Where was that again?

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Breaking Point...

The above song spawned this post, and I think it’s a fantastic song (can't see the video? click here)…. But the concept of a breaking point in relationships shouldn’t be limited to women, rather it should be recognized as gender neutral thing, as it is something that both men and women experience.  

Relationships come about because two people find themselves attracted to one another in some fashion. Conventionally, it’s a physical attraction that occurs when two people see each other. However, in the digital era, online dating has grown in popularity as well, and this brings a different aspect to the dating game. When it comes to dating in SL, you’re most common attraction will be to someone’s personality over their looks, as their real life looks are generally secondary in discovery. Anyway, two people connect on some level, this connection is explored, the relationship is formed, and the fun begins.

You have the honeymoon period, where everything is butterflies and rainbows, and they decide they’ve fallen in love, and so on and so forth. SL weddings are planned, prim babies are ordered, and everything is awesome. Until that moment when they honeymoon period ends. Now this doesn’t happen at the same time for everyone, and not every couple will react the same to it. Some couples will make it over that hurdle successfully where others will crash into it and shatter. 

I keep talking about a breaking point, but I haven’t broken it down for you my way, and in terms of people and relationships in SL... Maybe I should get to that, eh?

Everyone has their own breaking point. For some people, the breaking point comes quick, while others seem to put up with a lot before they hit theirs. Basically a breaking point is the moment when a person decides that enough is enough, and they’re not going to settle anymore. They say “You get what you settle for, and you settle for what you think you’re worth.” I believe that rings very close to the truth. The less you think of yourself, the lower your standards will be and the more likely that you’re going to be unhappy with how the relationship goes.

So, in theory, based on the end of that last paragraph, you’d think that the relationship would end quickly. Quite the opposite is more likely. The more probable scenario is that the person who thinks less of themselves will tolerate a lot more, because they may feel like they can’t do better or perhaps they deserve to be treated this way. This, naturally, isn’t typically true at all. The biggest barrier they have in being truly happy is often themselves. They don’t see beyond their own misery because they have trouble seeing outside of the box they’ve placed themselves in. I’d venture to say that it’s the most common relationship situation in existence, because generally speaking, people are easily manipulated into thinking the worst of themselves.

On the flip side of this, you have those who reach that breaking point quickly. They might be the type to jump in and out of relationships at what seems like a weekly rate. They’re typically never satisfied and commonly unhappy with themselves. It’s the opposite of those with a low opinion of themselves. When it comes to the honeymoon ending, they not only stumble, they trip over their own shoelace and barely avoid an embarrassing faceplant. This type usually thinks themselves superior in some way, whether it’s warranted or not, and perhaps directly related to the SIDWs that I dedicated my previous entry to. The reasons for them dumping the ones left in their wake vary in degree, but are often things that seem menial or trivial to those who don’t mimic the same relationship pattern. Or they’ve possibly decided the grass is greener in someone else’s yard, and they’ve already begun sniffing around and need to clear the way. They make the best examples for “misery loves company” situations because they feel that everyone should share their moment.

Somewhere in between you have a good balance of a healthy self-image and appreciation for what’s acceptable in a relationship and what’s not. This is the least common and most coveted scenario because these are the people who manage to buck against the odds and achieve happiness. They are able to clear the hurdle of the honeymoon period ending and walk away with only minor scrapes and bruising. The ones in this situation have learned to respect one another, as well as appreciate each other, and don’t necessarily feel like they’re hitting that breaking point very often.  In terms of couples in SL, these are the relationships that last longest, and often go RL. Most of us know at least one couple, some of us are fortunate to know several, and the majority of us feel some sense of envy that we haven’t achieved the same. This is what we strive for, what most of us feel is beyond our grasp.

Whatever category the relationship falls into, one must remember that perfection is just a word, and it’s something that needs to be defined by each person for themselves, not just by a dictionary. What keeps people together past the relationship’s expiration date is a fear of being alone and a belief that you need another person to make you feel better about yourself. Reality is, you need to find out how to be happy with yourself before you can be happy with another person; how to love yourself, before you can love another person. A breaking point is when you say “fuck you” to the fear, to the bullshit, to the games, the lies, the tears. Breaking points can be good, not all relationships are meant to be forever, and some should have never been. 

Where’s your breaking point?

Monday, January 10, 2011

Self important drama whores, and the groupies that love them...

Self-important drama whores and their misguided bandwagon jumping groupies, what a concept, right? More like a plague, if you ask me. Honestly, I don’t know who the worst offender between the two is. Without one, the other can’t survive, and vice versa. Combined, they become a force to be reckoned with… at least until someone slaps them in the face with a “So what?” attitude and they get shut down and they have to find a new subject to toot their own horns about. We’ll refer to the two groups as SIDWs and MBJGs respectively, in the interest of time.

What is a SIDW? Well, let’s make a short list, and see what we come up with, so you can start to identify the offenders in your life:
  • Constantly in crisis of some sort
  • Always on one extreme or the other 
  • Constantly on the lookout for supporters
  • Great liars
  • Shy away from those who they can’t manipulate
  • Willing to help, provided they gain something from it
  • Goes through great effort to make sure you see their “good” points
  • Can conveniently forget what others have done for them, if it suits their purposes
  • Crucify someone for wronging them, while expecting a slap on the wrist for their wrongs
First on the list, but no more important than any of the other points, is “constantly in crisis of some sort”.  It seems vague until you start noticing examples of it. The SIDW seems to always have something drastic going on for them, whether it be with their real life world or their internet life world. I won’t limit that to Second Life because they exist all over the place, not just SL, as I learned a long time ago when I got my social internet legs in an AOL chat room. They are always being wronged, always being held back, always the victim. They can’t conceptualize what situations they bring upon themselves, they just know that they don’t like what someone else is doing, and they want you to not only be empathetic, but to pity them and make them feel that they’re justified in their reaction.  They want you to pay them attention and make them feel important, even better if they feel like they’re at the top of your list of importance in your life.

“Always on one extreme or the other” is similar to the previous point. It’s another attention seeking method. This can even be them taking the “crisis” to the next level, alluding to drastic actions. What happens when the SIDW doesn’t feel sated by the reaction to their “crisis” is exactly what this point is about. Say they share on their preferred social networking site (such as FaceBook or MySpace, for example) that they’ve been kicked from some group. The reaction they’re looking for from their groupies is coddling and outrage, the proverbial scratch behind their ear. When that’s not enough, they’ll allude to something drastic like “the end” and “darkness” which will make the person who’s reading or listening to think of something like suicide, and elicit a more dramatic response of direct attention for the SIDW. Whereas this might be a realistic cry for help from one person, when it comes to a SIDW, it’s just manipulation.

The SIDW cannot exist without supporters, so they’re constantly looking for new ones. It’s not that they need a lot of them at one time, more that they need to replace the ones who smarten up enough to realize what’s going on, the ones who they’ve used up and no longer need, and the ones who see what’s going on, but insist on trying to circumvent the bullshit and try to get the SIDW to grow up and take some personal responsibility in life. The last being the least conducive to the SIDW’s continued success, naturally. In order to gain new supporters, different methods are used, none of which have genuine intention. They may offer something as seemingly innocent as a shoulder to cry on, act like they’re being a great defender for their “friends”; they seem to say the right things, be outraged at the right things, overall a great person to have around. If simply being there and acting like a friend isn’t enough, or if they prefer something more carnal, they might slide into the sexual side of things. This is particularly helpful in gaining the trust and support of those who have lower self-esteem, those who are looking for someone who seems to find them attractive in some sense.

Naturally the best SIDWs are great liars. Then again, it’s imperative that this skill is well developed, as it’s necessary for a good manipulator to be able to not only lie well, but to maintain it as well. They’ve likely gone through the trial and error process, learning what works and what doesn’t. Their consistent interaction with others helps them hone this skill. The lies are preferably small ones, as they’re easier to maintain, but bigger lies are easy enough when they keep the number to a minimum. The best SIDWs can lie well enough that it may take a long time for the truth to come out, and when it does, they rarely end up catching much flack for it.
A logical person realizes that a SIDW is their own worst enemy, but to the SIDW, the biggest enemy is the person they can’t easily manipulate. This one’s an obvious if you’ve been paying attention so far. If they can’t be manipulated, they can’t become an effective MBJG thereby rendering them not just useless, but dangerous. The one they can’t manipulate could see through the SIDWs bullshit and lies and reveal them for what they are. What are they? We’ll get there, grasshopper, have patience.

As was mentioned a little earlier, the SIDW doesn’t mind helping out a current or potential MBJG, because they stand to gain something from it. This can be anything from the simplest request, all the way to something more carnal. If they gain from it in some fashion, and they think they can succeed, they’re there for you. If it’s something they don’t think they’ll be successful with, won’t gain from, or if they’re already in the middle of something with someone else, they’ll either ignore your request completely, or rattle off an excuse as to why they can’t make it, sometimes throwing a random generic apology in there for good measure. This keeps the wheels greased and things moving as smoothly as they can.

The biggest effort they put out, after the first two mentioned points, would be making sure that current and potential BWJGs see their “good” points. They’re smart, sweet, sexy, charming, helpful, loyal, and the list can go on, but it’s rarely as genuine as they want you to think it is. They are smart, that’s a necessary trait of a SIDW, but it’s not always obvious intelligence. There’s a difference between being book smart and street smart, so to speak. You don’t need to be board certified to be a great mechanic, for example, you just need to have spent the time to gain the experience, and possess a talent for it. The rest often comes out in the perception of the receiver, based on the presentation given by the SIDW. Things such as loyalty are never unconditional, and like discussed in the previous paragraph, is expressly limited to what they’re gaining from the situation. If you find you’re dealing with a SIDW and any of their MBJGs, arm yourself with the knowledge and understanding that they will potentially turn on you once the SIDW has decided you’re not useful anymore, or you’re an issue.

Say you’ve spent months being a friend, offering emotional support, loyalty, a shoulder, and maybe even a sexual partner to someone who turns out to be a SIDW. You’ve stressed out, gone through many headaches, and about ruined yourself trying to be there for that person. Well, sorry, as soon as they decide they’re moving on, they do it… and don’t expect them to respect you enough to say anything first, you’re just not as important to them as they were to you. Even if you get the opportunity to confront them about it, and you can tell that they know they were wrong, you’re not going to get genuine remorse from them for what they did. Stupid enough to let them back in to your life? Don’t be surprised when history repeats itself. They haven’t changed, and you just haven’t learned your lesson yet.

Holy shit, the world is coming to an end, someone made the SIDW mad! Let hellfire rain down upon that evil person until they curl up into a fetal position and die! Yes, it really does need to be that dramatic, according to the SIDW, and if you’re a good MBJG, you’ll agree or at least keep your mouth shut and not let the SIDW think you don’t. The SIDW upset you, hurt your feelings, or truly wronged you? It’s just you being dramatic, they’d never do anything like that, and you’re exaggerating. Heaven forbid the SIDW accept responsibility for their actions. Besides, they’d never do anything that requires any type of acceptance of fault, nothing they’d have to really apologize for. Didn’t you know that already?
You did if you’re a good MBJG. If you haven’t figured it out by now, a misguided bandwagon jumping groupie is someone who sits there and feeds into the SIDW’s lies and bullshit. They might even know its lies and bullshit, but rather than calling them on it and risking being cast aside, they’d rather sit silent and enable the behavior. Without their groupies, the drama whore is nothing more than another whiney little bitch that doesn’t deserve more than a moment’s attention. See the connection yet? I hope so, this is taking longer than it should, but I felt it important to give this blight on society 15 minutes of fame as a public service to those who come across this blog and take the time to read it. 

So now that you have some information under your belt, sit back and look at those around you, identify the SIDWs and the MBJGs around you and make sure you’re not one of them. SIDWs are hiding behind this created persona to conceal how miserable they are with their lives, and they want to take you down with them, using you as a stepping stone to feel better about themselves. Stroke their ego, make them feel better, get shit on in the end. It’s a never ending cycle until you actually make an effort to stop being a part of it. Remember that misery loves company, but not everyone loves misery.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

A Rant on Love and Sex by Iso

Love. Most of us have experienced it. We’ve enjoyed it, reveled in it. Personally, I’ve experienced what I thought was love in real life, only to discover that it was a strange sort of puppy love that quickly turned sour. That was RL. Then I came to Second Life and *BOOM* I was knocked off my feet. I met a multitude of people, some were in relationships, and some were not. The ones in the relationships seemed as happy as could be. Cooing over each other like it was nobody’s freaking business. Then I met my first real SL boyfriend. He was a sweetheart. He wooed me and I fell for him. It was puppy love. I was freaking enamored with this dude. Then I found out he liked to be a furry. Who has two thumbs and had a complete spazz attack at this newfound information? That’s right, this girl right here.
With that out of the way and him gone from my life. I went on my merry damn way. Then I met another guy. Boy, that relationship was a shit storm. On and off again. Him cheating on me, me screaming at him like a banshee. Oh it was fun.
Then I met the guy that I fell head over heels for. It was the first real, true, unadulterated love that I had ever experienced. The relationship was perfect, up to a point. I had my ex getting in my IM box spewing shit about my current boyfriend in an attempt to get me back for himself. I sadly listened to the bullshit that he was spewing and I went back to him.
Worst mistake of my life. We fought and we fought. We would make up for a while, only to fight once more. We did end up getting married on SL but after a week we ended it.
Now for the shocker. After we broke up, he kindly informed me that he was gay. While we had been dating and married, he had been going to gay clubs and realizing that he was in fact gay.
Iso’s Ego: 0
Gay Ex Husband: 1
After that, I dated a few guys, nearly got married a couple more times. Never followed through because I was skittish as shit.
Then I was single. And I had been single for a while, when I started to observe the dysfunctional aspects of dating on SL.
Watching people getting together and breaking up, it was like my own personal soap opera. I, of course, provided my own popcorn.
I watched people claim that they were in love after a few days, at the most, a week or two. They’d be in the honeymoon phase for a month and in that month they’d have gotten married, had ten kids and were setting up to live happily ever after. Boy were they wrong; the honeymoon phase would end and they started to realize how many flaws their partner had. That was the end of the relationship. On to the next victim, I mean person.
Then there were those who would get into a relationship, stick it out through the honeymoon phase and they’d still be in love with the person that they were with. They seemed truly and genuinely in love with their boyfriend or girlfriend. .
I have seen many instances of the couple meeting up in real life and they fell even more in love with each other. They would soon disappear from SL because they were far too busy being wrapped up in each other to even bother with SL.
I have also seen the relationship where the couple may have met, but they go back to where they live and they continue on with SL. They get married, have kids, and then the little fights start up. They hide them and plaster on the happy face for the public.
I have seen my friends get torn apart by love. I’ve seen people give up entirely, claiming that their heart had been broken far too much for them to even bother trying to find someone again.
That’s where I came in. I had seen so much horror on the battlefield called love that I was actually turned away from it. I vowed to myself that I would never bother getting involved with another relationship. Fuck that shit; I wanted my heart intact, thank you oh so much.
But I guess you could say we’re all slaves to love. We can’t help but fall in and out of it. It’s in our genetic makeup to have the urge to reproduce. And we can’t do that without a partner. Well, we can but that’s just a cold process and it seems so, I don’t know how to put it, it seems so…unfeeling. You meet a person. You start to like them. You start to fall in love with them. And then you’re like “HOO BABY! Lets get to baby makin’ time.”
That brings me to my next subject of SL sex.
I’m going to make a face to explain myself, I hope you understand what I’m trying to portray: O.o
I get the enjoyment of having sex with someone that you care about. You get immense pleasure, right? Right *nods to herself*. But watching two pixels go at it like no ones business? All that comes to my head is complete and utter confusion. Some of you may like having sex on SL; I have absolutely nothing against it. I just don’t get it. I may need someone to explain the whole appeal of it to me so that I can understand it.
The point that I’m really trying to make with whole ramble on SL sex is that it can lead to cheating. And do you have any clue as to how easy it is to cheat on SL? *someone in the back raises their hand* Yeah. I know. All you have to do is make an alt, find someone who is interested in bumping the uglies and you are freaking golden. Maybe you’re not getting the pleasure out of the relationship that you used to, I hear married life can suck balls like that. Or maybe you’re just a cheating bastard that gets off on the misery that you are inflicting on your partner, causing them to feel worthless and unwanted. Niiiiicccceeee. But with the ease at which someone can cheat, I would be terrified to get into a relationship. Hell, I was for the longest time after I got cheated on. I have one friend who was so affected by the cheating of her partner that she refused to get into another relationship.
Cheating is easy, yet we trust our partners not to hurt us. It takes a lot of guts to do so and earns mucho respect from me. I mean if my friend trusts them, then I’ll trust them too. But if my friend gets hurt, I’m out for blood.
This entire rant was to talk about how I felt when it came to love and sex on SL. I guess I sort of went overboard with the whole thing. I’ve just done a lot of observing and a lot of experiencing. Not all of it was pleasant. Some of it was down right horrid. The observations that I have made are that of my friends and what they go through with dating. I wish I could tell other people’s stories. But as for right now, I think I’ll stick to my little rant.
/me boogies out to music while singing: “What is love? Baby, Mike hurt me, Mike hurt me, no more.”

Monday, January 3, 2011

Lag... In Summary

So recently I was clued in on a blog post from 2009, entitled The Anatomy of Lag, by Gwyneth Llewelyn. By the time I finished reading, I felt less concern over things like ARC and my frustration that good prim fur shot my rendering through the roof. I was impressed enough with the information shared in that blog post that I shared the link on my Facebook and Skype statuses. What I got back were comments about the complexity of the information that was given, in the midst of appreciation for the share. Being that I know that I struggled over a few sections myself, I’ve decided to attempt to summarize the information a little bit.

What many people may not understand is there’s a difference between server lag and client lag. Server lag is lag on Linden Lab’s side of things; it will affect everyone to an extent, equally. Client lag is something that you, yourself, experience that others don’t necessarily notice. There isn’t always a distinct difference between the two, but generally speaking, the causes are what make them different.

Client lag has many causes, but the most common offenders are connection, graphics card, computer not being configured properly, or not adjusting settings in preferences on the viewer. Adjusting settings both on your computer and within the preferences panel of your viewer can make a world of difference in your Second Life experience. I’m not going to get into specifics here on what adjustments can help, as it would make this far too long of a read. I will say that if you’re using a third party viewer, look to see if they have an inworld support group or a forum to see help with settings. If you’re on an official Linden Labs viewer, you’re going to want to search their Wiki to find information.

On the server side of things, everything is given a priority. Where an avatar is, in comparison to where your avatar is, is the first priority for the server when you land somewhere. Rendering their avatar if they’re within your visible area, also known as your draw distance, is second. Third and fourth are prim data and the textures, respectively, in your visible area. Last come scripts that directly affect or are controlled by you. While you may personally prefer a different order, this is the order than Linden Labs determined was most appropriate across the board, and is a major improvement over what they had when they first started.

If you’re experiencing lag while logged in, the first thing you can do is open your statistics window. You can bring it up quickly by pressing CTRL SHIFT 1 on a pc. You’ll see several headings including Basic, Advanced, Simulator, Physics Details, Time, and Time Details. These are all the factors affecting both you and the sim you’re on. The first thing in Basic is FPS which is short for Frames Per Second. This is how quickly your system is rendering everything that’s going on in your viewing area, specifically what you can see on your screen, at any given time. Packet Loss is how much information is being lost while your system is communicating with Linden Lab’s servers. Ping Sim is how long it’s taking, in milliseconds, for the server to answer your system in regard to information about the sim you’re on. The information from the Simulator heading is related to the sim you’re currently on and how the server is handling what’s on it. Specific descriptions for each section can be found here.

There is, generally speaking, only one thing that will lag everyone on a sim… a lot of avatars coming to the same place. This causes lag for everyone because the server has to go through the process of loading the new avatar for everyone who’s already there, and, in turn, everyone who’s already there for the newly landed avatar. This includes positions, textures, prims, and then lastly scripts. Everything happens for everyone in that area, all at once. Naturally, you should expect to lag. It has nothing to do with the person next to you who’s ARC is over 6,000 even though you’ve been taught all this time that it is. The only solution is reducing the number of avatars in that space. 

While all the information is great for you to have, it’s easier said than done to educate and inform others, especially those who are set in their ways. When dealing with those who aren’t aware, it’s best to take a passive position, and offer the information, but don’t push it on them. Land owners are free to set their own rules for their places, and this includes dictating the ARC’s of people who come there. You don’t have to agree with it, but respecting their position will be better in the long run, especially if you want to try and give them information about lag, such as what’s here and in the blog by Gwyneth Llewellyn.

It was pointed out that I should have included a quick bit of information regarding common methods to reduce inventory without deleting things. Tactics such as boxing items and taking them back into inventory, or putting things such as scripts, landmarks, textures, notecards, or even boxed items that have full perms on them onto a notecard does not help with lag. The asset server will still have to load those thing into your inventory to account for their existence in there. While those methods can be awesome for organizing, they're not effective in reducing lag. If you're wanting to use a method such as mentioned above and want it to be effective, my suggestion would be to box those items, or use the notecard method, then put those notecards into a box, but do not take them back into inventory. Also, allowing your inventory to fully load before jetting around the grid can help with lag as well, because the asset server is done loading these things, therefore won't be a factor until you introduce something new or delete something from the inventory.

This is the first informational blog I’ve attempted in quite some time, so if it falls short, I apologize. Please feel free to use the comment section below, and thank you for taking the time to read.