Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Quitting Second Life

It started what I thought was an open-ended game, but became so much more. Unlike other multiple player online games, SL had no goal. The virtual world was simply a "sandbox" of all of its visitor's creations. You can make your own little world there, complete with friends, occupations, stores, parks, beaches, etc. It is an escapist's stream come true.
I started logging into SL back in 2006, and decided to quit this past April. It was probably one of my best decisions I made this year.
I think of SL as Facebook on steroids. You socialize in a virtual world using avatars similar to those found on Sims. Most of its members decide to use highly idealized versions of themselves. Women avatars are mostly big-breasted and skinny, and the men are muscular. Virtual stores sold the latest fashions and furnishings for fantastic sky houses, castles, or mansions.
As time went on, I made many friends and acquaintances. I also became a virtual DJ and even opened up my own club. Life was good, or at least second life was good...
Gradually, I spent more and more of my spare time in this virtual world with my virtual friends. I would log in before work, after work, after dinner, and weekends. I justified this by telling myself that I was getting away from the stresses of the work week.
There was no single reason that caused me to quit SL. Perhaps more of a tipping point. I knew for awhile that quitting was inevitable, so I decided that I would cut myself off during my spring vacation. I really had an awesome time, and when I returned to my normal schedule, I just never logged back in.
I reflected on SL, and found that it demanded too much of my free time. The tipping point I mentioned earlier was that I was rearranging my RL (real life) schedule in favor of SL. This was especially true when I was DJing.
Quitting SL was harder than giving up caffeine, but like that drug, I am better off without it. People who have never tried SL won't realize how addictive it can be.
I consider myself very lucky also. Some of my former virtual friends are in much worse shape than I ever was. One individual seemed to have given up on any social life outside of this virtual world. When this person's SL "marriage" fell apart, he was devastated. Another former online SL friend admitted that he loved his virtual partner more than his actual partner. It's very sad to see people actively seek something in this virtual world that is obviously missing from their lives, only to find out that SL is stocked with jerks who hide behind a beautiful avatar, or their own social problems are within themselves.
I'm not saying that Second Life is a bad venue. Like everything else, it must be used in moderation. If you are spending more than an hour a day on it, neglecting your responsibilities, family, friends or partner, or increasing the time you spend on it, chances are you should probably quit. There is no substitution for real life.

Monday, September 24, 2012

I rediscovered my blog! I'll be writing again, and a blog is a perfect way of practicing. I deleted a bunch of posts, though I kept a few of my favorites. I also changed the template which gave the blog a cleaner appearance.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Wiping the Dust Off

It's been awhile since I've written anything here. I've been taking weekend French lessons which has been a great decision. Even if I never relocate to Canada, it will always be helpful when I visit. J'aime Montreal! Well...it's a start; I have a long way to go. A trip back to Montreal is now scheduled for the week of Labor Day. I'm very excited, needless to say.
My disatisfaction with my job keeps growing. Management changed the way we get paid, effective 2008. I'll have to wait until the end of the year review to see how this will affect me. On top of that, I did not get a raise. My boss' message is perfectly clear: work harder or no raise. Greedy bastard.
Politically, I've taken a step back. The elections last November gave me some hope that things will get better. Finally, it seems America is waking up and discovering that the Republicans in power are incompetent and liars. Now if we can only find some way out of that awful war. It never should've happened and I'm proud to say that I was against it from the very beginning.
Finally, my album of the year for '06 is Mesh "We Collide". No surprise there. I wish they would've released more singles from the CD. "Step by Step" and "Open up the Ground" were great album tracks that deserved a few remixes, and would've stormed the DAC Charts.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Post Montreal

It was very difficult transitioning to the normal routine after the vacation in Montreal. Getting back to the job was a nightmare, and after two weeks, I'm still not sure if I am caught up. My partner is still suffering from a case of bronchitis. I've been feeling run-down and slightly depressed. Although we were only there for only four days and nights, I felt like I didn't want to leave Montreal, and I'm trying to allocate some time in the near future to take another trip. Meanwhile, I am making a serious attempt to learn French. There is a possibility that Canada could be our future home. We will be taking many more trips to further evaluate it, of course. It will also depend upon the political climate here in the U.S.
Below is a well-written article I found which exemplifies how I feel:


Thursday, August 17, 2006


My partner and I returned from a great trip in Montreal. During the four days we spent there, we fell in love with the city. Above is a view from the Parc du Mont-Royal which overlooks the city.
I have to admit that I'm actually depressed to be back in New York. In Montreal (and Canada as a whole) I am no longer regarded as a second-class citizen, and I would have the right to marry my partner. The city itself is more relaxed than NYC, and the restaurants are excellent. The subways and streets are also considerably cleaner. There is also a better coffee chain than Starbucks called "Second Cup". We are definitely returning sometime next year, hopefully with a better understanding of the French language. Until that time I will continue to miss Montreal...

Friday, June 03, 2005

Kylie Minogue

Just a few words to wish Kylie a successful recovery. Last week, the popular Australian pop-star was diagnosed with the early stages of breast cancer. She underwent an operation and is currently resting at her home in Australia.
I became a Kylie fan during her post SAW (Stock Aitken Waterman) era, in the early 90's. She released a single "Confide In Me" featured on an import music program on WDRE. A later single, "Some Kind of Bliss", was a collaboration between her, and Manic Street Preachers (one of my favorite bands). Another huge hit for her was a duet with Nick Cave, "Where the Wild Roses Grow".
Even though she abandoned her "Indie" leanings for straight-on dance with the excellent albums "Light Years" and "Fever", I continued to be a huge fan. Worldwide, she is as popular as Madonna, but in the USA, she was/is mostly overlooked. For anyone uninitiated, be sure to pick up her 2CD compilation "Ultimate Kylie" which features most of her hits, including the great new singles "I Believe in You" and "Giving You Up".

Friday, March 18, 2005

Half-Life 2

I'm in the process of playing (arguably) the best computer game to date. I don't make this claim lightly. After all, I'm Generation X and therefore part of the videogame generation. I've owned and/or played games on the Atari 2600, the first Nintendo, Sega Genesis, SNES, Playstation 2, the Commodore 64, and of course the PC. I've played the original arcade games Pac-Man, Donkey Kong, Zaxxon, and Frogger. Those big consoles were everywhere you looked; drugstores, five and dimes, pizza places, and of course the arcades themselves. I consider myself a connesiuer of sorts for all of these games.
I played the original Half-Life awhile ago which was a great game in itself. Considered an FPS (First Person Shooter) its strength lay in its storyline. Its much anticipated sequel (Half-Life 2) released late last year and taking five years to develop, builds on the story and is worthy of a Hollywood script. In addition, the game has amazing graphics which requires an updated computer. Without giving too much away, the gameplay is loads of fun requiring a certain amount of strategy. A certain positivity runs through Half-Life 2 which seemed to be absent in its predecessor. In fact certain parts of the original were simply frustrating.
Well, I'm hooked. I've abandoned all of my other recent computer games like Doom 3 (which is a horror survival game that can scare the sh*t out of you), Sims 2, and Rollercoaster Tycoon 3. I'm about two thirds complete, and if my partner was not already playing his Age of Mythology game on the newer computer, I'd probably be playing Half-Life 2 right now instead of writing about it.
Anyways, highly recommended :-)