Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Craig Lyons at Eccentricity


Written 30 June, 2010

Craig Lyons at Eccentricity

I got a surprise message today from Leaf Shermer; a concert by Second Life/real life musician Craig Lyons was about to begin.

Craig performed on Leaf's sim last week; I think she had him back today just because she wanted to. You go girl!

He was great last week, and he was great today. I'm starting to become familiar with his songs, and that makes it even better.

Craig Lyons is quite the wonder in SL; he was recently written up in several newspapers, including The Los Angeles Times.

Times reporter

Blog Interviewer

Written 30 June, 2010

Blog Interviewer

Here's the link to an interview done with me by Blog Interviewer.

Two Three Six Five

Written 30 June, 2010

Two Three Six Five

I entirely forgot to mention here in the blog that a piece I wrote was published on the Two Three Six Five blog. Here's the URL for my contribution.

Two Three Six Five intends to publish three hundred and sixty-five short essays from three hundred and sixty-five avatars, each talking about their first and second lives. I sent them a piece and was lucky enough to be published.

To read the essay, go here.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Brooklyn is Watching



The R2D2s Make a Break for It (photo by Sweetie)

 Written 28 June, 2010


Brooklyn is Watching

Following is a partial transcript of a podcast from Brooklyn is Watching. I limited myself to the part that concerns, ahem, me (and Sweetie, who is ever my muse).

Brooklyn is Watching is a collaborative project of New York-based Media company Popcha and Jack the Pelican presents, an art gallery in Brooklyn. It's a large space in Second Life at which any resident can leave any type of art piece(s) to be studied and evaluated. One night a week, customers at the gallery watch on a big screen TV and comment as avatars walk around the installation viewing and interacting with the art.

Over the past couple of years I've left occasional pieces on the land, but never listened to the BIW blog to hear what folks had to say about them. A month or so ago, however, I left the Robot Escape Attempts Walk of Shame from our Robot Sanatorium on their land.

That might have been that, but a week or so later I received an e-mail asking permission to use a photo I posted on this blog earlier, titled "Who Says Robots Can't Water Skin?" to illustrate Exploding Selavy, an audio blogpost by Amy Freelunch.

Of course I said yes.

And of course I immediately went to the site and downloaded the podcast.

I was staying with Sweetie, on her PC late at night with no headphones, so we listened to it the next morning.

She rolled on the floor laughing, saying Amy nailed me.

Here's my transcription of Amy's words about our robot rebellion:

------

I wanted to conclude by talking about this piece by Cheyenne Palisades. It's got some hovertext floating over it that says very proudly, "Created by Cheyenne Palisades from found objects." As we start out we're confronted by a kind of crashed out-- it looks like a New York City taxicab-- filled with R2D2s, and there's R2D2s in the trunk, and like the whole car is just sort of like smoking, like the engine is just sort of blown up, and there's R2D2s everywhere. Like they're underneath the car, so it looks like he's hit an R2D2. There's one [R2D2] driving it, there's just lots of them. This piece-- in general, the piece goes on to have these different kind of tableaus that you look at, and that you kind of interact with. I'll describe them in just a minute.

This piece is obviously not the kind of dead serious transcendent art statement that normally is the kind of thing that I look to talk about-- but I like this piece a lot because it's just really funny. It's stupid, but in a good way. I say that very gingerly because I don't want the artist to misunderstand what I'm saying. I like that it is made from what the artist is referring to as found objects. I kind of question whether or not the term found object is actually appropriate in this way-- pre-existing objects, or whatever. I mean, I understand what the artist is trying to say. These are not objects the artist has actually made; the artist has simply assembled them and arranged them as such.

One of the things I like about it is it's got this really geeky humor that I often feel as though artists in Second Life and a lot of the people I hang out with in Second Life, we all try to sort of pretend we're not nerds. And this piece just sort of assumes that its audience is filled with nerds. And so I just kind of liked it for that.

And so what we're got here is, you've got these different-- sort of like those kind of backgrounds to a science fair kind of things, like you know when you were a kid and you had a science fair and you always had to have like this kind of background that explained like the evidence that you had. You'd have like a little kind of banner with the text above it that sort of explained what you're trying to go out and prove. So for instance, here's one that says, "The R2D2s make a break for it." And you go and you stand on the little star that's in front of it and it tells you a little story about these-- this is all about robots going crazy and trying to escape. And there are these different photographs of the R2s taken using these different sort of found objects or reappropriated objects, or however you want to call it. You know, these kind of tableaus the artist has made and set up and photographed with dramatic lighting and everything.

And then you kind of go through and let's see, there's R2D2s, there's "Gort's Anger Management Class Could Not Be Considered a Success," there's "Bender Incites His Fellows toiot." Bender is a character from _Futurama_. He's basically the only character here that I have any real first-hand sort of connection to. And then there's a display about Roombahs going crazy and, I don't know, rising up against their unholy masters or something. Roombahs are these little robot vacuum cleaners. These actually exist. Unlike the other robots that are referred to in this, Roombahs are real things. You can buy them at like Target or Wal-Mart, and they're like a hundred and fifty dollars, and they robotically clean, they just automatically dock in your apartment and (unintelligible). I never have any money. So, anyway. Why am I talking about this?

I am very impressed by the level of skill, the attention to detail, the unabashed sense of glee and just sort of joy that is exhibited in this piece. This is a piece that is probably set up here at Brooklyn is Watching to completely piss off any kind of conisseur of Second Life art, whatever that is. And yet this person has made this work that has got to be fairly labor intensive in terms of the amount of time and effort that, things that were probably like-- photographs that were taken and eliminated, and just the right ones picked out, and all that sort of thing. So you can't fault it in that it's not thrown together in a way that's like sloppy or shows lack of character-- totally the opposite. This is a very thoughtfully put-together piece, and I'd say that the photographs that are taken are beautifully taken and the arrangement that they have set up where you kind of go up to these little diorama kind of pieces, and then you're given this information about what's going on, and it kind of makes use of-- it doesn't just use the convention of flat artwork or flat photography; it's using something that's kind of in between flat and 3-D because you've got that kind of interactive sort of feel that Second Life has, and yet it's incorporating photography.

And so I think this is great. I think this is totally great, and I think that it's a completely smartass piece that makes me very very interested to see what else this artist has done. And I just think that it's uh-- apparently the theme for this week is major fuck yous to art people, which I'm always in favor of that. And so this is sort of on the other end of the spectrum where you have the big bang on one end, which I feel is sort of beating up on me and is trying to singlehandedly destroy my second life, and then on the other hand we have this piece with like these maurading robots just going crazy, and it's such a silly piece that brings in so much like popular culture silliness, but yet is so thoughtfully and carefully constructed that I think it just really-- it sits there sort of threatening to completely undermine Second Life art as we know it, basically.

----

Hehe. I am undermining Second Life art as we know it. I love that.

To see Robot Escape Attempts, go to the Robot Sanatorium (see link above); you'll find it on the back wall of the main floor, toward the left.

Viewer 2.1 Beta


Viewer 2.x will remain useless so long as it chews up screen real estate like this!

Written 28 June, 2010


Viewer 2.1 Beta

Today I took the plunge and installed the Second Life Viewer 2.1 beta.

I have to say I'm considerably less unhappy than I was with the earlier 2.0.

Much has been made better, and I now know from my experience with 2.0 (and from Torley Linden's great videos, thank you, Torley!) how to do things like add region coordinates in the navigation bar and remove unwanted buttons from the bottom bar. I'm also learning where things are located in the menus. I have to grudgingly say the new menu organization makes some sense.

I still hate the abominable screen-grabbing side menu, but at least I don't have to open it all that much any more, and I was able to find the setting in preferences that stopped it from sliding the world over when it opens. That was disorienting. Alas, there is no ability to add inventory to the bottom line, so I'm forced to deal with my inventory in the clunky side menu.

Menus still don't go translucent when they're deselected. Hopefully, that will be fixed in the next release.

I was able to rez a prim on the beach deck on Whimsy Kaboom. 2.0 seemed to allow prim rezzing only on the land. That's a big help, but deleting that prim was a pain in the ass, requiring negotiation of the new box menus and adding an extra step to delete. When I want to kill a prim, I want to kill it, not go hunting for the option in nested menus! Bring my pie menu back!

I'd like to commend the Lindens for listening to residents and making 2.1 about 100 times less horrible than 2.0-- but there are still some deal breakers that will have to be fixed before I'll use any 2.x viewer, namely:

I must have the ability to drop down the About Land menu from the top bars. It's clunky to have to get it through the ME menu.

There must be an option to disable the side menu entirely. This means we must have separate menus for inventory and profiles as we did in 1.9x viewers, and the old-style Communication window, available from the bottom bar.

Menus must go translucent when deselected. How hard can that be to fix, and why was 2.0 released with opaque menus?

There must be the ability to select old-style chat without the stupid picture windows. Chat is just horrible in its present entirely opaque form. Between it and the pop-out menu on the right, half the screen is gone.

The chat input bar must stretch at least 2/3 of the way across the screen. I understand there's a fix for this in 2.1, but I've not yet found it.

There must be an option to have old-style radio and media tabs in the low bars. The new controls are just clunky. Right now, with Speak, Camera, Build, Search, Map, and Mini-Map all enabled, half the line is blank, so there's plenty of room for both more tabs and a wider chat bar.

There must be an option for the old-style pie menu. The blocky right-click menu is difficult to negotiate and less than intuitive.

There must be an option for a skin with old-style blue colors. I like them and want them back.

And finally, a couple of things removed from the preferences menu need to be returned-- specifically the ability to specify timestamps in chat saved to disk and the ability to disallow others to see one's group tag.

I'm sure if all these things were fixed I and a lot of others would want even more changes, but if they were made I would begin to really use and build in 2.x viewers. Until then, I suppose I'll just do without alpha masks, new clothing layers, saved outfits, and embedded media.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Hudson School


Written 27 June, 2010

Hudson School

Last weekend Sweetie and I visited Natural Public Dune Park on the Cap Estel sim. What a beautiful and serene place!

I didn't have much luck with my photos, but I liked the one above. For some reason it reminded me of certain early American landscapes, and in particular works by the Hudson River school artists.

I looked but couldn't find an image of the particular painting that was niggling my memory, but I did find some nice images from the Hudson School. Here's one from an exhibition at the New-York Historical Society Media Center.


Saturday, June 26, 2010

You Find the Strangest Things in the Blue Zone!


Written 26, 2010

You Find the Strangest Things in the Blue Zone!

When I find myself in the blue zone-- that place you go sometimes when you sit, I usually try to take a photo.

I'm not sure what's with the blue zone, but I'm always finding things there. For some time it was a dead cow; I encountered it on several sims. Then one day I found myself in the blue zone at Whimsy and there some prims I'd mislaid. Occasionally someone else will appear in the blue zone near me when they themselves sit.

Here's a photo I took recently when I was in the blue zone somewhere. Look below me. Whose hair and shoes do you suppose that is?

All Sparkle, No Substance


Written 26 June, 2010

All Sparkle, No Substance

Never go out without your bling.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Chey on Whimcentricity


Written 24 June, 2010

Chey on Whimcentricity

The other day I took some photographs of myself sitting by the geysers on Whimcentricity, playing with Windlight skies.

Today, when I looked at them, the snapshots with the best backgrounds made my avi t0o dark, and the ones that made me look best didn't complement the background.

And so I did what any accomplished narcissist would do; I loaded two of the pictures into GIMP, placing the photo with the nicest background on top and the photo with the nicest photo of myself beneath it. Then, making sure alpha was enabled on the top layer, I ran the eraser over my avi, letting the brighter image of myself from below show though.

When I was finished, I had the background I liked best, and the image of myself I liked best, and the image was flawless.

Except, dammit! What was that black dot?

It seems I had touched the top layer with the pen tool selected, leaving a bit of ink. Grrrr!

So I reloaded the photo and ran the eraser over the back dot, allowing the bottom layer to show though. I defy you, gentle reader, to find where I originally screwed up the shot.

I'm no expert with GIMP; anyone who works with the program for a while-- or with Photoshop, which has the same functionality-- can manipulate photos in amazing ways.

I should point out that I took all the shot without moving my camera view; this put the elements in every photo I took in exactly the same place. Try that in real life!

You Paid Cheyenne Palisades $10L












Written 25 June, 2010

You Paid Cheyenne Palisades $10L


I have to admit-- I love the ka-ching! sound when someone gives me money.

But more than the sense of well-being tipping brings, I'm happy because I know someone appreciates the work we've done on Whimsy and Whimsy Kaboom.

Whether it's $10L or $500L, tips put a smile on my face.

And that's why I tip when I visit others' sims and go to cultural events in Second Life. It's makes me feel good, but more than that, it makes others feel good.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Yes He Is!



Written 24 June, 2010'

Yes He Is!

New world notes has confirmed that Linden Lab CEO Mark Kingdon will be stepping down, to be replaced by Second Life visionary and founder Philip Rosedale, who will serve as Interim CEO. In addition to his present responsibilities and CFO, Bob Comin will assume the role of COO.

I can only think Second Lifers will assume a collective sigh of relief, for Mark Kingdon was taking this world in strange and I believe fundamentally lethal directions.

I don't think Philip is a magic fix. Second Life is apt to continue to struggle both financially and technically, and there's a huge amount of mistrust and antipathy from residents-- but I'm thrilled by this change.

Is Philip Returning?

Written 24 June, 2010

Is Philip Returning?

This just up on New World Notes:

Breaking News: Sources Say Linden Lab Executive Changes Involving Mark Kingdon and Philip Rosedale Coming Soon

Linden Lab logo
Multiple sources tell me that more major executive changes at Linden Lab are coming very soon. Specifically, that Linden Lab CEO Mark Kingdon, known as M Linden in-world, is leaving the company, and Second Life founder Philip Rosedale, known as Philip Linden in-world, is returning to the company he founded to take a managerial position. These are unconfirmed reports, I hasten to say, so I'm checking with the company and other sources now. Perhaps related to this (or not), Mark Kingdon was scheduled to speak in-world at the 7th anniversary of Second Life's launch today, but abruptly cancelled due to an unstated "emergency". Philip Linden appeared in his place.
-----
Philip returning would be wonderful news for the residents of Second Life. He GETS Second Life.
Also, if Philip returns I will abdicate my newly elected position as Linden Labs' CEO.
I'm awaiting further developments with bated breath.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

7-In-1???

Written 23 June, 2010

7-In-1???

Okay, call me naive.

I assumed writing one blog a day for week would require seven posts, not six.

But what do I know?

Big Bad Blogger Challenge 7-In-1: Part VI

Big Bad Blogger Challenge 7-In-1

Part VI


If This Is Your First BBBC... What Did You Get Out of Your Experience? Do You Think it Will Change the Way You Blog in the Future?

Well, I did get me busy writing.

I had a good time responding to the challenge. I don't, however, think it will change much about the way I do things, because at one time or another I've either written about or read about all the issues presented.

I did appreciate the opportunity, though! Please do it again next year! Maybe I'll even be post on schedule!

Big Bad Blogger Challenge 7-In-1: Part V


Big Bad Blogger Challenge 7-In-1

Part V


Topic #5: Blogger's Choice! Write About Anything That's On Your Mind!

Well, I wasn't expecting this!!!

One thing that's been on my mind lately is the future of Second Life.

I'm both emotionally and financially invested in Second Life. Sims aren't cheap. It costs a pretty penny, but my second life affords me a place to play and to be creative, and most importantly a place to be with my Sweetie when we can't be together in real life. I would be crushed if it were to all go away.

And yet nothing lasts forever.

There are no longer any Hudsons. Or Pontiacs, except those still on the road. Or Commodore 64s. And for all practical purposes, there are no dial-up modems or computer bulletin boards.

We've newer and better things to replace our lost automobiles and home computers. And I'm convinced one day Second Life will wind down, to be replaced with something newer and hopefully better.

I hope when that day comes it will be because advances in technology have resulted in a better, more seamless virtual world and not because Second Life's parent company has sputtered to a stop.

Big Bad Blogger Challenge 7-In-1: Part IV

Big Bad Blogger Challenge 7-In-1

Part IV

SL Bloggers: Is Your Avatar More or Less Than Your Current Biological Age? Do You Portray a Younger Avatar, or Older? Why is This?

My avatar is decidedly younger than my actual age.

To my eye, Cheyenne would appear to be in her late 20s, or perhaps a very well-preserved 35.

To tell the truth, when I bought my first skin-- the one I still wear-- I didn't give much thought to my virtual age. I wanted a skin that reflected the me I felt I was. I wanted Chey to look like an improved and, yes, younger me. I chose a skin color that matched mine in first life, with makeup that wasn't over-the-top. After the purchase I put the skin on, and have taken it off only rarely since.

There are a few skins that give an older appearance, and it's possible to monkey with the sliders and cause certain body parts to droop, but most shapes and human skins are those of younger people. Why? Because, just as it's desirable in real life, a youthful appearance is desirable in Second Life. And why not?

Despite the almost universal young look of avatars, I find I can often get a good read on an avie's real age. Although a few older folks have taken up the practice, people who type u for you and use similar typonese shortcuts are most likely under twenty-five. People who overuse gestures are also likely to be young. People who act young and silly most likely are young and silly. They're not acting at all. People with extensive skills sets most likely have developed them over years in first life.

I could perhaps find a skin to match my age, but I, like most others my age, are disinclined to do so.

Big Bad Blogger Challenge 7-In-1: Part III

Big Bad Blogger Challenge 7-In-1

Part III

SL Bloggers: How Hard Do You Think it is to Find a Relationship in SL? If You Have an SL Relationship, Have You Met in the Physical World? Would you Meet Them? Do you Think it Would Change Your SL Relationship if you Met?

I don't think it's difficult to find a relationship in Second Life.

I take that back.

I don't think it's difficult to find what PASSES for a relationship in Second Life.

I think it's damn difficult to find a real relationship in Second Life-- just as it is in first life.

Many SL relationships are characterized by a brief period of acquaintance followed by poseball sex followed by phone or Skype conversations followed by voice sex followed by SL partnership followed by divorce-- often within the period of a week or two.

That sort of "relationship" is unfortunately the norm around here.

A fortunate few, following the same steps, form real and lasting relationships. Of those fortunate few, a fortunate few meet in real life. And of those fortunate few, a fortunate few form an enduring romantic relationship in real life.

I believe it's entirely possible to have a deep and enduring relationship in Second Life without the parties ever meeting. But I also believe that for that to happen, both parties must be entirely forthcoming with one another about matters of age, gender, nationality, and personal circumstance. Relationships based on lies don't work in either first or second life. Avies in real life marriages or other committed relationships and avies with typists of a different sex or age owe their partners the truth.

Meeting someone in Second Life isn't all that different from meeting someone on Earth. In fact, just like places of employment, and colleges, and religious institutions, Second Life puts people together who otherwise never would have met.

How we grow our relationships in both out first and second lives are matters of attraction, personal situation, and character. Opportunities are there for all of us.

I consider myself more than fortunate to have found my real life partner here in Second Life.

Big Bad Blogger Challenge 7-In-1: Part II

Written 23 June, 2010

Big Bad Blogger Challenge 7-In-1

Part II

2. SL Bloggers: Write About Three Positive Things Going On In Your Second Life

The best thing about my second life is my darling Sweetie. I met her here in November, 2006 and in real life March, 2007. These days I spend my time shuttling back and forth between her home in the Northeast and mine in the South. She is the perfect partner in both my first and second lives.

In Second life she challenges me to create things that are all but impossible-- and I make them! We live on the Whimsy sims in our personal perfect paradise, where we explode volcanoes, make freebies that grow legs and run away from their new owners, and cook up even newer and more elaborate and more ridiculous schemes to develop the land. C'mon, let's face it, it will be a hundred or more years before there's a real need for our robot sanitorium-- although many Roombahs are showing early signs of mental disturbance.


In their efforts to devise the perfect escape, the robot sanatorium's
Roombahs study previous robot elopements

In first life she reins me in from my excesses.

Without my Sweetie there would be no robot sanitorium, no mentally ill Roombahs, no Whimsy. In real life I would probably have fallen from a cliff or frozen to death hiking in the winter woods. In both first and second lives, without her I would be horribly diminished.

Second in my list of three is Whimsy itself.

Home to myself, Sweetie, and eight other people, the sims of Whimsy, Whimsy Kaboom, and Whimcentricity are the perfect place to create beauty...


View of the Volcano Pele

... and drama...


A giant smoking boulder hurtled toward an unsuspecting Cheyenne in her canoe

... and absurdity...


... like this giant granite bobbing bird. Notice his Whimsy hard hat. That provides a measure of protection from giant lava boulders flung by the volcano above him. The historical sign gives visitors a bit of Whimsy history.

Building Whimsy polished my building and scripting skills and forced me to tackle a long-term personal goal-- learning a photo image manipulation program.

What's more, Whimsy has given me the most pleasant possible surroundings in which to live and love.

The last things Second Life has given me has been friends. Here I've meet people from all over the world, of all ages, and learned from them.

Big Bad Blogger Challenge 7-In-1: Part I

Written 23 June, 2010

Big Bad Blogger Challenge 7-In-1

Part I

Something called the Big Bad Blogger Challenge has been at the periphery of my consciousness for a while. Today I took the time to find out what it was all about.

It seems the challenge was to post every day for a week, addressing a specific question.

I resent all the meme challenges going on and don't participate, but this was different-- rather than being personally tagged by someone, this challenge was general, and I was intrigued.

Because of my diliatoriness (yes, that's a word!), I missed the deadline, so I'm going to do all seven challenges in one fell swoop, doing one right after another, and hope nobody notices.

1. Why Did You Become a Blogger? How Has it Enriched Your Life?

Back in 2006 I didn't even know what a blog was. I learned when my friend Melissa Yeuxdoux pointed me toward a post she had written in her own blog-- one in which I was mentioned.

No, I take that back. She didn't mention me by name, but she let me know it was about me.

Melissa patiently described to me what a blog was, and I went right out and started mine. Here's my very first post. I'm still proud of it.

I started blogging because I could, because I'm a writer, and, perhaps most of all because I was in a state of perpetual exhilaration by my adventures in Second Life and posting gave me a way to share my experiences and feelings with others.

And what have I gained by blogging?

More than 1400 posts have polished my writing skills. The blog allows me to give vent to my feelings, both positive and negative. It provides me with a voice when, for instance, I'm upset by stupidity on the grid, or when I want to brag about things I've created or rave about the accomplishments of others. I'm also happy the blog has gained me friends along the way.

Most of all, the blog gives me a way to write obliquely about my darling. The notorious Sweetie is a cartoon exaggeration of my often effervescent and always hilarious girlfriend. Our written adventures are often based on our conversations, which are filled with laughter and fevered and ridiculous imagery. It makes tangible aspects of our relationship we both treasure while, as she requested, preserving her anonymity-- not that anyone who knows us doesn't figured out her real virtual identity.

Real virtual identity. I like that!

Pele Blows Her Top!


Written 23 June, 2010

Pele Blows Her Top!

The powerful and capricious volcano Pele takes up the entire southwest quarter of Whimsy. Most of the time she simmers, smoking and rumbling. Occasionally, just to show she's awake, she'll throw a few red-hot, smoking lava boulders, but most of the time she behaves unless you specifically ask her to erupt.

Not tonight.

When I landed at the sim's entrance I was immediately struck by a rolling boulder. I didn't think much of it, but thirty or so seconds later I was hit by another. And yet another.

Hmmm. That wasn't right. Unless Pele was erupting-- and she wasn't-- she was programmed to throw a few rocks every 15 minutes on average. This rock shower was continuous.

At first I thought someone was using one of the HUDS I designed; they let you toss rocks singly and in bunches from a safe spot in the air-- but I've given only a few of them out, and no one was on the sim. Hmmm.

The flying rocks originate from a half-dozen emitters hidden beneath Pele's lava pool. Each is set to a different high-number channel and responds to specific words, so the chances of something or somebody deliberately or accidentally triggering them is remote. And yet the rock rezzers were going like crazy.

I used my Mystitool to scan all three sims to 4096 meters to make sure no one besides myself was on the estate. Nope, it was just me.

Next, I checked to be sure no strangers had left prims on the land. Nope, all three sims were clean.

I thought for a moment-- not an easy thing to do when rocks are tumbling all around you and occasionally landing on you-- and set my Mystitool's listener to one of the channels used by the launchers. Immediately I saw an object issuing "fire" commands. But hmmm, how could that be? It was just a sign that gave a landmark when touched. I checked; the script was a simple "give object" script I had written myself. There was no way it could be triggering the rocks.

I wasn't sure if the Mystitool was confused or if I was miseading the object chat, but when I started to get "fire" messages from a half-dozen objects that absolutely couldn't be issuing such commands, I went back to the drawing board.

On adjacent Whimcentricity there's a sign that, upon touch, will drop hot lava rocks all over the sim. They come down almost vertically, as if they were launched by an eruption on distant Pele.

I remembered that when I put in the script I had placed a script in a kelp plant midway between the Whimcentricity trigger prim and Pele; the script would listen to the prim that launched the rocks on Whimcentricity and yell the Pele launch command on the appropriate channel. That would allow the launchers on Pele to hear the touched object and, although several hundred meters away and on another sim, launch rocks at the volcano whenever rocks fell on Whimcentricity.

I touched the sign on Whimcentricity and got the expected rock shower. Then I flew over to Pele to see rocks still flying about madly.

Finally, in exasperation, I removed the relay switch from the kelp plant. This meant that the launchers at Pele, being more than 96 meters from the trigger on Whimcentricity, wouldn't hear the trigger prim and wouldn't react.

I reached Whimsy just in time to see the last rocks launched tumbling down the smokes.

I'm not quite sure what happened, but at least Pele has gone back to sleep.

You know, though, I think she was just pissed off about something and decided to show her temper.



Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Controversy at SLB7


Written 22 June, 2010

Controversy at SLB7

When I was eight years old I was fortunate enough to be taken by my parents to the Louvre, where I was mightily impressed by the paintings and statuary.

I returned to the Louvre when I was in my 30s and took the photo of the Venus de Milo, above.

One might notice she is, erm, undraped.

When, several years later, we saw Michaelangelo's David in Florence, it was even more unclothed-- but even my conservative parents in those conservative times thought nothing of the penises and nipples of Europe museums and gardens. Why? Because it was art, dammit.

Art depicting wholly or completely unclothed men and women has for centuries been displayed in public spaces on Earth-- and on PG sims in Second Life without causing controversy or exciting censorship.

So, why, then, have the notorious Linden nipple police been active at the Second Life 7th Birthday sims? It seems the abstract art of resident Rose Borchovski, whose Susa Bubble display contained an abstract nippple or two, got flagged and removed from the SLB7 sims.

This echoes at least one earlier Linden-sponsored celebration. Three years ago at Burning Life 20007 Lindens covered offending nipples with virtual fig leaves.

Outrage was widespread back in '07, and it's even stronger today. I just love Chestnut Rau's rant on the subject. You go girl!

I agree entirely with Chestnut and only wish I had said it myself!

It's clear the Lindens get nervous at any event which might get attention from the media-- and clearly at least some of the staff go into unreasoning censorship mode.

Yeah, Second Life is considered by some people to be a huge sexual playground-- and for some people it is just that-- but the way to convince people this world is about more than sex is not to remove content that only a fevered imagination might consider prurient.

There's a simple fix for this. Linden Lab needs to create both mature and PG areas for its celebrations. I've no idea why they've not done so.

Hopefully by the time Burning Life rolls around, the idea will have percolated around.

Of course, by then I'll be CEO and can make sure it happens.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

It's Chey By a Landslide!


Written 19 June, 2010

It's Chey By a Landslide!

With 87% of votes cast to date coming to me, I'm declaring victory in the recent election for CEO of Linden Lab and asking Mark Kingdon to concede.

I'd like to point out to Mr. Kingdon that his presence is urgently needed over at BP.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Cheyenne Palisades Announces Her Candidacy for CEO of Linden Lab



Candidate Cheyenne Palisades' Press Conference at Texas Capitol Steps

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Many thanks to the ever-effervescent Sweetie, who was instrumental in the writing of the blog post.


Written 13 June, 2010


Cheyenne Palisades Announces Her Candidacy for CEO of Linden Lab

This is Neelix Nesslerode here, formerly of Linden Public Television.

And this is Sleezy Spinoza still with Linden Public Television. Neelix, you are SUCH a traitor!

Folks, I'm now with the Resident's Resistance Movement. We're fighting the war against Linden aggression!

Whatever. Both of us are here because avatar Cheyenne Palisades is expected momentarily to announce her candidacy for CEO of Linden Lab.

Sleezy, as you know, Ms. Palisades has been tough but fair in her criticism of the Lab.

I think she's been more than a bit over the top, Neelix.

You're drinking too much of that Linden Kool-Aid, Sleezy.

Neelix, you know full well Linden Lab doesn't sell beverages-- nor does Kool-Aid market their products in virtual worlds. You're in double danger of trademark violation.

Whatever, Sleezy. I'm only an alt. Can we get back to the subject?

Ms. Palisades has been especially harsh in her attacks on the Lab in regard to reversing and then re-reversing and then re-re-reversing their pricing on homestead and openspace sims.

Yes, Sleezy. And she was furious at the proposed draconian XStreet policies.

I wouldn't call the Lindens draconian, Neelix.

I wouldn't either if I were full of Linden talking points. Besides, I don't believe the rumors the Lindens have trademarked the word draconian. Back to the subject?

Back to the subject, Neelix. Word on the grid is Ms. Palisades will be announcing--

Wait, Sleezy! There she is! But who's that introducing her?

The first of 100 alts of 100 laid-off Lindens. It'll be an hour or more before she gets to speak.

We'd like to take a minute now for a word from our sponsor.

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Hi, folks! XStreet Xander here. Why hop around the grid when you can shop from the convenience of your home? Come to SLExchange. Sorry, XStreet, soon to be SL Marketplace, and buy furnishings for your 512 Linden home. Because everyone needs a 117-prim parcel full of sculpties. Now back to our program.

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Neelix, I believe Ms. Palisades is about to speak.

The following is a transcript of Ms. Palsades speech.

Hi there, everybody, and welcome to Whimsy. Thanks for coming.

I know there's been a lot of speculation about me running for CEO of Linden Lab. I've given it a lot of thought, and I've consulted with my Sweetie, and I've decided Second Life (TM) needs me.

Will someone poke those 40 bots over there? They're supposed to applaud at every paragraph break!


What are my qualifications? Well, I'm a four-year resident of Second Life (TM). This is my home. I'm not an immigrant from the world of high finance like SOME people I could name. I'm a native.

My background is in psychology and special education. I hold a master's degree. I have experience both as a civil servant and as the founder and Executive Director of a national 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation. I know how to make an organization work. And I know what the residents of Second Life (TM) want. Someone poke those bots!

My first thought for my platform was to promise an end to the many things that have been bothering us for years. I was going to promise immediate and effortless transition between sims. No flying off into the distance, no blue zoning, no getting logged out, just an imperceptible transition. I was going to promise an end to the twenty-five group limit, to 10-meter maximum prim size, to the 15,000 per sim prim limit. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized leadership of this community, of this company, is about more than competence. It's about community. It's about understanding at the most basic level just what Second Life (TM) is.

No other virtual community is as rich as Second Life (TM). No World of Warcraft expansion pack can match this world for depth and variety of communication and shared experience. No social networking site can equal Second Life for self-expression, for beauty, for immersion. Nowhere else can people from all over the world meet in shared virtual space and explore and experience and create-- or act silly-- together. This virtual world gives us the opportunity to come together in significant, impactful ways that are simply impossible in our first lives. It gives us the gift of being more than human, or a new kind of human, and that must not be disrespected.

I am not at all sure my worthy incumbent opponent understands this.

This world must have money to continue-- and yet that money is available, in the form of tier hundreds of thousands of us pay-- more than $8,000,000 annually, as much as 90% of the Lab's income! That might not seem like a lot to my opponent, who, the internet tells me, is worth more than $200 million, but it means a lot when it comes to buying servers and paying the Lab's utility bills. Many of us give more to Linden Lab than we do to the electric company, the gas company, the phone company, the cable company. We provide the capital that can ensure Second Life's (TM) longevity, and for that we should be respected and treated with courtesy. We should not be looked upon as a necessary evil, not as a means to turn Second Life into a dumbed-down, browser-based simplification of itself, nor as funders for new company directions that abandon us in hopes of becoming a second-rate copy of Facebook or Twitter. It is our money that pays the light bills for Linden Lab, our dollars and Euros and Yen that pay the million dollar salary of my worthy opponent.

I remind you we pay something quite akin to taxation without representation. We are listened to only on the most rudimentary levels. We're not consulted about decisions that will effect us. And we are utterly and hopelessly enslaved to Terms of Agreement that are periodically and unilaterally modified to reduce our rights and ownership of this world. This is no longer a world created and owned by the residents. It is a world created by residents in thrall to Linden Lab. I want to make it once again a world both created and owned by its residents.

We are NOT customers. We are not clients. We are citizens, and Linden Lab must treat us as such. If you elect me, I will listen to you. I will consult you. And I will give you say in company decisions that will affect you. And I'll work for a while lot less than SOME executives I could name.

We could leave this world and jump to other worlds like OpenSim. Some of us already have, and others will in the future. But a mass exodus would divide us and set community and individual enterprise back years. We are invested in this world not only financially, but socially and emotionally. We have friends and lovers here. We have businesses and homes here. It's HOME.

In recent years, Linden Labs has seen our investment in this world as a quirk, and an asset, and a resource to be exploited as my worthy opponent explores business models that trivialize or exclude us. I think my opponent's biggest disconnect is his inability to understand on a gut level why we create, why we care, why we belong here. I see our creativity, our community, our entrepreneurship, and not the quarterly report, as the heart of this world. I understand the best way for Linden Lab to more forward is to respect Second Life (TM) for what it is and to let it grow and change organically, and not to try to force it to become something it is not and cannot be. And because I do understand this, I am the better choice for CEO of Linden Lab.

I appreciate your support. Please turn out at the polls and vote for me.

Wait a minute! There ARE no polls! Where are the polls? They promised us polls! Okay, I'm setting up one myself!

A Moment of Silence


Codebastard Redgrave's Memorial to Fallen Lindens. Visit here.

Written 13 June, 2010


A Moment of Silence

Over the past few days I've thought a lot about the more than 100 Lindens who were laid off due to M. Linden's latest M-plosion (Crap Mariner's term, gotta love it). Coincidentally-- or perhaps not-- that's almost exactly the same number of employees Linden Lab has hired over the past year.

At the very best it speaks of poor planning.

I would like to declare a moment of silence for the Lindens who have just lost their jobs.

...
...
...
...

I wish them luck in finding new employment.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

The Labyrinth Progresses


The underwater labyrinth on Whimcentricity is perfect for horseback riding. Jump here to walk or ride the labyrinth.

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Written 12 June, 2010

The Labyrinth Progresses

When Leaf Shermer's Whimcentricity homstead sim was delivered more than a year ago, Sweetie had a terrain texture file ready for it. Leaf uploaded it, and wham, W-C had a super-duper underwater labyrinth.

Whimcentricity is a shared sim, hence the shared name (Whimsy + Eccentricity). I put in three spectacular geysers, and Leaf made a playground on the border between her Eccentricity sim and W-C.


The labyrinth was complete, but hard to walk because it lacked signage. I was forever getting turned around and finding myself at the starting point.

Now a labyrinth, unlike a maze, doesn't give you options for your travel. It's a continuous passageway, sinuous but straightforward. You walk from one end to the other. But it's confusing nonetheless, as one section tends to look rather like any other section, and one can spend hours walking back and forth.

I seem to be over my recent ennui. I've turned my attention to the labyrinth, and that has energized both Leaf and Sweetie.

The labyrinth is far from done, but it's now possible to walk it from end to end and not get lost, due to new signage.

Although the labyrinth takes up only about 40% of the seabed, I'm reasonably certain it's the longest path in Second Life. I'm sure it's possible to walk further elsewhere by going through sim after sim, but this is a coherent, themed walk, and it takes a LONG time to go from the beginning to the end. A LONG time. Don't wear your 6" spiked heels if you visit.

How long is our labyrinth? We don't know yet, but we'll be measuring it by counting steps. Does someone make a Second Life pedometer? Search and XStreet say no.

-----

This buoy marks the beginning of the labyrinth.


The labyrinth begins...


Visitors can pick up free SCUBA gear for the long underwater walk.


It's easy to get turned about in the labyrinth...


... but now signs point the way.


The labyrinth opens at several points onto a large underwater canyon; we're still working on this area.


As the end of the labyrinth draws near, the walls are not quite so high.


The labyrinth comes to an end at this off-sim build. We're not sure what we will do here, but we want it to be spectacular.



Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Unsinkable

Written 9 June, 2010

Unsinkable

In recent news, Linden Lab has announced 30% of its employees (about 100 people) are being laid off and the company will be going in a new direction. And that direction? Toward making a web-based Second Life that will be easily integrated with Facebook and other social media.

Think for a moment of your experience with web-based games. Do you think it's possible to create the nuance and depth of experience of Second Life with a web plug in? I don't, not with the world wide web in its present state. So goodbye, Second Life, hello, Farmville.

See this post at New World Notes and this one by Crap Mariner. James Au does his usual good job of summing things up and Crap has a great rant and links to other early blogs on the Linden announcement.

So, under the direction of Captain Mark Kingdon, Second Life has made a left turn and is sailing toward...

Is that an iceberg ahead?

Tragedy in the Gulf

Written 9 June, 2010

Tragedy in the Gulf

I've had fun doing this blog over the past few days, but now I want to be serious.

Whimsy was never in real danger from contamination from oil, but the Gulf States are in dire peril. Due to a combination of incompetence, greed, dishonesty, and laziness on the parts of both British Petroleum and the government agency that was supposed to be monitoring offshore drilling, eleven people are dead, and millions of non-human creatures. The livelihoods of fishermen have been destroyed, and the tourist industries of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida are endangered. The oil continues to spill.


Cleanup Begins

Written 9 June, 2010

Cleanup Begins


I want to lie down-- if I can find a clean spot on the sim-- and cry.

But cleanup can't wait.

Add Image
Chey leads an army of brooms into the fray.

Horror! The Oil Reaches Whimsy

Written 8 June, 2010

Horror! The Oil Reaches Whimsy

OMG! OMG! OMG! OMG!

The spilled BP oil has reached Whimsy!

Our once pristine beaches are now black and slimy! The cost to wildlife is too great to measure! Oh, woe, oh, woe!

Just look!

At 5 pm the beaches were still clear...


But at 8 pm...


Warning The photos that follow are gruesome, the ravages of petroleum loose in the biosphere. Avert your eyes, if you must.

Fish populations are devastated.


As are bird populations. This pigeon was until lately flying happily around Whimsy's beach. Now it's dead, covered with oil, its scripts gummed up with tar.


Whimsy's prim population was particularly hard hit. The torus at upper right was only recently removed from the endangered prim types list.


Here's a Linden bear encased in tar.


Tragically, the oil has taken a very high toll on Moody Stilettoes.


Chey surveys the damage.



Monday, June 7, 2010

Putting It All Together


Written 7 June, 2010

Putting It All Together


Hmmm.

So-- illegal off-sim deep sea drilling by British Petroleum. A failed attempt by the WTA/TSA to level Whimsy and install oil refineries. And a defibrillator flown hurriedly to Tonktastic. What could tie all that together?

Right. Dick Cheney.

Of course he'll get away with it again. And I probably won't even get my Pulitzer.

And meanwhile, disaster looms for Whimsy. The oil slick is almost upon us!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Reporting From the Field on the BP Oil Spill: VI: TSA Is Behind It All

Written 6 June, 2010

Reporting From the Field on the BP Oil Spill

VI: TSA is Behind It All!

The Whimsy Transportation Authority was behind it all!

What had they done? Well, they had bought four extremely expensive ($10,000 L) Tonktastic refinery kits and smuggled them onto our sims.

And why four?

Well...

Whimsy
Whimsy Kaboom
Whimcentricity
Eccentricity

You guessed it! Their evil plan was to smuggle oil refineries onto the four sims on our bloc-- including Leaf Shermer's sims!

I figured they were planning to level the land while the sim was empty so we would come back and find the deed accomplished.

WTA's motto is, after all, it's easier to beg forgiveness than to get permission.

I hid out at the House of 1000 Pleasures and waited until night to see if I could catch the WTA red-handed.

Sure enough...


The bastards had brought in a ton of heavy machinery and their ship was still in the bay.


I returned the ship and the machinery and systematically began to ban the WTA board of directors from my sims.

I immediately got an irate IM from the Chair. "Hey!" He shouted. "What gives? My girlfriend and I were just in the middle of a good f..."

"Too bad," I said. "You're history. You'll never be allowed on Whimsy again, ever. And don't try to sneak in any alts."

"At least let me come and pick up my stuff," he pleaded. "I have some valuable possessions on Whimcentricity."

"You talking about the Tonktastic refinery kits?"

"I disavow all knowledge of Tonktastic refinery kits!" he exclaimed, "but if you happen to find any..."

"I did," I said. "And I'm keeping them."

"You can't do that!" he said. "They're the property of the Whimsy Transportation Authority!"

"Those kits are $10,000 Lindens each," I said. "The last I checked, the WTA had only $137L. Where did you get the money?"

"Check the cookie jar in your house," he laughed.

"My tier money? You stole MY TIER MONEY? You are SOOO banned forever!"

"Muwahaaaa," he laughed. "You've not heard the last of the TSA! Oops! Did I say TSA out loud?"

"Wait a minute!" I said. "Teleportation Security Administration? What does that have to do with WTA?"

Before he could answer, a dreadful realization hit me: The WTA was behind the recent shenanigans, but behind the WTA was that horrible holdover from the George W. years, the TSA!

"We're everywhere! You didn't think we were going to forget that trial business, did you?"

"Sweetie's trial?" I said. "She was exonerated!"

[SEE LINKS TO SWEETIE'S TRIAL ON THE LEFT SIDE OF THE PAGE; SCROLL DOWN]

"Her file is still open," he sneered. "One of these days she's gonna break the law and then we'll get her."

"Never!" I said.

But you know, Sweetie breaks the law every day. In fact, there's hardly a law she hasn't broken. Except regicide. I don't think she's ever killed a king. Isn't that illegal?

"Okay, now you're muted," I said. "All your prims are off the land, and those of your cohorts. "Goodbye and good riddance!"

But I knew we hadn't heard the last of him.

Maybe because his name was I'msonotadiva's brother Magoo.

Meanwhile, does anyone want to buy a Tonktastic oil refinery kit cheap?

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Reporting From the Field on the BP Oil Spill: V: A Dastardly Plan

Written 5 June, 2010

Reporting From the Field on the BP Oil Spill

V: A Dastardly Plan


When I arrived at Whimsy I began a methodical search of the sims.

Nothing afoot at the Robot Sanitorium.


I take that back.

Because of the nature of its patients, the robot sanitorium uses a good deal of robothorazine and other essential oils.


The petrolotherapy room uses a lot of oil...


Bender splashes a lot.

And the oil fountain on the main floor goes 24/7.


Inevitablly, there is spillage.


But nothing was out of the ordinary.

Well, of course things are always out of the ordinary at the robot sanitorium, but it was no crazier than usual.

At ground level, Kaboom was perfectly ordinary.


Whimsy itself looked fine.



Whimcentricity looked fine... at first.


And then I found what I had been looking for!

As I flew past the smuggler's boat, I almost missed it.


But there it was!


Yes! There, mixed in with the usual fruits and vegetables and AK47s, were four-- count 'em, FOUR!-- Tonktastic oil refinery kits!

NOW I knew what the Whimsy Transportation Authority was up to!