Saturday, December 19, 2009

Health Insurance and Me

Around the end of the year, I'll be too old to continue coverage under my mother's plan. Yes, I had to dare venture into the world and sign up with someone to make sure I don't add hospital bills to my already crushing debt of student loans.

Friday, December 18, 2009

The Three Treasures

There are Three Great Artifacts from the Era of the Golden Peace. Three Treasures handed down and saved from Nunchuck to Nhis People.

Now, as to the whereabouts and conditions of each, little if any is known. But to inform you, my dear believers, that should you find them, you shall know them and treat them accordingly. Listen well for as it was written, the lowliest griever did once save Second Life from the clutches of the Czar of Agnia and free the followers of Nunchuck. So, too, may you find yourself in such an exalted position such that your name may be known for seven, nay, seven times seventy centuries.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Politically Incorrect? A Study of One Blog

My good friend Ari over at Common Sensible takes his politically incorrectness as a point of pride. Questions arose, however. Was this monster as terrible as advertised? Would, Could he be worse?

In order to answer these unsettling questions, I ventured into the archives of what is, possibly, the den of an unimaginable evil.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Let's Look at NPIRL

Apparently, there's some buzz or what not about Not Possible in Real Life leaving Second Life, or changing their business direction, or passing the baton to another leader, or one of any multitude of reasons that so much drama is kicked up in Second Life like dirt in your eyes.

Anyway, today me and my dear friends (read: alts) are going to muse over the multitude of photos available on Bettina Tizzy's flickr profile photo stream, since she's the ringleader or something. There's probably ninety different kinds of laws we're breaking, but part of the fun in life is risking your legal neck.

Monday, December 14, 2009


Why do I continue to write here?

Every so often, I feel as if I should shut down this operation. Stuck in the luft, as it were. I slog through it though. I don't give up. I labor and pour love into it like a mother to her child. And then it picks up again!

Then school or work intrudes and off I go, leaving my child to daycare.


Friday, December 4, 2009

NS Nunchuck

The NS Nunchuck LX floating serenely in the sky.

For now.

Thursday, November 26, 2009



The world is crying out:

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Why We Write in Bulk

I write with far more words than are necessary. I am not a concise writer.

I'm not particular focused either, but that's a post for another day.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Sunday, November 15, 2009


People whine about 'entitlement'. "Why do some people expect everything for nothing?" But what is at the heart of entitlement? What lies at the very depth of the concept?

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Rezz Day

Today is my rezz day. I'm three years old in SL.


Friday, October 30, 2009

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Please Do Your Research, Movie Peoples

The other day I was watching the movie 'Mission to Mars'. Most people hate the movie for its cheezy plot, over-the-top acting, and just in general a terrible trainwreck. However, what offends me the most is the flat out idiocy presented as 'science' in this movie.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

National Pastime

The traditional National Pastime of the United States is baseball. I don't understand the allure of smacking a ball with a stick of wood and then running around in circles while making sure to step on white bags placed evenly around said circle. And then there are things about designated hitters and fly outs, and when you get a home run you instantly score, except if it happens to fly past some giant yellow posts and then it doesn't count. You can't swing at everything that the 'pitcher' throws at you, either, because sometimes he will try to trick you by trying to make you swing at throws that are far past where you can hit them, and then you are charged a strike, and if you get a few of those (three or four) then you get out. If you get three outs, you lose.

You only get nine turns, and your opponent gets nine turns, so there's really no rush. Baseball is pretty laid back. According to the statistics, the hitters do not even hit most of the time. A good 'average' is hitting 30% of the time. At your best, you're going to miss 70% of the time. If hitting balls counted as exams, baseball players would all get F's.

And somehow, America loves it. Philadelphia loves it too. We love it so much we had a riot over it when we won the World Series (which is the grand high game which determines the champion of the world, obviously). Of course, we riot over a lot of things, so that really tells you nothing. We love to riot. Rioting and causing trouble and being mean are like Philadelphia's national pastime.

Guess what Second Life's National Pastime is?

C'mon, take a guess.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Blue Mars II

I have played Blue Mars.

This is going to be my last post on Blue Mars. You will find out why.

Anecdotes are not Evidence

Anecdotes make for entertaining or frightening stories. They add spice to life and help give others a sense of what you, personally, have gone through. I'm all for anecdotes. The world would be sorrier for lack of them.

Where we run into trouble is when an anecdote is held help as evidence to support a hypothesis.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Blaming Culture

What happens when you blame culture for problems in society today? You get labeled as a moron, as missing the big picture. You've obviously missed the actual reason, haven't you? Blaming culture is just too broad a brush! Blame the individual! Are you trying to shirk responsibility and pass it off on society at large? Ridiculous! Go back down your hole and don't come out until us adults solve the problem.

I take offense to this, because sometimes culture really is the problem.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Three Rejections

All three of the jobs (university prefers to call it 'careers' but let's not kid ourselves) I applied to rejected me. It was through the university's career-matching service, where an employer posts a particular position they want, and you send them your resume, and then they decide whether or not they want to interview you (which will be done on campus conveniently).

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Three Years

As a general rule, I avoid anniversaries. It focuses far too much attention on mindless accounting of the years as if the only thing relevant were the seconds of something's existence. That really reduces it all down, doesn't it? Devoting an entire day celebrating the random statistic of how often the planet has revolved around the Sun since you were born, met, engaged, married, died, fought in 'Nam, graduated high school, etc.

For me, more importance should be placed on the quality of the experience during the time which you are blessed (or cursed, damn high school) with the privilege of living it.

Which do you think you would enjoy more, a heavenly marriage which you've forgotten how it all began, or a strained one under the Sword of Damocles' Divorce but which you know the exact amount of time you've been bound to each other?

Does it really matter the precision with which I can recall long ago it was, if I remember how good that time was? Or if I work instead towards bettering it? Refining it? Finding new and exciting ways to peel an onion?

Which is why I don't particularly care for 'rezzdays'. Or real life birthdays, for that matter (which I actually find it rather morbid in that it counts the miracle of each year you manage to simply survive, how fun). It should not matter how long you've graced the grid. The real question is, have you enjoyed yourself? Did you have fun? Have your friends had fun? Have you made a positive impact in the Second Life world around you? Have you lived? To me, these are more important.

My rezzday is coming up in November, little more than three weeks away. I will have been in Second Life for three years. I think the math is that one RL year is 6 SL years, so I will turn 18 in SL time. And yet, it hasn't felt like it has been that long. I, for honesty's sake, did not even realize I was about to turn three until I read Peter's post on his own rezzday.

I look over my screenshot folder (which is massive) and I can't believe the things I managed to limp out of and witness and enjoy and people I've encountered. Even looking over this blog, I cannot help but laugh at my petty worries all that time ago and all the silly things I loved to write. All the numerous times I enjoyed poking Torley with a stick (I was tempted to put a counter up on the sidebar ticking off the number of times I bashed him, his actions, or his philosophy) and Jurin who prodded me like an editor-in-chief to write write write. And certainly, there are no better co-writers than Winter and Torvald.

To me, all of that is far far more important than spending an entire day in revelry to a simple countdown (countup?).

The same goes for my real life birthday (which, if you're curious, is about a month after my rezzday). I am doing what I want to, doing what I love. I have good friends and good family (even if they're a bit odd). I've done many fun things, half of which are illegal and likely to get one killed/maimed (I kid! Kidding!). I count myself extremely fortunate that in this increasingly dreary and impoverished world that I have never known lack of money or love.

Not that everything is peaches and cream with cherry soda. Friends and family have died. I've made some rather poor decisions and suffer from some rather debilitating flaws, or so I'm told. I have the growing feeling I don't have a clue what I'm doing. I have my health problems (although even in that I count myself lucky).

Does it really matter at all that this has spanned 22 years? Why is there a need for numbers?

I count every day as cause for celebration.

Saturday, October 17, 2009


"You're basic brain-dead game of instant gratification."
"Your probably wondering why I am telling you this."

Ok people. This is the 190th time I have seen this screw-up. It is not acceptable. At all.


Your = possessive (as in, 'your ball', 'your dog', 'your computer')
Example: "You have my bat in your hair"

You're = contraction of 'You Are'
Example: "You're not so good at grammar yourself."

It is not that hard, guys. Please. You look ridiculous when you type "Your an idiot" because I do not own an idiot. Similarly, "You're cat" is silly because it really says "You are cat" and I am clearly not a Neko.

Here, I'll give you a simple rule of thumb.

Step 1. Read your sentence carefully.

Step 2. In the spot where you use 'your/you're', ask:

"Am I referring to some material object my conversational partner owns or possesses?"

Step 3. If the answer is 'yes', then use 'YOUR'.
If the answer is 'no', then use 'YOU'RE'.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Blue Mars I

Anna sent me into Blue Mars. I do not know why.

I downloaded the client. Logged in.

Lag. Lots of lag. I tried to make an avatar but I gave up quickly because it lagged choosing an avatar.

Then when I went into the world it didn't load. My vision filled with some kind of neon black and purple landscape with ghosted outlines of avatars.

Then my computer crashed.

I think I need a better computer.

Friday, October 9, 2009

I Find It Funny

This morning, I woke up screaming.

What did I see in my dreams? I have no idea. I don't have the time anymore. I wake up and run off to work and class. I don't eat breakfast. My lunch is what I can grab from the lunchtrucks (the always ubiquitous cheesesteak) and dinner is the dining hall glued to the computer.

Sometimes I stare off. I try to think about things, but then I always tangent into something else. Thoughts about fluidic hepatocyte microchambers drift into job interviews drift into 5 page papers about something or other. Strangely, this has helped because sometimes I have no idea what I'm doing. I snapped out of it a few hours ago and realized I was in chem lab. What? Then I'm walking home. Or I think I am. Then I'm in class. Then work. Then home.

And just what is with our country anymore these days?

My friends seem off to me lately. Ever get the feeling that everyone is just a tad too nice? Did I walk through some stargate? Did everyone get lobotomies? I did as little work as possible in my team's last project and yet no one has said anything. Last week I made a grave error in stoichometry and only the T.A. lorded it over me. I expected a little more, I dunno, laughter or mocking at my incredibly stupid mistake.

I can't say I've even been a good friend. I walked by a guy I knew and completely ignored him. Well, it's just that I didn't see him. I guess I was spaced out again. I do it alot. Thinking. But they are polite about it. And I have no idea why. I would personally be upset. But I guesss I'm different. I guess I'm petty like that. I don't think so.

I spend more and more time walking up and down the River Park. When I get the chance and that is increasingly rare. I find it relaxing despite the fact that it is wedged around freight train tracks (carrying all the lovely products from the oil refinery and other assorted industry across the Northeast). And the river never looks too good. But it's better than nothing. And Fairmount Park isn't too safe these days.

But I can just sit there and watch the sun set. Even though I'm not supposed to. Or really even be out much during the day.

So I work.

I forget things. I forgot this blog. Well, to be fair, I just haven't had the time. I log into Second Life and forget that I'm supposed to be logged in. I drift thinking about other things. Just how do cows with names produce more milk than nameless cows? Usually hardly anyone is online anymore. Maybe I am logging in at the wrong times. Or maybe I'm spacing out again and not noticing the friends' box.

Just what am I doing anymore?

Some say that after you wear a mask, for a long long long time, it leaks into you, it becomes you. You forget who you were before you put it on and when you chose it and why. Who am I anymore? Even though I haven't logged in regularly for about three months, I think of her. And see through her eyes. I don't even know who she is. But she is me, for better or for worse.

Who am I anymore?

My dreams are nightmares, my life are dreams. I don't think I can even tell reality anymore. If there ever was such a thing.

And yet, through it all, I laugh. I have a sense of humor, you see. Hahahah. I laugh at the refinery lit like a Christmas tree. I laugh at the bus, which lowers itself down to make it easier for you to board. I laugh at the professor who says, "I want to show you this..." after each individual slide on her powerpoint. I laugh at the morning glories as they curl at night, and at the few stragglers who don't. I laugh at the medicine and I laugh at the chair. I laugh at the incredibly humorous 'Do Not Wakl' sign the construction workers put up. I laugh at the ROTC guys giving the local Communist party looks, and the snickering the Communists give to the Socialists, and the tsk tsk of the Socialists at the Libertarians, and the cabbie who almost just ran me over. It's just all so wonderful.


Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Fresh New World

Today is going to be most exciting. I finally got the go-ahead to register and download Blue Mars.

Let's see if they can top all the myriad imaginative ways to crash my computer as LL has.

Saturday, September 26, 2009


I haven't seen 'Surrogates' yet. My first impressions were "Second Life in Real Life" although the actual film is probably nothing of the sort. It's a conceit reinforced by one too many months playing Second Life, although the commercials don't attempt to dispel the notion.

"You can lead the life you've already wanted," it says and with no fear of consequences. Go ahead and screw your brains silly for automatons cannot get pregnant nor can they contract HIV. Go ahead and recreate Columbine, the 'dead' can always buy new surrogates and no one's the wiser. Provided your real life body remains safely tucked away safely in meat space, you're invincible.

Everyone is pretty fixated upon the entire 'no consequences' deal. The ability to do whatever the hell you want and bring internet anonymity out into the world. No one ever need know your true self behind the mask.

And to look perfect while doing it! Because you can look perfect. That mask can be made to be oh-so-pretty. You can become just like you wanted. It's the furry and transgender and elf's dream. I, for one, am looking forward to dogs which bag their feces because I'm pretty tired of walking into a park and finding surprises all over the grass.

But I think my brother pegged the not-so-obvious: Sure, we're gushing over all the special abilities and possibilities, but it also hides a fear and that is the fear of death.

They stay cooped up in their homes. Everyone. From what I've seen in the trailers when the power is cut, everyone drops. Not one soul, not even the homeless guy in the alleyway. They've all chosen to create a surrogate. They get into their comfy control chairs and never emerge again.

Touchable only by time, they stay cooped up. There's a perverse pride in the eradication of murder (much like that movie with the psychics who could predict and stop future crimes before they happened). And death is conquered. The millennium long dream of eternal life is more-or-less granted. I'm thinking life expectancies at least to mid-nineties (have your surrogate chow down on cake and chocolate).

To me, that takes the fun out of life. It makes life boring. Granted, that's quite a charge coming from someone who immerses into Second Life. But I do live a life outside of it as well. Frankly, these days I spend more time out of it than in.

In any event, what's the point in sky diving if the fear of smacking into the good earth at free fall is gone? How much fun can swimming across the Atlantic be if in the back of your mind there's the knowledge that if you stop paddling, the worst scenario is an interesting visit to the Titanic? In fact, why not just take a stroll across the ocean floor?

But I suppose I'm not everyone, and the allure of nigh-immortal life appeals to some (if not all).

And besides, who wouldn't want to live through an avatar which can fit into a size 4 dress?

Friday, September 25, 2009


I stand on the edge of a river so choked with dredge and waste,

only catfish can eke an existence, bodies riddled with Nunchuck only knows how many heavy metals,

Blessed with the tea leaves of oil and cruft leeched from broken freighters and cruisers,

In the light of the towering oil refineries, burning their wastes in emulation of the ancient Pharos,

illuminating the night sky like a comfortable childhood night light,

and coughing yellow clouds water coloring the skies and with all the charm of rotten eggs,

Under city hall who must beg for scraps and dribbles from the state to maintain the meagerest of civil services

while libraries close and schools groan under the weight of neglect and abuse,

while being attacked with screw drivers, too poor even for knives and yet everyone still gets guns,

Which seem to so enjoy flirting deadly paths into the populace, delivering quick vacations to the afterlife,

weeds poking through the sidewalks, sidewalks slowly breaking up under the passage of time,

And home to many without a home, nomads walking through these ruins,

And as they pass by, berated for sloth,

why not just get a job? They say on the way to their suburban homes erected far far away,

Bridges rusting away,

Piers lying abandoned to the sea,

Power lines stretch across the buildings like black spiderwebs,

Above buildings hollowed and forgotten,

Little more than place holders for future empty lots,

Torn down into impromptu parks and parking lots,

Or into dens for the abuser and the abused,

All of it covered in grime from glorious broken industries and diesel trucks,

Else in graffiti, tagged in every corner announcing the existence of its creator, "JD RAW",

All while everyone passes on the Interstates, windows up, zoned out tuned in to their iPhones and iPods,

wondrous fumes swirl from their traffic into the hazy smog wrapping us like a warm blanket,

And filling our lungs with ever pleasant ozone,

And they fly over in their jets, screaming all hours over our heads and writing their lines in white ink across the skies,

A constant klaxon alerting the dreamless,

Always we stand in the shadow of the proud and divine silver towers of Center City, even through the ice and snow,

Sparkling they shine over the city of poverty,

In their shadows,

I stand by the river in all this, my city, and yell,

"God Bless America!"

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Mother Leash

Tying kids in a leash is tame. I would use cattle prods and possibly police batons. I would put on those electric collars which shocks them if they went beyond four feet from me.

I would make a good parent.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Gimme an A... OR ELSE

A student decided to strike back at the evil meritocracy of the school board by threatening to kill and rape a teacher unless she granted an A++ to everyone in her class (of which he was part). This was certainly a new way of thinking 'outside the box' (whatever that means) and ingenuity. Unfortunately, it is also kind of a terroristic threat and kind of illegal so his extra credit idea comes to naught.

His actions are clearly wrong. There is no disputing that. Yet, we must also take a good and long look at how we have come to evaluate our students.

It seems, no, it is the case that you must get an A. B is acceptable but seen as among the 'average'. C is downright unacceptable. And if you earn a D, you might as well resign yourself to wages and job satisfaction comparable to a third world sprocket stamper or Linden Lab employee. Get an F and the best employment will be Linden Lab liaison with the residents.

And how do we ourselves label these letters? A is exceptional. B is above average. C is average. D is sub-par, and F is failure. C is average! C! C should be plopped right at the top of Mount Bell Curve. Everyone should be able to wake up in the morning, and say to themselves: I got a C. I've done well.

But that's not good enough. Everyone wants to be a genius and be 'above average'. And so it is more or less granted. To the point where we expect everyone to get an A, and anything less descends into varying degrees of intolerable. To the point where failing to do so results in one's guidance counselor pontificating upon the virtues of busting a gut vessel or else you'll regret it.

In short order, undue stress.

In high school, an acquaintance (one of those 'hey, I see you around' deals, but you don't talk much, but you stay friendly, because they're alright) broke down and cried as her GPA was murdered by a poor grasp of AP Calculus. In the end, it was busted down to a 3.3 for which she was perpetually grilled in interviews with prospective schools. Because it's just not acceptable. Not to mention that my peers (I hesitate to even call them 'acquaintances') lambasted her and frequently claimed that she was ditzy and obviously must have cheated. How could someone have had little trouble with algebra struggle with calculus? Obviously must have cheated.

Why? Should 3.3 be enough? Does that not prove enough competency of the student? No, because a good 40% of my class scored above 3.5, 15% of which managed to hit 4.0 and above. Yes, in my high school you could manage to mark above a 4.0. It should not have been possible to score above above average. Was my suburban public high school really that elite?

The key, you see, lay in something called the 'curve'. The almighty curve. If you took an honors course, your grade was boasted by 1%, AP by 1.5% or something along those lines. Thus, someone acing AP courses could manage to get a 105 or so as a final grade which could bump your GPA above 4. It was an unintended consequence of attempting to correct the fact that 'general' level courses were getting higher GPAs than the 'college prep' students.

I would personally think that such a thing would be represented on your transcript and would not need 'correcting' and 'curving'. Wouldn't a B in AP chemistry at a high school level be sufficient? No, it is not. They need higher grades, or else they can't get into college (which everyone, for some reason, aims for).

And so students demand A's. All this pressure to get A's. And whenever something is valued, some do anything it takes to get it. Which leads to cheating. And demanding it (even when undeserved). And threatening for it. Teachers, whether through pressure placed on them by their superiors or through a genuine desire to see their students attain the American dream of getting the all important stamp of approval from an accredited university, tend to cave. Which then leads to wonderful entitlement attitudes. Which causes even more desperate measures to obtain it.

And for what? An A. First to reach university, then to a job.

That's the why. Students clamoring for the almighty 4.0.

How did we come to this state of affairs? I have no idea. Probably some creep effect, where one person or institution relaxed their standards, which triggered a cascade down and resulted in what we have today. Or perhaps it just started all at once: everyone wanted to be at the top, so it became desired, and the seeming status quo.

Once upon a time, 4.0's were reserved for the exceptional. Those who really knew and understood the material. For instance, being able to calculate some derivatives might merit a C, maybe a low B, as that is the objective of the course. That is par for the course. High B's, A's, might be awarded to those intelligent enough to not only show proficiency in doing the calculation, but also able to show the how and why of getting from point A to point B and able to explain the theories and junk behind it.

At least, that is how it should be. But that's too much work, and I suppose at some point someone must have said, "Why not award high marks to everyone as long as they're able to meet the bare minimum of the objectives?"

And hey, look where we are. Students threatening their teachers. Tougher penalties enforced on cheaters in part due to increasing prevalence. And, on some occasions, the occasional bystander wondering wondering just how some of these honors students earned their grades ("you honestly do not know what an aromatic compound is?").


Monday, September 14, 2009

Blog Read Championship.

Recently, I found a giant list of Second Life blogs. Naturally, I am going to read every single one.

As of now, I have currently read through nine complete blogs. They were small (maybe only 20 or 30 posts to each one), but I think I'm on a good track.

Now, I just have 1,945 left to read.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Search Party

I think we should organize a search party for Jurin. Call on the bloodhounds!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Your Build Is Bad

I am going to start a new feature. I will go across the grid and sample all the lovely new builds our Grand Department of Public Works and Utilities have erected for glorious promotion of Linden Lab.

Today's victim is the rail bridge running through the snow sims. This particular view was taken in Heaton.

First, I'd like to comment on the boring look. The design is reminiscent of the kind of Lego block bridges I'd build as a child: A simple platform held up by a few lame supports. Even the material induces a yawn (ooo, stone. Boring).

This is being built on Linden Lab land! It has tons of prims available for you to create a rail line. An actual honest to goodness rail line. And a bridge! Of all the bridge designs, you chose 'Nostalgic Stonehenge'? No, wait, strike that. Stone Age bridges were more pleasing to the eye.

I'd also like to point out the horrible configuration. Why cross the river? In the next sim over, the line scoots across the river AGAIN. It crosses this river for no discernible purpose. If they did so solely for the chance to erect a bridge, they have failed. Their bridge is ugly and boring.

They could and should have continued to run the tracks along the road, as they had for the previous ten miles. Someone wanted to get fancy. Too bad their imagination didn't match their drive.

Let's look at the nitty gritty details, shall we? You cannot see or tell from this snapshot, but there is massive texture overlap present. The prims flash like a Parisian neon signboard. These builders are supposed to be the 'best of the best', hired specifically by Linden Lab for creating lovely public builds. And this is the best they could do? I've cobbled together tacos textured better than this. In fact, even the newest of builders and sculptors I have talked to always do one thing first: make sure the textures look right. Failure, as Winter would say.

Of course, they can't manage to align the prims right, so perhaps it is too much to expect texture alignment. I can clearly see overlap between the support and the tracks. And the foundation is twisted off base of the support. Again, Stone Age cavemen (haha, Geico) could at the least make sure everything is centered. You could probably excuse the support/track junction (by arguing the support is forming a 'cup' in which the track sits), but there is simply no excuse for the improper and twisted junction between support/foundation.

This bridge is bad. The rail line is bad. Even though the builder isn't a Mole, it is built on Linden Lab land and set to the Linden Maintenance group, so this does indeed have the Linden Stamp of Approval. This is what they consider acceptable to show off on the main grid.

Grade: F


Tuesday, September 1, 2009

September First

September First.

The Dawn of a New Month.

Let's have fun.

Thursday, August 27, 2009


Update: Turns out truth really is stranger than fiction: she was held in a massive camouflaged complex with soundproof sheds along with other kids.

Jaycee Dugard was found after eighteen years. It seems that she just walked up and turned herself in.

My question is: what the hell was she doing for the past two decades? I'm imagining an Indiana Jones style escape. With the giant boulder and all. It seems hard to imagine being held captive for eighteen years, and the captors never slipped up once during that time to allow escape.

I can only hope it's that and not something like Elizabeth Smart, who just kind of clinged to her kidnapper, half the time not even held back by a weapon. Brainwashed, I guess? I have no idea.

Just seems weird to me.


Wednesday, August 26, 2009

"There were Giants in Those Days..."

Ari talks about body shapes. I love his parting shot: "Oh, and if you see me in world and I am shorter than you [above 6' 5"], you are an Amazonian-freak-of-nature!"

All too often, I feel like a child avatar. Measuring my height is a meager five feet, ten inches. So tiny! When I first adjusted my torso sliders, I felt like I made my breasts too big. It is hard saying that with a straight face, because after three years or so of Second Life I feel small. Haha! Anna the tiny child av!

I've seen child avs the same height as me, now that I come to think about it.

I am sorely tempted to upload Munchkin tunes into Second Life as gestures.

On the other hand, the 'Amazon Freaks of Nature' only compose of about half my friends. The other half are actually average sized. And no, I'm not counting my alts. For instance, Jurin definitely 'normal'. So is Winter. Although Winter is a tad on the small side. And 'normal' is kind of subjective, there, isn't it?

As for guys, all I know is that Torvald attempted to make a 'normal' male shape. As I recall, he was very proud of it, until a guy hit on him thinking he was a woman. So he crawled into a corner and cried. He refused to come out, and we had to slide his food to him under the door. Winter suggested putting him out of his misery.

Don't worry. Torvald eventually snapped out of it. Kind of. Sorta. But we did manage to get him to move from the corner to the sofa!

One more thing before I fall asleep (I had a bunch of nightmares last night). One of the 'clues' he gave to figuring if a female avatar was transgendered was " “large hands”, “shoulders wider than hips” " This at first perplexed me. Large hands and wide shoulders? Surely such an avatar would come out looking very male. Wasn't the opposite supposed to be true? Don't men-as-women make exaggerated feminine shapes rather than more butch?

Don't worry, it is explained: "Gigantic (non-prim) ta-tas with “buoyancy” set to absolute zero, size set to maximum and shoulders widened to hold them, yet hips half the size of shoulder and short arms with large hands and a pea-sized head." Aahhhhhh... that makes sense. You know, I never really thought too much about the other exaggerations that go into making large breasts seem less out of place.

In short, avatar shapes are scary.


Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Random Thoughts In August

I've got nothing in particular to say, so I'm just going to write whatever pops into my head at the moment.

I saw an article yesterday which discussed the dangers of twitting and facebooking about the workplace. Why isn't this common sense? How stupid are people? Here's a simple rule of thumb anytime the asinine urge to publish anything about your place of current employment: If it's something you wouldn't say to your boss to his or her face (or gossipy coworker who might tell the whole front office), then don't stick it on the internet.

It's like the certified moron who I worked with in my last co-op/internship/however-my-school-wants-to-call-it-today. This piece of work decided to fudge the numbers on his timesheet. First off, doing so is intensely wrong as it is akin to outright stealing. You're taking

Second, I'm an inquisitive soul and asked just how much he worked 'overtime'. My dear friend must have slept at work in order to achieve seventy hours a week. You read that right. Seventy hours (70!) a week. C'mon! If you're going to lie, at least be smart about it. Throw something realistic in there.

Third, the entire workplace was wired. You couldn't sneeze without your boss, your boss' boss, and his boss knowing about it. I went just a minute over on my lunch break, and I got a rather cold email about it. Don't worry so much, because for a few days, I accidentally went in ten minutes early and worked too much for the time I was reporting (I had a long commute and always overestimated the amount of time I needed. Also, SEPTA is horrible). But they saw I spent those minutes pissing away on the internet, so it all turned out well.

In short, don't mess with your time sheet. It's a dumb thing to do.


Why do people write 'your' instead of 'you're'? I've seen it more and more and, as a certified Grammar Nazi, it's starting to grind on me. I'm not above the occasional error myself (my talking grammar is downright atrocious), but I do try to make sure my audience can tell when I'm talking possessive and when I'm describing something of yours.

Simply put, saying, "your an idiot" will not sway me towards your point of view. "You're an idiot". Get it right.

Also, has 'lol' replaced the period? "your an idiot lol why cant u c that your an idiot lol?" is fairly typical of the internet these days, a fairly sad revelation. I used to defend the denizens of the internet against my snobby friends. I used to say, "Sure, a few folks talk like a drunken seal slapping a keyboard but most people write intelligently." Now, I feel silly and foolish.

But the absolute worst error trophy is held by the number substitutions. "got 2 go 2 8 sum dinner, bbl 4 u" Numbers have only one place, and that's to quantify something in simple digits (after all, writing VII or 'seven' to do multiplication is not easy and is quite painful and counter intuitive).

The only internet jargon I believe has any use is emoticons. They are quite handy in determining the attitude with which a given statement is being delivered. "You're such a fool :D" indicates friendly ribbing, while "You're such a fool" is an offensive impersonal accusation. Although, for some reason, I still have this mental image that emote use carries sarcastic connotations. Maybe it's because I have the arrogant assumption I can parse the 'air' of a conversation without being outright told, and maybe because I feel condescended to, as if I am a child who needs direction in the mannerisms of adults. Maybe I'm just stupid.


One of my real life friends was lambasted the other day by some elderly vet because she ran an American flag but not that black POW/MIA one. What a troop-hating unAmerican bitch. She was too flustered to offer much of a rebuttal and personally I'm too much of a coward to have said anything in her place.

But now I'm on the internet anonymous (more or less), so I'm saying I'd have told the twat to piss off. What, if I don't wear everything on my damn sleeve, then I must not support or agree with it? It's stupid, anyway. Why fly a flag for it? I assume no one is cackling with glee at the soldiers stuffed away in POW camps or Missing in Action (most of whom probably, sadly, deceased). I assume most Americans do carry sympathy for such soldiers and their families.

I don't need silly ribbons or flags to display how I feel. If you're so goddamn curious, then go ahead and ask. My house is not a battleship, I shouldn't have to rig a complex network of flags to tell the world everything about me.

And really, I think if you waste the time erecting a flagpole and flying the Stars and Stripes on it, you're probably as patriotic as they come. Especially since everyone I've spotted with flags always seem to keep them clean, do all the right flag protocol, etc. If they were heartless enemies of the state, I doubt they'd bother.

Also, I've never been quite sure, but does it cover all POWs/MIAs, or just American ones? Are the Iraqi and Afghanistan POWs allowed to rot just because they're our enemies and terrorists? Sure, if you accept the idea that our POW camps are ten times better than the homes we caught them in, with good food, water, and ninety channels of digital cable it might seem like a pretty good deal. But would you want to be locked up thousands of miles away from your family? Even if they lived in a shithole? I doubt it. For example, the Army barracks might be better in quality of life than the North Philadelphia slum you came from, but you still come home, don't you?

And that's assuming, of course, that the camps are as we're told they are. Chances are, they're probably pretty shitty. I suppose that's the cold reality of life, after all, they are trying to kill us. But the point remains: aren't they still POWs? I'm willing to bet most of them don't even give two figs about Al Qaeda or anything, they're just defending themselves against an invasion (both cultural and martial) in their homes. Extreme in their methods, perhaps, but so were the Bosnians when fighting against the Serbians, or the North against the South, or the British against the colonists (and vice versa for each of those cases).

Maybe I'm too naive.


I know it's just practice for the real world, but it always irks me when I have to write a paper on whatever lab for school. Why? Because inevitably it's just regurgitation of old news. I wrote a lab report on gel electrophoresis and using it to determine the specific sequence of a bacterial genome. Old news. When 'researching' it, I dredged up a billion papers from a million years ago on the thousands of ways to approach this method and so on. If I was inclined, I could have ripped them completely and handed them in as my paper.

My professors wouldn't notice, but they would still mark me down on their seemingly arbitrary standards. On one occasion, I had ten points off because my abstract (the quick run-down you see at the beginning of scientific papers) wasn't detailed enough. It was almost a thousand words. Any more, and it wouldn't be an abstract anymore, it might as well have been the paper itself.

Methods/Materials is another one they like to peg you on. The rule of thumb is that if it's taught on an undergrad level, you can safely generalize about it. For instance, I don't need to go into the details of how I prepared a sample for mass spectrometry (unless I had some brand new revolutionary method on it). I can just say I performed a mass spec. analysis and you can reasonably fill in the blank. But then, they tell me to put in such details so they know I know what I'm doing. When I do so, they mark off points because I didn't write with a scientific audience in mind.

My introductions and results/conclusions are flawless. Yet the stupid abstract and methods murder me.

Oh, and 'future' studies is also laughable. Yeah, what could I POSSIBLY do with this basic technique? How could I possibly expand upon it? I know! A ten second Google search could give me twenty answers because the technique or concept itself is so basic! Imagine learning the basics of a language, and then being asked 'What could you do in the future to expand your knowledge?' Er, Der, maybe try to hold conversations with those fluent in said language? Maybe visit that particular country? Maybe have your teacher move into the finer nuances of it? Or asking a builder in Second Life: "Now that you know how to resize a prim, what are some possible future investigations of this technique?" You'd laugh it off, that's what you'd do.

I figure if you have no clue, not even a semblance of how to take such a middle school level concept to the next level, you probably have no business taking that line of study. At least, not without some serious backbreaking and extremely painful work on your part.


As you might have guessed, my field is heavy into science. That's not saying much. I'm told it's a hard field, but personally I think anything can be hard if you don't have the right mind. For example, I cannot speak another language to save my life. Eight years of Spanish in High school and the best I can manage is asking how you are today and that the dog is very fat. Oh, and that the train is blue and grey. Linguistics is definitely not for me.

But, on my mother's side of the family, I'm going to be the first one in that family to get a college degree. And on my father's side, only the third (my father was a pharmacist, and his sister is a nurse). Pretty weighty! The result of this is that I am frequently poked into answering every single question about the universe.

Now, I do know a good deal of things. After all, you can't do what I do without knowing some basics. But asking me the details of astrophysics, I do not know. Or specifics in metallurgy. One person can only know so much. Ask me for the specific pathways for limb development, sure, but forget about the specific types of concrete.

Why? Because it isn't relevant, I guess. Concrete just don't factor much when you're investigating ACL tears. In fact, concrete is bad in such a scenario. Also, I haven't had much study into the specifics of concrete. It's an area outside my expertise. That's pretty important. You wouldn't ask your doctor to check out what's wrong with your sedan.

Which is why they always seem so disappointed when I tell them I don't know, and that I'd have to look it up. And then I feel bad because they feel let down. And then they feel bad that I feel bad because I feel I've let them down. A vicious cycle!

And then there's things no one knows. Why we age is something the world is constantly investigating over and over. And the reasons for it are very complex. No one quite understands. Which, by the way, is why it is heavy in research right now.

One final nail in the coffin is my reluctance to give an answer without checking my data three times over. I won't even give you an answer on the color of my hair without checking it in at least two mirrors and under different light conditions. Too cautious, perhaps, but it's helped immensely in the 'getting things right' category and helped me avoid the dreaded 'everything is totally wrong and I am so screwed'.


This blog was founded for two things. The first was to record the random acts of nonsense and writing that Jurin loves. It is certainly much handier to direct people to a simple website to read my crazy rather than getting me to log in and teleport over (at 4 AM Eastern time, I am more nasty and crabby than fun).

The other was to comment on just how crazy Linden Lab can be. Ok, well, more about Second Life in general, but Linden Lab is a big part of it. And I realize that I haven't been discussing them at all in the past few months. Maybe even half the year. I feel an explanation is owed.

I do not know what more to write about them. That is the simple truth. They are crazy and insane. Everyone hates their policies. Often, they bumble about and wreck things like a toddler who found his dad's gun and is now in a pottery shop with an angry bull. Sometimes they're right in whatever move they make. Sometimes they're wrong. And all too often, it is a rat race. After awhile, the feeling creeps into you that you have discussed this policy again, and again, and again, and the time is ripe to just let it die.

Take, for example, age verification. The whole deal with the 'Adult' rated parcels was beaten to death with the advent of age verification, which in turn was beaten to death with the banning of fake porn in that European country and its investigation into Second Life, which in turn was beaten to death with the first age players to settle on the grid. Since at least 2005 (2006 at the latest), we have been talking ourselves into circles!

And the reality is that some verification is required. Just like the sketchy videos on Youtube which ask if you're over 18 before it lets you view it. It's required in the sense of Linden Lab covering its ass. That's all there is, folks. The end.

The taking over of Xstreet is just but one episode of Linden Lab absorbing an existing institution in order to establish their own presence in that niche. This isn't news. And the endless discussions and debates about it have gone nowhere because everything to be said about it has been said more or less for the past four years.

That is why I stopped writing about Second Life, save for the occasional comment on blogs. I just don't feel there's a need to devote reams of useless nonsense, especially when what I say will likely be unoriginal and pointless.

Plus, the entire exercise is not dissimilar to shouting at the wind. Ari has often said that the Lab does listen, but frankly, I don't think so. They do what they want.


Why oh why is anyone surprised that SAT scores are still skewed? It's up there with the puzzlement people express towards Linden Labs. This is shown every year. Not like it matters anyway, because scores overall are trending down. At least, according to the article I read.


That's about all at the moment.


Tuesday, August 18, 2009

SL Chickens

Am I the only one not interested in raising those SL Chickens?

Monday, August 10, 2009

Real Life Identity

A very late post.

Dusan says words about linking SL names to RL identities. His main point claims that without the potential for anonymous avatars and those who choose to hide behind their avatars are an untapped pool of talent. In fact, the drive to link real life to Second Life may scare people away. Poor people who in an unmolested world would vastly contribute to this little world of ours.

I suppose I'm hiding behind my avatar, too.

I am Anna J Tsiolkovsky, no more, and no less.

Anna likes to chat, and it is almost always irrelevant. "What is your favorite tree?" "What does green taste like?" "Does Frank litter my lawn with cigarette butts out of stupidity or malice?" Anna deals with enough stress and serious business in real life. Second life is time to play.

For Anna thinks Second Life is a game. Partly to egg on those who say otherwise, and partly because that is how she rolls. She builds things, but rarely completes them. After all, they're just toys, to be thrown back into the box at the end of the day. Only a few times did she ever attempt to finish something and sell it. It had mixed results. Her Second Life is scattered with jokes and occasional mischef. For instance, she wonders if Jurin ever realised just who it was repositioning the statues...

She loves to fly. And drive. And float. Sure, vehicles in Second Life are broken but that's just part of the game. How far exactly can I fly before the sims (or Nunchuck, May Nher Femur Shine Forever) decide to swat me down? There is peace up there in the sky. Nothing is like watching the mainland builds, in their patchwork glory, roll across below you.

Anna is sometimes prone to nostalga. Ah, back in THOSE days. She has, after all, lived in Second Life for a considerable length of time. Certainly not as long as the true oldies, but long enough. Almost three years! Throughout it all, gaining and losing friends, and watching sims and builds and groups rise and fall. As well as the latest Linden attempt to create stability (Which only Nunchuck, through The Femur, will bring). It's been a long life.

Anna sometimes writes. It is bad. Even though friends insist it is good, it is not good. Trust my instincts and knowledge of writing and the english language. But that doesn't matter too much, because she's not looking to get published. She writes to write, and does the best job she can. Being Anna (and so being not 'real'), no one will come knocking down my door and asking what kind of drugs I was smoking to ever think to publish this drivel on the internet. And for the record, my drug of choice is alcohol.

Anna likes to read. And sometimes think. She sometimes goes to 'discussion' events (even if most of them are silly) and she reads SL blogs. She will read backlogs. She has the awesome achievement of having read through the entire archives of Prokofy's blog. Even the chat logs. She was very bored that week, indeed.

That's her second life: reading and writing and playing and chatting all in mindless fun. Real life is sad and stressful enough, so let's avoid drama, unless we're watching it. And the only regret is, that due to real life duties, she can't be around as often. ;_;

That's me. And whether you think Anna is a coward hiding behind the visage of a computer game avatar, or just an expression or extenstion of real life me into Second Life, it's all the same, isn't it?

Anna is Anna.


Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Inventory! Finally!

Good news, everyone! After an intense two day marathon (over the course of some seventeen hours!), I have managed to accomplish the absolute impossible!

I have sorted my inventory. All of it. It's all distilled down into neat little category folders. The only exception is the existence of a 'Random' folder which houses 'The Rhombus' and some ... things. That I don't know how I'd categorize.

So people, you may now send me anything at all, and I will be able to access it easily! Instead of digging through the mess, not finding it, and then just lying ("oh, this is... great. Awesome. Wonderful").


Monday, August 3, 2009

Twitter Twetter

I don't use Twitter. My life (both Real and Second) is just not that interesting every minute of the day. I'm not on the cutting edge of the news. I don't explore too much and thus there's no need to report in on it. And I really do not have the time to read through someone else's twitter stream to find something to tweet about.

I'm just boring. Here's what my twitter page would look like:

-Sitting here, waiting for the bus.

-Still sitting.

-Oh damn, stuck in traffic.

-lol i'm gonna be late for work. I'm so fired.

-lunch today is a ham sandwich

-urgh, i think the ham was bad

-@DrNick no, i hope no parasites

-who knew bones were that fragile?

-anyone able to spare $6,000? It's for a good cause

-@LoanShark haha i'm onto you

-back on the bus

-more traffic -_-

-dinner today is ... take out chinese -_-

-anyone watch hell's kitchen? Ramsey invented another new curse

-@DrNick too impolite to mention over twitter

-took my meds.

-@DrNick ha freaking ha

-bedtime. tomorrow is another average day

If I included Second Life, my twitter would be just as banal, only twice as long.

-Today I managed to find that missing prim!

Twitter just isn't for me.


Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Around Town

So hey, today I walked around town.

I didn't eat the billboard. But it looked so tasty.

This abandoned building is only a few blocks up from Center City. It's also about thirty stories tall. It's quite ugly.

Much nicer part of town.

Franklin Institute had this tucked away in the back.

A radio station held a small event around city hall.

City Hall is a donut shaped building. You can stand in the center and look out down the two main streets of the city. This is looking up Broad street north.

City Hall is needlessly big.

That smoke stack only looks big because it's closer than the rest of the buildings.


The River Park is crammed on a tiny slice of land between the river itself and some old industrial train tracks. For most of its stretch, the city has planted flowers to hide the fence and the tracks behind it. I guess they haven't gotten around to this part yet.

At night, the crown of this building has ads and junk rotate around the top, Times Square style.

Looking south as the river curves through the city. At night, a few of the bridges light up, too. The city really really likes LEDs.

At night, this entire building lights up. LEDs are installed on every floor. It's usually pretty gaudy.


Tuesday, July 21, 2009


Last night, a bot descending upon Blackwater gallery. Only for a few moments. Didn't respond to IMs. Logged off shortly after his visit.

Simple landbot? Maybe, but I don't recall any land for sale in that sim. And it's not an infohub, so it could not have been loitering due to being kicked off its home sim. Maybe it was a scout bot. "Scout bot, check to see what and who is in that sim! Report back at 0800 hours!"

Needless to say, Jurin and I were perplexed. The hidden doubt, the small fear in the back of her mind, was that this might be a copybots. Coming so soon after Rezzable's announcement of Bob the BuilderBot, it might even be a test run of their acclaimed creation. If not them, then maybe some clever programmer who decided to mimic it.


Any thoughts on this, CreatorID Absent? You're quite welcome to defend yourself, either you or your owner. It would certainly calm our fears. And to everyone else, if you see this guy, it would be nice to strike up a conversation with him. Her. It.


Monday, July 20, 2009

Oh Rezzable, You Tease

Some time ago, Rezzable (you might know them of Greenies fame) decided the time was right to leave Second Life. Lots of people have delved into the reasons why, but I couldn't care less. Rezzables was just one of a number of people displaying weird and unusual builds. Their selling point was a massive PR campaign and buying out of a lot of famous builders, Starax/Light Waves being the prime example. I got nothing against them, and they got nothing against me.

But then, Rezzable went and discussed releasing what some have called 'Industrial Copybot'. It operates by catching all the objects in a given region, shunting the data into a separate offline file where it can be edited. They promise to erase any sensitive license infringing content from their scans.

They seem genuinely perplexed about the backlash on this. "But we're only using it to back up our own data!" Ok, but why are you releasing it onto the open market then? What do you think will happen when you release what is, in the description of its inner working, Copybot Jr.?

I recall Rezzable being the torch bearer against Copybot many times (with due reason, all their content out there). Why now are they even considering releasing this out there? I think they've gone completely off their rocker. Just read the linked page. They seriously consider charging for this. $75 for the 'Pro' version. Discussing some bugs that need to be fixed (sculpties aren't always picked up by it).

They give the same lame reason the Copybot crowd gave: 'This stuff can be copied whether or not you like it, so why worry if we sell the copier?' "Everyone else is doing it!! Why can't we??"

Really, though, the comments on those posts say everything better than I ever could. Nice one, Greenies.


Sunday, July 19, 2009

Wednesday, July 15, 2009


A cynic is only a frustrated optimist.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Mad Blogging

Talk about being a day late and a dollar short:

Trawling the internet, I found a post concerning 'The Big Bad Blogger Challenge'. The objective? Update every day, for a certain week in June.

Well, truth be told, I was actually a month early. Back in May '09, I attempted to write every single day of the month. Yep. It was a tremendous pain. I don't think I'll ever repeat it. The biggest problem was one that Alicia herself posits: there just simply not enough time. Sitting down, brainstorming, and spitting out a post takes at least a good hour, if not more (and I'm a reasonably fast typer, if you're slower it takes even longer).

On another interesting side note, Alicia claims posts do not need to be thought out and indeed says she herself writes it out spur of the moment and written as if conversation. This is fine, but I personally feel that a post is not a conversation.

Sending up a post is not instantaneous. This allows one the luxury of writing out, proofreading, refining, and making it presentable. It allows you to present the spark of your idea in a concise and well written manner. Readers tend to enjoy posts more; it's easier to follow and allows a clear procession through your point. This applies even to personal blogs (as opposed to 'journalists'), my random thoughts are a much better read after I've run them through a rinse cycle or two.

In addition, this filters out things that are better left unsaid. Sometimes it is just not a good idea or worth the effort to write about the horrors of, I dunno, a leather boot fetish and its effect upon the collective psyche of furry culture. Just the title of that thesis is sure to garner both drama and idiocy. Seriously, does anyone really care about boots? Or what furries think about them?

Of course, I'm no saint. I frequently commit this gravest of blogging sins (sometimes in an alcoholic stupor, too!). I know where she is coming from. But on the whole, I strive to a higher standard. And I would ask anyone also blogging to do likewise. Aside from being common courtesy, it will make one easier to read and strengthen the argument/point/etc of your post.

Unless you're blogging about blogging. Then it's alright.


Friday, July 10, 2009

Lock Down

Ever get the feeling, the urge to change one's style dramatically? One fine morning, you wake and decide, "I feel like wearing a tuxedo and dying my hair purple." "I'm sick of wearing the same shape, skin, and hair."

I so want to do that. Well, actually, I'm fairly content with my shape and skin. My hair, though, is a constant war to find the right fit. There's a few styles I've settled on but (when I have the cash) I keep on hunting for... I don't have a clue.

Oh, and attachments too. For the multitude who've never met me in Second Life, I wear a daisy in my hair. I tried not wearing it and you would have thought I lobbed my arms off. And so it has grown roots into my skull and hasn't been removed since. In a similar vein, I tried to wear glasses and my friends talked me out of it. Some things are just stuck on me.*

Back to hair. I've been blond since I first came into Second Life and played with my appearance. And thus one day I decided the time was ripe to dye it.

There were ground rules. Red was to be avoided. For a time, all my friends were red-heads and the scars have not faded. Obviously, blond was out. And green was off the list because I have a mental association of green hues with vomit. Aside from that, everything was fair game.

I tried black, brown, blue, violet, white, magenta, and other assorted combinations. Everyone shot down each one. Since I have the self esteem of a boiled clam, I went back to blond. So much for change.

The discovery is that my look is pinned. Pinned. I can't change it without making everyone sad.

I knew I should worn a mask.


*An interesting note on my daisy: Being a left hander, I absent-mindedly attached it to the left side of my head. One Hawaiian acquaintance of mine, upon seeing this, asked who the lucky guy was. Apparently, wearing a flower on the left side of your head indicates you're dating/engaged/married, and right side means you're single. She still wants to meet my husband.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

What Does It Mean To Be An American?

Students from some college down in Tennessee are traveling cross country to ask anyone they happen to meet one question: What does it mean to be an American?

Of course, they get the usual responses ("Freedom! Liberty! Baseball!"). I'm going to throw in my two cents.

I think being an American is to ask oneself what being an American means. The question itself defines an American. It's something that we can only answer ourselves. Our country is constantly looking at itself in close examination eternally trying to determine just what the hell it is supposed to be.

Everyone has a different answer, and these collectively build up into who we are as a nation. We're a nation of 'answers' to this very question. For some, that's 'Life Liberty and Pursuit of Happiness' and for others it's 'maintaining my culture in this heathen country' and for others it's 'get the hell off my lawn, Greg, because you always chuck your goddamn cigarette butts onto it and that's not funny'.

So, there's your answer. If you ponder this question yourself (if you're an American in the first place) and seek out your answer to it, that's what it means to be an American.



Thursday, July 2, 2009


Uploading your brain into a computer in order to achieve a higher existence and become one with the singularity is an interesting idea. Eternal life would be yours, so long as you avoid the Recycle Bin. At your fingertips would be the immense speed of a bazillion computers or so.

But wait a second.

Where does all my brain data go? Can I really trust Mr. Server hosting it? Would I be charged rent? Sure, I could drift across the internet lazily but then I'd be exposed to all sorts of malicious code out to rend my brain and make me a virtual vegetable. Or even deleted. I am unsure whether or not I'd be able to afford it (both initial investment and presumably some kind of monthly cost to hold my brain data). Oh, what a mess.

It has to go somewhere. Perhaps a giant robot? I'd need a mechanic. And spare parts. A power supply. Preferably a good sensor set (I'd like to continue being able to watch my garden grow, thank you, or taste a ripe tomato and so on). All of those aren't cheap.

Would I even want to 'live' forever? Sure, it sounds nice and all, but at some point wouldn't you grow a little senile? Or bored? Part of the fun of life is the urgency with which we live it. And my non-uploaded friends would wither and die, would I want to watch that?

I suppose my 'data' would be uploaded into some virtual world, but what would be the fun in that? If I knew I could create and do anything I wanted, I think I'd get bored fast. The possibilities would be infinite, but also tiring. "Ok, another Gor roleplay Matrix. Whoop-de-freaking-do." I'm not very imaginative, so I imagine it'd be boring after a while.

And now that I think about, I think the biggest question would be: would I even be myself?

I upload my brain into the computer. But it's not really me: it's just a compilation of my thoughts, behaviors, fears, memories, and so on that the computer recorded. That set of data might have its own consciousness, but it wouldn't be me. I'd still be the sack of meat left behind. Me as the person would only notice my data being downloaded. I'd go on to live the rest of my life pretty oblivious to what virtual me was doing (who thinks she is the real me, when I'm really the real me, although we're both me technically).

I'd still die. My imprint would march on, but Anna Tsiolkovsky would die. Oh bugger. Uploading my brain wouldn't help me achieve immortality in the physical sense. Unless a giant needle inserted into the back of my head was required, I wouldn't notice at all.

I suppose uploading my brain into the singularity would be like having a kid: after it's born, it does its own thing. If you're after a monument, a testament to generations to come, something to show the future who you were and who you were like, then uploading would be nice. But in terms of helping you live forever in a perfect blissful virtual world, keep dreaming. You won't feel a thing.

A copy of me helps little to avoid death in the long run. My body, my own grey matter, with its quirky and faulty neurons making me who I am (or who I aren't, either why) would die and disintegrate.

But hey, my copy would be running around the world, assuring everyone I'm alive and well as I'm wasting away and later rotting in a coffin.

In fact, it might make life horrible for me, because I'd just be some leftover, a shell, a physical ghost of my digitalized self. My clone would continue on, claiming to be me (which is true, to an extant) and everyone would probably just ignore little ol' meat body me.

That's scary.


Saturday, June 27, 2009

A Smile

A warm smile is testimony of a generous nature.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Sweet Peas

Today, I was walking down the street after a rather average day at work. A man was meticulously tending his garden. It was the sorriest patch of dirt in one of the sorriest neighborhoods in one of the sorriest cities.

This poor man struggled and sweat over his greens. I think he noticed my gawking because he let loose a friendly 'Yo!' Oh, god, totally snagged now. You can't have someone greet you and then not stop for a chat. It's just bad manners to do so.

His sweet peas clung vicariously to the small white lattice buried nearby. It was comical that these small sprouts yielded such large pods and here he was harvesting. The sweet pea pods fit easily into my hand, like a green pocket knife.

"I'ave been growin sweet peas," he boasted. "The're best dis time of yeer." I nodded in sage agreement. I had no idea that sweet peas were the best around the summer solstice. I have no idea when they would ever be the best in the year, but this man said it so self-assuredly that it must be so. Sweat peas are best this time of year.

"They do look great," I remarked.

"Wunt one?" I think I have never seen a prouder man. And to be completely honest, he had full rights to be. Anyone who can manage to make something edible grow out of the dusty old dirt hanging around the city is nothing short of a master botanist.

Sure, the city and the school and other big businesses have lots of trees and grass growing, but only with liberal applications of mulch and imported soil. It's not the native environment but an invasion. It is an unsaid admission that nothing good can grow here without serious cash. And yet, here was Sweet Pea Man, diligently watering and plucking his sweet peas, making the impossible possible.

Now, how could I refuse? You can't refuse a good hearted gift crafted with their very hands. It's bad manners to do so. In any such case, you take it and say, "Thank you very much," as if it were the one thing you have always wanted the most in the entire world.

I took the sweet pea and said goodbye.

Around the end of the block, as I was absent-mindedly playing with the pod in my hand, I noticed a small spattering of green pods. Had this man accosted others and forced sweet peas into their hands? And having done so, proceeded to chuck them away when safely out of sight?

Surely this man was not a hermit and must be familiar with his block. I wonder what he felt when he found that his precious crop, so lovingly tended and coaxed out of the ground, tossed as garbage onto the streets.

Ah, the price of giving a gift.


Thursday, June 11, 2009

Out of Hearts

Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Failure and Defeat

Failure is not defeat until you stop trying.


Some Observations in Real Life

I saw at work a poor woman attempting to wheel into the bathroom. She couldn't (through a lack of strength and dexterity) hold the door open and roll the wheelchair in at the same time. So hey, what did bystanders do? Why, nothing at all! I watched one women push her aside to get in, and let the door slam in the face. This seemed to amuse a bystander looking on.

Don't worry, I helped her through the damn door. I'm so glad that in the room of about twenty people, one ignored her and the other laughed. This, by the way, was in a hospital cafe. I'm glad that the men and women charged with their M.D.s could not find the time to put down their coffees and hold a door for 40 seconds.


Hey, look at that Susan Boyle on that "Got Talent" show. Someone with a beautiful voice. You think, "Ok, that's great, what's the big fuss?" The response is usually, "Oh, well, she's... special". Hey, let's cut the bullshit and just admit it: we think she's ugly.

And it amazes me how patronizing people are when they state things such as: "this proves that within each person is beauty". Oh, so you didn't think or notice that before? It's sad that she will forever live not in recognition of her talents alone, but that she looks different and was talented. As if only those gifted with attractive looks ever have or had talent.

If you can't see why this makes me seethe, just imagine if someone said this: "It's amazing how smart John McSmith is with his 1590 SAT and 4.0 GPA in Neurosurgery and how he invented a radical noninvasive technique to curing strokes. This proves that African Americans are smart!" Just look how patronizing that is. Honestly. And yet everyone just nods their heads and marvels.


Monday, June 8, 2009


Hello, my name is Winter J Akina and I am an alt of Anna.


She asked me to write here.

Tug Boat Rizzo

Toot toot, I am a humble tugboat.

My name is the Rizzo the Tugboat.

I push things. Sometimes I pull things, but mostly pushing.

When I'm not working, my owners tie me to a pier.

It tickles when they play and fix my engine.

I think I like being a tugboat, but I've never been anything else so I wouldn't know.

The End


Friday, June 5, 2009

More Flickr Fun!

Time to let roll on Jurin's Flickr photostream again! This time, I'll discuss each photo with my alts, Winter and Torvald. Blah Blah Blah Owned by Jurin Blah Blah Legalities.

Anna: Well, it's some kind of erector set in a ravine on a full moon.
Winter: ...
Torvald: Where is everyone? Scared of the werewolves?
Anna: I don't think so, I don't see any homes.
Torvald: Maybe their doors and windows can blend into the cliff?
Anna: Maybe they're going to build something, like scaffolding on a building!
Torvald: Then where's the tools?
Anna: Took them with them?
Torvald: Why?
Winter: ...
Anna: It's an intersection. Homes are beyond and behind the screenshot. Kind of like taking photos of a train track but not the stations.
Torvald: That's stupid.
Winter: It's Riven.

Torvald: Confession: I'm scared of mice
Winter: Why?
Torvald: They live in the walls. Who knows what they hear me doing?
Anna: And what are you doing?
Torvald: Not much
Anna: Then why worry?
Torvald: Well, what if I wanted to do something in private? The buggers will be listening and watching
Anna: Well, this mouse isn't a wall mouse. It's just a mouse on a wall.
Winter: Great Wall of China
Torvald: That mouse has horrible proportions. Can its neck and that body support that giant head? The tail looks like a jousting lance coming out of its ass.
Anna: Torvy! Don't be so mean. It can't help that it was born that way.
Winter: It is made of prims.
Anna: True, but prims have feelings too!
Torvald: Maybe it's comtemplating jumping? It's a rather blah day out in that pic, perfect weather for a suicide.
Winter: Suicide is not the answer.
Anna: If a mouse commits suicide, does it go to hell? People go to hell for it, but the Bible doesn't mention anything about mice.

Winter: Pretty
Anna: Madcow made this.
Torvald: Is that the one who doesn't talk?
Anna: I think so. I can't remember names for the life of me
Torvald: Oh? What's my name
Anna: Ha freaking Ha
Anna: The body is pretty blah, but those wings!
Torvald: I wonder how evolution would work to create such a wing pattern.
Anna: Well, such a pattern may scare away predators.
Winter: It helps in sexy times?
Torvald: Pretty gawky if you ask me.
Anna: You know, maybe it's like a bee, those colors are a warning. If you look closely, you can almost see a stinger on the abdomen there.
Torvald: Why are you looking at... you know what, I don't wanna know.

Anna: It's telling of the economy how there are no shows playing.
Torvald: Why go to a movie theater when you can download off the internet?
Anna: Yeah, if you have internet access for Second Life, you might as well go ahead and torrent everything
Torvald: And there is a movie poster for 'Twister'
Anna: That movie was bad
Torvald: So? The tornadoes were awesome, and everything got torn up.
Anna: Yeah, but...
Torvald: But?
Anna: I dunno, something about the movie rubbed me the wrong way. A movie can't be all action, can it?
Torvald: Well, it's a movie about tornadoes. How much plot can you expect? Twisters aren't exactly good actors. In fact, they tend to be windbags.
Winter: Bad jokes deserve the death penalty.
Torvald: lol

Torvald: Jurin and Dimi, sitting in a tree
Anna: Oh god
Winter: ...
Torvald: K I S S I N G
Anna: Please stop...
Torvald: First comes love...
Anna: Hey, Dimi and tree almost kind of rhymes
Torvald: Then comes marriage...
Anna: That's not a big theater, either, is it?
Torvald: Then comes baby in the baby carriage!
Winter: Death Penalty
Torvald: ouch

Torvald: "Doctor, my tooth hurts"
Winter: ?
Torvald: You've never played that game where you pull the alligator's teeth?
Winter: no
Torvald: I always had the damn thing clamp its jaws down on me. And it's killing me that I can't remember the name. Anna, I think you're rubbing off on me.
Anna: Hey, is it a crocodile or an alligator?
Torvald: Hmm, uh, I dunno. Winter?
Winter: ...
Torvald: Yep, no idea either.
Winter: Wikipedia
Torvald: No, no wikipedia! Hey, this scene is pretty tropical. Jungle book style.
Winter: ...
Torvald: I'm crusing down da Nile, this croc is chocking bile, maybe I'll get him riled... UP!
Winter: Death Penalty

Winter: Reeds hide Moses
Anna: That's a lot of hippos
Torvald: I'm amazed neither of you notice what's wrong with this scene
Anna: Care to enlighten us?
Torvald: What are hippos doing in a desert? Are they more jungle?
Anna: I dunno. Why don't you ask your friend Wikipedia?
Torvald: Let's.
Torvald: They used to be extant up and down the Nile, but not anymore.
Winter: Sad
Anna: So you think this is someone in Second Life trying to recapture a lost species?
Torvald: If by lost you mean "Not there anymore", because Hippos aren't extinct... yet
Winter: Sad
Anna: And notice how it's in the evening. A perfect symbol of the decline of hippos in the wild.
Torvald: How sad.
Winter: Sad

Anna: Does this frighten you, Torvy?
Torvald: No, not really
Anna: Mice do but giant tentacles don't?
Torvald: Well, it's all in where they live. Mice live in my walls. Giant Octopi don't.
Torvald: Are they Giant Octopi?
Anna: There's giant squid. They're related to octopi. So yes, there are giant octopus.
Torvald: Ok, well, as long as I avoid the shore I'm cool with them
Torvald: You know, it's like: I won't barge into someone else's home. Not like mice do.
Torvald: Plus, mice get into your food and shit in it. Gross.
Anna: It only has four tentacles.
Torvald: So?
Anna: OCTOpus. It should have eight.
Winter: Treading water?
Anna: Perhaps.
Torvald: It also looks like a lake. Or a really shallow bay.
Anna: Oh, then it wouldn't fit in there either, would it?
Winter: Textures open the imagination
Anna: Yes, that is good texturing. It really feels as if a giant octopus is coming out and exploring the world of air
Torvald: Ha, beat you to the punch, suckers!

Torvald: Didn't Jurin already visit heaven once already?
Anna: Well, not quite. It was just a 'driving through the neighborhood' moment.
Winter: Death's door is one way
Anna: Yeah, read what I said: just driving by. She didn't enter it.
Torvald: Why is heaven always bright and white?
Anna: Because we're dinural creatures and our culture associates white with purity and good?
Torvald: Really?
Anna: Just a guess
Torvald: There's even a stairway. Who has a wheelchair in the afterlife? Is your soul really remain crippled after you die? That's pretty mean of God
Anna: Perhaps. But maybe He doesn't make the rules.
Torvald: That's bullshit. He's God.
Anna: True, but notice he doesn't interfere in our world, either.
Winter: Decour eases transition
Torvald: I suppose it is easier for our minds to comphrehend. 2001: A Space Odessy was trippy enough
Anna: And that was a work of man
Anna: She's stopped about a third of the way up, though. As if the avatar in question is hesitant
Anna: Maybe she's in a coma, and is deciding whether to remain in a coma or fall into a vegetative state.
Anna: Trying to decide whether to suffer and potentially recover to the joy of her family, or leave for her own happiness while her family languishes over whether to pull the plug or not
Torvald: You're scary sometimes.

Anna: This reminds me of Spore
Torvald: Your mom reminds me of Spore
Anna: Ha, no. In Spore, the planets are really tiny. About as big as Pluto. It's weird.
Torvald: It's a game
Anna: I mean, how do they even retain an atmosphere? How did each planet get sized to the exact same dimensions?
Torvald: Game.
Anna: Really, this house is Spore. Your species has one city and it dominates the planet. Your creatures are like epically giant.
Torvald: GAME
Winter: Reflections of reality suspend disbelief
Torvald: It's a GAME. It doesn't have to do anything. You're just supposed to have fun with it.
Torvald: Evolution doesn't work that way, but does it make Spore any less fun?
Anna: No, but it's just ridiculous.
Torvald: Have you ever played a game where anything was not ridiculous?
Anna: Yeah, I guess everything gets kind of trippy.
Anna: Like Elmo's Letter Adventure.
Torvald: That game came out when you were about 14. Why'd you get it?
Winter: Siblings offer demands against the one
Anna: I have a lot of strange stuff around.
Torvald: So, you must spend a lot of time complaining about each and every thing?
Anna: Just when it's 'in your face' like the planet thing.
Torvald: But a house inside a moon is ok?
Anna: I never said it wasn't. Just that Spore got it wrong.
Anna: I wonder how you get home here. Is it following the Jetsons?
Torvald: It's rustic, I think maybe it's hot air balloons.
Winter: Proportion consistancy enhances design
Anna: Hm?
Torvald: I think she's pointing out that the window in the moon is way bigger than the door on the house itself.
Anna: Then those laterns are pretty big, too
Torvald: Your mom is big.
Winter: Death Penalty.

Anna: Yay! We're finally done. And... oh my god, there's NOTHING here.
Torvald: Columbus would be screwed.
Anna: It's something so beautiful and yet horrifying at the same time
Winter: Horror is reality
Torvald: Dandelions are real, are they horrific?
Winter: No
Torvald: Then reality is not horror
Winter: Their seeds spread and ruin the lawn
Torvald: Is that really that horrible? Just some herbicide will cure that.
Winter: The scars of battle would remain
Torvald: What?
Winter: The poison forever seeped into the ground
Winter: Welling up in the aquifier
Winter: Children pay for the sins of the father
Torvald: It's not DDT ffs, it's just some ol' herbicide
Torvald: You're just being melodramatic now
Winter: Tragedy breeds from willful ignorance
Torvald: You know what? I'm done.
Anna: What?
Torvald: I'm not arguing with her anymore. NOT LISTENING
Winter: ...
Torvald: LA LA LAH
Winter: ...
Anna: ANYWAY, back on topic
Torvald: This was during a crash
Anna: This was during a crash
Anna: Hey, jinx!
Torvald: Jinx
Anna: Double jinx
Torvald: Triple jinx
Anna: Quad jinx
Winter: Infinite jinxes
Torvald: I'm ignoring her, so no infinite jinx
Torvald: ...
Torvald: Infinity jinx
Anna: sigh
Torvald: sigh
Anna: So, we see heaven when we die, and when we crash, we see boundless ocean
Torvald: So, we see heaven when we die, and when we crash, we see boundless ocean
Anna: ...
Torvald: ...
Anna: Ok, Ok, I get it
Torvald: Ok ok, I get it
Anna: I'm a big moron and also I like to stick prim penises in my ear
Torvald: Ew
Torvald: Way to blow it out of proportion
Winter: ...
Torvald: I was just playing with you
Anna: Well, stay on topic. Play with the topic
Torvald: I am glad you admitted to being a moron.
Anna: Torvald!
Torvald: Just playing! Jeez
Anna: Well, anyway, this is one good thing about Windlight: crashes are pretty
Torvald: It's kinda boring, actually
Torvald: Can't they rezz some ships or seagulls?
Anna: You can't if you've crashed. The definition of a crash is when you glitch out like that
Torvald: Stick something moving and interesting in the sky, then.
Winter: The dead albatross heralds bad omens
Torvald: We're not sticking dead birds in the sky. Just something to liven up the landscape.
Torvald: And I said I'm not talking to you
Winter: Ears cannot unlisten
Torvald: I hate you too
Anna: Guys! Please!
Anna: ...
Anna: oh dammit, I'm seeing the same thing in Second Life. Thanks for crashing me out
Torvald: Anytime
Winter: Death Penalty
Torvald: That wasn't a even joke!!

Well, thanks again Jurin for providing the photos. And thanks to Torvald and Winter for suffering through this post. And thanks to me for posting it.