, which was very irritating, but I kept my mouth shut.

They FINALLY get wifey on the bed, and the nurse examines her.   "OH!"  she says, "You are already at 3 cm!" and BOOM, the whole demeanor changed.  I really wanted to yell 'THANK YOU! THIS IS WHAT WE HAVE BEEN SAYING!" but I didn't.   I was holding her hand, and tryng to keep her focused.

So there I am, bent over my wife, talking and breathing with her.   Keep in mind, I am 6'4" tall, so I was bent over in half basically to keep in her face.  After a few more contractions she says to me "honey, stand up, you are gonna pass out".   Evidently my face was not looking good, not realizing that I was having trouble breathing bent over like that.  Fortunatly I did NOT pass out.

So things were moving along, but not quite fast enough for my wife.  There was a woman in our baby class that had her kid after like 2 hours of labor.   So when the 2 hour mark passed, wifey was getting irritated (playfully so mostly, but still).   So it was just us in the room, and we are kidding around when another contraction hits..and HARD.   She is holding my hand, and telling me to go get the nurse, because the meds are wearing off.   I start to move and she says "NO!  Don't leave me!".

Ok, so here I am, I need to go get the nurse, but I cannot leave my wifes side.  "Honey, I will be RIGHT back".  "No! Stay here".   "but you want the nurse!  I cant stay here and get the nurse also."  (don't even start telling me about the call button, it was a stressful moment).   "Yell for her!" she says.  "um..no.  I am not gonna yell for the nurse, I will be RIGHT back".  "FINE!" she playfully scorns me as I head out the door.

So as I said, nothing in our plans actually came about.   "Honey, would you like to listen to your music?"  "NO!"  Ok, I am just gonna stand here then.

We finally are at 10cm.   Nurses buzzing about, but no Doctor.   I ask about him. "Oh, he is on his way".  Really?  from where, MARS?  Wife starts wanting to push, but no Dr. yet.   Can she have more pain meds?   Nope, too late now.  WHERE THE FUCK IS THE DR!

FINALLY he arrives.  He swoops in, gets his gown on, gloves etc.   He sits down on his little rolly chair, and rolls up between my wifes legs, and said "ok, are you ready?"  "YES!  You are a little late there buddy, I have been ready for 5 minutes!" (she makes me laugh so hard sometimes).  He laughs and says "ok, lets push".

Three pushes later, and VUUUWOOOMP!   There he is!  9lbs 2 (maybe 3) oz baby boy.  He was a big sucker too!

They check him out, and clean him up, while I keep holding wifeys hand.   She is tired, but doing fine.   They finally brought him over to us, and he was just the UGLIEST little thing in the world (Kidding, I tell him this story though, and I cannot help but say that).   He really was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen.

Funny little side story.   My Sister in law was in the waiting room during this whole process.  The woman in the room next to ours, was screaming bloody murder the entire time through her delivery, and my sister though it was us.   She was in complete panic.   I wandered out after all was said and done, and she jumps all over me about "what the FUCK is going on in there!".   I look at her very confused and say "All is fine, he wasa 9lbs blah blah, and its all good!".  She is completely confused, until the other woman started screaming again, finally realizing it was not her sister that was being cut up into little pieces and fed to a meatgrinder (from the sounds).

Anyway, that day, changed my life.   I finally became what I had wanted to be.   A DAD!

I don't get to tell him this today, because he is on some remote island studying dolphins and octopy and other marine animals, but to my son I say this:  I am SOO proud of you!   Happy 16th Birthday!

Because I can, and it's free!

Good morning!

I am blogging this morning because I have been itching to write for a while now, but have not been able to come up with anything important to say.  And this blog entry will be a perfect example of this problem.

I really don't have anything interesting to say, so I am going to write about...writing.

I don't know how it is with you, but for me talking and writing are extremely theraputic.   I don't mean "how's the weather" talking/writing, I mean deep, meaningful, thoughtful talking/writing.  Having to describe something, or express a thought or emotion is hard work, but is very helpful to me.

As an example, my wife and I rarely fight.  Sure we have disagreements, but never a real outloud yelling fight.   I hate fighting, because things are usually said that can never be taken back.

One day several years ago, my wife said something to me that just really, really angered me.   When I get angry, I get very quiet.   I actually didn't say a single word to my wife for 3 days.  She knew she had done something, but had no idea what.

During those three days, I really tried to figure out what I was really mad at.  What she said to me was by itself, pretty mild, but it was "the straw that broke the camels back" on an issue that had been building up for many years.  I didn't want to say anything until I really understood what it was that was really behind my apparent anger.

So during those 3 days, I wrote letter after letter to my wife, trying to describe what I was angry about.  That process helped me identify what was really going on in my head, and allowed me to filter through all the crap that was easy to say, but not really relevant to what was really going on.

After 3 days, I finally was able to filter it down to the real issue.  Once I had that figured out, I was able to present my issue calmly and somewhat rationally.   We climbed into the bath together, and talked it out.   It was a very good talk, and it really made a huge difference in our relationship.

I learned from that, and from many other times, that having to form a thought either into words written down, or verbalized to somebody else allows me to see how valid my thought might actually be.  It allows me to hear it outloud, and look at it from a slightly different perspective.  Many times I will write something down, or say it, and then realize how silly it is.  Even with that, I was at least able to process it out, and move on from it.

Some might say that fighting and saying things in anger does the same thing.   I would be hard pressed to argue that point, but I do like to really think about what I am saying before it slips out of my mouth.  I have this talk with my kids often, about how I choose my words very carefully (most of the time), so please listen with as much energy as I took to choose the right words to say.

I would say the process of writing ones thoughts down is similiar to trying to teach someone something that you have been doing for many years.  I am going through this right now as I am teaching my oldest how to drive.   I have to think about the process once again, instead of just relying on habit.  Thinking about all that we do when we are driving has been reeducational for me.  It definitely reminds me of the old saying, that if you really want to understand a subject, teach it to somebody else.

So what does this all mean?  Well, it says to me, that communication is key to human mental evolution.  How can we grow, unless we express and communicate with each other.  I know that once I learned how to write, I have been a better communicator.  Maybe it is just me, but I know I am not all that unique in the word, so maybe it is significant.

I think I might promote the idea of a journal to my boys.   Both my boys are avid readers, and maybe writing stuff down on a daily basis will be as benificial to them as it has been to me.

Don't you just love this process!

Have a wonderful Tuesday everybody!

Back in my day! (Love Thursday)

This particular blog has absolutely nothing to do with Second Life, so if you absolutely have no interest in reading anything real, click away now!

Hi, thanks for staying.

So today my oldest son and his high school band are competing in a concert and jazz band competition.  The competition is right across the street from my office, so I get to go watch him!   I am very excited.

When I was in band (yes, I am a MAJOR band geek!), we did the same thing.  One thing is different though.  In the state I grew up in, when we did these competitions there was a different component.  For all you band geeks out there, it was called "sight reading".

Basically how it worked was that we were given sealed envelopes of our music.  Our director was given 10 minutes or so to preview the score, and make notes.  Then, we were given 5 minutes to open our music, have our director point out thing he felt were significant, then we had to play it!

Of course this was only one part of the overall competition, but it was kinda exciting to read something brand new like that, but it was also scary as hell.

For histories sake, my HS band ususally did VERY well at both these types of competitions and marching and field shows as well.  We were a hell of a band, and had the racks and racks of trophies to show for it.  

When I asked my son about this last night, he looked at me kinda funny.  "We don't do that dad" he told me.  WHAT!   I was stunned.  Once I recovered, I got so good old fashion dad ribbing in, which was tons of fun.

Even though they are not going to "sight read", I am very excited to see my son play today.  His HS band is the band to beat this year.  They say the nut doesn't fall far from tree.   I only hope he gets all my good stuff, and none of the not so good stuff.

I think I am gonna turn this into my Love Thursday post since I have not done one in a while, and I love my son, and I love good music!

Have a wonderful Thursday everybody!

The one thing that never changes...

...is the fact that there will always be changes.

People hate change.   I don't quite get that, because life IS change, but we humans are creatures of habit.  We learn to do things in a certain way, right or wrong, and we fight any attempt to change that process.   We become comfortable with a certain process, and rarely to we embrace any attempt to alter it.

I personally am not afraid of change.  I have fought against change at different times in my lilfe, but overall I try and be open to change.  I do not subscribe to the notion that change for changes sake is a good thing, but I do try to look at what benefit any particular change might bring, before I sign onto it.  When my wife and I decided to pick up and move to another state 10 years ago people thought we were nuts, but it was the best thing we have ever done, and has had a huge positive affect on our family.   Change is not always bad.

In that light, I have been looking forward to the new Second Life Viewer 2.0, which was released to Public Beta today.  As soon as I heard about its release via Plurk (thank you Prad!), I downloaded it and began to poke around.  The interface is quite different, and after watching a quick video on it, I just started to play with it to see what I thought.

First of all, the biggest concern I had was how would the new viewer run on my aging Dell laptop.   Up until today, most viewers would not run well on my poor lappy, except for the Rainbow viewer by Boy Lane, and the latest Snowglobe viewer.  I was pleasantly relieved to find the new Beta 2.0 ran pretty well on my system.  That was a huge hurdle in my book.

After playing around with it between RL phonecalls and meetings, I felt pretty comfortable with the whole thing.   There are still parts I have not explored yet, and I have had to ask on Plurk where to find a few things that I was too lazy to dig around for (thanks to all that have been helping with that), but I can see where Linden Labs was going with this new interface.

I don't want to make this a review on the new viewer, because I think if you want to see it, you should download it yourself and give it a run.  Don't be scared, it won't bite you (or at least that feature has not been added just yet).

But I would like to point out one thing.  Even though this new beta version seems to run pretty well on older hardware (and btw, the new Snowglobe V2.0 even runs a bit better on my older hardware), there still is a lot of work underneath all this fancy new interface stuff that needs to be done.

I know that Linden Labs has quite a bit on thier plate on the back end.  There has been much written about making the communications process between the viewer and the servers more efficient, changing the protocols used, etc.  My main hope with this new 2.0 viewer is that they have laid the groundwork for those changes to be implimented in a much cleaner fashion.

The debate over new features vs improved reliablity has been waged over and over.   There does need to be a balance of both I feel.   A stable grid and viewer do enhance the overall experience, as do new features to make everyday Second Life living easier and more enjoyable.   The new feature train has been moving ahead very quickly with all the 3rd party viewers available these days, from Snowglobe to Emerald to Rainbow.  I hope that with the new 2.0 code, that more changes will be made to help the speed and reliability part of the equation.

We also must not forget, that Linden Labs is a business, which needs to be able to make a profit for it to continue operating.   They have been implementing things to help draw in new users, then keep them at a higher rate.   The new linden homes is just part of that process.  The new interface for the viewer is also part of it.   Looking to the future is essential for any business, especially in today's economy.  If these changes help Linden Labs remain a profitable businss for many years to come, I am fully behind it, and I will change to accomodate.

I know change is hard.   Any new idea, or venture, or change in direction requires energy to get off the ground.   People are busy, and to have to learn something new takes time, but I feel it will be time worth spending.   This new viewer is just out in beta, so right now there is not pressing NEED for everybody to use it, but I would suggest you set aside some time and start getting used to it.   It will make the inevitable changeover less burdensome when it happens.  Also remember, that the point of a public beta, is to see how it works in a much larger pool of users.    There is still time to make tweaks, fix bugs, and possibly even implement some new ideas before it becomes the official viewer.   If you have ideas, bugs, suggestions for the new viewer, make sure you make then through the proper channels.  it's the only way the people behind the viewer, will know what is really going on.

A few links to help you along:



and remember..Change...CAN be...good!

Practice makes Perfect!

There are certain jobs in our real world that take a LOT of training to do. Many of these professions use virtual simulations to help people practice their skills, before putting them into situations where a mistake could cost millions of dollars, or lost lives.   Think about what pilots have to go through, in order to keep their flight status.  The simulators they use these days are simply amazing to see, and I bet even more amazing to actually use.

I have worked on several projects inside of Second Life during my stay, and each one has taught me something that has had a positive affect on my skills in RL.  I have been learning website design, and graphic design, and have been doing more web marketing recently, which as rolled over into a few RL projects I am currently working on also.

Which is somewhat interesting, because one of the articles that I read many years ago that peaked my interest in SL was about how the Dept of Emergency Response (Which now I believe is the Dept of Homeland Security), was using the technology of Second Life to simulate real disasters, and training the responders.  That was very fascinating.

I was thinking more about this subject recently, especially when I got a compliment on a logo I did for the company I work for.  Granted, it was nothing real fancy, and could be tons better, but the skills I have learned in SL doing photography really came in handy.

It also reminded me of an old friend that is no longer in SL.  Shortly before she left, we had a nice long talk.  She told me that being in SL really helped her come out of her little shell she had created for herself, and had helped propel her into the dream job she had always wanted, and even helped her become more confident in herself, which led to her going out more.  Because of all that, she then met a man that she was really starting to have feelings for, and he was falling for her also.  In her mind, she was able to use SL as a testing ground for some real life achievements.

So what if SL is more than just a fantasy world.  What if it really is a testing ground for some very real challenges, and improvements of our real lives?   Does what we do in SL really have that much of an affect on our Real Lives?  Does how we conduct ourselves inside this fantasy world relect who we are in RL?  Is it possible to really become more than what we were when we started by practicing in SL?

I am not sure of all the answers to these questions, but I do know that my experience in SL has taught me some very valuable things about RL, from both a personal standpoint, and a professional one as well.

So I will add one more thing to my list of things that I love about SL.  It gives me an opportunity to practice things that will allow me to improve my RL, in ways I probably would never have considered before.

I hope that SL can be that for all of you also.   It is a very valuable resource, when used that way.

Have a great Monday everybody!

Big Announcement!

Ladies and Gentlemen, boys and girls, I have something that I want to share with all of you!

No, it's not that I am really a woman in RL (shocker, I know).  It's about a project that I have been working on recently.  It's something I have been thinking about doing for a while, and it has finally all come together.

It is still a bit rough around the edges, but I have been sharing it with a few friends, and they have been giving me some great feedback, and a very positive response overall.  So I am announcing it to the world, sorta speak..:)

Here it is!  My latest blog/website...


The goal of this site is multi-fold.  The two main objectives is to have a place where people can share the hard work they have done on thier avatars in Second Life.  The second main objective is to have a place where people can browse through different looks, and have information regarding how it was made, so they can learn about new items, new shops, and/or new skills!  The focus will be just on the avatar itself, and parts to make it what it is.

On the topic of the second objective.  I have been getting some great response so far from the women, but I REALLY want this to be a good resource for men also.   So I need a bit of help on this front.

Ladies, if you have a man in your life and/or you have men you know in Second Life that have a look you like, please encourage them to submit an entry!  You might even make a fun night out of it to help them take the pictures (hint hint).

As you already know, men usually are not big shoppers, and are basically visual creatures.  One of my hopes for this site is to give men a place where they can see what is available out in the world.

Anyway, as far as announcements go, I know this is a bit unconventional. But then again, I am a bit unconventional.

Please take a look at the site and let me know what you think!  There is still work to be done on it for sure, but it has been coming along nicely I think.

I would also like to thank EVERYBODY that has already submitted, and is planning on submitting a post.  I have been overwhelmed with the responce so far (in a very good way), so THANK YOU ALL VERY MUCH!

I now return you to your regularly scheduled SL wednesday evening.

The More You Know!

I have spent many an hour working on getting my laptop to run Second Life as best as it can, and I have achieved a pretty good environment for myself.  My home lot runs pretty well, but when I venture out onto the grid, I usually run into lots of lag, and I am always curious as to where it comes from.

I have heard a lot of things that people have said that will help with lag, especially at busy places with a lot of avatars (i.e. Store openings, big sales, concerts, etc).   I always wonder how much of  these "lag reducing" methods actually work, but I have never taken the time to really dig into them.

Today I found a blog post that really digs down into the causes of lag, and what is really true about what might be done to reduce it.  I honestly think that anybody that owns a store, or a sim, and wants to make the experience that people have in your palce the best that it possibly can be, need to read this post thoroughly.   It has some really important tips to make things just work better, which I think if implemented properly, would really improve the over all experience for many people.  

I hear a lot about how Linden Labs needs to make things better, and while I am all for pushing Linden Labs for performance enhancements, I am also a big believer of people doing all that they can to make thier own lives, both RL and SL, better using all the tools and techniques available to them.

If you are a builder, a store owner, a sim owner/manager, a content creator of almost any type, I think you will benefit from the information in this post!

Please take a look and please let me know what you think!  Feedback is always appreciated!

Have a lag free day!

Slap me some Skin Bro! (Nice Rant!)

(I call it a nice rant, because I am not really angry, just a bit frustrated)

OK, I am going to rant here for a few minutes.  I don't mean any disrespect with this, it is just me venting my frustration.

I had a friend recently want to show me a skin shop she "found" (I had already known about it).  They had some new skins, so I figured I would get some demo's just to look them over.

I happen to love my current skin, but even that designer has a new one out, so I decided to get a demo of that one also..just for some fun comparisons.

Here is my complaint.  I collect the demo's of these new skins.  They appear in a folder in my inventory.  I look in the folders and they have the "name" of the skin, and usually some number reference.  There is no way for me to know what demo skin is what.  I have to try them all on to find the one that I saw in the store.

Granted, I am kinda picky on my facial features (I am partial to beards), and I would probably end up trying them all on at some point, but it would be REALLY helpful if there was textures included in the demo pack showing each face, and the name of the skin in the folder that matches it.

Guys are not big shoppers, and when we have to sort through things over and over because we are not sure which one is which, we get VERY frustrated.  I really makes us NOT want to buy a new skin at all, because it is just too frustrating.  Woman have a memory geared for this kind of thing, men do not.

Here is my suggestion, if anybody cares to take it.  In each demo folder, have a texture that is a mosaic of all the skins included, probably just the face shots like you have at your store.  This may be harder than I think given the limits of texture sizes, but maybe not.  On each picture, have a way to identify each skin, so I can look at at the folder, and see exactly what skin matches with the pictures.  I personally would also include a close-up shot of each one, so we can see it in the picture better, but the mosaic is key, because we can sort through them nice and easily to find the skin we saw in the shop, and try it on.

Personally, I think that each group should include all the skin tones, but that might be being a bit too picky.  If a mosaic is included in each demo pack, its not hard to get each tones demo pack, and look to see which one I want to try on, and then do it.

Outside of that, I am soo happy that men's skins have been improving so much.  Cudo's to the creators who are amazingly talented, and are devoting their time and energy into creating these fantastic skins!

The Evolution of Man on Second Life

I have been in Second Life long enough now to see some amazing improvements.  So many things are different these days, that somebody new coming into this world usually does not have any idea of the progress that has been made to get where we are.

As far as avatar improvements go, there have been huge strides in how good you can get your avatar to look. If you talk to any woman who has been around long enough, they will tell you all the options that are available for them.  Women have a huge advantage over men in the availability of shapes, skins, hair, clothes etc.

But I wanted to review something for the guys.  Although we do not have as many options as the ladies, it really does not take much to make a huge difference in how your avatar looks.

I went back to on of the default avatars available when you sign into Second Life for the first time.   I chose  "Musician Male by Renegade Clothing" for this example.

So that is a default avatar for Second Life.

So I decided to add in each basic part from my current avatar, one part at a time.  To illustrate how some very simple things can really make a difference.

So I added my current shape:

Quite a difference, right?  Already the avatar starts to look better, with just the change of a shape.

Next, I added my current hair:

Even more change.  I think it looks pretty good, even though I hate black eyes on my avatar.

Next I added my current eyes.

Not a huge difference, unless you look close.  But I have gotten many compliments on these eyes, and I like the way they stand out.

I don't think this guy looks all that bad to be honest.  I have seen much worse on the grid.

Lastly, I added my current skin.

Now that is the biggest difference of all.  The amazing quality of the skins available to guys, while not as broad as the ladies have, has really improved dramatically!

These simple things, really do change how an avatar looks on the basic level.   I think it shows how far you can really take things in Second Life with just a few simple steps.

I have been hearing all sorts of things about the new client/server stuff about new meshes and all.  I have a pretty strong feeling that it will take things even further which should be VERY interesting.

Ok, here are the parts I used for this demonstration:

Shape - RAFAEL by MADesigns
Hair - Modern Rail by ARGRACE
Eyes - Twilight Eyes by Exodi
Skin - Jonas SK 6 (hair) by Belleza

I think many guys feel a bit intimidated about changing their look.  So guys, if you have any desire to change your look but have no idea how to go about it, understanding how each item can change your look is a good first step.  Then I would recommend  finding a woman friend, that you think has good taste, and take her along shopping.  Trust me, it will be a huge help, and a heck of a lot of fun!

Good Luck!