Archive for the ‘Society and culture’ Category

Veterans Day and Election Day 2016

veterans-day

Jem, Conan (who couldn’t be present) and I all salute our country, our veteran relations and ancestors, and our democratic process.

In part, Veterans Day and Election Day are close enough together this year that I decided to combine the two together into one post. This isn’t normally my practice, but the theme I’m going to talk about here links into both, as it’s a matter that links the two days together.  As I’ve done before, I’m writing for all three of us, and adding their signatures to this article with my friends’ review and permission, for which I thank them most gratefully.

We at Around the Grid all have a father or grandfather who served in the U. S. armed forces at some point — as well, doubtless, as any number of ancestors we have never known — and we were raised “traditionally” enough to have a reasonably strong sense of patriotism, along with belief in our country and its inherent good and decency.  Our ancestors fought on behalf of the United States in any number of wars, going back to the Revolutionary War, because they believed in those facts.  They desired the right of a man — and now of a person — to be free, to determine their own destiny with the least imposition of rule by the government over them, and only by their own consent when the government did institute a law of some kind.  Jem and Conan haven’t mentioned any specifics about their fathers; but I can tell you that my own, as I think I’ve mentioned in the past, fought and bled for those ideals in France in World War II.  (This is the reason I wear the purple duster I have on above, for Dad’s Purple Heart; and the purple strip in Jemmy’s dress is suggestive.)  Many more since have fought, or simply served and stood ready to defend this country against its perceived enemies.  Again, as this blog tries to do every year, we salute those men and women — not always understood, never enough appreciated, often wounded in spirit as well as body, but willing to lay their lives down if called upon for the greater good.

Please don’t stop here; more words, even more important, are past the turn of the page.

Transylvania 6-5000

When you materialize inside a pentagram, you know you’re in for some strange things going on….

The Transylvania sim is dedicated to the vampire, as you can guess.  Among the things you’ll find there is this:  the Vampyre Cultural Centre, which celebrates the more cultural phenomenon in the arts, such as paintings.  It’s featured right now on the startup screen of the Linden viewer; if you materialize inside the pentagram, turn until you see the sign on the archway, and just walk on.  You shouldn’t need to worry about Bloodlines players (if that’s still a concern); that business is officially discouraged in Transylvania.

Kahlil Gibran

Almustafa, the chosen and the beloved, who was a dawn onto his own day, had waited twelve years in the city of Orphalese for his ship that was to return and bear him back to the isle of his birth.

And in the twelfth year, on the seventh day of Ielool, the month of reaping, he climbed the hill without the city walls and looked seaward; and he beheld the ship coming with the mist.

Then the gates of his heart were flung open, and his joy flew far over the sea. And he closed his eyes and prayed in the silences of his soul.

But he descended the hill, a sadness came upon him, and he thought in his heart:

How shall I go in peace and without sorrow? Nay, not without a wound in the spirit shall I leave this city.

Long were the days of pain I have spent within its walls, and long were the nights of aloneness; and who can depart from his pain and his aloneness without regret?…

…Then a woman said, “Speak to us of Joy and Sorrow.”

And he answered:

Your joy is your sorrow unmasked.

And the selfsame well from which your laughter rises was oftentimes filled with your tears.

And how else can it be?

The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain.

Is not the cup that holds your wine the very cup that was burned in the potter’s oven?

And is not the lute that soothes your spirit, the very wood that was hollowed with knives?

When you are joyous, look deep into your heart and you shall find it is only that which has given you sorrow that is giving you joy.

When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight.

Some of you say, “Joy is greater than sorrow,” and others say, “Nay, sorrow is the greater.”

But I say unto you, they are inseparable.

Together they come, and when one sits alone with you at your board, remember that the other is asleep upon your bed.

Verily you are suspended like scales between your sorrow and your joy.

Only when you are empty are you at standstill and balanced.

When the treasure-keeper lifts you to weigh his gold and his silver, needs must your joy or your sorrow rise or fall….

                    — Kahlil Gibran

                    The Prophet:  “The Coming of the Ship” and “Joy and Sorrow”

Gibran was born on this day in 1883, and this article is dedicated to his memory, evergreen since the publication of perhaps his greatest work in 1923.

Lest we forget….

As I’m tired, and need to get a short nap in before work today, this will be mostly photos.  But the photos will say most of the words here, aside from this —

Beyond the fact that tomorrow will be Memorial Day in the United States RL as well as observed by many USA Residents in Second Life, we should also remember that this December will be the 70th anniversary of America’s entry into what became the Second World War.  In the Real World, the living memory of those years is rapidly fading as our parents and grandparents, those who Tom Brokaw referred to as the “Greatest Generation,” pass away.  Today or tomorrow, be sure to call or visit with them and thank them for all that they did, both then and after; speak with them, if they’re willing, of those days, and remember and record their memories, so that we shall always know what they did to save a world.

This, and all photographs following the break were shot at the virtual recreation of the World War II Memorial in WW2 Pacific. I hope you will visit, and that you will contribute to its upkeep when you do.

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5th Annual Beltane Celebration In World

By the grace of Her Ladyship Eva Bellambi, Lady Chief of the Clan Bellambi, Patron of the Order of the Red Rose, & etc.:

Poster for 2011 Beltane

Lady Eva Bellambi is pleased to invite you to a celebration of the Celtic holy night of Beltane, to be held in Winterfell Anodyne on the evening of April 30 at 6:00 p.m. SLT (0100 UTC/GMT, 1 May).  This will be the fifth annual Beltane feast held by Lady Eva, and will include music May poles, and the lighting of the Beltane fires.

More details, including a synopsis on the tradition of Beltane, may be found at her Ladyship’s blog article.

Caerleon Museum of Identity Explores the Question of Who We Really Are As Avatars

Botgirl Questi announced  that a new virtual art exhibit, the Caerleon Museum of Identity, will be opening on Saturday, October 2, at 12:00.  (Her press release was not specific, but I would assume that this is SLT.)  The announcement included a video clip:

You can read the full text of the press release at Botgirl’s blog.  With 18 artists represented in the exhibit, which will run through October, it promises to be a thought-provoking museum.

I say this because this exhibit goes to the point of one of the things that provokes discussion among people “living” and working in virtual worlds:  when we’re looking at an avatar, is that someone’s real identity there?  The anonymity of an avatar gives people wonderful flexibility — with this creation of bytes and pixels, we can be who we want to be, not what we really are.  For some, it’s wonderfully liberating; for others, it allows them to conceal aspects of themselves they’d prefer not to show.  But for all of us, we have to confront the question at least once:  is this what the person behind the other computer is really like?

Most of us play various roles in our RL day as it is, usually linked to our interactions with those around us.  We have one face for the customer in our store; another, a presumably looser version, for the co-workers when we’re in a private moment on the floor or in the back room.  Friends outside of work may see yet another, at a sports game or club-hopping.  Even our interaction with some family and relations, if not all of them, can be a form of role-play; we have favorite grandparents we love to visit, or abysmal aunts we wish would never stop by, and we either display our feelings, or conceal them as deeply as we can out of politeness’ sake.

But what happens when all of the cues built by society and the knowledge base of personal, direct interaction in a meeting are made invisible and irrelevant?

In Second Life, we only have what the person is showing us with words on a screen, or perhaps a voice; and, of course, the appearance they choose to build for themselves out of pixels and prims.  For all we know, the rampaging extrovert with chopped, grungy hair, greasy leather clothes and piercings in places never dreamed of, might be in RL a dramatically shy wallflower with clean, tied-back hair, an ultraconservative wardrobe, and never even piercings for earrings.  Indeed, they might not even be the sex they’re portraying themselves as.  And then,of course, there are the furries, dragons, fae and aliens teleporting all over the place.  One of my favorite avatars from my days at the Blarney Stone was a blue fox.  That surely wasn’t what the person was in real life!

You may want to check out this exhibit while it’s open.  Hang around for a while and meditate on the studies; see what these artists’ thoughts evoke in you.  I haven’t seen this yet, though I may attend the bloggers’ preview on Friday.  But my experience and training tell me that the best art make you think, opens up your senses to a new reality, or a new take on reality.  This virtual world we love and deal in is a reality in itself that needs new thoughts, new philosophers to work out its parameters.  Perhaps the Caerleon Museum may begin the walk toward such an exploration.

Teleport to the exhibit.

Oscar SL Fashion Contest Submissions Extended to March 6

Gee, I’m offering avatar girls free money, and nobody’s taking me up on it…?

I published an article on a little contest I’m running for your best choices for red-carpet-worthy Second Life gowns, leading up to the Academy Awards on March 7.  The response?  Well, I’m having to go out and hunt for contest entries, and invite them to my Flickr or Koinup groups.  You’d think a shot at L$1,500 first prize would get some interest.

Well, I’ll put this fresh announcement up, and I’ll extend the deadline to 11:59 p.m. SLT March 6 (or 12:01 a.m. on the 7th).  C’mon, ladies!  Are you gonna pass up the chance at the cost of a new Miamai or Nicky Ree gown here, plus a little ego-boo in the bargain?

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