Thursday, December 31, 2009

First Footing in Second Life Present and Real Life Past

There is a wonderful New Year's tradition in Scotland called "First Footing". It's not exclusive to Scotland mind you, but the Scottish traditions are the ones I was raised on and so those are the ones I follow. There are various components to a First Footer's toolkit, but the basics are this:

  • The first person across your threshold in the New Year signals good or bad luck for the coming year. A tall, dark, handsome man bearing the appropriate gift will signal good luck.
  • The gift is for the household and traditionally the gift is coin (for prosperity), bread (for food), salt (for flavour), coal (for warmth) or whiskey (for good cheer). Whatever the history of the Hogmanay please believe me when I tell you that whiskey is always appropriate. :)

60 years ago tonight my Grandmother and Grandfather were spending their first New Year's Eve in the city of Vancouver, BC. They had recently moved there to be closer to their only child however this meant leaving all of their friends and neighbours behind.

My Grandmother was born and raised in Scotland and emigrated to Canada at the age of 18. She married a man from Darlington (although most people forgave her for this) and they settled in Fort William, Ontario. They lived in a community of Scottish immigrants and maintained the traditions she knew from the old country.

On this night they were feeling quite alone and unhappy because New Year's was a very big deal to them but they couldn't celebrate it as they were accustomed without the people they felt close to. Unbeknownst to them, about 2 miles away was (and is) the Seaforth Armoury, home to the Regimental Headquarters of the Seaforth Highlanders of Canada.

The Regiment had a large New Year's Eve party that night and a bit of whiskey may have been consumed. After midnight the party started to break up and a couple of officers decided to walk home (well they weren't feeling the cold I assure you). After walking for a time they split up and one continued on his way.

Around about 1:00 am he had a sudden stroke of genius. It was New Year's Day. He was tall, dark and considered handsome and he just happened to have a bottle of whiskey in his hand. He decided to First Foot somebody. This officer didn't know anybody on the street but he didn't think that was a problem. He chose the first house with the lights shining in the windows, went up to the door and knocked.

Since I'm telling this story, you've probably figured out who was in this particular house. My grandparents heard the knock at the door and went to see who it was. Through the glass in the door my Scottish Grandmother saw a tall, dark Seaforth Highlanders officer in full regalia clutching a bottle of whiskey.

They welcomed him inside, shared a drink and then waved goodbye wishing him a safe journey. They never forgot that night and the wonderful gift of feeling at home they had received.

The lesson our family learned from this is that what you consider a small kindness to a stranger may be much more important to them than you will ever realize. Fate or serendipity may play a hand, but we are the instruments.

The other lesson we learned, of course, is that being Scottish on New Year's Eve is one of the truly great blessings in any life. :)

I wish you all a First Foot by a tall, dark handsome man. I wish you all a New Year filled with prosperity, food, flavour, warmth and good cheer. Most of all, I wish you all a New Year filled with showing kindness to strangers in Second Life and Real Life. You will be repaid in countless ways.

A guid New Year to ane an' a' and mony may ye see


  • The uniform worn in these pictures is a very, very, very rough approximation of the uniform worn by the Seaforth Highlanders. My apologies to all military experts and all members of the Regiment!
  • Ahuva Heliosense gets credit for finding me a label and a whiskey bottle (and Dale Innis gets credit for making the bottle). She also found me the street for my Highlander photos. I consider this opportunity to teach her another tradition to be my repayment. :)

Saturday, December 26, 2009

A Happy New Year Cozy!

Announcing Santa Cozy's New Year cousin! He will deliver your personal message and a hug to your loved one for a special low price - visit him at Drama Dolls on Taylor Bay.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Linden Homes in Second Life

The Linden Homes are available for viewing on the continent of Nascera. So many bloggers, who are much smarter than me, have been talking about them but I did want to visit. So I started in Ondori which is a Japanese themed region.

Before I tell you my reaction to the whole Linden Homes idea and the builds that are now available to visit, allow me to give you a brief glimpse into my first few days and even months in Second Life. This, after all, forms the basis of my reaction to the idea that the Linden Homes will be the place for new premium members to start off in our world.

When I registered and did a bit of orientation (I gave up trying to bounce the basketball very quickly) I went looking for a "home". Some place that would be safe for me to hunker down while I tried to understand Second Life. "Safe" really was the operative word. I was totally intimidated and didn't know a soul but I was determined to try and figure things out. I just needed a base to work from - someplace I could "hide" if I needed to. Someplace I could make the trillions of mistakes I knew I would commit without being a public laughing stock.

LL gave me L$1200 when I registered and once I found the land sale listings in search I went looking. I know you're laughing but I didn't know any better. The search itself was a miserable experience. First of all I couldn't see anything because it was always dark! I kept going back to one small parcel that insisted it had a great view but it was always midnight so who could tell? I wound up on one parcel and was accosted by somebody telling me I shouldn't buy on the mainland ("there's a mainland"? I thought to myself) and then started talking about rent and tiers and I finally just left.

Eventually I wound up on a 96 sqm parcel (in the dark) and I could see there was a tree next to it. There were also lots of spinning billboards all around with naked women in neon. On the positive side, in addition to the tree there was something called a "Linden Road" on one edge of the parcel. It seemed to me that allowed for at least one direction that was a little open. So I bought it.

I owned that parcel for over 1 year but I added a lot more to it. I also experimented and learned how to build basic (and pretty ugly) things. I didn't do a thing with my avatar for almost 6 months. I had no idea how or what or even that it was important. It was 3 months before I had a real (albeit) brief conversation with a neighbour. But none of that mattered because I had my little area to call mine.

Again, a lot of much smarter people have weighed in on this topic. But for what it's worth, if upon registering Linden Labs had given me:

  • A safe place to use as a home while I learned some basic skills and got to understand how Second Life works;
  • A home in a community with neighbours like me, people I could get to know and share stories and experiences with;
  • All of this in a place which is well built and attractive (trees, flowers, no ugly anything);

I would have been ecstatic! In fact even 2.5 years later, as I wandered around I really really wished poor dumb Honour had had a chance to find her Second Life feet in a Linden Home.

Good on you Jack and the team. Where were you on May 5, 2007 eh?

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

A Second Life Santa Cozy!

There's a special Doll Cozy now just for the Holiday Season - it's Santa! This animated doll will deliver your personal message to a loved one. You can find him for a special low price at the Drama Doll Store on Taylor Bay.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Holiday Season in the French Quarter (and more)

The Holiday Season has arrived on the French Quarter! It's gorgeous and fun.....skating and hot chocolate and a very understanding Santa. :) Those of us with shops or homes on the French Quarter are very very lucky to have Von and Harlee Johin as landlords and we know it! I believe there's going to be a concert there on the 18th - make space in your calendars. I'll update you closer to the day. :)

I did a politically correct Happy Holidays card this year. Yes it was intended as a fun thing - most people got that. sigh

And finally, as a not so subtle reference to that huge SL Conspiracy I mentioned, my favourite Christmas song.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Christmas Music Streams

I accidently got this list in a group chat - I did thank her because I needed it (thank you again Noveen Benoir)! I'm sure there are more but these are the ones I have, so for all of you looking for specific Christmas music streams:

  • Mix Christmas:
  • Big R Radio - Christmas Country:
  • Christmas R&B:
  • Christmas Smooth Jazz:
  • Christmas Celebration:
  • Christmas Rock:
  • Santa's HOHOHO Radio' from Time Capsule Radio:
  • Christmas Old Time Radio - CHRISTMAS SHOWS, Jack Benny, The Shadow, Amos and Andy:
  • Forever Christmas - Christmas Never Sounded So Good:
  • Tinsel & Tunes by Mak McKeehan:
  • Christmas Melody
  • Northpole Radio
  • 1. FM – Always Christmas
  • Play Xmas UK
  • Big R Radio – Christmas Classics
  • Musik.Christmas
  • Big R Radio – Christmas Country

If you have a favourite not on the list please add it in the comments section. And please don't forget Tunes in SL - give a loved one the gift of music and support SL musicians!!!!!

Monday, November 30, 2009

Peace on Earth Hunt 2009

The 2009 edition of the grid-wide Peace on Earth Hunt starts at 12:01 am SLT December 1st. This year it's better because all three of the stores (Mustang Trading Post, Drama Dolls and Aintree Gardens) on Taylor Bay are involved. :)

There is an impressive array of stores (276) on the Hunt path, some fabulous gifts available to hunters and a large, exhausted crew of Hunt volunteers who did an enormous amount of work setting this up. Everything a Hunter needs will be available on the site here and in the group.

Be careful out there but do have some fun looking for the globes. There are enough gifts for everyone. :)

Monday, November 23, 2009

The Real SL Conspiracy!

I'm tired of people creating imaginary conspiracies and blaming them for all the weird stuff that happens in SL. I mean really....

  • IBM? ... amateurs
  • Open grids? ... children's toys for geeks who want to be the next Esteemed Dictator
  • Fashion Blogs? ... well maybe if more than 32 people read them

The truth is that there is only one real, viable, well organized conspiracy targeting the residents of SecondLife. That conspiracy is the Hidden Intent to Promote Paranoia and Obedience (or as we like to refer to it ... HIPPO). We're still laughing at all the people who believed LL's explanation for the prevalence of that term in SecondLife.

How do I know about this conspiracy you might ask? I'm part of it. Canadians are at the centre of most of the world's truly great conspiracies because we're very, very good at them.

You also might wonder how it is I can feel free to reveal these secrets. Frankly, we know you won't believe me. It's that simple. But your lack of belief does not negate our impact nor does it make us any less successful.

Without revealing everything (some things you just don't want to know) allow me to give you a few bits of basic information about HIPPO.

  • The conspiracy is very old and has been in operation for centuries. Canadians joined soon after our part of the world got semi-organized and we've been members of the Supreme Cabal ever since. Online games never caught our interest but the idea of a virtual world was appealing. This is why we joined SecondLife at the very beginning of its development. Understand that our history and experience make us experts at what we do.

  • We don't mess around inworld. Griefers are like the pickpockets of the criminal underground, annoying little mosquitoes but ultimately not important. HIPPO is closer to the Bilderberg Group (although we're much more powerful). We have found the most efficacious approach is to target the blogosphere. Not because hundreds of thousands of SL residents read the damn things, but if you can get a few bloggers riled up they take it to twitter, plurk, forums and inworld to their groups. You can create mass hysteria very quickly.

  • Our methodology is simple - we sow the seeds of fear in those more inclined to paranoia already and allow them to sweep others along like proverbial lemmings. One of the most effective divisions in our organization is called the "Yes Everything is Always All About You Team" (MeMeMe for short). The people who work in this area are geniuses! They identify those individuals with slight personality disorders coupled with self esteem which requires them to be seen as the center of the universe or font of all wisdom. These targeted individuals are carefully nurtured and subtly educated until they are ready to be left on their own.

    If you see a blogger who is angry at least 90% of the time, foams at the mouth and is always convinced that somebody somewhere is out to get them.....well that person is one of our success stories. We have a rl/sl wall of fame that would bring tears to your eyes it's so beautiful.

We at HIPPO are very easy to please. Every time somebody shouts "The sky is falling!" or "The end is near!" we open a 30 year old bottle of Scotch and toast our success.

You may have noticed that I have not mentioned why HIPPO was created or what our ultimate purpose might be. Well I'm not going to tell you. I will say that all of the massive paranoid movements of the past few hundred years (and yes the ones in SecondLife are included in that group) are merely rehearsals for the really big event. If you want a hint - notice that having people absorbed with latest paranoid fantasy is a good way to distract them from what is actually happening. And that's all I can say for the moment.

I need to go open another bottle of Scotch.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Some Days are SLFrustrating

I try very hard to ensure there is little or no lag on the island but the past few days have been frustrating. All the stats have been sinking into the mud and the only real change has been the snow I plunked all over the place (I've even been getting grey goo errors - I haven't seen those in a long time, didn't think they still happened). I tried reducing the snowfall from medium to light which doesn't look much different, however the stats haven't improved. I really like the snow particles but I think I'm going to have to go out tonight and find a more efficient system.

On a positive note - I went to the anniversary party at the Crown and Pearl yesterday. The highlight for me was a group of us doing a Thriller dance animation. It was one of those perfect moments you get in our SecondLife. :)

Ahuva took this photo of us which is a good thing, I was having way too much fun to think about the camera.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Only in SL - A fire critic :)

My friend Jon (who has the Mustang Trading Post on Taylor Bay) didn't like the "2003 blowtorch fire animated texture" I used for the bonfire and barrels. sigh

So he gave me some sculpty fire - I used it on the bonfire but I'm keeping the old school blaze in the barrels. I like it! I'd forgotten something from last year - it can be very hard to find your cursor when it's snowing. Just another winter hazard. :)

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

SLearly Winter is sticking around!

Taylor Bay got hit with some more cold weather over night. The main plaza is ice now. I decided to use some old rusty drums I found to keep the stairs and the plants in the garden warm and ice free.

I also decided a big bonfire would help keep the skaters warm on the Bay.

It's a good thing I did because the snow started up again and this time I don't think it's going to stop for a while.

It is kind of pretty I guess.

But I'm a temperate climate lover, so I'm very glad of those oil drums.

Monday, November 16, 2009

SLearly Winter Arrives!

Winter has come a little early this year to Taylor Bay. The first snowfall happened last night. As you can see it melted off the trees but luckily the Bay has remained frozen.

For those animals lovers out there the ducks have decided to stay put and so far are doing a good job of keeping their corner of the Bay clear.

I used my trusty terraformer to clear the snow and create a skating pond.

There are free skates for those who don't have them. I'm sure it'll snow again and keep right on snowing but in the meantime I'd better put up some greenhouses to protect the garden and find some appropriate music.

And just in case you were nervous - I tested the ice. It's safe!

Luckily I put a fireplace in the revised tower!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

SL is a very strange place sometimes!

I was doing a favour for a friend this afternoon (a bit of landscaping) when out of the blue I get this IM from a woman I've never met:

[13:57] Complete Stranger: ok. how about a date then? :)
[13:58] Honour McMillan: a date?
[13:58] Complete Stranger: read your profile. said you didnt want to have sex with me. so how about a date? :)
[13:59] Honour McMillan: lol
[13:59] Honour McMillan: no I actually don't do that either :)
[13:59] Honour McMillan: I do meet friends at live music events and go dancing :)
[13:59] Complete Stranger: with girls or just in general?
[13:59] Honour McMillan: in general :) I don't discriminate
[13:59] Complete Stranger: sighs
[13:59] Complete Stranger: :)
[14:00] Complete Stranger: of course
[14:00] Honour McMillan: lol too funny
[14:00] Complete Stranger: i could be your first! nodsnodsnods
[14:00] Complete Stranger: i clean up really well. :)
[14:00] Honour McMillan: lol why would you want to - we've never even met - this is one strange conversation :)
[14:00] Complete Stranger: i'm a strange person :)
[14:01] Complete Strangerr: and why not? hell. doesnt mean we're going to partner. just means i'd like some ofyour time, socially of course :)
[14:01] Honour McMillan: um - well my next possible social outing will probably be one of Von Johin's concerts next week - how's that?
[14:01] Complete Stranger: hmms
[14:02] Complete Stranger: i think we're thinking of date, differently.
[14:02] Complete Stranger: howsabout you invite me to wherever you are and we talk?
[14:02] Complete Stranger: see? a date! :)
[14:02] Honour McMillan: I'm working but it's an interesting thought lol
[14:02] Complete Stranger: lay a TP on me.
[14:02] Honour McMillan: I do not date in SL - not personal, just a rule
[14:02] Complete Stranger: its a word :)
[14:02] Complete Stranger: like snort. but i dont use "snort" much either :))))
[14:03] Honour McMillan: and I really am working - so I can't handle a visitor at the moment
[14:03] Honour McMillan: lol
[14:03] Complete Stranger: youre handling one now. :)
[14:03] Complete Stranger: i'll behave.
[14:03] Complete Stranger: i promise.
[14:03] Complete Stranger: pinky promise.
[14:03] Honour McMillan: yeah well I'm going to stop soon - cause I really have to finish this - but it was entertaining :)
[14:03] Complete Stranger: be well
[14:03] Complete Stranger: my god
[14:04] Complete Stranger: french quarter chamber of commerce? (a group I belong to)
[14:04] Complete Stranger: smiles
[14:04] Honour McMillan: :)
[14:04] Complete Stranger: <--- NOLA, too. Baby.
[14:04] Honour McMillan: have a good day :)
[14:04] Complete Stranger: youre from New Orleans? me too!
[14:05] Complete Stranger: St. Charles Ave!
[14:05] Honour McMillan: lol no I just rent some space there - I really need to get back to work bye :)
[14:05] Complete Stranger: sighs
[14:05] Complete Stranger: bye bye

Monday, November 9, 2009

Productive Procrastination

I have all this work to do - in fact so much I don't know where to start. So I ignored it all and worked on the tower. I love the Wizard's Tower but it just didn't fit with the rest of the structures on the island. This is a little funky but it feels better somehow.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Von Johin is back!

So after a month's hiatus Von Johin is back! It was pure pleasure listening to him at Prim Economy tonight. I missed the first two concerts he did last week but nothing could have kept me away any longer. Terrific blues with a few Grateful Dead songs thrown in.

That's DZ Questi and I dancing to the music (she always has the best dances, luckily she shares). :)

It was a good night...have to love SL when you can dance to a blues musician from Nashville with an elf, somebody in a bikini and a goth angel. I even had a brief conversation with Wrath Paine - something on TV prevented him from joining us (typical). I'd link to his blog but he's housecleaning - nothing to see right now. Still it was good to connect again.

Thank you Von - I needed this. :)

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Daniel Voyager - Happy Happy RezDay

It's very difficult to display a typical photo of Daniel - he looks different every time you see him. :) But this photo is one that makes me think of Mr. Voyager - even when it's not him.

If you don't know Daniel you should.....let me share a few of the things I know:

  • October 31, 2009 is his 3rd RezDay. Most of the past 3 years were spent on the teen grid - he matured to the Main Grid last December.
  • Daniel shares. He shares his time with newcomers to the grid. He shares his photos and experiences on the grid with everyone. He shares information and he shares goodwill.
  • Daniel works very very hard. In fact, when I look at what he achieves I'm exhausted. I don't know how he does it.
  • Daniel is positive. I've never seen him post anything negative or mean spirited. He has a friendly, helpful and sincere way of seeing the world and interacting with it and the rest of us.
  • Daniel loves Second Life.
  • Daniel is a gift to the grid and to us, its residents.

I'm very pleased that I've had the privilege to call Daniel a friend. Happy RezDay my friend

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Burning Life 09 - Burning the Temple

I missed Burning the Man this year - but for the first time I made it to Burning the Temple. And oh what temple it was/is! Damanios Thetan is one of my favourite builders in SL and always has been.

Damanios was at the Burn and I have to admit I totally fangurled him. He was very polite about it. :)

I look forward to seeing his temple every year and this year did not disappoint.

It should still be available to visit for the next few days ..... so if you haven't seen it yet go visit before it disappears.

The burn was visually appealing but also emotionally challenging. People had left messages in the Temple all week and these were read out and burned as part of the ceremony. Many of the messages were heart wrenching - I hope those individuals received some measure of peace from the process.

So Burning Life 09 is over. I loved my time there and I thank all of those who spent so many hours making it happen and sharing their art and music with the rest of us.

The Burning the Temple ceremony was the only occasion in which I experienced lag at Burning Life. That's entirely due to the fact that I open the map and choose locations which are pretty empty of people. This allows me to poke around without system issues and at the same time find interesting but lesser known installations. I've shared some of what I found with you this past week and it was very self serving. It gave me a reason to spend time somewhere I truly enjoyed. We'll do it again next year. :)

Burning Life 09 - Fembots and Snakes

Well there are more than two installations covered in this post - but they represent a very large cross section of the interesting finds at Burning Life 09. The photo above is of the Fembot EggBounce and Pangirl Fries! by Maya Paris & L1Aura Loire. Lots of fun and many things to do - they packed a great deal into this little space.

I liked climbing around on the Moon Rocket - unfortunately I was prevented from flying it. Just as well - their insurance probably didn't cover me.

I mentioned snakes .... not usually something I associate with art or really intriguing structures. But Sekhmet's Serpentunes is a fabulous build.

Cienega Soon has a really interesting installation called ..Out of the Box Not Allowed?. Her talent and skill are well displayed!

Finally for this post I'd like to introduce you to Judgment's Eternal Struggle ...I have to admit that as a builder I spent more time analyzing the construction than I did contemplating the message. But I enjoyed it!

Update: Apparently I read the schedule wrong - and still might be for that matter. I think I've missed the man burn but will be able to see the Temple Burn at 7:45 pm SLT on Oct. 25.

Burning Life 09 - The Burning Woman by AuraKyo Insoo

It's the last day of Burning Life 09 and I've been remiss in posting the past couple of days. I'll have a more general post later but I need you to know this - if you only see one installation at BL this year make it The Burning Woman by AuraKyo Insoo. You will be glad you did!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Burning Life 09 - Cool and Strange

I've always wanted to play a Carillon and I got my chance at Burning Life. The Carillon by Kithara Associates (Oriscus "Oz" Zauberflote and FreeWee Ling) lets you play the bells - you touch the key and the appropriate bell chimes. The only preprogrammed music is the Westminster Chimes which play every quarter hour. Cool!

There are many camps set up of course but the Watchtower Camp is one of the most intricate I stumbled upon. After you've looked at the cute yet twisted scenes on the ground you can take a ride up to the viewing platform.

Then if you're really brave, make your way to the top and ride the chairs.

128 m in the air!

The Gridhikers Fire is a little more grounded - well in an underwater sort of way.

The Palmyra Theater by Lavia Dufaux is beautiful - the things you can do with cardboard!

The next photo is of **TRANSENDENCE** by Sand Castle Studios. I'll let you read their description: " It takes the form of a large head shedding its human form and transcending to a technologically advanced soul/spirit." (ok fine)

The Star Trek Bridge & Shuttle Launch Control is always fun and I've been meaning to get my shuttle pilot hours in. So I tp'ed up to one of the ships.

There were three people there ahead of me fighting off some major threat and they shouted at me to come and help.

Unfortunately I was outside the door and it wouldn't open. I did get the following message though: "We are the Borg, your existence as you know it is over, we will add your biological and technological distinctiveness to our own."

Oh dear........