Friday, December 20, 2013

Pod Tours of Heterocerta Atoll

Today I came across a folder of photos from a few months ago. Sweetie and I spent a Saturday riding around in those little oval floating podcars you've no doubt seen. We had a good time experiencing the visual chaos of the mainland.

I had meant to post about the experience, but it got away from me. Come to think about it, that's about when my desktop died.

I'm growing increasingly reluctant to post photos. My laptop doesn't have enough horsepower to use advanced graphics features like shadows and texture mapping, and for that matter, neither did my old desktop. I'm hoping the new box I'm putting together will have enough power to get the job done.

So anyway, the tours last a good long while, crossing many sims-- and the pod morphs into a boat whenever it crosses water.

"What's that noise?"

Monday, December 16, 2013

Starlight Lounge

While on MapPea's Christmas Hunt, Sweetie and I chanced across this lovely lounge. It's in a hotel on the first sim after you exit the hunt. Sadly, I don't remember the name of the region. Isn't the color just delicious?

Creepy Mesh Avatars

These mesh avatars creep me out. Can we say uncanny Valley?

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Building a New Desktop: I. Motherboard

Shortly after I joined second Life-- way back in 2006-- I managed to fry my desktop. I was installing extra memory and did something wrong, and dead box.

I really liked that computer. It was an Athlon-based system I had built myself. But I put it in storage and went to Frys and bought a Sony VAIO with a dual-core Pentium processor. I was that eager to get back home and get online.

You can read about it. Here's the first post. I think that arc contains some of my funniest writing.

In late summer of this year I managed a repeat. Yes, I blew up my computer. It died while I was installing a new nVidia 620 video card. I tried CPR, but the Sony didn't respond. I called the time of death: 8:24 pm.

Friday, December 13, 2013

The Ninety-Nine Percent / Jabba Jabba Jabba

Sweetie is always scouring the internets looking for places for us to visit in Second Life. Recently she took us to New Synthetic Theater.

The theater has two shows. After buying tickets for $50L and $75L, respectively, and wearing them, avatars are teleported to the stages, which are on a different sim. The $50L show is The Ninety-Nine Percent, and the $75L is the Wonderland-themed Jabba, Jabba, Jabba.

When the shows begin, objects are rezzed and moved about, and avatars are animated so they become part of the show. While execution needs some work, the concept is intriguing and plays to Second Life's strengths.

Photos follow.

Thursday, December 12, 2013


Being from the South, when I was younger the television broadcast channels were chock-full of "professional" wrestling-- that is, guys and women with ridiculous names who dressed all macho and pretended to be badasses.

Although a few naive people will tell you television wrestling is real, the bouts were scripted, all show, acting, and sometimes of the highest quality. The theatrics were unbelievable-- flying chairs, flying referees, opponents being thrown off the ring into the seats, fights moving into the audience area. It had to be dangerous work, even if it was all theatrics.

When, a year or two ago, Sweetie and I blundered onto the dark set of one of Second Life's four or so wrestling federations, she told me she wanted to see a match. I um-hmmm it, but she wouldn't let it drop. So, last week we visited a show at VWE, Second Life's Virtual Wrestling Entertainment.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Dragons Need Christmas Decorations, Too

Sweetie took this photo of a dragon shopping at Happy Mood.

Happy Mood Puts Me in a Happy Mood

I love Sweetie's photo of his pleasant sign on the Happy Mood sim.

My computer isn't so great for photography these days, but happily, Sweetie is a better photographer than I am, anyway.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Christmas Explorations

Every December Second Life is filled with beautiful winter sims. Above is Sweetie's photo of Happy Mood, a sim known for rabbits and birds and plants and things. We had a good time exploring and bought some grasses.

Calas Galadhon has a beautiful Christmas experience for you. Here's my photo:

Sweetie took me to Santa's Workshop at North Pole Village. It was a hoot.

I have to say, though-- Santa is working his elves pretty hard...

... and the we-have-to-be-secure sickness has clearly reached the North Pole.

Although it may be Santa is fearful because of the recent death of Rudolph.

It didn't make the news (I suspect the story was squashed), but yes, it's true. Rudy is no more. Or perhaps he is still alive; rumors say so. You'll have to be the judge.

You can gather facts at Mad Pea's Holiday Havoc on the GrandView sim.

You see, because of Rudolph's death and some pilfering, the Christmas and Halloween villages are at war. The toll taken by the cannon and trebuchets is appalling...

... although the damage done to the ramshackle Halloween village is difficult to detect, as Sweetie's photo, below, shows.

The sim is one big puzzle, yet is merely the setup for the search; when its mysteries are solved, avatars go off on a grid-wide search for 30 missing pieces of a broken clock.

Sweetie and I found all the riddles and solved them, and took home a sackful of prizes, yay us! We're stumped now; we're not sure how best to proceed with a sim-wide hunt for a tiny clue.

There are tons more winter and Christmas places. Our visits have left me wanting to lay down some snow on Whimsy. Yes, Whimsy is tropical, but it has snowed before. Predictably. Every Christmas.

Monday, November 4, 2013

The Lost Colony

We meant to go back, yes we did. We didn't mean to get caught up in our everyday lives. We didn't mean for our poor dwarfins to starve and turn to stone, no we didn't. We wished them the best and left them with plenty of food, but they ate too much of it. Yes, that's it. They pigged out and the food was gone and it's their own darn fault!

To keep the multitude of dwarfin owners, dwarfin avatars, dwarfin creators, and the millions of dwarfins themselves off our backs, it was necessary to concoct a story.

Don't worry. I'll remove these three paragraphs before I submit the post. No one will be the wiser.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Editorial Revisited

The Trouble Started When the SL Enterpreber Illustrated my Editorial
About Camping With This Picture of a Camping Sign
On the Platinum World Sim

Back in April, 2008 I wrote an editorial for the Second Life magazine SL Entrepreneur. My piece was called The Case Against Camping and it was clearly marked as editorial in nature. You can read it here, and I've reproduced it in text. You can see the fallout it caused just below.

My piece was editorial in nature-- an op-ed, because I was a writer for the magazine and not the publisher or an editor. Editorials by their nature express opinions. They are not meant to be balanced. They by nature praise, criticize, explain, or persuade.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Tiki Masks Control the Volcano

"What a Nice Volcano! I Wonder if I Can Make it Erupt?
"Oh, a Big Rock Just Rotated Into View!"

"Oh, Glowing Spaces! I Wonder What's Up?"

"Tiki Masks! And They Have Stones in Their Mouths! With Letters!"

"Hmmm. Extinct, Inert, Active, Erupt, Throw Rocks, Sacrifice.
I Think I'll Touch the One for Throwing Rocks... Woah!"

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Reworking the Temple to the Volcano Goddess

View From the Redesigned Temple to the Volcano Goddess Pele

It's great to again be working on a computer that has the horsepower to handle Second Life. I've been working on my laptop, which renders SL just fine but which won't let me cam or build, so I've had little to blog about. Now I'm at Sweetie's house, on her desktop and can more or less operate.

A long time ago I set myself the task of reworking the erupt mode of Whimsy's resident volcano, Pele. After all, when one hosts Second Life's best volcano one must be eternally vigilant lest some mesh volcano come along and steal one's thunder.

Pele has four states: Extinct, Dormant, Active, and Erupting. I made scripts to coordinate the lava flows and the rocks in the caldera; now they, too, reflect the volcano's mood.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Off to Work I Go

This Dwarfin is Clearly Proud of His Offspring.
He and His Mate Just Carved it from a Large Rock.
Sweetie's Touch Will Create a New Dwarfin.
Think She'll Finally Get Her Mutation? Naah!

When I logged into Second Life Thursday morning, all of Sweetie's dwarfins had turned to stone.

I say Sweetie's dwarfins because I had only one on the land. Sweetie is determined to get a mutation, so she has three or four mated pairs. So far, no mutations, even though she keeps them busy reading and mining.

The little creatures had turned to stone because of starvation. They ran out of food while she was away. So too, nearly, did her cats, who helped themselves prodigiously to kibbles and bits during her five-day absence.

The coding for the dwarfins is just amazing. They engage in dozens of activities, and produce implements for each purpose-- weapons, hoes, books, steins for holding ale, adzes, hammers, planes-- you name it. Apparently a single prim is repurposed for each activity. That means the script sets the size, shape, and texture of the tool, moves it to the proper orientation, and causes the dwarfin to move its body in a way that causes it to use the tools.

Dwarfins creator Judy was kind enough to give me a hut and a couple of garden plots. When I set out the hut it consisted on piles of straw, wood, and stones. Over a period of perhaps a week the dwarfins would consult blueprints, measure, hammer, cut, and chisel, and soon there was a completed building with a fireplace. It is clever, clever work!

To use the gardens one buys seeds, waters them, and grows them to maturity. They resulting fruit, berries, and vegetables are then harvested and can be turned into dishes ranging from salads to pies. It's a little less expensive to feed them from the garden than it is to keep supplying them with ham.

Yes, the dwarfins, like all breedables, require a continued investment to keep them fed.

That said, they're heads and shoulders above any other breedable I've seen in Second Life. 

Hours and Hours on the Road

A week ago Sweetie flew to Georgia for a visit with me-- and a wedding of a co-worker. On Monday we set out for her home in New York in my 1996 Mazda Miata.

I love my Miata, but it's perhaps not the best car for touring. Space is, shall we say, limited. I FedExed most of my clothing, but even so we were packed to the gills. You should have seen Sweetie's face when, somewhere along the road, I emerged from a mini-mart with a 24-pack of Crystal Geyser bottled water. "It was just $2.99," I explained. We stuffed 18 of the bottles here and there and drank them on the road. I have a bottle beside me as I type this.

Because of limited room in the cabin, we decided to stop every thirty minutes for a brief stretch. We did just that, but more often than not the stretch breaks became bathroom-and-snack breaks, and, as we tired, bathroom-and-snack-and-nap breaks. Before we knew it we'd been on the road 24 hours and were only halfway to our destination.

We pulled into Sweetie's driveway more than 32 hours after leaving my house, with 1024 miles on the tripmeter. The trip should have been 889 miles and 13 hours-- that's according to Google, which apparently thinks you should average 68.5 mph on the road. Maybe the Google car is equipped with a potty and a good radar detector. Eighteen hours is a more reasonable estimate (50 mph average).

Anyway, we arrived in New York Tuesday, just before midnight. On Wednesday, poor Sweetie had to go to work; I was able to spend most of the day in bed, recuperating.

On Thursday morning, I logged into Second Life.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Life 2.0... Finally

Sweetie and I have been wanting to see Jason Springarn-Koff's 2009 Second Life-based documentary Life 2.0 since forever. Tonight we found it available to stream on Netflix and immediately watched it.

I'd been looking forward to seeing the film. I didn't remember anyone panning it, so I began watching in anticipation. The first hint that something was amiss was the mournful cello playing.

Now I love to hear a cello. I fell in love with the instrument not via Tchaikovsky or Mozart, but on the title track of the Bee Gees' album Odessa. That cello is haunting. Tonight's cello seemed to be playing a dirge.

It was a logical choice for the soundtrack. The movie was, as Sweetie wrote in an online review immediately after seeing it, relentlessly negative.

Springarn-Koff's film follows four Second Life avatars over a period of a year or so, with periodic head shots of SL founder Philip Rosedale, an appearance of the real-life financee of one of the avatars and, occasionally and briefly, the filmmaker's avatar. In the tradition of Frederic Wiseman, there is no voiceover.

The movie opens with avatars and online lovers Amie Goode and Bluntly Berblinger. Berblinger describes their behavior as emotional adultery; the film maker immediately cuts to the two, who live thousands of miles from one another, meeting in real life. Emotional my ass!

Berblinger and Goode are tracked as their SL relationships end their marriages and Berblinger leaves Alberta for Goode's home in Westchester, NY. Not surprisingly, things immediately fall apart and Berblinger, after a scene in which he shows his abusive side, heads back home.

A second arc follows 11-year-old female avatar Aaya Aabye, who is compulsively played by a young man whose visage is initially obscured by shadows. Eventually he is shown full-face, which made Sweetie and I wonder if, as the filming progressed, Springarn-Koff was pressuring him to increase his exposure. Aabye is eventually killed off (account closed) by her maker with his engagement still intact, but an ensuing discussion results in his financee leaving. The unnamed young man then creates a young male avatar and comes to consciously acknowledge that he had been sexually abused by his father when he was a child. As a mental health professional I'm often skeptical about such recovered memories, so it's entirely possible it's something he cooked up in his head. It's also entirely possible that it happened. I hope he is seeing a therapist to sort himself out.

The Human Behind Avatar Asri Falcone
A third arc follows designer Asri Falcone, who was doing quite well as a fashion designer and creator of luxury homes in Second Life until a content thief made her creations widely available in world. As she had given up her real-life position to work 15-18 hours a day with prims, her finances were thrown into crisis.

Both Sweetie and I were expecting a balanced or even positive film about Second Life-- that because of what we had heard when the film was released. We didn't get that. From the funereal score to an opening shot which cuts from two married-in-real-life avatars cheating in real life to a scene in which a man with a face obscured by darkness talked about his 11-year-old female avatar to a purposefully filmed shot showing the flaws of the house in which Asri Falcone's human lives in (yes!) her parents' basement, Life 2.0 is meant to show Second Life's creepy side. The cinematography accentuates this by focusing on parts of the faces of the humans in the film. You know what, fuck Jason Springarn-Koff. He's an ass who set out to trash Second Life and he managed not to get caught in it, at least by some reviewers (the New York Times got it, though!).
There’s no excuse, though, for one reprehensible sequence in which the camera descends into the basement of a Detroit home, while a cello saws ominously on the soundtrack, and creeps up behind a large, pajama-clad woman at a computer, primarily to shock us with the visual contrast between her Second Life avatar and her actual body. It’s enough to make you want to escape the real world.
Of all the avatars, I felt sorry only for Asri. Here was a talented, hard-working, positive woman who lost a business she worked for years to build to a scuzzbag who copied and sold her wares because of a bug Second Life should have damn well fixed and who was compensated only a few hundred dollars when she went to court.

Asri is no longer in Second Life; she deleted her account due to thievery and griefing (her account was hacked, large sums of money stolen, and her inventory deleted, most likely by the sumbitch who she took to court. Today she operates with a new avatar and has rebuilt her business. God bless her for her courage and stamina. Most people would have left the the world for good.

There are lots of great films about Second Life. Jason Springarn-Koff didn't make any of them.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Life 1.0 Intrudes

My New Kitchen Floor
If I've not been writing here much, it's not because I don't want to. It's because my laptop has been acting screwy in Second Life. My desktop is dead and every time I think I'll have funds for a new motherboard, processor, and memory, something expensive in my house or on my car breaks. I also got an opportunity to put much-needed new floors in my kitchen and bathroom (my ex-roommate Christine did a marvelous job putting tile in the bath and sheet vinyl in my 1940s kitchen). Chris gave me a huge break on price, but it was still expensive.

On the way home after taking a friend to the airport my Miata's brake pedal went to the floor. By using engine braking and the parking brake I was, skillful driver that I am, able to stop before I hit the car stopped ahead of me at the intersection. The Miata is in the shop getting new brake lines now. Let me just say having AAA lose my car instead of taking it to my mechanic as they were supposed to was a freak out.

Since I can't really build or use my Second Life camera, I'm not doing much in world. I miss blogging here, and will continue to write as things happen. It's just that not much is happening!

New Marble Floor in My Bathroom

Friday, August 16, 2013

Bowl Haircut

 Just in case my readers were thinking I was kidding about bowl haircuts...

Here's my mom and dad staging a haircut. They always claimed not to remember the bowl haircuts, but I certainly did. One Christmas they gave me this photo, framed.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

And the Winner Is...

Here I am going all Lady Godiva in Exile's Counting Stars hair. It's one of two styles I bought at the Hair Fair this year.

It's mesh, I believe, but I like it because it seems to move. And even better, it covers my big-ass head without me having to wear the alpha.

Here's a back view:

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Hair Overload!

Chey's Prim Hair Might Stick Through Her Shoulders
But It By God Moves when She Does

All, right, enough is enough.

My bloated inventory still has thousands of items from the Hair Fair-- notecards, landmarks, images, HUDs, and actual hair styles-- 95% of them mesh.

After hours or wearing and photographing hair and making hardly a dent in the demos I picked up, I've had it. Next time I'm in world I'll dump the entire shebang, except for the freebies. You can expect a post soon on free hair, but I'm done with the Hair Fair. There's too much of the same.

I know, I know, the fashionista mafia will be sending their knee-and-elbow team around to twist and distort my avi, but I had to say it anyway.

Some of the mesh hairdos look nice, but they sit rigidly on one's head like an upended bowl of spaghetti. They don't move when you do, or when the wind blows, or ever. Moreover, when the mesh is rigged, it can't be resized or moved around on one's head-- and if you don't wear the often bad invisble head-obscuring tattoo, your scalp shows.

I'm not a big fan of sculpted hair, either, and won't be unless and until the Lindens add flexibility. That leaves prim hair.

I like prim hair, and specifically flexible prim hair. I know flexible prim hair goes through your shoulders sometimes, and yeah, that's a pain in the ass, but it just does it for me way better than a plop of rigid chewed Double-Bubble.

Mesh hair is like a badly-applied wig in real life. When a wig blankets your hair, covering everything, it looks artificial-- but pull a few strands through and blend it so observers can see a place or two where your hair is attached to your head, and suddenly, as any drag queen knows, that wig looks like real hair.

Happily, a few creators use a combination of mesh and flexible prims to create nice looking hair that moves. You must wear the mesh and attach the prims, but it works well for me, and I just bought at least one such product. I'll do a blogpost about it soon.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Okay, Maybe Not This One

"Hair emergency! Hair emergency!"

"What is it now?" asked Sweetie.

"Look at this hot mess!" I cried.

"Oh, yes," she said. "The bowl."

"What bowl?" I wailed.

"The bowl the hair makers pass around when they get stumped. They put it on your head and there's your haircut."

"My mother used to do that with my father," I said, "but I never expected to be subjected to the bowl myself!"

"The path to platinum fashionista status is not an easy one, grasshopper," she said.

I cringed. "I can expect more of this abuse?"

"Just click Read More," Sweetie said. "You'll see soon enough."

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Chey Wears Hair Fair Hair

No Blow Dryer in the World is Gonna Help These Bangs!

Sweetie and I hit every single vendor at the recent Hair Fair. We know we hit every one because the layout, unlike many product fairs we've visited in the past, was logically constructed; we eventually wound up back at our starting point.

I have to say, I took demos from every one of those vendors!

I've not yet worked my way through all the freebies and demos (computer problems), but I've worn more and photographed more than 100 styles. You'll see many of them below the fold.

Mesh is of course the big thing this year. Most is rigged, meaning it can't be adjusted. Like sculpted hair, it's immovable-- although some hair makers add a second wearable object made of flexible prims.

Many of the creators have a big problem with bangs, as you'll see.

And now, the hair.

Thursday, August 1, 2013


I've been having a difficult time in Second Life lately.

My seven-year-old desktop (read about why I got it here) died in May. I've been using my four-year-old Sony VAOI laptop for everything. It has worked like a champ in SL until lately. Now, often, I find myself unable to build or cam using the mouse. Inspection shows zero processor free time and the system using up all the free resources. Usually system is zero, but it's as high as 60% when the computer is acting up.

Speedfan shows my CPU temperature runs about 61 degrees Centrigrade when Second Life is running, but the slowdown doesn't seem to depend upon CPU temperature. I'm beginning to suspect the fan on the built-in graphics card (if it has a fan) may not be running or may be running intermittently, but the slowdown could be caused by any number of things. In the meanwhile, SL is agonizing when I can't use the mouse.

I recently had a new floor installed in my kitchen, and when my electric range was moved we kept on going and left it on the curb. The oven element went out some time ago, and when inspecting it I somehow managed to fry the electronics. Considering that three of the four burners were operative, I realized one day I owned a 200-pound hotplate! For now I'm cooking with my microwave, steamer, crockpot, and an electric skillet that sits upon a TV tray. I had hoped to buy a stove by the time my friend Sandra arrives for a visit in late August, but now I'm setting top priority for a new motherboard, processor, and RAM.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

When Second Life Grinds to a Halt

 It's the Lindens' Fault. Except Torley, of Course. Torley is Blameless.

I had a terrible time in world last week. Second Life, which runs admirably on my Sony VAIO laptop, was giving me problems. I was unable to build or use my camera. When I tried, nothing happened. The program just froze.

My frame rate, ping times, and bandwidth were all good, so I blamed the rollout of server-side baking. I wasn't sure if the new sim software had actually arrived, but it was convenient, so I blamed the Lindens. I mean, why not? Everybody blames the Lindens. For everything.

I soon realized the problem was with my mouse. I could cam with arrow buttons, but the moment I tried to use the mouse, the camera locked up. Damn cheap Logitch wireless sumbitch!

It wasn't the mouse, of course.

The problem turned out to be WordPad, a Windows utility for reading plain text and rich text files.

On my recently-deceased desktop Word was a beast. It took forever to load and it was always annoying me--- so I converted my dozen or so most-consulted files (passwords, calender, notes, address book) to RTF. On my laptop, however, Word ran just fine. It was WordPad that was the beast. Files were slooow to open and search took forever.

I often leave the files I consult frequently open, and it was when one or more text files were open that my camera locked up. WordPad was the culprit.

I'm going to reinstall  WordPad and see if that solves the problem; if not, I'll convert my RTF files back to Word format.

Anyway, problem solved. And I still suspect the Lindens were behind it all.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

The Spy Business Isn't What it Used to Be

James Bond Didn't Have a Smartphone

"I can't believe you've retired from your life as a spy," I said to Sweetie.

"Well, the spy business isn't what it used to be," she said. "I mean, I loved the Minox spy camera. It had class. Nowadays every idiot has a smartphone with a built-in 8 megapixel camera with high-definition video. It's just not the same."

"I see your point," I said, as I surreptitiously took her photo with my smartphone.

"And then there's the company," she said.

As in "The Company?" I said. "The CIA?"

"Them too," she said. But I mean the players. In the old days I hung out with James Bond and Julia Child and George Smiley. I used to visit Alger Hiss in prison."

"But those are semi-fictional," I said.

"As am I," Sweetie smiled.

"I mean Hiss and Child are real, but Bond and Smiley are fictional characters."

"Well, I used to hang out with them all," she said. "Especially Julia. Who do you think was the source of my interest in the pasty sciences?"

"Either Julia or Smiley," I said.

"Julia," she said, "although Smiley gave me the idea for throwing scones."

"Well, Hiss and Child are dead," I said. "Bond must be like eighty years old now, and Smiley's older than that."

"Exactly," Sweetie said. "And who has replaced them? Faceless CIA spooks. Homeland Security agents. NSA operatives. And Teleportation Security Administration patter-downers."

"Patter-downers?" I asked.

"You know what I mean," she said. "And then there's MI-6. It just isn't what it used to be. Bond is retired, Moneypenny came out as lesbian, and that old guy who made the weapons now works at the Redstone Arsenal and has like a thousand patents."

"Sean Connery was the real Bond," I said.

Sweetie is a Roger Moore fan, but she didn't bite. "And who's at MI-6 now? A bunch of geeks at keyboards, reading everyone's e-mails and recording everyone's calls." She sighed. "The field operatives-- there are still a few-- have to check in hourly via IM and attend weekly webinars. It was time for me to leave the business."

"Maybe you could hook up with Wikileaks," I said brightly.

"Who do you think sent them all those documents?" she asked.

"Oh," I said. "Well, what are you going to do with your time now?"

"I'm not sure," she said. "I'll do some experiments with icing string theory, certainly. I'll have to conduct them well away from the ground. We don't want any visitors dematerialized or covered with cream cheese."

"We wouldn't want that," I said, "although all those Brazilians who leave prims on our land could use a lesson. Maybe you could go undercover at Linden Lab."

"That's already been done," she said. "Hamlet Au. And look how that turned out."

"He's mostly not writing his own blog these days," I said. "Iris Ophelia is kicking ass over there."

"Mostly," Sweetie said, "I'm going to concentrate on being a muse."

"But you already are a muse," I said. "My muse. Please don't tell me you're going to muse others."

"No, no," she said, "but now I'll have ever so much more time to muse you."

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Out of the Spy Business Forever

Judge Camper's Chair (Third from the Right) Now Sits Empty

"I like the word career," Sweetie said. "It's rather like careen. Careen is a word with class. You get to rush into unpredictable situations. You get to bounce off things."

I thought Sweetie would be morose after failing the FAA flight examiner's test, but clearly she wasn't.

"Why are you so happy?" I asked.

"I just got word from my attorney. I won my lawsuit against Linden Lab."

"The lawsuit about the UUID?" I asked. Sweetie had sued the Lindens because her universally unique identifier was comprised of letters and numbers-- just like everyone else's. "How unique is that?" was her primary argument for financial compensation.

"Not that one," she said.

"The lawsuit about your avatar distorting when it goes above one million meters?" I asked.

"No, no," she said. "The lawsuit about my inventory disaster."

In October 2012 one of Sweetie's exploding lipsticks detonated in her Objects folder. Although she had buried it 69 layers deep in nested folders, they hadn't held and the damage had been extensive. She argued that if she had only been able to bury it 100 folders deep, they would have held.

"As I know from my experiments," she said, "nested folders begin to go wonky at level 20 and are completely out of control at level 70."

That's one folder inside another inside another inside another almost ad infinitum, folks. Sweetie's experiments are extreme.

"My attorney convinced the jury I needed those 100 levels to contain those lipsticks," she said. "Seventy just wasn't enough. The folders have insufficient tensile strength."

"Who is your lawyer, anyway?" I asked.

"Judge Camper," she said. "He's no longer on the bench."

"That's probably a good thing," I said. "What's the settlement?"

"My weekly stipend is doubled," she said, "and I get lifetime free membership in Second Life. "From now on I get $1000L a week for life."

Sweetie came to Second Life just before I did, when the weekly stipends was $500L. I just missed the deadline. My stipend is $400L. For years now stipends have been $300, but in our case age has privileges.

"Wow!" I said. "A thousand Lindens a week! You can buy a sim."

"We already have a sim," she said.

"Oh, yeah," I said. "I forgot."

"Now I have financial independence," Sweetie said. "I'm out of the spy business forever."

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Je M'Appelle Alphonse

My name is Alphonse. I was a lowly maintenance robot in the bowels of the robot sanatorium until Cheyenne and Sweetie repurposed me. Now my life is far worse.

How is it worse? Have you ever been tethered to a brass pole?

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Sweetie's Rez Day Party Disrupted by Linden Bear Collective

Sweetie's 7th Rez Day celebration was going without a hitch-- until the Linden Bear Collective showed up.

It had to do with my present to Sweetie, and I take full responsibility.

You see, when I jumped to Marianne McCann's history build to take the photos I forgot to get earlier, I noticed a region named SL10B Bear Island on the map. I jumped there and found a sim filled with Linden Bears-- perhaps 150 of them.

For those who might not know, every Linden has one or more bears named after him or her-- and so do the moles, those hard workers who create in-world content for the Linden builds (only theirs are moles). Some bears are made specially for specific in-world events. The bears are distributed at Linden-sponsored events, and most Lindens will send you one if you IM and ask.

Many Lindens are no longer in world, and so aren't around to give away their bears. Their bears, and bears from past events, are highly-sought-after and generally unavailable-- but here, at SL10B Bear Island, were many, many Linden bears, all free for the taking.

I spent an hour or so grabbing bears. Since about half were transferrable, I grabbed two each of them, one for myself, and one for Sweetie. Back on Whimsy I spent the better part of another hour packing bears into a gift box for Sweetie. At last night's celebration I gave her the box.

Sweetie was delighted. Here were bears to drop from great heights, shoot out of cannons, attempt to tweak. She rezzed a dozen or so in gleeful anticipation-- but the bears had a mind of their own.

Well, no, they didn't. What they had was me, using my Mystiool's mimic function to make it appear they were hatching some sort of plot over on their corner of the platform.

Linden Bears Collective: Hey, you guys!

Fnordian eyes the Linden Bears warily.

Sparrow: OMG! They talk?

Linden Bears Collective: We're feeling lonesome over here.

Linden Bears Collective: We want to dance, too!

Sweetie: They are a collective, not a hive mind, right?

Sweetie backs away.

Linden Bears Collective: Dance with us!

Sparrow: Borg Bears!

Fnordian: Yep. At least that's the buzz on the streets.

Sweetie: Maybe I'll have to keep them in separate folders in my inventory.

Linden Bears Collective: Resistance is futile!

Sparrow: See!!!!

Serenek: Heaven forbid they should fornicate and reproduce in your inventory, Sweetie.

Linden Bears Collective: We are only waiting for the great Torley to come and lead us.

Sweetie faints.

Sweetie: /dead

Sparrow: World War B

Sweetie *Dies*

Cheyenne Palisades: Sweetie's dead! I get her shoes!

Sweetie: Not my Grim Brothers heels!

Sweetie: I must revive...

Ingenue: You thought the robot revolt was bad...LL bears...a whole new problem!