Thursday, January 31, 2008

Treat Yourself to a Good Visual Experience: Why Video Cards Matter

Sweetie's View (Click on Picture to See Just How Detailed it Isn't)


Chey's View (Click on Picture to See Just How Detailed it Is)

Written 30 January, 2008

Treat Yourself to a Good Visual Experience: Why Video Cards Matter


When I first met my Sweetie, lo these many months ago, she saw Second Life as a collection of blobs, mostly gray. She had to sit still with camera unmoving for a long time before things would resolve enough for her to make them out.

I had no idea of the state of her graphics experience. I thought she was just being zen.

I didn’t realize how bad things were for her on her primitive Mac (hmm, primitive Mac; is such a thing possible?) until she got all excited about the whale by the lava flow..

The whale! Wait a minute! What whale? When did we get a whale? And if you didn’t put it there and I didn’t put it there, who did? Did it swim in from the ocean?

I said, “We have no whale.”

“Yes, we do,” she said, and gave me a snapshot to prove it.

Sweetie’s photo showed a piscine shape in a tidal pool. I could see how she might think it was a whale, as it was large and vaguely whale-shaped, but OMG! What was the matter with her camera that it took such unrefined pictures? Then it hit me—the problem wasn’t with her camera; the problem was with her video display!

As I hovered above the shark, stunned, I realized Sweetie had built her beautiful fountain and my beautiful house while suffering under a profound visual handicap.

It was at that moment that I fell in love with her.

When you look at my view of the same area, it’s clear just how profound a difference a good video card can make.

I was happy, a couple of months later, to send Sweetie the graphics card from my old computer (go here to discover how I blew it up). My new computer had a PCI slot and my old AGP card was no use to me. Sweetie and I had long ago shared mailing addresses, but I had to twist her arm to get her to take it. Sweetie has her pride, after all. But she accepted with graciousness and a sore elbow, and I had a joyful time one night as I sat on a couch in the House of 1000 Pleasures and received her excited IMs from the land below. “I didn’t know we had a frog!” “This bridge is beautiful!” “OMG, a bird!” “These plants are moving!” “Pele is so beautiful!”

The textures, the textures! Arggh!

Sweetie still labors under a bit of a visual handicap—her new dual core iBook has difficulty with Second Life for some reason, and the processor on her desktop PC is a bit slow. SL is still frustrating for her at times, but the quality of her visual experience has improved tenfold.

Why am I writing this? Because I love to write about my Sweetie. And because you, gentle avatar reader, deserve a decent visual experience of this finely detailed virtual world. So if your visual experience in Second Life is more like Sweetie’s than mine, please consider investing in a graphics card—and, if you have less than 1 gb of RAM, some memory. RAM prices have dropped dramatically, and really good video cards are selling for less than $100 US these days (I just bought, as part of my let’s-get-my-old-computer-running-so-it-can-serve-as-a-backup plan, a 512 mb nVidia card with DDR3; it was $99, $69 after rebate).

After all, there may come a time when you will need to be able to tell a shark from a whale.

Clackety Damn Shoes! (by Sweetie)

Written 12 January, 2008

Clackety Damn Shoes!

By Sweetie


If a girl walks through the mall and nobody hears her, does she still exist?

YES!

So please! PLEASE! PLEASE take off those stupid clackety shoes!

Like pink fluorescent t-shirts in high school, they were cool for about five minutes.

As I mentioned in response to comments about my “Please Don’t Bury My Avatar in This Outfit” blog, I quit taping mini-flashlights to the sides of my tennis shoes when I was ten years old, and I stopped clipping playing cards to the spokes of my bicycle when I was twelve.

Okay, fourteen.

Okay, sixteen, but I lived in a rural area and there was nothing to do.

And I’m talking rural, like no mall to go to and wear your clackety damn shoes for three hours.

My point is clackety shoes are just straight-up repetitious noise pollution. If you’re a tap dancer in Second Life or a dominatrix whose john gets a thrill from having you stomp around him in your boots, go for it. Otherwise (Sweetie nods her head vapidly), “Oh, yeah, those are really kewl!” NOT!

Trends in Second Life, 2008


Fashion No-Nos: Butt Skirt, Clackety Shoes, Bling, Oiled Skin

Written 12 January, 2008


Trends In Second Life, 2008

(This list was compiled with the help of and under the watchful eye of fashionista Sweetie)

And this is NOT a fashion blog!

In: Zero Style hair
Out: Clackety shoes

In: Mystitool
Out: Snurb-o-matic *

In: Your own sim
Out: Dreamland

In: Nicholaz Viewer
Out: “Entire Avatar” folders because of Hair up your butt

In: Windlight
Out: Mouse Moves Sun

In: Fyre and Defleur
Out: Callie Cline

In: Stylish retro clothes
Out: Butt skirts

In: Chunky, quirky jewelry
Out: Bling

In: Home-grown SL music
Out: Promo concerts by big RL bands and big corporations

In:

Porcelain complexion
Out: Shiny oiled skin

In: Kitto Flora’s train and The Flying Tako
Out: Virtual BMWs

In: Manga avatars
Out: Hyperphotorealistic skins

In: Steampunk
Out: Gor

In: Houses of Worship
Out: Banks

In: Interactive games
Out: One-armed bandits

In: Well-designed mens’ clothing
Out: Shirtless men in tribal tattoos

In: Sculpty penis
Out: One Linden dick-in-a-box

In: Imagination
Out: XCite!

In: SL Erotica
Out: Avatar porn

In: Working for a living
Out: Camping

In: Age verification
Out: Age play

* The Snurb-o-Matic is an expensive in-world tool for making sculpted prims. Sweetie was unable to make it work properly, so she insisted it be included in this list. She promised Cheyenne she would refrain from criticizing her outfits for three days when the blog was posted.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Sweetie Gets Her (c)


Written 28 January, 2007

Sweetie Gets Her (c)

Jeez.

When Sweetie saw I had included a copyright notice with my Second Life song (the one I actually wrote), she demanded I put one on "Oh, Linden Tree."

I tried to tell her she couldn't copyright a recaptioned "Oh, Tannenbaum," but she didn't want to hear it.

"I want a copyright. I want a (c)!," she said.

And what Sweetie wants, Sweetie gets.

So here's a copyright symbol for Sweetie. A copyright symbol of her very own.

What?

She just told me that any time I sing "Oh, Tannenbaum," I have to pay her a dime, and a quarter if I use her "Oh, Linden Tree" lyrics.

The damn song is in my head and just won't go away! I'm going to go bankrupt!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

My Other Second Life Song

Written 22 January, 2008

My Other Second Life Song

It's been a while now since local water has disappeared in my viewer, but for months it was a fact of my Second Life. I would teleport, and there would be no water.

I can't remember the workaround, but there was a toggle, something you could switch on and off, and the water would come back.

It was during this time that I caged a melody that had been haunting me and Second Lifed it all up.

The song was John Stewart's Ghost Inside of Me, and I offer him my most abject apologies if I should ever perform the following:

Lyrics by Cheyenne Palisades

Ghost in a Machine

Oh, this second life I’m leading
From my first life I’m receding
To the grid I am proceeding
I’m a ghost in a machine

Oh, the property I’m buying
And the pose balls I am trying
How my love life has me crying
I’m a ghost in a machine

Chorus:

And it’s round
Round
Workaround
I think the Grid is breaking down
I am lagging, woe is me
And it’s down
Down
Going down
Asset server’s
Offline now
I’m unable to TP

Oh, the Lindens I am spending
And the merchandise I’m vending
It’s no use even pretending
I’m not a ghost in a machine

Yes, this course that I am steering
For my first life has me fearing
My attachments disappearing
And I’m a ghost in a machine

Repeat Chorus

Oh, this Second Life obsession
Lifts me out of black depression
But I must make a small confession
I’m a ghost in a machine

I’m a ghost in a machine
I’m a ghost in a machine
Yes, we’re all ghosts in a machine

My Second Life Song

Written 22 January, 2008

My Second Life Song

As soon as I rezzed at the Ahern noobie center, I knew Second Life was for me.

I could fly!

I could teleport!

What was not to like?

I fancy myself as more of a songwriter than a singer (don't make me prove it!). When I'm inspired, songs just materialize.

Here is my noobie SL song, written less than a week after I rezzed.

Optimistic, isn't it?

Second Life

Copyright (c) 2006 by Cheyenne Palisades

I have a life in the real world
It’s been mine for quite a few years
As lives goes it isn’t a bad one
With its share of laughter and tears

But I know a place that is special
Where sometimes myself I do go
I sit myself at my computer
Log on and I’m ready to go

To a new place
With a new face
Touching the sky
Anything I can imagine
And best of all
I can fly

I have a purse full of Lindens
I’m looking to pick up some land
Where I’ll build a Garden of Eden
And teleport in all of my friends

To a new place
With a new face
Embracing the sky
Anything they can imagine
And best of all
They can fly

New place
New face
I touch the sky
Anything I can imagine
And best of all
I can fly

Now, I’ve been so long at the keyboard
I think my butt’s stuck to the chair
I need to go to the bathroom
My boyfriend has had an affair
I called in sick to the office
And I had to pawn all my bling
So Cheyenne could spend thousands of Lindens
So she will look good when she sings

In a new place
With a new face
Touching the sky
Anything she can imagine
And best of all
She can fly

And best of all
She can fly

My Belated Singing Career

Written 22 January, 2008

My Belated Singing Career

When I first came to Second Life, I had a notion that I might become a performer-- a singer.

After all, I had sung and playted guitar for my supper in real life, and after all my real life friends, who perform in SL under the names Bill and Pam Havercamp, were making a good go of it.

I have sung and played in SL-- once as a mic test to be sure I was streaming, and once in voice in a round robin, but I have done nothing to launch my planned career as a performer.

Well, not NOTHING. I bought a very nice Samson condenser USB mic and a shock mount, and have it positioned over my desk on a mic stand with a boom. So I'm ready to go.

I just haven't went. I've not even tested the mic.

I own land. I have a stage at Pele. I have a guitar. I have a mic. I can rent or borrow a stream. What's stopping me?

I'm not sure. Maybe I should schedule a performance and see if I make people run screaming.

It's Christmas All Over Again!



Written 22 January, 2008

It's Christmas All Over Again!

Last year was a lean year for your very own Cheyenne, and 2008 promises more of the same (but my finances change in early 2009, and woo hoo! Watch me then!

But I came into a little money recently and was able to give my computer a belated Christmas present.

I took myself to Fry's, which you might know, is a big-box electronics store. It's head and shoulders ahead of, IMHO, Circuit City and Comp-USA and Best Buy. There are 100-foot-long aisles dedicated to things like computer cases and keyboards and a 20-foot long display of flash drives and stacks of hard drives on sale. There is a 50-foot-long display of motherboards and bins of inexpensive cables of every type and an area the size of Rhode Island dedicated to computer books. Fry's has everything! And there is one only 15 miles from my house, which almost but doesn't quite make living in Atlanta worthwhile.

I found an 500 GB Maxtor hard drive on sale for $89.95 and picked up a 512mb nVidia 8xxx video card with DDR2 for $60 (after $30 rebate) and two USB external 3.5" hard drive enclosures for $19 each (they didn't work, have to take them back, which is a great excuse to buy more stuff). I got a nifty little stand-on-your desk tripod for $12.95, which will allow me to uninstall my crappy Logitech webcam that routinely crashes my PC and install a slighly less crappy Logitech webcam which I just wasn't able to position.

I passed up, with more than one backwards glance, the wall of monitors and the Macintosh aisle (there's a nice desktop Mac for $799 that is calling my name, but it will have to wait).

I also grabbed a cordless Skype phone for only $29.95. That will let me talk to my Sweetie without being deskbound.

I love Skype. It's so much clearer than the phone line.

As a last impulse purchase, I grabbed Daniel Terdiman's An Entrepreneur's Guide to Second Life, which was an ouch at $29, but was so well-done that I couldn't pass it up. I figured I would gain $30 in knowledge by reading it-- although that's let's see, $270 x 30, about 8000 Lindens, maybe not. :)

It was like a belated but happy Christmas, and I spent a happy time last night backing up all my data and making an image of my boot drive.

All of which got me to thinking--- hmmm. Christmas. Perhaps I should get a new coat!

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Revenge of the Coats: Postscript

Written 19 January, 2008

Revenge of the Coats: Postscript

Sweetie: Thank you for rescuing me from the mutated outwear, Darling.

Cheyenne: You're welcome, hon.

Sweetie (lying back in Chey's arms). That was a pretty good piece of writing, wasn't it?

Cheyenne: Yeah, and stream of consciousness at that!

Sweetie:
You know, Cheyenne, I think we should foist those 500 mutated coats you've locked in the closet on I'mSoNotADiva Bartlett.

Chey: (Doubtfully) That was almost a year ago. I'm not sure our loyal readers will remember her.

Sweetie: (In shock) Are you kidding? Not remember the trial? The United States of America vs. Sweetie? (Puts her arms on her chest and gasps). Everyone remembers that!

Fade to black....

But just in case our readers don't remember, the URLs of this classic tale of high adventure and rebellion are posted on the left-hand column, just above the Blog Archive. The adventure begins with the last (bottom) item on the list, Teleportation Security Administration and progresses upwards.

Revenge of the Coats

Written 19 January, 20008

Revenge of the Coats


By The One and Only Sweetie

This is a tale, an allegorical yarn about what happens to bad little avatars who purchase too many coats and then exercise their ego by writing about them constantly in their this-is-not-a-fashion-blog fashion blog.

(Scene: camera pans to right, sweeping through the beautifully-appointed House of 1000 Pleasures, where Sweetie and Cheyenne dwell. Sound: Sweetie's voice, slightly strident, can be heard coming from the bedroom area)

"Cheyenne! Can you come here for a minute, Hon?"

Silence.

"CHEYENNE! The closet is trying to eat me!"

"No it isn't! I haven't written any avitar-devouring wardrobe scripts-- yet-- but what a great idea for a toy!" Cheyenne grabs her Ideas-From-Sweetie pad, licks her pencil, and begins making notes.

"A voracious wardrobe would make a great addition to our Dangerous Toy line. I could even make it match the Well-of-Death." Cheyenne looks up at Sweetie earnestly. "Or do you think i should bundle it with the avatar barbecue, since the're both sort of foodie-oriented?"

Sweetie splays both arms across the doors of the closet and says sweetly, but urgently, "Cheyenne-- Darling, do you think possibly, just maybe, you could focus for a moment on the fact that your five hundred scripted outerwear garments have been mutated by your incessant ego-stroking into The-Coat-That-Ate-Manhattan and GET ME OUT OF HERE BEFORE I'M THE FIRST AVATAR IN HISTORY TO BE DEVOURED BY A GARMENT!" ARRRRGHHHH, COATS GONE MAD, COATS GONE MAD, RUN FOR YOUR LIVES, SOMEBODY HIT SCRIPT RESET! @!@IU@(*%*^%$#(@^$(*&_

The moral of our tale: Being a fashionista is fabulous, but virtual vanity run amock can be (dramatic pause) deadly!

Teeter-Totters

My regular Teeter-Totter is Resting on the Dragon-Sized One

In My Custom Pose on the Teeter-Totter

Perspective Shot of the Dragon Teeter-Totter. That Sucker is BIG!

Dragon Teeter-Totter


Me as Dragon on the Big Teeter-Totter

Written 19 January, 2008

Teeter-Totters

I made two teeter-totters last night, one red and one green. They look just like the ones I used to play on as a kid.

I even made the poses for them.

This evening I did something I've long wanted to do: I made a dragon-sized teeter-totter.

I started with a huge prim, 40 meters long x 1.75m x 7.5 meters. I cut it so it as only half the width, and then proceeded as with a regular teeter-totter-- but linking was pure hell.

I had to bluff and trick Second Life into linking the teeter-totter, but I finally got it.

I like working my will upon SL!

Juxtaposition



Written 19 January, 2008


Juxtaposition

Much of Second Life is manifestly absurd, but it's the smaller things, the little jars of reality that realy make me smile.

Here's a photo I took today. The tall avie is one of my oldest friends, Melissa Yeuxdoux, who is working a purple hairdo and skin to match. I don't know the other, but she is so tall and buxom and willowy and he is so short and noobie that I just had to take the snap.

If I had been 1/8 second faster, I would have caught shorty looking up at Melissa. :(

Yes! Yes! Another Coat!


Written 19 January, 2008

Yes! Yes! Another Coat!

Just when you thought there was not another coat in all SL for me to possibly buy! Just when Pele's brief winter ended and the tropical sun had returned! Just when you thought my so-not-a-fashion-blog was going to be not about fashion-- it happened!

My friend Ramo teleported me this morning to artilleri to look at a coat.

It was a coat I had admired and had offered to buy for Sweetie, who believes one coat is more than enough for any avatar. She declined, and I fogot about it.

Until today. I bought the coat in black. Ramo bought it in pink and colored it red, since it was modifiable.

Which got me to thinking, I could use a nice burgundy coat. So I bought another.

Jeez.

I may make it snow again on Pele.

Society of Friends



Written 19 January, 2008

Society of Friends

When I was a child, my parents would bundle me and my younger brother off every Sunday for worship. This consisted of Baptist Sunday School, where I heard stories of an unjust, mean, and spiteful God (putting Adam and Eve in a situation he had contrived so they would be bound to fail; flooding the earth and drowning everyone and everything; afflicting plagues on Job to test the strength of his faith; telling a poor shepherd to sacrifice his son; and, worst of all, sending His son in to do the dirty work instead of doing it himself. Then came the sermon, which consisted of threats of damnation and general name-calling. I was told what a dirty sinner I was, how there was no hope for me, and how God was good despite the despicable things they told me he did, how He was the path to salvation through some mysterious hard-to-understand trinity of Himself, His son, and the Holy Spirit.

Sunday School and the sermons were contrived to tell me about a god who was, in my estimation, a mean old bastard. I didn't like Him one bit. Still don't.

It's a wonder it didn't put me off spirituality altogether.

I don't hate God, nor do I disbelieve. But I realized, as a result of my indocrination, that any God in which the Baptists believed was a God not worth having. Looking around at the miraculous world, at living creatures, I postulated a different God, a kinder, more benevolent Creator, an emphatic and caring spirit. That God just felt right to me.

That's a private belief I hold inside, and I've carried it with me as I go through life. I'm content in my mortality, content with the state of my soul, and content with my relationship with the Creator.

Since those Baptist days, I've avoided church. I hadn't been to a service in more than 20 years-- until I went to a meeting of the Society of Friends with my Sweetie, who is a Quaker.

I knew little (still know little) about the Quakers, but what I had read and heard made them seem impressive, heads and shoulders above the Baptists, who are mean sons of bitches just like their god. And so I went to a meeting for worship Sea Turtle Island (meetings are at 1 pm LST every Saturday).

There was no Sunday School. And there was no preaching. Instead, we sat quietly, not speaking, for 45 minutes. (It's called a Meeting for Worship, I believe). And I felt a closeness to God, something I had NEVER felt before in a house or worship.

I've attended seven or eight meetings, and enjoy them. I go even when Sweetie doesn't. Every time, I've felt at peace and close to God.

After one of the metings I had a theological discussion with a young Quaker theological studient, and I heard a lot about the God I detest and despise, the mean, jealous, rotten God of the Baptists, dressed up a bit. So I doubt if I would enjoy or grow by attending the theological meetings of the Quakers, but the Meetings for Worship rock.

Because God, who I never sensed in a Baptist church, attends Meetings for Worship.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Grrr! on Blogger

Written 18 January, 2008

Grrr! on Blogger

What IS it with Blogger, anyway, that sometimes my lines wrap before they're halfway across the screen, and sometimes they march right off the right-hand side of the screen?

It's not my browser (Opera), for it happens with that scourge of the digital realm, Internet Explorer, too.

When that happens, I have to either back up and retype the entire paragraph or cut it, paste it into a word processor or text editor program, cut it from there, and paste it back into Blogger.

I suspect extraneous characters are finding their way into my paragraphs, but I can't image how or why and I certainly don't know how to get rid of them.

Ideas, anyone?

Toys


Bottom: My Bouncy Castle, $155L

Written 18 January, 2008

Toys

Day before yesterday I built one of those bouncy castles. They have them at every McDonalds in the land, an inflatable plastic structure in which children can jump up and down as if on a trampoline, but without the dangers of a trampoline.

I've seen Second Life versions of bouncy castles. In fact, someone on the Ponderama sim is advertising them in The Avastar for $2500 Lindens! Primmy (68 or so), and way expensive,
and, so far as I can tell, it bounces exactly like mine (which is priced at what, $155, and with only sixteen prims!). One-tenth the price, which I thought might be too much, since there are now and again free classes on how to build bouncy castles.

So I took myself to Ponderama to check out the competition and see what, if anything, caused their bouncy castles to be worth $2500L.

The $2500 bouncy castle does let you adjust the level of the push, which is something I had already decided to do. After all, what fun is it if you can't turn a Bouncy Castle into a Bouncy Castle of Death? I suppose the big plus for the expensive version is it's uglier than mine, which is itself  pretty ugly. But then again, if I made mine too ugly, the Dreamland police will raid Pele in the middle of the night and take away my bouncy castle. So I used due restraint.

Anway, I like making toys-- teeter-totters, merry-go-rounds, elephant rides, wells of death, avatar barbecues. I suppose I should be making more jewelry (and that is indeed on my to-do list) because I can make more money with it, but Second Life lets me do whatever I fancy. And sometimes I fancy making toys.

And that's why the store is called, ta dah!-- Flights of Fancy.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Good Fences Make Good Neighbors

Written 15 January, 2008

Good Fences Make Good Neighbors

Not long ago, four 16k lots came available on the Forsaken sim.

My neighbor Leaf Shermer bought two. I bought the third as soon as I could scrape up the money, and I had hopes of buying the fourth.

But the fourth was purchased by someone who should have bought elsewhere.

And darn it, a check came in the mail today; it would have allowed me to buy that last lot.

I had to kick the new owner off my land in December because he was stomping all over Pele, refusing to speak to anyone. He claims WE wouldn’t speak to HIM, but I have the chat log of my attempts to talk to him. He ignored repeated hellos.

His group tag proclaimed that he had a social phobia, which pretty much said it all. Not that his Undead status wouldn’t have been enough of a clue by itself.

As for kicking him off the land, he can be as socially phobic as he pleases, but if he’s on my land, he has to play nice. And that includes responding when spoken to.

I took the ban off after a while. I usually do, unless someone is an absolute jerk.

Of all the properties on all the sims in Second Life, this undead antisocial guy chose a lot on Forsaken, right next to probably the only property in Second Life from which he was banned. What was he _thinking_? His tastes run to dead trees and hideous houses with refrigerators stocked with jars full of eyeballs. His ugly house has been up and down and up and down and is currently down. His land is pretty much empty, except for sky structures and an ugly prim statue of a furry, penis savant. Which is fine by me? I just put up a big rock to screen him from my view, and, because he had put up a prim statue of an ugly little man on the common border of our properties as a “screw you” to me. I put up a big pink blossom-dropping tree just to piss him off.

It did. He ran to Dreamland, trying to build a case that I was using Pele for commercial rather than residential purposes. Of course, that isn’t true. Pele is solely for the amusement of myself, and Sweetie, and my friends. And of course he knew that.

So I sent his socially phobic self a notecard that told him communication was important, even for the socially phobic, and that next time something was bugging him he might show me the courtesy of letting me know before running like a four-year-old to Dreamland and if he _couldn’t_ bring his socially phobic ass to talk to me, I had every right in the world to put up as many pink trees, Mickey Mouses, and smiley faces as I wanted.

Those are all things that drive people with a jar of eyeballs in their refrigerator berserk. And they are all absolutely appropriate for a residential area that is supposed to be pretty. No. 1: Pink trees that drop petals. No. 2: Smiley faces. No. 3: Mickey Mouse.

A year ago, my all-country-all-the-time neighbor went all-Dracula-all-the-time. On the land that is now the Pele Gardens he tore down his good old boy cabin and erected a horrid castle that topped Pele by a good 20 meters— not counting the pennants. I responded by making a billboard featuring our friend Mickey and positioning it so it was visible from every window in his castle. When he asked me why I did that, I told him I would be turning Pele into a Disney theme park.

That’s when he decided to sell.

Back in the here and now, I took down the pink tree and my neighbor removed the prim man. He did get over his social phobia enough to send a notecard in response to mine. It reminds me of getting a “deaf and dumb” card from some pretending to be non-hearing, but at least it’s a form of communication. So, things are at if not a truce a standoff between me and my sim neighbor, unless he reads this and gets all pissed off again.

But I have resolved to talk about my Second Life on these pages, the good experiences and the bad, and so I will risk it.

p.s. Turns out he didn’t remove the ugly little man after all. I just couldn’t see it at a distance because it’s scripted. But in the interest of d├ętente, I am squelching my desire to put the pink tree back up.

Photos were taken on a low-power PC. It sucks not to be able to see Second Life.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Belated Christmas Songs

Written 12 January, 2008

Belated Christmas Songs

Christmas has come and gone, and next Christmas is a whole year away, so it's probably safe to tell you about Sweetie's Christmas songs.

I just admit that I fed her lines now and again, so I'm as much to blame as she is.

First was this one. Innocent enough. She just tossed it out one night when we were grid-jumping, in the spur of the moment:

[2:00] Sweetie Provocateur: Oh, Linden tree, oh, Linden tree, you're lagging, but we love you

[2:00] Sweetie Provocateur: Oh Linden tree, oh Linden tree, we can't copy or transfer you

[2:00] Sweetie Provocateur: Your bulbs are light and on full bright

[2:00] Sweetie Provocateur: I look at you

[2:00] Sweetie Provoceaur: in forced midnight

[2:00] Sweetie Provocateur: Oh, Linden tree

[2:00] Sweetie Provocateur: Oh, Linden tree

[2:00] Jeremiah Pintens: HAHAHAHAHAH

[2:00] Sweetie Provocateur: We gather round you faithfully

Can you believe that? Less than a minute! Off the top of her head! To a group of her friends! Only Jeremiah had time to respond!

-----

Innocent enough, right?

But like my first coat, it was the start of a trend. Soon, Sweetie was tossing songs off left and right.

Sing this (if you dare) to the tune of God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen:

One day I jumped on a pose ball
And much to my dismay
I learned the furry
 Standing near me clearly was not gay
I never thought an avatar could bend and twist that way
Oh, pose balls of woe and despair
Woe and despair
Oh, pose balls of woe and despair

He said, "Oh, yes, my darling
That is quite a nice display
I love the way this animation
Makes your prim breasts sway
Thank heavens for Greg Altman
I could do this night and day"
Oh, pose balls of woe and despair
Woe and despair
Oh, pose balls of woe and despair

I clicked stand up and turned to him
And typed out my outrage
And said, "What were you thinking, sir
To trick me in this way?
I was a pose ball virgin, sir
Now if asked, I must say
I am fallen on pose balls of despair
Woe and despair
I am fallen on pose balls of despair"

THAT one took all of five minutes.

All of this led to songs that weren't about Christmas.

This (fortunately unfinished) song is sung to the tune of Elton John and Bernie Taupin's Rocket Man. It's called Newbie Man, and is about that one possession every newbie man must have:

I miss my penis
This is not right
I'm like a Ken doll
Late at night

And, in a lighter vein, this to Don't Fence Me In:

Oh, give me land, lots of prims under starry Linden skies
Don't fence me in.
Let me ride through the wide open Grid that I adore
Don't fence me in.
Let me fly by myself in the Linden breezes
And listen to the murmur of my new sound prims
Mute my av forever, but I ask you please
Don't fence me in.

Just turn me loose, Let me straddle my old dragon
Underneath the Linden skies.
Oh my obtuse, brand new neighbor, let me wander
Till I reach the mountain rise.

I want to fly to the edge where the void commences
And gaze at the Linden moon and lose my senses
I don't like McMansions and I hate red fences
Don't fence me in

I cannot TELL you how proud and happy I am to have such a brilliant, quick-witted, innovative, and irreverent girlfriend. :)

Thursday, January 10, 2008

WOW!



Written 10 January, 2008

WOW!

Last night I was standing on the beach at Pele when i heard that KA-CHING! sound. Yeah. the cash register.

Someone had purchased a necklace from my jewelry server at the Flights of Fancy store in Phyllira.

That sound is a rush. I'm always happy to hear it, for it means lindens in the bank, and 2008 is shaping up as a lean year (have to make it on just my salary, as my editing job went bye-bye).

Last night the cash register just kept KA-CHINGing. Before it was over, my Linden balance had grown from 2300 to 9100.

It's gratifying to know someone values my jewelry that much!

Thank you, avatar, for making my day!
 

Come Live in Beautiful Pele



 Written 10 January, 2008

Come Live in Beautiful Pele

Just to let you know, we have several rental vacancies in beautiful Pele-- tiki houses on the beach, beautiful sunsets and ocean waves.

Peaceful Pele Low drama. A pleasant place to live.

Safe too.

Unless the volcano erupts and you are scorched by a pyroclastic flow.

Or unless you tumble into the Well of Death.

Or unless Sweetie falls from the sky and crushes you, as she did those lovers in Paris 1900.

Or unless the croc gets you. Or the squid.

But mostly safe. And avies can't die anyway.

$875L a week, house and landscaping provided, 200 prims. If you don't like the houses we have up, we have others :)

IM Cheyenne Palisades if you're interested. Or go here and take a look at the houses.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Dag, That Cave is BIG!





Written 9 January, 2007

Dag, That Cave is BIG!

I can't quite account for the strange feeing I get when I go into the Forsaken Caverns. As I push deeper into them, I grow more and more convinced they were once used for some sort of secretive bioengineering process. Maybe it's the Monsanto signs. (Cheyenne runs a hand through her fabulous [this is SO not a fashion blog!] hairdo as the puzzles over the PCB and radiation warning signs).

Tonight it was confirmed when I saw this dragon inside the caverns. It's a full grown female, so you can see just how big the caves are! She is glowing green, and I'm wondering if she's been subsisting on the Frankenkelp that is growing in the caves.

I'm getting out of here. The noises are getting to me!

A Shape for Cillian


Cillian After with Fierce Patrol Look

(Courtesy of Eyes Sweetie Gave Him!)


Cillian After (Nice Buns!)

Cillian During


Cillian Before


Taking Cillian Shopping

Written 9 January, 2008


A Shape for Cillian

Once there was a poor little Italian boy. His name was Cillian.

Every night when we went to bed he would lie between the sheets and pray for a shape with his silver tongue. “Please, Dio, gracious creator of all light and joy,” he would say. “Give me a shape.”

Soon Cillian stopped going to bed at all. He and his 17 identical alts would spend their days and nights camping for Lindens. But shapes cost so very much money and he and his 17 identical alts made so very little money that he knew it would be a long, long, time before he could afford the shape of his dreams and become, like the dashing dramatic hero he knew himself to be, a ranger who wuild faithfully patrol the Italian sims of Second Life.

And then one day two beautifully coutured angelic creatures (that would be me and Sweetie) appeared and whisked him away to a wondrous place called The Body Politik, where he had a marvelous time trying on shapes until the clock struck twelve and his wonderful new shapes all disappeared, leaving him with his old shape.

But all was not lost. His fairy godsisters (for he is their Second Life brother) gave him $350L and bid him buy the Damien shape, and he did, and that problem with his eyes was fixed.

And they even gave him eyes, for his bright blue featureless orbs weren’t working for him..

And then his fairy godmothers dashed away, leaving poor Cillian feeling grateful and more than a little awestruck.

We hope.

And Cillian became a ranger and lived happily ever after.

Please Don't Bury My Avatar in This Outfit!


Photo 1: Stanger in a Butt Skirt

Photo 2: Chey in a Somewhat Better Outfit

Written 6 January, 2008

Please Don’t Bury My Avatar In This Outfit!

Since this is SOOO not a fashion blog , I, Sweetie, have been careful not to drone on and on about one of my passions—fashion. However, I just can no longer keep my silence on one special subject: freebie clothing.

Have you ever heard the expression “You get what you pay for?” Well, freebie clothing is usually a perfect Second Life example of this axiom.

While I love that there are generous people in Second Life who give away clothing to new citizens, it really drives me crazy when avatars are running around dressed in freebies after six months in world.

OK, there, I said it! I’m a snob.

Or, more accurately, as my darling Cheyenne says, I’m a platinum card-carrying fashionista.

My problem with free clothing isn’t that it’s free. Frankly, I think free is wonderful. My problem with free clothing, and with much clothing that is sold, is that it’s built badly.

Yes, you heard me. I said built badly.

Let me explain myself.

The most basic type of clothing in SL is a texture that is placed on a template and imported into the world. When you wear it, it is pasted over your avatar’s shape, and so looks skin-tight. Often, the resolution is poor, especially at the ends of sleeves and at collars.

Articles of clothing that depart from the avatar grid—skirts that flare out and shoes—are BUILT with prims. As an avatar who spends a great deal of her time building complex objects, when I see a female avatar flouncing about in a butt skirt (translation from Sweetiespeak: a butt skirt flares out from below your butt, covering at least part of your thighs. You’ve seen them.)—When I see a butt skirt, I see a builder who lacked skill and sophistication. He or she made a skirt shaped into a cone and attached it smack in the middle of the avatar hip area.

More sophisticated clothing builders will use a series of attachments that drape around the body or use other techniques that make it appear that the skirts don’t originate inside the avatar. The best clothing designers will not only use well-built prim attachments, but hand-drawn textures for the clothing templates, creating a layered effect.

So back to my main point. It drives me just a little crazy to see tenured citizens distribute badly-made free clothing to newbies or wear such clothing themselves. Some even laugh at those of us who spend money on sophisticated clothing. They see no sense in purchasing a virtual garment.

And yet a beautiful, versatile outfit suitable for a ball in Caledon or a night on the dance floor at the Sphynx Jazz Club usually sells for no more than $700L, or $3 US. So the next time you balk at spending a few hundred Lindens on a nice ladies’ dress or gentlemens’ coat, think about how many hours might have gone into its production.

Then maybe you’ll know why, when you pull out that freebie outfit with the blurry pink shirt, a short, spangled pink butt skirt, bright clashing red underwear, I call this blog “Please Don’t Bury My Avatar in This Outfit!”

Freedom isn’t free, and neither is fashion!

Monday, January 7, 2008

Caves are Dark



Written 7 January, 2007

Caves are Dark

Everyone knows caves are dark, and the Forsaken caverns are no exception. Here's the way they really look. If you explore them, please set midnight, as Sweetie has worked hard to put in a lot of subtle lighting effects/

OMGQ Did I say that?

The caverns are natural. Perfectly natural! 100%! Totally.

And here's how they look at midnight.

Forsaken Caverns






Written 7 January, 2007

Forsaken Caverns

You live in a place—in fact, you build a place, you think you know it!

Last night I was walking down the northern shoreline of Pele, enjoying the waves on my feet, when suddenly the sand gave way and I found myself underwater.

My first impulse was to fly out, but my hair was already wet, so I took a moment to look about. At first I saw nothing, but a second look at a concrete sea wall revealed an inset circular (well, toroidal) metal door. Signs suggested it led to some sort of biological research station. I was surprised when the door slid open at my touch.

Peering inside, I could see a large, dimly-lit cavern. I swam through the door, pausing at a low fence that prevented me from sliding into the murky depths. In the eerie distance, I could see limestone flowstone, stalactites and stalagmites—and was that movement at the limit of my vision?

Oh, goddess, what sort of creatures have been lurking down here, just meters away from my renters’ houses?

Trying to get a look, I edged along a precarious catwalk until I stepped on a prim that some long-ago builder had set to phantom. I tumbled to the bottom of the abyss, scraping my side badly (note to self: buy a set of bruises for use at times like this). A hasty check proved me otherwise unhurt, so I ventured forward.

There was indeed life! I spotted a species of albino fish and any number of seaweeds. Then a slowly pulsing jellyfish, luminescent in the gloom, appeared in front of me. Stepping hastily to one side to avoid its poisonous trailing tendrils, I blundered into the most fearsome squid, who promptly covered me with ink (Sweetie would later chide me for leaving Chey-shaped smudges on our expensive white couch).

Fortunately, he (or she, I know little about the sex life of the cuttlefish) was more afraid of me than I was of it, and it scurried away to hide in some crevasse.

I continued my explorations.

I was thinking about Tom Sawyer and Becky Thatcher lost in that Missouri cave and wishing I had brought along a ball or twine to unwind. At first I smiled at the idea (I have a map button on my viewer interface, after all), but I soon realized I had lost my bearings. I felt the start of panic.

Fighting my fear, I turned off my Mystitool avatar light.

It was black as midnight, and I was afraid the squid would take advantage of the darkness to attack, but I forced myself to stand still, letting my eyes adjust. Soon, I thought I could make out the merest glimmer, a spot where the blackness was one step from absolute. Could that be another entrance?

Yes! It was indeed light! It was indeed a way out.

I stumbled forward, sobbing with joy, clambering up a steep slope and making my way through a narrow tunnel, the light growing brighter by the second. Suddenly I was out of the murk and into the light.

But where was I? Oh, there are the familiar crooked legs of a pier, one of my first builds! I must be in the Forsaken river!

But no, but that couldn’t be, for the pilings of the platform at East Beach should have been hard by, and they weren’t in sight.

Had I blundered onto a new sim? Had I discovered a new method of inter-island transportation? My heart raced at the thought.

Then I remembered placing a second pier somewhere else on Forsaken. Yes, that must be it!

I was home.

-----

The Forsaken caverns will require further exploration. How were they created, and to what purpose were they used? What were the nature of the artifacts I stumbled over? Why did I see biohazard and radiation warning posters?

Stay tuned, dear reader, and I, courageous explorer, will keep you posted on developments in central Pele. Or maybe I will make it a tourist cave and charge $13L for a tour which I will conduct with a flashlight held under my chin, pointed upward while I made up absurd stories of Pele’s past.

It will be lucrative for me and perfectly safe for my clientele.

Although I may lose a visitor now and again to that blasted squid.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Vestiges of Spring







Written 6 January, 2008


Vestiges of Spring

In the aftermath of Pele's brief but severe winter, the island has sported many snowdrifts. But the tropical sun has finally melted them, and it seems spring is officially here.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Gentlemens' Places

Written 5 January, 2008

Gentlemens' Places

Frequent reader Corgi asked if I would be willing to share some of the places my friend and I uncovered in his quest for manhood. Sure!

Since I can't IM Corgi in world, and since the topic is of general interest to half the Second Life population, I thought I wouild just post it here.

Prim & Proper's Millinery-on-Sea,  Caledon On Sea

There's a really nice gambler's vest here.

Gaslights Emporium, Port Babbage

Half price sale! Nice Victorian gentlemens' clothing.

Stanley's Emporium of Bodily Splendour, Port Babbage

Elegant walking cane with HUD, steampunk hats, more.

This is NOT a fashion blog.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Sorry, Toxic

Written 4 January, 2007

Sorry, Toxic

I logged on this afternoon and straightaway banned a nice young avatar who is now my friend (I hope).

He had merely come to look at my land lamp, having read about it in this blog. What a welcome!

My only excuse is that he rezzed something long and white that looked like a weapon, and didn't answer me right away in IM and Chat.

So my sincerest apologies, Toxic, and I'm happy you accepted the land map I just sent you.

And...

Resolved for 2008: Chey will be less quick on the ban button.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Sweetie's Photography


Written 2 January, 2008

Sweetie's Photography

For someone who saw Second Life entirely as gray patched until the spring of this year, Sweetie has developed a wonderful talent for photography. Why not? Film is free, pictures develop instantly, and it's free (unless you import them into the world; then the Lindens bleed up at 10 Lindens a pop).

Here are two photos Sweetie took on New Year's Eve. The top picture is an arty shot of Pam Havercamp on stage, singing. The bottom picture is well, you know.

A Wonderful New Year's Eve






Written 2 January, 2008

A Wonderful New Year's Eve

I spent New Year's Eve in world, and it was wonderful!

Sweetie and I started our celebration about 4 pm LST by dressin gin our best masquerade costumes and going to a masked ball in Caledon. It was crowded and laggy, but since everyone was dancing, it wasn't bad once we jumped on dance balls. Thank you, brother Mordecai, for inviting us!

Afterward we went to Umbra Penumbra on the Esoterica sim, a great place with music that is a little, uh, out there. But the dance floor is crowded with great dances from Sine Wave, and the repartee is witty, and it's a fun place to dance. Sweetie says that dance floor brings out my inner slut. I don't know why she says that, since I was modestly clothed.

We spent some time at Bogart's on the Alegria sim, where Sweetie directed me to jump onto a pose ball that had her proposing to me. She was off of that one in a hurry, to be sure! Talk of partnering gives her sweats, and there she was on her knees to me!

Our friend Al Supercharge took us to a new place on the Princeton South sim called the DynaFleur Immersive Art Installation , which treated us to a somewhat psychedelic experience.

Some time during the evening we made our way to a Bill and Pam Havercamp concert, where I made up with a friend with whom I had had a falling out. It was the new Soft Shadows, where I always win big lindens on their balloon machine (it's like a 'Sploder, but skill-based, which makes it legal. You more balloons you pop, the bigger your winnings.

We finished the night back in Caledon, where we danced until the new year rang in our time zone (Eastern US). Then it was back to the House of 100o Pleasures.

Sweetie was ravishing in a gray dress she picked up at Prim & Proper and a feathered mask. I have never seen herlook so delectable.

Wonderful evening!

-----

Photo 1: Sweetie was beautiful beyond belief.

Photo 2: Starting the Evening with a Dance in Caledon. Sweetie dancing with my Second Life brother Mordecai Scaggs.

Photo 3: Bill and Pam Havercamp in concert.

Photo 4: Ending the evening by rining in the new year in Caledon.

Photo 5: A happy and exhausted Chey and Sweetie return to their revamped Chinese whorehouse, which they have renamed the House of 1000 Pleasures.