Saturday, August 22, 2009

A Word on Second Life's Transgendered People

Written 22 August, 2009

A Word on Second Life's Transgendered People

Blogger Peter Stindberg has just published a wonderful post about the transgendered people of Second Life.

Peter, who has a number of Second Life friends who are transgendered in real life, calls attention to this message on XStreet:

You are about to be redirected to Xstreet SL Uncensored.

The adult content within this site is intended for ADULTS ONLY (18 years of age or older). If you are not of legal age or do not wish to view materials of a sexually-explicit nature or you are offended by transgender images or topics, then please click CANCEL now.

Peter points out that while there are active communities on Second Life and elsewhere that fetishize and fantasize gender-variant people, the actual transgendered people he knows-- and in fact perhaps the majority of all those who are transgendered--  are rather conservative in their sexual behavior and mores.

Peter is of the opinion-- as am I -- that whoever posted the above paragraph did it without putting much thought into the matter. Still, it unfairly stigmatizes an already stigmatized community, and Linden Lab acted promptly in acting on the Jira and changing the message.

Blasting Off

Chey in Position for Deep Space Mission
At first things looked good...
But it soon became clear there was a problem with the gyros...
Written 22 August, 2009

Blasting Off

For super secret reasons (shhh! I can only tell you it has something to do with the geysers) I've been working on llApplyImpulse; this is a scripting command that applies a force in a specific direction to a prim or group of prims.

For some time now I've been able to make projectiles, but this was a horse of a different color. However, I'm happy to announce I was able to launch msyelf and the prims on which Sweetie and I were sitting 2000 meters into space.

It was a fun ride, but the landing was a bitch.

Blog Now!

Written 22 August, 2009

Blog Now!

It's after midnight and I'm nodding away at the keyboard, but Sweetie has decided she has to have a bedtime blogpost, and who am I to deny her?

She's really good at wheedling.

"Will you please write me a blog?"

"You've not blogged for four days. Don't you feel the need to write a blog?"

"All I ask for is one little post."

"If you don't write a blog I'll never get to sleep!"

So okay, here is her blogpost.

"What?" Sweetie says.

"Yep. This is your blogpost."

"Unacceptable!" Sweetie says, and proceeds to laugh like a chipmunk at her own joke.

If you've never heard Sweetie's laugh, think Alvin the Chipmunk.

Now think of Alvin on helium.

It's like that silly LOL Second Life gesture, only nuclear powered.

Sweetie gets like this a lot around bedtime. We think she gets consciousness hypoxia.

"I don't WANNA go to bed!"

You don't usually hear that from anyone over six or seven years of age.

But Sweetie, she will not go gentle into that good night.

It's at this time that she gets her best ideas.

And it's my job to write them all down.

I'm like Sweetie's stenographer. Unpaid.

Oh. Sweetie says I work for fabulousness.

She says, "That's the damn thing about having a muse. Once you have one, you can't get rid of her."
Insert chipmunk laugh here.

Before long Sweetie's last burst of nervous mental energy will have manifested and she will fall asleep on me. Oops! There she goes.

Leaving me to blog on demand at mindight.

The last thing she murmers before she drops off is, "See? You wrote me a blog!"

Tuesday, August 18, 2009


Written 18 August, 2009



I have laid around and played around this old town so long I have just grown older!

Not only is it a birthday-- it's one of those dreaded 0 birthdays! OMG!

Itsy Bitsy Avi

Written 17 August, 2009

Itsy Bitsy Avi

Awhile back, while hanging out with my friend Ashera Enoch, one of her friends showed up with this avatar. Ashera promptly lied down to show how very small it was.

It was soooo tiny! I couldn't wait to tell Sweetie.

It took some tracking down, but we found it on the Northstar sim, and both Sweetie and I bought one. She was delighted. So was I.

And you know what? We've not worn those teensie avies since!

My reader Lolia asked the name of the avi. Here's my reply to her:

It's called N.S. Micro 1.1. The creator is Greg Grayson.

The SLURL will probably take you to the entry point of the sim, but I believe the coordinates show the exact location of the avi. I had to go there twice before I found it.

When Whales Fly

Written 17 August, 2009

When Whales Fly

One day a couple of years ago I was standing on Whimsy, minding my own business when two giraffes flew by.

They weren't strange giraffes.

Let me rephrase that.

All giraffes are strange, but I knew this pair. They were FAMILIAR strange giraffes.

In fact, they were Leaf Shermer's familiar strange giraffes.

As I watched them zooming out of sight over the ocean to the north, I wondered if it was an artifact. Were the giraffes still there, or had they actually sailed away into the intergrid twilight zone?

I flew to Leaf's property. They were still there, and as strange as ever.

Lately it's been flying whales.

Despite the SL viewer being broken and having to use the Snapshot button instead of the much faster keyboard shortcut, I actually got a shot of Leaf's humpback as it sailed sedately by.

A little bit later my Splash Aquatics pilot whale passed me, heading north as I was heading south. It was too quick for me, though; no photo.

I suspect this strange flying whale/giraffe phenomenon has to do with the animals being physical.

Does anyone have a clue?

Here's a bonus photo of all three of Whimcentricity's geysers going off at the same time.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Whimcentricity Gets Prims: IV. Leaf

Written 16 August, 2009

Whimcentricity Gets Prims

IV: Leaf

We share Whimcentricity with Leaf Shermer, who has been busy, too. Here's some of her work:

Whimcentricity Gets Prims: III. Volcanic Activity

Written 16 August, 2009

Whimcentricity Gets Prims

III. Volcanic Activity

Here's a little volcano on Whimcentricity.

Whimcentricity Gets Prims: II. A. Room With A View

Written 16 August, 2009

Whimcentricity Gets Prims

II: A Room With a View

Whimcentricity now has a rental house--

-- and the views are great!

Whimcentricity Gets Prims: I. Geysers

Written 16 August, 2009

Whimcentricity Gets Prims

I. Geysers

It took us a while to figure how what to do with the entry area on Whimcentricity, but Sweetie and I had a mutual brainstorm night before last.

In one word, geysers.

It's no secret we like stuff that explodes. Geysers explode. End of concept.

Sweetie had made three tiny hillocks in the center of the sim, about 25 meters apart. We couldn't at first figure out what to do with them, but once I threw up a little platform around the center one, it started to make sense. Soon we had wooden bridges connecting the outlying hillocks.

So night before last, we decided that, since Leaf had thought (and so did we!) that Whimcentricity should have some geothermal features. And so-- geysers!

Here are the bridges that connect the hillocks:

The geysers (there are three, one for each hillock) are set to go off once per hour, at different times, for about three minutes. The center geyser erupts at a quarter to the hour, and it's a sight to see, especially at midnight and in mouselook.


Written 16 August, 2009


I've long known about the alpha glitch with invisiprims, but I never noticed-- until last night-- that you can see through water with them.

The inset clearly shows the underwater beams of the bridge through the heel of the right boot. The blue-green at the left boot is a glowing underwater prim.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Leaf is Escorted by Siegfried & Roy

Written 16 August, 2009

Leaf is Escorted by Siegfried & Roy

My Friend Leaf Shermer showed up with these dudes at her side. She bought them from Dougie Bing's Cartoonanimals.

I rather like the pterodactyl I bought there.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

I Loves My TiVo

Written 13 August, 2009

I Loves My TiVo

I didn't see much television in the '90s (too busy), but I more than made up for it in the early years of this century. Thanks to Turner Classic Movies and Netflix, I saw all the films that had been on my dance card for many years-- wonderful old movies like Nights of Cabiria and Black Orpheus and Orphans of the Storm and Key Largo and newer ones I'd missed at the theater. I watched CDs of the TV shows I'd missed in the 90s and Australian and English mini-series and foreign films and documentaries of every type. I would be in front of the television for hours.

Then came Second Life.

Fortunately, one of my last significant acquisitions before coming the land of virtuality had been a TiVo-- a digital recorder. It was something I had long wanted and finally purchased-- and I got it set up just in time.

For, you see, my advent into Second Life ended my days of extended television watching.

I no longer sat in the living room evenings and weekends; instead I was upstairs skydiving and buying land and going dancing and struggling to learn the building tools of Second Life.

If not for the TiVo, I would have missed every one of "my shows." But with it, I was able to save them and time shift them, watching them in snatches as I prepared breakfast or while wasting a few minutes before leaving for work or when getting ready to go to bed. In this way I was able to empty the TiVo as fast as it filled up. I watched The Sopranos and Battlestar Galactica and E.R. and Crossing Jordan (until they were gone); nowadays I watch Lost and NCIS and Sons of Anarchy and Rescue Me and The Closer.

I have a television in my home office, but I've not turned it on since 2006; I find Second Life just too immersive. Instead, I watch television shows in world on my second monitor with Sweetie (who watches at the same time wherever her dangerous duties have taken her)-- and sometimes we screen movies in world, hugged up in our free cuddle chair at the House of 1000 Pleasures.

That's great, but you know what?

I loves my TiVo too!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Silent Sims Creep Me Out

It would be a shame if these brooms made no sound!

I’ve written much this same post before, but here I go again.

Written 28 July, 2009

Silent Sims Creep Me Out

Second Life is filled with beautiful places that are completely silent.

I find this unbelievably creepy.

It’s sort of like the all-is-silent thing before a tornado hits. Foreboding.

Me, I say since Second Life supports sounds, why not use them to enhance the immersive experience? If you own land, put down bird sounds, wave sounds, house sounds, city sounds, whichever sounds fit the environment.

A Second Life beach is more compelling when you can hear the waves crashing on the shore, the cries of gulls, and the distant sigh of a sounding whale. Nights aren’t nights without the constant chirping of crickets and the occasional hoot of an owl. And a creepy old house isn’t creepy unless the floors creak and the doors squeak.

So what’s with all the silent volcanoes, mute machinery, and soundless water effects?

Placing sounds isn’t difficult. MAKING sounds isn’t either; you can use the free program Audacity to create a sound compatible for importing (.wav format, less than 10 seconds in length, and frequency of 41,000 hz).You can find thousands of free sounds at, and it’s easy to capture your own sounds with a digital recorder or mp3 device with recording capabilities.

If you would like some free sounds and scripts to trigger them, just go to my Flights of Fancy store on Whimsy and pick them up. The box includes a prim (a rock) that plays an assortment of bird and animal sounds during the day and crickets and owls at night; You can copy the script and sounds to your inventory and then drag them to any rezzed prim for which you have modify permissions, and it will give you sound without adding to your prim count. You’ll also find a script that will loop any sound you put in a prim with it; a script that will play a sound on touch; and 4) a script that will play a sound every x seconds (you can set x to any value you like). All prims and scripts are set full permission, so feel free to pass them on. Please do not remove my name from description fields of the prims or the scripts.

Eyes closed.
I hear the occasional high-pitched squeak of an unoiled wheel.
I hear a fan in the background. No, make that two fans, one left, one right.
I hear a bubbling sound.
I hear the intermittent crackle of electricity.
I hear the faint sound of flames.
I hear the sound of brooms.
I hear the P.A. system say, "Visiting hours are now over. We will be arming the deathbots. Please leave promptly and in an orderly fashion."
I'm at the robot sanitorium!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Telephoto Lens

Written 10 August, 2009

Telephoto Lens

I'm SO GLAD I bought that telephoto lens on XStreet!

It lets me get shots like this.

That torii gate is more than 100 meters away. And this:

And this:

And this:

And this:

How powerful is this telephoto lens? Well, here's a shot from the same position at regular focus:

I paid a thousand Lindens extra to get the special focusing feature. If you'll scroll back up, you'll see the objects in the foreground are in perfect focus.

And since I was dumping all my money, I bought an on-sale fisheye lens. Here's an image I captured with it:

Installing the lenses is easy. You just push the button on the camera body and they lock in using bayonet-type lugs.

The telephoto was $1999 with the focusing feature and the fisheye was on sale for just $695. I bought the optional UV filter and a polishing cloth for a total of $1750. Nice bargain, huh?

If you've not yet figured out I'm pulling your leg, let me say I took the shots above by zooming my cam in with CTRL-0 and out with CTRL-8 (CTRL-9 snaps your view back to normal). All the photos are natural Second Life pictures with no external manipulation or changing of Windlight settings.

Think about how much money I just saved you!

Whimsy Log Flume Ride: II. Failed Enterprise

Written 10 August, 2009

Whimsy Log Flume Ride

II: Failed Enterprise

Whimsy doesn't lack for molten lava!

The lava that flows down Pele's south face is spectacular.

especially at night!

Unfortunately, when the Whimsy Transportation Authority decided to make a carnival-type log flume ride, they chose the lava flow instead of the mountain stream scant yards away.

Today the only remnants are the sign...

...and what's left of the wooden boats (which instantly burned up)...

... and the stone boats (which sank).

To reach the log flume ride from the Whimsy entry area, walk down the rope bridges, cross the gradens, hike up the stairs, and cross the rope bridge.

Whimsy Log Flume Ride: I. The Stream

Written 10 August, 2009

Whimsy Log Flume Ride

I. The Stream

When Sweetie and I turned the mostly bare land at the base of the volcano Pele into gardens, we made a stream that originates in a cave...

...and flows to the sea.

New stairs rise from the flats...

...providing views of the stream...

...and continuing to climb...

...ending at a rope bridge which spans the stream...

...which in turn ends near the lava that flows down the south face of the mountain...