18 March, 2007

to: S. Sgt. Jackson from: his sister

this is dedicated to my heroic little brother S.Sgt.Jackson.
he really isn't that little anymore(actually he has been taller than me for a long time now), but it is never hard for me to remember when he was. we fought, we yelled, we punched each other...but we were really lucky to have each other. we had a great life growing up together...in a country far, far away dancing like funky monkeys all night long. we loved spain, we loved spaniards, we loved the customs and the jokes and the soccer 'till all hours of the night. we loved dancing like dorks in the discos with our true friends. we loved climbing tall mountains in sneakers and soccer shorts, camping in bumpy (illegal) terrain, and soaking in sun and many waves the next morning ( minus when he got stung by some sea fish, and kicked in the eye!) we loved the warm spanish nights, the warm spanish hearts, the warm greasy spanish food. we loved it.
time ticked, we grew up, jumped from spanish schools, american schools, home schools to boarding schools...and really i think we loved it. we griped and complained, but what else do you do when you are a bored teen? at least i look back now and i think it was a pretty good time.
we did things together, we stuck together. so, together off we went to a boarding school, away from a home, a family and a country we had loved...to a new place we would also learn to love. we ran track, cross country, played soccer, and capture the flag with machine guns and machetes (not really, bummer!), we slept through our high school lectures, joked about stupid things, quoted movies over and over, laughed about sad things and cried about silly stuff.
then we were done, school was over...we graduated and moved on. we moved to very different places. he enlisted in the army and i went to a liberal arts university. i graduated, got married, had two boys, am a freelance translator and live in hickville USA. he got promoted, got married, reenlisted, had a son, got promoted, was deployed, got promoted and was made into a hero.

i am way older (ha!) and wiser now and look back only to see the great times we had, the amazing things we accomplished, i forget the boring days, the hard times without friends...the ugly awkward years of our youth...i just remember that we were(and are) buddies, we were together and we did have a great time (most of the time) and we loved it. (at least i think he did too) and really the hard times were what made us who we are today.

here's to hard times, good times, little brothers, and having true heroes...

14 March, 2007

hard day? get a Second Life!

Just what we all need! Most of us can't even deal with keeping up on paying our real life bills on time, taking care of our own real kids, and cleaning our own real house....now we have to keep up appearances in a cyber life! Brad (my husband) was telling me about this site where you can have another life ( he learned about it in his strategic communication class in PDX). It's called Second Life: Your World. Your Imagination . The description on Google is, " provides an online society within a 3D world, where users can explore, build, socialize and participate in their own economy". You can laugh and scoff and tell your buddies how stupid this idea sounds...and it quite possibly is stupid, but you are becoming a minority as the site claims to have 4,626,053 people who are active members!

Second life claims that,
The Marketplace (their site's economy) "currently supports millions of US dollars in monthly transactions. This commerce is handled with the in-world unit-of-trade, the Linden dollar, which can be converted to US dollars at several thriving online Linden Dollar exchanges". That's real money these people are paying to buy digital shoes, go to digital shows, eat digital food, and be as digital as you could possibly wanna be! Regular people are typing in codes to make really cool digital cars, homes and whatever else you can think of and they are making actual real life dollars for their "expertise". You can purchase wedding gowns by designer Sherona DeGroot of DeGroot Design at Weddings - Linden Lifestyles for between $500L to $900L . Don't go nuts on me now, that's not actual dollars, it's Linden Dollars(L$). Wikipedia states that ,"though the exchange rate fluctuates, as of February 2007 it is reasonably stable at around L$ 270 to one US dollar. Rock bands are playing exclusive second life concerts that your character can pay to "attend". Between March 28 - 29, 2007 you can go to the New York, Museum of Jewish Heritage if you choose to, virtually of course. You can be a part of the Cancer Co-Op (47 members), the Breast Cancer Awareness group (88 members), or go an a walk for the cause with other virtual people by the thousands in order to raise money for almost any charitable cause you can think of.

There are some issues and criticisms, and challenges which Second Life has encountered, "these range from the technical (
Budgeting of server resources) and moral (pornography) to legal (legal position of the Linden Dollar, Linden Lab lawsuit)" (Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Second_Life ) . Other problems are that you no longer need to prove your identity in order to obtain an account (meaning you really have no idea who you are dealing with), and there is no law in Second Life, or punishment for wrongdoing besides the other "people" getting upset.

This is definitely a "special land"or a second life, but why do we need a second life when we already have so much trouble running our real life? I know that since I have not tried it some people would say my comments are not fully valid. Yes, not fully I guess...but pretty much mostly! I certainly don't have to become a member in order to see that however there are benefits, there are many more un-benefits. the un-benefits are I see for myself are: spending too much time somewhere far away from where I should actually be, getting addicted to something unreal and fake, neglecting my real life obligations for the fantasy of pretend ones, drifting away from actual real-person interaction in order to "play house"...these are just the traps i see for myself. So, do it if ya wanna....i won't.

So is it good, bad or ugly? The more i read i just seem to think it is ugly. I say it's ugly not because it contains nothing good, and not because it contains nothing bad. In my blog ugly is that which not being fully bad and only having a small trace of potential good...is just not something positive and it could get really dark, or ugly.

Check these out if you are interested in this topic:


BBC NEWS Technology Second hype or second life?

Second Life Herald: Dutch to Prosecute for Virtual Child Porn?