marae alyra moondancer alyramoondancer

Yes, I'm still alive...

It's hard to believe it's been over five years since I posted here, but I am still alive, still writing off and on, and still interested in all my friends here. I have just been in other venues, involved with other things, and LJ has fallen by the wayside.

On some occasion, hopefully in the not-to-distant future, I have plans to write here again on a semi-regular basis. In the meantime, I will give you all a very brief update. This may give you some idea why I haven't been in here for half a decade.

Since last I wrote, I have been through a number of what I suppose are best qualified as "life changes" (in roughly chronological order):

I moved three and a half times (to Parma, Ohio, from Lakewood, Ohio, and back again, and then to Maryland; the "half" move could either indicate the fact that half my stuff is still in Ohio, or the fact that half my current house is temporarily uninhabitable so I'm living in an apartment while it is being rendered inhabitable. When I am either able to get the rest of my stuff or return to my home, or both, then I suppose that will make it a full four moves. Or five, if one cares to be pedantic about it).

I lost my dear Boz a few years ago (in 2009 if memory serves, after the move back to Lakewood), to age and kidney failure.

I left my job at the hardware store at the end of 2010, not long before I moved to Maryland (the commute would have been killer, especially for part-time work), and have yet to find another here, although at the moment I am not looking and don't expect to be until sometime next year. I do have very fond memories of that job, and hope to share some of them with you all at some point.

I became a caregiver for my mother, with whom I am now living (and yes, that was the reason for the move), and then had to hand over much of that responsibility to someone else when it became more than I could reasonably manage.

I visited overseas for the first time in my life (England and Wales in April-May of this year - what a wonderful trip! And I got to meet Zander!).

A tree fell on my house (hence its uninhabitable state and my move to the apartment). Short story: No one was hurt, hardly anything was damaged (other than the house itself), and the insurance is covering everything.

Amongst all the "real life" stuff listed above, I became engaged in a series of online endeavors (call them "games" if you will - some of them actually are), partly because I enjoyed them, and partly to keep myself sane: 1) Second Life, within which I got involved in two major role playing games (one was a D&D-based medieval fantasy called "Port Luskan," created and run by a friend of mine; the other was a re-creation of The Age and Country Hotel (A&C) in glorious 3D animation); 2) World of Warcraft (WoW), which we tenuously tied into the Port Luskan RPG (WoW is currently on the outs with us following some nastiness involving hacked and blocked accounts. Blizzard Entertainment could have handled all that much more competently and compassionately. And yes, that is an understatement); 3), my own website revamped as a forum-based venue for Port Luskan (this never really took, but there are a few things up there of possible interest, including one of my songs - have a look!); an Open Sim version of Port Luskan (Open Sim is an open source simulator program similar in function to Second Life; our goal is to recreate what we had in SL in a closed - and free! - environment) that is still in the development stages and on hold for the time being while they rebuild my house; and most recently, Runes of Magic, a WoW-style MMORPG* with some nice features which give it considerable potential as a base for Port Luskan. (Yes, I'm a bit fixated on Port Luskan. I'm wrapped up in the story and don't want it to end - sort of like the A&C).

The tree that fell on the house, for those who might be wondering, was a black oak, approximately 111 years old (give or take a year or two - 106 rings plus about five years of heartwood growth), 35" in diameter, and so tall that when it fell it reached all the way across the house from its former anchor point in the back yard to fill the front yard with its branches, blocking the driveway. The tree was perfectly healthy at the time of its demise; erosion on the windward side (the west) rendered it vulnerable to the derecho that barreled through here on June 29.

Following the "Great Tree Crash of 2012," I have been responsible for coordinating and keeping track of all matters relating to the insurance claim, our temporary relocation, and the rebuilding. At times this has been (and will be) pretty much a full-time job.

And that, dear readers, is why I haven't been around much the last few years. :)

*An "MMORPG" is a "massively-multiplayer online role-playing game," in case you were wondering.
marae alyra moondancer alyramoondancer

It just goes to show...

Last Tuesday, about an hour or two after going to bed, I was finally, finally drifting off to sleep when the cat yowled. She has a terrifically loud and insistent yowl that she uses on occasion, and she used it on this occasion, and it startled me very awake. But since I was certain I had fed her quite well before going to bed, I rolled over, ignored her, and tried to go back to sleep.

And tried to go back to sleep...

And tried to go back to sleep...

I looked at the clock at 2 a.m., and again at 4:00, and finally around 4:30 I just gave up. I got up and went downstairs. After checking to see that yes, the cat had a half-full dish of food and plenty of water, I fed her some more, got some coffee, and tried to have as normal a morning as possible on (maybe) two hours of sleep.

I went in to work at the hardware store at 1:00 p.m. as usual (for an 8-hour shift), and managed to get through the rest of the day, but I was definitely feeling the lack of sleep. Although I tried to keep my smile and my sense of humor going, I couldn't help stifling a yawn or two, and I did mention to one customer how tired I was, and why.

A couple of hours after I started work, a woman came in to buy root killer. As I was ringing up her sale, I made a joking comment about my lack of sleep. She was sympathetic; she said she herself had been awakened around 2 a.m. by a leak -- and not just any leak. She also had not gotten any further sleep that night, and had had to take the day off work to clean up the resulting mess from her sewer backing up -- the root killer was to get rid of the roots infiltrating her sewer line.

So it does just go to show you, no matter how bad you think you have it... somebody's got it worse. Because, I'll tell you, if something has to wake me up at two in the morning, I'll take the cat over the sewer, any day.
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marae alyra moondancer alyramoondancer

Little things...

Little things happen that just make you feel good, you know?

I work as a cashier in a small family-owned hardware store -- the old-fashioned kind, where you can still buy loose nails and screws, where they'll repair your windows and screens, and where old friends meet and stand around and talk for a few minutes to an hour on a quiet afternoon. We're a vanishing breed, but so far have managed to stay competitive with places like Home Depot and Lowe's -- we have things they don't, and we're more fun to visit -- at least, that's what our customers keep telling us, and I believe them.

A few nights ago at work, a fellow came into the store and bought two flexible pipe connectors, since he wasn't sure which one would fit. Now, this happens all the time; we have a very easy-going returns policy to accommodate it.

He came back an hour or so later with both connectors in tow; neither size fit, so he went back to the plumbing aisle to see if we had one that would. He consulted with the floor staff for a while and came back with an adapter and several other items, which he purchased. He kept one connector to use with the adapter, and returned the other.

All in a night's work, of course, and I didn't think any more about it until a few minutes before closing when he came back in. "Did it not work?" I wondered, but he plopped a roll of tape on the counter and said, "I got home with this, and used some of it, but I realized I didn't pay for it. It must have gotten put into the bag without us noticing."

I remembered the roll of tape, and I thought I had scanned it, but maybe I missed it. The guy's honesty really touched me; if I'd been the manager I'd have just let him have the tape, and I told him that, but since he said he didn't pay for it I had to go ahead and charge him for it. It was all of 96 cents (including tax). But he made the trip back to be sure he paid for it. I thanked him profusely, of course, and told him it was wonderful to see such honesty. And he said "you guys helped me out so much, I'm glad to do it."

So both he and I concluded our evening with warm feelings and pleasure at good things accomplished. That's the kind of thing that gives me hope. :)
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marae alyra moondancer alyramoondancer

A musical meme

I got this meme from a friend. And oddly enough, although my range is such that I can sing soprano (in a pinch), second soprano, and even tenor (yes, it's happened in real life), alto is where I have traditionally lodged most comfortably. So even though I'm not so sure about the "strength of ten men" thing (especially in terms of vocal strength), maybe there's something to this one...

You scored as Alto. As an Alto, or Contralto, you are characterized by your strength. Sometimes considered a "man's range," you have the strength of ten men! You are independent and don't worry so much about romance. You stand alone and strongly for your beliefs. However, take care you aren't too insensitive and selfish!














Which Vocal Range Suits Your Personality?
created with
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marae alyra moondancer alyramoondancer

Sounds good to me...

In 2007, alyramoondancer resolves to...
Volunteer to spend time with computers.
Admit my true feelings to toriauru.
Take smallship1 writing.
Keep my uru clean.
Cut down to ten horses a day.
Put fifty soren_nyronds a month into my savings account.
Get your own New Year's Resolutions:

Although cutting down to ten horses a day might be a bit of a challenge...
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marae alyra moondancer alyramoondancer


To all my friends, and I don't just mean those of you on my friends list:

As one of my friends noted, this is a very special time. Whatever faith one proclaims (or none), whatever beliefs one holds in his or her heart, whatever one may think of the outward expressions of this commercialized and otherwise sullied season, there is a message here -- actually, a wealth of messages -- which will neither be silenced nor shouted down:

There is hope.

Love exists, in each of our hearts, and as something greater than all of us put together.

That love is expressed, time and again, in countless ways, not only on this day but every hour of every day of the year.

There is peace, and it is made time and again -- not everywhere, not all at once, but here and there, now and then, and sometimes in ways that are so great and so deep they rock the world.

There is joy, and it is on every street corner, in the depths of the silent woods, in the highest heavens, in the humblest home, in tinsel and glitter and in the thanks of the heart for a kindness given, a gift received. Joy is there, everywhere and anywhere, and all we need to do to have it is allow it inside us.

We all have the capacity to love.

We all have the capacity to give.

We all have the capacity to receive.

We all have the capacity to hope.

This season, and every season, let us hope for the best in all things.

Let us receive with grace and gratitude.

Let us give with joyous abandon.

Let us love, first and always, endlessly and without measure.

And wherever we find ourselves unable to do any of these things, let us know that we are not alone, are never alone, and that someone somewhere is always able to do and give when we are unable. That is the miracle, and the grace of this season, and of life.

Right now, someone is loving, someone is giving, someone is receiving.

Someone is hoping.

May the knowledge of that bring you joy.
marae alyra moondancer alyramoondancer

Yet another spammail...

These are a never ending source of amusement and befuddlement, and this morning's was a doozy. Just the first line had me practically rolling on the floor, so I'm sharing it with you all:

"It is with deep sense of ego and the least atom of opportunity I have that I am soliciting your kind assistance to receive and investing this money in our country."

They all have a deep sense of ego, don't they? And he's right -- it is the least atom of opportunity. The very least. So least, in fact, that it is practically nonexistent.

The opening sally was followed later by this monstrosity of a sentence:

"For now all my family's deposits within the nation was sealed, including the arrest of the managing director Fountain Trust Bank who was arrested and his bank sealed because the Government discovered my father's deposit with the Bank with the believe that he was having unclean dealings with my father."

Can you make sense out of that? I can -- sort of. I think. "Unclean dealings." Tsk, tsk.

And the kicker:

"As it stands now if the government discovers the fund it will be confiscated and sealed, that was the reason why I solicited your kind help to assist me to receive this money for investment in your country"

Wait. I thought all deposits had been sealed already. And wasn't that supposed to be investment in his country? Oh, no. Our country. Which means we must both live in the same country, right? So, um, what does he need me for again?

Well, it got my day off to an amused start, anyway. Hope it does likewise for you all.
marae alyra moondancer alyramoondancer

The Giant Snail Race

A few weeks (months?) ago I wrote a piece about driving in Second Life, or driving to the edge of the world, or something. Turns out that little adventure was good for something, after all.

Last Saturday I got to run all the way across the Second Life mainland, in the guise of a Giant Snail.

Yes, folks, it was the annual Relay for Life Giant Snail Race, and I was a contestant.

What an absolutely hysterical undertaking! About a dozen racers, all wearing giant snail avatars, lined -- er, bunched -- er, straggled up to the starting line at the beginning of our route at the Edge of the World. Lining a bunch of mammoth mollusks up for the start was sort of like trying to balance a dozen peas on a knife blade. The road was only two lanes wide, and each snail filled a lane. It was hardly an even start.

Fortunately, snail avatars are “phantom,” which means they pass through each other. So there I am standing half inside someone else’s shell... As I commented to one of my colleagues, ewwwwwwwww.

Snails, as we all know, make slime, and so each snail avatar is equipped with something that emits little bubbles of slime. They make a kind of put-putting noise, and when you step on the gas, they move at a whopping... um, well, I’m not sure how fast they actually move. But it only took us about 45 minutes to cross a continent, so I guess you could say they move slightly faster than one continent per hour.

Hey, that‘s pretty fast! I‘d like to see you cross a continent in less than an hour. On foot. On one foot!

Of course, Second Life’s continents aren’t really all that large, being on a computer and all...

Anyway, it was loads of fun, running along at a (giant) snail’s pace, passing other giant snails, and being cheered on from the checkpoints and road turns (giant green arrows marked the way) and from above (spectators were welcome to fly along over the racing snails).

I passed snail after snail, sometimes charging right through them, sometimes sneaking by on the rail, so to speak, when one went wide at one of the many curves of the roadway. If I had gotten away a little more cleanly (I was in a bunch behind the leaders, who must have been first out of the gate -- no one passed me, by gum) I might have done better, but as it was I came in fourth, so out of the money, but not too shabby.

After all the racers had arrived, we changed out of our snail attire and had a group photograph session. We then enjoyed some time chatting with each other around the other end of the road at the other Edge of the World while waiting for the winners to be announced. All the cash prizes were donated back to the cause, which was the American Cancer Society. Winners went home with other prizes designed for use within Second Life. A splendid time was had by all.

Yours truly as a giant snail:

marae alyra moondancer alyramoondancer

Continuations on a Theme...

These are simply salutations and first lines culled from spammails I've saved as text files, with an eye to possibly doing something creative with them. They are, after all, full of interesting spellings and odd turns of phrase. I offer them for your amusement, or possibly bewilderment (and my apologies if any of these have showed up in my previous ramblings on the subject). They are reproduced here exactly as received, with only minor editing to remove extra space characters and line breaks, and in a few cases to remove unnecessary html tags. Here we go:

Did you know that spammers are your friends? No, really. They even say so:

Dear friend,
How are you doing with your family?

Of course, many friends only contact you when they want something:

Dear Friend,
I wish to accost you with a request...

My Dear Friend,
I wish to intimate you with a request that would be of immensebenefit to both of us.

Some have gone farther and made you a partner. Did you know that? Didn't think so...:

Dear Partner,
This mail will definitely be coming to you as a surprise, but I must crave your indulgence to introduce myself to you...

Crave away, "partner," crave away...

Some recognize that they are invading your privacy, and are most apologetic:

Dear Friend,
Forgive my indignation if this message comes to you as a surprise and may offend your personality for contacting you without your prior consent and writing through this channel.

Most nevertheless require trust and confidentiality on your part. Well, it's only fair. They already trust you:

Dear Friend,
Trust is difinetely the most noble trait in the world, and i urge you to trust my sincereity and the word of simple and humble person of faith, who in the name of love for her equals is willing to acomplish the task of doing business with a trusted and transperent person.

Strickly confidential.
I know this proposal will come to you as a surprise especially when you do not know the writer, considering the huge sum of money involved which could make anybody apprehensive.

But I'm telling you all about it anyway, even though you're a complete and total stranger.

But I'm trustworthy, hey? After all, look at where they got my contact information. I never knew I was so highly regarded in circles I've never traveled...:




Some of them go to great lengths to convince you that you really do know them, after all...:


Dear good friend,


You might find it so difficult to remember me. Though, it is indeed, a very long time. On my singular, I am much delighted and privileged to contact you again, after couple of years now. It takes fate, courage and God's fearing to remember old friends and at the same time, to show gratification to them, despite circumstances that made things, not worked out as we projected then.

Good ol' Jerry. He always did have a way with words.

Some of them present you immediately with intimate details that you really wish they hadn't...:

Dear beloved,
My name is Alli Waheed, A Bahrain national, have been diagnosed with Oesophageal cancer .It has defiled all forms of medical treatment, and right now I have only about a few months to live, according to medical experts.

Some are curiously impersonal:

Blessings to you.
I am the above named person but now undergoing medical treatment now.

And some have achieved a puzzling balance between intimacy and formality:

Kindly accept my apology for sending my mail to you.

Of course what most of these people are really trying to do is get your attention. As one would expect, advertisers can be especially creative:

Many find it obviously correct to change over to our priscription store all because of the benefits.

We have come across what we feel is one of those rear deals that the public has not heard about yet.

Peel off these extra layers of fab naturallyi.

OK. Now yer talkin! Nothing I like better than doing away with excess fab.