Don and I had a peculiar friendship. We hardly spent time together in SL. I could count on one hand those occasions. Our relationship was made up of three main components; long telephone conversations, often on our commute home – we both drove long distances to get to work, and in the mornings I was either sleep or getting ready when he was heading to work, so we talked on the way back – or during hospital stays, video chats at odd times, and daily texts.  It was a bit of an oddity that we became so close so fast, where our daily texts did not stop even when I traveled 8 thousand miles away for a month. An odd development, on which Don would often comment.

We were not lovers, and neither of us was interested in that. Don had Socco & Grazia, and I was a born again virgin (this always gave him a chuckle). I am not claiming he was platonic in all ways, as a big brother. If you know anything about Don, you would know that if I ever claimed such a thing, you could call out the bullshit. He liked to flirt, he liked women, and his claim was that his heart could house many.  He liked skirting that fine line between friendship and something-else, now and again. But, he never crossed that line. And, because we had so much to say to each other, the combination made us life long friends. We shared a passion for arts, women in high tech, intelligence, and witty humor.  He would have genuine insight into my poems, constructive critique of my photography (RL and SL), and would let me ramble on and on about the challenge of being a woman in the tech world.

As I told Don’s wife, her 3am informing me of his passing shattered my world. I had never imagined the world without him.  The most difficult part is the peculiarity of our friendship – it formed a bubble that held only me and him in it. We never shared our time with anyone. Now, in his absence, I am so so lonely in that bubble. In some ways, that is one of the main reasons I keep poking Grazia and Socco. For those brief moments of contact with them, I am not alone in the bubble.

Since Don was a supporter of my pursuing poetry, I thought I would share one of my pieces he liked (please do not share or reproduce without explicit permission):

This is 
what it has 
come to 
and every morning 
by that 
expanse of light 
on the sill 
I line up the bottles 
of my destruction 
the flight of seagulls 
reflected in color, yet beauty 
distances itself, a chase 
following its smell 
into far corners of my memory 
a red suitcase covered 
in dust, tucked 
behind a curtain 

This is 
what it has 
come to, 
and every morning 
in that 
trapped smell 
of sex in a wintered room 
I roll in refusal 
of the rise, drowned 
by the cheerless chirp 
of a mocking bird 
a feather’s harsh reality 
that lasts 
from the warmth in one man’s arms 
into the next 

This is 
what it has 
come to 
and every beat 
of that 
yellow anger 
in my voice trumps 
the seagull dances on the bulging 
innocence of grandmother’s goblets 
hanging fat 
Buddhas of transparency 
blurred against the window pane 

Yes, this is 
what it has 
come to 
the memory of my fists, blooming 
sunflowers in a sky 
of concretes, now pushing 
my inked palms, deep 
into worn pockets 
in one single moment, shame 
becomes a permanent companion 

Yes, this is 
what it has 
come to 
and it finds me 
in round drops 
of tub water, wobbling 
down my neck 
in the salty wind, climbing 
up my spine 
in the flames 
of a bonfire, luring 
in my eyes 
in every bottle lined up on the sill. ©

it_has_come_to_this

 

Dress: Azul, Nayomi in Sapphire
Hair: Boon

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2015-07-19_RIP_Don

Friendship is one of life’s most precious offerings, one which for centuries poets have tried to emote, performers have aimed to illustrate, fables have tried to capture, singers have sung about, parents have tried to teach, and people of all sizes and colors have tried to find.  This is all because, just like love, it is hard to define. It is a bit like porn, if you will, in that you recognize it when you see it, even if you can’t define it. Don Mill was a friend. His most special gift to me was his almost-brutal honesty and wit. You always knew where you stood with Don. He illustrated how you could be a manly man without hiding from feeling your feelings. A challenge that many are not up to, in either sex frankly. He was always willing to discuss anything, no matter how mundane or how deep. More importantly, he had something to add – a new angle, a different understanding, or simply to convey that he would have your back no matter how you approached the topic.

Don was bright, confident, and full of affection even if his heart didn’t always make it easy (pun intended). His heart finally gave up at 4:30 this morning. He will be dearly missed.

Don Mill: April 10 1971 – July 18 2015

2015-07-19_RIP_Don2

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For years, I have kept my RL photography on Google (which not too long ago graduated to Google plus). Believe it or not, I have been on gmail since its beta days.  As a result, I have hundreds and hundreds of photos on there. Moreover, it was so easy to remember that Flickr had SL pictures and Google had RL. I didn’t have to log out of one account, and into the other; worry about posting one photo on the wrong feed that was meant for the other. Yesterday was the end of an era .  The upgraded Google photo drive does not allow you to reorder your photos – as you wish – in an album. What??  This is what happens when engineers get to make product decisions.

While I have way too many engineer friends, and I love most of them dearly, and while I appreciate the concept of engineering-driven companies – that would be companies like Google where Product team does not have an authority over the Engineering team to tell them do this or that. This makes sense in that you don’t want to build a company where Product and Sales just run amok & promise badly-designed, crappy things, just to sell & make customers happy in the short term, and engineers are just minions to follow orders.  You do want engineers to have a say, where they make leaps and come up with innovative and improved ways to do old things, as well as novel ones. But, at the same time, engineers – left to their own devices – often builds something that no one buys, which is why there is a team of product people who help avoid that disaster. From my point of view, the most successful innovations come from the collaboration of the two teams. See, now I have gone a full paragraph on my tangent!

As I was saying, while I appreciate Google’s pride in being an engineering driven company, forcing people to use photos in albums that they cannot reorder, edit in batch, etc, is a terrible terrible decision for the user. So, yeah, I gave up on them, and created an RL Flickr account. You would think I would be a Flickr pro and would immediately feel at home. But, I am feeling all lonely and lost. Really. So, if you are so inspired, come and take a look. I haven’t posted a ton of pictures from past or anything. Just a few pictures from an event where I broke my knee. Ahem, I didn’t mention that? Well, yeah, that’s for a whole other Oprah ;)

For those of you who have not broken your knees, here is a photo for The Last Dance. I thought it fitting since I had had my last dance with Google. Heh. The shoulder dressings are from Zibska, who never fails to inspire me with both her photographs and her designs. They made me feel special, like I could do anything. So, I paired them with part of a dress I had from Phoenix Rising called Coco Chanel Tribute. Is there anyone old enough out there to remember that store? *sigh* Once I was ready to go, I ended up staying in (on my little patch of beauty at Neva River) and photographing it. Go figure!

 

2015-0710_last_dance

Shoulders: Greer by Zibska
Horns: Zoya by Glam Affair 
Skeleton hands: Part of Toga by Shi
Skirt: Part of Coco Chanel Tribute by Phoenix Rising
Hair: Blown by Shi
Skin: Neva by Glam Affair
Location: Neva River

It’s the last dance, we’ve come to the last dance
They’re dimming the lights down, they’re hoping we’ll go
It’s obvious they’re aware of us, the pair of us, alone on the floor
Still I want to hold you like this forever and more
It the last song, they’re playing the last song
The orchestra’s yawning, they’re sleepy I know
They’re wondering just when will we leave, but till we leave, keep holding me tight
Through the last dance, each beat of the last dance
Save me the first dance in your dreams tonight
They’re wondering just when will we leave, but till we leave, keep holding me tight
Through the last dance, each beat of the last dance
And save me the first dance in your dreams tonight

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Friday night, I was at the beach with great live music and the most spectacular fireworks you have ever seen in your life. I kid you not. The. Best. Ever. Naturally, I had to get my camera and snap a few photos. My camera being the most expensive possession of mine (after the house), I am very protective of it. So, when I tripped on some ice plants and saw the ground approaching, I couldn’t let the camera hit the ground first. That meant I had no hands to break my fall. My knees jumped in and saved my face (pun intended). Now, I have a new fashion accessory to keep my left knee immobile. Have you ever tried to sleep with a knee immobilizer? If not, I hope you never have to.

Since I couldn’t sleep, I decided to poke my head in SL. I had great fun playing with K’aalogii from Azul, imagining myself trying to escape from some castle where the handsome prince was keeping me captive. Since he was handsome, I was conflicted about escaping, leaving him in the middle of the night. I tried to capture my pausing & having a last look, before running into the night, in this photo. I think I escaped successfully. I could go back to bed, and hope that the coming week would bring with it laughter and joy. I hope all your lives (first, second, or third) are filled with joy!

If you ever get bored in the middle of the night, and want a photo playmate, don’t hesitate to call on me. Who knows what will be fluttering about my head next time you catch me…

2015-0705_dark_night

Azul’s K’aalogii in champagne
Pose: Diesel Works, WhereisF1
Location: Neva River

Waking in the middle of the night, it’s nothing but
Dark. And be side by side, it fells allright.
You’ve got no more than a few years ahead of you
And it feels alright.
You’re not scared, scared.

You’ve got to do it, do it, do it
And take it, take it.
You’ve got to have it, have it, have it
Now don’t you think about it.

Standing in the middle of the fight
It don’t feel right.
There’s no one on your side
It don’t feel right
There’s not a place left to go and hide
And it don’t feel right
Go escape, escape

You’ve got to do it, do it, do it
And take it, take it.
You’ve got to have it, have it, have it
Now don’t you think about it.
Now don’t you think about it.
Think about it.

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