Monday, June 12, 2017

New Car

Today was an interesting day, to say the least, one that ended with driving a new car home.

On Saturday, I had an issue come up at work, that required me to set up my work laptop from home so I could take care of it. As soon as that was done, I left the house and headed to an extended family member's 100th birthday party. Later that evening and the following day required me to do some follow-up related to the issue from work, so at the end of the evening last night, I packed my computer up to bring back to the office today.

Today, I got into the office and started hooking my computer up, only to realize I left my mouse at home. So, I worked for most of my day in the office, then at lunch, I went back home and finished off the day from home. As a result, I was off work and already home at 4pm. I decided to do some research on hybrid vehicles before dinner. I certainly wasn't planning on buying a car yet, it was just some initial legwork for something that may be considered around September, when the new models come out.

My previous car was a 2010 Hyundai Elantra Touring. It was a great car, and I had no problems with it at all. Where I lived before, I was working from home, and most of the driving that was done after hours was highway driving. As a result, I averaged around 27mpg, which wasn't too bad. For extended trips, I even got up to about 30mpg or slightly higher. Now, though, I work 8 miles from home, and it is all street driving, with a lot more traffic to deal with. That had dropped me down to about 20mpg. As a result, I was looking into the possibility of going with a hybrid later this year.

As I was researching, I looked at the local Hyundai dealership to get more info about their Ioniq. While I was there, I noticed a listing for a preowned 2016 Sonata Hybrid. It had less than 100 miles on it, almost fully equipped, for less than the price of a base model Sonata Hybrid and less than the base model of the Ioniq. It was too good to pass up.

So, instead of dinner, I drove out to the dealership and found out that they had just listed the car, so my timing was perfect. I took it for a test drive, and thought I was give it a try. I have a lot of unpaid medical bills, so I didn't know if I'd be able to qualify to buy it, but I figured I'd try and see. Well, turned out I did qualify, but my interest rate is quite a bit higher than I would like. So, my goal is to pay the higher interest for the next few months as I start to get rid of some of the lower medical bills from my credit report. Somewhere after the first of the year refinance and try to get a lower rate.

As they were finalizing the papers, I was watching the time. I had to deal with work at 8pm this evening, and it was closing in on 7pm. I told them about my rush for work, so they were able to get things finished, and I was able to drive off the lot at 7:30 in time for me to get home and get to work. I'll be going back on Friday to pay the last of my downpayment as well as get the complete walkthrough of my car, since we didn't have much time to go over things.

So, with this new bill, my entertainment/dining out budget is a bit slashed. I'll be juggling some things over the next few days, recalculating my budget. I'm not too worried about it overall, as after Sunday, the last my moving expenses will be fully paid off. Now it is just a matter of getting old medical bills paid and fitting the car payments into the mix.

Monday, May 29, 2017

Store Updates

I'm starting to get out of my depression a little more, finally. Now I'm trying to get back on track with my store. Ultimately, I want to redo some of my older mesh models, improve upon my earlier works, but if I wait until I'm ready to do that, my store will never be updated. So, I've spent part of the weekend creating a new vendor to use with CasperVend for my store. I'm now slowly migrating my existing products to the new vendors with updated LMs, updating the Marketplace listings, and updating my new blog as each product is being readded. I'm using the date from the original blog post to keep things aligned. The first product has been updated, the rainbow bangles. These are just simple prim bangles that work with any avatar, and are only L$5 for the pair.


Sunday, May 7, 2017

Silent Again

It was about two weeks of silence. I didn't really get much accomplished in those two weeks either. Nothing from my list of things I wanted to do, that is. Sometimes I wonder why I even bother. What is the point in anything? I go through the motions of the day, doing what needs to be done, and procrastinating on other things. Even now, as I write this, I'm asking myself why am I doing this. I've struggled a little with this before, but ever since the move, it seems to have gotten worse, which doesn't make a whole lot of sense to me.

The move was to a much better job, with a huge pay raise. I like the company I'm working for, and the people I'm working with. It's always busy, but not usually overly stressful. I'm even planning on working out after I get off work to start getting in better shape. I've been trying to do that since starting the job, but something always seems to get in the way.

The move put me closer to my family than I was before. I'm in a rare situation where my family is not dysfunctional, very loving, and very close. Being able to be close enough to spend every holiday, like the upcoming Mother's Day, with my family is wonderful. My parents even came down a few times to help me get some things done at my house, and then go out to dinner before they went back home.

There is so much more to do here, compared to where I lived before. Since moving down here, I've been going different places, eating at new restaurants, just doing different things as I've had the time. Usually that was on a Sunday, leaving my Saturdays home. The restaurants could have been at any time of the week. It really is great.

With all that, why am I struggling so much? What is it about myself that I haven't fully grasped yet? Is there anything that I'm missing? Am I just trying to read too much into things? Why can't I just enjoy this, and not worry about anything else?

I look back to before. I was working at home. I was off at 3pm, and from 3pm to 4pm, I spent an hour in SL, unless I had an appointment to go to in the afternoon. I'd usually be back in SL between 6pm and 7pm and spend the rest of my evening there. Then weekends I was almost always in SL. Hours upon hours in SL. Probably too much time. Now, I'm hardly in SL anymore. Technically, I could be in between 8 and 8:30, and stay until 10 or so. I do have time on weekends, maybe not as much as before, but still could be there most of the weekend. Yet I'm hardly there now. Is this good or bad?

Why is SL so important to me? Not just SL now, but my entire online identity. I've mentioned it before, but it is because that is where I can be fully me. In life, I live as everyone else expects me to live. I had thought about changing that before, but there are just too many risks that I'm just not willing to accept. So, to counter that, I express myself through my virtual self, which I think is more real than my real self. I am Trasee, and Trasee is me.

Does this mean that because I'm not in SL as much, I'm not Trasee? When I'm writing these blogs, writing my stories, playing games on my PS4, who am I? I'm still Trasee. When I'm at work or dealing with other things in life, I'm the other person I have to be. During those times, though, am I really thinking that way? No, I'm just doing what I need to do, regardless of my "identity." So, what is it that's really different? What is it that is keeping me in a depressed state more than before?

I don't have the answers to it. In many ways I'm still trying to learn who I am. I had a couple blog posts here on who I am. Thinking back at them, I wonder how accurate they are. Just like everything else in life, things don't always line up, and things change as time goes on. Those things I wrote are still true about me, but the reality is much more complex. So much that I have trouble seeing through the fog a lot of times.

For now, I just need to keep pushing forward. I want to push forward. Everything will work out in the end.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Orientale Station

The first part to take place on the moon has been written in Lunar Penal Colony. I found out about these things on the moon called mascons that tended to occur in lunar basins. I couldn't find a lot of information related to exactly how they worked on the moon, except they were gravitational anomolies that had caused satellites to crash and made lunar navigation difficult. It seemed like gravity in these areas were denser than other areas. So, it seemed only natural to choose one of these basins to put the penal colony on.

Orientale Basin is a real basin on the moon, and naturally the name extended to to the station as well. As I think about it, the name Orientale Station is a much better name than Lunar Penal Colony. Perhaps that could become the name in the future, or something similar. I'll have to see how the story continues to progress, to see if a better name comes up in the future. For now, the ugly name Lunar Penal Colony will remain.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Story going to the moon

My story is finally about ready to go to the moon. Lunar Penal Colony Part 5 deals with the processing to get to the moon. Most likely, parts 2-5 is mostly going to get redone and significantly trimmed. There will most likely be certain elements that I will keep, possibly reordering the revealing of the backstory to coincide with things that happen during the processing. A lot of what was written was needless filler, just a way for me to keep things moving in my own mind. I'm sure there will be a lot of adjustments if and when I complete this rough draft. Still, I must say that I'm enjoying the writing process, and seeing these ideas being laid out, even if I know that some of it will be thrown away later.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Continued Story

Part four of Lunar Penal Colony is finished. I'm not quite as happy with this part. I'm trying to move things to the moon quickly, but I think I might be just adding some pointless narratives right now. Showing the journey from the courts which will eventually lead to the moon. Almost felt like I was grasping at straws with this section. I'm guessing some of what happens between the courts and arriving on the moon will probably end up on the cutting room floor later. For now, I just keep things moving, and worry about cleanup later.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Feeling Creative

I've now written the third part of Lunar Penal Colony. I have to say I hate that name, but it's only there for the rough draft. Despite the terrible name for the story, I am enjoying the creativity of it, the writing without any plans in mind. Just seeing where my imagination leads me.

When I started, I had just a rough idea about a science station that was a prison complex on the moon. I toyed with the idea of first vs. third person perspectives, and thought first person would make things a little more interesting. You only know what the character knows, nothing more, nothing less. I can reveal things to the reader as they are revealed to the character. I can even get away with a little bit more narrative this way as well.

I could have started on the moon, which was one of the ideas I was toying with. Beginning the story with the character disembarking on the moon. I decided to go back to the verdict in the courtroom first, as I thought that might be a better hook, especially when the reader discovers what the charge is. The birthday was a last minute idea as I was writing it as well.

With the second part, I wanted to build on why the birthday was so important. Everything bad that ever happened centered around the birthday. I was wondering if I could pull it off that way, but as I look back at how I chained the events together, it almost makes sense, in a twisted sort of way.

So, the third part, which I wrote today, was now moving to the detention center, one step closer to the moon. Focused a little more on the character's struggles with self and others. I'm not quite sure how this part really fits in, if it is just needless filler or actually benefits the story. The benefit of the way I'm writing this, though, is I don't have to worry if something is good or not, I just write and keep writing. It's only a first draft, and can be cleaned up later, once the story has been completed.

I still don't have an overall plot, nor do I have an end in mind. I'm just letting one scene lead to the next. The next scene will be moving from the detention center to the space center, and from there to the moon. How many more parts will be in there, I don't know. I imagine it will be two, maybe three more parts. All depends on where my imagination takes it.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

LPC Part 2 and Cell Phone Bills

First, Lunar Penal Colony Part 2 is written and posted at Trasee's Wonderland. Not on the moon yet, but certainly has been fun to write so far.

Second, I have had Verizon Wireless for my cellular service for a very long time. With the exception of a couple years when I tried AT&T, I've been with Verizon since before they were known as Verizon. I had a couple phone lines with them as well as a couple additional services, and I was paying around $350 per month. It was ridiculous.

Today, I went to a local T-Mobile store and talked to them. I wasn't sure if I was going to switch, but after speaking with the sales rep there, I decided to make the switch. Still have two phone lines, but have also added a tablet to the service. One phone is new, the other, my Pixel XL, was brought over to them. There were so many promotions that were attached to my deal. Discount to the monthly bill due to bringing over the Pixel. A tablet that wound up being free. I forget what other discounts were applied, but it was pretty impressive. When all was said and done, it brought my bill down to under $200 per month, of that just under $50 per month is related to new equipment, and the taxes and fees are all included. So, $150 per month in savings. That's not bad at all.

Comparison:
Verizon: Two phones. 1400 minutes shared. Unlimited data (grandfathered pricing). Mobile hotspot on one phone (Additional fee). Unlimited text. Hum service (similar to OnStar) and phone insurance. All that totaled about $350 per month.
T-Mobile: Two phones. Unlimited talk, text, and data. Mobile hotspot on both phones. SyncUp (comparable to Hum), phone insurance, and a new tablet with internet came to $150 per month, with $50 extra for the equipment. Oh, and there's no interest on the equipment either.

Now, I'm probably still going to pay around $1000 to Verizon as I was still paying them for my Pixel, the cancellation of the Hum Service, and whatever my final bill is with them. Still, when you're considering the savings, that will be recovered very quickly. Overall, I would say this has been a good day.


Monday, April 17, 2017

New Story - Lunar Penal Colony

Over the past couple days, I've had some thoughts bouncing around in my head for a new story idea. They sort of manifested today in the beginnings of a new story, Lunar Penal Colony. That isn't the final title, I needed to put something down so I could keep track of it. This is a first draft, very rough, story told in the first person. I have no notes for it, just a jumble of ideas that may or may not make their way into the actual story. I have no real plot ideas yet, nor any ending in mind, so this story idea will most likely crash and burn, but it's going to be fun seeing where my imagination decides to take the story.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Easter

Happy Easter to everyone! I hope you all have a wonderful day, no matter what you choose to do today, whether you celebrate or not. I'll be heading off to visit family later. I'm happy that I only live about an hour away (a bit longer with traffic) from family now. It was hard only seeing family once or twice a year before, because we've always been close. This is the first family gathering I'm going to be able to attend since the move, and I'm happy about that.

Now, I could stop there, and wouldn't blame anyone else if they want to stop at that point. From this point forward, I'm going to be sharing something else I don't really talk about much. I'm going to share my faith.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Darkwolf Sim Update

On Monday, I mentioned that my homestead in Second Life was almost completely torn down to make room for changes that were already underway. Well, most of the week has been spent in world working on the sim. Except for my store area, everything in the sim is pretty much done. I didn't really create anything new, a couple simple mesh objects, but most of what I did was reuse what I already had. Even better was the fact that I could do all this without affecting the existing Wonderland Glade that was created by my SL sister, Indy.

First Level: Wonderland Glade and Docks


The Wonderland Glade is a beautiful forested valley in one corner of the sim that was created by Indygo Moonbeam. That area remained untouched by the changes, but the rest of the sim was terraformed so that it was all water. This made a nice large area for sailing or jetskiing. So, to accommodate that, I created a small dock in which the boat and jetski are located. In addition, I decided to put out the 7Seas Fishing game for any who might enjoy using it.


Wonderland Docks

Entrance to Wonderland Glade

Wonderland Glade

Second Level: Darkwolf Boardwalk and Lounge

The Boardwalk and Lounge was moved up to the second level, and turned to face the west. The old club rez area remained intact, so that all the scenes I previously created were still usable in the new area. The lounge backed up toward steep cliffs, that isolated it from the rest of the sim. Since there was the natural barrier there, the other side of the sim was left undecorated.

Darkwolf Lounge and Boardwalk

Darkwolf Lounge and Boardwalk

Third Level: TD Creations Mainstore (Coming Soon)

The third level of the sim is the future home of the TD Creations Mainstore. The store is a single level, having no ceiling, to allow for rezzing of the prefab homes. I still have a lot of work to do on this level, adding more landscaping so it doesn't look quite as empty, as well as bringing my CasperVend systems over.

TD Creations Mainstore (Under Construction)

Fourth Level: Darkwolf Isle (Our Home)

The home of Lola, Trasee and Kee Darkwolf is isolated from direct teleports. The only access is by being teleported by someone already in the home, or by the teleportation pads on the sim. It is also protected by a security orb so we can enjoy our privacy. The security orb will eject intruders after a warning, but won't teleport them home, so anyone can still enjoy the sim, without disturbing our privacy.

Darkwolf Isle

Darkwolf Home

Fifth Level: Build Region

The highest level of the sim is the build region. It is where I can build new club scenes, designed to fit at Darkwolf Boardwalk, as well as build things for the store. There is a mirror of the boardwalk so components can be properly aligned as well as a checkered grass area for the store builds. A beach area in between contains a pose stand in the beach that I can use when I'm organizing outfits. As it is strictly a build area, there won't be much in the way of landscaping on this level, which is why I selected a scene that looked nice enough without the need for the additional trees.

Build Region

All in all, I'm using somewhere in the neighborhood of 3000 prims. Hard to have an exact number, as each parcel has a separate group owner. I would guess that I'm not using quite that much. Since I still have the store to do, I will probably end just over that 3000 prim mark. That will still leave me with close to 2000 prims to work with. Looking at what I've been able to accomplish, I wonder now, do I really need to upgrade to a full sim in the future? It is still something to think about, but with this redesign, I've probably pushed it off until early next year, if at all.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Trasee's Wonderland

Trasee's Wonderland is a new blog that has been set up and now has one post on it. This new blog is marked for mature audiences only and is going to be the outlet for my creative writing. My writing was one of the many things that I've been wanting to get back to. Some of the writing might contain more adult language and/or themes, which is why I wanted it behind the mature warning. Despite that, knowing my writing styles, I think most of the stories will be more in the PG to PG-13 range, as opposed to the adult styles. The introductory story, though, does have a bit more language than I normally use, but it was sure fun to write. Feel free to check it out, if you dare. http://wonderland.darkwatch.me/

Monday, April 10, 2017

Darkwolf Sim

Darkwolf Sim, at Camelot dAlliez, has been demolished. The cranes came in and picked up the buildings while the bulldozers leveled everything except one corner of the sim. Needless to say, it's been a busy weekend.

So, what exactly happened? Well, I've still been fighting the depression. I had just started to get past it, when the rug got pulled out from beneath me. I became very busy, and with the struggle to deal with life and the limited time that resulted, my depression sunk me down again. By the end of last week, I was looking for a way to climb back up. So, creativity was what I felt like was needed.

First, I was looking into getting a full sim of my own, instead of renting the homestead from d'Alliez as I am currently. I have two weeks left at my current sim before I have to pay again, which would have given me time to move things to the new sim. I've been wanting my own full sim with the maximum 30000 LI and full control for a long time. There is so much I could build and design on a full sim, and never have to worry about prim counts.

I thought things through for a while, looked at monthly costs and setup fees. I know I can afford it, but should I do it? Should I just wait for Sansar later this year? What would I do if it didn't work out? Could I do anything with my existing homestead and a maximum of 5000 LI? I must have spent two or three hours debating before finally deciding that I couldn't let my depression dictate my spending habits. I need to wait to get a new sim, if I get one at all.

After that decision was made, the next decision was what to do at my sim. I want to make changes, consolidate everything to my sim. How was I going to do that, though? I had bought the fatpack of all sim surrounds from Landscape Unlimited a few months back (Black Friday, if I recall). I started looking at those, both land and sky, to see what options I had. So, after several more hours of rezzing one after the other, I finally made my decision.

One corner of my sim has the Glade. This was a wooded area that was created by my SL sister, Indy. I wanted to see if I could preserve that. But my caverns (never completed), club, and home could go away. Instead, what I would do is move the club and home to separate levels in the sky, using the sim surrounds to make it appear that it was at ground level, while the actual ground was leveled, except for the Glade.

The first level was set up as a beach backed up against steep island walls. I moved the club builds up to that level, instead of recreating the buildings, and turned this into the new Darkwolf Lounge and Boardwalk.

The second level was a mountainous region with one level of the mountain set aside for the store. I created a very simple ground with four walls, and no ceiling, for the store. I built it in Blender, so it was only 3LI with the physics layer. I added my wrought iron fencing to the top of the walls for decoration. The reason it is open is for rezzing of the homes, as well as giving visibility to the mountains outside.

The third level was just a small beach with islands that wasn't a full sim surround, but just tucked nicely into one corner of the sim. Just big enough for our small home, which I moved up from the ground as it was.

The fourth level was my build area, just an expanse of water with a copy of part of the club, so that I could design new club scenes if needed. Although that design might be revaluated for another sim surround, and my build area set up in that new surround. That's something I'll be looking at later.

Finally, I switched my sim from Adult to Moderate. As I'll be moving the store to the sim, and nothing in the store is adult in nature, I don't want to limit the possible visitors (not that I have many now anyways). The club won't have any adult items, and while there may be nudity in the club, nudity is still allowed in Moderate sims. Flying is disabled on the sim, so the only way between the levels is through the teleport pads.

Hopefully, by the time I finish all this, I'll be mostly back to normal, whatever normal is.

Friday, March 31, 2017

Transgender Day of Visibility

March 31 is the Transgender Day of Visibility. Today happens to be the first time I heard of this day. I had always heard about the Transgender Day of Remembrance, and am glad I now know about this day as well. Ever since I started my blog, before I wrote my first post, I had been debating whether or not to write about my own struggles. For me, this day is giving me the courage to speak up.

I don't know exactly where or how I fall. For me, it is a lot of confusion, a confusion that goes away when I'm online. In my mind and in my heart, I am Trasee, fully female. Unfortunately, my biological gender has never aligned with that. Second Life allows me to be fully myself, without the limitations of my biology. It is one of the reasons Second Life means so much to me, and why I'm online as often as I am. Now that my identity is established in my entire online life, I have more than just SL to make up for what I'm missing in reality.

For as long as I can remember, I've always disliked how I was born. Many times in my youth, I would pretend I was born differently than I was. I never dressed up, and never had any opportunities to. It was all imagination. I felt different, but I didn't know what I felt.

In my senior year of high school, and for a couple years beyond, I used to spend time with friends playing Dungeons & Dragons. My favorite character during that time was a female weretiger. I didn't think much more of it at the time, but I remember it felt much more comfortable to play as opposed to any male character I had ever created.

It was the late 90's that I started hearing more about transgender. I was in my mid to late 20's and researching the topic online. I spent a lot of time on it, had a lot of questions, but not really a lot of answers. I read about the struggles, the challenges, the discrimination, the violence, and even about the surgeries involved. Weighing my options at the time, I made the decision not to go any further. While others, it may have been necessary, for me, I couldn't accept the difficulties that went along with it. It wasn't an easy decision to make, but it was one that I felt was necessary in my case.

In the early to mid 2000's, I was involved in play by post role playing on forums. Basically, a form of collaborative story telling. I always considered myself creative, and even in the 90's and had written many things, even though I never completed them. This was another way to express my writing creativity. As was usual for me, my favorite characters to write were always female. They always seemed to be the most natural for me.

July 2009 I discovered Second Life. In reality, I had first found it in July 2006, but abandoned it after a couple days, not understanding it. The second time was different, though, as I found myself in Faery Crossing, going through a tutorial and being greeted by friendly people. I thought I had to create a male, so that's what I did, but there were free outfits for females there as well. It was then that I realized that I could be female if I wanted to. So, the very next day, I created a female avatar and entered through Faery Crossing again.

To say it was weird for me is an understatement. I wondered if I was lying to people. Would I just be seen as the stereotypical guy pretending to be a girl? I knew that wasn't the case, I was a female, but would I be accepted as one? The thought that I was being deceitful led me to tell people right away about my reality. I had been rejected for that several times, which hurt more than I could express. Why would I be hurt by a perfect stranger rejecting me? It shouldn't have mattered, but it always did. Like anyone else, I just wanted to be accepted for who I was.

In late 2009, I met Arjurna in world. Like others, I told her about my reality, still thinking it was something I had to do. While I don't remember the exact words anymore, I remember the gist and the emotion behind it. "You don't have to tell anyone anything. You're a woman. That's all you are. Don't tell anyone any differently." It was soon after that when Trasee was "born."

I've went through a lot, made a lot of mistakes along the way. I realized, like Arjurna had said, I was a woman, and I wasn't lying or deceiving anyone by saying that. It is who I am. I learned I didn't have to make up things about my life just to fit into that idea, that I just needed to be myself. Yes, I still did come out to a couple of my best friends and my Mistress. I'm sure there are a few others who probably suspected it. For the most part, though, I never really talked about it, mainly because I am a woman, why would I say any differently?

Now, I'm coming out completely. Anyone can read this blog and find out the truth. This is very frightening for me to do still, because I'm afraid that I may have people reject me. If they do, they were never friends anyways. Will it hurt, I'm sure it will, but this is a day to be visible, and I want to be proud of who I am.

Earlier in this post I said I don't know where I fall. That's because in reality, I still have my choice of not transitioning. I'm not going to go into the details here, as that would be another, very complex, dialog. I'm living as a male, which is something I feel that I need to do, not necessarily something I want to do. I live under the mask, while Second Life and my online identity allow the real me to be presented. It isn't easy, but it is the choice that I felt I needed to make. If you ask me, I'll say I'm transgendered or simply gender dysphoric. Although, what I really want to say, and the way I really want to be seen, is as a woman.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Prioritization

Prioritization is important, but often something I fail to do correctly. There are many things I have to do, and many more things that I want to do. With all these competing interests, and no sense of priority, I jump form one thing to the next, with no apparent rhyme or reason. Just look at this blog, and you can see an example of that. Add depression into the mix, then nothing gets done at all.

So, now I need to figure out my priorities. I need to get some order to the chaos, if that is even possible. What is really important to me, and what isn't as important. Some things will have to fall by the wayside, as I can only do so much at one time. Then I want to figure out how I want to structure the blog, and keep the momentum up here, without grasping at straws, or wandering aimlessly between topics.

Blender and my store. I've been down to one monitor for several months now, waiting to have the money to get two monitors again. The move in the middle has caused me to put that purchase on hold, while I paid for my part of the moving expenses. There are still things I need to pay for related to the move as well, so it will probably be a couple more months before I can get the monitors. Does this mean I can't do Blender? Not really. It may be easier with two monitors, but it is still possible with one. I'd like to get my store products updated, add them to my store blog, and get some new content in the store.

LSL Scripting. I had intended on doing updates to an open sourced security orb in Second Life, as well as writing my own home integration tool for windows, doors, and the like. I think both of those have fallen away. Certainly would be nice to use my own scripts with my prefab home designs, but I don't see that happening anytime soon.

SL photography and pose making. This is something that I used to enjoy doing, and had thought about creating my own poses for photography as well. I haven't done either in a couple years, and with the number of things I want to do, this is probably something that is going to stay in the background.

Create a game based on several different ideas, that would work on mobile and browsers. It's been an idea of mine for a while, and I even have a lot of notes for it. I'm a C# programmer, and with Xamarin part of Visual Studio, it is certainly something I could resume. Yet, since my career involves programming, I'm not sure if it is something I really want to spend time working on outside of work. Granted it is a different type of programming, but regardless, it is still thinking, writing, testing, and debugging code.

Creative writing. I've been writing things since I was in high school, from poetry, to never completed works of fiction. There are so many different ideas bouncing around in my head that I would love to get out sometime. The problem is getting it written and completed.

Learning to draw. A couple years ago, I worked on a web comic using SL as the way to generate the scenes. It was an interesting and fun experience, but much too time consuming and costly to complete. So, I thought about learning to draw. Bought myself a drawing tablet for my computer and a couple learn to draw books. Did it one or two days, then that was it. I've always wanted to get back to that as well.

Purchasing and decorating a full sim in SL. Like the monitors, this is something that I have to wait for, simply due to finances. I've been wanting a full sim for years, and have finally moved to my own homestead, but having a full sim, with 30000 prims available to me, would be amazing. Of course, with Sansar on the horizon, maybe I'd forgo the full sim in favor of whatever they have there. Time will tell on that one.

Darkwolf Boardwalk and Lounge, my club and fun area. Right now, I still do one event a week, Saturdays from 2-4PM SLT. I'd like to see that grow more, but it is something that I know I can't do without more help. I'd like to get other DJs and hosts and really get things promoted. For now, though, I'm going to have to settle with my one day a week, and not let my depression push me away from something I enjoy.

Sorting my SL Outfits. The SL inventory is a black hole in which no one ever emerges. I've always had a lofty goal of getting my outfits organized and pictures added to my Wardrobe. Who knows, maybe I'll find that mythical organized inventory one day.

Continue playing Final Fantasy 15, and a couple other video games that I purchased, but haven't played yet. This is fun and relaxing, not requiring a lot of thought, which is why I've kind of fallen back to that during my depression. Now that I'm trying to get back on track, I'd like to keep those things going.

Writing this all out and trying to think of everything is just as overwhelming as trying to figure out what I want to do. This list doesn't even include things in reality like work or errands, nor does it include the time I spend with my Mistress, which all take priority over this list. It also doesn't list this blog, directly, but my blog should be along the lines of my priority. So, if I'm working in Blender, I'd try to blog about tips and tricks in Blender.

So, I guess one of my first priorities on this list is Blender. I need to get my store moving again. If I can get a product a week relisted, that would be great. Some products will take longer than others, so it will be interesting to see how it all plays out. In between Blender, I think I'll still keep playing Final Fantasy 15, as time permits. I will still have my event at my club on Saturday as well. I don't want to pick off more than I can chew at the moment, so, for now, I will limit myself to these. After I see where I'm at with this, maybe I'll look at some of these other ideas.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Final Fantasy 15

Final Fantasy and Kingdom Hearts are pretty much the only video games I play. I have a PS2, PS3, and PS4 pretty much exclusively because of the Final Fantasy series. Final Fantasy 15 was the latest release, which I ordered as a pre release, so I had it on the release date. Of course, I started playing it almost right away, but the timing of the release coincided with my upcoming move, so I wasn't able to play it much.

Before actually moving, I played the game as much as I could, going through all the random side quests and hunts without moving the main story along. I wanted to build up my strength and accomplish as much as I could before moving to the next stage. I think I played around 40 hours, but was only in the third chapter of fifteen before it was time to pack up the games and electronics in preparation for the move.

After moving to the new house, I didn't get my game systems set up right away, there was still a lot to do. Then, the depression began to hit me harder. This caused even more delays in getting back to the game. Having no real desire to log into Second Life, I would watch some shows or random YouTube videos. After a few days, though, I decided it was time to get back to the game. I was still fighting my depression, but the game was one of the things I wanted to do, so I made sure I continued it.

As time permitted, I continued the game, again working on the various side quests and hunts before moving the story along. All in all, I spent over 100 hours playing the game, and reached level 70 before actually completing the main story. Since I still didn't really want to do much else, I decided to start what is known as New Game+. This allowed me to restart my game, keeping my stats and equipment as I moved through the story. I wanted to get things that I didn't get before. The flying car, the fight with adamantoise, along with any special weapons I might have missed along the way.

I'm currently back in Chapter 3, at around 140 hours or so, and level 75. There are some new additions to the game that I haven't tried yet, which should make things even more interesting, and more is coming later. All this is something I want to do, and also an excuse to stay away from everything else. As of this past weekend, though, I'm starting to shift my focus to some of those other things, such as this blog, in order to continue to work my way out of my depression.

As I've had a full play-thru of the game, I thought I'd give my opinion on it as well. There have been a lot of reviews on it, some good, some not so good. Mine is just going to be another voice in the sea, easily forgotten, especially since we've long since passed the release when reviews were actually relevant.

First off, the graphics are pretty amazing. Except for some glitches here and there, the graphics were beautiful. The scenery was beautiful, the depth and detail were amazing. You could see a mountain in the distance get larger as you got closer to it. Ripples could be seen in the water when it rained. Clothes became wet in water and rain, and dirty from the travels.

Sound quality was good, but unlike other games in the franchise, there wasn't music through the entire game. As you're out in the outdoors or driving between destinations, there was often silence. For those times, you could turn on the car radio, or your portable music player, and listen to select soundtracks from all the other Final Fantasy games, which you could purchase at various stores in the game.

Combat was a big change, and took a bit to get used to. It is much more action based than the active time battle of previous games. I used the Wait Mode a lot, to allow me to scan enemy weaknesses, but there were times that the Wait Mode caused more trouble than it helped. I'm not a huge fan of the action based style, so for me, that was a bit of a drawback. Another drawback was not being able to more directly control the other characters in the party. There were times I wanted to unleash a powerful spell, and had no choice but to get them caught in the middle of it, as I had no way of getting them to fall back to safety. The friendly fire from magic was an interesting addition, but one I wasn't particularly fond of, due to having no control over where my teammates were.

The hunts and side quests did get tedious after a while. They were entertaining, but having to drive across the continent to complete a quest, drive back to claim your reward, then drive back across the continent for another quest was tiresome. The rewards were often worth it, but waiting five minutes while you drive (unless you pay money to skip the drive) then another couple minutes walking across the wilderness did make things boring at times.

The side dialog while you were roaming tended to get very repetitive after a while too. I've heard the same things so many times, I can hear it in my sleep. "Imperials! Above us!" "Magitek engine! And it's close!" "That's it! I've come up with a new recipe!" It was entertaining at first, but it didn't take long for it to become a joke. In fact, the latter quote is actually a meme now.

Fishing, Cooking, Survival, and Photography. Survival isn't bad, letting Gladius find items when defeating foes. Cooking is sometimes helpful for the added temporary stat boost prior to a huge battle. Fishing and Photography, though? What is the real value in either of these skills? You're only allowed to save so many photos, and after a while, they start looking very similar. It looks like the developers created a series of poses and just chose random poses to include with one of the backgrounds of a location you visited. Overall, though, these four skills were pretty pointless for the overall game.

Chocobo racing was something I didn't do much of. Couldn't beat Prompto at first couple of attempts, so I didn't bother after that. Might try my luck again this time around, but who knows.

That leads to the overall story, and for this I will include the anime and the movie as part of the review. Each stands well enough on its own, but taking all three together gives a much richer view into the world. The anime allows you to see how the characters met and some of the circumstances of their youth, while the movie dealt with the fall of Insomnia, which happens at the end of the first chapter of the game. When taken as a whole, I found the story very interesting. I didn't expect some of the twists along the way, which, in this case, was a good thing. Even some of the added story points through the side quests helped enhance the story. Other side quest stories, though, didn't really do much to add to the story. In that case, there was a trade-off.

The characters and the stories are what continue to draw me into the various worlds of Final Fantasy. Final Fantasy 13 is my favorite, with Lightning being my favorite protagonist. The world of Final Fantasy 15 is another of my favorites, and one that so far has a nice bit of replay value. Overall, I would give the game a 9 out of 10.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Purpose

This blog was first set up in February, after I purchased my new domain name. The timing was still in the early days of my depression after the move. At that time, I had planned on doing more with the blog, starting to post various thoughts and share ideas. Among those thoughts and ideas would be things related to Second Life as well as sharing hints and tricks that I've learned with Blender, scripting, programming, or whatever else might interest me.

Starting this blog on Saturday, I've seen it move in a way I wasn't completely expecting, but it was something I had been thinking about before. Aside from the depression topic, I have posted my views related to my sexuality and how I viewed submission, both adult related topics that revealed a much deeper look into myself. The topic on sexuality was especially hard to write, and I assume others might be just as hard. For that reason, topics of that nature will be few and far between. Those were just some of the more pressing subjects I had on my mind this weekend.

So what is the purpose? What will be seen in the future? I'm hoping to include topics relating to Blender, GIMP, LSL, C#, Second Life, as well as life in general. Yes, that does mean that there will be more adult topics in the future as well. The purpose is to share my thoughts, my ideas, and my creativity. Who knows, maybe someone would find it useful to them. If no one else reads it, though, that's ok. Writing here allows me to express myself, and by doing so, helps me push past my depression.

There's a lot I want to do, but if I try to do it all, nothing will get done, and I'll slip back into my depression. I'm trying to start small, and find out the right steps to take. For now, that means the blog followed by my Second Life store. We will see where it goes from there.

Submissiveness

A new post was done on my adult blog related to my views on submission. While it was safe enough to appear here on this blog, I felt it was better suited as a post on the other blog.

Shades of Trasee: Submission

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Sexuality

I have decided to start the adult version of my blog. The new blog is marked as adult and will contain adult oriented themes and content. I won't have to watch what I say on that blog, and can be much more direct than I would be here. As I post to that blog, I will make a mention of it here and link to the actual post. Just be warned that you will see a different side of me in those posts if you choose to read them.

Shades of Trasee: Sexuality

Depression

The battles with depression are harder some days than others. I probably should see a therapist about it, but that takes time to do. I don't feel I need medication for it either, as my depression is rarely, if ever, crippling. Any suicidal thoughts I may have are always fleeting, and never anything that I'd carry through with, so I'm certainly no danger to myself.

Ever since my move and new job that depression has been greater. It has been a little more than two months now, and things are going great. I'm back in Southern California, a little further south from where I grew up. Very nice area, not far from the coast, no more than two hours away from practically everything. I can see my family more now, which, in my case, is a wonderful thing, having gone from about a seven hour drive to just over an hour away. The new job is much better than my last job, more responsibility, and always busy there. Even the pay is much higher, which was one of the motivating factors of the move. There's always something to do, whether it is work or activities out. So much I'd like to do still, both on the computer and away from it. Yet, despite all those good things, there's still the depression there more than it was before the move.

Going into Second Life for me was a way for me to be myself, nearly complete. Before the move, I spent countless hours online. I had more time to do things since I was working at home. Now, working in an office, my available time has become far more limited. Not to mention, there's always been so much that I wanted to do, that even when I had more time, I wasn't able to get everything done that I wanted. So now, instead of doing anything I wanted to do, I just avoided almost everything. The only times I'm in Second Life now is when my Mistress is on or when I'm DJing at my club on Saturday afternoon. The remaining time, I'd watch shows on Amazon Prime or just play Final Fantasy 15. Well, the latter was something from my "to do" list, so I suppose that is something.

This blog is something else from my list of things I want to do. This is an attempt for me to push past that depression and start taking control again. I'm finding it difficult to get the motivation, but I know that I need to go forward with it. This is not because anyone else cares whether or not I write anything here, nor is it done with any sense of vanity that I'm aware of. It's simply because I think this will help me move forward, and give me an avenue to express myself and get past this current stage of my depression.

Sometimes there's no rhyme or reason to depression. Other times, there are specific causes. Some of the causes can be fixed or changed, others have no control, and have to be accepted in one way or another, or it is impossible to move forward. There is so much going on in my life that it is easy to see where some of the areas of depression originate. Yet, at the same time, because there is so much going on, it can often be hard to find the individual trees in the forest of insanity.

As a final note for this particular blog entry, I had adopted the theme of Alice in Wonderland in my life when the Tim Burton remake was released. With how out of control my life seemed, and still does seem at times, it appeared to be a state of madness. This became a way to laugh at my own situation and try to accept everything that was out of control around me. I continue to hold to that thought, among others, as I navigate through the depression and try to make what sense I can out of all the madness.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Welcome to darkwatch.me

Welcome to my shiny new domain! http://www.darkwatch.me/

I've been contemplating having my own domain for a long time, so I thought it was about time for a change. I've switched to Blogger as opposed to Wordpress, simply out of convenience. Wordpress would have charged me more to use my own domain name, while Blogger remains free. Besides, I don't really need all the functionality of Wordpress, so Blogger is more than enough for my needs.

With the move, I will also be slowly updating my store and store blog. http://tdcreations.darkwatch.me/

I want to go back and update some of the pictures as I relist things, and update the inworld store at the same time. In addition, some of my older mesh models I want to try to update, based on things I've learned in Blender over the couple years working with it. This is no small task, especially considering my time has become much more limited lately.

For this blog, I'd like to get back to posting things here. I want to write about my own struggles and triumphs. Thoughts and ideas that I might have. Reflections on things going on. Maybe even some creative writing in the mix. Again, there are a lot of ideas, but no clear focused plans as of yet. There is a potential possibility of some more adult themed content. If I decide to have anything like that, I will create a new blog that will be marked as adult content, and make a mention of the new post here. As I don't have any clear direction on what exactly I want to do yet, I will announce that update if and when it comes. One thing I do know, while there may be posts related to Second Life, this will not be an exclusively Second Life blog.

I guess my first step will be to get some plans and priorities in order, and see where that leads.