Category: Blog

Microsoft Certification

I’m a software architect who works for a technology consulting company. I’ve programmed since I was in middle school. I started with BASIC and later moved into web design. HTML, XHTML, CSS and JavaScript was my focus for a few years. From that, I moved into PHP, ASP, and Visual Basic 6. As the technologies evolved, I moved into ASP.NET, VB.NET, and C#. Ten years ago, I started working with Microsoft’s contact management system, Microsoft CRM 4.0. I did a lot of customization work, which heavily used C#, HTML, and JavaScript. Five years later, I received three separate Microsoft certifications related to Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013. Times and technologies continue to change and evolve, which means it is now time for me to gain some new certificates for Microsoft Dynamics 365.

As of yesterday, I started studying for the first of five exams I’m looking to take. Studying has never been easy for me. I learn best through hands-on experience and finding the answers to issues I encounter along the way. Real world application always trumps textbook answers for me. Despite that, these certifications are essential. They are a benefit to me, my career, and my employer.

What this means is that I now need to restructure my schedule to include times for study. I want to spend time each day in preparation, even if it is an hour out of the day. As of today, I’m not sure how I’m going to schedule my study time, or how it will affect my time in Second Life. There is always so much to do, and time is lacking.

GEN:LOCK

Just finished watching the first season of RoosterTeeth‘s newest series, GEN:LOCK. It is a new animated series starring Michael B. Jordon (Creed, Black Panther), David Tennant (Doctor Who), Dakota Fanning (War of the Worlds, I am Sam), Maisie Williams (Game of Thrones) and more. It was an absolutely amazing series, and I’m totally excited for season 2.

I had heard about Red vs. Blue, but it wasn’t until RoosterTeeth released RWBY that I really discovered RoosterTeeth. I fell in love with RWBY immediately, and it quickly became one of my favorite shows. I had to become a FIRST member, just so I could watch RWBY every Saturday, without delay. Then, when the episodes were compiled as a movie, I had to get the movie for myself. I even regularly listen to the RWBY soundtracks.

GEN:LOCK is now ranked up there with RWBY for me, and when it is compiled as a movie, which I’m hoping it is, I will get that as well. Where RWBY falls more onto the fantasy with technology side, GEN:LOCK falls squarely in the science fiction. Earth of the future is being overrun by a powerful nation-state known only as “Union.” Not much is known about them, except they are evil and very technologically advanced. I guess they’d be kind of like the Nazi’s of the future.

Dr. Rufus Weller (David Tennant), is the scientist who helped to invent the GEN:LOCK program, a way of linking specific minds into giant mechs used to fight against the Union. The GEN:LOCK team is led by Julian Chase (Michael B. Jordan), who was the first candidate to successfully achieve GEN:LOCK.

This first season is the setup season, of course. Union is seen as this unbeatable force, and all that can be done is to hold the line. New recruits for the GEN:LOCK program are brought to a top secret military facility to learn how to pilot their mechs and work together as a team. A familiar tale, but one that is told in a very surprising and exciting way.

The animation is excellent. I would consider it up there with the big budget animation studios. The story itself was engaging and very fulfilling. There were a few surprises that I didn’t see coming, which is always a good thing. Soundtrack was amazing, and the theme song really captured the mood of the series. The acting was also superb, but not all that surprising, considering the talent that was acquired for the series.

All episodes of GEN:LOCK are airing for free on RoosterTeeth’s web site, with the season finale becoming free next weekend. If you haven’t seen it yet, go there and see for yourself. While you’re there, check out RWBY. All six seasons are streaming for free. Of course, there’s a lot more to RoosterTeeth than just GEN:LOCK and RWBY, so check them out and consider supporting them by becoming a FIRST member.

GEN:LOCK Season 1:

Personality Coloration

I have mentioned it before, but there are differences between how I am online, versus how I am offline. I consider my online identity closer to my true self, while the offline identity is more the self I have to be from day-to-day. I’m no psychiatrist, so I have no idea what that means, it’s just something I’ve come to accept over time.

Now, I’ve recently been exposed to another personality test, very similar to ones I’ve taken in the past. This one is based on colors, and offers just as valuable insight into who I am as the other ones that I’ve taken. Like any of the other personality tests, it just helps me understand myself better, and, hopefully, give me insight into understanding others more.

True Colors is the name of the personality assessment. I went through a series of ten questions plus looking at what colors meant, and rated them to what sounded most like me, and what sounded least like me. At first, I did this based on my offline self, as it was a requirement to do there. Later, I decided to retake it based on what I consider to be my online self.

  • Offline Self = Gold/Green, Blue, Orange
  • Online Self = Blue, Green, Gold, Orange

For my offline self, gold and green were almost equal, with gold just slightly higher than my green. My online self, on the other hand, seemed to have a much stronger blue score than green. While the numbers aren’t being shown here, I can say that both green and orange for both offline and online were almost the same. What do these colors mean, though? The following is taken from the True Color web site.

Orange: Energetic, spontaneous, and charming. If you’re an Orange, you tend to be action-oriented and are comfortable taking risks. You probably also tend to be competitive and seek out adventures with opportunities to push the boundaries. Living in the moment and enjoying an adaptable time schedule are important to you.

Gold: Punctual, organized, and precise. “Golds” tend to need structure and organization. If you’re a Gold, then order, rules, respect, and dependability are important to you. Time is a key part of your life if you’re a Gold personality type. You need to be on time and want others to be punctual as well. Following the plan or schedule is best for you.

Green: Analytical, intuitive, and visionary. These are traits of the Green Personality type. “Greens” find innovative thinking and problem solving exciting. If you’re a Green, you tend to be able to see the big picture and able to effectively analyze situations. Thinking outside the box is a real strength. You also have an extreme need to be right.

Blue: Empathetic, compassionate, and cooperative. “Blues” tend to be very social people. If you’re a Blue, you value relationships and harmony. Genuine kindness, sincerity, and compassion are important to you. You enjoy opportunities to work with others and collaborate and any opportunity to develop a connection.

So, I’m not the outgoing, energetic, spontaneous and charming orange. Considering it was almost the lowest possible score, it is the least like me no matter how I look at it. The analytical, intuitive, visionary green is consistent for me as well. It is the punctual, organized and precise gold that is swapped with the empathetic, passionate and cooperative blue. What becomes even more interesting is when I take an average of the numbers, blue, green and gold are almost identical in value.

Ok, what does this all mean? I’m sure you can look at this blog post, as well as others written in the past, and pretty much shout “GREEN!” I do think that the core me is that analytical type, that always wants to know who, what, when, where, why and how. This blog post alone is a clear demonstration of that. This blog post even shows the precision and organization of the gold. The blue and the gold are both part of who I am, as I see aspects of both when I’m online and offline. So, if I had to summarize my true self from all of this, I would probably say that I’m Green, Gold, Blue, Orange, with gold and blue switching depending on the audience and environment. Being honest with myself as well, I would have to say, despite how the score fell for my online persona, I think even that probably still falls stronger to the gold side than the blue.

Site Updates and Kitties Going Tweet, Tweet, Tweet

I have finally formatted the blog to be a little easier to read. I have previously combined by various blogger sites into this one site. Instead of being separated by separate blogs, they are now separated by categories. This will hopefully make things a little easier for me. Of course, due to my general lack of time, who knows how often I will be updating again.

Of course, with the updates, I decided to embed by Twitter account. Yes, I have one, and as you can tell, the only thing it was really used for was posting screen shots from when I played Lightning Returns 5 years ago. So, maybe now, I might decide to join with the rest of the world and tweet like a snow canary. Who knows what the future holds? I know I sure don’t.

Darkwolf Lounge is now Stray Cat Lounge

Back when I first decided I wanted my own club, I decided to name it Stray Catz Club. I had bought things for the club, set it up, but never officially launched it. Every place I moved after that, I brought Stray Catz with me, with new appearances for each location it moved to. I never had any DJs for it, and I didn’t know how to stream music, so I never really got it off the ground.

I did have periodic events for friends and family, but there was no DJ for it, just dancing to whatever stream we decided to play. Only one time did we have a live performer as a special event for my birthday. Aside from that, it was just friends getting together to dance and have a good time.

Then, in June of 2016, I started looking into becoming a DJ myself, and trying to get my club going again. My wife and Mistress, Lola Darkwolf, gave me the extra kick I needed to get things going, and I rebuilt Stray Catz as Darkwolf Lounge. I started small on my sim, with a handful of regulars. There were times it was empty and times that we were nearly to capacity. No matter what the crowd size, it was always fun to do my Saturday afternoon sets.

It wasn’t until moving to Chi Tau City that things really began to pick up for the club. I tried to keep the atmosphere mostly the same as I wanted back when I first thought of having a club, but being located on a sim devoted to sex, there were bound to be some significant changes along the way.

Unfortunately, one of those changes was the breakup of myself and Lola. While we are still friends, there is some discomfort there with the association of Darkwolf to a sim as heavily focused on sex as it is. So, it was decided to return the club back to a variation of its original name. This time, it is known as Stray Cat Lounge.

It isn’t easy to change everything, as we would want to get the membership of the group switched over, so we are still making announcements in both groups, and hoping to transition people over over time. It is a disappointment to have to do it, but at the same time, returning to the Stray Cat name does seem like a good idea overall.

A New Beginning

So, last week, I wrote about the breakup with Lola Wolf. It was a very difficult and painful decision, and both of us were hurt. We both knew it was the right decision, though. Now, we aren’t looking at it as a breakup, but simply a change in the status of our relationship. No longer Mistress/sub/wives, but best friends. I’m so glad that the friendship is still there and strong. We will still spend time together when we see each other, and still keep in touch through email. The breakup was a terrible thing, but in the end, it all worked out for the better. So, now instead of the end, it is a new beginning, with a renewed friendship, and we’re both happy.

This is the End

On March 16, 2015, I met Lola Wolf for the first time. We connected quickly and on March 19, I accepted her collar. We were married on June 6, 2015. Today, it has ended, and we’re both broken over it.

Before January of last year, she and I were able to see each other almost every day, even if it was just an hour a day. Then I moved and got a new job, and everything got turned upside down. Our time difference made it very difficult for us to be together, but we did everything we could to make it work. Unfortunately, everything we tried didn’t work. Not for lack of trying, not for lack of love for each other. It just proved to be too much. So, I made the very difficult decision to end things.

I hated doing it. I felt terrible. I was hurting, and I knew she was hurt by it too. I frequently told her “Always and Forever” and I meant it. I still do love her, more than I could express, and never wanted to end things. That’s why I tried so hard to make things work, but I don’t think it was fair to either of us. I don’t know if I was right or wrong to make that call, but the call was made. It is over now, but despite that, I will never stop loving her.

I love you, Mistress Lola Wolf, always and forever.

 

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.

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.

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.