Saturday, December 22, 2012


It's  December. Last post was in May. May/December.. hmmm seems like there's some sort of phrase about that.. hmm..

Anyway. Time marches forward and things evolve, in RL and in SL. While things evolve sometimes its so gradual that it seems not worth mentioning, and other times major life changing events occur which are definitely worth a note of some sort. This is no great revelation, it's more of a lead-in....

I don't like posting information on things that I don't care for. I don't talk about abortion rights, or gun control, or Lindsay Lohan's drunk driving, or whatever the hot political/entertainment topic of the day. Especially for a blog that I contribute to so infrequently, these topics get stale very quickly. And besides, it can be very wearing to make a statement and then be challenged on it by someone who has a strong voice and and opposing opinion.

Me: "I like oatmeal cookies with raisins"
Challenger:  "Don't you know that 83.4% of all oatmeal/raisin cookies are made with bad bad bad palm oil. Every oatmeal/raisin cookie kills 3.2 orangutangs in Borneo..."


So yeah, I usually don't even bother to mention it.

My appearance on SL has been very muchly less frequent than in the past, and there are some consequences from it that I've noticed. A while back I would log in every night for a good 6-8 hours and my socail life was actually pretty full.I'd have someone to talk to each night, or some event I'd attend (my favorites are the hunts, but I also liked going to clubs periodically) or I'd just go out and explore the Virtual World. Now I' log in maybe three nights a week and usually for less than 2 hours. and I find very little to do. It's hard to keep up with a hunt, standby friends aren't necessarily on at the same time. I don't get so many notifications on club events, so it's a crap shoot on them. So I usually just explore, but with my limited time, I don't really delve into any particular place and discover the beautiful gems to be found on good sims.

So SL has turned a little beige on me, which is sad. But it's not heart-wrenchingly so. In fact, you take the bad with the good. Before, I may have had an active SL, but my RL suffered for it, as I tended to ignore what was happening in the Real World. That's not really a good thing.  Now it's more balanced. but I do miss the glitter and glamour of an active SL. It's like Broadway, i think. I've never been to Broadway, but I keep hearing good things about it about how wonderous and magical it is. I think that if I were to go to Broadway it would be hugely disappointing for me. Because I've been places tat have been amped up in reputation, when I go, it often doesn't meet my expectations.

I don't care for cookies with walnuts. There's something about the tannins in the oil of walnuts that make me gag. Too bitter for me. Also the guilt of passively killing orangutangs with each bite.

In May, I finally divorced my wife, and we are both better off for that, i think. Though i haven't moved out yet, and her new boyfriend moved in. It's not great on my self-worth, let me tell you. but I can't afford to move out on my own yet, and the efect on my self worth is pretty minimal, when placed next to the practical "living in a refrigerator box" scenario that I envision waiting for me when I pass the threshold. .I weighed the options and this one's not so bad. I still get to see my kids on a daily basis.

In August I got a new job. I was working at Micheal's Distribution Center, unloading trucks. It was alright, not terribly creative, but good solid work, and I got paid well enough, considering. The new job is more in line with what i had been doing before, and on the right track to get my career going.It's at a local zoo, building exhibits. However, I'm finding I am not satisfied there. I could go into a great deal of depth on this one, which would pull from all parts of my life, and be a full blog posting by itself. Point is, it's a job, but it's not the job I'm seeking. but it is a job, and an improvement from the last one.And until I find that elusive "me" job, I'm there.

Regarding Steve from the last post. I don't know what's going on. I so could form a lasting long realtionship with him so easily. Problem is he's in Oregon and I'm in Pennsylvania, and neither of us have the resources to lessen that distance. It makes me sad and frustrated. I don't make friends eaisly, and so far sice I've moved to PA, I haven't really made any friends, much less gone on any dates. It's not easy for me, becasue I have such a sour outlook on life, and that's not really too appealing to people.

Well that blog post ended badly. Only thing I can think of that would make it better would be some cookies.

Friday, May 25, 2012

like mammoths in an hourglass, so are the days of our lives.

 A long time has passed since my last blog entry, and like broken clockwork, the time is again. This one should be pretty sort, I say now. we'll see once I get to the end of it. My ramblings do tend to go all over the place,

 I'm writing now, because I know I won't be able to next week.You see. I am taking a pretty major step tomorrow. I am flying out to San Fransisco in the morning for  a week. I shall be meeting Steve, who I have been in pretty constant contact with for the past year and a half. I think we're boyfriends. I haven't met him in person, just through SL, and then that leaked a bit into real life with telephone calls and texts. We've grown very close, but we still haven't had face-to-face time yet. tomorrow I will be meeting him around noon at the airport. I think we will both know if we are meant to be right away. Maybe. I'm not very good at knowing for sure. It does sounds romantic though.

I'm keeping my pre-notions at bay though. Oh yes, have you met me? I'm the guy who is not in touch with his feelings. They're untrustworthy.  All gooey and nebulous, you can't set your drink on your feelings without spilling.

I haven't journalled for a long time. Journalling helps me figure stuff out from my brain, where my thoughts are stored. Those thoughts are all mishy-mashy, ever-changing to whimsy random stimuli. You can't rely on them to be steadfast. When I write, it makes these thoughts crystallize.

Not that that does much good. Like a glacier on a mammoth it captures the thought immediately, buttercups in the stomach and all. but that mamoth is replaced by another mammoth, going another direction. Will the glacier capture it as well? Fate will tell. This is a ridiculous analogy. Moving on...

So I'm meeting Steve. I'm excited and nervous about that. Too many "what-ifs" to list. We'll see how it plays out.

Getting sleepy.. need to rest before travelling to the airport and then to San Fran. Good night.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Spring Blooms

Spring hobbles in this year on crutches and complaining that his feet hurt. It started out with some nice beautiful days in March, sometimes the temperature in the 70s, but the monthly forecast for April in our area is going to hover around what we're having now. Highs in the 50s , lows hovering around the freezing mark. The magnolia tree started out with big beautiful ancient flowers rich pinks fading into pure white-- for about three days. Then a frost hit and now the petals are crispy brown and falling. I had just raked all of the autumn leaves and now these dead petals collect in divets in the lawn to remind me that the effort was fruitless. I'm not raking them up.

But despite the feeble weather, things are looking up. In my personal life I am well adjusted to the upcoming changes in the dynamics of my family. We took separate vacations this spring break. She took our daughter to Oklahoma to meet her parents and her boyfriend, who will eventually be her fiancee, and I took my son to a video game convention in Boston (PaxEast, as reference to those who are familiar-- it was great fun). My wife and I have the ball rolling on our divorce. within 2 months I hope that it will be finalized. I'm pretty satisfied with the lawyer we've vound. he can do a low-cost divorce quickly. When we first signed up for it, he gave us a timeline. Six weeks from the date of filing the papers. When we looked at the calendar, Theresa counted out the weeks and lo an behold, the 42nd day (six weeks) from when we signed up fell on our 13th wedding anniversary. Strangely appropriate, and just a little off in that the divorce wouldn't be finalized that day, but rather when the papers got through. Regardless, there was an air of irony in it.

I don't know if we will be celebrating our anniversary or not. We might go out for dinner and talk about stuff. Or we might just do nothing. It falls on a Thursday, which means I'll be working in the evening. Not really too worried about it. On the anniversary after I came out of the closet, I still wanted to celebrate. Celebrate the fact that I spent time knowing a woman whom I respected and loved and raised children with. We went out to a national park for a day hike, and looked at the tadpoles in the stream and collected different wild grasses in spontaneous bouquets. When we hit the zenith of the hike, Theresa started crying and told me she felt coerced into the hike and that she would have preferred to not do anything and try to forget.

This was one time that I feel I made the right choice. I didn't want to forget. I didn't want to pretend it never happened. I wanted to acknowledge and be proud of my time with her. This was the first indication of a dark and disturbing road for her which lead to many months of depression and suicidal thoughts. She pulled out of these, and is doing fine now, but it was a harrowing experience. She now looks forward to a future with Tony, who absolutely adores and worships her, which she needs and which she deserves.

The magnolia blooms did not survive the frost, but the tree lives on and the flowers will emerge again.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

The Wyrm Turns....

Well, I suppose some updating need to be done. The Year of the Dragon for sure, it looks like.
I don't know who follows my little life escapades, my struggles and confusions that I've put on this blog. Not everything gets put up here, granted, but enough does to give a good skeleton of my make up.

We've come to a decision, my wife and I. And that is to stop pussy-footing around. She needs to move on, and I need to move on, and we simply cannot continue acting like a married couple when that is not what we are in our hearts. Once the taxes are done and we get our return, that money is earmarked for divorce proceedings. Hopefully it happens before May. We are filing for a no-fault divorce, and it looks like the only thing we'll need to do is file the paperwork, it will cost about $300. No lawyers need be present, all our business dealings will be personal between her and I.

In April, I am taking my son to Boston for a convention for a weekend. Simultaneously, my wife will be taking our daughter to Oklahoma to visit her folks and to visit her boyfriend. for about a week. Soon after she comes back perhaps a week later, her boyfriend will be coming to Pennsylvania, so that they can have a trial live in relationship. I will be going out to San Francisco to for once and all meet Steve in real life, whom I met in SL, and we have been together for more than a year, virtually. We will see how we work together in the real world. I'm very positive it will be excellent. After I return, and everything goes well between us, I will pack my belongings and move out to Oregon, where he lives. My wife and her boyfriend will sell the house and move back to Oklahoma for good.

I am very nervous about this, indeed. but I am also very excited. There is no way to know how anything will turn out, but we both are feeling pretty optimistic about it. The only thing that is causing me great worry is the kids. I love them so much and i will greatly miss them. The plan is that they will go to Oklahoma. When I am more settled in in Oregon, we will give the kids the option to stay with me if they like, but as I will be having the most unstable life, it's best they go with her.

Anyway, it looks like 2012 will definitely be a changing year for me and for those around me. Not that 2011 wasn't a dynamic year, But this year will definitely be different. I'm calling 2011 the warm up year.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Treaty of Tripoli

This link from has been making the rounds on facebook lately:

for those who don't want to link on this, I'll paste the text:

"Unless you think George Washington didn’t know much about America’s founding, we should probably take his word over today’s conservatives….

It's come across my page a couple of times. Something about this bothered me, so I put on my Historian fact-checker's hat ( I do have a degree in History. I haven't used it much except for stuff like this, which is for me fun.)

First of all, I located the original document which can be found at (hit the [Prev Image] link at the top to find the first page.)
The section in question is Article 11, which reads in entirety,

"Art. 11. As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion; as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquillity, of Mussulmen; and, as the said States never entered into any war, or act of hostility against any Mahometan nation, it is declared by the parties, that no pretext arising from religious opinions, shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries."

I have some issues with this document shard to have come up in today's conversation about the separation of church and state. I understand and agree with MoveOn's point and stance about the issue, which is to give evidence of the Founding Founders position of religion and its role in policy making which is nil, and this treaty certainly does support it. However in today's world of short-attention spans and sound-bytes, there is an error that MoveOn makes with this cookie of information. George Washington never said this.

The treaty of Tripoli was written in 1796, by poet and diplomat Joel Barlow. It passed unanimously through Congress, and in the summer of 1797 it was John Adams who signed it, not Geo. Washington. I don't know why the contributor to MoveOn made this error. whether it was a minor slip-up of facts, (I choose to believe this) or a deliberate choice that Washignton carries more punch than Adams in mawkish patriotic sentimentalities (which I really really really hope is not the case). but in either way the quote is in error on this point and must be pointed out, and has at the poster's reddit account.

So the point the contributor is making is a strong one, though, once that error is resolved. He is referencing written documentary evidence that the founding fathers did not want the United States government to be founded on any religion. And I am a little wilted that this point had to ever have come up. When I was growing up in the 70s and 80s, in all of my history courses in elementary and high school, it was a given fact that there was a separation of church and state. It was a clear-cut lesson. The nuances had not been present, for sure. We were not questioning the phrase "under God" on our money or in the Pledge of Allegiance, and the point that churches had a tax exempt status was not part of our curriculum. The lesson was that the government could not enstate a formal religion of any sort on its citizenry, and that policies that favored one religion over another with benefits were unconstitutional. As the Age of Reagan came to a head, and we were entering the 1990s, these issues came up more and more often in the national conversation. I entered my college years, and as typical for that age, more cognizant of these issues than when I was an adolescent. Why was "under God" on our money? Why erect a statue of the Ten Commandments on state property? These and other questions gained more momentum to me, and my interest in universal freedoms guaranteed by the constitution was piqued. Who is protected under the Constituion? American citizens. Who are American citizens? People of all walks of life. What religions do the observe? Many different religions, and some not at all.
So, it makes sense to me that a fair government, in order to serve its citizens properly, should not favor one religion over another. So why does it happen? Why does "under God" appear on our money? Why are churches tax-exempt? It does this because the citizens of the United States are people, and democracy dictates (supposedly) how things happen. Under God appeared on our money in the 1950s because Congress, the representatives of the States and the people passed this bill. Supposedly because it was the will of the people. Now, we all know there are flaws in the system, and that there are cronies and lobbies and monetary influences going on in government. It's a dirty game, and sometimes dirty games favor some groups of people over others, and it is the duty of the citizenry to be vigilant about these dirty deeds and bring them to light. MoveOn has taken on this mantle, and I think the whole separation of church and state idea being scrutinized on many levels is a good thing.

Finding a balance of what is constitutional and what is not can be a charged and tricky question. , Do the documents cited in the eighteenth century pertain to today's culture and political landscape? In a possibly ironic way, this is a similar question to whether the religious texts of two thousand years ago pertain to today's religious questions of morality and so forth. Context is necessary to understand the documents.

The late 18th century was a tumulous time for the world. The American colonies were wresting with independence and the lower and middle classes were doing he same in France and England and elsewhere in Europe. Advances in communication and transportation due to European imperialism were making it possible to get loftier ideas of human rights available to a wider populace. The British Empire was losing ground world-wide in its influence. The Mediterranean Sea was an important location for the British, as it was a major trade route to the middle east. Britain controlled, patrolled and policed the Sea very diligently with its navy, keeping pirates and militarily weaker countries under control pretty efficiently. The American Revolution ate up a huge chunk of Britain's military funds, and britain was no longer able to patrol the seas as before, and so north African countries, especially in this case Algiers, took advantage of this weaker patrol and began to establish their powers there by targetting what they saw as threats to their own best interest, being of course, foreign ships, mostly trade vessels. Some of these were American. Tripoli was on the very western edge of the Ottoman Empire in north Africa, and was a breeding ground for Barbary pirates, who captured ships and sold the prisoners as slaves, this being done and sanctioned by the Ottoman Empire. Britain protected the colonial trade ships from these acts of piracy, and after the Revolution, The newly formed nation had to build its own treaties of peace with foreign nations. In 1785 two ships were captured and the crews faced slavery unless a rnasom was paid to Algiers. It was rumored that Benjamin Franklin, the darling of America was one of those prisoners. America did not have much of a navy at the time to take military action so was forced to pay the ransom, and further "protection monies" to prevent this from happening in the future. It was in the pest interest of the nited Sates to make treaties with these pirates and they are collectively known as the Barbary Treaties, and Joel Barlow was consul-general, so it was his appointment to draft them. Washington DID indirectly appoint Barlow, and DID commission the treaties. The treaties were signed in Algiers in November 1796 by the Barlow and the Barbary counsel, and in early January by David Humpherys, plenipotentiary in Lisbon, but did not get back to the United States in time for Washington himself to sign it.
So what about this Article 11, that is the picking point for today's conversation? The entirety of the treaty had nothing whatsoever to do with religion. The Barbary pirates did not care about religions when they captured crew members for slavery. They took Christians, Jews, and Muslims. They wanted money, period. Frank Lambert writes, "...[the Treaty was]intended to allay the fears of the Muslim state by insisting that religion would not govern how the treaty was interpreted and enforced. John Adams and the Senate made clear that the pact was between two sovereign states, not between two religious powers." It was part of the American zeitgeist that it be known that it was a secular nation, not a nation built on Christianity, and the Treaty of Tripoli was one handy document to put that point into. The sentiment is reflected in other contemporary documents, but it is pretty well established that the idea of the separation of church and state was a driving force in the formation of the new nation.

So suck it, Religious Right.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Stuff is stuff.

Whoops, missed last week, and not much of a blog for today. Just goes to show that I can't be habitual about this kind of stuff.

A friend of mine whom I haven't seen in a great many years has moved from his home to a new one in a new community and it's a whole new life for him. I'm hearing about this on facebook, as he posts his adventures. He is someone who has not moved for almost 20 years, and this move for him is a great challenge. As I read his updates I think about my own experiences in the past couple of years with all the moving and upheavals in my life and it's curious.

Moving can change you very much. It's a great ordeal to reassess one's baggage, both material and emotional. One realizes that they can do without much of one's possessions when moving day comes and there's no more room in the truck. This can be given away, that can be tossed. This can be replaced, that cannot. It's a good cleansing of sorts of the junk that we acquire yet never use.

I don't think anyone doesn't collect junk. Stuff that doesn't get used but once every few years. takes up space, needs to be dusted. After you've read a book, do you keep it? Do you give it away to a friend or the library? How many shoelaces are in your junk drawer? Are you ever going to use that exercise equipment?

What is it that we really need? When asking that question, it's easy to get ethereal and say: We need food, shelter, clothing, respect, love, air, water... you know the stuff we NEED in order to survive. Anything else is unessential. Right? Then why do we hang onto Grandma's china? Why is this T-shirt still in my dresser drawer when I haven't worn it in nine years?

I don't really have an answer to this. It's just what I'm thinking about. My friend from facebook hasn't had to strip away his life very much and re-prioritize things much, and he is doing so now, and he's being quite a crab about it. I may have done too much of it, and re-prioritized until I come to the conclusion that none of the stuff I own has much sentimental value, (I knew before already that not much of it had monetary value, ha ha). If my house were to catch fire and all my belongings to be destroyed, I think I would fare better than most in dealing with it. Though I am not trying to tempt fate!

People who have survived fires or storms or other catastrophes all say the same thing. "at least we are alive." And really, that is something to think about on days when trivial things receive too much importance. We are alive, and today we face a new challenge.

Picture from Image of a man saving his belongs after the pakistani flood.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Back to SL!

So, another Tuesday morning post. If this is my rhythm, I can dig that. I tried writing a post at another time in the week, but haven't posted it. It's all about my adventures in facebookland. It got kinda wordy.

The last several posts I've put up have been dealing with me, in my real life. About my struggling and dealing with my new life, which isn't that new any more. I don't talk too much about my goings on in Second Life, and I felt maybe it's high time I do.

My real life dictates when I log on to SL, as it does for many people. I dont go online when I need to take care of the kids. It had been my schedule to wait until they were in bed. I don't really want to deal with the interruptions, and when they're up, there are constant interruptions. Such is a parent's life. Not complaining at all. I love my kids, They need whatever attention they can get from me. I also do not log on when my wife is at home. Once upon a time it upset her greatly, then it became an annoyance to her. Nowadays, I don't think she cares, but I still don't play when she's at home, whether it's for respect for her wishes, or the easy road for me to avoid confrontation. So I usually played late at night, after 10 pm, and stayed up til pretty late. When I was unemployed, I made my own schedule, and soon 2 am became 3 am, and often became 4 am. I didn't have any reason to get up early, so why not? I'd log on just about every night, 7 days a week, and I've had many great adventures on SL.
Now I've got a job, and guess what? I'm on overnight shift, Meaning I go to work at 6:30 pm and come home at 5:30 in the morning. I'm there to send the kids off to school, and then I go to bed. I wake up around 2 or 3 in the afternoon, in time for the kids to come home from school. It works out pretty slick, for the most part. Theresa works from 7 am to 7 pm, so she is unable to see the kids off or come home. It works for us. I work 4 days a week, Monday through Thurday (meaning Friday morning) and I have 3 days off. On those days off, I keep to the same schedule, staying awake all night. It's easier that way, doesn't throw me out of whack. And so it's perfect opportunity to play my SL.

Ok, I digressed into my Real Life again, when I was going to talk about my Second Life. Back to it...

I live in Chiaroscuro, in a windmill. I also ave a 512 parcel, because I've got a premium membership. but I can't figure out what I'm doing with that little parcel. I live next door to a good friend there, her name is Tiffy. I met her when she was a satyr and we were in the same group, Fauns and Satyrs. I used t be a satyr, you see. She came to a mini bacchanal, and we hit it off right then. Since then she has developed her own line of jewelry, which is quite exquisite, and because of this she doesn't have too much time to play, but we still chat, and share fun LMs and so forth.
So I don't know what I'm doing with my parcel. First I had a little tipi thing going on, and then later I put in a mountain shack. Both of these were not built by me, tI had either paid for them or won them in a treasure hunt, and they were fine for a while, but I wanted it to be mine, made by me, not by someone else. For a while, I had an idea of doing an enormous peach, like in the Roald Dahl book, and you enter it through a teleportation device to the interior pit, which would actually be high in the sky. but I was having troubles figuring out the tp device. I still kinda like the idea, and I might go back to it sometime. Right now, I'm building this structure, which I don't know what it is. it's an open room, almost a dais, but I haven't figured out why I'm doing it. That's the problem, I don't know why I'm doing it, so it's formless. See previous post about lack of creativity. But I keep chiseling away at it. maybe it'll come to me. I't's almost an exhibit hall. but what's it exhibiting?

So what have I been doing on Sl lately? well, I've got two main passions. One is treasure hunts. Treasure hunts are fun, but you wind up with all this stuff, and that means inventory clean up. I'm like mental stimulation, and treasure hunts are good for that.. look around the shop for a t-shirt, or a magnifying glass, or whatever the hunt is about. I actually don't mind doing inventory. i kinda like putting things away where they belong, but omg, it does get to be a big job. Going through all that stuff, though, you do get some nice finds, and I'll have to say my avatar has evolved quite gracefully.

The other passion I have is archery. And here's this about that. I have pretty much two avatars in SL, I have my centaur, and I have my human-ish avie. I use the human one when I'm out and about, either on the treasure hunts or the rare times I go to clubs. I feel more comfortable around other people when I'm human. When I'm at home or at a few select RP sims that I go as centaur. And usually when I'm practicing archery, I'm in centaur form. I've found some good archery ranges, and I have quite a few targets in my inventory. the latest one I really really love. It's called Vulo Hunt. What it is is a small nest that you place on the ground and when you click on it a flock of doves goes flying around, and you have to try to hit them. If you do, it explodes into a poof of feathers. It's pretty hard, actually. I was doing well with stationary targets, and having moving targets is a challenge. I absolutely love it.

Lately, my avatar has been sort of an equine neko, and on the last few treasure hunts, that's how I went. I feel comfortable in that. I've also been hanging out more often in the Primal Nature sim called Maledivs. I am not certain what I'm looking for, but I think that's a stone in the path. It's been kinda lonely last weekend, many of my friends have not been on at the same time I am, so I do my inventory, (currently going through old landmarks, so I'm travelling some) , and I practice my archery, and if someone's online I'll send them a shout out, usually.
I'm not good about starting conversations, I always feel like I'm interrupting whatever important thing they're doing, even though most of the time they aren't doing anything important, and actually welcome a chat. But still I feel like I'm imposing on their lifestyle. Some people I'm very comfortable starting up a chat with, but others I imagine are thinking "who is this guy who is chatting me up, and why won't he leave me alone?" So to avoid that I just don't start conversations. That's stupid, I know, but that's my comfort zone.

So, I'm going to log in and take some pics of my avatars, I'll take one of me as a centaur, and then one of me as a human-ish) Most of the pics I post are stuff I've found on the internet, sometimes related to what I'm saying, sometime not. These pics will actually have something to do with me, this time. And I hope you all have a good week.