Playing House in Second Life

I used to be one of those people who would say "I don't understand the need for realistic houses in SL. Why do I need a kitchen? My avatar doesn't eat!" and "Oh why don't we all just live inside fluffy cupcakes or on top of rainbows." You know the type. That was me.

Now? I love nothing more than finding the perfect rug or hall tree for my home. I put up and tear down houses at a rate of at least one a month. I have no idea why doing this gives me pleasure but I have given up trying to understand it myself. I enjoy it. I do it. The end.

Here are a few pictures from my most recent adventure in playing house. I have the *best* kitchen!












I am absolutely not going to list and name the designer of every piece of furniture and decor item because this is not a Home and Garden blog. Having said that if there is anything in these pictures you need to know more about, by all means ask in the comments or shoot me an email. I am happy to track down the name of the designer and send you a LM to the store if I can.

As always these are all raw shots, straight from SL. Click to view bigger and more detailed images please.

The Real Problem - The Tier is Too Damn High



The other day I posed a question about tip jars in public parks like the lovely Calas Galadhon. I meant no disrespect to Tymus Tenk and Truch Meredith who are the creative force behind the Park. To the contrary, I think Calas Galadhon is the kind of effort that makes SL great. Generous, creative people who have the financial means to bring an ever changing landscape to Second Life for the sheer joy of building sims and community are the foundation upon which the virtual world is built.

You should absolutely read more about Calas Galadhon here and I strongly encourage everyone to visit and, yes, drop some Lindens in the tip jar. It would be a sad day if the Park contracted or closed. Once you visit I am sure you will agree. In fact there are a few live music performances you might want to attend coming up over the next few days.
  • HammerFla Magic @ Halloween Pavilion October 21, 2014 at 7:00 pm – 8:00 pm

  • Voodoo Shilton @ Halloween Pavilion October 22, 2014 at 7:00 pm – 8:00 pm

  • Antonio Galloway @ Halloween Pavilion October 24, 2014 at 7:00 pm – 8:00 pm
All three shows take place in an amazing pavilion on the sim Darkwood which is shown above. You can TP here http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Breakfree/0/0/4   If music is not your thing but you love the national holiday of Second Life, aka Halloween, you could not find a better sim than Darkwood. The experience is written up in the SL Destination Guide with the following description:
With Tolkein’s Mirkwood as inspiration, the creators of Calas Galadhon bring you an entire dark Elven sim to explore this Halloween season. With a journey through the darkest of woods and caverns, over waterfalls and rapids, through treetops and Elven ruins all the way to the mountaintop pavilion, this unique mix of beauty and terror is well worth the horror you'll find along the way.
TP to Darkwood at this SLurl http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Breakfree/248/245/21

The question is not whether Calas Galadhon should be asking for tips. The Parks are amazing, the creators are generous, the events and experiences are the kinds of activities that make Second Life come alive. You should go and support Tymus and Truck if you enjoy what they create. I am convinced you will love Calas Galadhon.

The real question is why does Linden Lab give discounts to Land Barons and provide free sims to the LEA while non profits, educational organizations and content providers like Tymus and Truck have to pay full price? I understand and appreciate the difficulties in implementing a tier structure that is fair and I would not want the task. Still, I think all of us can agree that Second Life tier is too damn high.

EDITED:

I have been corrected in the comments by some intelligent and thoughtful friends. Education and non profit organizations do indeed get a discount.

Letting Go of Irrational Fears in Second Life


Last night I made the mistake of engaging with a group of High School friends on Facebook in a conversation about Ebola. I concluded one very important thing and that is logic is no match for fear. When people are afraid no amount of rational discussion of relative risk is going to change their mind. Ebola is coming and we are all going to die so you better have your pandemic prepping done already or the marauders will be eating your food stocks by next week.

Ahem.

This morning I woke up thinking about how fear holds us back from doing things, even in Second Life.  Things like mesh body parts are really scary to me. There are huds and matching and things called appliers and it always seemed to me you need a PhD in fashion and a billion dollar Linden budget just to get dressed. I have been intimidated. But, I have always hated the standard avatar hands too. They look like meat hooks even on the best skins.

This morning I decided fear is stupid and if thousands of people in SL can manage mesh hands then so can I.

Well. Now. Don't I feel foolish. Put on hands. TP to Pink Fuel, Buy Appliers. Click on appliers. Done.

My hands are beautiful and one silly little fear is banished from my SLife.  Now if eliminating the big fears from our lives were just that simple.

Wonderful Sim to Visit in Second Life

This morning I visited a sim that reminded me SL can be incredibly beautiful.  It has been a long time since I visited a place that made me take notice but this lovely homestead called The Trace, created by Kylie Jaxxon did just that today.


Based on her profile it seems Ms Jaxxon changes her sim out for the seasons and she generously invites people to visit. The area is very picturesque and after you visit you might like to take a look at the images on The Trace flickr group.  My pictures are straight out of SL, using the region default Windlight settings. I have done no post processing because I am writing this from my work computer. (Please don't tell my boss!) Others have posted much more artistic images to The Trace Flickr Group.


In addition to lovely vistas and paths bounded by rock walls, the sim has quirky touches like sailboats floating on a waterlogged path under a tree tunnel. Of course there are places to relax with a friend after your walk around the sim. It seems to me around every bend there is something interesting to catch the eye. Take your time! While The Trace might seem simple at first glance there are many subtle touches that makes this sim special.


 If you are looking for a place to explore today I highly recommend a stroll through The Trace.

Thank you Ms. Jaxxon for sharing your creative build with the rest of us!

Pondering Tip Jars and Supporting Public Sims in Second Life


Ty Tenk & Truck Meredith are the owners of 11 sims they call Calas Galadhon. They offer lush landscaping in the form of mountains, beaches, forests all of which are open to the public. These parks are beautiful and are in a constant state of change to keep them interesting and up to date. They offer concerts and seasonal events which are typically well attended and for good reason. There is much fun to be had on these sims. I have visited numerous times over the years.

Today I stopped at Misty Mountains to have a look around and upon landing I got a notecard that read as follows:
WELCOME TO CALAS GALADHON PARK SIMS!
For the past 5 years we have carried the full cost all 11 sims on our own.  The total Monthly cost of the sims is $1,485. in US Dollars.  We need your help now.

In 2014 it is NECESSARY  that the Park sims be largely funded by its visitors. If you enjoy the Park sims and wish them to remain Public and Open , please take part and donate..  You can keep up on how the Park donations are going at the donation kiosks for each sim and at WWW.CALASGALADHON.COM
.
Any amount of donation is appreciated and does indeed make a difference !

Our deepest gratitude to those who have supported us over the past 5 years.
Ty Tenk & Truck Meredith / owners

The notecard got me thinking about our responsibility to the people who offer us experiences in Second Life. When I go to listen to live music I always tip the performer and the venue. Yet, I have visited public parks so many times without leaving a single linden in the tip jar. I feel all sorts of guilty now! Clearly these individuals have invested a lot of money over the years in their sims which they generously open to the public.

Then again, when we operated Art Screamer we did it for the joy it brought us. In fact, we didn't always have a tip jar out. It didn't really occur to us to ask for money and when some of our artists insisted I felt a little weird. We operated our sim for the fun of it and because it made us happy to do so. We were not in business and there never was a business plan. I have always thought of SL as my hobby and as such spending money on it is just part of what I expect. When we did get tips to support the sim it was nice but not expected.

So I am not sure. I respect everyone's right to put out a tip jar. Asking for help is just fine and as we know tier is too damn high. But I don't really know if I am responsible for supporting someone else's hobby.

I need to mull this over I guess. What do you think?


(All images are straight out of SL with no post processing so what you see is what you get.  Click through for larger and more detailed views)

The line between joy and sorrow is sometimes indistinct


A close friend of mine had a son who died a little over a year ago. This beautiful child had cancer and despite the best efforts of his doctors his little body eventually gave out. The saddest part is he died because he had appendicitis and he was so weak from treatment he could not withstand surgery. His family was heartbroken and probably will be so forever.

At one point his doctor wanted to try "one more thing" and the boy simply said "why do you think this is going to work when nothing else has?" He was a wise child and he understood his own fate.

As I said - heartbreaking.

My friend and his partner decided to have another child. They made this decision because they wanted to bring joy back to their family. She got pregnant right away because their ages suggested they did not have a lot of time to waste.

My friend's new son was born two days ago. The baby weighed close to 10lbs. The family's joy is immeasurable.

Sunday Morning and My House is Full of Teenagers


My daughter's best friend dropped out of college. She came home Friday and the group of them went out last night. Now there is a pile of 18 year old young women asleep in my daughter's queen size bed. Out of 4 best friends who graduated in June only my daughter remains at her original college choice. And, she is actively working on a transfer application.

Today feels like it might be a gut wrenching day. I am relaxing in the bath to center my thoughts and gather the strength I will need to provide sound life advice when they wake up. I know they will want to talk but I really don't know how to explain that sometimes things just don't work out as we planned. I honestly have no idea what to say to them and I am not looking forward to the conversation.

Parenting is not for the weak.

I am a Sucker for "Can You Please Help Me for a Few Hours?"

You see I said, sure I will help you for a few hours without waiting for critical details. Like the fact that she wanted my help today, which is Saturday. My job is stressful and the hours are long. Often the work I do makes people mad and it is unusual for anyone to say thank you. I work in research compliance so my job often involves telling people what they can't do. No one like the person who says "no."

Anyway.

Today is Saturday. I kind of don't want to sell shirts at the gift shop at our Open House. I would much rather read a book or even clean my house. But M is the nicest lady in the world and I promised her I would help so off I go to work.

Blerg.

To make matters worse here is what it looks like outside.


In case it is not entirely obvious from this phone picture, it is pouring rain and cold.

Here is what it looks like inside


In case it is not entirely obvious from this phone picture, my husband made a fire which is serving to distract you from how much I need to straighten up, dust and vacuum. Or at least I hope it is.

Did I mention the gift shop at Open House is outside under a tent?  Yep. I am leaving my fireplace to go stand under a tent in the cold rain to sell shirts because a really nice lady asked me for help. And that pretty much sums up my day.