Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Comment Latency: Nearly Three Years

Written 31 March, 2011

Comment Latency: Nearly Three Years

Some anonymous person just left this comment on a post I wrote in November, 2008-- two and a half years ago. That's like 20 years ago in sped-up Second Life time. The post was about the then new OS Grid, and you can read it here. Here's what Anonymous wrote:
I hardly think your stating the truth here.. I run "SIX" Sims at once and never see a issue with the Physics engine. No one I know loses their hair. Maybe you have a extremely poor internet connection.. Personally I think you are just here to Troll with lies and non facts.
Two and a half years ago the physics engine on the OS Grid has serious problems. Today it still isn't up to snuff-- there are still no vehicles, for example. No vehicles

News to you, Anonymous. Here's what the OpenSim Wiki has to say:

OpenSimulator lacks support for many of the game-specific features of Second Life (on purpose), while pursuing innovative directions towards becoming the bare bones, but extensible, server of the 3D Web... OpenSimulator is getting more stable as it approaches release 1.0, but we still consider it alpha software; so should you.
So, anonymous, since you called me a troll while blowing it out your a**, let me say in all sincerity: eff off.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

A Night at the Opera-- Err, Ballet

Written 29 March, 2011

A Night at the Opera-- Errr, Ballet

On Thursday my friend Bonneville Nightfire told me this weekend marked Ballet Pixelle's final presentations of Narnia. When Saturday came it had slipped my mind, but I remembered Sunday morning and Sweetie and I showed up in all our finery for the final performance. Alas, it had been cancelled. :(

Rats! But a couple of hours later Bonne IMed to say the show would go on. :)

I phoned Sweetie and we made it just in time. An avatar I had just met at Help Island Public decided to go to, and had a good time-- as did we.

Next up for Ballet Pixelle is Time Burton's Alice.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

How to Be Cool in Second Life

Written 26   March, 2011

How to Be Cool in Second Life

Today I tagged along with Sweetie as she searched for a hairdo at the Amacci store, and I saw without doubt the tackiest thing I have ever seen in Second Life-- and believe me, in my 1614 days on the grid, I have seen some taaacky things.

This woman at Amacci beat them all, however, for she had a sound loop that played, badly and loudly, whenever she walked. And she walked a lot.

And to boot, she had clackety shoes set to the highest possible level.

In my earnest hopes that you, faithful reader, do not venture down the dark road of offensive public behavior, I offer you this list of things to maintain your dignity in second life. You'll be able to walk through stores without offending others by your presentation. You might even be cool.

So pay heed, please.

First, the shants.

1. No bling. If you have an object with bling call the bling disposal squad so they can remove it from your inventory and explode it. Bling is touchy and hard to handle, so just hope it doesn't go off before you're safely out of range.

2. No clackety shoes. If your shoes clack, people 100 meters distant are hearing you and cursing  you. Turn off the clackety sound or find other shoes.Or for god's sake, turn it way down.

3. No public gesture spam. Please. Friends don't let friends do gestures in public. When you pull out that gesture that makes you laugh like an apoplectic three-year-old, you're not impressing anyone. If you want to do a gesture, do it when you're around friends who like gestures or applaud at appropriate times at concerts. Otherwise, just back way. Please.

4. Wear some clothing, for god's sake. Dress appropriately for the situation. Bikines are not the hot thing to wear when mountain climbing.

5. Don't offer friendships to people who you don't really know. You can give calling cards from the right-click menu. Try that instead.

6. Don't spam people with notecards and landmarks.

7. Don't beg for money.

8. Don't be stingy. When you go to a concert, tip the performers and the venue. When you go to a nice sim, tip the owners. When you go to an art show, buy a piece of art, unless it's extravagantly expensive.

9. Respect PG sims. Take your adult behavior to Zindra, the adult continent.

10. Keep your mic closed when you're not speaking.

11. If you walk into somebody, please say "Excuse me."

12. Please respect the privacy of others. Don't walk into people's houses.

13. Show consideration for the diversity of people in Second Life. Don't bully or defame others or say things that might cause people to feel defamed. Don't make fun of people because they don't speak your language or because they're new. Help them instead.

14. Don't pry into the real lives of other avatars. If they want you to know, they'll tell you.

15. Don't shoot or push people without their permission.

16. Don't disrupt quiet areas with noisy vehicles.

Now the shalls.

1. Be yourself. Express yourself as is appropriate for the maturity rating of the sim.

2. Be friendly. Say hi to people who are near.

3. Get involved. No matter what your interests, there are people here who share them. Use Search to find them.

4. Be creative. Second Life is a wonderful place to express your artistic abilities. Here you can build things, take photographs, conduct business, write scripts, and out of world you can make clothing and textures and write blogs. If you're into role play, pour your creativity into your character. Play to your strengths and you'll be surprised what you can accomplish.

5. Tell others about Second Life. Getting people here makes this world stronger and ensures it will be here for you to enjoy.

6. Share with others. Express yourself in your profile and share a random tidbit or two of your real life is you feel comfortable doing so. Put your favorite things and people in your Picks tab, and be sure to include a photo of your avatar in the Second Life tab.

7. Work with others. Find an individual or a group and collaborate on projects. Whether it's building a house, staging a play, or shooting a machinima, get involved.

8. Play with your avatar. Try out clothing, skins, hair, and entire avatars. You needn't spend money; a lot of things are free. Eventually you'll find a combination that expresses your avie's personality as well as your own.

9. Play with the interface. Whether you're running Viewer 1.x, Viewer 2.x, or a third-party viewer like Imprudence or Phoenix, you'll be surprised to learn what can be done. Did you know, for instance, that when you're falling you can slow yourself almost to a stop with the space bar? Try it.

10. Document your experience. Write about it. Blog about it. Talk about it. And above all, take photographs. You needn't pay to import them into Second Life; save them to your hard drive for free and bring in only the images you want to share with your friends. Learn how to control your camera and you'll be rewarded with stunning shots.

11. Learn new skills. Linden Scripting Language is an adventure in coding. Building is an adventure into three-dimensional shapes. But you can learn other things. Sailing, for instance, works just like in the real world; if you learn to sail here you can sail in real life. If you publish a magazine here, you can publish a magazine in real life.

12. Practice social interactions. Are you shy in real life? Introverted? Are there social situations that make you uncomfortable or that you'd like to practice? Well, practice them here. The costs of missteps is far less here than in your real life. Here you can build skills you can take to the real world. Here you can become comfortable with things that ordinarily stress you out. Take advantage of others to help you learn to navigate the social ocean.

13. Get out of your rut. If you spend all your time in Caledon, try a post-apocalyptic sim or the Costa Rican jungle. If you spend all your time at home, dress yourself up and go to a concert. If you have been building for seven days, take a break and watch a particle show. Go check out all those places and experience that at some level intrigue you.

That's it.

If you do these things, I guarantee you, people will think you're cool. And how cool is it to be cool in Second Life?

Chey's Travels: The Docks

Photo by Sweetie
Written 26 March, 2011

Chey's Travels

The Docks

Week before last Sweetie and I journeyed to  Amase Levasseur's wonderful Originalia sim, where four impressive bodies of art are on display.

First up was Scottius Polke's The Docks, which I described to another visitor as a cross between and Vincent Van Gogh and Tim Burton-- although now, upon reflection, I think I should have mentioned Edgar Allen Poe as well.

The Docks is a purplish, cartoonish quarter sim populated with Burtonesque puppets and Vincentian clouds and catapulted over the top by a liberal application of Glow. I can't describe it any better; just look:

If that doesn't look like Starry Night meets The Corpse Bride meet Chuckie I'll eat my 231-prim LaLa Moon hair.

Scottius' earlier works include Lunamaruna and MushROOM, both on the Lennox Hill sim.

At sim center we found Dog Dreams-- The Second Life of Al, a series of illustrations from RAG Randt's book by the same name. Clever use of multiple layers and animated textures created a shadowbox effect, adding interest to Doggie Al's technicolor cartoon dreams.

Sweetie's favorite was Eliza Wierwight's Aria, a collection of the artist's furniture, housewares, sculptures, and miscellaneous whimsical objects like giant keys and flowing  aqua particles, all meant to be viewed with Eliza's suggested Windlight settings while listening to opera.

The photo at the top of this blogpost is of Aria, as is this one, also, I believe, by Sweetie:

My favorite exhibit was Em Larsson's Temporal Dreams, which consisted of a series of evocative photographs and abstract graphical pieces set in a mist-enshrouded lowland. Best viewed at night (as are The Docks and Aria), the presentation is subtle, with images rezzing slowly as they're approached.

Before I saw her exhibit, I ran into Em at The Docks (in fact it was to her I said the build looked like Vincent Van Gogh meets Tim Burton). Later I IMed her to congratulate her on the haunting beauty of her presentation. It really was quite stunning.

The artists and especially sim-owner Amase Levasseur are to be congratulated for provided a wonderful experience. It's everything Second Life art should be.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Thank the Goddess for Prim Storage!

Written 25 March, 2011

Thank the Goddess for Prim Storage

Sweetie thinks I'm obsessively crazy.

Because I organize my clothing by designer instead of making up ridiculous names for my outfits? You know, like Trapezoid Madness or Slim Cell Shady or Majestic Nothingness. But not, that's not why?

Because I finally got my inventory count below hers? No, that's not it either.

It's because of my prim storage.

When it became clear to me that sometimes things disappear from inventory through no fault of one's own and that the Lindens are uninclined to do anything about it,  I made a little platform high above my then-property on the Forsaken sim and named it Chey's Prim Storage. New as I was, I had plans to rent prims for storage and become Second Life's Ansche Chung of backup storage. If you don't know who Ansche is, just substitute Donald Trump, but make him female. I know what with The Donald's hairpiece and all it's difficult to get one's mind around the concept, but just do it.

So, I have this platform above my now-home of Whimsy, and on it are placed .5-meter cubes which contain objects with HoverText for a variety of categories: Chey's Clothes, Chey's Skins,  Chey's Shoes (I had to go to a 1-meter box to fit all the shoes in!), Books, Vehicles, Linden Bears, Household Goods, Textures, Landscaping, Animals, Freebies Weapons, and even one for my Holiday stuff-- maybe 75 boxes altogether. I've filled them with copyable things from my inventory and with no copy things for which I have no immediate use.

Whenever I buy something that's copyable, I place a copy of the unopened box in a temporary folder; then, once a month or so I go to my prim storage platform and unload the contents into the boxes.

Whenever I need something I have stored-- one never knows, after all, when there'll be an urgent need for a flying hot dog-- I go by Prim Storage and pick it up.

And whenever stuff disappears from my inventory I stop by to see if there's a copy waiting happily for me in one of the boxes.

Prim Storage didn't help much when my bling all got zapped from inventory;  that's because most of my jewelry was no-copy. But usually I can find whatever I can't locate.

Now, to stay I'm fond of my skin would be an understatement; I've worn it exclusively since my third day in Second Life four-and-a-half years ago. I had all the varieties that interested me, save one, which I bought before the sign fully rezzed and got in a pale shade.

I'd been meaning to go back and pick it up in the correct olive shade, but when I finally got around to it the skins were no longer on display. OMFG!

I dropped a landmark on the maker and he responded on one of his now-infrequent trips to SL. He made me a good price and I bought the missing makeup.

All was well and good until I was dressing day-before-yesterday and couldn't find my new purchase in my inventory. It wasn't anywhere.

So, this afternoon I took myself up to prim storage, looked in the skins box, and there it was! Emotional breakdown forestalled.

For those of you with a monetary or psychic investment in your objects, you might consider making a cube or two and stuffing them with copyable things you'd have trouble replacing. You can leave the filled box on the land or take it into your inventory.

You don't really need 75 boxes-- and for that matter, neither do I. I could pack them all into one cube and leave one prim on the land. I don't do that because I'm always updating the boxes and don't want to be bothered with unpacking-- but a single prim would suffice.

Chey Admires Her New Makeup

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Me is Hating On Blogger Right Now

Note: I fixed the Blogger boo-boos referred to in the post that follows.

Written 19 March, 2011

Me is Hating on Blogger Right Now

Blogger has the annoying-- more than annoying-- habit of adding code. Looking at the HTML of any of my blogposts I see repetitive instances of setting fonts and alignment where fonts and alignments haven't been changed.

Another of Blogger's bad habits is adding blank lines. Grrr!

The previous post is a copy of the New tab at the head of the blog. I spent several hours tonight trying to reformat it after adding new information at the top. Every month I've been struggling.

And so the previous post is the contents of the new tab. Note the extra lines and font inconsistencies. They're not my doing. It's bad Blogger's fault.

Next time I report on something new on the Whimsy sims I'll start a new file over at New. It's just too much trouble modifying existing posts.

What's New

Here I'll be highlighting a new or existing feature on our sims, or something Sweetie and I have created. I'll update the page every now and again. Readers can scroll down for earlier features.

The Temple of Doom

18 March, 2011

Beneath This Calm Surface ...


...And Through This Pipe ...

... Lies the Temple of Doooom!

I Found it in the Sock Drawer

Written 18 March, 2011

I Found it in the Sock Drawer

I don't know about you, but I'm forever having entire folders vanish from their allotted location. One day Clothing > Chey's Things > Weapons > Edged Weapons > Swords > Scripted Swords > Japanese Swords > Katanas, and there it is, right where it's supposed to be. Two days later the entire Weapons folder is nowhere to be found.

OMG, it's gone! Gone forever!

No it's not. It's just in the sock drawer.

It's way easy to inadvertently move a folder into another folder. It happens all the time to me.

And so, I always look in my sock drawer. And there it is!

Actually, what I do is type the name of the missing folder, or, if I can't remember what I named it, something I know that's in the folder. When I locate the folder I drag it back into position and all is good.

I always check my trash before I empty it to be sure an important folder isn't in there. It's a good habit to get into.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Extraordinary Derendition

Written 27 February - 14 March, 2011

Extraordinary Derendition

When I got home from a hard day of rocket building the last thing I expected to see was Sweetie in the throes of imagination overload.

It seems she had read my blogpost about the Phoenix Viewer's new permanent derendering feature and it had quite gone to her head.

"I've decided upon a business venture," she said with a sparkle in her eye.

"You're wearing that prim eye sparkle again, aren't you?" I asked.

"Only because it messes up the Lindens' avatar facial recognition algorthyms," she said.

"Or course it does," I said.

"At long last, I've hit upon a business strategy that will take full advantage of my espionage training."

"And what would that be?" I asked. "A double-naught dating service?"

"A service, yes! But double-naught, no!"

"Double-naught is soooo Sean Connery," I said. "So what kind of business will it be?"

"Ever since I read your post I've been thinking about deacquisiton theory," she said.

"Deacquisition..." I said.

Sweetie likes to theorize. Her work in donut string theory is legend. But what in the world was deacquisition theory?

"What are you reading?" I asked, thinking that might give me a club.

You might think I meant to type the word clue in the line above, and maybe I do, but sometimes I think stunning Sweetie's ideas might slow them down enough for me to follow her.

"Hamlet Au on the deacquisition of credibility," she said. "It's called The Unmaking of a Reputation: Notes From an Increasingly Irrelevant Blog."

"Ouch," I said. "And that second text?"

"M. Linden on the deaquisition of market share."

"Okay, I'll bite," I said. "What is deaquisition theory?"

"So much of Second Life is about acquisition," Sweetie said. "Getting freebies. Buying shoes. Skins. Hair. Gadgets. Friends. Vehicles. Lindens. Sex toys. But what about de-acquiring things?"

"Exactly what sorts of things would people want to de-acquire?" I asked.

"Oh, cheating lovers," Sweetie said. "Blingy shoes you bought your first week in world. Broken vehicles. All those one-prim flat plants.

"Your blog truly inspired me," she said, "and I've come to the realization that we need to start a deaquisiton service."

"To help people get rid of things?"

"Yes!" she said enthusiastically. "We'll derender it for them. Neighbors' prims that intrude into their parcels. Griefer objects.Ugly hair. All those textures they no longer use."

"That seems pretty tame to me," I said. "How will a derendering service take advantage of your super spy powers?"

"It's not just a derendering service, it's an Asset Blacklist Service."

"Okay, now it's starting to make sense," I said, "although maybe not in a good way."

"Here's our slogan: Let us perform extraordinary derendition on your prims and enemies!"

"Is that within the Terms of Service?" I asked.

"Perhaps," she said. "Perhaps not. We will, of course maintain plausible deniability," she said.

"Right," I said.

"Because if some Linden should ever come after us..." Her hand moved instinctively toward her katana. I've asked her for that gesture a thousand times, but she refuses to give it to me.

"Off with their heads?" I asked hopefully.

"Let's just say they'll have to be collateralized," she said.

"If we don't get busted we'll make a fortune," I said.

She ignored me. "We'll be engaging in Asset Blacklist operations," she said. "Above and beyond simple and obsolete black ops."

"You're scaring me," I said.

"Black ops are old-fashioned," she said. "But Blacklist Operations... that's a whole new game.

"You realize this is a game changer," she said. "No more 1000-yard sniper shots. No more acid baths. No more bags of lime. No more cutting avatars into tiny pieces and mixing them in with the sausage. We'll simply derender them."

"Think of what we'll save in ammunition costs alone," I said.

"Before long we'll have an immense list of UUIDs of derendered objects," she said. "Then we'll start an Asset Blacklist Reacquisiton Service."

"Get them to pay us to be able to see their friends and objects again?"

"Exactly," she said. "Think. Some guy pays us to derender his girlfriend's new hairdo because he hates it. Then a month later she asks him what he thinks about the new tint she gave it. Think what he'd pay us to re-render her hair."

"We could have a side business as an asset blacklist risk management consultancy," I said.

"Exactly," she said. "We'll recruit newbies as agents. Teach them to derender. Before long we'll have a derendition army."

"Maybe even a derendition sim!" I said. "Derendition Island. We can do derendition experiments."

"Exactly," she said. "Maybe it's better sometimes to bury an unwanted object in 72 levels of subfolders in your inventory than to derender it.

"And what if," she mused, "you overload the asset blacklist. Is there a UUID critical mass? If you overstuff the list, might it explode and create a black hole in the middle of Second Life? Might the derendered people in the list work together and make an escape?"

"Like Superman's criminals escaping from the Phantom Zone?" I asked.

"Just like that," she said. "We're messing with the very fabric of the Metaverse here!"

"Okay, I'm in," I said. "When do we start?"

"We, Kemo-Sabe? This was my idea."

"Well, it was my blog that gave you the idea."

"I've sent in my double-oh license for renewal," she said. "When it comes back I'll be licensed to derender."

"Use your superpower wisely," I cautioned.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Meadows Become Possible

Written 9 March, 2011

Meadows Become Possible

I don't know who first came up with the idea, but my hat is off to him or her, for he or she made meadows and grasslands possible in Second Life..

Around 2008 (as far as I can tell) someone came up with a simple idea: hollow a cylinder, hollow it to 95%, and paste textures on the inside and outside, creating a ring of flowers. One prim.

A single circle of flowers or grass looks a little sparce,  especially when viewed from above...

...but dragging and dropping a few times will make for a beautiful field of flowers...

... unless you look directly from above:

The round plants made the creation of lush meadows and grasslands possible without breaking the prim bank.

The first such grasses and flowers Sweetie and I saw were at the gorgeous Forest Feast sim. The plants were low-prim and stunning, but were sold no-copy, which would have made even a small meadow prohibitively expensive-- unless you owned Forest Feast (the photo above the title was taken there). Fortunately, we soon found a Buddhist sim with Real Flowers, which were inexpensive, and copyable. They were modifiable, too, which allowed Sweetie to give subtle shadings to the plants she put on the ground.

The gardens at Whimsy take advantage of Real Flowers' flowers and grasses.:

Sunday, March 6, 2011

How to Make a Flat Prim Even Flatter (Or, How to Make a Flag)

Written 6 March, 2011

How to Make a Flat Prim Even Flatter

Or, How to Make a Flag

Here's a trick to make the thin edge of a flattened prim even thinner. It takes only a few seconds, and it's well worth the effort.

Flattening the prim works best for flexible objects like flags and clothing, but is handy for paper and the thin edges of three-prim plants.

Let's make a flag.

First, we rez a prim. Distinguished looking, isn't it?

Now, in the Edit menu, select the Object Tab, and, in the Path Cut fields type 0.375 and 0.875. You'll see this halves the thickness of the prim along the Y dimension.

Here's the prim from the same camera angle.

Here it is with an uncut prim beside it:

Now type .01 in the Y Size field of your prim. This sets the Y dimension to the smallest allowable, 0.01 meters.

Here are the two prims, side-by-side. You can see the prim we cut is much thinner.

Here I've rotated the prim to 0,90,0 and checked the Flexible Path box under the Features tab. I set Softness to 3.0, Gravity, Drag, Tension, Force X and Force Z to 0, Softness to 3.0, Wind to 1.0, and Force X to 1, and the prim is waving merrily in the wind.

Now I add a flag texture Sweetie gave me long ago, rotate the texture by 270 degrees on the front of the flag, and...

But uh-oh, what's this?

Cutting the prim created two surfaces where there was once one, so the texture is displayed twice at 1:1 density on each face. And not only that, it's upside-down! And yes, that's a sea monster swimming by. Ya gotta love Second Life.

To fix, I turn on Select Texture and select both faces. Then I go to the Texture tab and select both faces. I set rotation to 90 and set Repeats Per Face to 1 (H) and 0.5 (V).

This puts the texture in the correct proportion, but things still don't look right.

Still in the Texture tab, set the vertical offset of the top face to 0.25 and the bottom face to 0.75.

Now the textures on the two faces are properly aligned, and our flag is complete.

Except for the pole, of course. But you know how to make a flagpole, don't you?


Three-Prim Plants Make the World A Better Place
Written 6 March, 2011


I love Second Life plants. They transform inhospitable landscapes into fields and forests, jungles and prairie, bogs and deserts.

When I first came to Second Life in 2006, plants were made of three linked flat prims offset sixty degrees from one another, like so:

Plant makers found photos of plants on the Internet or in books and altered them in Photoshop, replacing background with transparency, and then importing them into Second Life. The best plant makers drew their plants to avoid the uncanny valley effect.*

The imported textures were pasted onto the flat sides of the prims, and voila! A three-prim plant, like this freebie bird of paradise:

Most three-prim plants had problems. First, from many angles they looked exactly like what they were: textures pasted onto flat prims. Second, many creators didn't bother to set the thin sides of the prims to transparent,  causing unsightly lines when the plants were viewed from certain angles. Third, many creators didn't bother to cut the flat prims to make them as thin as possible, making them even more unsightly. And fourth, many plant textures showed white outlines around the visible plants, like so:

Note not only the white outlines around this two-prim amaranthus, but the holes in the leaves and floating specks caused by poor preparation.

Flexible prims arrived on the grid shortly before I did, and plant creators were quick to take advantage of them. With flexibility properly set, three-prim flowers and trees swayed gently in the wind, adding immersivitity to gardens and fields.

Some content creators were extraordinarily skillful in creating these early plants. I bought many from Julia Hathor and Lilith Heart, who were somehow to make their plants seem three-dimensional. Many of their plants are out on Whimsy today.

But most three-prim plants were then, and remain today, simply horrid. Fortunately, something better was about to come along.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Chey's Travels: Puntarenas

Written 5 March, 2011

Chey's Travels: Puntarenas

I thought I'd blog about some fabulous places I've visited lately. Thanks to Chestnut Rau and others for bringing them to my attention.

Costa Rica is an estate of more than 70 tropical sims. Most are lush, and some mountainous, terraformed and landscaped with great skill. Seven or eight of the sims are parkland.

Puntarenas is one of the parkland sims, a dry forest, lushly vegetated and mountainous. Paths wind through the woods, terminating at stunning waterfalls. Wild animals can be seen here and there along the way.

I'll let the photos tell the story.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Botgirl Muses on the Muse

Written 1 March, 2011

Botgirl Muses on the Muse

Last month Botgirl Questi wrote a blog about creativity and the muse. You should all go there right now and read it.

Botgirl was talking about both creativity and relationships. I'm a big believer in working things out while I sleep, so I especially like the following, as applied to creativity:.
Trying to power through a creative block is usually futile. It's usually better to take a break and let the Muse do the work. Instead of running from difficult relationships and projects, some of us habitually attempt to power through relational and creative blocks with urgent brute force. Although this can be an effective approach in short bursts, it is not a sustainable strategy. Blockages are a natural part of the creative and relational cycle when we are working within our depths. The key is to have enough confidence in an eventual resolution to "Let go and let Muse". Any in-progress work of mine that gets cranky is sent to bed for a nap.


Written 1 March, 2011


Once again Second Life has provided a reprise of a real-life experience.

I'm fortunate to have a week every fall on Cape Cod. Most years the weather is cooperative enough to allow a whalewatching trip. Some years are better than others, but I've never missed seeing whales.

I took the topmost photo in 2003. Maybe because I live inland and don't get to see the ocean much, I was impressed with the aluminum foil look of the water.

I snapped the second and third photos last night on Whimsy Kaboom. If only I had managed the angle a little better, I could have captured Kaboom's seabirds. The shots do show some nice water effects, though.

(One of my favorite things in Second Life is Kailou Splash's blue whale. Four years ago my neighbor and friend Dodgeguy Woodward, who was moving to a new home, was kind enough to give me his. I plunked him (or her, as I found out later) into the lagoon and brought him with me to Whimsy a year later. Two more of Mr. Splash's whales cavort in the ocean on our Whimsy Kaboom sim. I like to stand on the decks and watch them play. Sometimes it pays off).