An Oddly Mixed Day

I spent this day with a relatively good mood. My mind felt sharp, my thoughts were clear. I got plenty of sleep the night before, and I felt rested and at peace with myself.

Yet, as with virtually every day, I found myself being very unproductive.

I did manage to have my cleric’s meeting in Triskele tonight, and that went quite well even though only 3 people were able to attend. The queen finally announced my promotion to the realm, which felt good.

The King and Queen of Everwind banned me from the Everwind forum sometime last night or today. I am truly honored. I’ve never been banned from anything before. I feel so…naughty! /me giggles. I might even be banned from the physical grounds. Despite how exciting this would be, it would be disingenuous for me to find out as I already made it a practice never to step on the land again.

I have a long in-world to do list, but it seems to be getting done in the few moments I am able to spend online. I am quite relaxed now, having found that my little tussle with Grace and Slip actually improved my general disposition. Safe paths, everyone. And, as always, hugs to anyone who wants or needs one.

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The Excitment of Being Discovered

It was with some degree of amusement that I discovered that my blog entry, The Fall of Everwind, was discovered and commented on by Everwind’s King and Queen, Slip Barret and Grace Loudon.

I was not shocked or humiliated by their discovery of this entry. Indeed, I wrote, as I write all my entries, fully expecting that it may one day be found by the people whom I’m discussing. I know that Slip had stated that he found blog entries by former Everwinders before and was infuriated by them: rightly so, as they unfairly disparaged his character in the mater of Grace and Slip’s temporary breakup. When I say something, I am always very careful about considering the feelings of those involved. This does not mean that I “filter” what I say, but it does mean that if I make a statement in a blog, I try to word it as fairly as possible, and to have adequate support for my assertions. If I am proven wrong, I will freely admit it and post an open apology. The ethics of blogging are something I hold very dear.

Slip responded not so much to my blog, but to the people who posted responses to my blog, most of whom are not Everwinders. This I find rather surprising in that most people responding to blog entries are automatically going to offer support for the blogger. They’re comments are meant to help me, but they can’t be expected to know the “fullness” of any situation, and they know it. Therefore, casting criticisms upon them for their statements is the equivalent of criticizing someone who sends an, “I’m sorry” card to someone who got fired. It doesn’t really matter if the person deserved to get fired or not. They are there to support the person, and not to do a full investigation as to what the truth of the matter is.

Slip made a response where he lambastes virtually everyone who responded to my entry. Princess tried to make a conciliatory statement afterward, only to get further lambasted by both Slip and Grace. I was dropped from the Everwind group by Grace immediately afterward. I honestly can’t say that my heart is broken by it. It seems that the two of them feel they have the right to castrate anyone who even expresses the mildest disappointment over how they handled the closing of Everwind to roleplay. I can understand anger, but theirs seems disproportionate to the crimes. Please do not lump my wife and friends into the same class as those who sent you hate notecards over Age Verification. To quote Slip, to put it quite bluntly, you don’t know what the hell you’re talking about.

And really, Grace, must I be spotless before I express disappointment over what someone has said? I freely admit that I am not spotless. No one is. I freely admit that I have faults. I have expressed them amply in many blog posts. I would detail them here, but I would be typing for many months and probably bore people quite to death after a while. The key is not in obtaining the impossible goal of spotlessness, but in freely admitting where we are flawed. To deny these flaws is to live in a delusion that may ultimately destroy us. But not to diplomatically express our honest feelings over what someone else has done that has hurt us would truly be to live as a victim, afraid of to say anything in fear of having one’s own flaws, irrelevant to the case in quesiton, pointed out.

Anyway, those who are interested and not sensitive about being attacked are welcome to read over the comments they made. Slip desires it, and I don’t wish any unhappiness upon either him or Grace.

Safe paths to all.

Head Cleric of Triskele

I have been asked by Winkie, who is now the head of the Mages in Triskele, if I would like to take on the role of head cleric. The current head has been AWOL for almost two weeks now. There are clerics wandering throughout the land without any leadership or even anyone to make them a guild member.

And, while I said that I would sleep on it, I also said that the answer will most likely be yes.

I’ve consulted with the Princess, and she has given her consent. This will be an admistrative position. I will be a member of the Triskele council. The Cleric’s Guild of Triskele currently has almost no structure whatsoever. I will be responsible for seeing that one is made. I will, of course, be relying heavily on the work that was done in Everwind to build that structure.

Triskele has a different basis than Everwind though. Everwind was very much D&D based. Triskele is not. Triskele is medival, and based on druid and celtic legends (I think…I have a lot of learning to do). The gods will not transfer directly, and I may need to do some tweaking.

I will also be working in close cooperation with the mages. And I hope beyond hope that the speakers for the gods for Everwind will be there to lend me a hand. Wren? I need you. Malakyte? I know you’re busy, but any advice you can throw me would be appreciated.

I’m going under the assumption that I will be accepted as the head, but knowing that kings and queens can toss fire on you at random moments leaves me a little apprenhensive.

I am an administrator in real life, and not a bad one, if I do say so myself. I must admit, however, that I am a bit nervous about accepting the responsibilty and then dropping the ball. That is why I need a reliable team as backup. I intend to assure that there is more than one person who can hand out title changes. For a while, things are going to be crazy.

Triskele is more relaxed than Everwind. I’d like to keep it that way. This is about having fun, first and foremost. But being a cleric can give one a great deal of personal satisfaction. I would like all of the Acolytes and clerics to be able to experience this satisfaction, and have a good time doing it.

Hmmm…as head of the clerics of Triskele, I wonder if I can declare myself Pope? I suppose not. That name is already taken for use in some other religion.

Peace out. Hugs to everyone who wants or needs one, whether you are brave enough to ask for one or not.

Triskele

Well, I’ve decided on Triskele for now. I’m officially a member of the main group as well as the cleric’s group. I had to drop Humans of Everwind to make room, but that group was never really used anyway.

Grace posted something tonight on our “goodbye” forum posts, basically hinting that Everwind may come back in the future and inviting us to stay in the sim. You know, as far as I’m concerned she’s shown her true colors, although most of the realm doesn’t realize exactly what she said. I’d be willing to forgive her if I thought what she said was merely said in anger. But these seem to reflect her true feelings, and while I may forgive, I’m not going to forget. Triskele is new, and has a lot of potential. It is also much more relaxed, and many, many Everwinders have already set themselves up there. I talked to a Triskele resident…couldn’t meet a nicer guy. Said that the King and Queen are truly wonderful people, in SL and in RL. With enough people, Triskele can really come to life. It’s a little disorganized at the moment, (the Pantheon forgot to mention Castan!), but we’re getting some highly experienced people there. It will be straightened out in short order.

Princess went to bed early after PHC to recover from her wounds. (No, I did NOT punch her in revenge for the soap incident, and I am offended by the mere suggestion of it. Physical and emotional abuse is crude. I have much more devious punishments planed.)

I stayed up and talked philosophy with Mykyl until well after her bedtime. It was a very thought provoking evening.

Beyond that, it was a pretty uneventful day. Princess is on an “all shake” diet due to her damaged lip (I suggested soup, but you know, I guess you go with what gives you comfort). Prairie Home Companion was fun but I kept crashing so I ended up listening to a large part from Princess’s computer. I accomplished little of earth-shattering significance, but then that earth-shattering stuff usually causes about 5 or 6 billion people to die a rather violent death, so it’s best to avoid that kind of thing on a regular basis anyway.

Have a HAPPY New Year (don’t forget what I said in my last post. I mean it. Grrr.)

The Fall of Everwind

The Everwind sims are soon to close for role play. Grace and Slip have announced that running the sims simply aren’t “fun,” anymore.

This is only part of the story, of course. The reasons for the crash are just a little more complicated than that.

The whole problem seems to have started over age verification, something that I considered a non-issue but something that the Princess keeps telling me is a BIG issue. The company that does the age verification, quite simply, sells the information they get—a fact that is apparently quite evident after doing any amount of research about them. She was insisting that I NOT age verify—she did not want the last four digits of my social security number or my driver’s license number going out to the highest bidder. That and the fact that there is no way that the company can REALLY age verify from the information we give them anyway. She feels that the company is running a scam, and she is usually right.

Be that as it may, Grace had announced that age verification was going to start for Everwind in early January. I was not even aware that it was out of beta yet, but again, no matter. The residents of Everwind, both through the forum and through the dropping of notecards on Grace and Slip, were mounting a campaign to stop it. I don’t know what the notecards said, but the forum was very polite but firm, trying to get them to reconsider, offering alternatives, and some people saying that they would stop coming to Everwind if this came through.

Slip, a litigation attorney in RL, was explaining that, since Linden was offering the option, that they HAD to do this to prevent potential lawsuits should teens get into the sims and become morally wounded; a strong argument. And the fact remains that Everwind owned by both Grace and Slip, and they can do whatever they want with it.

What happened was a rant by Grace at the end of the forum thread. I’ll include a snippet here, but let me assure you that I am not taking this out of context:

“I appreciate a great deal that you love and play in Everwind so faithfully. But I have to tell you, while that’s all well and good…I ain’t willing to put myself or the safety of a minor out there on a limb so you can have a place to play. Your threats to leave or your “disappointment” over this decision are not going to score you any points. Everwind has never been about traffic or dwell or income (obviously) or even entertaining other people. It has always been about my need to create and our desire to see people appreciate it. I’m not here for you….and you are not here for me. Everyone of us are in this for themselves. Other than your avatar, I don’t know you people. Anymore than you know me. You are essentially strangers…why on earth do you think I have some obligation to ensure your experience in Second Life is pleasant? Do you ensure mine?”

This little speech cam essentially be summarized to say that she isn’t going to take any risks (fine and dandy) and that she couldn’t care less about the people of her realm (not).

The thread was locked after this rant, and I opened a new one, tentatively and timidly, merely stating that I am indeed in this for myself, but part of myself is making other people happy, and that while I can not ENSURE that anyone’s experience is pleasant, I do my best to help make other’s experiences pleasant when I can.

This was very carefully phrased. I was in fact quite angered by her statements, and what I was doing was essentially offering her an opportunity to apologize. She did respond, but no apology was forthcoming, just more angry denouncements. And again the thread was locked.

And then, a couple of hours after that, she sent an in-world announcement that role-play in Everwind was stopping. I can’t help but wonder if my re-opening of the issue and her follow-up rant was what caused it. Oh well. I was angry enough over her attitude to leave anyway. I’m more that just a pretty ornament for her enjoyment.

Everwind was having a free-for-all last night, which meant that the entire realm was having one final grand battle—everyone against everyone else. I chose not to participate. I instead IM’d a couple of friends and tried to find out about another role-play sim to which we can move. Someone suggested Triskele. I’ll check it out when I can. Even if the King and Queen reconsider, I doubt I’ll be returning to Everwind.

Sigh.

Anger and defining the rules for one’s own sim is one thing. Treating real people as non-entities is quite another.

Sploders and the existence of God

We had a great time at the Everwind party yesterday, but I felt bad about missing the Aianna Yule party. I’d been looking forward to the Everwind party all week, and didn’t know about, or at least notice, Aianna’s party until the last minute. So I simply decided to go to Everwind. We had lots of good music (as well as lots of bad music involving cats meowing to Christmas carols.) I wish I could have been two places at once, but…oh well. Sorry Aianna.

Anyway, there was a Sploder ball at the party. There’s something about Sploder balls and me. The first time I ever played one I won the biggest prize (something like L$200, which, as a newbie, seemed like an impossibly huge sum of money). I kept putting extra money in to give a little back to the other people who were playing, but I kept winning the big prize. I finally gave up so that someone else would have a chance.

This time when I arrived I immediately put L$20 in the ‘Sploder, and the pot went up to about L$1500 (generously contributed to by Queen Grace Loudon, by the way, whose real life animator has an AMAZING voice, but I digress), and I, again, won the biggest prize…about L$850. I just kinda expected it to happen that way. I was pleased, but I can’t say that I was surprised. I made small bets on occasion through the rest of the evening, but didn’t win anything else of significance.

Later on I was able to guess one of the trivia questions right. (Who was the first ghost who visited Scrooge: Answer—Jacob Marley). This won me another L$200. So all in all I came out about L$1000 ahead just for dancing. It was a great party.

It’s things like what happen to me with the Sploder that occasionally cause me to wonder more about the nature of reality. Once my animator walked into a convenience store to buy some soda, and he suddenly knew that if he bought one of the instant tickets he would win. My animator bought the ticket, much to the surprise and ridicule of his wife, brought it home, and, sure enough, had to walk back to the store to claim the $50 that he won.

Now, the only possible explanation that science could offer for this is pure luck and coincidence. Mathematically, I am quite sure that my statistical “luck” is quite is in no way outside the norm. And in my head, I accept this as the explanations. But the heart wants to believe in more than just coincidence. It is because of incidences like these that I for a long time refused to deny the possible existence of God. True, the prizes were small. True, it would seem a very odd way for God to pass evidence for his existence along. But it’s been big enough to grab my attention.

Oh well. I don’t want to dwell on this any further. It’s the kind of thing that would only appear significant to me, and I’m not interested in starting a religious debate. Be well, everyone, and may all your Sploders be good to you this holiday season.

Everwind: The backstory of Alphonsus Peck

Alphonsus was born into a wealthy and learned family in an entirely human realm. Dragons, fairies, and elves were all considered mere fantasy by the educated, and Alphonsus grew up quite sure and proud of his scientific and “enlightened” education.

Being well known for his mathematical prowess, as a young man Alphonsus was approached by the royal guard and asked if he would help tutor someone. Alphonsus of course agreed, and he was escorted to the top of the palace tower, where he found a heavily guarded door. Alphonsus gazed in wonderment as the door was opened and the room on the other side was among the most luxuriously decorated he had ever seen.

And then he met the young woman he was to tutor. She was beautiful beyond compare, with pale skin and long flowing red hair. Alphonsus and the woman quickly got too their lessons, and he found her to be remarkably intelligent. Over several days, they gradually learned that the people guarding them were dumb as rocks, and they were able to slip into other, non-mathematical topics such as philosophy, without the guards being any the wiser. They challenged each other in their discussion, and Alphonsus found himself falling hopelessly in love with the young woman.

On the day that the queen of the realm died, the visits came to an abrupt stop. There was some disruption and fighting on the palace grounds, and Alphonsus dared not approach. It was finally announced that the queen’s sister, who lived in a nearby realm, would come and take the throne. Once the coronation was completed Alphonsus tried to return to the tower, only to be told by palace guards that he was not allowed on the premises and that the tower was now empty. He then realized that he had never even learned the name of the woman whom he had tutored.

Desperately worried, Alphonsus decided to approach the new queen and try to learn of the fate of the young woman in the tower. Time after time he was rebuffed, but once he happened upon one of the old tower guards, who took pity on him, and said he would see what he could do.Days later, the royal guard again appeared at his door, and demanded that he come with them. Fearfully, he obeyed, and found himself taken into the palace himself. He was roughly shoved into a plain room and told to wait. After several minutes, the door opened, and he found himself again gazing upon the lovely face of the woman in the tower.

“M’lady, has the new queen released you from captivity?” stammered the surprised Alphonsus.

“My dear Alphonsus, I AM the new queen,” she smiled.

She explained that her queen sister had had her locked into the tower to prevent her from becoming a rallying point for rebellion.Alphonsus stayed long into the evening talking to the queen that he loved. Wanting to serve her in some way, he agreed to take a carpentry job in the city and report to her the feelings and sentiments of the general population.

Many years passed, and one day war came to the shores of their land. Knowing that the battle was going poorly, Alphonsus grabbed his sword and rushed to the castle, using the secret passageway he had always , used to enter the queen’s chamber. Upon entering he saw an amazing site. A child like woman with broad wings floated in the middle of the room. The child woman looked to him and asked him to please leave, and that the queen was being kept safe.

Alphonsus scoffed, knowing that trickery must be involved, and quickly spotted some movement behind the curtains. Ignoring the winged woman, he dashed across the room, and simultaneously pulled aside the drapes as he thrust his sword into the chest of the person hiding behind them…

…only to see the face of his beloved queen as his sword passed through her heart.

He immediately pulled his sword back and caught the queen in his arms. With love and understanding in her eyes, her last words to him were, “Alphonsus…my love…escape…live…this is…my final command…”

She then went limp in his arms.

Numb with unimaginable grief, Alphonsus had little knowledge of what happened over the next few days. When his mind returned to partial sanity, he found himself alone in the woods, with a small sack of mushrooms and bluebells for him to eat. He returned to his home to gather up what gold he could find, learning that the city had fallen completely to the invaders, and escaped the city never to return again.

Alphonsus wandered aimlessly through forests and cities for the next several years, keeping himself alive only because he could not bear to disobey the queens last orders. He drank heavily, but even then he could not escape the unbearable guilt over what he had done.

After much time, Alphonsus stumbled into Everwind, where he saw wonders that defied all of the learning and science he had ever been taught. In that place he decided to live, to really live, again. For the most part, Alphonsus has become a wiser version of the man he once was, turning to Castan for comfort and a reminder that truth is not always what they teach in school. While mostly cheerful, he is still vulnerable to almost random moments of extreme grief, and still finds it very difficult to avoid the attraction of alcohol to help forget the anguish of his soul. In his heart, he is still hopelessly devoted to the beloved queen of his memories, and while he may occasionally be tempted by other women, his spirit would never allow him to fall in love again.