Thursday, January 28, 2010

BladeRunner City in Second Life

OK so yes I'm feeling lousy today and certainly not productive. I decided to go exploring and accepted an invitation (a day late) from the Koinup group to visit an art installation in BladeRunner City. Sometimes you have to be reminded how glorious it can be inworld...if you're having that kind of day you really need to visit this two sim build.

From the Welcome notecard:

BLADERUNNER CITY 1 & 2 (a work in progress ) : conceived by BladeRunnerSPN1977 Sands and Blackmamba Sands, an attempt to build a 3D graphic representation of the passing from civilization state 0 to civilization state 1, on the virtual platform Second Life.

Incorporating some of the best alien-tech / sci-fi / cyberpunk / dystopian / post apoc style builds by SL's best and most innovative content creators.

Viewed as a tryptich suspended in space, and spread across two sims, The OffWorld Colonies comprise three levels intended to represent 3 stages in the Time Continuum: yesterday, tomorrow and the future.

Based on the underlying concepts and ideas raised in the movie "Blade Runner", and seeking to focus on the burning questions : who are we - why are we here - where are we going ?

I was overwhelmed by the amount of detail and everywhere I looked I found something unexpected and fabulous. There is art exhibited in a number of locations, like this piece by BlackMamba Sands.

This installation of works by Kirby Sattler is intriguing not only because of his talent but also the juxtaposition of his vision with the exhibit space.

In addition to the exhibits, art is displayed in corridors and on the walls next to multi-media presentations.

There is also music! BlackMamba Sands is a talented musician and you can sample and buy her music from studios on both sims.

But most importantly (to me) there is this amazing build. The two sims make a cohesive unit but are very different. BladeRunnerCity 2 is a real challenge to my height phobia - but I survived. I'm the small black dot on the transparent orange walkway in this photo.

I know this is a pic heavy post - but I've tried to restrain myself. There is just so much to see! I've loaded most of the photos I took to Koinup if you'd like more. :)

Remember that command station I was controlling at the start? We're heading to the future.

One word of caution - the sim boundary is pretty treacherous. The good news is that you land somewhere interesting. :)

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Jordie .... March 25, 1993 - January 27, 2010

She almost made it to her 17th birthday.

Somewhere she's young again and chasing moths.

Her sister and I (and even the two dogs) are going to miss her very very much.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Connecting Real Life and Second Life - a Personal Opinion

There has been more than the usual amount of discussion lately about having a formal and public connection between your first life and Second Life identities (and I'm differentiating here between this topic and the more general ones concerning internet privacy). For what it's worth, allow me to express my own opinion.

First I'll start by revealing some things about my typist you wouldn't know. This will demonstrate my bias and put the rest of my comments in context.

If you googled my real life name right now you would get many results....but not one of them would be about me. I don't have a common name but there are some people in the world who share the same combination of syllables and you will get results for them. But not me.

I'm not proactively hiding from the law or actively "hiding" at all. I just don't think my life is anybody else's business. I share what I want with those I choose. But I don't think somebody I knew (and probably disliked) in high school has any right to know anything about me or mine just because they can type a query into a search engine.

I don't belong to FaceBook, MySpace, Twitter or any other web based billboard advertising the thoughts and activities of peoples' lives (intimate or otherwise). In fact, as far as the general internet is concerned, I don't exist. Please understand, it's not just about the internet. I have no desire to be on television, the idea of joining a reality or talk show gives me the creeps. Somebody else can have my 15 minutes of fame thank you very much.

Having said all that, you can guess that I'm not in favour of connecting my real life identity publicly with my Second Life persona. :) I don't like the terms augmentationist and immersionist, they are too restrictive and don't include all the grey areas most of us inhabit. I behave as the same person in both lives. I don't do "role play" in Second Life but I do operate as an Avatar with a name that's not on my real life birth certificate.

Some people are adamantly opposed to the idea of connecting the two lives because they don't want to advertise their activities in Second Life - I'm reasonably certain that there's a boss somewhere who doesn't know his male Account Executive spends a lot of downtime as a buxom kajira in Gor. Others are rightfully concerned about the increased potential for real life stalking and violence. Me, I'm just a private person.

Those in favour of connecting the two have a least two main arguments (if I'm following the discussion correctly).

  1. For business purposes, clients will feel more comfortable dealing with a real life persona/business. You must be willing to provide this information to realize the level of trust necessary to be successful. I am perfectly willing to share my real life information, when it is appropriate, with clients and have done so. I don't need to share it with the entire community to achieve the same results. In addition, I don't believe that business is the primary occupation of the majority of Second Life residents. So doing anything for "business" reasons and applying that to everybody would seem ludicrous.

  2. Second Life needs to be able to use "real names" to achieve the growth it needs for long term success. Proponents point to applications such as Face Book and social networking in general to highlight this argument. They also emphasize that the age group they're targeting (younger yet still legal) expects to be able to bring their real life identities into this world. Forgetting for a moment the number of "younger" people using non real-life identities in other virtual worlds and games.....they are holding up a target audience which appears to be largely composed of individuals who think posting pictures of themselves drunk and naked on the internet will somehow help them when it comes time to get a job. This is not an approach destined to win me over.

I'm sure I've missed some salient features of the arguments both for and against this issue. This is a short blog post and an overly simplistic analysis, not an exhaustive Doctoral thesis. However, nothing I've read or heard convinces me that my real life is the business of the world in general - physical or virtual. If Second Life makes the connection voluntary (which it already is in the First Life tab I guess) then those who want to use it will. If it becomes a social stigma for not using that function then I'm prepared to be stigmatized.

just saying ..............

A Burns Day Toast to the SL Laddies

It's Robbie Burns Day!!! In honour of the great poet/song writer there will be countless Burns Suppers around the world in celebration. SecondLife is no exception - I know of at least 3 private Burns Suppers scheduled inworld.

The running order for a Burns Supper includes a "Toast to the Lassies" delivered by a man representing all those of his gender at the event.

This is supposed to be a humorous take on the role of women and often descends into chauvinistic digs at the terrible females who make life so difficult for long suffering males. The men around the table enjoy this part of the evening a great deal - although they might attempt to disguise their glee.

The women don't necessarily enjoy it quite as much. However, they do get an opportunity for revenge.

A "Reply" follows the gentleman's words which is often known as the "Toast to the Laddies". In honour of this occasion, I have updated a Toast I wrote a long time ago to make it more appropriate for the realities of Second Life. You should recognize it as a mangled version of "To a Mouse".

Wee, sleekit, cowran, tim'rous beastie,
O, what a panic's in thy breastie!
Thou need na start to blush sae hasty,
All innocent and pure!
I ken most men hae several frailties
Which freenis helps to cure!

I'm truly sorry our dominion,
Dost not match thy own opinion,
Which hae us good for naught but minion.
And that we are such a bore.
If you need to be a macho man,
You could always visit Gor.

Just understand the slavish damsel,
you can buy in role-play brothels,
Will not be a delicate morsel
admiring your physique.
But instead will be a grunting, hairy
ape-like manly freak.

Say that thou art blest, to have us here,
To treat you as sincere,
A friend without the fear,
of surprises undeserved.
We hold your reputation dear,
and your virtue is preserved!

But little man, please understand
You must not make demands,
of us based on your bloated glands.
(If that's the plan you've hatched.)
For you will find we'll take a stand
and your manhood be detached!


Note: The photos were taken at a beautifully arranged Burns Supper set out in a Scottish Castle on The Magic World of Conjunctio.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Tunes in SL goes to Twitter!

Crap Mariner is making some big changes to Tunes in SL - the most obvious will be the end of the storefront and the kiosks in various locations as well as the subscribomatic (sp? oh well, you know what I mean). Instead you can follow all the news about live music in Second Life on Twitter. You know you want to! :)

Note that the website is being enhanced all the time - visit Tunes in SL!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Haiti - A gentle reminder

The national flag of Haiti flies over my tower for the time being...if you want one Cris is giving them away. Flying this flag doesn't actually help anybody of course, it just means I'm thinking of them.

I've read in various blogs and tweets and news items that some feel that the extreme poverty in Haiti somehow means they don't deserve help. Or the fact that they speak french. Or that somehow the usual "victims are to blame" ethos should reign supreme.

/me sighs

If you aren't taking the low road on this and you are in a position to donate even a small amount to the relief efforts I would encourage you to do so. Events are being organized inworld and there are a variety of avenues in Real Life to contribute. I realize that not everybody keeps extra Lindens in their Avatar's account so, for the Canadians amongst you, I thought I would provide a couple of useful links.

Even if you are not in a position to contribute funds I would encourage you to volunteer with one of the events being held inworld. At the very least I would encourage you to ignore the ugly comments and individuals and hope the day never comes that you need their help.

just saying............

Thursday, January 14, 2010

It might be SLevolution!

Serendipity plays a large part in our SLives and this morning was a good example. I've been working hard and was not interested in building or fighting with software today so I thought I'd surf the blogs. I accidently hit the "next blog" button at the top of this page and wound up on a blog entitled [][]Trap[][]. The top post announced the release of a new skin called Chromatic...think of a tattoo that glows. :)

Now I'd been thinking about skins and so I thought I'd go look at something that seemed really interesting. I wound up on a sim called The Twilight - one of those neat builds you run into all over the grid and a lot more inviting than your usual mall. I found the Trap store and the skins and they looked really cool. Lots of choices (except for pale skin, the glow effect apparently doesn't look very good on them), this picture shows 1/3 of the female skins and there are male ones as well.

Around about this time my friend Ahuva dropped in to show me her new ensemble from Bare Rose (it's called Lady Salamander I think). It's a neat outfit - flames shoot out and a transparent heart rotates. It's her in other words. :)

We were both looking at the skins and I wasn't going to buy one (or two I guess, they come bundled in two's) because it's a little expensive for something I'm not going to wear every day. And then I thought - why not? Why not change my look? Honour is pretty boring and I really do like the skins. So I bought the Rose/Red pair.

I like this...and I don't have to change my hair. :)

Ahuva bought the gold/desert pair of skins and looks stunning!

Just to balance out her Bare Rose extravaganza I took a photo of me in one of my Rfyre outfits. :)

So there you have it - the new Honour. I'll always find a way to justify a purchase. :)

Ooops - Let this be a lesson........

I know we're all used to staring at the back of our heads. However, I think it's a good idea to look in the mirror before we leave home!

Monday, January 11, 2010

SL Griefer Drama Doll

I can announce the latest addition to the Drama Doll family - The Griefer Doll! Finally! I've been meaning to do one from the first but other stuff kept getting in my way and, since this is the number one doll in the suggestion box, I'm pleased he's finally done. Clown nose and all :)

I have others on the development platform, including the Land Baron and Baroness, but I have another project in the works so they may take a while. In the meantime enjoy the brat!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Unbending the Gender of a Doll Cozy

When I first designed the Doll Cozies I really liked the idea of a naked androgynous (or at least non gender specific) doll. After all, if it was good enough for OokPik it was good enough for the Cozies. Then this past month I created both a Santa Cozy and a New Year Cozy. It made sense to dress both of them - made them look more festive. It seemed like an innocuous enough thing to do....I certainly didn't expect it to create mayhem in the Cozy ranks!

When I arrived inworld yesterday I was greeted with a message from "The Doll Cozy Shop Steward". "The what?" I thought to myself. The message went on to say that the Cozies had had a meeting and demanded (wtf?) benefits equal to those handed out to Santa. Apparently the rest of the Doll Cozies felt humiliated being left naked in public whilst Santa and New Year got to strut around with suits on.

Now I don't actually believe there's a United Doll Cozies of Second Life organization. And I'm pretty sure they'd have trouble "walking" off the job. But I do believe they could mess with their scripts and since I find scripts problematic at the best of times I gave in and started making an outfit for the rest of the Cozies.

However, a generic suit of clothes was not good enough. (I really don't need this aggravation!) It turns out that the Doll Cozies have a strong sense of gender identification (I'm putting this down to hormones). Not only did I have to create clothes (and each Cozy insisted on its own outfit) but I had to create a male and female version for each type of Cozy.

You know the real reason they may have insisted on male and female versions of themselves is that there are now twice as many of them. However, if they think this will allow them to get away with making any more trouble they're in for a surprise. I have a few demands of my own now and if they don't live up to the terms of the bargaining agreement they'll get demoted to seagulls.

It took two long days of work but the Cozies (yes both the men and women) are now dressed and back at work. You're welcome to view the results of the uprising on Taylor Bay. I'm going to go have a rest and put this nightmare behind me.