January 5, 2013

Fun and One Bad Apple!

Last night I decided to perform a special show for the Second Life group "Friends of Mankind" which I started as a fan group when I first started performing in SL in November 2006. Since that time, the group has grown into thousands and has become much more than a fan group, it is my family, WE are a family, and the group's premise is no longer as simple as the "fan group" which was my initial intent.

Over the years, many have joined our family, not only to get word of my shows and events, but to be part of a group of people from all over the world who enjoy each others' company no matter what we do. Most of the time we're laughing about something or another and the mood of the family even in group chat is always great!

2012 showed many new people joining and many long time members still sticking around. It also was a great year for my Second Life music career where I performed probably close to a thousand live events.

At the end of 2012 I started thinking and decided I wanted to do something nice for our group who have been so amazing to me in 2012, so I decided to plan an event just for us. It would be an all acoustic Pink Floyd show which I would perform live. The event would be for our family and anyone else who cared to join the always fun and often sarcastic insanity of the group.

Brandy (Kalli Birman) and I went to work to set everything up including setting the group to "Open Enrollment" (so anyone could join easily and free as always) and placing a group joiner outside Club Graffiti, which Brandy parceled off and set to the "Friends of Mankind" group. Again, since I wanted to do something in appreciation for the generous support I had received in 2012 specifically from our family group. Now with the club set to the group, only those in our group could get in, or those who arrived who weren't in the group, could join simply with one click on the group joiner already set outside the club.

Showtime had arrived and I was floored to see how many people attended. Since I love Pink Floyd, it was a really cool and very special night for me, and I thought it would be a nice way to say thanks to our family. After the show,
Brandy and I got on voice, as we do after almost every show, and she told me about something that happened during the show. It apparently began in public chat, luckily out of my chat range, and came from a woman who started swearing in local chat left and right for "having this event for the group only" or something along those lines. Brandy respectfully told her that she and everyone else are welcome to join the group and enjoy the concert. (There were about 30-40 or so new people who did just that, without one negative remark or requests for help on how to join). What gets me REALLY is that even after Brandy explained why I was doing this concert for the family group, she went off and began cursing quite nastily. I mean WTF? Brandy said she could join the group and come in and being the pro that she is, Brandy of course kept her cool and took the conversation into private chat. From what Brandy tells me, this woman continued her abusive tirade until Brandy had no choice but to remove her from the event so as to keep this woman from disrespecting our guests at the club, turning a peaceful and fun event into something else.

So why am I even mentioning this? Well it's a matter of respect. No matter what medium we are conversing on, no matter how a misunderstanding or voiced opinion is communicated, I think it's of great importance that we remember to be respectful to others. On chat conversations, it's very hard to assume what the other person's inflections or tone might be and thus what their true meaning or intent might be, so we need to be even that much more careful and respectful until we can REALLY know.

For this, I want to express my pride in our family group, not for creating it, but for being PART of it. In the years since I first created the group, we have NEVER had such an incident - even though I have done Group Only events in the past - and it makes me that much more appreciative of the support, not only for my shows and music career, but support of each other as PEOPLE, from all over the world, who have come together, whose paths have crossed for whatever reason and who share time, respectfully, to enjoy and have some fun, to create and communicate.

So taking all this into consideration, I want to express my love and thanks to all those in our group. Thank you for a great 2012 and I look forward to the continued friendships and bonds we've created.

December 31, 2012

Resolutions... Some things that have worked for me

New Year’s resolutions, we all make them, I know I do. Every year it's stop this or start that. I can't tell you how many of my own never panned out and it can really get frustrating! But over the years, they've gotten better, well maybe it's ME that got better. Better at understanding WHY they don't work. For me, more often than not, it's simply because the resolution itself, while meaningful and approached with full intent, is unrealistic or unspecific.

First, ask yourself this: Why does it take a New Year to start to try and make your life better? Is it because the boob tube commercial on New Years eve is offering a discount on joining a gym?

I've done just fine setting and achieving big or small goals in June, probably more so than the horrific "New Years Resolution". Uh oh... New Years... I better diet and shape up! If you want to improve, then improve! It shouldn't matter when, should it?

To be clear, I'm not by any stretch saying there is a miracle cure to achieving resolutions and this may or may not help, but maybe a few people might take something away from it. Over the years, I've tried to do many different things myself, I'm sure you have too. Some were smashing successes while others crash and burn failures. But I've learned. I've definitely picked up some great ideas along the way. One of them, I think the most important, is asking myself the right questions like "WHY do I really want this change?"

So here's what I know. I know myself and I know that if I say I'm going to do something, I usually do it. For me, its all about being realistic with myself and realistic with what I'm trying to achieve. Many people set weight loss for example as their New Years resolution and that's great to want to get healthier if that's what they feel. So how about this, instead of saying "I'm going to lose some weight" or "I'm going to lose < insert realistic amount > pounds"... but also adding the "HOW".... Very specifically. Without knowing "How", how then is it even possible to KNOW what is a realistic amount. Forget even about losing weight, how is it possible to set ANY goal without knowing "How" it's going to happen?

It may be simple sounding but bear with me, there's more to it. If I'm going to even bother making plans to change something in my life, I want to have a plan. Not only that but a plan that ITSELF is achievable. So if the plan is to lose weight, then I better make damn sure that I can even AFFORD the gym, or meal plan or whatever it may be that I've decided to use as my weight loss plan. Similarly, if the plan is someone who wants to quit smoking, then research the best methods with proven success because I can't tell you how many of my own friends have failed at it. I remember two friends who bet who could go the longest without smoking. They made the bet literally over a beer keg! They had no plan and just tried to quit cold turkey. I remember thinking how doomed this was from the get go (even though going cold turkey does not have the highest proven success rate). Needless to say, it didn't last very long, I think it was a few days!

So whatever it is you want to do better, gain, lose, mute or erase as your New Years resolution, or any resolution for that matter, if you'll permit me, maybe have a look at the following and please, consider what I'm trying to share, maybe some of it will help. I've also been able to apply this to other areas in my life for different goals I've set out to achieve.

The first thing I try to do is get as detailed as I can about what it is I want to achieve. More than that, I really dig and find the WHY. Why do I want to make this change in my life? Then I get detailed about the WHY. This might take some time and some serious soul searching, maybe even a little painful, but its completely worth it.

I also like to talk to a support team, namely, my friends and family and PUBLICLY tell them what I'm planning. This really gives me greater incentive to not let them down. If I tell my friends that I'm going to do something, then I have people that can hold me accountable and if I start slacking, then I'M the one who feels like I let ME down. Plus friends are always good for giving you a good kick when you're down, at least mine are! That's a pretty strong motivator.

Here’s another suggestion that really helps me a lot. Write it down... everything... as much and as detailed as I can. If I’m being honest with myself and I’m going to spend the time on this, then I’ll spend it and make it as specific as I can. The more detailed and fine tuned I can get, the more it will motivate me and the more I’ll understand WHY I want or need to achieve something.

Stay at it! Don't quit! Give 110%! And enter any other cliche you want right here. Just don't give up. If you’ve tried and didn’t succeed before, then maybe this is the right time to try again. It’s taken me several tries before as well to do some of the things I've set out to do. But I’ve learned these few things that I’ve written down here. Once you get a good grasp on your goal and an even better grasp on yourself and your real reasons for wanting to do something, then in my heart I really believe you can and WILL succeed. This has all really helped me in my life and I truly hope it can help you who may be reading this.

I wish you the best of luck in whatever you set out to achieve. If any of this helps you, then I'm happier than I was five minutes ago.

Have a prosperous and successful New Year!

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