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The Tedium of Restraint June 26, 2007

Posted by Steve in diary, reflections.

[RL] A recent study released by the American Medical Association (AMA) reports that 90 per cent of American youngsters play video games. What followed the AMA’s statistic was a request that video game addiction (VMA) be officially recognized as a medical condition.

——-“Hi, my name is Alphonsus. My animator is a video game addict.”

——-“Hi, Alphonsus. Errr… Hi, Alphonsus’s animator.”

I don’t think we need to go into a debate here as to whether or not SL is a game. Game, virtual world, metaverse, whatever it is, it is extremely addicting. And I am, (have been?), addicted. I meet at least half of the characteristics of VMA, the most serious one of which being:

  • Hours playing video games or on the computer increasing, seriously disrupting family, social or even work life.

And, as I now attempt to achieve a healthy balance between SL and RL, I find that a lot of the reasons why I avoid RL is that a lot of RL is just plain tedious. I’d far rather be building Cataporters ™ than trying to sort through a ton of crap down the basement which we simply don’t have room for. Washing dishes, vacuuming floors, hauling around 40 pounds bags of sterilized poop for gardening projects, these things just don’t do a lot to give me pleasure.

Of course, messy kitchens don’t give me pleasure either, and the gardens grown from the poop DO bring me pleasure. What I do when I immerse myself in these little virtual environments, be it in SL or on the Xbox 360, is find a way of effectively being lazy with something mentally stimulating enough to allow me to ignore things like messy kitchens and to conveniently forget the fact that I like RL gardens.

Much or RL is, frankly, tedious, and in many cases quite lonely. It’s far easier for my animator to ostrich-ize himself behind a keyboard or a joystick than to try to overcome the issues creating tedium or loneliness. Will Power? I’ve only met the man a few times in my life, and I can’t say that we ever really hit it off.

SL is an incredibly powerful medium for gaining fulfillment and making friends, far too powerful for me to say that it is useless and to choose quit it cold-turkey without considerable cause (and I have more than once been on the brink of that “considerable cause”). It is oh so tempting, however, to say that it is the ONLY medium for friendship or fulfillment.

So, this is basically a post to state where my struggles lie. I’ve made some major improvements of late, but that only says that I’m holding on to the wagon with my fingertips. I still have many issues to overcome, and my goal is to overcome them without giving up. I’m not attempting to resolve these issues with this post. I just want to get them out there and sniff at them for a while. Half the struggle with addiction is admitting that there is a problem. Okay, I admit it. I still need to get comfortable with the other half, as soon as I’m more confident that I know kinda what the other half is.

More to follow…


Blogs: the salve that can wound. June 25, 2007

Posted by Steve in reflections.
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I have only recently begun blogging again with comfort. I, myself, have been struggling to try to understand the reasons for this. It has only been with the occurrence of recent events that some degree of comprehension for this lack of verbal expression has come to me. To wit, I’d been in a shitty mood, and I didn’t feel like dumping my excrement for all the world to look at and contemplate.

There are many reasons for blogging, and I have used most of them. For me, however primarily, a blog can be a diary–an expression of thoughts and feelings in a public forum as one tries to work them through. Sometimes, the feedback of others act as a reality check. Sometimes, the “you are being a dumb-ass” type of reply is the best kind of reply we can receive. Hopefully the replier will take the time to elucidate the reasons for my dumb-assedness. But anything that helps with my introspection can be a useful means for self-growth.

Blogging is, however, by its very nature, a public event. I am always fully aware that every word I say in a blog has an audience. Additionally, what we say in the course of a blog has the potential to influence the reader. By and large, I know who my readers are. And I will not deny that my blogs have been attempts to influence these readers in some way. Sometimes they have been attempts to convey insights. At other times, they have been direct attempts to cheer some of my readers up. Other posts have been attempts to show cleverness or to elicit accolades. I say this without shame, for, as I have stated repeatedly, I am utterly shameless.

What I have not used my posts for, or have at least not tried to, was to elicit pain, or to cause others to feel bad about themselves. When I created this blog, I was given the opportunity to put in a brief, “about me,” statement. The statement I came up with was something I felt was the core of my personality: “I get the most joy out of giving joy. I experience the most pain when I am unable to relieve the pain of another.”

As time has gone on, I have come to realize that, in these two sentences, I have really summed up that which is “me”. This statement truly expresses that which drives me. Looked at superficially, the statement makes me sound pretty damned good. If one analyzes the statement more deeply, however, one can see that it reveals my vulnerabilities, my weaknesses, and my flaws.

I also consider myself to be, quote unquote, a “man”, whatever that means. To me, it means that I don’t like to whine or complain or beg for sympathy in my posts. For several months, my life circumstances have made me want to do just that. It is by deliberate effort that I don’t write these negative posts. Negativity begets negativity, both in myself and in others. I don’t want sympathy…I want to break the cycle of negative feelings in myself.

To wit, to correlate to the above statements, it stands that I cannot bear to bring pain to another. Pain, however, is unavoidable. My attempts to avoid pain in one invariably cause pain in another, or cause pain in myself. Hence, I am slow to respond to injustice when injustice exists. I ostrich-ize myself, and take actions that pretend the pain does not exist rather than calling others out on it.

On a parallel line of thought, I have seen the kind of pain that the posts of others can cause, even innocently. The tendency to state ones feelings of negativity toward another, only to acknowledge that these feelings of negativity are wrong, does not negate the fact that the feelings of negativity still exist and can still be hurtful toward the person they are felt against. Often these posts are met with sympathetic replies toward the poster. The one who may be hurt, however, does not receive sympathy, and does not have an equal venue to defend oneself.

I acknowledge that this post is directed at certain persons. I have deliberately edited it to be not as direct as it was originally intended, as the posts I speak of are in the past, the poster’s see their errors, and the healing of the wounds has begun. I do not wish to reopen these wounds, but I also wish to take preventive measures to keep this kind of wounding from happening again.

Blogging can be a powerful tool for self-growth. If we are not careful, it can also be used as passive-aggressive weapon. While we are of course free to state whatever we want in a blog, I urge others to be carefully consider whether the words we blog are true to the person we want to be.

This is, admittedly, a soap box post. I’d urge you to respond if you feel misrepresented in any way, or if you feel that I am wrong in any of my statements, or if you feel that something important was left unsaid (be careful here, though). But beyond this I’d prefer not to dwell on this issue. What’s done is done. As far as I’m concerned, the less said about it from this point forward, the better it is for getting on with our lives.

Live well, love well, and try not to eat too much food high in saturated fat.

June 25, 2007

Posted by Steve in Uncategorized.
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With far more difficulty than I would have thought necessary, I managed to update my blog photo to one finally a bit more modern. This is me as I am today…far less “cartoonish” than I was in my earlier days.

June 25, 2007

Posted by Steve in Uncategorized.
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With far more difficulty than I would have thought necessary, I managed to update my blog photo to one finally a bit more modern. This is me as I am today…far less “cartoonish” than I was in my earlier days.

On Balance June 22, 2007

Posted by Steve in Uncategorized.

Somehow, through all the trials and tribulations and ups and downs and my various soul crushing adventures of late, I dare hope that some sense of balance has finally emerged for my animator in SL.

He no longer feels the overwhelming urge to send me off in world during his every waking hour. He has found many adventures out in his real life (including choir, his new XBox 360, and a gradually increasing feeling that his house should be cleaned occasionally). While I feel somewhat bored hanging out in electromagnetic stasis at time, I do feel much better that he is doing much better.

The Princess’s animator has been quite animated in conversation of late, and the conversation has been more positive then negative, so this has been something of a relief for him as well.

As for me, well, my Cataporter(tm) sales have plateaued, as have the sales in the rest of my shops. I am temporarily blaming the inability of people to safely buy Lindens–this excuse will hold me for the moment. I have just begun work on a tree house. Thus far, I have a trunk and some branch stumps. I haven’t a clear plan as to what I really want to accomplish here, but clear planning has never really helped me before. I’ll just keep tossing prims around until I get something I like. I’m not in the least worried.

I am pleased as punch (an interesting cliche, that) that my friends seem to be doing better. I am relaxed and refreshed from my vacation from SL. Things are going reasonably well. I do look over my shoulder from time to time to see if I see another shoe falling, but nothing is on the horizon at the moment. Fate has got to run out of shoes sooner or later. In the mean time, I’ll keep plugging away, doing whatever it is that I do. It is, after all, what I do best.