Friday, February 28, 2014

An Old-Fashioned Guitar

Remember back in the day when one built with prims, meticulously cutting and twisting and sizing and torturing then throwing it all way and starting again because "it" wasn't just right? Kinda like when Robbie Dingo made this guitar for Suzanne Vega to play in Second Life nearly a decade ago.

Now try to remember waaaayyyy back to when you checked the Virtual Vagabond blog today (like all the cool kids do, mind you) and saw this free one prim mesh guitar from Ydea.

Makes you want to cry a bit, doesn't it?

Thursday, February 27, 2014

SLink News: Mesh Heads

There's some news from Slink (SLurl) the maker of my mesh hands and feet, my fantasy ears, and some of the hair styles I own ... Mesh Heads Are Coming!! Check out the video above.

So, I have questions ... Are these "fitted" mesh so I don't have the same head as everyone else? Will prim or mesh eyes be required? All my hair will have to be resized, right? What about fantasy ears?

I look forward to trying the demo. Siddean Munro is a fabulous creator so I have pretty high expectations. What do you think? I'd love to read your comments so feel free to post them.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Xandah's Skin

Been in a mood to treat my alts a bit lately so I finally took the plunge with Xandah and upgraded her from the (at one time) free Tuty's "Lou" Chocolate skin set to the base version of Tuty's Anchal Espresso skin. L$380 for one skin isn't bad. I could have sprung about L$1500 on a multi-pack (which is nearly L$3000 on the Marketplace for some reason) but with some makeup she'll have plenty of different looks.

Xandah used to get some rude comments about her dark skin from other Indian residents (FYI: If anyone asked I admitted to being a pasty-white Irish girl iRL). I learned after some research that lighter skins were much more in favor in India and people would actually go through expensive "lightening" procedures, much like an African-American I knew when I was still in high school (she had a condition that gave her whitish spots so she chose to lighten everywhere since it was easier than getting the splotches to match her darker areas). This is not why I upgraded the skin, though. I've always loved Tuty's Anchal skin and have long wanted to wear it. This is SL, after all. Why can't I do that?

Isla Okiddo

"After six months of analyzing, building and rebuilding I'm proud to present you something different," begins a note card and early access invitation from Liara "Kemicq" Okiddo to explain all the teasing she's done on the My SL feeds about her unique art project at Isla Okiddo (SLurl). A few months ago she had a sneak peek, of sorts, at a mini-build called the Scotland Airport. There I signed a guest book and won early access to the big build. About a week ago, after promising to not reveal details, I hung out on the island for a couple days snapping pictures using the default Windlight settings (with only very minor tweaks).

The arrival dock ... A warm, inviting space with a hint or two about what awaits visitors.
At a fork in the path, if you head left you'll go to the amazing art exhibition. If you head right there's a beach and a jungle past the amazing dome house
This is the bridge to the art and a great view of what is likely the most lush jungle in all Second Life. I could almost feel the humidity and hear the buzz of insects as I walked around.
I could live in this house ... and may have to annex this one as I'll probably never have enough land to compliment one of my own as well as Liara has with her very skillful landscaping.
Gong past the house you'll come upon a peaceful beach. So peaceful, in fact, I almost fell asleep here one afternoon.
A perfect balance of water, sand, rocks, and vegetation. I just can't praise the landscaping enough. How many times can I use the word lush?
Stop and listen ... look ... fully immerse yourself as you explore.
The landscape is truly magical ...
... the path to the exhibition space adds to the magic ...
... and the exhibition space is magic incarnate.
Everywhere you look you will encounter something unique and absorbing.
Every angle is a visual feast.
Just when you think you've overloaded, the intensity builds in the final chamber. Fortunately, the space embraces you with a soft balance that encourages you to explore.
Too many semesters of art classes in High School, endless trips over the years to galleries in cities large and towns small, and an embarrassingly tall stack of artsy coffee table books really didn't prepare me for the experience of Isla Okiddo. Whether you are a nature lover, an art connoisseur. or someone who appreciates a unique experience, I highly encourage you to visit (SLurl). If you have pictures of your visit that you'd like to share, please post the info in the comments.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Comfy Topless Tuesday

Happy Topless Tuesday! My brother bought a new, really comfy couch and I just had to try it out and share with you. Don't forget to check the Topless Tuesday in SL Flickr group for more pix.

Click to embiggen the picture or see it on Flickr.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Monday Meme: Books

Just as I was thinking of doing a bit of reading since my wife couldn't visit SL tonight when I noticed that Strawberry Singh posted her Monday Meme: Books. Here's what I dashed off 20 minutes before bed time ...

Meme instructions: Copy and paste the following questions and answers into your post, delete my answers and input your own. Don’t forget to leave a link to your post in the comments so we can all come and see. If you create an image for this meme, feel free to share it in the Blog Memes Flickr Group.

Are you a bookworm?
Definitions of "bookworm" will vary, but for the most part I would say that I am one. I can't think of too many times I've ever not had a book I'm reading within ten feet of me.

Which do you prefer: hardcover, paperback or electronic? 
Hardcover is an experience. The heft of the book, the quality of the paper, the smell of the binding. When I want to settle down in good light to read for an extended period of time, I pick a hardback. Our car has several paperbacks in the various seat and door pockets "just in case." Most of my reading is done on my iPod Touch. I can dim it enough that I can still read when I lay in bed at night awake for the first half-hour after getting my mom settled for bed. I listen for her as that's when she usually needs something after lights-out so I read.

Which book is your favorite? 
Yes. That one. I have no idea. They are all my friends.

Which children’s book is your favorite?
My brother has some old (old, old) books from the Alfred Hitchcock and the Three Investigators series from when he was in Sixth Grade that I really like. The famous director has been excised from the current editions and the series title shortened, but you can still find them around. They are very tame compared to contemporary books aimed at the same age-group, but fun to read nonetheless.

What’s the last book you’ve read?
Currently, I'm in the middle of several books. The last I finished was Isaac Asimov's Foundation's Edge. I'm almost done reading the whole series for the umpteenth time.

Name your top five favorite writers:
In no particular order ...

  • Isaac Asmiov
  • Greg Bear
  • Kim Harrison
  • J.K. Rowling
  • Arthur C. Clark

Name a book that had a strong impact on you:
The Hunt for Red October, by Tom Clancy. My father read it in almost one sitting, sweating and having trouble breathing and wishing he still smoked. For weeks he had trouble sleeping and had to re-read it a few times. I found out later that he was reliving parts of his Navy career through this story. When I was old enough to read it and really get it, my brother showed me parts of Dad's service record and a "tell-all" book about the American submarine service that filled in many of the redactions of the former. Now when I re-read Red October, I am closer to my father.

Favorite and least favorite book genres?
As you can probably guess from some responses above, I'm a fan of the Fantasy/Sci-Fi genre, leaning more toward the harder Sci-Fi (say, Ben Bova v. Usula K. Le Guin). Sure, it is all just fiction, but the speculative part is a hook. I also enjoy Biographies and some Mysteries. Can't say I enjoy Romance novels at all. Even the covers turn me off.

Favorite and least favorite book-to-movie adaptions?
Favorite? I always nitpick adaptations, but most Sherlock Holmes movies are faithful as are many of the Harry Potter stories. Least favorite? Any of the Percy Jackson books/movies. Holy crap Hollywood screwed the pooch on those. Not that the books were that good to start with, but the movies seem to be based on the book covers and liner notes.

Have you ever bought a book based on the cover alone?
No, I can't say I have. Sorry.

Where do you usually buy your books?
Lately, since I almost never get out of the house, I rely on Amazon for e-books and treeware.

Do you go to the library? 
If you mean the dozen or so boxes of books in the attic, the basement, the closet ... yes. As I almost never get out of the house, the really nice library down the street might as well be in another state.

How many books do you own?
As a family, we own hundreds and hundreds (thousands?), probably. Never counted them. My father divested himself of about half his collection before I was born but we still have boxes of his books I've never opened.

If you were to write a book about Second Life, which topic would you focus on?
No friggin' idea, really. There are so many activities, stories, and people. I'd have to think about it.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Our World v. Blocksworld

At Home Depot (a massive, warehouse-like construction supplies and equipment store in the United States) today my iPad was pretty helpful. I was able to look up items for comparison, take pictures of things to show my mother since her vantage point in a wheelchair was really a disad-vantage point, and to sketch ideas. Later, while waiting for my steak (!!) at lunch, I was able to play Blocksworld, Linden Lab's iOS-based 3D building game and think about what Our World in Second Life could take from this mobile world.

First, the building interface is super simple. Well, it is aimed primarily at kids so that's probably a given. Drag pre-shaped blocks or other items from a toolbox to the virtual ground then change dimensions and/or placement with simple tools. That is how I re-created my deck from Second Life in Blocksworld:

After setting up the blocks I dragged-n-dropped some colors and a texture and *boom* it was done. This was more of a "see if I can do it" exercise. I can save it but it isn't easily moved and I have no idea for what I'd use it, but I spent 10 minutes while eating popcorn and sipping Mt. Dew, so there is no waste, really.

Blocksworld seems to be geared more to vehicles and creating games which involve vehicles. Most of the build kits one can buy with in-game coins fit this description though many of the user-created worlds (and the contents thereof) are split between gaming and creation for creation-sake, like my deck. Lots of possibilities and some very simple tools, like drag-n-drop to script.

In Second Life I can't script my way out of a paper bag. Sure, I can make the bag, but ... anyway, if I can't use some pre-written scripts or get someone to script for me, I couldn't make a car, for example. Some 5 minutes in Blocksworld and I'd have a car with steering, reverse gear, and lasers. Drag a wheel to the ground then drag "scripts" to it. Bam. Do that again and you have most of a bicycle. Twice more again and you have a car, more or less.

Now imagine Second Life with a similar builder toolbox. Beginners could get started right away making something more sophisticated than a chair. Talk about generating excitement! Talk about potential Resident retention!! Not only could n00bs catch the building bug right away but non-builder residents would have a very simple way to enhance all their in-world purchases. Look inside any Linden Home (ahem ... privacy first!) and you'll see that a majority of residents have cobbled together walls and floors to enhance their homes. Simple stuff, but so many people don't really know how to rez a prim. When I joined Second Life there were people who hung out at Help Island and sandboxes just to show new Residents how to rez a prim. Not so much these days.

Another feature that SL could import from Blocksworld is the idea of easily sharing your creations. In the iOS game user creations are featured in a couple different ways and any user can play with these builds at any time. The Lego MMO of a couple years ago had such a feature and so did the former CloudParty virtual world. SL has the Destination Guide, but a category like "Come See What I Made!" could be added. But that would work best with one more Blocksworld idea ...

Visit "worlds" created by other users and play with their builds!
Every Blocksworld user has their own "world" – a build space they can call their own, with a  pre-set landscape, roads, some water, and even some atmosphere effects. It's pretty cartoonish, but you can actually have several build spaces, naming them for different purposes. No, that's not practical in Second Life, but I have an idea. Give every resident some land. Mainland is incredibly empty. Give non-Premium members 512m2 free to use on the vast, empty Mainland. If they don't want it, they don't have to use it. Premium members could still have a choice of a Linden Home (a great value, I think, compared to just a 512m2 parcel) or they could have 1024m2 of Mainland free to use instead. Like a Linden Home, these lands could not be sold, merely exchanged for another parcel somewhere else or simply not claimed. But everyone would have a space associated with their avatar where they can build and show off what they build. There'd have to be a mechanism in place where folks like me who have met our household's maximum allowed number of accounts would have our land options limited, but ... well, details. I think that that idea is a good one over all and should stimulate account retention.

Maybe when I help put up new window treatments tomorrow, hang some shelves, or help swap out the shower hardware, I'll see other features of Blocksworld that might transfer well to Second Life. Or maybe I'll just be tired enough to flop into my bed with my iPad and build stuff in Blocksworld. If I do come up with more ideas, though, I'll be sure to blog about them.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Minimum Hardware Requirements

Zyx snuck into my apartment and was using my iPad today.
Consider the following:

  • Several different and unrelated posts on My Second Life this week continue on-going discussions from elsewhere on the Interwebs about how poorly Second Life functions on Macintosh computers compared to Windows computers.
  • My brother's iMac now sits near mine so I can watch DVDs while logged into SL because he finds it too outdated to effectively run Second Life.
  • We have three iPad Air tablets in our house, an iPod Touch, and an iPhone. These devices account for some 90% of our household data usage in any given time period.
  • Just today my brother noted on a social media outlet that if we didn't have Second Life accounts, we wouldn't need desktop computers in our house. That's funny as I've pointed out the same thing to several friends in-world on different occasions.
  • Recently I passed up a great deal on several image editing applications for my iMac because it occurred to me that if it weren't for SL I wouldn't really need them.

Still, with some regularity I price out a replacement for my late-2009 27" iMac and I have a couple different "standing" desks in my Amazon WishList should someone get the urge to replace the plastic fold-up thing I use now. And I always look at desk chairs in stores because if I don't get a new desk, replacing the old church function chair I sit on would be really sweet. All because of Second Life.

Do I need a desktop computer (or a laptop, for that matter)? I read news and comics on my iPad. The iPad and my iPod are my gaming machines (including Blocksworld from Linden Lab). Amazon Video? My iPad, of course. I use my iPad so much I'd like to have an iPad Mini, too, so I can have two screens.

The current generation of iPads could probably run a Second Life client though I imagine that there are rules and restrictions from The Lab that give app authors pause. Maybe our new Fearless Leader Ebbe (Altberg) Linden (Web) will look into the world's most popular tablet computers as a means to stabilize Second Life's population numbers. I'd almost settle for a client that could let me run Linden Realms on my iPad but the full SL experience would be better to have.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Road Trip: Spring Rounds

As mentioned in yesterday's blog post, the gardner pixy and explorer Zyx Flux visited Garden Mole's green house off Route 9 in Dokkaebi (SLurl). Regular readers may remember that Zyx spent some time there nearly two years ago and wrote about it as part of her epic, multi-part exploration of Route 9. It looks like she spent the day there yesterday and took a few pictures. I've culled a few really good shots from the couple hundred or so she messaged to me (bankrupting my monthly mobile bill in the process). Here they are with her comments:

The green house is just as I left it before settling in for the Winter, complete with pests. I notified Garden Mole of the problem after spreading some pixy dust and picking a few weeds. The neighbors have kept up their adjoining properties so this is still one of the most lovely roadside spots in all Second Life. Even the Rezz Zone was clean!

I had to teach a new generation of frogs to leave the butterflies alone and go for the pesty bugs, but otherwise everything was shipshape, almost as if another pixy had been in before me to sort everything. Of course, this isn't any one pixy clan's territory so I was safe and glad to help, though I should have worn something red to show my peaceful intent instead of my Irish pride outfit. Better safe than sorry.

The bridge weathered the cold season very well and I just had to sweep up a bit. All the bushes and grasses were thriving so rainfall must be good so far this year. Might need to trim some back in a few months.

The path around the back end of the property is clear as only a few rocks had to be moved so those who can't fly can get around. It's a nice stroll and the bench at the path's perihelion is in good repair, too.

It wasn't until after I sent this snap that the huge spider under the other arch came to my attention. This might need some Linden attention. Maybe you could get Michael or Guy to expedite an exterminator? On warm days the bridge will provide some welcome shade for weary visitors. Might need more benches for those who don't bring blankets.
(Ed.: I wrote back to Zyx that I don't have that kind of pull, but I'll ask anyway.)

After all the weeding, dusting, and – well, to a pixy all that isn't work – it was nice to rest by a fire at the shrine. The mushrooms glowed merrily as the fireflies and the Will-O-Wisps danced in the air. A great way to end the day. I'll have to visit the green house in Clearwing (SLurl) soon to see if it needs any post-Winter cleanup.
Nothing makes a pixy happier than a well-tended garden so I know she'll be flitting about Our World more often and plying her skills. That means she'll probably have more reports and I'll publish them here if they might appeal to the general public. Drop her a line directly or leave a comment on this post if you know of a garden or such she should look into sometime.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

A Heads-Up from Zyx

Maybe Zyx should get her own blog. She messaged this pic to me and said she's working on another road trip post. Still, us Irish girls gotta stick together.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Topless Tuesday, Home Edition

Yah, I was playing in Acorn and I noticed after that I messed up the final in one spot *sigh* ... Happy Topless Tuesday anyway. Don't forget the Topless Tuesday in SL Flicker group here.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Linden Realms: Two Perspectives

"Linden Realms is a fun, creative, and engaging virtual experience produced and provided by Linden Lab. Linden Realms takes you through basic exploration and gameplay, where you can earn Linden dollars by gathering gems and completing quests" (Linden Realms Frequently Asked Questions).

Linden Realms is quite lovely at times. Cartoonish compared to much of Second Life, but still not without it's own charms. The atmosphere lends itself to "fun" avatars like my baby T-Rex.
Linden Realms (LR) is, as I would describe it, an open-ended quest-oriented game within the virtual world of Second Life, where within the confines of a storyline players compete with each other to gather crystals that can be used to complete solo challenges and to be exchanged for currency that can be used elsewhere in Second Life. Here's a quick walk-through for those who have yet to visit the game:
  • After you enter the LR playing regions, a HUD automatically attaches that shows your progress in gathering crystals and also gives tasks to complete. A "?" button gives hints as to where a player (which I call a Runner) can go across several connected regions to complete a task.
  • Runners gather crystals by simply colliding with them. The HUD shows how many crystals of each type you have gathered.
  • In order of least-to-most rare, the crystals are Red, Yellow, Orange, Green, then Blue. Once collected, a period of time will elapse before the crystal is replaced, the more valuable ones taking the longest (ex., Green crystals take one hour while Red crystals take as little as a minute or two). Almost invariably, crystals appear in the exact same spot from where one was collected.
  • Boulder-like "Rock Monsters" chase Runners and the latter will be "killed" if caught then teleported to a safe hub where they can continue without any real penalty. To best avoid the monsters, run at all times (double-tap the Up key on your keyboard or set Ctrl-R to always run).
  • Other hazards include falling rocks, fireballs, and toxic rivers/ponds.
  • Runners are discouraged from flying or using super-speed attachments by roving "clouds" that will descend from the sky and eject you from the field of play. There is a process (which I have not experienced) that will ban you from the game should you be ejected often enough.
  • At any time you can visit special machines that will take your collected crystals in exchange for Linden dollars ($L) under the pretense of forwarding the storyline behind the game. Completing quests also earns cash.
50 Red Crystals = L$1
50 Orange Crystals = L$5
50 Yellow Crystals = L$2
Green Crystals and Blue Crystals are worth L$1 and L$2, respectively.
As you can imagine, there are some problems, though I would say that the game works fairly well and can be entertaining. I let my alts run in LR with the deal that for every L$1 they earn I will give them L$1 from my weekly stipend. Yes, that's silly, but it amuses me. Recently I spent about an hour with one of my alts who had never been to LR and she completed all the quests earning about L$100 in the process. As I mentioned, though ... problems ...
  • More often than not, the HUD won't attach. Runners can still gather crystals and cash them in, but quests won't work. Visiting the Workshop in the main region will sometimes cause the HUD to show up while being teleported by a monster, or leaping off a mountain into the landing area can have the same effect. Going back to the Portal regions and re-entering the game regions can sometimes help.
When you arrive in the game regions, you actually fall through the HUDs that are supposed to auto-attach when you arrive. You can play without them, but there are no quests.
  • Crystals often rez inside rocks, trees, buildings, etc, so that they cannot be collected. This reduces the total number of crystals available and makes the rare ones even more rare.
Using Wireframe View, you can see that a cluster of Orange crystals is stuck under the boulder under my avatar. These can't be collected. A cluster of five often rez near by so it's a good spot despite this problem.
  • Crystals never vary in location except if you use different instances of the game regions. Let me explain: You start in Linden Realms Portal Park 1 (SLurl) or Linden Realms Portal Park 2 (SLurl) where you choose a Portal which will whisk you to different instances of the game regions. Portal I always takes you to the same set of regions, Portal II always takes you to another set of regions, Portal III ... you get the idea. This can make a difference in crystal locations, but not always. Example: Some Green crystals will appear in a certain cave if you visit via Portal II though not if you visit via Portal IV. Sometimes the crystal locations vary slightly. Generally, though, the experience is the same regardless of which portal  you choose. This means that you can become bored by running the same patterns over and over and over ...
  • People cheat. It is not terribly unusual to come across "bots" that are programmed to visit locations with valuable Green or Blue crystals with regularity. That's the problem with known patterns. Since I usually go through a portal that I know takes me to a game area with a good number of Green crystals, maybe I'm cheating?
An hour after it is collected, another Green crystal will appear on that exact spot. There are usually two more within a hundred meters. Three, really, but one is stuck under a plant, like the one that is blocking the Rock Monster from getting me. A valuable Blue crystal is stuck in one of those trees and can't be collected.
There might be more problems. I guess that depends on one's point of view. As I said, I generally find Linden Realms to be enjoyable. Use the region's recommended Windlight settings, try different strategies, make up your own games, or run with a friend.

One of my friends, Hexapoda Resident, has her own views. She sent them to me on a note card and agreed to let me publish them here (and said I could correct spelling, too, but here was only one word that needed that). Here's what she notes:

Linden Realms has several problems, some of the problems are just annoying while other problems is making it hard or even impossible to play the game, her will I present some of the problems and give some suggestions how they may be addressed. 

At the start: 
1). When you come to LR shall you get a hud that automatically get attached to you, but this seldom happens and new users get confused about this and without HUD there is no way for a new user to understand what they shall do.
* The fix for this is to make a sign you can click on to get a new temporary hud attached. 

2). When you land in the Linden Realms or get teleported within LR you can find that your legs has get stuck and can not move, this is a bug that soon may be fixed but the fix for this is to use Avatar Health to stop Animating My Avatar. 
* The fix here may be a sign that can give users a note card with Tips and Trick for LR.

Sim problem:
3). Linden Realms works poorly and often are parts of the realms empty and you may not be able to find any crystals and some time are there no monsters in a sim.
* The fix here is to give trust to user groups that can have a V.I.P status to request that LL restart the sim or to get the privilege to reset scripts within LR, or they need to have a dedicated Linden for only LR, I am sure some Lindens has a daughter or a son that can be handling that for free and to get experience with handling a game server from within.

Crystal bugs:
4). Green and Blue crystals are a important part of the games but they often get stuck in stones, trees or bushes where players never can get them, when a sim just has restarted there is a good chase that they rez so you can take them, but when a crystal has been taken it will later rez in a random spot within a given area and if there is an object in this spot that make that a player not can take this crystal it will stay there for ever.
* The fix here it to have a timer in the crystals and if a crystal not has been taken within the timer cycle it will send a command to the crystal rezzer to spawn a new crystal within 1 minute and the delete it self, in this way a stuck crystal will not be stuck for ever.

Cheaters: Cheaters in Linden Realm do alter the game experience for other users and it do feel a bit unfair that Linden Labs shall pay out Linden Dollar to users that do not actual 'play' the game, but we can not blame LL for this and it would even be hard for a manager to investigate if all suspected cheaters are cheater or users that constantly and without break runs in same spot 24/7.
* The fix here is not easy and you has to look to the game and how it shall work and we has to set up some new rules and get new monsters.

1 – A user need to get a HUD to be able to collect crystals (See hub problem).
2 – The HUD shall give random mini quest like “Visit Tyras HQ within 5 minutes to report our findings” so users not can be in one are for longer times.
3 – LR need mud monsters that other users can use, the idea here is that the user can get a monster that follows them and then guide them towards other users, this monsters shall be easy to avoid for normal users but Bots or users that are AFK in the play area may be TP back to the portal island.
4 – More rock monsters in places where cheaters often use and use path-finding to make monsters that can patrol a larger area.

Suggestion to Linden Labs to handle Linden Realms: Do not forget LR, change position of rock monster so bots not can use same area year after year, do so users has to do all task before they can collect more crystals (this will stop most one day bots), do random but easy mini quest that user has to do to not be teleported back to portal island, get a user group that can help Linden Labs to manage LR.

It all starts at Linden Realms Portal Park (1 or 2). Just walk into the mists ...
Thanks, Hexa. I know I'm a better Runner thanks to your advice. Here's hoping the Lindens will heed you as well. If you, Dear Reader, have any thoughts or questions about Linden Realms, please add to the Comments on this post. It would be great to have a Resident dialog that could be presented to LR Linden, the Game Lord of Linden Realms.


Every day I have to stop and tell myself there is hope, that I'm lucky to even be alive. As a pre-teen I was abducted, raped, and nearly killed. That weekend lasted years subjectively but at the end I had hope. I heard my brother call to me as I was blacking out for what I thought was going to be the last time. Ever. He rescued me. About a week later his voice woke me in the hospital. I lost my childhood, my vocal cords, my ability to bear children, and almost all my dignity. But there was hope.

Hope let me learn Sign Language so I could communicate again. Hope let me relearn trust over the next decade or so. Hope let me believe that I could rebuild, not in the direction my life had been headed, but in new directions with new possibilities.

There will be more challenges to come, more set backs, more hardship, but there will be hope. Always hope. I tell stop and tell myself that every day. Every. Day.


Inspired by the Lord Winter Jefferson's Monday Meme post on Strawberry Singh's blog here.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Road Trip: Spring on Livingtree

Spring is far away from being sprung where I live, but my polymorphic pixy friend Zyx Flux is hard on the trail of it in Second Life. My email box was brimming with spam this morning but a stand-out piece from Zyx ... erm ... stood out so here's a road trip report from Livingtree (SLurl), home to shops owned by Robin (Sojourner) Wood, Marianne McCann, and Pygar Bu. You'll also find Robin's excellent texture tutorials and, as Zyx shows in her pictures, some wonderful scenery. Here's her report:

Pixies often hibernate during the cold months and this past season was no exception for me. Waking a few times to use the bathroom or sneak some cookies, I slept like a rock. When the first scents of Spring came to me, though, I was up like a rocket (rock - rocket ... get it?) and off to tend the newborn flowers.

mmmm Newborn flowers, fragrant moss, and fresh lichens. Little else stirs the blood of a pixy so the woods of Livingtree were a pure joy. I dusted the flowers for pests and was rewarded with some delicious pollen from my grateful little friends.
Even the hills were in magical colors. Extra tasty nectar in these blooms Be sure to get some before the season wears on! Plenty of picnic space and a cool lighthouse to explore.
There be magic inside the hills, too, Mateys! I found some pirate treasure and more inside the caves. Bring some scuba gear, too, but that's the only hint I'm giving you.
After a morning of helping the new little flowers, tending to hardy evergreens, and coaxing the fruits of the deciduous trees, I found a warm basking spot with ocean breezes and a comfy chair.
Livingtree is a beautiful place to explore with many cozy spots that I didn't write about so when you visit, be sure to look around everywhere. You'll never know what you'll find. You might even find me!

Friday, February 14, 2014

One Billion Rising is ON NOW

“ONE BILLION RISING FOR JUSTICE is a call to survivors to break the silence and release the stories of both pain and hope – through art, dance, marches, ritual, song, spoken word, testimonies and whatever way best expresses their outrage, their need, their desire, and their joy. The path to justice begins with acknowledging and recognizing the violence – letting it be known.” – Eve Ensler

You've read enough. Close your browser and go in-world to One Billion Rising now. Well, you'll need an SLurl. You'll find it after the pix I took today, but then go right away as the event ends at Midnight SLT today.

Many fine groups and people have come together for this event. Be sure to look at the sponsorship signs at each entrance to the Main Stage so you can be sure to thank and possibly visit the sponsors.

Lots and lots of dancing at OBR for the whole day. Check the music schedule below.

12:00 am: DJ Alexi Ayres
1:00 am:   DJ A.F.I “Aubry Fisher”
2:00 am:   DJ Edward Pearse
3:00 am:   DJ Laurence Mapp
4:00 am:   DJ Qwark Allen
5:00 am:   DJane Marin Aquila
6:00 am:   DJ CoolB(DJ CoolB Resident
7:00 am:   DJ Olivierb Lenroy
8:00 am:   DJ Supertom Southmoor
9:00 am:   DJ Funkydeps
10:00 am: DJ Victor1st Mornington
11:00 am:  Live Performer- Trowzer Boa
12:00 pm: Live Performer - Terry Lynn Melody
1:00 pm:   DJane Victoria Grau (DJ Love)
2:00 pm:   DJ Vaughan Quan (DJ V-Waxx)
3:00 pm:   DJ Elrik Merlin
4:00 pm:   Live Performer- Lyrica Acquatic
5:00 pm:   Live Performer-  Rara Destiny
6:00 pm:   DAZZLERS Dance Performance
7:00 pm:   DJ Titoso Fride
8:00 pm:    DJ  Thlemaxos Nrg
9:00 pm:   Live Performer: Stephanniyah Sinatra
10:00 pm: TBA
11:00 pm: Live Performer-  Samm Qendra

There are also poetry readings and other events. When you arrive, click the Information sign within five meters of you for all the details. In the packet you'll also get information for keeping  yourself safe, managing your anger, and resources to seek out should things go pear-shaped.

Speaking of such, I should have posted this yesterday, but my Real Life is on the cusp of going pear-shaped so I wasn't in the mood to visit Second Life except as an alt that pretty much sat around in a forest. My apologies to all those I let down.

There's some amazing art again this year and if you don't go for the dancing, go for the art. Some made me mad, some made me glad, and some made me sad. Here are three of the many that impressed me at first sight, but you really need to see them all.

By Fuchsia Nighfire

by Krystali Rabeni

by Tyrehl Byk
More information about OBR in SL can be found here. One Billion Rising is also a Real World event so be sure to visit their site, too.

SLurl for the event

If dancing, great music, fabulous art, and the general warm feeling you'll get from being a supporter isn't enough, show up and look for the free gifts available. But at least stay for some dancing.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Where to Valentine?

The beach at Valentinefrom Me (SLurl) won't impress you, but hopefully this Map screenshot of the latest in landscaping from Linden Estate Services will. If you decide to visit anyway, fly around and try to cam around from as high as you can go. Thanks for the tip, Hexapoda!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

One Billion Rising 2014


Contact: Saffia Widdershins
E-mail address:


One Billion Rising for Justice in Second Life ill be held this Friday - ALL DAY FRIDAY 14th FEBRUARY

On February 14, 2013, for 24 hours starting at midnight Pacific Standard Time, Second Life residents will join with activists around the world in a spectacular 24-hour event for ONE BILLION RISING FOR JUSTICE, a very special day of action in the history of V-Day, the global activist movement to end violence against women and girls.

The Second Life event will feature a four-region stage where 200 people can dance together, surrounded by an area of art installations, poetry events and informational exhibits. A variety of performers will play and perform over the 24-hour period, enabling people all over the world to attend this virtual event no matter their timezone. The regions will have a General maturity rating to allow all residents an opportunity to participate. Pictures are welcome on the event's Flickr group. 

ONE BILLION RISING began as a call to action based on the staggering statistic that 1 in 3 women on the planet will be beaten or raped during her lifetime. With the world population at 7 billion, this adds up to more than ONE BILLION WOMEN AND GIRLS. On February 14, 2014, men and women in Second Life will join activists, writers, thinkers, celebrities, and people across the world to Rise, Dance, and Release as a show of unity, individual strength, and the need for change.

The objective of the event is to raise awareness, not to raise funds; however, information about real-world organisations will be available for those wishing to donate.

One Billion Rising in Second Life is sponsored by: Cheeky Pea; The Domineaux Effect; Dutchie; Flash Dancers; Heart Garden Centre; The Loft; Lyrical B!zarre Templates; MadPea; MANDALA; Maven Homes; MESHWORX; Park Place; Prime; RTeaseCast; Ruca Tease Fashions; Spargel and Shine.

In-kind sponsors are: CaLLie CLine; Fruit Islands; KittyCatS!; Liv-Glam; Style by Kira; Sway’s;and Prim Perfect Publications.

The four regions have been named for the four core elements chosen as the focus of this years global event, One Billion Rising.
     OBR Rise (SLurl)
     OBR Dance (SLurl)
     OBR Release (SLurl)
     OBR Justice (SLurl)

For more information:
Our blog: 
Our webpage at One Billion Rising:
Our Second Life Group: One Billion Rising: 
Our Facebook Page:
Our Twitter Stream:
Our Flickr Group:

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Topless Valentines

Happy Topless Tuesday! Did you get your Valentine something special? The big day is coming up soon! See more Topless Tuesday in Second Life pictures on Flickr.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Camp Hardknock Winter 2014 Video

It is my pleasure and privilege to know many child avatar characters in Second Life. This role play community consistently demonstrates great passion for Our World and all its possibilities. Don't get me wrong. There are many very high-functioning role play groups and I've been a part of some of them, but the Kid Community (for lack of a better term) is just amazing.

How amazing? Watch this ...

Camp Hardknock - Winter 2014 from Camp Hardknock on Vimeo.
I really need to work on my kid avatar (yes, if you read the last post on this blog, I have one) and see if I can get into the next camp session.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

All Good Things ... Zyx

Pixies are blue, you know.

No, they aren't really. Depending on the legends you follow, they could be, but generally pixies most people know are of a human shade. My pixies in Second Life, Zyx Flux and Zyx (Resident), are blue because Portia Sin had a great going out of business sale for almost two whole years so I bought almost all her fantasy skins for me, Zyx Flux when she was born, and then her big sister later when I grabbed the name to hold it (read "It's Zyxalutionary"). That's been about five years so I started looking to upgrade skins on the Zyxs so they could have nice mesh feet and hands.

Good luck. Not happening. Can't find a fantasy skin that I like as much as the blue SinSkins. But what about human skins?

No changes to any of her face settings for these pictures, but the skin really affects her character. I like it, mind you, but she no longer has her childlike countenance. Admittedly, this "Anais" option is pretty "adult" even for The Skinnery's regular photorealistic bent (SLurl). Actually, all of the skins from this creator show that almost gritty, flawed look that many other makers eschew. That's why I bought "Sasha" skins for my main character, Uccie.

I wonder about losing the magic, though. Zyx has tried blue (and green) skins from Gauze, the Sugar Garden, Alchemy, and more but nothing seemed right. The human shades are just as different though somehow more palatable than the gaudy choices that didn't fit at all. If I do change, I'll still have Zyx's blue skins (as will her bigger sister and me, too), but maybe it's time for my child avatar to grow up just a little bit.

Got an opinion? Toss in a comment. I'd love to hear from you.