The latest bit of Babeliciousness is finally online

I finally got the video of Babe the kitty, or the “goddamned kitty cat” as George Carlin once put it, is finally up. It’s her proper introduction to the white stuff she saw falling from inside, and she’s definitely not like other felines on YouTube. A lot of cats get into the snow and have a ball with the cold white stuff, but not Babe. Her primary human put her down on the snowy ground, and let’s just say it made for a very short video. She’s usually a very quiet kitty, but she makes her displeasure quite known when she finds the kitchen door closed to not let the heat out.

View on YouTube

Needless to say, Babe was mad at her “dad” for putting her down in the snow and not letting her back in fast enough. And she was pissed at me, her “aunt,” for getting a video of it. Thank the Great Mother she didn’t do what a friend suggested and lock us both outside.

Do you like to visit museums?

As I read this week’s edition of Highlights from the Second Life Destination Guide, I learned there are more museums in my favorite virtual world than I realized. I knew about the International Spaceflight Museum, the Holocaust Memorial Museum, the LGBTQ History Museum and Cultural Center, and Baltimore’s The Peale. But that barely scratches the surface of museums you can visit in Second Life with no admission fee beyond your internet connection and installing a free Second Life viewer (the client software for getting into SL). Plus, you can visit them at any hour of the day or night without having to worry about what you’re wearing. You can be dressed up, dressed down, in your jimjams, or even wearing nothing at all. As long as you’re not naked in Second Life, you will find a lot of places to visit that cover more subjects than many real-life cities have.

Srmstrong Park in Second Life. Photo from the Second life Destination guide.There’s even a virtual version of a public park and museum close to my heart from the city of my kittenhood. But alas, the virtual version doesn’t include The Treehouse, a former home of the best radio station in the entire multiverse.

Happy Old Year!

I meant to write a post for the end of 2023, but I didn’t get it finished to share it before the year ended. I have jury duty, and I finally got picked for a trial, so my time for doing things online is a lot leaner than it usually is. Still, I wanted to share a few things before we got too far into January 2024.

Sportsball

I’m still kind of amazed at the fact that my Bois en Bleu, the Los Angeles Dodgers, not only signed Shohei Ohtani but they also won the Yoshinobu Yamamoto lottery. They also got Tyler Glasnow and Manuel Margot, and Mookie Betts will be the regular second baseman in 2024. Unfortunately, between the new signings and the expected return of Gavin Lux, who spent 2023 on the IL recovering from a torn ACL, it looks like Kiké Hernádez won’t be back in Dodger Blue in 2024. Hopefully, his improved performance back in LA will help him get the contract he deserves.

The next cause of worry is super utility player Chris Taylor. If Miguel Rojas is the everyday starter at short and Teoscar Hernández is the everyday left fielder, CT3 could have to go back to riding the pine most of the season. Chris is always to contribute wherever he’s needed, but I’m disappointed that he’s back to being a backup instead of a starter.

And we still have to see what Clayton Kershaw is going to do. He isn’t as dominant as he used to be, and he’s been spending more time on the IL with each season. I hope he gives one more season to LA and doesn’t retire or, even worse, finish out his career in Texas. It’s rare to have a player spend their entire career with a single team, but seeing Kersh in another uniform would look even more weird than seeing Cody Bellinger in a Cubs uniform.

My Die-With-a-T

In the spring, I got referred to a new doctor who put me on the Mediterranean Diet. I quickly remembered a Garfield comic strip from the 70s where he called a diet “a die-wih-a-t.” I told my doctor that the things I would need to get at the grocery store for the diet are pretty expensive for someone on disability, and I was right. While I did pretty well on it for the first few months, but my budget got stretched so thin that it was hard to get the good food I should be eating all month. Grocery prices may still be going down, but it’s still hard to make sure I have decent food to eat all month, and I’ve noticed myself getting less nutritious food to complete menus for any given month. The fact that I’m still a fiend for good fried chicken doesn’t help.

Social Media

I thought I had found a great social media platform to use after Elon Musk bought (and trashed) the bird platform. After the attacks of 7 October, I discovered that my support of the civilians living in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank wasn’t very welcome there. I refuse to use any platform owned by Meta due to all the hate and BS, so I’m basically off of social media. It’s good though, because it freed up some time in my days for other things.

Second Life

I still need to reopen my virtual t-shirt store in Second Life, and I’m moving my real-life merchandise back to Spreadshirt this year. If you want to keep up with the happenings with my merch, you can keep an eye on things on the Nanci’s Naughties website. When I get my Spreadshop set back up, I’ll announce it there. With the war in the Gaza Strip expected to continue for several months, I’m considering adding the virtual posters I made to support the Palestinians to my real-world store. I really should have done that a few months ago, and I don’t want it to seem like I’m trying to make money off the Palestinians’ suffering. I simply want to give people a way to show their support for people who are routinely treated like they’re poop that needs to be scraped off a person’s shoe.

As I wrote in May, I am the proud owner of a virtual bowling center in Second Life, the Pride Lanes Bowling Center. It’s not a very busy place, and I need to look at giving more folks reasons to visit. I tried using a machine to give out free Linden dollars (the currency in Second Life) to get people to go to the bowling center, but they only stayed around long enough to get paid. If you like to bowl in real life and you’re in Second Life, I hope you’ll head over to Pride Lanes and see how much fun bowling in Second Life can be You don’t even need to worry about renting bowling shoes, and I’ve even bowled in high heels without twisting an ankle or falling on my arse.

Kitties!

I’ve loved cats my whole life, but my budget is usually so tight that Abe Lincoln has gotten laryngitis from screaming so much. As a result, I haven’t felt I could be a good primary human to a feline. Earlier this year, my upstairs neighbor catsit for someone in the hospital, and Mr. Jack came down often to spend time in my half of the house. When Jack went back to his primary human, my neighbor realized he really liked cats after always preferring dogs. One of my neighbor’s friends heard there was a pair of abandoned kittens in New York, and the kitties moved in upstairs. It was a brother and sister, Tommy and Babe, but Tommy got too aggressive, so he had to go to a new home. It worked out better because Tommy thrives in his new home, and is loved by everyone in his new building.

I’ve become Babe’s “aunt,” and she’s gotten the run of the entire place. She comes down several times daily to see what’s happening downstairs, and I spoil her with treats and toys from time to time. Her primary human doesn’t have a climbing toy upstairs, so I built her a cat condo from cardboard boxes. She now has several places to get a nap, and she loves having a maze and a higher place to sit.

I’ve started posting some videos of Babe to my YouTube channel, and I have a video of her getting introduced to snow that I need to get online. Many felines like the snow, but Babe isn’t one of them. I was surprised at how fast she turned around when she got off the porch.

Music

As I said in May, I started working on a pair of songs I had written years ago. Life got in the way, and neither song has a demo recorded. I finally worked on the second song again last month, and the chord progression for the song’s intro reminds me of the solo section of Del Shannon’s Runaway. The melodies are very different, but the underlying chord progressions are similar. I hope I can share it before it’s time to celebrate Pride Month.

My computer

Last month, I did something terrible to my computer and had to do a clean install of SolydK Linux. I’m not saying what I did because I’m not sure what I did, but I was losing available disk space at a prodigious speed. Having to do a clean install of my daily work computer wasn’t a great thing to have to do, especially since I had to get into Second Life every day to get goodies from advent calendars.

I finally reinstalled some software to record demos of my music, but I still need to get fully set up for recording. The plan is to write an article on what I installed once I have something musical to share with it. I still need to get some gear to make proper recordings, but with my tight budget, I plan on seeing what my current setup can do. I’m going to see if I can use my Fender Mustang Micro headphone amp and my phone to record some guitar tracks. I miss making music, both from the creative and production sides. I was a recording engineer when I lived in New Orleans, but it was hard to get a job at a studio with all the students in Boston when I moved up here in 1989.

What does 2024 have in store?

I hope I can be even more productive in 2023 than I was in 2023. Once the trial I’m on the jury for finishes, I’ll be able to create a decent working routine. I hope to give you more reasons to visit My Two Lives in the coming year. There is a whole heap of question marks ahead of us between the US elections, the war in Palestine, and life’s seeming predisposition to throw more on our plates than we thought we could handle. Remember, you’re better than you think you are. You’re worth more than you think you are. You’re more loved and appreciated than you probably know. The more the haters want to put you down, the higher the possibility that they’re trying to keep you from knowing the full value of your being on this planet.

This feels nicely familiar

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I’ve been enjoying Joe Jackson’s The Duke, an album of music written by the great Duke Ellington, since 2015 or so. I was listening to it recently and decided I wanted to learn the guitar part for the song Sharon Jones sang, “I Ain’t Got Nothin’ But The Blues / Do Nothin’ ‘Til You Hear From Me.” The guitar part is simple enough that once I figure out what’s being played, it should be easy to get under my fingers. But first, I have to work out what “Captain” Kirk Douglas played.

My music work area

My desk set up for working on music. Description abut what is in the picture is in the main text of the articleSince I’ve been playing the piano off and on for well over half of my life and I’ve only been a guitar player for a few years, it’s easier to work out the music on a keyboard. That means setting up my musical workspace, and since I was doing that I figured I’d get a picture. Please pardon the mess around my desk. The song is loaded into VLC on my laptop with my Artek Bluetooth keyboard and staff paper ready for action. My Carry-On 49-Key Folding Piano & MIDI Controller is ready to plunk out notes, and both Clara the Strat and my Type 10 TARDIS (my amp) are close by.

Why so familiar?

I say it feels familiar because it takes me back to the days when I would spend hours writing new songs or classical compositions. When I was a singer/songwriter I’d have a legal pad at the piano so I could write chord progressions for lyrics I’d written, and when I was studying classical composition I kept a pad of staff paper close by to notate what I was composing. That was years ago, and it feels like another lifetime.

I have a nice mug of Tazo Zen tea and a plate of cookies for while I work. Before anyone fusses at my eating cookies while on the Mediterranean diet, they’re sugar-free cookies from The Swiss Colony. As you can see, I only took three cookies, which the tin says is one serving. Of course, as my family likes to say, they definitely taste like more.

Get working, you!

I need to get to work, but I wanted to share a picture of my musical workspace. The picture serving as my laptop’s wallpaper is the Palestinian (Not Hamas) Lives Matter flag I made for Second Life. You can see the three signs I made in the Nanci’s Naughties store on the Second Life Marketplace. And before anyone bitches that it’s anti-Semitic, it isn’t. If Black Lives Matter, so should the lives of Palestinian civilians.

There’s a new Pride group on Boston

It was announced in February, but I just got the memo that there’s a new group organizing an LGBTQ+ Pride parade and festivals in Boston.

The old Boston Pride dissolved in 2021 after complaints that it felt LGBTQ+ folks of color weren’t being fairly represented. The new group, Boston Pride For The People, will have its first parade on Saturday, 10 June, and it will be followed by two festivals, one on Boston Common for everyone and a fest at City Hall Plaza for folks 21+.

I loved volunteering with Boston Pride, and I’m looking into volunteering with the new group next weekend. I won’t be posting if I volunteer and where here, but my friends can get hold of me to get the info.

Visit the Boston Pride For The People website to get all the info.

What one backlash took away, another backlash gave back

On 19 May, I wrote about the fact that the LA Dodgers revoked their invite of the Los Angeles chapter of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence to Dodgers’ Pride Night events on 16 June and rescinded the award they were going to give the “Sisters” for their work within the community. It turns out that there was a huge response to the team’s decision, and yesterday the team did a 180° turn and re-invited them to the Pride Night event and will give them their reward after all.

The change was pointed out to me by someone on Counter Social, who posted a link to the story from ABC7 News in San Francisco. Their story includes this tweet from the Dodgers which includes this graphic.

LA Dodgers 22 May 2023 statement on reinviting the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence to Pride Night

I’m glad the Dodgers changed their mind about including the “Sisters” in their Pride Night festivities, but they shouldn’t have been disinvited in the first place. Especially when so much of the initial complaining came from people outside of the state that don’t support the in the first place anyway like Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL).

You can read the story on the ABC7 News website, and the LA Daily News has an article on it worth reading as well. The LA Times, my favorite media resource on Dodgers news, has a great article on it, but it’s behind their paywall so you may not be able to read it.

LA Dodgers cave to “Christian” backlash against LGBTQ+ Pride Night

Yesterday I learned there was some bad news for LGBTQ+ fans of the LA Dodgers. News came out that the team was revoking their invite of The Los Angeles chapter of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence to participate in the annual LGBTQ+ Pride Night celebration and canceling the award the group was to receive for their work done in the community (per USA Today).

LA Dodgers statement on Twitter about the Los Angeles chapter of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence participation in the 2023 LGBT+ Pride Night ceremonies

Why were they changing their mind? A group of conservative Catholics said the charity group was “anti-Catholic.” Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL), who probably doesn’t support the team in the first place, joined the chorus suggesting the Dodgers were unfriendly to the church. Interestingly, I can’t find this announcement on the LA Dodgers’ website, and the folks at Dodgers Nation didn’t cover it either.

The backlash was swift. The “Sisters” said they are going to keep serving the community, and the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California said they won’t participate in the event. The Los Angeles LGBTQ Center revoked their invitation to participate in Pride Night, saying

Buckling to pressure from out-of-state, right-wing fundamentalists, the Dodgers caved to a religious minority that is perpetuating a false narrative about LGBTQ+ people.

They went further and suggested the team either reconsider their decision against the “Sisters” or cancel Pride Night completely.

We call on the Dodgers to reconsider their decision, honor the Sisters, and bring the true spirit of Pride back to Dodgers Stadium. If the decision is not reversed, we strongly encourage the Dodgers to cancel Pride Night. Any organization that turns its back on LGBTQ+ people at this damning and dangerous inflection point in our nation’s history should not be hoisting a rainbow flag or hosting a ‘Pride Night.’

It’s disappointing that this comes from the team that broke the color barrier in major league baseball when they signed Jackie Robinson, an event that was just celebrated by the team a little over a month ago.

I grew up being a fan of the Amazing Mets, but as a high school student in 1976, I became an LA Dodgers fan. After moving to Boston in 1989, people asked me why I didn’t root for the Red Sox, but I told them I was sticking with my Bois en Bleu. When the Dodgers signed serial hater and unindicted sexual predator Trevor Bauer for the 2022 season, I boycotted my team, saying that Bauer shouldn’t be allowed to wear the same uniform as Jackie Robinson and Sandy Koufax. I started paying attention to the Dodgers again as the postseason approached and was called a bandwagon fan but I explained that I had taken a stand for women Dodger fans.

I have to feel it’s appropriate that two innings after Freddie Freeman hit a grand slam for his 300th career home run, the Cardinals scored 7 runs, including two home runs, to put the game out of reach. I’d say Karma showed Freddie some love but made sure folks knew she wasn’t happy with the team’s ownership.

When I heard about the latest idiotic move by the front office, I told a friend that it’s making it hard for me to support my Bois en Blue. As of this writing, Pride Night is still on the LA Dodgers’ promotional calendar, although you have to look for it because it doesn’t show up on the team’s game schedule.

The LA Dodgers 2023 Pride night on their Schedule and Promotion & Giveaway pages

I’m pulling back on my support of my Dodgers, and unless things change, I’ll find a way to join the protest for Pride Night even if I am about 3,000 miles away. I’m sick of so-called “Christians*” and their hate forcing folks to turn their back on LGBTQ+ folks, essentially giving us the middle finger. It’s time for us to fight back, and if we get in trouble for it, Let it be “good trouble” that makes a difference and not just clutching at pearls.

—–

*Aren’t Christians supposed to be welcoming and showing God’s love instead of making us want to do anything but be a part of their community?

I have pretty being busy lately

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JM Hardin in May, 2023I haven’t posted anything here in quite a while, but that hasn’t meant I haven’t been doing anything. After getting new web hosting from Namecheap, I moved My Two Lives to a different product within the Namecheap family. The new product allows hosting for not only My Two Lives but also my Second Life store, Nanci’s Naughties, and due to having way too much on my plate, I just got Nanci’s Naughties back up this week.

Sports!

Some people know of my love for tenpin bowling, but I haven’t visited a bowling center since I was in Guam with the Air Force in 1987. Being on a fixed income makes visiting a bowling center in Boston difficult financially, so in March I decided to see what options are available for virtual bowling in Second Life. I found the Bergson Bowling System, which does more than let me bowl inworld. It also lets people lay out lanes for their own use.

Pride Lanes Bowling Center logoRather than just setting up a lane for myself, I created a bowling center anyone could use. It’s the Pride Lanes Bowling Center, and you can find out more about it at PrideLanesSL.online. Pride Lanes has a tent at this year’s Second Pride, and I’m working on some merch that will connect Nanci’s Naughties, Pride Lanes, Second Pride, and global LGBTQ+ life. Once it’s available I’ll announce it over on the Nanci’s Naughties website.

I’m making music again

Clara, my Squire StratocasterWhen I bought my Squire Stratocaster back in 2020, I knew I wanted to work on an original song I got the idea for in a practice room at the Longy School of Music back in 1996. It started as a cool riff with a soul gospel feel, and it became a whole bluesy song in late 1999, but it’s more of a guitar song than a keyboard song, so it just got tucked away in my proverbial drawer. When I got my Strat, I knew I wanted to develop the song, and last year I started working on a demo for the song. The demo still isn’t finished because I never get enough time for playing my guitar, but now that I’m getting things off my plate I hope to get back to working on that soon.

Early this year I was thinking of a Christian rock song I wrote in the early naughts. As an ex-vangelical I won’t use the lyrics anymore, but I love the music I came up with for it, so I’m going to put together a demo on BandLab. I’ll publish the song on BandLab for someone to write new lyrics for and use. Of course, there’s not enough time in the day to do everything, and my brain can play the guitar a hell of a lot better than my fingers can, so it’s another song that’s going to be a work in progress for a while.

Et cetera

There are many things going on in my life that I won’t talk about here, and with warmer weather arriving in Boston I hope to spend more time outside this summer, even if it’s just out on my porch. Yes, I’m a big old homebody, so I tend to stick around Château Hardin unless I have to make groceries, run an errand or five, or go the medico folks. But that works pretty well for me since I’m also a huge night owl, and I’m usually going to bed when the morning news folks are getting up. There are also days when I’ve kicked myself because the sun is going down as I’m going to bed, but the only problem there is that by the time I get up I’ve missed most of the daytime.

I’m going to leave you with a meme posted by someone last year on a social media platform I used to use. It’s something I need to remind myself of every now and then, and I’m not the only one who needs it.

Life is too short to worry about what others think about you. So have fun and give them something to talk about.

Home composting has come to the city of Boston

In late May, I saw that the City of Boston was launching a curbside food waste collection program or a household composting program. When I was a teenager, my mother did composting for her garden, and I’ve always wished I could do composting in my apartments. There is an independent program in Boston called Boostrap Compost, but since I’m on a fixed income, the monthly charges were more than my budget could fit.

When I saw the City of Boston was starting its own program, I registered immediately. There’s no charge to participate, and they provide you with everything you need to get started. The starter kit contains

Boston Food Waste program kitchen supplies: A bucket to collect your food waste in, a magnet for your refrigerator, a roll of compostable bag liners, and a guidebook for teh program. Not shown is the curbside bucket, the
  • A wheeled bucket to put out on trash day
  • A smaller bucket for your kitchen
  • A roll of compostable liners for your kitchen tub
  • A guidebook to help you know what you can put in the tub
  • And a handy magnet to put on your refrigerator you can check you make sure you’re only putting acceptable items in your tubs.

If you already do recycling with your eligible trash, you’ll find that some recyclables, like paper towels and toilet tissue cores, can go into your compost tube. If your grocery store has compostable bags for their produce, you can use those to put compostable items in. When you run out of bin liners, you can use a double-lined paper bag or any BPI, CMA, or OK Compost certified compostable bin liners. It’s all in the guidebook, and you can also check the FAQ page for more information on the program.

They’ll start collecting food waste the week of 1 August, and it will be picked up on your regular trash day. If you have multiple trash pickups every week, they’ll pick up your food waste on the first pickup of the week. Not every neighborhood in Boston is participating yet, and the first step of signing up is to make sure your neighborhood is eligible.

If you want to get some of the compost produced by the program for your garden, you can purchase bags of compost. I’m going to look into doing that when I finally start doing more gardening than the five pots of plants that live on my back porch.

The Boston Food Waste program curbside food bucket, a bright green wheeled bucket with a lockable lid. The locking mechanism is bright orange

If you’re interested in getting more information or signing up, congratulations, and thank you! You’re a better steward of our shared planet than many of your fellow human beings. Go to bostoncomposts.com and peruse the information, including the FAQ page, then fill out the enrollment form and get ready to start keeping some of your food waste from going into the landfill.

I’m movin’ on…

Updated 19 Oct 2023: Due to circumstances I won’t get into here, I’m no longer on the social media platform I mentioned in this post. As a result, I’ve removed references to it from this post and other articles on this site. As I say at the end of the post, I’m movin’ on.

While watching Outside Source on BBC World, the news broke that Twitter had accepted Elon Musk’s offer to buy the company. As soon as I heard that he wanted to buy the bird app, I tweeted that I would close my account if the sale went through.

When I heard the news today (oh boy), I immediately started paring down the number of folks I was following, and someone reminded me to archive my account before closing it. While I intended on killing my account before the first pitch between the Dodgers and D’backs, I’ll wait to get my archive before leaving there.

As The Zombies sang while opening up their 2015 album Still Got That Hunger, I’m moving on.