Monday in two parts (2) … Stand up for what is right

Well it was a long and nervous wait to hear the outcome of the meeting, but the news is good! … I’ve had to be out of the house for a lot of today, but here is an extract from the email I found from Danny when I got home…

I have met with both HR and personally with the man who harrassed me. Both meetings went very well.

There is going to be a complete investigation of the Material Review Board and a complete audit of quality records. This may take weeks or even months. If this problem is as systemic as I suspect – all will be revealed and brought to light.

I am so very proud of him !! … And, of course, I’m relieved for him that he didn’t have to feel that he was being forced out of a job, because that would have been terrible for him and so unjust.

He said he needs time now to unwind after all the turmoil and of course I’ll give it to him. He knows I’ll be here whenever he wants to talk, but he’s certainly earned his rest.

Never be afraid to stand up for what is right!

Monday in two parts (1) …. Standing up for what is right

Danny has a very important meeting this morning out there in the real world, the outcome of which has the potential to change his life for ever.

For over 20 years now he’s worked for a company which makes medical equipment, some of which contains radioactive material. We’re talking scanners and the like here, big stuff. Important stuff if you happen to have cancer.

Companies that make this type of machinery have to have very strict quality control procedures when it comes to the parts and materials that go in to those machines, and Danny is involved in part of the Quality Control chain that ensures that everything is checked properly and that no sub-standard parts are used. It is something he feels passionate about, and it is something he believes everyone who works there should feel passionate about.

However…

Just recently he became aware that procedures weren’t being followed… non-qualified people further along the chain were seeing parts that had been flagged as sub-standard by himself and verified as such by qualified engineers and were marking them as fit for use and directing them into the manufacturing process. As a part of his work Danny saw the documentary proof that this was happening, and on more than one occasion.

His obvious concern was not only that it had happened in the cases he had found, but that it could actually be an endemic situation throughout the whole of the business, so he did the right thing… he sent emails to two of the managers detailing what he had found and providing the documentary evidence.

On Thursday, in front of the whole Department that Danny works in, a couple of unidentified guys came barging in to the office unannounced, made a bee-line for Danny, and starting demanding to know what Danny had meant by certain things in “these emails”, and waving them under his nose.

Danny was sat with his back to his desk facing these guys as they became more and more angry and intimidating.

Like me Danny is transgendered…. in physical form he is a 58 year old woman, about 5′ 3″, albeit of somewhat butch appearance and very much “one of the boys” in the factory.

As the guys became more agitated Danny quite rightly considered that it was time to go, as these guys seemed to be on the point of becoming physical. So he left the office, clocked out, informed the HR department that he was leaving for the rest of the day, and then filled them in with the full details from the safety of home.

What is wrong here ?

1) That ANYONE in a major pharmaceutical equipment manufacturing company can override quality control procedures at the stroke of a pen is beyond belief.

2) That it happens and then the people who are closest to the situation become complicit by not reporting it and having it stopped.

3) That managers who receive confidential emails then “act” on those emails not by paraphrasing or quoting parts of the emails or referencing “information received” but by obviously passing the whole email on to the guilty party/parties is appalling.

4) That there are people in that organisation who feel that is ok for them, as men, to intimidate and frighten a female memnber of staff to the point where she feels she has to leave for her own physical safety.

5)… and Danny hasn’t mentioned this himself but… It seems that Danny’s colleagues in the department did nothing to protect him, and from our conversations about this I would surmise that it was because they felt that if they tried to step in then they themselves may become the target of some form of physical abuse, such was the demeanour of the guys involved.

Welcome to Corporate America !!

Well this morning Danny will be having a meeting with his HR representative to dicuss the various aspects of this whole affair, and it is a meeting with the potential to cause major upheaval in his life.

Danny has suffered a lot of pain himself over the years through the loss of people dear to him through cancer, and is very touchy when it comes to seeing the company he works for putting people’s lives at risk. He feels that if nothing is done to correct the situation, if it just swept under the carpet, then he himself becomes complicit… and he is not the sort of person to allow that to happen, his conscience couldn’t take it.

In those circumstances he feels he would have no option but to leave the company for good, to walk away from it.

The way the whole place operates is a complete shambles anyway, all management layers filled by people who have no idea, and never enough workers – even less of the right sort – and all that has been putting a lot of strain on him and his health for a long time now.

So this morning he goes into a meeting which could have a dramatic effect on his life.

He starts work very early in the mornings so I’ve sent him an email there wishing him luck and so he knows I’ll be thinking of him and holding his hand through it all, and whatever the outcome nothing will change for me… he’ll still be my Danny… my hero.

Sometimes the answer is so simple

Yesterday was a very long day.

While I was preparing yesterday’s blog posts I was falling apart… too many images flashing through my mind… memories of our time together in SL; all the love, fun, creativity, plans, chickens, cattle, (let’s not go there), exploring, occasional tears, and uncontrollable laughter… the sharing… memories of how we have shared so much intimacy across the ether by way of caring for and consoling each other during the 10 months since we first met… images of the now-shattered dreams of our future together; the possibility of OUR veggie patch, the real hugs, the welcoming him home from work with a fresh pot of coffee and a comfy stool for him to rest his feet on as he unwound… more recently the thought of him working on an engraving after his retirement and me stood there looking down on him with a hand gently resting on his shoulder as I place a fresh cup of coffee carefully at the edge of the table… and, of course, the images of an empty existence in SL; the constant reminder that even though we were talking again it would never be the same; too much had changed.

I couldn’t breathe.

(Warning: Long post)
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I’ll never walk alone

I don’t have that many friends on SL. It’s a personal choice based on my limitations … too many conversations going on and I get very confused, plus I don’t want to be talking to people ALL of the time, I have other things to do…. but the friends I do have are all being very supportive at the moment, and they’re being understanding toward Danny too, which shows that when it comes to choosing who I do want to have as a friend I make good choices in such things.

I need to be strong now…. I need to feel their strength and love behind me, lifting me up and helping me to come to terms with the changes and struggles I have to face, and giving me the strength to continue working with Danny to help him find answers to his own questions.

My troubles are nothing compared to some that others have to endure, I know that, but the pain is still real and cuts me to the very core. But the voices of my few friends speak loud to me, as if they were many more in number…

I hope (knowing youtube and copyright) that readers all over the world can see this and take their own strength from it…

When you walk through the storm
Hold your head up high
And don’t be afraid of the dark
At the end of the storm
There’s a golden sky
And the sweet silver song of the lark

Walk on, through the wind
Walk on, through the rain
Though your dreams be tossed and blown
Walk on, walk on, with hope in your heart
And you’ll never walk alone
You’ll never walk alone

Walk on, walk on, with hope in your heart
And you’ll never walk alone
You’ll never walk alone

Two lives – one me – and the interactions between virtual worlds and Real Life

It’s been quite a while since I’ve blogged and, as with everything, it’s a case of finding the time.

I had originally intended to post at least once a week, but these things are not always possible. Pressures from outside, partly demolishing our SL home by accident (but, hey, you should SEE our new place 🙂 ), developing and furthering relationships, and so many other things get in the way of all our plans along the way.

So these next 1900-odd words will focus on the interactions between the two lives we lead once we become Second Lifers and how we are never far away from either life.
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Security in Second Life – Protect yourselves

SL Login Screen

Looks innocuous enough, doesn’t it ?

There you were just enjoying a normal, quiet day in Second Life, dancing in a club, chatting with some friends, wandering around the stores looking for a new pair of boots to go with that fabulous top you just found, or maybe doing a bit of furniture rearranging in your lovely new home. All was well in the SL world.

And then one of the group chat tabs flashed to indicate a new message…

You clicked on the tab and there’s a link to the Market Place!

http:/marketplacesecondlife852.my9gb.com/store 73660/secondlife.htm

It may even have been preceded by some text that said something like “Great bargains at my new store!”…

“Ooooo !”, you thought, “I wonder what’s on offer?”…

You clicked on the link, were presented with the above Market Place Login Screen, filled in your Username and Password, and pressed the enter key…

*sigh*

Congratulations! You just gave your Username and Password to a crook! A Phisher.

(Quoting Wikipedia) “Phishing is the act of attempting to acquire information such as usernames, passwords, and credit card details (and sometimes, indirectly, money) by masquerading as a trustworthy entity in an electronic communication.”

Don’t bother trying to log in to Second Life again because they will be there faster than you will and will have changed your password before you know it.
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Review: LEA14 – The Art of Birding in Second Life

Features hundreds of different types of flying birds using different Second life techniques to make large flocks of birds.

The owl landing on its perch at LEA14

The owl landing on its perch at LEA14

The holiday season is finally out of the way and I hope all went well for you and that you had a peaceful, joyful Christmas and a Happy New Year.

For my part I have had family over from abroad and so my SL activities have been somewhat curtailed, but things are returning to normal now and so I am able to start enjoying my SL again.

One of the things we did while the family was here was to visit the local RSPB Wildlife Reserve, and I was fortunate enough to be able to add a White-Tailed Eagle to my “Have Seen” list. I have a love of wildlife, and birds in particular, so was delighted when Danny told me that he had seen a post on Facebook about the latest Linden Endowment for the Arts Exhibit…. “LEA14 – The Art of Birding in Second Life“.

As soon as the opportunity arose we headed off to see what it was all about, and we weren’t to be disappointed.

The exhibit is modelled like the San Francisco Palace of Fine Arts (for those who have ever been there) and is sponsored by the sim “Phaze Demesnes”, run by Ferd Frederix and Wavinggirlsav Voom.

Within the pavilion a Notecard is available giving information about more of Ferd and Wavy’s sims, and there is a “talking” bust of Ceasar which will answer your questions about birds, and possibly any other subject you may wish to throw at it, although I make no guarantees about that. In my experience though it does seem to have a reasonable knowledge of the “Hitch-Hikers Guide to the Galaxy”, so it isn’t stupid, although it did appear to be suffering from some server problems while we were there.

“The statue of Caesar at the center of the exhibit is a 3-D interface to a bird database and a knowledge base for computing answers using the collected knowledge of the past 2,000 years. It accepts completely free form, natural language input to produce speech and face motions.”

From the landing point in the pavilion one steps out onto a simple circular path which takes you around a bright representation of a wildfile park, and the sights and sounds of birds are to be found everywhere… birds and bees, fairies, and more…

I hope this isn't an omen ....

I hope this isn’t an omen ….

As soon as you leave the pavilion you become really aware of just how many birds occupy the exhibit, as the pigeons in front of you take flight and circle around you obscuring your view of the flamingoes and, possibly, the owl.

Parrot Photo Spot

Parrot Photo Spot

There are strategically positioned posts along the side of the pathway indicating “Photo Spots” which highlight some of the exhibits, but with no “Keep off the Grass” signs and the ability to cam wherever you please I would say just take your time and use the facilities at you disposal to explore what Ferd and Wavy have created here. It was only by doing that I discovered the Robins nest up in a tree while Danny and I were sat on a bench taking in some of the views.

Robins nest

Robins nest

One has to feel a little sorry for the poor squirrel once he/she is spotted by the owl, but there is thankfully an endless supply of squirrels in SL so at least we know that the owl will never go hungry.

As your journey continues around the park you will get used to the fact that the birds you encounter have their own limits as to how close they will allow you to get before taking to the wing, and you can agitate a few of each flock by creeping up to them, teasing them eventually into flight. This, to me, is so clever and really does simulate the way birds behave in real life, although unlike real life they make no attempt to avoid you in flight and can give you quite a bump as they knock you out of the way…

Incoming !

Incoming !

Upon reviewing Ferd’s video of the exhibit I realise that there were some things we missed, but that really is no surprise as there is so much going on all around you. Further visits will be needed and they will be just as enjoyable as yesterday’s, that I know, and probably just as full of surprises.

Ferd Frederix himself ... an avatar to die for !

Ferd Frederix himself … an avatar to die for !

We were also fortunate enough to meet Ferd himself while we were there as he and Wavy were making some adjustments to the exhibit, and I cannot end this post without highlighting the fact that all the birds, bees,and other “animals” are FREELY AVAILABLE at Ferd and Wavy’s “Phaze Demesnes”… yes, FREE !! ….

I am always amazed not only by the ingenuity of some of the inhabitants of Second Life but also their generosity, and Ferd and Wavy are no exception. We will certainly be visiting their sim to enjoy more of their creations and enhance our own home with some of their beautiful work.

All in all this is a very enjoyable sim to spend some time in and I would thoroughly recommend it, either to use as a shop window from which to choose the birds you want for your own land, or as simply somewhere to come and relax and enjoy perhaps just sitting, watching and listening to everything that is going on.

As a final footnote… while our family were visiting we took a trip up around Loch Ness and were a little disappointed not to catch a sighting of the legendary “Nessie”. Now I could be wrong, but I think I know where she was hiding…

Enjoy!, and thank you again Ferd, Wavy and Linden Labs.

LEA14 – The Art of Birding in Second Life can be found here… http://…./LEA14/126/126/44
Ferd’s Introductory Video for the exhibit can be found here… http://vimeo.com/83387463

Review – Imagin@rium – MONNOYER Mesh Dress – COFFEE

Imagin@rium - MONNOYER Mesh Dress - COFFEE
As this blog develops you will find out two things about me. Firstly that I really love my ballgowns, and secondly that I like them to flow as light as the breeze.
With that in mind I normally avoid long mesh dresses and gowns as they seem to me to be too restrictive, but I was intrigued when Danny sent me a picture of this lovely dress having seen it on Facebook. I certainly liked the look of it and had not encountered the creator before so I thought “Ok, nothing lost in going to have a look”.
Whenever I start with a new designer I like to “push the envelope” a little in some way, and in this instance I decided to opt for the Coffee version of the dress as it’s a colour I would not normally wear.
In my usual cautionary way I purchased a free Demo version and set about testing it out and seeing how I could make a “look” out of it, and I must say I was pleasantly surprised.
The first main worry I had, other than it being all mesh, was that my day-to-day avatar is based on a shape that I have modified greatly over the months and is not a standard mesh size, it falls somewhere between an S and an XS. Add to that the fact that this dress only comes in 3 sizes instead of the usual 5 (or more) and I wasn’t overly hopeful of a good result.
I needn’t have worried as the S dress fits even my non-standard shape acceptably well.
The next worry I encountered was the alphas provided in the folder. (When purchased in-world the items are delivered un-packed, ready to wear). Two alpha layers are provided… “Alpha Bust” and “Alpha Lowerbody Total”. Now I know from past experience that anyone who wishes to fully embrace their ballroom dancing as I do will find themself doing some high kicks with a leg fully extended in the air, and with that in mind an alpha that completely hides the leg so that only the solid of the foot and shoe is visible can end up looking pretty silly. I cammed around the dress a lot without wearing the lower alpha and there was a small area of the hip that did show through at certain lower angles, so I opted to apply an alpha from another, shorter skirt as a precaution thus allowing my legs to remain visible during dancing movements.

We were due to go dancing very shortly so I rushed back to the store and purchased the live version, plonked it on, and we hurried out for our regular evening exercise.
The alternative alpha turned out to be the right choice as, despite the fact that the inside of the dress is obviously the same dark coffee shade, having a leg showing properly when performing extensions in dancing is much more visually satisfying, and because the dress is mesh at no time did any part of my legs break through the fabric.
As we were dancing and I was casting a critical eye over the dress I started to take in more of what had attracted me to it in the first place. The roses and leaves are beautifully detailed, and the clever combination of materials with the flowers on the more transparent layer gives more of a “perceived” movement about it while dancing than would otherwise be the case.
The more we danced the more I became attached to this lovely creation. It “feels” really comfortable to wear. The bodice sits a touch proud of my not-so well-endowed boobs, but is hardly noticeable whilst moving, and it does look quite beautiful and cosy as a winter gown.
I kept it on overnight and wore it again when we went dancing this morning, and I think it will get many more airings in the future.
While I was in the store I picked up an armful of Demos of Imagin@rium’s other beautiful ladies wear, (they do Menswear also), and will have great fun trying them on too, all of which are based on works of art by painters such as Monet, Van Gogh, Kandinsky, Pollock etc. etc., so will quite probably be adding to the $400L already spent with them.

Rating: 9/10 … Change the lower alpha to allow the legs to show at least to mid-thigh and I’ll throw the other point on.

Pictures of the dress in action can be seen on my flickr page.

Credits:

  • Dress: Imagin@rium – MONNOYER Mesh Dress COFFEE,
    Imagin@rium, MIC (103, 227, 21)
  • Shoes: Fierce – FLORA (Unique pair),
    {{BSD Design studio}}, Kourinbou (156, 38, 22)
  • Hair: A&A Janine Hair 4,
    Alli&Ali Designs New Mainstore L,
    Wonderland Beach (118, 128, 2
  • Ring: Beloved Plt Engagement Ring,
    CHOP ZUEY COUTURE JEWELLERY- Mai, Chop Zuey (65, 133, 25)
  • Necklace: Lazuri Multistrand Necklace Earrings – Color Change,
    Lazuri Main Store, 5th Avenue (118, 120, 22)
  • Skin: Linnea – [Peach] Dark brows – 02,
    Laqroki ~ SKINS // HA, Laqroki (154, 37, 29)
  • Nails (when worn): – MPP 2012 – Scripted Nails – French – Long Classic,
    ! MPP – My Pretty Pixels ! MainS, Made in Paris (128, 90, 24)
  • Make-up:
    • Eyeshadow: .:Glamorize:. Lashtastic Makeup, 10 Lips, 1 Lash, 10 Combos,
      .:Glamorize:. & Studio Hera – Te, Keauhou Beach (87, 60, 1801)
    • Lip Gloss: ~Blacklace Beauty~ Hi-Gloss Lips VERSION 2, and
      Teeth: ~Blacklace Beauty~ Show Me Your Teeth (Teeth Less Gap),
      BLACKLACE , LIL’LACE & BEAUTY, Blacklace (186, 7, 1002)
  • Eyes: pc eyes – pearl – m/r – sunset (Light Brown – Blue tint) (medium bright),
    Poetic Colors, Strata (78, 235, 903)
  • Locations of Flickr images: Home,
    Bagdad Cafe on Route 66 (Ballroom Extension), Los Arboles (46,132,3043)
    Charleston Lace Romance~Deck the Walls XMAS Art Show, Charleston Belle (210,68,21)
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True happiness

True happiness

Dancing in the ballroom on the Titanic with my wonderful Danny.
The gown I am wearing is a truly sumptuous custom creation by Marianela Beaumont (Marianela’s Art in Fashion) based on the picture “The Great Wave off Kanagawa” by Hokusai Katsushika, and was my engagement gift for Danny as the picture is one of his favourites.
Thanks are also due to Diana Debevec for her assistance and the beautiful shoes which complement the gown so perfectly.
More pictures of the gown in action can be seen on my flickr page.

Credits:

  • Location: RMS Titanic, Ship Of Dreams., Titanic (44, 41, 38)
  • Gown: “The Great Wave off Kanagawa” (custom design)
    MARIANELA’S ART IN FASHION MAINSTORE, Hidden Treasures (62, 17, 31)
  • Shoes: Paris Cristal Silver Blue Bow,
    Shoes Diana Debevec High Society, Kenilworth (220, 31, 62)
  • Hair: A&A Debbie Hair Caramel,
    A&A Hair – Alli&Ali Designs New , Wonderland Beach (124, 128, 23)
  • Ring: Beloved Plt Engagement Ring,
    Earrings: Diamond Drop Earrings Wht,
    CHOP ZUEY COUTURE JEWELLERY- Mai, Chop Zuey (65, 133, 25)
  • Skin: Linnea – [Peach] Light brows,
    Laqroki ~ SKINS // HA, Laqroki (154, 37, 29)