Thursday, July 29, 2010

Altya's Dream Creations, A Fortune Quest and SL Absurdities

It started as most afternoons in SL do, with me working hard on serious stuff. (No really! You can stop laughing any time now.) I got an IM from Ahuva Heliosense to say that Calli thinks I should have her Avatar. The "Calli" in question would be the fabulous SL Artist Callipygian Christensen and even though I was a bit nervous I decided to go see what was up.

Calli tp'd us to a cart on Car Wash stocked by Altya's Dream Creations where we each purchased a Jarhead Unibike Avatar for the enormous price of L$10. This is a loss leader price, it costs much more at the main store but at that price you're going to try them right?

It's very cool! A working horn and shiny wheels and you attract a lot of attention. :) We had bystanders watching us as we took our group photos (you just know they were saying admiring things about us to themselves).

Interesting quirks this av has - if you're wearing shoes when you put it on the shoes are mounted to the front of the bike. If, like Ahuva, you're wearing prim feet, well...............

There was an lm for the main store in the avatar folder so I went to see what else they have (see the loss leader cart works!). Lots of cool toys and stuff and at the back something really really interesting. At least I think it's interesting.

You know how people (starting with the guy with the chickens) have found ways to generate ongoing revenue streams from the same customers by required purchases of food etc., to keep your purchased pet "alive"? Not my thing, I have enough of them in real life. However, I will buy in to the idea of a Fortune Quest.

From the notecard on offer at the store:

Fortune Quest

What is Fortune Quest?

Fortune Quest is a challenging treasure hunt aided by clues made by us for a single item hidden somewhere in Second Life.
These clues will be made available for purchase on the day they are released and will only
remain for sale for 24 hours.
After 24 hours have passed the clue will be made available for FREE.
There will also be a simple H.U.D made available for purchase and although it is not needed to play the game it will be needed to claim the prize.
But the H.U.D can also help greatly in finding the item by letting you know if you have arrived in the correct sim/region that has the hidden Fortune.
This means that there is a chance that even during your normal travels you may stumble across the correct sim/region that the fortune is hiding in!!!


The price for the H.U.D and the clues will be kept VERY low so that it’s affordable for everyone to play.

L$15 for the clue
L$25 for the H.U.D

A new H.U.D will have to be purchased for each new game.
Again a portion of each sale will go towards growing the final prize as the game grows and continues to grow with each new player.


We wanted to create a game/hunt that is both truly challenging, enjoyable to play yet
not just another hunt that has you hopping from store to store down a predetermined list while filling your inventory with items you may or may not like.
With this hunt the prize is LINDEN DOLLARS that you can spend as you wish.


Fortune quest is brought to you by Altya’s Dream Creations which also funds the initial prize.
But it does not stop there. A portion of EACH clue sold will also go towards the prize constantly growing as the game evolves.


The game is ready to start NOW but we wish to gather enough interest in it first before we start.
The more people that know about it the greater it will become.
With that in mind we have provided a Second Life Group for you to join as well as an alternative group joiner that does NOT take up any of your valuable group slots.
The Primary Second Life Group will also become the official group for players to discuss and share ideas about the clues.
We will use these groups to contact you in the future with more information related to Future Quest ONLY.
We also don’t like spam :)

Well that sounds intriguing - enough that I subscribed and will try the first game when it starts. Go check out Altya’s Dream Creations - they have some cool stuff and you might like the game too. :)




Credit for the build acting as a backdrop for my first photo goes to Moonbase - it seemed like an appropriate place for that avatar. It also looks like a sim I'll have to go spend some time exploring. :)

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Auditioning in Second Life to be the "Old Spice Girl"

Just in case you haven't seen this yet - Phaylen is brilliant and funny and you should definitely watch!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Underground in Second Life

Want to get away from it all for a while? Go visit Hollow Earth Underdark a fabulous build that gives you the opportunity to take a boat trip underground.

Turn your day settings to midnight and then just wander through the channels and tunnels in your boat (which works really well, the controls are smooth and easy). You can find little hideaways where you can stop and spend some time - your boat will vanish but you can just rez another when you want to continue your journey. Although I explored the site by myself you can have two in the boat - and there is a tiny version for those of shorter stature. :)

Playing with your windlight settings will create some really neat effects and make the journey that much more personal.

Terrific build, no lag and a very enjoyable experience.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Rudeness in Second Life

This is me attempting to achieve some sense of peace and balance after a couple of Linden Office Hours yesterday. It was a challenge which, frankly, I'm still working on.

I've mentioned before that I'm a Canadian. There are a lot of generalizations used to describe Canadians by the rest of the world and many of them are true (albeit still generalizations). We are (by and large) polite. We say please and thank you and I'm sorry with what may seem to be monotonous regularity. It's not so much that we're aiming to be's that we're working very hard not to be rude. Rudeness is a "sin" in our culture. One of the worst things you can say about another person is that they are rude. We don't like it, we aren't comfortable with it and as far as possible we won't tolerate it.

I'm still speaking in generalizations - there are some rude Canadians (the rest of us think they've been corrupted by influences outside of our borders) but they are a very tiny minority. When confronted by rudeness we try and ignore it if possible - it never happened. If that isn't an option we try and respond as politely as we are able - after all, being rude ourselves would be bad even if provoked.

To some this may seem "weak" or "namby pamby". It's not. In fact, assuming that the absence of rude implies an absence of backbone is an enormous mistake. We have simply established a framework for social discourse and interplay which relies heavily on courtesy and consideration.

All of this needs to be kept in mind when I say that the two Office Hours I attended yesterday were consumed primarily by rude, obnoxious and aggressively nasty individuals. I should say the first was - when the second started to become hijacked by the same people with the same dialogue I left.

I understand that many people are passionate in their beliefs. They are skilled and knowledgable about technology and the issues and they have very strong opinions about perceived errors committed and high levels of frustration with an apparent lack of enthusiasm for correcting them.

All that being said - it doesn't give them the right to act like school yard bullies. Attacking people you see as the embodiment of the antichrist is a fruitless exercise in achieving your goals.

Don't believe me? Well then, how successful has it been for you todate? Since you're spewing the same venom over and over and over again, week after week, I'd conclude this approach isn't working for you.

There is no point in representing yourself as the cute little dragon in the picture above and then mouthing off like the one below.

I realize that people who act like this don't care what I think and there's no reason they should - I have no power or authority to grant them what they so strongly desire. However, they might want to take the following points into consideration if they'd like to actually make progress on the goals they are trying so hard to achieve.

  • Do some research on the difference between assertiveness and aggressiveness. You'll find the former will prove much more successful in both the short and long term.
  • Learn the habit of listening - try to do that at least as often as you speak. You might learn something and if nothing else you will give the other person a measure of the respect they deserve. After all - you expect them to listen to you.
  • If somebody says they can't comment on a specific topic, don't keep repeating the question.
  • Don't use the word "we" in your demands or as part of your insults. Unless (and I'm misquoting Zha Ewry here) you are pregnant, a member of the Royal Family or some weird mutated hybrid creature, the word "we" is inappropriate. I realize you feel it will give your words more weight by implying that you speak for a large group but it just annoys the hell out of everybody else there who is thinking "wait, you don't speak for me".

    If you do represent a group and are speaking for them, say the following: "As the representative of such and such a group, I feel.........".

  • Remember in most cases you are conveying your opinions, not facts. Stating them as facts (no matter how strong your convictions are) will only make you look desperate not informed.
  • Please stick to the agenda of the meeting. Your personal priorities may not be on it. Bringing up your topic constantly no matter what else is on the table earns you no points.
  • Finally - remember in Second Life it's easy to eliminate the rude and boorish. The mute button is extremely effective and once muted your chance to influence anybody is eliminated.

I will continue to attend meetings and Office Hours when time permits. I learn a lot and there's always the chance that I might actually be able to contribute something. :) However, after yesterday I will be hitting the mute button. The aggravation is just not worth the time and energy that rudeness insists on stealing from the rest of us.








Credits: Yoga area - Hikari
Tiny Dragon Avatar - Extrovirtual
Large Dragon Avatar - Seawolf Monsters

Sunday, July 11, 2010

I'm an SL Skin Whore

I'm certainly not a fashion blogger, but I have a problem and I decided to admit it and accept it. My addiction began when I discovered []Trap[] Chromatic Skins and it just keeps getting worse. I have a weakness for the grey/drow skin tones with coloured tattoos (and there must be facial tattoos).

So today I may have to defriend two individuals who should know better than to tempt me with something I can't possibly resist.

It began when Winter blogged about Gauze (formerly Illuminati) skins and that meant I went looking for their main store and bought the one you see above (well OK I might have purchased more than one).

Then Dale blogged about alpha.tribe. sigh

I only went to visit out of curiousity. Really! However, it turns out you not only get a selection of skins in your folder, you also get these wonderful character clothes. Male and female! I couldn't in good conscience resist these amazing offers.

And yes I may have purchased one or two more than I'm showing you here. And by the way, the second two photos were taken at Remix Yo Life which is still under construction but worth visiting. :)

I looked at my Linden balance and blamed it all on my two ex-friends.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

The Evolution of VW Machinima

Imagine trying to sell the first virtual world. Now imagine you're George Lucas trying to sell the first virtual world. It's 1986 and you want people to meet "Habitat".

Fast forward and Machinima is an art form not just a marketing tool. The year is 2010 and the Shanghai Expo includes an exhibit of virtual world machinima. I selected one from an artist I hadn't encountered before (Ketk Petrov) - but go to and search on Shanghai Expo Machinima Open This End to see many more.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Cranky in the Metaverse - The Lazy Tourist

See the heavy set guy in the loud shirt in the above photo? That's me in Activeworlds. Seems the default when you go to check the place out is "Male Tourist". I played around with the basic instruction/tutorial but didn't get as far as changing my avatar - which I think would have made it possible for me to be the "Female Tourist". Registration requires the payment of a fee (which is admittedly small - $6.95/month I think) but I wasn't happy/curious enough to go through with it.

I must be really cranky today or else Second Life has spoiled me. The complete inability to move my camera around the way I wanted was way too frustrating. I could switch between 1st/3rd and 4th person but I couldn't move the angle of my view around and it was (seemingly) impossible to look at myself in the face. (It reminded me of my frustrations with Blue Mars.) This could just be my inexperience or else the tools just don't allow for it. I tried taking a shot of another "Male Tourist" so you could see what I looked like and the camera automatically downloaded a photo with the same name which didn't overwrite the first one. I didn't stay long - there are apparently some things I expect as a baseline to operating in a virtual world and I couldn't find them in Activeworlds.

One of the reasons I went to Activeworlds is that I want to spend more time visiting sites in the metaverse - I like to know what's out there and what's going on. I looked on my desktop this morning and counted 14 vw icons - 14! I don't have Emerald on there (I've used it and like some of the functionality but found the performance less than expected) and have kept only one alternate viewer - Imprudence.

Imprudence has stayed on my desktop but not because I use it very often - I honestly find it glitchy - when I logged onto SL today with it there was no location bar/about land or Linden dollar information on the screen. What Imprudence has is the ability to easily select grids from the main viewer logon screen. This may be available in other viewers but this is the only one I've seen so far. And this is what I want.

I want the ability to decide where I'm going to travel today without having to open a different viewer. Miserable and irrational of me I suppose - but I don't want to have to keep adding to my collection of viewer icons. What I want is my favourite SL viewer to give me the option of visiting other places in the metaverse. Not only will some of the clutter be gone on my desktop but it'll mean I can go explore without having to deal with changes in viewer interfaces/colour schemes/functionality. Think of it like taking a cross country road trip. I don't have to change cars every time I cross a provincial border in Canada - I want that ease in my virtual universe.

Make it easy for me please. I can't be the only lazy/cranky metaversal explorer out there.

Well OK maybe I am - but I still want this fixed. :)

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Rough Justice in Second Life

There I was sitting on the roof of my Linden Home sorting inventory (cue angelic music and the image of a halo over my head) when I received the following IM:

  • Newbie Alt: Your unamerican ravings shouldn't be allowed and you should be banned.
  • Me: My what?
  • Newbie Alt: you are anti-democratic!
  • Me: I'm not anti-democratic...I'm a Canadian.
  • Newbie Alt: doesn't matter

The person then logged off leaving me to ponder the concept of "unamerican" and conduct research on the topic. As I perused the various definitions and permutations available I realized I had a visitor.

His/her name was Sputum. No really it was (I doubt s/he gets many dates with that hanging over his/her head).

  • Me: Welcome! Can I help you?
  • Sputum: You will come with me.
  • Me: ?
  • Sputum: You will come with me now.
  • Me: Where? and what if I don't want to?
  • Sputum: To the Second Life Halls of Justice to answer charges. And if you won't come willingly my friend Trixie will persuade you.

That's a Trixie? This thing was 8m tall. I counted 23 gun barrels and at least half a dozen large razor-sharp pincers before I found myself teleported away (how do they do that?).

I arrived in this strange cavern where I waited for what seemed like hours. I couldn't stand up or tp away and kept expecting to hear the theme song from the Twilight Zone. It didn't start playing but I did finally hear a quiet cough.

"I'll be your lawyer for these proceedings."

An ostrich named Gertrude is going to be my lawyer?

  • Me: What is this place? What are the charges? Are you any good?
  • Gertrude: We are in the holding cell in the Second Life Halls of Justice where the final and absolute determination of guilt and innocence is made in this world. You have been charged with unamerican activities. This is my first case but I've read all the books.

Well that filled me with confidence. Gertrude didn't say anything else - even when prompted and so the two of us waited in silence. After what felt like another few hours Trixie showed up and motioned with her various lethal appendages for us to follow her.

I was directed to stand on a dais suspended hundreds of meters in the air (Gertrude took her damn time getting there it should be noted). A voice out of nowhere boomed (and echoed) throughout the chamber announcing the arrival of Chief Justice McCartherops (at this point I'm thinking stuff that shouldn't be printed on a PG blog).

A puff of smoke (geez they like theater in the Halls of Justice) and he appears.

A giant bug. I'm about to be tried by a giant bug. A really really really ugly giant bug.

  • Chief Justice McCartherops: You are charged with unamerican activities. How do you plead?
  • Me: I'm a Canadian.
  • Chief Justice McCartherops: That is irrelevant. Are you now or have you ever been a member of the TechnoCommunist Party?
  • Me: You're making that up!
  • Chief Justice McCartherops: You will answer or I will instruct the bailiff to enforce summary judgement.

I turned to ask Gertrude if she had anything to say or suggest.

I don't think she likes bugs.

  • Me: I don't belong to any party and certainly not to something called the TechnoCommunist party.
  • Chief Justice McCartherops: You coders are all alike. You think we don't know what you're up to? You think this court will turn a blind eye to your machinations and devious plots?
  • Me: I'm a Canadian not a coder. I couldn't code my way out of the proverbial paper bag!

The "Chief Justice" seemed a trifle agitated.

  • Chief Justice McCartherops: You have disseminated seditious material, anti democratic and unamerican in nature. You have presented no defense (Gertrude whimpered) and leave us with no recourse. I convict you of all charges and sentence you to the ultimate sanction.
  • Me: ? What the hell is that?

Sputum peered out from around a pillar:

  • Sputum: It's Trixie!

Trixie? 8m tall Trixie with enough weapons to take on an army and the personality of a broken tea kettle? That Trixie?

It wasn't pretty and it wasn't quick. My alt had to come inworld to take the final photo.

I bet the members of the FIC don't have to put up with this kind of stuff.





Credit for the Halls of Justice goes to Alex Bader for his Skye {Veralarti} Space Castle and to Alpha Point for the scene of the ultimate sanction.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Musical Interlude - Maria Maria

I haven't been able to get this song out of my head since visiting the "de Maria, de Mariana, de Madalena…" exhibit yesterday. So I'm sharing. :)

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Porto - "de Maria, de Mariana, de Madalena…"

I did a random tp to a showcased sim this! The "de Maria, de Mariana, de Madalena…" installation by Meilo Minotaur and CapCat Ragu is stunning!

You arrive at what I'll call The Giving Tree and there are 3 gifts of av's. The note at the arrival point implies that they're useful for men to wear while touring the exhibits so they can experience them as a woman. The image above is "Madalena".

Also from the notecard:

"de Maria, de Mariana, de Madalena…" is a project conceived for the fifth edition of All My Independent Women which, more than an exhibition that occurs irregularly across Portugal, is a platform for feminist thinking. While most projects are on display in Coimbra at Casa da Esquina, between May 21st and June 18th of 2010, others find their place elsewhere in the city. Our project takes form in the virtual environment of Second Life.

I arrived just as the sun came up and it was magical. Some parts are disturbing. All are thought provoking and beautiful in their way. You can see the rest of the photos I took (and much better ones by others) at Koinup. This is well worth a visit!