Another gem from Seren

Mistaken Identity

identityOne of those things I’ve always vowed never to do is meet anyone from SL in the flesh – for me one of the most attractive features of living in a virtual world is the way in which you can choose for it to be entirely removed and distinct from reality. I can be whoever I wish, and do whatever I want, in whatever context I desire whilst inworld; that does not in itself convey any need or wish for my virtual existence to be in any way connected with the real me. If I choose to share something of my virtual life with someone in the real world, (a situation that has not yet occurred), I will do so, but it will be on my terms and only to the extent to which I feel entirely comfortable. Similarly, if I choose to disclose elements of my real life to those I know from the virtual community, it will be on the same terms, and there are a number of things that will always remain strictly private, confidential and none of your business.

Not everyone feels the same way, but each to their own, and whatever works for you is fine.

When it comes to my virtual friends and acquaintances, I’m afraid this produces an unequal equation: Many of those I know inworld have no problem with sharing information and details about their real lives that I, for one, will never share about myself, except with a very favoured few. There are those who, if I was to run into them in the street, I would instantly recognise: I know roughly where they live and I know what they look like and sound like in the real world. They, on the other hand, could walk past me and never know they’d encountered Serendipidy Haven, unless they are one of the handful with whom I have shared my photo and voice – and even then, it’s such a rare occurrence, I might still pass by unnoticed.

I’m pretty certain however that those of you who do associate with me inworld, or even through the pages of this blog, have some sort of mental picture of the real me, and in some cases that may well be a fairly accurate one. However, I discovered only recently that imagination and reality can be worlds apart when it comes to the facts, with amusing results.

I shall paraphrase the recent exchange that took place between an inworld friend and myself over the course of a few days:

Friend: Who’s that girl pictured on your blog then?
Me: Huh? What girl… What picture?
Friend: That girl. It’s you, isn’t it?
Me: I don’t think so!
Friend: I think it is!
Me: I don’t even know what picture you mean, but I know it’s not me!
Friend: I’m sure it is. I worked it out.
Me: OK – I’m intrigued now – send me a screenshot of the picture.
Friend has offered you inventory
Me: Erm, that’s definitely not me.
Friend: Bet it is.
Me: Nope… That’s Scarlett Johansson!

They were very disappointed; I was very flattered!

litNo doubt, the friend in question will wish to beat me to a pulp when they read this – but I certainly wouldn’t wish to humiliate them over such a sweet mistake, so they shall remain completely anonymous and if anyone asks me who it was, my lips will remain tightly sealed.

It’s weird how our minds, when presented with only the bare minimum of information, will still nevertheless, try to fabricate a coherent picture from what is available, and will latch on to any strand of detail that comes their way, no matter how tenuous it may be. Throw in some intelligent guesswork, a bit of luck and you may – Nutrimatic fashion – end up with something that is almost, but not quite, entirely unlike me!

This is probably a good thing, since:

a) You will be spared the true horror of experiencing the true reality of me;
b) I will be spared the true horror of ever being recognised in RL by you;
c) I am more than happy to be mistaken for Scarlett Johansson.

There is a further aspect to this whole anonymity thing that also merits exploration – some people in SL really do appreciate the anonymity the virtual world provides, for the simple reason that they actually do wish to remain anonymous and experience things as a normal, everyday person. What if – and you have absolutely no way of knowing the real facts here – what if, in real life, I really am Scarlett Johansson? Surprise!

The problem with being famous is that it’s very difficult to escape to normality – the moment anyone suspects you might be a celebrity, they’re all over you asking for your autograph, taking photos, bragging to their friends about meeting you and generally meaning you never have the opportunity to have fun and do all the things that normal people get to do. It’s bad enough not being able to pop down the shops for a loaf of bread without the paparazzi hounding you, or being unable to leave the house without a disguise, but if you can’t even escape to a virtual world and experience some semblance of normality, then fame can be a real bind. So we may never know when the rich and famous are amongst us in SL – our best friend may be a superstar, and we’d never know it!

scarlett. x

Fame, (fame) what you like is in the limo
Fame, (fame) what you get is no tomorrow
Fame, (fame) what you need you have to borrow Fame
Fame, (fame) it’s mine, it’s mine, it’s just his line
To bind your time, it drives you to crime (fame)
David Bowie – Fame

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Article

I’ve written an article giving my background and what I think of OlderCitizens blogging. Trying to get it published, here it is: Any age can learn to blog and chat about sl which I do. The video at the end  is filmed with two avatars dancing on a record. . I will be publishing an sl post soon. I will be spreading the word to older citizens. Please comment I need the feedback.

Older Citizens Blogging

About

The purpose of this hub is to get noticed. As an older citizen I feel marginalised as so many other older citizens do. The purpose of my teaching blog is to help older citizens have a voice. I am 67 years old and feel in many ways to be in my prime.

Spammy?

I write domains as “example dot com” when I want to tell people of a site where there is no need for a link. We sub vocalise when we read which is a memory aid. Of course when we say a web address this is how we say it. It is appropriate when an html link is not appropriate. My first gTLD (global top level domain) is IrishSecure dot com and I have had it since 1998. You can visit it if you like but there is no need for a link. There is also the practice in some platforms and blogs that if you put in example.com it automatically becomes a clickable link. Maybe its idiosyncratic but there seems to be no research on how to remember a web address? It would be easy to set up an experiment to test my theory. Give one group a list of web addresses with words example dot com and the control group example.com and see who remembers more.

Experience

I have an honours science degree in Psychology and I am a trained counsellor. I have a masters degree in Social Work. I worked as a Probation Officer for ten years in inner city high crime patch in London. I had 3 murderers on my caseload. I set up and ran an alcohol abuse training course that the courts could sentence to. I did 14 hour shifts in a secure bail hostel on my own. For two years. My reports were used to train magistrates.

I have been around the world, mostly overland. It took ten years. I went to India via the Nile…true story!

I am bipolar.

I have survived lung cancer.

Computing

I had my first computer in 1981. In 1986 I helped programme and install a networked touch sensitive computer system for Manpower Services Commission a British government body to access a database, in real time, of job vacancies nationwide. In those days the “computer scientists” in MSC were a bunch of psychologists, the only ones to understand the system. It is now (?) used in every job centre in England well that was in the days of MSC now gone *sigh*.

In 1994 I built my first PC from scratch. In 1996 I set us up as an ISP (Internet Service Provider) with two web servers and two name servers which were built from scrap. We had a Silicon Graphics work station as used by NASA to control the Mars lander. In 2000 we offered secure wireless Internet access to the whole town of Tullamore in Ireland. In 2006 we went bust through lack of support and repercussions of the dot com crash.

My YouTube channel which I set up in 2008 has had over 100k views and there are over 400 videos. I have published over 80 documents on Scribd (not written by me) which have had over 60k views. My major sites have a library of select books all out of print copies I have found, including James Joyce Ulysses, Moby Dick etc. available to read online or download. It’s on this site too as I love it so.  My blogs have over 6k subscribers.

Currently I operate a rented web server and name servers and have 25 gTLDs and untold WordPress blogs. The blog linked below took a week to set up including content.

I know what I am doing.

If you don’t blow your own trumpet will someone else? Older Citizens should have a voice, my aim is to give them one.

Our brains still work

“The good news is that far from slowing down in old age, the brain can actually keep growing new dendrites, which are the connections between neurons. Old brains are as plastic as young brains; in fact, the connections between the two hemispheres of our brains become better integrated with age……”

Dr. Natash Josefowitz “On becoming 90” Huffington Post

Yet there are some failings as Dr.Josefowitz points out in the excellent article. I find, myself, memories of 50 or more years ago can be quite fresh but I forget the password I created 5 minutes ago AND I am only 67. I use sticky notes on my computer to remember stuff. So clearly things aren’t perfect. However it doesn’t stop me. My email box is littered with “password reset” notices. No big deal. This has been recognised by the powers that be and I can log on using a one click Facebook login.

You can teach an old dog new tricks

I blog a lot and I find it keeps my brain ticking over nicely. I learn new stuff everyday and the important bits I retain. So the idea that learning stops at a certain age is a fallacy. So with this in mind I decided to teach blogging to older citizens and that it can be done. There is a noticeable lack of older citizens blogging and this needs changing. It helps greatly that with a computer and access to the Internet this is not difficult. It could be done in a library, It takes minutes to set up a wordpress blog. When you are in wordpress dot com “If it doesn’t exist register it” . How Zen! People use their name which makes it easy to remember. Given that there are there are approximately over 150 million blogs on the Internet getting a name may pose some problems however marionjwinslow for example or billwatkinssuperblog are probably available. Just need a bit of imagination.

Capitals are ok

The web treats capitals as lower case so when you are writing the name of your blog you can write it as MarionJWilson or BillsSuperBlog which makes it that more memorable when people read it. They don’t have to write it in capitals as a link BUT IT MAKES NO DIFFERENCE! So be imaginative and you can write a short but memorable sentence. MaybeOldButWhoCares is a potential blog address, it is memorable and that is the important thing. When chatting with friends you can say “MaybeOldButWhoCares dot wordpress dot com” and they will remember it. (By the way the teaching blog I have set up on wordpress is 100% free and there is no reason to spend any money).

Imagination

So I registered it. Any Older Citizen who wants it let me know in the comments and I'll give them a login

 So I registered it. Any Older Citizen who wants it let me know in the comments and I’ll give them a login

Research

After an extensive trawl I can find no research that has investigated cognition and blogging in the older citizen. Nor the potential impact on feelings of isolation and exclusion. Nor on the potential impact on family life. If a persons mother starts putting up pictures of when they were a child or writing about a holiday they had in 1965; anything that gives the son or daughter an historical perspective will bring families closer.

I have a very old family album which goes back to 1949 – 1952 and I used my camera phone to take a picture of the photograph. I then uploaded it to my computer and added it to my blog. Any family picture can be put in a blog.

A free wordpress blog is there in perpetuity not so people. If you have left a blog as a legacy how uplifting it can be. There needs to be research on the impact of blogging on mood. As the population ages, older citizens are a potential resource that shouldn’t be ignored.

Me and Mum 1949

 

The good old days

I read an interesting article on Facebook by an 86 year old who was lamenting the passing of an age in England that was post WW2 a time of the creation of free health care, a boom in affordable housing, education blossoming and freely available work. Its on my blog. After watching I, Daniel Blake it makes you wonder about the value we put on citizens today. Older citizens can take the values of yesterday and resurrect them for today’s generation and demand a return to things we hold dear. Compassion and honesty being the watch words. Daniel Blake received no compassion.

Older Citizens on WordPress

So I have set up a teaching blog for getting older citizens blogging. I have used video extensively with text support; a complimentary oldercitizens dot com and a quick start dot org. I am in the process of propagating it globally (why not?) and have plans to set up complimentary country sub domains on the dot com. It took me a week to set up the three sites including content so not much reaction yet. This is a free service not a business. No profit is being asked for nor made. Below is a video I made for adding your first post. Please watch full screen.

First Post

The Blog

There are four main sections to get you started

  1. Setting up and registering your blog
  2. Your first post
  3. Inserting an image and embedding a video
  4. Changing the theme

There are also sundry pages:

  • Contact
  • Useful Programs including the free Microsoft Expression Design image editor
  • A page on Widgets
  • And a Library of books (pdfs for online reading or download) which I love and put on all my sites including this one.
  • About Me

Yes a weeks work indeed…..

High hopes

This may take some time but having retired I have time, its a hobby as well as I hope a valued service. Getting noticed on the Internet is not easy and I know this. I put up my first web page in 1996 (its still there in Archives) and during a five year period as an ISP (Internet Service Provider) I am no stranger to the web. I rent my own web server and name servers so I know what I’m doing. The cost is minimal, a few Euro a week. What I am doing now is spreading the word so please visit the site leave a comment or fill out the form provided. I need feedback so I can improve. Nothing is set in stone and I will respond to both criticism and praise but I have high hopes. Hope you enjoyed this hub, there is a poll……

 

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Older Citizens

Been awhile. You may or may not know that I am bipolar. I take my meds and it keeps me on an almost even keel verging on depressed. Been like this for a couple of years, no oompf! But now I’ve got it back.

I have a project

I am conscious of the demographic re older citizens, there are a lot. I am also aware that there is a lot of isolation and loneliness. I am also aware that our older citizens are potentially a great resource. They have history. A couple of years ago I gave a talk on blogging for Age Action. I wasn’t very good. So I thought why not create a blog tutorial blog; how to set up a free one and I mean free (I am non-profit). There are a lot of Older Citizen groups out there and I mean globally too, and they all have email addresses.

So I created a free wordpress.com blog http://OlderCitizens.wordpress.com with tutorials if you have a minute I could do with some feedback. I also have http://OlderCitizens.com which you might ike to see. Cool name.

So I have my enthusiasm back, I’m writing again and I love blogs.

Might even get them interested in Second Life LOL!

Yippee!

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Vanilla Sky

by Serendipidy Haven
https://serenhaven.wordpress.com/2016/03/21/vanilla-sky/

Avatar: from the Sanskrit avatāra ‘descent’, from ava ‘down’ + tar- ‘to cross’. A manifestation of a deity or released soul in bodily form on earth; an incarnate divine teacher. An incarnation, embodiment, or manifestation of a person or idea.

Whilst most of us would hesitate to describe our virtual representation as a deity manifest, few would have any problem with considering our pixel form as an incarnation, embodiment or manifestation of ourselves, or of the more esoteric, nebulous constructs that define who we are. Indeed, a great many of us consider our avatars to be more representative of who and what we are than we would ever dare show, if indeed we could, in our real lives.

There’s little doubt that SL has the capability to release aspects of our character and make up that are heavily suppressed or hidden in our day to day lives,

It’s been said the avatar is a mask; but for me, it isn’t. A mask hides what lies behind – SL reveals it. A mask is expressionless, but SL give us the freedom to express ourselves; there are various explanations for this – many of which I’ve explored before in the pages of this blog. Whether it’s the anonymity that allows us to be our true selves, the freedom we’re given in virtual form, the wide variety of concepts, ideas and cultures, contained within such a small world, or the distance that SL allows us to put between the actions of our virtual selves and reality that gives us the scope to be other than what we appear to be, is largely immaterial. What matters to the majority of us is the simple fact that we can, and do, perceive our virtual selves to be more able, more honest and more open than perhaps we can ever be in the real world.

I’ve heard it frequently stated that the way we present ourselves inworld is, in essence, a mask – that what those around us see is how we choose to be seen. A mask, of course can be perceived in more ways than those which we may think we are presenting to others. It can create anonymity; a mask can hide the truth; we can disguise or change how others see us; a mask can be employed both for good and for less savoury purposes. We can employ masks to mystify, intensify, challenge, invoke fear, provoke laughter and hide our feelings entirely. There’s no doubt in my mind that we can certainly employ our avatars in any one of these diverse fashions, however I feel that to do so misses an extremely important and significant point: Certainly, our avatar can be employed as a mask, however our avatar can equally, and perhaps in even greater measure, be the mechanism by which we unmask ourselves.

I’ve already mentioned in this post how SL permits us to ‘be ourselves’, and over the years I’ve spoken to many, many people who would aver this is true for them, whether in terms of their inworld pursuits, confidence-building or allowing them to be accepted as they are, without the prejudices, brick walls and difficulties that they face daily in real life. Surely this is quite the opposite to putting on a mask, hiding who we are and retreating behind the safety that such a construct provides?

I firmly believe that a great number of SL adherents spend a huge amount of time in the real world wearing a mask of some description. It may not be a tangible, physical mask; even so it can be as effective as any facial covering – obfuscating, obscuring and protecting the truth that hides away behind it. Yet, when these very same people log in to SL, their first action is to take off that mask, hang it on its inworld virtual peg and face the Grid, unmasked and in complete honesty, proclaiming both to themselves and to all those they come across: “This is me.. The real me!”

It’s powerful stuff. We’re in control. We do what we choose. We are who we are.

s. x

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This Place

by Serendipity Haven

This place is like no other.
It is ethereal, inconstant;
ever changing, always shifting.
Hidden from the world
but open to all.
It is a place of contrasts,
of conflict and connections,
alliances and factions.
Give and take.
This is a place where friendships are forged,
and hearts are broken;
where love, lust and loneliness
all have their moments.
Where reality holds no sway,
and fantasy is real.
This is a place of colour and creativity,
darkness and light;
of mysteries and myth,
adventures and miracles.
This is a place where all are equal,
Although some are more equal than others;
where opportunity flourishes
and success is there for the taking.
This is a place of commerce, trade
and money exchanging hands;
a place where millionaires mingle
with paupers in complete anonymity.
A place where paupers can be king,
and kings can be queens;
queens: Dragons; and where dragons
…are real.
This is a place without limits,
transcending boundaries
of country, creed and culture;
where marginalised is mainstream
and normal is over-rated.
This is a place of dreams and visions,
of flight and fantasy,
of suspension of belief
and belief in the limitless.
This is a place where anything can happen,
and frequently does.

This is a place where life
is lived to the full.

And you call it a game?

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Halloween 2015

Halloween is here again and we had great fun in The Junkyard. Here are three of the sets built by Rosalee for DJ Siani, DJ Mij and DJ Spooky. Great fun was had by all.

Siani’s Spooktacular

DJ Mij

DJ Spooky

I am the ghost flittering around…

dudeghosty

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Welcome Back to Second Life

Yes I have been away for a while and my lovely friends through me a psychedelic party. Was great fun they had elephant avatars too cute. Rosalee Icanardi built the set and its gorgeous. Here are some pics and a video at the end.

elephants_002

eledancers

Special thanks to Rosalee, Storm, Bridget and our fab DJ Siani.

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New Technology

One day Bill complained to his friend that his elbow really hurt. His friend suggested that he go to a computer at the drug store that can diagnose anything quicker and cheaper than a doctor.

”Simply put in a sample of your urine and the computer will diagnose your problem and tell you what you can do about it. It only costs $10.”

Bill figured he had nothing to lose, so he filled a jar with a urine sample and went to the drug store. Finding the computer, he poured in the sample and deposited the $10. The computer started making some noise and various lights started flashing. After a brief pause out popped a small slip of paper on which was printed: “You have tennis elbow. Soak your arm in warm water. Avoid heavy lifting. It will be better in two weeks.”

Later that evening while thinking how amazing this new technology was and how it would change medical science forever, he began to wonder if this machine could be fooled. He mixed together some tap water, a stool sample from his dog and urine samples from his wife and daughter. To top it off, he masturbated into the concoction.

He went back to the drug store, located the machine, poured in the sample and deposited the $10. The computer again made the usual noise and printed out the following message:

“Your tap water is too hard. Get a water softener. Your dog has worms. Get him vitamins. Your daughter is using cocaine. Put her in a rehabilitation clinic. Your wife is pregnant with twin girls. They aren’t yours. Get a lawyer. And if you don’t stop jerking off, your tennis elbow will never get better.”

If you want some comic relief go to UniJokes.com

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Good Friday

 

I’m not putting the whole post here as its not really sl but its an important piece. You can read it here:

12 Worst Ideas Religion Has Unleashed on the World

We all need to change how we think and how we act to our fellow humans. Love and Peace

 

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Perspective

From my friend Serendipidy Haven’s blog:

Perspective

by Serendipidy Haven

vangoghA brief trip to the National Gallery recently brought me face-to-face with Van Gogh’s ‘Sunflowers’, or at least, one of his variations of this most well known of his subjects. Sunflowers was my main reason for the visit – since i’ve never seen the work in the flesh before, but it also gave me the opportunity to become re-acquainted with another of his paintings that has pretty much passed me by up until now.

Van Gogh’s chair has never really inspired me or struck me as being particularly special. It lacks the thickly daubed, tormented brush strokes of his later pieces and the finesse displayed in his other works of the period. It’s a peculiar thing, worth getting up close to; where the warped, almost child-like perspective of the composition is offset by the painstaking attention to detail the artist gives to the most mundane of features. You’re struck by the effort that’s gone into painting the door hinges, knots in the wood and the weave of the chair seat… but, on this occasion – for the first time – i stepped back, and suddenly everything changed.

From the middle of the room, the painting that had always struck me as rather flat and distorted resolved into something entirely different. It was almost as if i was seeing through Van Gogh’s eyes, sat at his easel, glancing over the canvas towards the chair on the other side of the room. That bizarre perspective which offends the eye when seen in close up, becomes completely natural and lifelike when viewed from a distance – the painting becomes less a flat canvas and more a three dimensional moment in time, captured in oils. It was an unexpected and somewhat humbling moment.

paint_001How often do we see things from our own viewpoint with  a skewed perspective, failing to understand what is right in front of our eyes, and not seeing the picture as it really is? Probably quite often and, as users of sl, it’s something that we’re very used to experiencing from the ‘outside’ world. Those who’ve never had the opportunity to properly get to grips with becoming part of a virtual world tend to have a distinctly distorted picture in their minds of what sl is about. Like me peering closely at Van Gogh’s canvas, they’ll seize on the little details that make sense to them, whilst remaining utterly puzzled and bemused at the bigger picture. So the common perception of sl, from those who have no experience inworld, is that it’s an environment that’s primarily about pixellated sex, a ‘game’ played by geeks sat in their basements with curtains drawn and snacking on cheese puffs. They seize upon the bits that stand out to them and write off the larger part as irrelevant, uninteresting or incomprehensible.

It’s a matter of perspective. And perspective works both ways.

The perspective from which we see sl differs dramatically according to where we stand – on outside looking in or, equally, on the inside looking out – and we residents can be just as guilty of skewing the overall picture as those who have no experience of the virtual world. From the inside, we are terribly good a painting pictures of sl from a palette based entirely upon our own perceptions and experiences, rather than taking a balanced view, (this is something that ex-residents, in particular, can take to an extraordinary degree). The result is a very narrow-minded and distorted view of sl… the servers are always down, it’s full of griefers and content stealers, it suffers from nightmare lag, gacha events are corrupt, and so on. Even when we’re positive we tend to pick and choose to focus on the bits that matter to us, ignoring the fecundity of the virtual community and excluding whole swathes of SLife that we personally have no particular interest in.

Perhaps it would do no harm to occasionally break these self-imposed rules and try to look at things from a different perspective – who knows… perhaps that aspect of sl that you never understood, never appealed and that you’d managed to convince yourself was of no worth at all, might look very different from a different angle, or when you take a step back and try to appreciate what it’s all really about.

Or, you could just stick with the perspective you’ve got, and maybe miss out on a much bigger picture.

If you’re not swayed then think on this a moment: Vincent Van Gogh was completely unappreciated in his lifetime, purportedly only selling one painting before his death. Now he’s one of the most recognisable artists that has ever lived, and his paintings sell for millions. Just imagine how all those people who turned him down and derided his work might have felt if they’d known how he’d now be appreciated. Sometimes, focussing on the details and the ugliness of what we perceive means that we can be blind to the potential and the beauty of what we are seeing.

vincent_001

s. x

Now I think I know
What you tried to say to me
Don McLean – Starry Starry Night

Excellent stuff well done Seren

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