Friday, December 31, 2010

A Toast to Absent Second Life Friends

A toast "to absent friends" is always (to me) the most poignant part of New Year's Eve. The feeling that somebody is missing and missed and that your world is lessened by their loss deserves acknowledgement and I think it's worth the time to honour the gift their friendship brought you.

We lose friends in Second Life all too often as a result of death and we mourn and vent when that occurs. We also see friends drift away because we've grown apart but they still exist inworld and at least we know they're around even if not part of our "lives" any more. Then there are the friends who leave Second Life voluntarily and just disappear from our radar. I know people who have left but stay in touch through Plurk or Skype or email etc. The ones that just seem to vanish are the ones I include in this toast. The people I care for who left me behind when they found new adventures to pursue.

The photo above is old and represents one of my favourite memories of Second Life. Two of those individuals wandered away and I think about them often - I hope whatever they're doing they are happy and loved and I'm very very grateful they were part of my life as long as they were.

I went through a lot of youtube videos trying to decide on something appropriate for this post. I wound up getting sadder and more maudlin the more I searched and finally decided that it would be better to honour their temporary presence in my life than mourn their loss (and far less emo).

So for Wrath, Dodgy, Pieter, Trayz, Linux, Weeger and Mihai - a toast to you and a thank you for your friendship and all the gifts your friendships gave me. I hope someday our paths cross once again.


Friday, December 24, 2010

A Holiday Thank You to My Two Readers :)

I love this time of year. It's a time to celebrate friends and family and remember to tell people how much we care.

In the process of shopping and cooking and fussing and stressing I don't want my two readers to think I've forgotten them. :)

For you, for being patient with my rambling and occasionally allowing me to vent, I'd like to share one of my favourite pieces by one of my favourite artists. Song of the Earth seems to apply to Second Life as well as the physical one. With love.

Update: I had to add this gift from Chantal Harvey and friends!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

SL Blog Photos at "Show Me Yours"

Lyrilen Moonshadow is the curator of an inworld photography gallery and has a new show starting today called Show Me Your - Blog. Bloggers were invited to choose their "best" blog photo of the year and Lyrilen has showcased them in two wings of the gallery.

You'll see some great images and find some new blogs to read. A complete list of the bloggers in the show can be found in this post by Tessira Soderstam and Shadowed. And yes I'm flattered to have been invited to participate. :)

Monday, December 20, 2010

It Can Get Lonely Out in the Cold

This is the time of year people remember to donate to good causes, add cans to the FoodBank hampers or give blankets to the homeless even if they're usually too busy to remember. The "season" has a way of reminding us about those who do with less.

Allow me to remind you of a segment of society that often gets overlooked - the elderly. The ones who "do for themselves" and can easily pass through our days unnoticed. My neighbours and I have a Watch Network set up which makes sure that the elderly and infirm in our area are contacted at least once a day and visited multiple times each week. It doesn't take much effort and it makes the ones we visit feel less "alone". This year we're making potluck Christmas Eve dinners and taking them to a few houses and apartments where we know the residents don't have family or friends to acknowledge them.

Our Watch Network operates year round and it makes us feel good - even the kids get involved. So I'm suggesting to you that if you can and you have elderly neighbours - check in on them. I think you'll both be glad you did. :)

This post was inspired by the following story in a local paper. I was upset to think that nobody in that apartment building had thought to knock on this man's door and just make sure everything was OK but I suspect they all just got busy and assumed that somebody else was doing it.

A pair of Victoria police officers played Good Samaritans to a 95-year-old man who was discovered living alone in an apartment without heat or lighting, despite having thousands of dollars in uncashed pension cheques.

Constables Jan Malinosky and Rebecca Pollock responded to a 911 call from a “confused elderly male” in the Hillside Shopping Centre area on Thursday afternoon. The officers found the man in good condition, but with no heat or lighting in his apartment.

The officers — Pollock is just three weeks out of training, while Malinosky has about 10 years on the job — checked with B.C. Hydro, and discovered the man was behind on his payments.

Yet a quick look around his apartment revealed that he had a number of uncashed pension cheques “in the area of thousands of dollars,” said Staff Sgt. Kerry Panton, who supervises the officers’ shift.

The officers got the man to write out a cheque to B.C. Hydro, deposited his pension money in the bank for him, paid his bill and arranged for a victims services worker to sit with him until an emergency crew restored the power.

The following night, the officers went back to check on the man, and took him some groceries.

“He was cosy,” Panton said.

Meanwhile, police alerted agencies to make sure someone checks on the man and determines if it is safe for him to be living alone, and to ensure he receives proper care.

Panton praised his officers’ compassionate and “outstanding” work on the file.

“It’s what we often do — the side that people don’t see,” he said.

Police hope to find the man’s family. But if they are unsuccessful, he will not be forgotten over the holiday, Panton said. “If he’s alone on Christmas night, A Watch is working again, so we’ll make sure he’s got Christmas dinner.”

© Copyright (c) The Victoria Times Colonist

Saturday, December 18, 2010

A Christmas Present for PS22

The other night the PS22 Chorus was invited to perform live at the next Academy Awards ceremony. They were a little excited. :)

If you're not familiar with these kids (and even if you are) watch the video gift from them to all of us. And because I feel like it I'm including a video of theirs I posted before.

Monday, December 13, 2010

The Tinies Spread Second Life Cheer

I took a break from my ice cave (more about that at a later time) to go to the Metanomics taping today. It was a good show and you should check it out when you have time.

The highlight for me though happened before the show started. A Choir of Tinies from Raglan Shire serenaded us with carols and it was a fabulous experience. This was my first opportunity to hear them and I was totally smitten. The Choir visits sites all over the grid at this time of year to share their songs and make people smile - if you get a chance to hear them please take it. You won't be sorry! Their special lyrics and their River Dance will brighten your life. :)

I took a crappy photo and didn't manage to write down all of their names and I apologize for both failures. But I did find this video from last year which will give you just a taste of their magic.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Mystery Beast Stalking Second Life Residents!

It began as a relatively ordinary day in Second Life. I thought I'd check out Winterfest and headed to watch the SnowMan Building Contest (actually wound up participating and it was fun). I enjoyed that so much I decided to go try the Hedge Maze (see the list of events/landmarks and schedule at the Winterfest Site). It's a pretty group of sims so I started to walk because I do appreciate a nice landscape.

Out of the corner of my eye I thought I saw something move. Luckily I had my camera out because s/he headed into the wilderness at a high speed - this is the only shot I got. You can just make out the feet under the trees.

You're probably thinking what I was at first - it was an avatar or one of those animated animals. Except as I followed it I found these:

I don't know any avatars or animated animals that can produce footprints in the snow. I should have put something there to indicate the size but I was pretty rattled. Honestly, if I lay down next to them they would be longer than the distance from my knee to my foot. They were huge!

I hid out in the hedge maze for a while (lots of freebies in there as well as the prizes) until my heart rate returned to normal and I decided that both of my readers would expect me to investigate a little deeper into this mystery. The safety of all the residents could be at risk!

I thought about it logically and reasoned that I should seek out a combination of winter and wilderness to find a natural habitat for whatever it was - this would be my best shot at tracking it down. That was my plan but it took me a while to actually move into the wilderness - I didn't say I was brave as well as foolhardy. :)

My first attempt to track down the mystery beast took me to Languedoc Coeur which was very nice but the guilt got to me. I don't think sitting all comfy in the back of a horse drawn sleigh is going to go far in solving the mystery.

I had better luck when I went to the Depaul University, College of Computing and Digital Media. In addition to the cool village they've built there's a forested area which is accessible but still feels remote. Again I glimpsed something moving but when I turned my head it had gone.

I won't bore you with the tedium of all of my failures in this quest. I will say that I followed more prints in the snow until I wound up in Valmorel. The tracks lead off in the direction of those distant mountains. (sigh)

I'll report back.........................when I can.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Risk City in Second Life

I've spent the past two days pondering weighty philosophical matters. Gack! I have to check with the prosecutor but I suspect a new session of Rough Justice will be forthcoming.

To clear my head and get back to one of my favourite things about Second Life I went to visit Risk City.

This build by SuzeLaRousse Milo should appeal to the art lovers, explorers, photographers and adventurers amongst us. It's fabulous!

I know there's a Risk City store and she does sell lots of different things on XStreet but I couldn't tear myself away from the landscape.

I met quite a few residents while I wandered around the place and every one of them said it was a build they return to over and over. If you haven't visited yet you really should drop by. :)

Friday, December 3, 2010

Arts & Crafts in Second Life

I took time this morning to visit the Frank Lloyd Wright Virtual Museum on Usonia before it closes. I won't add too much to the existing blogage about the closure except to say I'm disappointed and hope saner minds reconsider.

I appreciate FLW's work but have always been drawn to the Arts & Crafts elements in his designs more than the overall structures (probably because I am a sucker for the mathematical precision of Art Deco). He obviously took the A&C movement only as a starting point for his Prairie School but the details he utilized (such as those in the Hollyhock House) are what appeal to me.

I love the fact that the ability to create in Second Life gives us all the opportunity to learn and watch as talented people not only replicate fabulous places and objects from the physical world but then also use the available tools to rethink design. In the context of this architectural musing I thought I'd introduce you to Troy Vogel's Mission Home Store. Troy has taken the spirit of the Arts & Crafts movement and created furniture and buildings which are true to the aesthetic but have a much more modern ethos.

If you have a weakness for detail you'll have to give yourself lots of time to explore the store. Each piece is exquisite and obviously required a lot of time and attention to complete.

I first saw these light standards at a conference earlier this year and fell in love. The lines are beautiful and the combination of design and functionality is very sexy.

I'm also in love with the houses he has created. I'm obviously a detail freak and it's a delight to find a creator who not only shares that virtue (of course it's a virtue!) but can give me something that satisfies that need for me. The lines and shapes and colour palette are all what I wish I could accomplish.

I have a lot more photos of Troy's work but I think you really need to go see it for yourself. As you wander around the sim keep your eye out for T3di though. If you know Troy you've probably met T3di - we've not given up on him but he has yet to successfully complete rehab. Someday this young man will be a valuable member of society and a credit to bears everywhere. In the meantime - don't lend him any money!