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.