Virtual worlds, real nervous break

I think it was roughly this time last year I ragequit G+ and everything, I felt overwhelmed and also I had doubts about how healthy virtual worlds are for me, for my mental health.

I’m having a nervous breakdown again, this spring. I’m feeling like I’m fumbling and messing up my involvement with 3RG and squandering an opportunity there. I’m not mad (of course), instead I’m filled with a lot of dread and anxiety.

I am mad about a couple of other VW projects centered around SL. Long story short, I feel as though me and my contributions are getting blown off, which pisses me off.

Thing is, my sleep is fucked IRL -I think I’ve gotten one, maybe two full night’s sleep in the last month. That fucks with one’s head in a major way.

I stopped one mind-altering med (ritalin), went through withdrawls and now I’m starting another (provigil).

Then there’s RL stresses involving me and my friends’ medical conditions …doctors visits, arranging shopping, that sort of thing.

This leaves me in a raw emotional state and I don’t quite trust my judgement, either.

The easy way out is to say “well, blame the virtual drama, cut it out and life will be easier”. I tend to over-extend myself and that’s definately a contributing factor …but I believe that’s also a cop-out.

I fell for that cop-out last spring and found myself profoundly missing this part of my life, and found myself still having to cope with things; so no …I don’t buy that it’s an answer.

I’ve been dealing with clinical depression and (clinically diagnosed) agorophobia since my 20’s. In that time I’ve learned some DBT tricks and I think instead of blaming virtual worlds,  cutting and running from them it will be better if I lean on some of the lessons I got from DBT;

1)Self soothing …while I adjust, things are going to be a roller-coaster. The best way to get through it is to spend time w/ people who nourish me and find things that are fun and focus on those as much as possible.

2)Radical acceptance. I need to look at some things I’m deeply unhappy with, throw up my hands and say “fuck it …it is what it is”. This is in a virtual world context, mind you. Haters gonna hate, flakers gonna flake. I have to take things, orgs and people for what they are and work around that …instead of what I wish they were or the potential that I see in them.

3)Practicing more mindfulness and detachment. It’s really weird, because I don’t think of myself (and IRL I don’t present myself) as a very emotional person …but virtual worlds bring out a primal, emotional side of me and I have to cultivate some detachment regarding them.

It’s a question of getting RL sorted out -and RL *is* getting better…and then when RL is sorted out (particularly on the medication front) I’ll be able to see things for what they are; right now I don’t quite trust my perceptions on a lot of things (lack of sleep, med changes make me distrustful a bit).

I’m going to have to re-assess what I can do, and what’s WORTH doing. But it doesn’t have to take a ragequit to do that. It’s a question of giving myself time to heal IRL, soothing myself as I go through that, and then having faith that when I’m better I’ll see things clearer and can cope with stuff then.

So I’m not leaving -leaving would be pointless and it’s not necessary.


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Introducing the Neuanzere Project.

Since hearing that they have gone non-profit, I have wanted to jump on the 3RDRockGrid bandwagon and somehow throw my support behind them. I have rented a region from them and I hope to expand that with more regions, though time will tell.

Interestingly enough, I’m using my 3RG region as a springboard for my Neuanzere project.

I have almost no details yet of what it’s going to be, but they’re getting fleshed out.

Originally, I conceived Neuanzere as a name for the empty half of my Funadama project, imagining that it would act as the town center and as a lodestone for the rest of my grid before spreading across the hypergrid.

I’m imagining that it will be eventually turn into a roleplay multi-grid “empire”, and that is the part I am starting on.

Inspired by the origins of the CDS (where I am working) ..hence the “Anzere” (the name of the sim the CDS started at) I am starting this as a multi-grid project, originally it was intended to be my answer to the CDS, but in Opensim; however I’ve changed my mind on that for a variety of reasons. First, we already have a democratically run grid out here (Metro), I may well be wrong, this is something I’m investigating.

The “empire” part comes from my living in various places …SL, Metro, 3RG, and of course Admeja -it lends a coherent theme to my different builds. On all of those grids, of course, I have had a Funadama which has been a near identical build (where possible). With this project I intend on using the “empire” or “government” of Neuanzere as more of a theme and intend to have different eras and styles represented instead of cloned builds. I’ve also toyed with the idea of having them all (but SL) linked by blamgates, but decided that wouldn’t be workable.

Neuanzere 3RG is going to be based in the 20th century and America. Right now I’m going for a small-town idea as I flesh things out.

I spent last night importing Linda Kellie builds from Zadaroo and positioning them, later I’ll cannibalize them for their textures and as a head-start on builds. The hope is that it will be easier to do it that way instead of starting fresh builds completely from scratch.

Here’s a snapshot of what Neuanzere-3RG looks like currently; all of this will change as a result of trial-and-error over the next few months and years:

Ariel photo of the Neuanzere Region on 3rd Rock Grid

Neuanzere on 3rdRockGrid

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Gut reaction to Thirza’s poll

Recently, Thirza Ember posted a poll asking people what they used opensim for. She released the results in this blog post, along with some editorializing. I posted my reactions to the thread Linda Kellie started in her group, and I think that they’re long enough to justify sharing here, too.

No love for the Benjamins?

(from the blog): “Almost nobody voted for making money. Is there anything wrong with admitting you are in [opensim] for the cash?”

That could be an ethical question, or a practical question.
Ethically? No, of course there isn’t.

Practically? Practically speaking, you’re trying to make money off of something which people have the freedom and ability to do for themselves, for free. That’s gonna be a tough sell.

In my opinion there’s nothing ethically wrong with trying to make a buck out here, but personally speaking if I thought I had something to sell, I’d be selling it in SL or someplace better suited with a larger audience.

So I don’t think there’s anything unethical about it, but I don’t think it’s gonna work out very well at the same time.

Expanding on that …I think that a lot of what brings people here is the desire to escape the hyper-commercialisation that makes up secondlife, that -coupled with a pervasive ameteur-hour lack of professionalism rampant in the opensim community also makes people hesitant to open their wallets and be good little consumers –if that was what they wanted to do, they would have stayed in SL instead of coping with the steep learning curve and constant glitches and regressions of opensim.

No raunch for us, please -Matlock’s coming on

(again from the blog);”The least surprising thing is that nobody wanted to admit they are inworld looking for love. I don’t believe that, but hey.”

There’s not enough churn, not enough variety of new blood and not enough diversity of ages (!!!), backgrounds as you find in someplace such as SL.

And I have no problem believing that almost no one out here is “looking for love”.

Based on my experience talking to people out here, most of us are middle-age or older (people in their 70’s aren’t uncommon) and we’ve been through that. We’re either settled down, or we’ve outlived the “urge to merge” largely.

That also affects sex and sexuality. I’m aware of a “adult” grids here and there, but in 5 1/2 years in opensim I’ve never once come across the “fuck palace” style of regions which litter SL.

Because we’re a different demographic, with different desires and things we want to do. You have adults and you even have “adult” places out here (eg Linda Kellie’s nude beach), but even those are more risque than raunch.

Both the lack of hardcore raunch, and the lack of romantic hookups is due …IMO… to where many if not most of us are in life, and also to the small size of our community (again -lack of churn).

What we make reflects what we want, and the fact we haven’t littered the hypergrid with gangbang grids and instead created a plethora of artistic or pastoral and roleplay regions reflects where most of us are in life -which is well past the demanding hormonal drives of adolescence and early adulthood.

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Opensim not working? Some basic things to check:

Someone on metro was having problems so I started to write out a checklist of things to go over when running opensim. The list snowballed so I thought it would be worth sharing as a blog. Here ya go!


If you are able to start opensim but not connect to metro, or not connect to the hypergrid, try looking at these issues and seeing if you can fix them.

First -there’s two ways computers communicate with each other; tcp and udp. This is important to remember.

First thing to check; windows firewall. You will need to make a rule that allows incoming and outgoing traffic on ports 8000-8003. You need to make one set of rules (incoming and outgoing) for udp and one set for tcp.

You will need to make rules in windows firewall for port 9000 (udp and tcp) and you’ll have to make rules for each region in addition that you want to host. Personally, I make a rule opening ports 9000-9200 (tcp and udp); I don’t use all of those but if I need them, they’re open.

Then your hardware firewall. You’ll have to read the manual or google for your router model, but usually most modems have a way to open ports; you’ll want to find out how to do this on your router and then open the same ports that you did for windows firewall.

If you have a home network (IE  you share the internet with family, spouse, other computers) make sure that the opensim traffic is going to the right place. Find which **LOCAL** IP your machine is getting assigned to by the router and then find out how to direct traffic to that IP so that the router doesn’t send it to the wrong computer or drop it entirely. On belkin routers that’s under the “virtual servers” link; your router will be different and you’ll have to google/read the manual about network redirection.

Loopback. Most home routers don’t support loopback (virtual network adapter) and that can cause viewers to hang when trying to connect to a local opensim instance. The best way to cope with this currently is to create a virtual loopback device; the instructions for that will differ depending on your operating system, and operating system version. Look here for a general idea:

If none of these pan out, then ask your grid for support on their forum (for example, to get metro’s version running, go to and descripe your setup, describe the steps you took and describe what problems you’re having as in as much detail as possible).

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Experiment gone …mediocre

I’ve lost count of how many fucking times I’ve found myself on G+ whining about having to set things up again because I had to reinstall blah blah …that’s the price you pay when one of your hobbies is tinkering with os’s, but I had an idea that could end up mitigating that.

I’m experimenting with running everything –firefox, mp3s off of a virtual machine. The downsides are pretty bad, but I have half an idea.

Using SSH you can run an application on your local computer even tho their binaries live on a remote computer. How many fucking times have I come on here whining about having to set things up again because I had to reinstall blah blah?

I’m experimenting with running everything –firefox, mp3s off of a virtual machine. The downsides are pretty bad, but I have half an idea.

Using SSH you can run an application on your local computer even tho their binaries live on a remote computer.

I have a linux VM I host my regions on, and I tried installing Singularity on it and logging into SL. It worked -really poorly! 4fps on low poorly.

So, yeah -that didn’t work, but I’m not giving up on the idea entirely. I am going back to the drawing board for now…

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Taking stock, wondering where we’re going, and Wether I’m going too.

I canceled my regions on Digiworldz. Reading this announcement pushed me over the edge; I have personal (nanowrimo, avatarfest, VM hobbies taking more of my time) and financial reasons (RL rent increases) but largely I don’t want to be throwing money into an effort that I firmly believe will end up hurting open source content across the hypergrid.

Then there is this G+ post from Shaun Emerald which has some potentially nasty implications. It’s bad enough to have fragmentation caused by commercial interests, but “not invented here” turf battles can be just as divisive and just as destructive.

The SL-based market is shrinking, the larger grids are blaming the smaller grids and many of the larger grid fanbois are becoming vicious in their astroturfing, which has cost me a friendship. I think this is going to result in their being a lot toxic drama coming to the metaverse. A good friend of mine suggests treating it like a kid throwing a tantrum, and I think she’s right –still, it will end up driving people away needlessly.

When things get weird, the weird…put on a festival.

I have had a great volunteer turnout and reception to my “Avatar Fest” celebration coming this November. I suspect I’m mis-guided in this, but I’m hoping to get some idea of the strength and depth of the non-commerical, end user community out there by putting this on. Going to events I know that for every person you see on a forum, there’s scores hanging out inworld. The trick is to draw them out, get them to work together, and fortify one another to withstand the coming shitstorm.

I believe we’re on the verge of experiencing something akin to the virtual world version of the Unix Wars and and we will see a lot of nasty marketing, astroturfing, needless incompatibilities, closing off of trade and it will get very grim.

I believe that we can survive it, I don’t know what the future of commercial grids are …whether on the hypergrid or closed entirely… but I see the potential for artists, creators, roleplayers and small communities to hold on tight to the open source, open travel, open exchange metaverse and weather the storm caused by commercial turmoil. We can do it by networking inworld and over neutral ground such as G+ and nurturing a community that transcends software versions and closed/open divisions.

…Or maybe we’ll just devolve to a handful of isolated folk running servers on our aging desktops. That’s not so bad, I don’t mind being The King of the World but I’m confident that it won’t come to that…if we form the bonds now, it doesn’t have to, at least.

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Announcing …LuserFest ’15!

2015 has been a year of great loss. Two core comitters, the Overte organisation, Fleep and Fleepgrid and the notable absence of a 2015 OSCC are just some of the losses that the OpenSimulator scene has endured this year.

Churn in open source projects is nothing new, even Linus has “hit by a bus” plans for being replaced. I’ve been called out and told in detail that the current core team is active and working towards new developments, and apart from the source code side of things the hypergrid and attendant grids have experienced record growth in the last couple of years.

Still, though …no OSCC.  Hey, man -that’s fine by me!

I’ve never liked OSCC, straight up, and I’ll tell you why. I’ve always felt that the OSCC was too closed, and too elite. Far too concerned with professionals strutting around trying to impress other professionals and what cool-ass stuff they’re doing. There was zero focus on end users and it felt to me as if we were a nuisance that they had to endure (or, worse yet, SELL SELL SELL to). I didn’t go last year, I wouldn’t go this  year, even if it was occurring.

Still, I think our platform is worth celebrating and being the old punk I am I feel that the departure of the enterprise demographic clears the stage and gives us regular people a chance to shine!

So it’s with that in mind that I am nervous as fuck to announce the very first “LuserFest”. LuserFest will be a 4 day (Nov 13-16) Festival to celebrate the vibrancy of the opensim community and it’s users. A lot of the details will depend on the reaction this idea gets, but I will be setting up a region on Digiworldz (either a 2×2 or a single region -depending on the response) and I will invite people to set up small exhibits, network or just come by, hang out and see who your virtual neighbors are.

In terms of exhibits, I’d like people to either set up a small showcase of their wares, or …ideally… set up a small exhibit showing off something involving opensim that they think is cool.

There will be a dance floor, of course, but it’s doubtful that there will be presenters (I doubt I’ll even be able to scare up a DJ!) -this party is gonna be for us, the people who come on each day and talk to each other and use the platform to enhance our lives.

As they say, I’m raising this up the flagpole and seeing who salutes. Whether it’s with 1 other person or with one thousand, I’m looking forward to celebrating the opensimulator/hypergrid community with you this November.

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