Month: April 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.

Lunar Penal Colony – Part 1

This is a first draft idea. I have no real thoughts on where this story could go. Just an idea for a penal science station on the moon. I have a rough beginning, and a couple ideas of what could happen, but no end or plot in mind. This could go well, or, most likely, go completely off the rails. Should be interesting to see it unfold. – Trasee

I looked up at the clock hanging above the door. It’s 10:55am on Friday, April 16, 2117. It’s my twenty-fifth birthday tomorrow, and in five minutes, the rest of my natural life is going to be decided by a jury of twelve of my so-called peers. I know what the verdict is going to be. I’ve known it from the moment I was arrested. I’m going to march in there, the judge is going to tell me to stand and then he’ll ask if the jury has reached a verdict. They’re going to say guilty, and there’s nothing I can do about it.

The door to the room I was locked in opened and a short woman in a blue dress entered the room escorted by two guards. Her name is Mabel, and she is my court appointed legal representative, since I can’t afford one of my own. It’s a mere formality, of course, because the law required it. My guilt was certain before they slapped the cuffs on my wrists barely two hours ago.

“It’s time. Come with me.” I took a quick glance back up at the clock as she spoke. It’s now 10:56. She’s wrong, it wasn’t time. I still have four whole minutes before I’m sent away for the rest of my natural life, however long that might be.

One guard stood to my left, another to my right, as I followed Mabel into the courtroom. I didn’t even have time to sit before the bailiff told everyone to rise as Judge Reggie Talbot entered the courtroom. The dark skinned judge would be the one to hand out the sentence immediately after the jury of my peers delivered the verdict. Again, a mere formality, as for the last 17 years, there has only been one sentence ever handed down.

“Mister Foreman, have you reached a verdict?”

So, it was to fall to the elderly Asian man to put the noose around my neck. I watched him as he pulled out a piece of paper to read in response to the judge’s question. “We have your honor. In the matter of the people vs. Val Edelstein, we find the defendant guilty of chronic unemployment.”

Yup, that’s my crime. Chronic unemployment. As hard as I tried, I could never hold down a job and I have no family to rely on for help. Now this is where I find myself, the day before my birthday.

“Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, the court thanks you for your time. Mr. Edelstein, in view of the guilty verdict, you are hereby sentenced to the Lunar Penal Colony. You will be given five years to make yourself a productive member of society at which time you will become eligible to return. The shuttle to the moon will depart on Monday, May 3, which will signal the official start of your sentence.”

With a bang of his gavel, my fate was sealed. He says my sentence is only five years. I know the truth, though. I’m never coming home. No one who is sent to the moon ever comes back to earth. No one knows why, and no one bothers to ask. They’re safe. They’re happy. No one’s living on the streets to make them uncomfortable. So, yep, in a couple weeks, I’m going to join the rest of the discarded souls on the moon. Happy birthday to me!

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.

I’m a follower of Christ. I’m not a follower of religion, which includes Christianity. You might be asking yourself don’t Christians call themselves ‘followers of Christ?’ Yes, there are many that do. Unfortunately, many of those same people put more focus on following their religion rather than following Christ. Jesus had words for people like that: whitewashed tombs.

“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of the bones of the dead and everything unclean.”
Matthew 23:27 NIV

What is religion? It is man’s attempt to reach God. It’s trying to do things to earn your place in heaven. It often manifests itself in hatred, bigotry, prejudices, and all sorts of other negative qualities that humanity shares. This evil that is being done on others in the name of religion can clearly be seen in every aspect of our world today. Is it any wonder why Christ and His followers are so easily dismissed in this world?

So, what does that mean for me and my faith? First, and most essential, I know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that there is a God in heaven. There is mountains of proof to his existence, and anyone who earnestly seeks after the Truth can find it. In addition to that, He has made Himself known to me in many ways personally. I’ve personally seen Him move in my life. He’s delivered me from so much, and given me so much more. I could never have gotten to where I am today, or through the trials I’ve gone through in life, without His strength and His goodness carrying me.

Second, I know Jesus of Nazareth was born to a virgin. I know He lived for ~30 years with his family before beginning His public ministry. I know He journeyed throughout Judea performing miracles, raising the dead, teaching people about God, and telling them that He was God. Jesus is the Son of God, and He is God. Jesus was a man, born and lived among us, suffered with us, and could relate to every one of our needs. The reason He was executed was because He professed to be equal to God.

Why is the death of Jesus important? It is important to realize that when we are born, we are born to die. At some point in our future, we will meet our end in this world. When we were born, we were also born dead to God with something called sin. Everyone has it, and everyone knows it. There is no one here that is perfect. It doesn’t matter if it is just a simple “white lie” or the act of murder, we’re all imperfect. Because of that, when we die, we would all go to hell, a place of eternal suffering and torment, which is often referred to as the second death.

Jesus, being fully God and still fully man, lived a life without sin. He was perfect, unlike anyone else. He went to the cross willingly. He was sent to this earth for just that purpose. When He hung on the cross, one of the phrases He said was “It is finished.” What was finished was the separation between God and man. Anyone who believed in Jesus and accepted His finished work on the cross, could gain access to heaven. They would gain eternal life and avoid the second death.

There was still one more act to follow, though. If Jesus did not rise again, then all that would be for nothing. We would all still die in the end, and there would be no hope. Yet, on the third day, Jesus did rise from the dead. This resurrection is what we celebrate on Easter Sunday. His resurrection and ascension into heaven allows us that full access to God, as God’s children.

I’m still human. I still sin. I still do things that God would not approve of. Despite all that, I still believe and trust in Him. I do try to live right according to what He would want. I will never be perfect, but I will always follow Him. I’m not trying to do things to earn my place, because my place was already bought and paid for by Jesus Christ.

God doesn’t send people to hell. That is where everyone is going from the moment they are born. God did make a way of escape, though. There’s only one way to escape, one door in which we can pass through, and that door is very narrow. God offers us that choice, and we’re asked to choose life, so that we might live. Not only live with Him after we die here, but also live much fuller lives here as well, of which I can personally attest.

Those who call themselves Christians need to stop hurling rocks at others. Those who call themselves Christians need to stop forcing those who don’t believe to act like they believe they should act. Jesus only spoke harshly against the religious who did just that. To those who did not believe, He simply showed them His love, His grace, and His mercy. That is the desire of my heart, to love others and show them what I know to be the Truth.

Easter Sunday, of all the Christian holidays, to me is the most important. Yes, on Christmas we celebrate His birth, which is important as well, but His birth only lead to this penultimate moment, where He rose again from the dead, and bridged the gap between God and man. Because of His sacrifice and ultimate resurrection, I, along with all who believe, have become sons and daughters of God.

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.”
John 3:16-17 NIV

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
John 14:6 NIV

Therefore Jesus said again, “Very truly I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep. All who have come before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep have not listened to them. I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. They will come in and go out, and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”
John 10:7-10 NIV

The choice is set before everyone. You can enter the door or you can avoid it. I’m just pointing to the door, letting you know it is there. From that point, it is up to you.

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.

Down the Rabbit Hole

It’s a warm spring day as you recline near the bank of a brook. The sun is high overhead as you lazily listen to the babbling of the brook and hear the sounds of the birds tweeting in the nearby trees. It felt nice to relax here after a busy week at work. Slowly, your eyes begin to close as you drift off to sleep.

Your eyes had barely closed when you are alerted by a rustling in the leaves next to you. You open your eyes and glance off to the right. What you saw was unusual to say the least. It was a white rabbit wearing a leather jacket, looking at a watch on his wrist. As if that weren’t odd enough, the rabbit actually spoke. “Shit! I’m late! She’s gonna have my head!”

You watch in amazement as the rabbit runs off to a rabbit hole a short distance away. This can’t be real, you think as you watch the rabbit disappear into the darkness. Curious, you decide to go to the rabbit hole and look inside. In front of the rabbit hole, you get down on your hands and knees and peer into the darkness. The sun was at an angle to allow you to see a few feet inside. There was nothing much to see, except more dirt and some roots poking through the soil. The rabbit was nowhere to be seen.

A voice from the darkness echoed back out from the hole, clearly the voice of the rabbit. “Where the hell did it go? Ah! Here it is!” No sooner than the words reached your ears, the ground beneath you seemed to give way. You find yourself rolling down a steep incline into the rabbit hole. Only a moment before, it was a slight slope, and a small hole. Now, it was large enough for you to tumble, quite unceremoniously, down a steep hill.

You reach your arms out to try to stop your fall, but your effort was in vain. You reached the end of the slope and now find yourself falling down a very wide hole. Actually, it would be more appropriate to say you were floating down the hole as if you were a feather falling with the breeze.

Images swirled around you as you slowly sank through the air. Chess pieces, playing cards, laptops with video games, and even television screens displaying pornographic scenes. It was a chaotic mix of items from the mundane to the explicit. None of it made any sense at all.

It seemed like you were falling forever. The images continued to change, and slowly began to disappear. When the last television screen vanished, you found yourself in darkness. You couldn’t even see the sun from the rabbit hole somewhere high above you. You wondered if this was going to be the end. No sooner had that thought crossed your mind that you reached the bottom. Landing quite unceremoniously on your derriere, you were thankful for the added padding you had there. It also helped that you landed on something soft. It was a vinyl-like material that seemed to be filled with air. Must be some sort of airbag that was put out to cushion falls. The airbag, though, seemed to have quite an unusual shape to go along with it.

“Well, don’t just sit on my stomach,” came a high-pitched, almost squeaky, voice beneath you. “Either fuck me or move along.” The airbag actually spoke, and was very crude as well. The darkness faded away as a mysterious light began to give the room a soft glow. You look down at the airbag and are shocked to see an inflatable woman, naked one at that. You landed on a cheap sex doll, and one that could speak. “Don’t just sit there looking stupid. You weigh a ton!”

Quickly, you roll off the inflatable sex doll, apologizing to her and wondering what was going on. You turned away to see where the mysterious light was coming from. It was a Coleman lantern some distance ahead, being held by the white rabbit you were following. Now you had no choice but to follow the rabbit, as it might be the only one that knows the way out of this hole.

The rabbit turns a corner, and you rush down the tunnel after it. It only takes you a couple moments to round the same corner, only to wind up in front of a very large and ornate door. The Coleman lantern that the rabbit had been carrying was now hanging on a hook next to the door. Eye level on the door was a lion head door knock, and the door handle was a simple latch. The rabbit must have gone through here, as there were no other ways out that you could see. You reach forward and try the latch, only to find the door securely latched.

“It’s very rude to enter without knocking first, you know,” the lion head door knocker replied, staring at you with an expression of annoyance. You apologize, telling the knocker that you had fallen down the hole and had been trying to follow the rabbit.

“You’re stalking rabbits too? That’s fucked up.” The knocker responded with irritation. Immediately, you became defensive, trying to explain that you weren’t stalking. You thought he might help you get out of the hole.

“Yeah, you’re right, you’re in a hole, and you keep digging yourself deeper into that hole.” Realizing you’re getting nowhere with the talking knocker, you decide to ask if you could pass through instead.

“You do know what’s on the other side, don’t you?” You shake your head. You had no idea where you were, let alone what was on the other side of the door. “Wow. You’re really clueless. It’s Trasee’s Wonderland, but not the one from the stories. It’s from the depths of her imagination. It’s light, it’s dark, it’s completely chaotic. You never know what you’re gonna find in there. You sure you want me to open the door?”

You think about it for a moment, wondering if there was another way to go. You could probably take the lantern and see if there’s another way out. This entry has already been extremely unusual. Still, the rabbit went through the door, so really, was there any other choice? You finally answer the door in the affirmative.

“Well, ok, don’t say you haven’t been warned. You’ll never know what you’ll find in the depths of Trasee’s imagination.” The door opened, and a bright light shone through. Taking a breath and gathering the courage to face the dangers that may lay ahead, you walk through the door, hearing as the door closes and locks behind you. There’s no turning back now.

Welcome to Trasee’s Wonderland.

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.

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.