May 22nd, 2014



For some reason I decided to look up my old house in Wisconsin - the one that I owned and sold before moving out to California, back in 2006.

It's up for sale again, the second time since I sold it. It sold in 2010 and now it's up again just over 4 years later.

Why is it that no one can manage to live there for more than 4 years? Did some of my "critters" stay behind? Does my mother haunt the house?

They have done extensive renovations to the inside. Wood laminate flooring without. New counters and sink. Central air, which likely means they replaced the furnace as well as the hot water heater (didn't find out till after we agreed to the sale that the hot water heater was a bomb waiting to happen). New windows, new roof. Lovely landscaping, though the back yard looks very bare without my box elder there (they had to take it down, it was about to fall down).

The cottage used to be a 2-bedroom but the owner before my mother knocked out the wall between the second bedroom and the living room, making it L-shaped. One of the owners after me put the wall back in but didn't turn the area back into a bedroom. Instead they put in a built-in entertainment center where the wall is, completely tore out the old bathroom and the closet in that corner, and moved everything to the front wall in that old bedroom area. Personally I think they wasted the space. Why have a bathroom that big? They don't say anything about an extra room and the pics don't show it so I'm assuming that's what they did - just turned the entire thing into a huge bathroom. Stupid.

Wonder if they took out the fold-down stairs to the attic? That would also be stupid. The attic was great storage space....but if there are "critters" living up there (and we aren't talking racoons or squirrels) then I can understand it.

That house is calling to me. I have to put it out of my mind. As much as I'd like to move back there, it is financially impossible, and even if I could somehow scrape up the money to move us there, we're one bedroom short.

When mom was still alive and it was her house we were planning to tear down the garage and put up a two-storey addition. Then we found out she had cancer, and that all went out the window. The money I'd gotten out of my 401(k) after being put on disability went for her funeral. :(

Not only would I need the money to move us there, but I'd need the money to build an addition. Now, if I got a huge increase in my VA benefits with a nice size back pay, we could do that. However, I am quite a ways away from doing battle with them yet again for the increase I deserve.

I know why this house is calling to me, and it's tearing me up but right now there is just no way I can do anything about it.


Oh - But It IS Real!

I will tell everyone right now.

If you consider virtual reality - aka Second Life - to be a game, on par with MMORPGs and shootemups? Just unfriend me right now.

Virtual Reality is an Internet platform, not much different than, say, Facebook, Yahoo, or Skype - but in 3 dimensions. It allows us to create a 3-dimensional avatar that can interact directly with other avatars made by real people. On this platform, we can collaborate to create, roleplay, date, build, and many other things.

There are games IN virtual reality that we can play, such as Bloodlines, zombie shoots, roleplay constructs, etc.

Our minds and emotions are the same, no matter where we are interacting, and that includes every single interactive platform the Internet has to offer. The mechanics of interaction do not lessen our worth or our reality as human beings. They supplant us and allow us to go to places and dimensions previously closed.

Yes, your mind and spirit are anchored to your body - but are not dependent on that body to interact. Not anymore. Not since the invention of the telephone and the Internet. Both allow us to reach beyond the physical confines and restrictions of our bodies to interact with other human beings - whether they be next door or across the planet.

The next time you are tempted to shrug off responsibility for having a negative effect on someone, just because their point-of-contact is represented by pixels rather than flesh - just remember, you are just as real as they are. Just as capable of feeling emotions from an interaction represented, at its very core, by 0s and 1s. Just as capable of feeling hurt or heartbroken. Just as capable of feeling the physical effects that come with such feelings.

No one can use "It's not real" as an excuse. Not anymore. Face it. We are treading new ground, especially when the pixel world goes 3-D. We are accessing yet another dimension, one where others can also access and interact. The mode does not make us any less real as human beings. Anyone who says otherwise is using that as an excuse to stomp on people's emotions. Just because the individuals involved cannot reach out and physically slap their bullies doesn't make it hurt less.

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