Wednesday, February 27, 2008


Written 27 February, 2008


Pele's attorneys (as a nation-state we maintain an entire floor of them in the Empire State Building in New York) have advised me we could get sued because of not warning avatars of things they should be smart enough to know-- don't jump in the lava. Don't step into the Well of Death. Don't pet the cobra. Run when the crocodile targets you. Beware of the shark. The seals bite. If you pet the monkeys they will hurl a coconut at you. Dance floor slipper after rain. Vicious bunny.

That sort of thing.

I've tried not to overdo it. People will just have to take their chances with the croc, but there are warning signs on Pele now. Here's one of them (above).

I use a positively ancient version of Quark XPress (still uses 8-bit file names) for my signmaking. Even though it's old, it performs perfectly. I manipulate images, as best I am able (still early on the learning curve) in GIMP, the free program.

If you should need a sign, I am available to make one for you.

Canoeing at Pele

Note Gypsy's Blue Swim Ball Near the Canoe

Written 26 February, 2008

Canoeing at Pele

The other day I found myself at Gypsy Gadgets. I found for sale escalators (the ones that let you actually ride up and down), ropes and ladders you can climb, a swim ball, and a canoe. There was also a gadget that made the earth move; it made me queasy.

I bought the rope (visitors to Pele can now climb to the top of the giant tiki man), a swim ball rezzer, and a canoe rezzer.

The swim balls are different than the other swim animations I’ve come across, for you are not anchored in one. You sit on the ball, which gives you a choice of a breast stroke and crawl animations, and then swim all over the sim. The ball disappears when you stand up. And because it’s a rezzer, any number of avs can swim at the same time.

I put several of Gypsy’s swim balls on Pele. One is beside the little pier at East Beach.

The canoe rezzer is also beside the pier. Two avies can ride. The canoe is beautifully designed and textures, with great paddling animations and a gentle splashing sound, and is a dream to drive. It’s modifiable, too, which means Sweetie can work her wiles upon it.

Thanks, Gypsy, for coming out to Pele to help me with the rezzer.

My neighbor Leaf has been working on two 4k parcels she recently purchased. When she tried the canoe, she reworked her waterways so her parcel is navigable. It’s possible to paddle all over Forsaken now, except of course, on the 4k that belongs to the sociopaths. All of Forsaken (except the sociopathic parcel) is beautiful and serene, with peaceful birdcalls and ambient sounds.

So bring your honey and take the canoe ride! And swim around a bit while you’re there. And if you’re not afraid of heights, climb the rope to the top of Mr. Tiki and look around at beautiful Pele.

Gypsy, you make great stuff—although I’m reserving my opinion about the earth-shaking device.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

And What Form Will It Take?

Written 23 February, 2008

And What Form Will It Take?

Several people have asked in comments what the new island might be like. And my friend Melissa Yeuxdoux has said as beautiful as Pele is, it would be a shame in a way not to work Sweetie's whimsy, and mine, on the new land. She would like to see what we come up with.

I'm not exactly sure, because I rarely work from a plan. I am a happening in action. Pele, for instance, just became. I had no idea the land would turn out as it did. I was just looking for a place to live-- and, after I saw the volcano, a place for Pele to live.

Pele has grudingly agreed to move, so it will be incombent upon me to create space she finds comfortable. So there must be a volcano in the new place. And I suspect there will be coral and sand a low altitudes, but making sand look lush is a difficult thing in a world in which prims are limited, so I expect there will be some sort of verdant texture at altitudes more than 3 meters above sea level.

But I don't think the new land will be just like Pele. We'll just have to see.

But I can assure you it won't be flat and boring!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

An Island in My Future

36,000 Sq. M. Paradise For Sale!

Please disregard rumors that a new volcano is forming. What do geologists know?

Written 19 February, 2008

An Island in My Future

At long last, I’ve come up with enough money to pay for a private island! Some time later this year, maybe next month, maybe later, Sweetie and I will be moving to our very own sim!

I love Pele and I like the Forsaken sim, but there are frustrations and restrictions when one owns land. Whether it’s on the mainland or on a private estate, there are inconveniences and difficulties. The mainland is unregulated, but the trade off is ugly and, usually, lag. Private estates tend to be pretty, but they have restrictive covenants.

But an island! It would be my little fiefdom.

And I’m just so sure I would be a benevolent dictator!

It will be difficult to give up Pele! It’s so beautiful, so peaceful (except when the volcano erupts!), so quirky. Perhaps someone will buy it lock, stock, and barrel!

Consider that a hint!

I could order a new island, but I’m looking for a sim under the old tier payment system, $195 a month. And, due, to terraforming restrictions and ugly ground textures, I don’t want mainland. So I’m looking for a private island with a $195 tier.

If you know of one, won’t you please tell me about it?

And if you should need a 36,000 square meter tropical estate with ocean on three sides, the best volcano in Second Life, beautiful gardens and lush underwater areas, a rail system, caverns, a rental community built around a pretty little lake, beach camp, and floating night club, all beautifully soundscaped and landscaped with signage, a sim-wide teleport system, and lots of quirky builds (zip line, well of death, playground, community center), I’m your girl!

I’m willing to sell Pele with all possessions remaining (except the house Sweetie built for me, which she insists is mine only), and make sure there is an orderly transition.

Just IM Cheyenne Palisades.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Written 15 February, 2008

Coming Up For Air

Please step into the Wayback Machine, Sherman, and let’s go back to those days of yore, back to October, 2006, when I was new to Second Life.

I log in for the first time.

30 minutes pass.

I’m hooked.

I mean, I can fly!


From the start, I was in world a LOT—pretty much every waking moment when I wasn’t at work. And my real life suffered.

I was letting e-mails pile up for days before responding—and when I did reply, my messages tended to be terse.

I kept meaning to call friends, but just never seemed to get around to it—and when they called, I had difficulty tearing myself away from whatever was happening in world. “Sorry, I’m at a concert.” “Can I call you back? I’m on a poseball. Yeah, I’ll explain it to you. I’ll call you back. No, I really can’t talk just now.”

I was erratic in replying to phone messages, and even in paying my bills.

Now—I’m a multitasker by nature. I might even have had borderline ADHD when I was a child (I diagnosed this after the fact from the comportment notes on my first, second, and third grade report cards: “Chey is very bright, but needs to remain quiet in her seat instead of talking and moving around.” “Has trouble remaining on assignment.” “Daydreams.”

I remember being impatient with the plodding pace of the lessons. I always wanted to race ahead, and was in fact usually a half-dozen pages ahead of the class in my textbooks. So bored accounts for some of it, but hyperactivity, probably, the rest. I can keep up with the racing thoughts of my hyperactive friend Alison, juggling a half-dozen conversations with her at one time while my friends in the back seat look at us as if we are from another planet. So yeah, I’m pretty sure I have a touch of what she has.

I’ve always been able to juggle a dozen different tasks, jumping from one to another with ease. When I was in college, I would read a page or two from one text, then move to another and read a single section, then pick up a novel and read a chapter or two, all while watching TV, eating pizza, and carrying on a conversation. When I got my first computer (a VIC-20), I was always opening and closing programs, working for a while on one and then, when a thought came to me, moving to another.

WYSIWYG desktops made multitasking even easier. Now I could and usually did have active at any one time a bewildering variety of programs: Quicken, Word, my e-mail reader, Skype, Opera (my web browser, which always seems to have eight or nine active tabs), iTunes, PaperPort (scanner program) and IfranView.

But for my first six or so months in Second Life, I had extreme trouble leaving the grid to do other things. As soon as I minimized the viewer, I would get the “You have an IM” ding or I would just wonder what was happening in world and be unable to resist going back to see what I was missing.

I was pretty much a Second Life immersionist at this point. I wanted to be able to do EVERYTHING in world, and resented it when I had to exit to do even the most routine task.

Matters improved only marginally when I bought a second monitor, at least at first. I was able to run Second Life full screen on the primary monitor and open windows for all those other programs on the secondary screen-- but, out of habit, I suppose, I still had trouble tearing myself away from Second Life.

Two things saved me.

First was a combination of my Second Life brother Peter Stindberg and my Mystitool. Second was the need to manipulate images and textures out of world.

I jokingly call Peter Mr. URL. He’s instantly able to give you any web address you might need. I’ll say something like, “Gee, Peter, why aren’t there polar bears in Antarctica?” and within 30 seconds he’ll paste a link in chat that explains exactly why there are no polar bears in Antarctica.

Initially, this annoyed me, for I had to copy the URL, close the SL viewer, open my browser, paste in the URL, and wait for the load—all things that put me behind in the conversation in SL. But with the second monitor, and with the Mystitool’s URL capture feature turned on, Peter’s polar bear site would pop open automatically and all I had to do was cut my eyes to the left to read. Soon, I had re-integrated my browser into my life, and getting URLs was, as it should be, interesting rather than frustrating.

So, thank you, Peter! And thank you, Mystical Cookie!

Second Life charges a $10 sink fee for every photo saved to inventory, so it makes great sense to save snapshots to disk. I had acquired a large collection of files named Snapshot 0(put a number here) on my hard drive, and eventually I had to label and organize them. I was also feeling the need to make signs and textures for my land. This sent me to Quark XPress for the signs and to GIMP and PhotoShop Elements for the textures.

It hasn’t been an easy journey, but I’ve gradually learned to work on other things while I’m in world. My out-of-world correspondence no longer suffers, my friends get phone calls from me these days, and my checkbook is balanced. Life is better. Real life. And my Second Life has not suffered.

And if I can come up for air, you can too.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Windlight-- And Happy Valentine's Day!

 Written 14 February, 2008 (1:15 am)

Windlight-- and Happy Valentine's Day!

The Lindens have been tweaking Windlight for nearly a year now, and I suspect it's getting close to a general release.

I am astounded by WL's visuals, but it was crashing quite a bit and ever since I got the great Nicholaz no-hair-up-your-butt viewer, I've let WL lie fallow.

Through two or three revisions, I've let it lie fallow.

I downloaded the newest of the new versions last night and loved Windlight anew. Some perspective looks extremely like real life!

I went gridhopping, and wonder of wonders (perhaps it was only chance), my hair and shoes did not go up my butt.

It was a bit frustrating having to deal again with the Detach Keys button at lower left, which I always manage to hit by mistake, disolodging all my huds, and with the _#$%P)& Communicate button instead of Friends and IM, and I was not able to put on prim attachments by double clicking, which I had gotten quite used to with Nicholaz, but I was thrilled to discover that my hair and shoes remained where they were supposed to be over six jumps. Perhaps it was mere chance, but I have hopes that perhaps the Lindens have finally fixed that problem.

Here are two photos of my neighbor Leaf's new pagoda, one taken with Windlight and one with "traditional" Second Life graphics. The difference is astounding.

p.s. Sweetie is fascinated by the roof of Leaf's pagoda. When I noticed she has wandered away, I can usually find here there, studying it.

p.p.s. Happy Valentine's Day, all you lovers!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

SL Merchants are the Best

Written 13 February, 2008

SL Merchants are the Best

In his comment on my Customer Service post, my friend Tycho Beresford remarked that the majority of his experiences with the merchants of Second Life have been good.

So have mine.

When I lost a no-copy hovercraft in a sim crossing, maker Sinatra Cartier was kind enough to give me a second. Later I bought his scooter and eventually had an unfortunate accident at the intersection of the Forsaken, Cauldron, and Forgotten Legends sims and lost it. He replaced that, too, no questions asked..

I’ve gone to makers about clothing that didn’t work right—the most usual occurrence being tight, no-mod skirts that didn’t come with glitch pants—and they have without fail worked with me, either making glitch pants or giving me a modifiable version.

And I have had Kitto Flora, the maker of the Pele train, to my land on five separate occasions to solve problems with the circuit. He always comes promptly, fixed the mess, and refuses to take money.

I’m impressed by and large by SL merchants—and I am astounded by the creativity of their products and by the extraordinary level of commerce. Everyone, it seems, has something to sell.

I love that.

I Rest My Case

Following is a comment left by Buns Liberty of B&B Aquarium, RE my Flat Fish post.

It pretty much reflects the lectures I got from her when I contacted her about my purchase.

As you can see, she is all about blaming the customer.

I rest my case.

I feel I need to defend myself here. I am Buns Liberty, the proud owner of B&B Aquarium.

First of all I would like to stress that ALL of our animals are out on display for the customers viewing.

So you don't like 1 prim flat fish, that's great. Really you are entitled to your opinion. The fact that I've sold over 7,500 of these fish in less than a year leads me to believe SOME people like my art work.

I find it curious that you would go into a store, spend the time to make the purchases but not turn your avie around or use your pointer to actually look at the items you are receiving.

It makes me laugh really. This lady is unhappy as they come. I think the fact that you have a blog to post all your horrible experiences speaks volumes for your character. Are you really that pathetic in life that you have nothing better to blog about than a bad experience in a virtual worlds online store? I mean really. All the bullshit that goes on in the world and this is what you blog about?

If this lady would have taken the time to look at what she was purchasing this would be a non-issue.

I have thousands of happy customers. Receive props daily from people. You just can't please them all and this lady is the prime example of that.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Customer Service

Written 12 February, 2008

Customer Service

[20:07] Natasha Oh: Hi
[20:07] Cheyenne Palisades: Hi
[20:07] Natasha Oh: I bought your fat pak Asian screens from slexchange
[20:08] Natasha Oh: they are beautful
[20:08] Cheyenne Palisades: thank you.
[20:08] Natasha Oh: very beauutiful
[20:08] Natasha Oh: but you can not modify them
[20:08] Natasha Oh: to make them larger
[20:08] Cheyenne Palisades: oh.
[20:08] Cheyenne Palisades: let me check perms and i will send you a set that are modify
[20:08] Cheyenne Palisades: I'll change perms and send you a set
[20:09] Cheyenne Palisades: And take a look at the ad and maybe change the vendors
[20:09] Natasha Oh: GREAT!!!!
[20:14] Cheyenne Palisades: Here you go
[20:14] Cheyenne Palisades: I think I will change the perms in the machines, as it makes sense for people to be able to resize them
[20:15] Cheyenne Palisades: Thank you for calling this to my attention
[20:15] Natasha Oh: thank you soo much
[20:15] Natasha Oh: you have a lovely day
[20:15] Natasha Oh: and happy valentines day
[20:15] Cheyenne Palisades: You too :)

Monday, February 11, 2008

Flat Fish

A Proper One-Prim Fish, Seen Head On

Can You See the Fish Here? No. Why?
Because Flat Fish Disappear When Seen at an Angle

Written 12 February, 2008

Flat Fish

You've all seen those one-prim flat fish. They are just a texture pasted onto a .01 meter thick prim.

I bought a few of those before I knew better, but they are gone from Pele now, all but a school of red-and-white striped fish which I am fond of for some reason.

But I don't buy them any more.

At least not on purpose.

I was at B&B Aquarium the other day (Star, 174, 21, 301) and dropped a bundle on some fish for my land. I also bought a family of manatees and a hippo and a swordfish and a bird. All were smart scripted, meaning they could be programmed to patrol a particular area.

When I got home and unpacked them, I was a bit disappointed that the manatee family were linked, so there was only one object (a mother and her whatever you call a baby manatee [pup?]).

I was WAY disappointed that the expensive reef pack of fish I had bought were just flat prims.

Even the bonus fish were flat.

Now I don’t know about you, but if I wanted a flat prim with an image I would just find one on Google Images and GIMP it and  import it. I expected a bit more than flat fish, but flat fish was what I got.

I waited a day or two and sent a notecard to one of the owners. It bore this message:

Dear Ms. Liberty:

I bought a big variety of your marine creatures the other day and have been unpacking them. [Here I listed my purchases.]

I've been around SL a while and I can usually make smart buys, but I didn't realize the fish and Ganges River Dolphin were just flat prims. Consequently, I spent about $1500L on items that are unusable on my land.

I like your wander script, so much better than a simple circle. It works great for the hippo and manatees, but there is no use in having a flat fish or dolphin wander about, as they just look . I really thought I was getting sculpties. I have some one prim sculpted fish that are just marvelous, and was looking for more.

I wonder if you might make some sort of adjustment, perhaps for prim fish. I would not have written for a smaller purchase, but $1500L for items I can't use is a BIG ouch.

Thank you.

Cheyenne Palisades

I sent it this morning. and soon received a notecard with the usual “copy items are not refundable.”

I would have probably let it go, but the sender, B&B co-owner Buns Liberty (note to self: never buy anything from someone named Buns) took exception to my statement that the flatties—let’s just call them the flatties, shall we—were unusable on my land.

They are unusable on my land because of my no fucking flattie policy. Because I say so. Not because she says they're fine.

So I IMed Ms. Liberty to say I felt the signage did not give me information enough to make an informed decision.

I mean, why ELSE would I drop $L1500 on flatties?

I was treated to a discourse on how great her fish were and how people loved them and how many she had sold and how I was irresponsible for not going to find her fish tank, which was not near the vendors.

She said, among other things, that there was a notecard in vendor. “READ maybe before you buy.”

I remembered that notecard. It had said nothing whatsoever about the fish being flat. In fact, I asked her to send another, and she did. It said nothing whatsoever about the fish being flat. So read exactly WHAT?

In further exchanges, Ms. Liberty characterized me as someone who always complains, as a poor shopper, and I don't know what all else. Every exchange with her was most unpleasant.

If I had a customer who just spent $2000L and was unhappy with 3/4 of her purchases, I would fall all over myself to make her happy. At the very least, even if she was being a pain in the ass, I would give her a boon of some sort—a gift certificate, her choice of a product from my store—something.

But not Ms. Liberty.

So all I can say is if you are looking for fish, you would do well to steer clear of B&B Aquarium. The customer service policy appears to be one of abuse, and to be honest, the quality of the merchandise isn't all that great.

Kaikou Splash’s Splash Aquatics has some really neat stuff. His prices aren’t cheap, but you won’t find yourself with a tank full of useless flat fish. If you don’t like his products, you might not get a refund, but you will at least not be lectured about your poor shopping habits.

So. A flat wallet and fucking flat fish for dinner tonight.

p.s. Ms. Liberty did agree to let me exchange some non-copyable items for store credit, but only at the cost of further abuse.


Written 11 February, 2008


It was a great Sunday night. Sweetie and I had watched a great movie and now were cuddling on a rug in front of the fireplace at the House of 1000 Pleasures.

It's a freebie fireplace, but nice, and we had both tweaked it-- me to add a nice crackling sound and tree ring textures to the ends of the logs, and Sweetie to add lights and improve the general aesthetic.

We were feeling all comfy and cozy and then it happened.

I saw a blue line and knew Sweetie was tweaking the fireplace.

That got me to wondering if the fireplace was scripted to turn on and off. So I said in chat, blow.

And the fireplace disappeared.

Well, it didn't disappear, for it wasn't there when I highighted transparent. It was gone!

Oh, shit!

It was clear Sweetie had not accidentally sent the fireplace flying across the sim, for she was nowhere near the Position box when the fireplace vaniished.

That meant I had done it.

When I chatted blow, a script in the fireplace-- the free LSL candle script, I think, had told the entire linked set to die-- and it did, just like that.

No fireplace. Not in trash, nowhere. It was just gone.

It didn't take us long to whip out a replacement and tweak it half to death, but darn it!

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Privateer Space

Do NOT Use the Bathrooms in This Establishment!

Girl in Space

Dissolute Droid

Space Junk

Oppressed Worker

Written 7 February, 2008

Privateer Space

Five minutes.

That’s all it takes for me to get my fill of a sim.

When I jumped to the fabled all-sculpty Black Rose, I waited five minutes for everything to rez, said, “Oh,” and left.

When I visited the famous Avilion ballroom, I jumped to Avilion, read the rules, put on period costume, and wandered about, getting scrambled at sim crossings, until I found the dance floor. No one had on period clothing. I said, “Oh,” and left.

Some sims have more holding power for me. I love Tol Eressea, which is simple and calm and almost entirely free of scripts. Sweetie and I spent two hours there on our first visit, and I still like to go there and hike up the mountain. I love Bliss Gardens—not because I find them lovely—the ground textures and brilliant blue water have not aged well for me— or even for the brilliant balloon rides, but because I love to hike the paths that span the four sims. I love the surrealness of the Morris welcome area, where I first rezzed. Newbies of all stripes have their homes there, and it can be bizarre beyond belief. I like to stand there and take it all in and pluck new citizens from the ceiling when they get trapped and floated up there by the huge prims of griefers. And I love the federated sailing sims around Nantucket, and the Greenhouse sim.

Now I have another fave: Privateer Space.

Privateer Space is a noncommercial sim that seems to have been put together for the mere whimsy of it. I love places like that!

Night before last, I went gridhopping to waste a bit of time before going to bed. First sim: Boooring! Second sim! Uuugly. Third sim: Naaasty! Four sim: Stuuuupid! Fifth sim: What’s this? An intergalactic truck stop? I think I’m going to like this place.

And I was going to have fun while I explored it.

I walked past a visiting avi and marched up to a prim waitress who was taking an order from a prim customer. I was in a mood. I said to the waitress, “I come in peace.”

The other avi said, “They’re not real.”

I said, “I mean you no harm. And I would like a space burger and fries to go. Hold the onions.”

He said, “They’re not real.”

I IMed him: “I’m lying to them so I can take them unawares. I don't come in peace at all. I’ve formulated a brilliant but tragically flawed plan for the domination of the virtual intergalactic truck stop industry. Would you like to be my handsome but not-quite-bright captain of conquest?”

He IMed, “They’re not real,” blowing his chances at intergalactic infamy. Not-so-bright for real.

Down in the mines, I stumbled over a broken piece of machinery. I turned to another visiting avi and said, “My father used to repair these!”

“Mining droids?” he asked.

“Yes,” I said, and turned to the broken robot. “It’s not right that you should have to work under these conditions. Will you join us Saturday for a planning meeting to form Amalgamated Droid Union #477? There will be a strike.”

“LOL,” said the other avi, tentatively.

I said to the droid, “We must stand firm against your cruel human dominators. I’m asking you to pledge your solidarity.”

As I was walking away, I turned and in one last but futile attempt to bridge the chasm that separates humans from machines, said to the droid, “Will you at least take my card?”

When I returned from the mine tour I saw the first avi (the clueless one). I said, “I just know the bathrooms are dirty.” I looked up, and lo, there were bathrooms marked with male and female robot symbols. I opened the ladies and went inside, where I was confronted with an array of bulky and thoroughly confusing intergalactic plumbing. The intergalactic definition of female must be somewhat broader than what I am used to. And sure enough, it was less than clean. Leaving, I called to the avi. “Yep. Filthy.”

Outside the station I clicked a sign and was given a way cool two-seater spacecraft and urged to explore the space ways. I leaped in and took off, avoiding and sometimes colliding with an array of sculpty asteroids while taking automatic laser fire from an unfriendly UFO. I escaped into a wormhole and unleashed a night of adventure. I explored the New Hotel California, where I absolutely COULD NOT get room service. I visited an intergalactic junk yard and spacecraft repair facility. I flew through nebulae. I landed on Tattooing. I flew to and through Planet Bob. I finalized my plan of intergalactic truck stop domination. I went to bed two hours later than my usual time.


Privateer Space is brilliantly conceived and brilliantly executed and suffused with a sense of humor I found utterly lacking in the Greenies sim. Where else could you find a dissolute C3PO holding a sign that reads, “I will solve differential equations for power” or a planet named Bob? And where else can you find a build with no discernable ground and a ceiling at an astounding 2000 meters?

Yep, that’s right. Prims up to 2000 meters! How do they DO that?
All of this, and not one thing for sale!

I have to say, the free Privateer spacecraft is the easiest to drive of any flying vehicle I’ve found in Second Life. It’s mod, which will delight Sweetie, who will no doubt take it apart and put it back together as a flying eggbeater or steam punk spacecraft, and the scripts and sounds are all full permissions. Bless you, Privateer Space, for such a wonderful gift! And for the wonderful gift of your sim!


***** Whimsical Builds
***** Frightening Intergalactic Plumbing
***** Creative Naming of Planets
***** Cool Free Spacecraft
*         Room Service at the New Hotel California

Tuesday, February 5, 2008


Written 4 February, 2008


The weather at Pele is exemplary, sunny and tropical except for the brief Dreamland winter. Occasionally, I realize there hasn’t been a weather event for a month or so and whip one up.

I had such a realization yesterday: ever since the melting of the dreamland snow, it had just been one damn perfect day in paradise after another. So I pulled out my weather machine and whipped up a great storm that dumped six inches of virtual rain on the island and blew two coconut trees apart with lightning strikes.

Even though I pull it out only a couple of times a season, I love my weather machine. It’s quite powerful, with clouds that cover, at maximum setting, more than half the sim. Unlike the eruption smoke from the volcano, which disappears at a distance of 25 meters or so, he rain, snow, and fog can be seen at any distance. Two machines (they’re copyable) will cover all of Pele, and more.

My machine is the WeatherSystem 1.29, made by Damanios Thetan. It can be purchased at his sim of Damanios. I don’t remember the price, but I’m sure it was less than $2000L.

What the heck, jumped to get the SLURL and price. You can buy the weather system here, and the price is $1500L.

Damanios upgrades the system regularly, and it does more neat stuff now than it did when I got it. The clouds, for instance, can not take on a hue when hit by the rays of the rising or setting sun. Snow accumulates on the ground. Neat stuff.

It doesn’t rain frogs like the $7000L system my SL brother Dodgeguy used to have, but it doesn’t everything but. It’s a great job of scripting. Thank you, Damanious, for making my seocond life... wetter.

Demolition Derby

Written 5 February, 2008

Demolition Derby

I’m sure my Polish sim neighbors would be delighted to know I, too, have an antisocial side.

Or maybe, being contrary by nature, they wouldn’t be delighted.

In RL I tend to rebel against authority. I once lost a job because I bought a can of rubbing compound and removed the words “Mental Retardation” from the side of an agency van. The vehicle, a shiny new Chevy Astro 15-passenger, was leased to the organization by the Knights of Columbus Mental Retardation Foundation for a dollar a year, and the KoC logo was prominently displayed.

The logo bothered me on principle, but it stuck in my craw in particular because one of my clients had to ride to and from school in the van. She went to a mainstream high school, and was traumatized and stigmatized by having to arrive in a rolling advertisement that proclaimed to all the world that she was retarded.

I didn’t remove the logo on impulse, or for reasons that were anything less than pure. I removed it because the agency wasn’t living up to its own principles, and because it was, darn it, the right thing to do.

I was certain the Knights of Columbus had never even considered the potential effect of their logo on their vans, so I brought the matter up— repeatedly—at the home office of my agency. Both my supervisor and the agency’s director at first assured me they would take the matter up with the KoC, and later assured me they had, but I knew they were lying. And so I went to the auto parts store and spent a dollar for a tin of rubbing compound and got a soft cloth and rubbed that logo right off. The white paint of the van was unblemished underneath; it was as if the logo had never been there.

I was sure I would lose my job, but I figured it was worth it. I had no doubt I was doing the right thing.

I did lose my job—sort of— and it was darn well worth it. Four years later, in another part of the state, I saw a KoC van full of mentally retarded adults. The words Mental Retardation were conspicuously missing from the logo on its side.

As I had known would happen, my action forced the agency to go to the Knights of Columbus and explain that an employee had “vandalized” the van (how appropriate, "van" dalized). And the KoC had asked why, and the agency had had to tell them, and the KoC had been aghast and had taken action and removed the words from every one of the dozens or even hundreds of vans in their leased fleet.

But I did have to eventually find another job. (Officially, I was laid off for 30 days and told upon my return that it had been necessary to fill my position. So I went behind the Director’s back and got myself rehired and worked for months while looking for and finding a better job.

Maybe I was a hero. Or maybe I just like to vandalize vans.

The latter is a distinct possibility, for in Second Life, I am drawn, and not in a good way, to UPS trucks.

Now, UPS doesn’t require young retarded women to ride around in vehicles sporting Mental Retardation signs, so I don’t have anything against them except for the way they mutilated that package that time. It’s just that freebie UPS truck. It does something to me.

I love to set it afire and make it burn and smoke. Then I hoist it 20 or 30 meters into the air, turn it temporary (VERY important) and physical, unlink it, and stand back to watch the action.

The van comes apart like a doll won at a carnival and falls onto the ground in a million pieces. Well, about 30 pieces. Van body. Cab. Wheels. Axles. Headlights. Taillights. Doors. Windshields. They roll around like crazy, covering hundreds of square meters of space.

And then they disappear.

That’s why it’s so important to set them to temp. If you forget, you have to track down and eradicate dozens of tiny parts, all of which are named, of course, Object. It’s worse than a roach hunt. I’m sure there are axles and taillights scattered about Pele, left over from that time I trashed a truck at Boofhead Oh’s art studio, which is 700 meters above the ground, without first setting it to temp.

As a form of amusement, I highly recommend trashing UPS trucks.

And it won’t cause you to lose your job.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Valentine's Day

 Written 1 February, 2008

Valentine’s Day

This blog is a collaborative effort between Cheyenne and Sweetie. Cheyenne typed while Sweetie dictated.

Sweetie thinks the above statement makes her look like a whining, dictating, creative autocrat. I won’t tell you what she said when I told her I wrote the above sentence.

Once again there’s a strange buzz in the air. There’s an electric hum on top of the electronic hum of our excited electron world. What is it, you ask? It’s the white noise of love.

It’s the sound of a million silent IMs buzzing through the ether in Second Life. It’s the subtle pressures and joys of Valentine’s Day’s approach.

Here in America, at least, Valentine’s Day is an odd thing. No matter how unaffected you pretend to be, if you’re single, there’s a lot of jockeying going on to make sure you’ll have friends around that day or activities planned for that day or a date to keep you busy. You have to be with someone or proudly alone. Being melancholy on Valentine’s Day just isn’t cool.

That pressure, somehow, combined with the doldrums after the holidays, means that the holiday of love results in a lot of couples fighting, and a lot of couples breaking up.

Sometimes the blowout is caused by the pressure to commit and make a grand statement, declaring eternal love to our new flight of fancy.

In the best of cases, this cements the relationship and makes it stronger when everyone kisses and makes up. The rest of the time, it means newly-minted heartache and singleness for the holiday.

To our dear friends in real life and Second Life who are struggling right now, going through breakups, and to our friends in the blush of new love, Valentine’s Day is an opportunity to enjoy the people who are special in their lives.

Second Life relationships are incredibly intense. When you add the pressure of a romanticized holiday, it causes real trouble.

So how do we make sure Cupid’s arrows strike us in the heart and not between the eyeballs?

Easy enough. Just remember the holiday we’re about to celebrate is about love. Not perfect love, not eternal love, not romanticized love, not expensive love. Just love, the kind with no qualifiers.

Whatever love is to you, whatever form it takes—whether you spend Valentine’s Day with your best friend or by yourself, it’s not how you love that matters; it’s that you do love.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Improve Your Visual Experience: Local Lights

Written 1 February 2008

Improve Your Visual Experience: Local Lights

Although she didn’t realize it for a while, Sweetie is my taskmaster.

I will build a chair. She will say, “Wouldn’t it be neat if it was all steampunky and smoked and clanked and made sparks?” and I will make it all steampunky and smoky and clanky.

One day Sweetie looked at an expanse of Pele’s sand and said, “We should make a cave.” And so I excavated a great space under the water and covered it with a huge prim and made some cavern textures and lined it with rocks and showed it to Sweetie.

She took one look at it and went into a builder’s trance, which means she liked it.

I made a dozen or more changes at her suggestion, every one of which made it a better place.

But what really makes it special are the lighting effects Sweetie put in place.

In addition to light from the sun and moon, objects in second light can emit visible light—but it won’t be visible unless Local Lights is enabled in Preferences (CTRL-P). Even then you won’t see local lighting in daytime, but as the sun goes down they will show, and at the Midnight setting they can be spectacular.

To make an object emit light, you only need to put a checkmark by Light in the Features tab in the Edit Menu. You can then set the color, using the same color picker you use when apply colors to a prim, and parameters for the intensity of the light, its radius, and its falloff (how quickly intensity drops with distance. But this is not a tips blog (our tips blog is here), so I won’t describe how to craft a light. My purpose here is to let you know that if you don’t have local lights enabled, you’re missing something.

With local lights enabled you’ll be able to see the effects of the face lights worn by many avatars, the light cast by lamps and streetlights, and Sweetie’s subtle lights in the Pele Caverns, where the subterranean experience is enhanced by spooky green-yellow lighting.

Swim around in the caverns with midnight set and local lights enabled and you’ll see Sweetie’s lighting in all its glory—but watch out for the squid, who has been in a bad mood lately and will ink you if you swim near him.

You can also go here to see how local lights work in my land lamp (my name for what is really a small streetlight), and here in the Pele Gardens to see how Sweetie’s lighting has enhanced the visual appeal of a cherry tree, and here and here to see how lighting can improve walkways.

Note: Local lights aren’t visible from a distance; you must venture within their radius to see them.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Improve Your Auditory Experience: Put Sounds On Your Land (And Bonus Rant)

Pele Gardens

Written 30 January, 2008

Improve Your Auditory Experience: Put Sounds on Your Land (And Bonus Rant)

I don’t usually (I make exceptions for Sweetie and for Dakota, my alt) turn this column over to others; it’s too much like a loaded gun. But I have a friend who waxed so poetic about the Information Technology department at his workplace that I decided to give him space.

I’m not angry with the IT guys where I work, although they DO make me sad with their locking down the computers to the point that they are useless for anything except e-mail and being utterly unable to do anything about the flood of spam from eddresses with names that end with .ru , .uz and the like. Because I’m not allowed to run programs other than the few already installed, and because I’m away from my office for 98% of my work day, I never even turn my work computer on. I check my e-mail at home on my desktop and at internet cafes during lunch on my laptop.

While I understand the need to lock things down so employees aren’t playing online Donkey Kong, day trading, and IMing their friends all day long, I can quite understand my colleague’s frustration at being locked out of the software with which he is familiar and tools he could use to increase his productivity. Since I to some extent share his frustrations (although I don’t blame, as he does, blame IT), and because I figured out a way to tie it in to a planned post about SL sound, here’s his rant. I've edited it to make it R rated.


The IT guys where I work are fascists.

They have power and they like to use it.

I can’t even log onto the computer in my office. They upgraded it, and now it won’t let me on with my old password.

I could call IT and get a new one, but I don’t bother.

Why? Because I might as well have a concrete block on my desk.

They have that PC so locked down I can’t even open Time and Date Properties to see what day it is.

I can’t go on the Web because of disintegrating passwords. I can’t install or run programs, and the programs they expect me to use suck.

And if I did go on the Web and opened a web page with a video stream or opened a radio stream so I could listen to music while I work, I would be subject to being fired.

Back in the days before Flash drives, in those Win 95 days of yore, they even made me stop using my external hard drive (I used it anyway, just unplugged it and put it in a drawer at the end of a day in case of a raid by the Gestapo).

Did I just say Gestapo? I meant IT. An IT raid. The big difference being IT guys don’t have guns.


Now, I will be clear for the record that I would NEVER log onto Second Life from a computer at work. Why, that would be unfair to my megacorporation employer, who is paying me handsomely for my time, and it would waste valuable electrons and contribute to global warming and hasten the heat death of the universe.

But if I DID, it wouldn’t be much fun—to some extent because the P4 on-board graphics would suck.

And because those numb nuts at IT have disabled the audio on every computer at the agency.

So if in a theoretical possible universe I was able to log onto SL from a corporate computer, there would be no sound.

Not that I could do that. Downloading and installing programs is IT-disallowed.

Although I have had no problem running programs from my flash drive.

OMG! Did I say that? I mean to say, by gosh, I’ll bet if one was unscrupulous enough to and disrespectful enough of the IT gods to do so, it would be possible to run programs from a CD or flash drive.

This is, I repeat, a theoretical discussion. I have never, of course, since being scolded for my use of that external drive back in the 90s, run any of my programs on an agency computer.

But if I did, it wouldn’t be very much fun because there would be no audio.

Thank you, Chey, for giving me space on your blog.

Do I pay you the $3000L now?


Pele is a rich auditory environment. In addition to the ordinary Linden sounds of wind and footsteps and thunks from collisions with objects, there are the background sounds of water splashing and dripping, rivers burbling, waves crashing, frogs croaking and crickets chirping and monkeys chattering, humpback song and breathing sounds, insects buzzing, wind chimes, lava bubbling and volcano rumbling, and more than a dozen species of bird calls, including owl, loon, peacock, gull, cardinal, flicker, and oriole. Most recently, a pair of kookaburras moved in. And did I mention the snake pit? Lots of hisses.

And then there are sounds that are triggered by specific actions, such as opening or closing a door or touching a prayer wheel or sitting at a musical instrument or driving the avatar mobilization unit (the little train).

Some of Pele’s many sounds loop, and others play on variable schedules, making a rich, semi-random auditory tapestry, a (apologies to that fucking woman-abusing murderer Phil Specter) wall of sound that enriches my experience and makes Pele seem more real to me.

When I don’t hear that sound, something vital is missing from my Second Life experience. I am not nearly so immersed.

I understand that for reasons of privacy or a need for domestic silence, many people can’t play Second Life sounds, but I’m convinced most people just don’t appreciate them.

That’s because the sound in most locations simply sucks. Many parcels, even entire sims, seem to have no sound at all. And so avs, especially new ones, just don’t experience how rich an environment Second Life (even with its sucky, laggy sound) can be.

Some locations, though, have wonderful symphonies of sound. Most likely your experience there was a good one, even though you might not have consciously noted them.

I invite you, dear reader, to turn on your sound. Choose a time when you can have ten uninterrupted minutes. Then come to the Pele Gardens at a time when the sim is experiencing daylight (night sounds are different, you might try then, too) and close your eyes and just listen. Then stroll down the walkway and past the river bridge to East Beach to hear a different set of sounds.

Luv Cloud

Written 1 February, 2008

Luv Cloud


We, Sweetie and Cheyenne (hereafter referred to as S&C) realize we have no absolute right to set sartorial standards. We are not the ultimate arbiters of what is and is not out of style. We have no desire to impress the masses, however poorly dressed they may be. So in the first of what promises to be a series of desperate apologies to dear friends we managed to offend with our IN and OUT list, this is our official disclaimer.

We have no problem with male scenery adorned in only tatoos. Some persons (whose names will not be revealed) can make the look work. It's just gotten to be a little like Drakkar Noir cologne, back in a decade not to be named.

What was once a passing scent, a titillating tug on your senses you wanted to investigate more closely soon mutated into an eye-watering, lung-burning miasma. It was the Luv Cloud of the male college freshman. No dorm-dwelling female could escape. Every boy on campus became convinced that the little black-and-red bottle was his key to the inner sanctum. Yes, they told one another, it's a thirty-four dollar and ninety-five cent investment in Paradise.

For the true originals who love their Harley, actually listen to the Beatles they say are so cool, or have managed to create a paradise to call their own-- for those who don't care a fig about what the world thinks-- S&C know without a doubt, nothing ever really goes out of style.

End of Disclaimer

As pertains to the above disclaimer, we present Exclusion 1A. If you are cavorting about in your tribal tattoos while 1) sitting in a dance bar being labored over by a girl named Tiffany; 2) typing in Chat on a one-Linden computer keyboard animation overrider; or 3) showing off that new box of freebie guns you managed to acquire, the aforementioned disclaimer does not apply to you-- except upon the condition that you are another of our friends who we just managed to offend.

Insert Company Motto Here: S&C: Because We Care


Outtake from Collaborative Blog Writing Exercise

C: Oh, what's that word? It's like culinary, but it pertains to clothes. I can't think of it.

S: Couture?

C: No, not quite-- got it! Sartorial!

S: I know that word. It has nothing to do with clothing. And I would know, because I'm a platinum card carrying fashionista.

C: No, it's sartorial.

S: That can't be correct. I'm looking it up. Damn! I hate it when you're right.