SL is either a game or a tool but whatever it is, the virtual world that occupies our time and our thoughts is just not that meaningful in the grand scheme of things. Whether or not Philip is CEO or display names set us up for griefing or the cost of tier - these are problems of people of privilege in a world where clean drinking water is the daily concern of many. I try to keep my problems in perspective.
Having said that, something has happened to my SL that has moved it from the category of "fun" to the category of "obligation." I have been trying to figure out how that slow migration happened, seemingly without me even noticing.
I started blogging for myself and never really thought I would have actual readership. I started writing for New World Notes because I thought it would be a fun job and a way to meet interesting people. I was tired of putting cash into SL and I wanted a way to make enough Linden to pay for my shopping habit and for tipping musicians and venues.
It is nice when people take a minute to say "hey I read your blog and I love it." Yes, it pumps up my ego. I admit to enjoying the compliments when they come. I hear about fun events and sims before others because people want me to give them publicity in New World Notes. Yes, I like seeing things early and being able to share what I have learned with other people. Is there a little ego boost in that too? Sure.
The downside of all this is the haters who feel free to criticize everything from what I say and do to what I wear and who I associate with inworld and outside SL. I have not yet (and probably never will) have a thick skin about being on the receiving end of hate. Lately I seem to be a hate magnet and its getting me down.
As I approach the end of my 365 I am thinking about change. I am examining my SL habits and wondering what comes next. In January I will have been writing about events on NWN for two full years, which is about a year longer than my personal goal. I am beginning to think about 2011 and wondering what is has in store for me.
Stick around. More than likely I will be writing about whatever happens.
Today I visited Jeepers Creepers which is an excellent, and I do mean *extremely* well crafted, Halloween experience in Second Life. The build is at the 9 sim Calas Galadhon park. More about the Park below.
The Halloween build is lonely and stark and honestly creepy but not in a blood and gore way. The creep factor comes from moody music and floating objects that lend an air of the supernatural. The sims are quite interactive so touch things and sit on them as you explore. Things that say "don't touch this" usually are trying to get you to engage, of course, but you should not need a blinking red arrow to get you to interact! Let your curiousity and sense of adventure be your guide. I do think Jeepers Creepers would be especially fun with a group of friends, although I explored on my own and enjoyed myself.
A few words to the wise -- the sim rules say no weapons so you are going to have to outrun the zombies. They *will* bite you. Remember not all treats are good for your tummy and while this is not part of the build itself, if you find you are being followed by a gesturbator who refuses to actually speak but wanders at your heels saying "I don't kno bout all dat" in a voice that sounds suspiciously like someone you know, a quick TP home will solve the problem for you. (Gah gestures!)
Visit Jeepers Creepers via this SLurl.
From the Notecard at Calas Galadhon
Just a few rules
Please out of respect for other guests:
To help keep lag down : No POOFERS, particles, etc.
That said ...
Come immerse yourself in the early American coastal countryside that is ‘CALAS’.
There are now 9 sims to the Park.
Each sim has a unique feel, yet are tied together with verdant fields & farms, high mountain meadows and winding streams through its woodlands & valleys which eventually lead to the natural beauty of the coast. There is also the island of Armenelos where the 'Santorini' build by Bora Rossini , can now be found.
This is not a tour, but a chance to cuddle, sit back and see the sims by air. It takes about 40 minutes. Probably the best overview of the Park is a short amount of time.
REZZERS: Boats, horses, buggy
You can use your own horse .. just no rezzing of saddle attachements.etc
Explore by small boat, horse, buggy, buckboard or foot. You will find the main rezzers for each of these found near the docks & livery stable, a short walk from your landing point. Additional rezzers are located throughout the sims so you can feel free to get off your boat or horse and explore on foot for a while.
We consider requests for small , intimate weddings& receptions here (less than 20 avatars .. no more than 10 on the homestead sims) and have built a reception area around the Conservatory on the north side of the main sim where you land. If interested please contact Truck or myself, Tymus, for more information.
We’ve placed cuddles and slow dance Intan dance balls throughout the sims. Romance is definitely an important element here . Some of the cuddle areas are hidden ..in fact … there are a lot of ‘details’…special spots you may miss if you don’t take the time to explore, touch & look all about you.
NO RENTALS ...ALL homes are open to the public.
This is strictly a PARK sim, meaning no rentals … no shopping … ALL HOMES & BUILDINGS ARE OPEN for you … these sims a gift to our friends and SL family, to provide a spot to sit back , enjoy and find some peace amidst the beauty of our natural world brought into Second Life.
While we support two of our favorite charities … donation kiosks at the landing point … we ask nothing for the opportunity to share our home but that all visitors treat each other with kindness & respect.
JOIN OUR ANNOUNCMENT GROUP to keep up to date on whats happening at the park..We do not spam the group.
The only non park presence is found in the HIV/AIDS EDUCATION & LEARNING CENTER and the home location for ENVISION LANDSCAPING & TERRAFORM, my business in SL … both are found along the small street near the docks.
Finally and above all, we want you to have a good time while you are here … to feel better when you leave. Come often and stay as long as you like.
Thank you, Tymus Tenk & Truck Meredith, owners
I spent a little bit of time at a lovely sim today. I have to go back to explore further. It is beautiful and there are quests! Oh how I love quests! From the notecard at the landing point, here is more information.
Welcome to Elven Realm's Enchanged Forest
Magical fantasy forest dedicated to the preservation of the unicorn and all woodland fauna. Please take the time to explore and enjoy this beautiful, "enchanted", and somewhat whimsical fantasy world created by Andrek Lowell. Walk the forest in order to discover all the many hidden treasures ! When entering the dark forest, please change your environment to "midnight".
And for fun a totally unrelated voice post
I think I spend so much time documenting Second Life that I sometimes forget to *experience* Second Life. That is a sad state of affairs folks. Its pretty clear I have lost my spark so I am especially glad to share with you a sim that made me *feel* SL again.
This magnificent art sim is called Mysterious Wave and is work by Cherry Manga, Elfe Imako & Anley Piers-- the same team who gave us enigma. The place is watery and stark. It is filled with an eclectic grouping of art which ranges from the beautiful to the bizarre. Some of the works are interactive, others are static, all are interesting. This sim is an example of what makes Second Life different from other virtual spaces like (pft) Facebook and (pew pew peew) World of Warcraft. Three dimensional user generated content that stretches our minds and touches our hearts is what keeps me logging back in day after day, for years on end.
While I was at Mysterious Wave I ran into my friend ColeMarie Soleil who shared a link to a video she was making at this captivating sim. I honestly cried when I watched. It has been way too long since I felt the magic of SL. This place, these artists -- they helped me feel it again. Please go. I hope you love the experience. I trust you will.
Today has been a great day. I hung out with my kids who were both cooperative and making me laugh. I cooked a bunch of yummy food, including decadent cookies that my mom used to make for holidays. We hung out in the garden for surely what was one of the last nice afternoons before the weather turns.
Then I put on an outfit made of leather and flames, added some creepy red eyes and hung out inside a volcano. You can't beat that can you?
I logged in this morning to clear messages and since the Burn2 sims were virtually empty I decided to see if I could enjoy the sights. I was floating around soror nishi's build when a friend contacted me about an event. We finished discussing business and the conversation below took place. It saddens me that I seem to be having variants of this discussion a lot lately.
[04:30 AM] Friend: are you worried at all about SL's future with Philip Lindin leaving?
[04:30 AM] Chestnut Rau: no
[04:30 AM] Chestnut Rau: I mean
[04:30 AM] Chestnut Rau: I am worried about SL's future yes
[04:30 AM] Friend: i just talked to a friend (i've been on hiatus) and she was telling me to backup my inventory and look for another grid
[04:31 AM] Chestnut Rau: but Philip leaving is the least of it
[04:31 AM] Chestnut Rau: yeah
[04:31 AM] Friend: heh, that was my response.
[04:31 AM] Chestnut Rau: InWorldz is pretty cool
[04:31 AM] Friend: have you noticed a lull in SL activities lately?
[04:31 AM] Chestnut Rau: YES
[04:31 AM] Chestnut Rau: totally
[04:31 AM] Friend: she recommended InWroldz too
[04:31 AM] Friend: hmm.
[04:31 AM] Friend: we need to work on that
[04:31 AM] Chestnut Rau: soror and Wiz have accounts over there
[04:31 AM] Chestnut Rau: lots of art folks
[04:31 AM] Chestnut Rau: I dont think the Edus are there
[04:32 AM] Chestnut Rau: but is growing
[04:32 AM] Friend: i wonder if it's related to the RL economy. SL mimics RL, RL mimics SL
[04:32 AM] Chestnut Rau: some of it may be that
[04:32 AM] Chestnut Rau: some of it is LL being idiots
[04:32 AM] Chestnut Rau: some of it is ppl are tired
[04:32 AM] Chestnut Rau: dunno
[04:32 AM] Chestnut Rau: I am tired
[04:33 AM] Chestnut Rau: InWorldz
[04:33 AM] Chestnut Rau: Reaction grid
[04:33 AM] Friend: me too
[04:33 AM] Chestnut Rau: I want to check out Hypergrid
[04:33 AM] Chestnut Rau: we can set up our own grids and hop between
[04:33 AM] Chestnut Rau: now that is a cool idea
[04:33 AM] Friend: i just registered at InWorldz - will d/l and take a look later.
[04:34 AM] Friend: OpenSim is still there
[04:34 AM] Chestnut Rau: you can use Imprudence at InWorlds
[04:34 AM] Friend: not easy to get rolling right away though
[04:34 AM] Chestnut Rau: I totally recommend that too
[04:34 AM] Friend: bottom line i hope SL comes back around
[04:34 AM] Chestnut Rau: I do too!
[04:34 AM] Chestnut Rau: I dont want SL to die
[04:34 AM] Friend: i wish all the grids could connect easier
[04:35 AM] Friend: well - time will tell. there will certainly be somewhere for us to go!
[04:35 AM] Chestnut Rau: yes
[04:35 AM] Chestnut Rau: absolutely
[04:35 AM] Chestnut Rau: i am fearful of the diaspora
[04:35 AM] Chestnut Rau: but it will happen
[04:36 AM] Chestnut Rau: we all need to stay in touch via social media so we know how to find each other
[04:36 AM] Friend: yes, and most will not make it over the river
[04:36 AM] Chestnut Rau: that is my thought
[04:36 AM] Friend: yes
[04:36 AM] Friend: god knows facebook is here for a while yet! hah
[04:36 AM] Chestnut Rau: UGH
[04:36 AM] Chestnut Rau: i hate FB with a passion
[04:36 AM] Chestnut Rau: I have an account there but I honestly never look at it
[04:36 AM] Friend: hehe - i'm impartial, but i use it to stay in touch with fam and friends
[04:37 AM] Chestnut Rau: yes
[04:37 AM] Chestnut Rau: lovely to chat with you
[04:37 AM] Chestnut Rau: ttys!
[04:37 AM] Friend: ttfn!
[04:37 AM] Friend: tc
Here are some highlights from my day.
By 9:10am a manager on my team left a meeting in tears saying she needed a moment.
At 9:30am she came back to the meeting and suggested it would be "more than a moment."
10am I had a Management Group meeting during which one person rolled their eyes at my insistance that we comply with federal regulations and my boss poked fun at me for expressing the strong opinion that we ought not spend (more) money we don't actually have.
By 11:30am we got a ridiculous assignment from a NSF Program Manager, with an impossible but non negotiable deadline.
At 12:30 I got a visit from a scientist who bitched about random things for an hour. My lunch got cold. I threw it out.
Approximately 1:15 a different manager on my team was in my office in hysterics about details of an audit, which are mostly irelevant.
By 2:00 the person who left the 9:00am meeting announced she was going on "family medical leave" for an indeterminate amount of time.
At 2:20 the manager who had been hysterical about the audit began to hyperventilate because one of our employees was admitted to the hospital due to a heart attack. (no lie)
3:00 I had an appointment to give blood at the blood drive I organized on campus today. (Did I mention that?)
At 3:20 I was back at my desk, having failed not one but two hemoglobin tests. "Sorry darling but you are anemic."
At 3:30 I started to work on Choices while returning phone calls.
I was interrupted by random ass stupid shit about 10 times between 4pm and 5pm.
Then everyone went home.
I worked until 6pm when I realized, since my spouse is in the UK for 10 days, my kids were home and I better get to the kitchen and cook before they eat cookies for dinner.
By 7:30 the kids were fed and the kitchen was clean.
I worked on Choices until 9:17, popped in and took this picture.
"Will tomorrow be a quieter day?"
06:35 PM] [MAGIC NOOK] Magic 8-Ball: As I see it, yes, Chestnut.
I was at Burn2 early this morning hoping to beat the lag. I think the lag camped out on the playa all night. At least I didn't crash over and over. I started to explore and honestly I am finding Burn2 next to impossible to move around. I will try again later. It is frustrating.
I have been so cranky lately. The list of reasons is long but here is a sanitized summary with the names changed to protect the innocent/guilty.
1) I am totally over loud social networkers who feel free to tell other people how to conduct their public lives as well as their private lives. Honestly, the rest of us adults are perfectly capable of making our own choices without your guidance. (This is not about any single individual. If you are so arrogant as to think I am talking about you, you are wrong.)
2) I am angry with people who are so conflict averse that they would rather be disloyal to their friends than stand up and be supportive, even in private.
3) Linden Lab is so effing lame it makes me want to scream. Any company that can alienate loyal customers so completely over a period of years deserves to go out of business.
4) I want to be able to take my inventory and relocate to another virtual world. I want certain individuals, spaces and events to come with me. Sadly, if I go I have to leave behind things I am not ready to give up just yet.
5) All of this makes me think I should just close the computer and head down to my studio, turn on the torch and melt glass for the foreseeable future.
My son is about to turn 12. He is by all objective measures brilliant and like many children who score 99 out of 100 on standardized tests, he has issues getting along with his peers at times. Partly this is true because he talks like he is 18 and the other kids don't know what to make of him. Partly it is because he is not the least bit athletic and since he gave up playing soccer and lacrosse he no longer has team standings, practice schedules and game strategy in common with the other boys. A big piece of his social awkwardness is the fact that, like his mama, my boy is a hard core introvert.
I am not sure how the equation between social awkwardness and introversion works. Are we awkward because social interactions drain us or are we introverted because we are awkward around other people. I can't even posit my question clearly let alone offer illuminating commentary. What I do know is both my son and I would rather spend an evening on our computers playing games, writing or creating images than going to a party.
There are people in the blogosphere would would tell you that because I prefer my solitary, blissfully quiet online life to going out to parties somehow my life is out of balance. With all due respect, I disagree.
If I spent my time writing a novel or painting or making bronze sculpture people would call me an artist and not suggest that my life is out of balance because it does not involve going to a bar. If I spent my evenings reading dense philosophical tombs people would think I am an intellectual and not comment on the lack of appointments in my calendar. If I spent my evenings testing recipes for my soon to be released cook book no one would wonder why I have not seen all the latest films.
[Long ranting text about how people are too judgmental and preachy deleted due to the inherent irony in judging and preaching about how people should stop judging and preaching.]
My apologies for ranty emo-ness.
I wrote about The Ripple on NWN a while back. In that post I said
Douglas Story and Desdemona Enfield, the creators of DynaFleur and Storm Eye, have put their creative minds together to bring us another fantastic build called The Ripple, a Meditation on Waves. The soundscape for the work was created by Emily Wilkins. This kinetic, interactive build is composed of approximately 600 prims arranged in an architectural fashion, which display video that changes in a fluid, rippling way in response to the visitor's touch. The movement of the prims is accompanied by a wave of audio. I explored the work alone and loved it but I imagine it would be great fun when enjoyed by groups of people, all interacting with the art simultaneously.
It is really a beautiful installation. Check it out here.
Burn2 opens on Saturday. I was lucky enough to get Press access to the 6 sims early. I always love the cacophony of creativity that is Burning Life. I admit to having a hard time getting used to calling it Burn2. No matter what you call it, the celebration of art, community and fire is one of my favorite events in SL.
Search the map for Burning Man and you will find the sims. TP anywhere and have a look around. There is plenty to see and plenty to do. As is typical of these things there is a lot of uninteresting work mixed in with some real gems. Finding the amazing work at Burn2 is the kind of SL treasure hunt I love.
Imagine if you will a small girl, probably around 4 years old. She has long hair the color of butter, enormous blue eyes and pink cheeks. She looks like the picture of innocence until she puts a chubby hand on her hip which is pushed unnaturally to the right. She tosses her hair with all the expertise of a bar hopping twenty something, looks up at you and croons "drama, drama, drama." You grin and ask her to explain and she tells a complex tale involving her middle school sister, a boy and..you guessed it...another girl.
This exchange happened many years ago. The small child in question was the precocious daughter of a friend and she regularly entertained us with astute observations and critical insight offered with a big attitude that was incongruous with her tiny body and age. She is now in middle school herself and is no doubt creating drama, drama, drama in her own right. I thought about that moment today because I think it was the first time I remember someone talking about personal conflict and referring to it as "drama."
So far this week I have heard "drama" used to describe everything from the Linden Lab price hike, to someone quitting an inworld job, to conflict between people who had been friends for just a few months. The word "drama" is so over used as to be rendered completely meaningless. The word itself is frequently used with such judgmental overtones that I bristle when I hear it uttered.
Conflict happens. Adults can have differences of personal opinion and friendships can end without it turning into combat or spectator sport.
ETA: Tateru has a comment from LL.
I invited the Lab to offer a better explanation than mine, and I have received a response from a Lab spokesperson.
No, there is not a profit crisis at Linden Lab.
Now, the reason for slashing the discounts:
Ultimately, we made the business decision that as we focus on improving Second Life for all users, we will no longer provide the level of special treatment previously offered to educators and nonprofits, which includes ending the 50% discount these organizations have received.
All I can think of is the song Grace sings with the lyric "What the fuck were you thinking? What the fuck?"
Forever on the academic calendar in my mind,
Fall is the season of beginnings.
It is time for fresh starts, new clothes and haircuts.
The days get shorter as the humidity of summer
gives way to dark evenings and crisp mornings,
breath turning to puffs of white as
kids in sweatshirts wait for the bus, hoods up.