Category: Blog

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.