Archive for the ‘Personal’ Tag

We Stand For Peace

We Stand For Peace

Hope is the only good god remaining among mankind;
the others have left and gone to Olympus.
Trust, a mighty god has gone, Restraint has gone from men,
and the Graces, my friend, have abandoned the earth….

— Theognis of Megara, fl. 6th Century BCE

Hope has not yet left the world of men and women.  We too, here at Around the Grid, stand for peace.

I come of a generation from decades ago, many of whose children fought in a war that they had no knowledge or understanding of, while others protested in the streets back home to get us out of that war.  Jem’s generation was the next after, the one which inherited the fruits of our idealism.  We dreamed of a world where the artificial borders and barriers dividing rich from poor, powerful from weak, sex from sex and gender from gender, ethnicity from ethnicity and country from country, all would be gone with a wave of the hand.  Sadly, far too many in positions of power chose not to listen to the messages we offered; others co-opted the work and turned it toward their own ends.  I recall a news report back in the Eighties talking about how the generation which didn’t trust anyone over 30, now didn’t trust anyone under 50 — $50,000 a year, plus benefits.

Truthfully, we were too idealistic, those of us who did the work and those of us who merely supported.  Change on the scale we advocated does not happen overnight, or even within just two generations.  And the people doing the work can never, never, never set it aside, unless they have found another two people to pick up the work and carry it on after them.  It can never end until true justice and peace and freedom is achieved for all.  This is why the message of Barack Obama, his theme of Hope and Change, rang so deeply in the minds of so many in 2008, how he became the first black president of the United States — not because he was African American, but because he dared to dream of the greatness we sought back in the Sixties, alongside of Martin and Bobby and all the others who shared the dream.

That hope, reinspired in us by the words of Barack Obama, was quashed for a time by politics.  And since then, other matters have risen to further threaten the dream — the dragging leftovers of another war of politics, this time in Iraq, that has spiraled across the region and the world; repeated economic shocks that have made it harder for those stricken by poverty to find a way out; the continued barriers of race relations in the form of frequent shootings of black men by white police officers, and revenge shootings in return.  (All of the last exploding, ironically for me, as I was driving to attend the funeral of an African American co-worker at a “traditionally black” CME church.  I and my two white comrades from our store were the only grains of salt in the crowd, and we made to feel marvelously welcome by all there.)  These and more besides interfere with the dream of Isaiah that the lion shall live together with the lamb and the leopard shall lie down with the goat kid.

And yet none of us dare let go of the dream of peace — not just the peace of God, however each of us sees God, which passes all human understanding; but the more immediate peace between brother and sister.  If we let go of the dream, we lose Hope, and the final occupant of the Jar of Pandora will have escaped to fly away and torment humankind — by its absence.  So we, too, stand for peace.

So say we all —

signature 3 Jem's signature

Conan's signature

Addendum:  I just discovered that you’re supposed to tag three others to take the challenge on.  I nominate my best blogging friends for this, if they haven’t tackled it yet:  Cajsa Lilliehook, Gidge Uriza and Harper Beresford.  Have at, ladies!


Match Point

Match Point

I was in RL Louisiana this weekend, saying farewell to a dear woman I worked with for several years at the bookstore.  She had retired just within the year, and had moved back to Keithville to be with family, so it was something of a shock to us at the store to get the news.  Three of us made the trip across two and a half states to attend her funeral.  I drove by myself; and, as I was rocketing up I-20 on Saturday morning to get to the church, I played with the satellite radio in the car, until I recalled what day it was.  I flipped to the BBC World Service feed in time to catch the opening of the Ladies’ Singles Final at The Championships, Wimbledon.  I heard most of Serena Williams‘ record-matching win1 against Angelique Kerber, whom she dismissed 7-5, 6-3.  And this morning, before I left the hotel to return home, I followed Andy Murray‘s fierce battle against Canadian star Milos Raonic in the Gentlemen’s Singles, with Murray winning 6-4, 7-6 (7-3), 7-6 (7-2).

I remember for years, between about 1977 and 1994, it was my “tradition” to watch NBC’s “Breakfast at Wimbledon” presentation on both Saturday and Sunday mornings.  (It’s now moved to ESPN.) I’ve only ever played the game one time; but I’ve always enjoyed traditions, and The Championships is definitely one of those.  It’s given me an appreciation for those who can play tennis at the heights of talent and ability, and I’ve seen some of the more memorable battles ever enacted on a tennis court during the fortnight at Wimbledon, such as the famous 1980 men’s final between Björn Borg and John McEnroe — a nearly four-hour, five set match that included a monster 34-point tiebreaker.  It threatened to last even longer, because McEnroe and Borg tied in the fifth set as well, and Wimbledon doesn’t play a tiebreaker in the last set — you must break the opponent’s serve and win in normal fashion.  (Borg finally won the overall behemoth of a match, 1-6, 7-5, 6-3, 6-7 (16-18), 8-6.)

Yes, the newfangled stuff like Second Life is fun and enchanting; it can even be enriching.  But you can’t ignore the traditions….


1 With her win on Saturday, Serena ties Steffi Graf for most career Grand Slam singles championships in the “Open Era” (when professional players were allowed to compete at the major championships). The overall leader is Margaret Court, with 24 Grand Slam wins.


  • Annette Sport Tennis Outfit by Jezzixa Cazalet for Prism.  This outfit includes a pair of shoes, ball and racquet, which I’m not using here.

Most links point to Wikipedia articles; standard accuracy disclaimers apply in all cases.

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Pray for Orlando


Anyone who reads this blog regularly (and anyone else who’s seen the right articles) know that I lived for a time in Orlando, Florida, and that my husband is a native.  They (clearly!) know by now of my love for Orlando City SC, the predecessors of which I saw playing in the same stadium the MLS team uses now, to far smaller crowds back in 1986 or 1987.  They know that I attended Rollins College in nearby Winter Park.

They don’t know of my appreciation for Orlando, if not the same love I have for my native soil of Michigan.  My husband is one reason, of course, and his family, who have lived in the area since the 1910s.  Despite the tremendous buildup and overcrowding there since I moved to Florida in 1980, there are still many areas of beauty and interest, and I don’t speak of Disney.  If I absolutely must live in the south, then my sorrow for the state where I live now, but I’d rather be in Orlando than anywhere else.

This is why the murders of June 12, 2016 move me.  Orlando, like any large city, has its share of crime, of shootings and murders; but never anything on this scale before.  This is something completely foreign to the area.  It makes me fearful on several counts:

  • I fear for the lives that may yet be lost by those who were injured but not killed outright by the shooter
  • I fear for the inevitable political backlash against Muslims, since the shooter apparently called 911 and stated that he pledged himself and his actions toward the terrorist cell which claims to be a nation-state
  • I fear even more for the reactions of area residents against their Muslim neighbors, based not on sense but on fear and suspicion, perpetuating the cycle of hate
  • I fear most of all for the lives yet to be lost before our political leaders finally ignore the NRA and similar “unconditional gun rights” lobbyists and pass effective gun control, eliminating or strongly limiting the right to possess AR-style weapons by individuals

The last may not be a popular stand, and surely won’t be among many of my neighbors here in Alabama.  But how many of the mass shootings over this past few years have been done by crazies who have gotten hold of assault-style rifles one way or another?  There’s no need for an individual who’s a competent shot to have such a gun; it’s surely not needed for hunting, unless you’re lazy and want to “field-dress” your deer into hamburger on the spot.  And if it’s suggested that we need this right to “protect our liberties from the government,” well, I’d worry more about the individuals with the private ARs than the government….  (The Michigan Militia, and similar “militia organizations,” have worried me for years.)

I don’t argue here with the right to keep and bear arms — I do argue against an unconditional right.  The need for that is gone; we no longer live in a country that’s mostly frontier, facing potential threats coming from the forest.  We need to recast the argument in the proper context, and get these things off the street, before more innocents are killed.  I recognize the “radicalizing Islamist” aspect of Sunday’s crime as well, but this was not a crime committed on order.  The shootings were committed by a single man who had been deluded by a pack of hyperzealous fools, and does not represent the beliefs and principles of all Muslims.  I have known many Muslims in my life, especially in my university days; serve many at my workplace; and we all know of at least one prominent Muslim among our many Second Life bloggers, who is just as concerned for those whose lives are lost — and, if I may, who I suspect is filled with worry and grief for her coreligionists who are innocent of any crime.

This article will remain at the top of the blog, and the blog’s background will go to black, for one week in memory of those killed in Pulse.  I ask you to join me in prayer to your faith for those dead, for the survivors, for the relatives, and for the government to find sanity and deal properly with the scourge that threatens innocent lives every day.


The above is a personal opinion by Harper Ganesvoort, and is added to this blog with the endorsement of her co-authors.

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We’re still storyboarding, though not as intensely as we were last week or so in terms of over and over.  However, it can be hard work, and it calls for a break and a little silliness during kickback time.  We’re collapsed in my apartment in Mesa 5, another “corrupt cyber-world” RP region.  I’ve maintained flops in the past in INSILICO, but the world there is just too gritty for my taste in terms of living in it long term.  Mesa 5 is also very freeform, and brilliantly built, all the way down to the lighting changing from the upper to the lower levels of territory.  (You might want a Class R95 respirator in the Undercity — the air pollution is serious.)

You can find out more at the Mesa 5 Wiki.  No OOC or Observer tag appears necessary to explore the platform, from the bottom to the top.  Give it a look at the least, and support the group if you find a donation box.  (We always contribute if we can when we use a location; it’s only polite.)

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Chillin’ Together

Harper, Jem and Conan

Nothing sensational today; just a photo of us on my patio yesterday, before we got down to work on a massive  photo project.  I’ve come up with an idea or two for a new story, and Conan and Jem are willing to help in the storyboarding and illustration.  It’s good to have some help these days; it doesn’t get the articles written or published any faster, necessarily, but it also lets me do more in some areas, and brings in some fresh eyes.

I’ve often used Second Life as my platform for bringing my stories to life — or, alternatively, for writing stories that frame the photos I take for the blog and Flickr.  It’s hard work, and it can get expensive, but it can be fun, too.  You’ll see a shortened version of this story on the blog at some point in the future, if all goes well.  Heads up / shout out to Poulet Koenkamp and PurpleMoon — your goodies will be featured!

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Last Pipe of the Evening

Last Pipe of the Night

The evening sings in a voice of amber, the dawn is surely coming.

— Al Stewart, “Roads to Moscow”


It’s just about time to turn in.  I hope you all have a good evening with your loved ones, and an excellent day tomorrow.

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Posted February 2, 2016 by Harper Ganesvoort in Arts, Personal, Photographs

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Eight Years Down the Road

2015 blog portrait

So much has changed on this blog in the eight years I’ve been writing Around the Grid.  Second Life most of all, of course; the constant changes, the occasional battles with Linden Lab over that time, the way we look and dress and live in the digital world.  I don’t know if I’ve always been a reliable reporter, but I’ve certainly tried to be over all these days living in two lives.

More on my 8th Anniversary on the next page.

S. S. Edmund Fitzgerald, 1975-2015

The legend lives on from the Chippewa on down
of the big lake they call Gitche Gumee
The lake, it is said, never gives up her dead
When the skies of November turn gloomy….

Gordon Lightfoot, “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald”

Harper on the Pier

Do you remember I showed you a few weeks ago what Lake Superior could look like on a peaceful pre-fall day?

This is the other face of Lake Superior — Duluth Harbor in Minnesota, when the Gitche Manitou, the Great Spirit of the Lake-region tribes, is restless and angry.  This, however, is nothing compared to Superior forty years ago, on November 10, 1975.    On that day, the wind was whipping so hard across Superior that the tops of the waves were getting sheared off and blown into cold, cold mist before they could curl and foam and make what old Great Lakes hands call “Christmas trees.”  When that happens, it’s better that a ship stays in port, and that any ships carrying on their work find someplace to drop anchor and shelter until it blows over.

Read about the Edmund Fitzgerald on the next page.

Challenge: What Did You Look Like When You Were Born?

new default avatars

Source: New Classic Avatars released by Linden Lab, by Daniel Voyager

You have to say, as does Daniel, that these new default avatars look a whole lot classier than what I entered Second Life with in October 2007.  It almost makes me want to start up a new “walking” alt and see what folks have to say.  To demonstrate:

Oh, you want to see more? Turn the page!

Still 8-y After All These Years

(Yes, I know it’s a terrible pun for a title, but it’s the best I could come up with.  Sue me.)


My "official" 2015 portrait (as official as any I've ever taken of myself).

Writing from Hoover, Alabama —

Somewhere during this week — I’ve lost track which day, but Facebook said it was yesterday — I celebrated my eighth rezz day.  In terms of life on the Grid, that’s at least as old as the song I’m listening to right now at the Mickey D’s I’m writing this from.  (For the [urgh] record, Grand Funk Railroad’s “Bad Time.”)

I gave up going over the stats long ago, but I’ll take the time to wax philosophical over my life in world.  It’s seen the same ups and downs, in many ways, that my real life has, since my Second Life is controlled by opportunities in RL.  It’s improved as the technology supplied by Linden Lab has improved, I’ll say that; man, do I look good now!  (Laughing)  Hopefully I’ve also improved in more substantive ways, perhaps learning a few things from the from the avatars around me and the friendships (possibly far too few, but definitely good ones) that I’ve made.  I’ve learned a lot about fashion, obviously.  And now I can live almost wherever I choose to, whether in a luxury house or in an ancient temple of arches and fountains, or on a starbase in a distant corner of the universe.  What more could a person desire???

I’m hoping we still have a few years left in this Second Life; and I intend to enjoy them.  May you enjoy your own time in this insane, sometimes frustrating, but always vastly interesting place we sometimes call the Grid.

Peace, Harper

Posted October 16, 2015 by Harper Ganesvoort in Personal

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