Thursday, May 28, 2020


Here I am on Whimsy, Wearing Kunglers' (not Kungler's) Halime Necklace

I have quite a few outfits from a store called Kungler's. I did a search and jumped there-- I thought.

Wait a minute! Kungler's is-- or at least was-- a clothing store. Now it seemed to sell only jewelry. And nice jewelry, at that. I bought a couple of pieces.

Back at home, I realized the names of the stores were subtly different: Kungler's (clothing) vs Kunglers (jewelry) I inspected an old Kungler's outfit and then a necklace. Onyx Leshelle sold the Kungler's clothing. If that name is familiar, it's because Onyx is the main force behind Maitreya.

The Kunglers (no apostrophe) line of jewelry is made by AvaGardner Kungler. Different person. Mystery solved.

My new jewelry makes use of materials and looks great.

The store looks great, too.You can find it here.

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

The House at the Old Firestorm Gateway

I'm glad I went back to the old build of Firestorm Social Island. Why? Because I not only took lots of great photos to share, I snagged the creator and name of the big blue house.

It's the Martinica, from Bahia Tiki. The FS folks made some modifications, taking out the front and rear doors and partitions between the rooms, adding a rear entry, and removing the fireplace and chimney, but otherwise it's the same house. It sells for $2450L.

Sweetie likes it, and so do I, and there's a chance we'll buy it for our own use. I'm unsure whether it will go on the ground or in the sky; if the latter, we'll need to find a nice  tropical landscape upon which to place it.

Here (below the fold) are a few photos of the house as it will look when purchased. Click on the images to view them in all their glory.

Working as a Volunteer for Firestorm: V. Last of the Photos of the Old FS Gateway

There are the last of my photos of the old Firestorm Social Island. Feel free to download and share them. Click on them for the best view.

Working as a Volunteer for Firestorm: IV. Still More Photos of the Old FS Gateway

Working as a Volunteer for Firestorm: III. More Photos of the Old FS Gateway


Working as a Volunteer for Firestorm: II. Redesign of the Gateway

Sitting in a Waterfall at the Original Firestorm Social Island

Gown by Ala Folie. Hair by Mystikal Cookie. Bracelets and Necklace by Me.

As it happened, I came on board the Firestorm team at a time of change. Less than a month after I became a volunteer, the team did a redesign of the Social Island. Little was left untouched.

We volunteers were encouraged to visit and comment upon the new design, and many of us did. It was more open than the original and featured an Experience gateway that shunts avatars to the different Firestorm regions. Some of the same content was present, but some, including the main house, were gone.Some of us liked it, some of us didn't.

The new region went live four or five days ago, and a lot of the regular visitors were shocked. I could understand. the region had been stable for years. The Gateway was the first experience or a very early experience for many of them, and some had set it for their home when new. It was familiar and safe, and suddenly, now, it was different.

I tried the old landmark today, and there was the old familiar gateway. I looked around one last time and teleported to the new gateway. I encountered some friends there; they were wanting to say goodbye to the old place. I told them I had been there, but believed that was because of my volunteer tag. I gave my friend Mimi the old landmark, and she was back in a minute or so, having been teleported to the new region within seconds of entering the old one.

The best I could do was promise those present I would go back and take photos and post them in my blog. That made people happy as one reason for their wanting to revisit was because they had never managed to take pictures.

I hope the 50+ photos that follow in this and upcoming posts will help to preserve the memory of the old place. The first twelve are below the line. Click the images to zoom them.

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Working as a Volunteer for Firestorm: I. How It Happened

The Seven Firestorm Regions

The Firestorm viewer is insanely popular in Second Life. It offers rock stable performance and a host of handy features missing from Linden Lab's official Second Life viewer. I and most of my friends use Firestorm.

The Firestorm team operates a block of island regions. The team holds its meetings there, but the purpose of the grids is to provide welcoming space for new residents. Volunteers greet new folks by name, answer questions, provide suggestions, and direct them to locations on and off the Firestorm islands. The intent is to encourage retention-- to provide a service that results in a larger percentage of new folks remaining in Second Life.

I found the old welcome areas like Olive, Plum, Hanja, Murray, and Governor Linden's mansion anything but welcoming. Older residents hung out there to socialize, and many came just to rag on or misdirect new folks. Some older residence, including myself, would visit to assist the new people, but we were distinctly in the minority.

A while back---I'm not sure just when, but certainly earlier than 2016, Linden Lab began cooperative ventures with Second Life organizations to shunt new accounts to them. Areas like New London and the Firestorm appeared, with content designed for new folks-- and the Lindens send new accounts to them upon their exit from Orientation Island.

I'm not sure if the Lindens provided regions for free or at reduced cost to these new ventures, but I suspect so and certainly hope so. Firestorm's seven regions at today's tier would cost about $2500 USD just for tier. That's a considerable expense! Bravo to Linden Lab if they're giving the welcome areas a financial break!

The Original Firestorm Social Island From the Air

When, several months ago, I began spending more time in world, I took myself to some of the old welcome areas, and then to New London, and, finally, to Firestorm Social Island. After my absence many of my friends were gone. I had lost touch with many of those who remained. Even before my furlough from Second Life I had been spending almost all my time at Whimsy, building, scripting, tweaking. It was time to get out.

Purchase of my Maitreya Lara body provided some impetus for getting away from Whimsy. One reason for my low level of activity had to do with the Lindens breaking all my old school shoes. I was ambivalent about mesh bodies until Bakes on Mesh was announced. That proved a deal maker for me. Suddenly I was back in world and focused, for the first time in a long while, on something other than Whimsy.

It helped that Whimsy had been rolling along for some years with hardly a hiccup. It still looked and ran great, and every script I wrote back in 2009 was still running merrily along, doing whatever silly or absurd things I had designed it to do. So Whimsy would be fine while I looked into some avatar modification.

I liked Firestorm Social Island from the get-go. It was attractive, and there was a good mix of new and old folks. Best of all, no one hassled the newbies. When volunteers were absent, and sometimes when they were present, non-helpers, including myself, would chip in to assist.

Two important things happened from my visits. Well, make that three. First, I was having a good time. Second, I was making friends with some of the regulars. And three, Dorrie Bellman suggested I file an application to become an assistant. Dorrie is HR Manager for the Firestorm Gateway.

I thought about Dorrie's suggestion for a few days, and then filled out the form. After filling out a second form. two meetings with Dorrie in voice, and a two-hour group meeting to learn about procedures and tools, I became an assistant. A few weeks later I became a full-fledged assistant.

Helping others comes natural for me. That's what I did in real life, after all. I'm quite good at not letting others get me riled, which is handy when dealing with griefers or people who are just unpleasant, I'm good at banter, and I type 100 words per minute. Best of all, I know, from my long tenure in Second Life, the answer to many questions that routinely pop up, and when I don't know something, I generally know what to do to figure it out.

My time commitment is a very reasonable two hours a week. I wear the Firestorm Helper tag when going to the regions, check in via group chat when I arrive, and check out when I leave. I don't yet have the ability to rez objects or the HUD that will give me the ability to relocate people who refuse to follow Firestorm's fairly liberal rules. but that will happen in time.

Even a two hour weekly commitment is significant in Second Life, but I doubt it will be a problem for me. I can come and go as I please, just so long as I exceed two hours. That suits me just fine. I'm enjoying myself.

Next: II. Redesign of the Gateway

Map Manipulation

Quite a few regions in the older areas of the mainland display text or images on the world map. I'm not certain just how that happens.

Here's a snapshot of the map around Natoma, home of the ancient and well-known and awesome Ivory Tower of Prims. Check out the Mad Magazine Spy v. Spy cartoon on Natoma itself!

When Whimsy was new I put various textures on 256 x 256 meter prims and set them at various heights. I would wait a couple of days, and then pull up the map. None ever affected the map.

I'm not sure if there's a trick involved or whether, perhaps, the ability to manipulate the map in this way has been removed by the Lindens. I've no idea who I could talk to who would be able to tell me.

I do know I'm going to Natoma later today. I'll fly up to 4100 meters and fall all the way to the ground with mouselook on and invisibles highlighted. Perhaps before I go splat at 20 meters I will have solved the mystery.

Looking for a B

Last night Sweetie and I were chasing Stay at Home Club freebies (more about Stay at Home Club in my next post!).

One store had the row of magic chairs pictured above. When we walked past, two were set to S, for Sweetie. I'm unsure, what with her spy connections and all, whether Sweetie arranged it beforehand or whether the shop owner was just trying to bribe her. I don't know; maybe both. She promptly sat in them and got free outfits. One of the chairs she sat in shuffled and came up with C, and I sat in the chair and got a free outfit.

After a while another C came up and I got my second outfit. The chair then shuffled up a question mark, which means anyone can sit and win-- so I sat and got a third outfit.

The woman to my left had a first name that started with B. She was standing in the same spot when we arrived, and was still there when we left the store--and we were there for a while. I kept checking the chairs, and not a single B showed up. I hope she eventually got an outfit.

For those who might not have encountered magic chairs, they randomly generate letters or numbers and announce them in chat and in text on the chair. If the first letter of your first name (or, for people born after 2010, only name), matches, you can sit in the chair and get a price.

I wonder if the B woman understood the rules. I feel a little bad about sitting in the chair with the question mark, but I'm not losing sleep over it.

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Green Screen

Over at the Firestorm regions, a cute little teddy named Vin is taking photos of the many assistants who help newcomers.

While Vin was taking my photo in front of this green screen, I of course took a few photos myself.

Monday, May 11, 2020

Attack Monkey

The other day, as I was writing a post about wildlife, it occurred to me that other than humans, there are no primates on either Whimsy or Kaboom.

I looked in my inventory for the coconut-throwing monkeys Dodgeguy Woodward gave me back in 2007, but they didn't show up. They would be very old school on the land now, so I went shopping at the SL Marketplace. I found something called Attack Monkey and bought it for 50 or so Lindens.

I'm not sure of the species, but the attack monkey looks like the New World capuchins, the proverbial organ grinder monkeys. Capuchins are seen frequently in television and in movies.

But what made it an "attack" monkey? It just sat there, unmoving. It didn't seem to be animated in any way.

Until, that is, I noticed an invisible prim that was shaped like a rug attached to it. Having a feeling, I walked toward the monkey. Suddenly it was screeching and bouncing all around me.

It was an attack monkey indeed!

See if you can locate it on Whimsy Kaboom!

Sunday, May 10, 2020

Kaboom! Fireworks Show Over Whimsy Kaboom

Yesterday we had a fireworks show on Whimsy. Like the last show, some years ago, we built a platform on the western shore of Whimsy and set off fireworks over the ocean, on Whimsy Kaboom. The show went off without a hitch, and the fireworks were gorgeous. Waves of light reflected from the ground and onlooking avatars as shells exploded, and the sounds of the rockets and explosions seemed to come from everywhere.

Look for more shows on Whimsy. I post them in Events and send messages to the Whimsy Events group, which is free to join.

Click the Images to View Them Full-Size

Wednesday, May 6, 2020

Whimsy Wildlife: Part I. Kaboom

When I came to Second Life animals were rudimentary. Made of prims, they were often blocky and usually stationary. Most animals that moved made slow circles around a central point. Circling birds, y'all. Circling fish.

SL's animals continue to evolve (Darwin would be proud). They became sculpts, and now most are mesh. A few are animesh. Scripts, and as a result, behavior, are far more complex and less predicable.

Whimsy still features a few circling birds and fish, just for old time's sake, but it's chock-full of complex animal life in the air, on the land, and under the sea. The photo above shows the underside of Kaikou Splash's great whale shark as it hovers above an underwater research station on Kaboom.

Kaboom has a pod of humpbacks--maybe eight by now, and it's fascinating to watch and listen to their vocalizations. They, too, were made by Kaikou Splash--as was Kaboom's rideable giant skate.

I like to watch the whales from the Kaboom's sea deck and below the sea, but they're particularly striking from above. This shot features three whales, a squid, an octopus, an assortment of unidentifiable wildlife, and, center right, just past the humpback, me. I didn't back far enough out of the shot. I love to pan across the region, looking straight down, and one of these days I'm going to make a video showing that.