Category Archives: Real Life

A MMORPG with amazing graphics, but only mediocre gameplay


Before I start, this is not a Second Life post. Just thinking as I get older.

I’m not usually one to get sentimental on rememberance day, I don’t even wear a poppy. I am completely against war in all it’s forms. But, as I think, I wonder how many of those poor souls lost in wars past and present felt the same way, and yet went anyway? There’s no way I can understand their reasons, no way I can know what was in their minds.

The world wars are what we think of today for the most part and that is fitting of course. They went to defend us all, to fight to protect their country. Some went because they wanted to fight, some went because they thought (or were persuaded) that it was the honourable thing to do, some were drafted. I can only assume they all were scared at some point, and yes, they were all heroes no matter what side they fought on.

This is a poem from the first world war, by Wilfred Owen. It’s not pretty, but it does evoke emotion…

Dulce et Decorum Est

Bent double, like old beggars under sacks,
Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge,
Till on the haunting flares we turned our backs
And towards our distant rest began to trudge.
Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots
But limped on, blood-shod. All went lame; all blind;
Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots
Of tired, outstripped Five-Nines that dropped behind.

Gas! Gas! Quick, boys!—An ecstasy of fumbling,
Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time;
But someone still was yelling out and stumbling,
And flound’ring like a man in fire or lime…
Dim, through the misty panes and thick green light,
As under a green sea, I saw him drowning.

In all my dreams, before my helpless sight,
He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning.

If in some smothering dreams you too could pace
Behind the wagon that we flung him in,
And watch the white eyes writhing in his face,
His hanging face, like a devil’s sick of sin;
If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood
Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs,
Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud
Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues,—
My friend, you would not tell with such high zest
To children ardent for some desperate glory,
The old Lie: Dulce et decorum est
Pro patria mori.

A view of the trenches if there ever was one, but fortunately that is no longer the case in war.

I heard on the news yesterday that since the end of the second world war, there has only been one year where no British servicemen have been killed in combat. I suspect most nations have a similar statistic. How can we justify this?

Today’s wars are even worse though, we send our brave men and women out to far places to fight for oil or in the name of some nebulous “war on terror”. But no matter what the war is for, they still go, mostly without complaint. They are still killed or maimed, but now they aren’t defending us the civilians, or their country. Now they are fighting for the reputation of polititians.

This does not sully their sacrifice, but it does speak volumes about those who sent them. And so, completely unlike me…

For The Fallen

With proud thanksgiving, a mother for her children,
England mourns for her dead across the sea.
Flesh of her flesh they were, spirit of her spirit,
Fallen in the cause of the free.

Solemn the drums thrill; Death august and royal
Sings sorrow up into immortal spheres,
There is music in the midst of desolation
And a glory that shines upon our tears.

They went with songs to the battle, they were young,
Straight of limb, true of eye, steady and aglow.
They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted;
They fell with their faces to the foe.

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.

They mingle not with their laughing comrades again;
They sit no more at familiar tables of home;
They have no lot in our labour of the day-time;
They sleep beyond England’s foam.

But where our desires are and our hopes profound,
Felt as a well-spring that is hidden from sight,
To the innermost heart of their own land they are known
As the stars are known to the Night;

As the stars that shall be bright when we are dust,
Moving in marches upon the heavenly plain;
As the stars that are starry in the time of our darkness,
To the end, to the end, they remain.

To those who went, for whatever reason, Thank you. You did what I could not do.

You can be anything you like – except transgendered …

… or so we would be lead to believe.

I am not quite blessed with the right words to do this topic as it deserves, so I’m going to link to the blog of someone who can. Please read Peter Stindberg’s words carefully and take them to heart, and vote on the jira.

Next time, it could be your group.

** Linden Lab have seen and acted upon the offending article and have corrected it.

Rheta Shan R.I.P.

About a month or so ago, I was chatting with Thdast (Thaddy) Schwarzman about her Mistress and lover, Rheta Shan. They’d arranged to meet in SL and Rheta hadn’t showed up. Thaddy was pretty upset and feeling rejected as one does at such times, and as a friend, I did my best to reassure her.

Time went by and last week I asked Thaddy how long it had been. When she answered, I said that I thought it was a bit soon to give up yet, to which she replied that she would never give up waiting. I nodded, it’s a feeling I knew well.

Yesterday came the bombshell. Not one, but two young lives snuffed out. Rheta and her soon to be born child, hit by a van while crossing the road. Death perhaps not instant, but from what I understand, unconsciousness probably was, so any pain was limited. My heart goes out – as so many others have also said – to her family and friends both in RL and in SL, but mostly to Thaddy. I cried in work when I heard yesterday. I can barely conceive what Thdast is going through now – at least her RL friends had a funeral.

So if you see her on the grid, spare a thought for Thdast Schwarzman and say hi. Offer her a hug, but don’t ask how she’s feeling.

I hope there will be a memorial.

Thaddy, we are all here for you and I know you have a new bright shining guardian angel watching over you from Heaven.

Rheta Shan/Valérie M, and her unborn son, died April 3rd 2009. May they rest in peace.

Photograph Self Portrait by Rheta Shan
Photograph Self Portrait by Rheta Shan

In search of hot eyewear.

Last night I was sitting at my PC, when I noticed a nagging pain on the bridge of my nose. Since I wear glasses, I assumed they were just rubbing, and took them off for a moment. It was then that I noticed that one of the pads had snapped off – who knows where. So, I swapped out for my old reserve pair which were twisted a couple of years back when I broke my leg – but which are still usable, just – and am wearing them now.

Two things come to mind. One is that these are men’s glasses, which feel and look (to me at least) a bit weird after all this time, and two, that I no longer have a backup pair.

So the plan is to head down to Specsavers at lunchtime for an eye test. I’ve seen some on the website I like, but invite those of you who’d like to, to make recommendations. My photo is on this blog a few posts ago if you’ve not seen it yet.


One fine day

Sitting at my desk drinking a mug of slowly cooling coffee. Outside, the air is clear, the sky is bright and pale blue. A few birds pass the window, but otherwise, all is quiet. Even the city is quiet at 7:30

By 8:00 it’s changed. Traffic is almost constant outside and the noise level is a lot higher. The idiots in the office are starting to arrive too, and moaning about the heat (it’s almost warm enough to be comfortable) and have opened windows and turned the noisy portable aircon on. It’s about 10°C outside so it’s getting cold here.

Still, as days go, it started well – at least once I was awake – and that’s a good start. Let’s just hope it stays that way for at least a few hours. I finish at 3:30 so a nice long evening awaits.

Computer Chaos

What a week! At work we’ve had loads of computer issues since early on Monday – which I can’t go into for obvious reasons – and which still, as I write, have not been resolved completely. It’s chaos here at the moment.

And then, I got home Monday evening, turned on the laptop and saw a message saying there were corrupt boot files and gave a repair proceedure. As you are aware if you follow my plurks, or can probably guess if not… it was not that simple by a long way.

It ended up reimaging the disc. Ok, a pain but not the end of the world. Most of what was lost is backed up, well data anyway. There’s another PC with much of it, and some is on my phone, my external drives and online.

Software’s not so simple, so as well as OS patching, there were a lot of updates there – and of course Steam. (I’ve not started iTunes yet).

Late yesterday afternoon, an email from my ISP told me I’d used up my entire download limit for April – from less than 50% on Sunday. I had to buy an extra 10GB just to get back online. 😦

On the positive side, a lot of the crud I’d collected over the last 6 months is gone and I have in theory at least, a cleaner, leaner machine. I have a few things left to do, then it’s down to – as they say in Windowsland – plug and pray.


I don’t know why, but blogging for me comes in fits and starts. I know I’ll never be one of those who writes a novella every day about their life – mine is just too boring – or have a lot of insight into what’s going on behind the scenes of Second Life™. I suppose that my life is just boring. Sometimes though, I wish I had more to say. I mean I get up, I go to work, I come home and sit in Second Life™ or EVE-Online™, I plurk and I go to bed.

The thing is, of course that it’s not quite that simple. If I were a better writer, then I could talk about my journey, or how my day went. I could talk about what I cooked, things I saw, even clothes. I could talk about what I did in world. But, it’s mostly boring stuff. Only occasionally do I do something that would grab someone’s interest and run with it. And worse, when I do, I forget to take photos.

Recently in EVE, for instance, I’ve met and tried to help fellow Second Lifer and Plurker, Ramonna, showing her the ropes as it were, and offering advice when it’s needed. Mostly though it’s been mining – and however you paint it, shooting lumps of rock isn’t exciting. Last night I did a couple of missions with the corp. That was more fun, but I wasn’t making notes and again, no screenshots. To bee honest though, they were missions any of us could have done alone. With three of us in big ships, they were almost over before we knew what was happening. Hardly worth the time to write.

So anyway, I woke this morning to a delivery of books. One from the series I have been reading, Look to Windward by Iain M Banks is one of the couple of Culture novels I’ve never read, and will be fun. The Time Traveller’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger is one I’ve been recommended many times, and The Dreaming Void just looked cool. Once I’ve read them, perhaps I’ll blog them or something. No idea yet.

A mad week

We’ve all had insane weeks, I know. This week for me has passed so quickly and in such a rush that I think I missed most of it. I guess having All Fools Day in the middle of it didn’t help much in that respect, just increasing the general asshattedness of the time and screwing up what sense there was of it… Anyway, let’s recap.

[Runs to bathroom, cleanser. Grab laundry from bedroom, put in machine]

Sunday was RL craziness. I was up uearly and out of the house to update my motorcycle cert. An easy task since I’ve done it before, and really should be doing a full test by now, except that just after last time, I broke a leg and it put the brakes on that for a while. Maybe this year… Anyway, due to road closures, getting there took longer than expected (diversions), the other trainee was a green newbie and couldn’t get over 20mph for most of it, and I was almost out of fuel getting home. Still, SL was fun, it usually is on Sunday night…

[Back to bathroom, toner. Get dressed. Coffee]

Monday and Tuesday are insane in work (RL) and this week was no exception what with month end panic to cope with too. I also went to see my GP about hormones on Tuesday morning, to review information I gave him over a week ago. Typically NHS, he’d not got round to doing anything about it, so I am still sitting here waiting. [Grrr] We were still busy at work Wednesday and Thursday too, but my evenings were fun. Had wine and play in SL.

I can’t remember which evening it was, probably Tuesday. I was in a club dancing as I do, when an avatar with a dubious grasp of english asked me if I liked dancing… What she meant I later discovered was “would I like to dance with her”. Well, I said yes and we started, but within a minute she was asking me about Xcites and asking whether I liked using them. It didn’t last long. I left her for someone less sexually aggressive.

Yesterday, I heard that a close trans friend of mine was offered SRS finally by her GP (as one of a number of options). I am so jealous, but she’s had a long journey to come this far and I am happy for her. [Now to annoy my own GP.] We chatted a while in SL, but I was too sleepy for more, which is a shame as I would have loved to take her shopping or dancing to celebrate. Maybe tonight!

[Moisturiser, brush hair]

Well, Friday’s going to be much the same. Where I work, they don’t count Poetsday and I am working til late anyway. Probably not home til about 8pm, but with luck it won’t be busy. I’ll have my Smartphone/PDA for IMs, Plurks and even Blog updates, and I have my books to read.

I’ll update this as and when, either through the day, when I get home, or during hawt pixel sex in SL. Unless I decide to kill stuff in Eve that is, reading Culture books makes me want to do that.

Rainy days and the future

Funny how things go really. I left the house early today to get a bus to work because of the rain. (If you’ve ever ridden in heavy rain you’ll understand why). The first bus sped straight past without stopping, leaving me to wait 20 minutes for the next one. Suddenly my plan to not get soaked seemed a bit washed out. The next was however a few minutes early and I managed to get on the same connection as I would have for the earlier bus.

I’ll get to work early now and have time for a brew and to relax before I’m chained to the phone for another 8 hours of torture at the hands of clueless morons. I tell you, most of them – to use a Willisism – would benefit greatly from a spork to the eye. I don’t like the job, not as it is. I need stimulus, change, not this constant whining over the phone all the fucking time.

So as most of you know, I’m looking for a change of direction. A complete life change to an extent a lot of people will never even see, though it’s not that uncommon. Still, I need to get out of here and back into the city where I can, if nothing else, be myself again.

It will happen, and it will happen soon!