Archive for the ‘Lifestyles’ Category

This Is a (House) Moving Year

After my landlord at Pandora Island decided they had to close shop, I moved to another sim and bought my first plot of ground.  That was about two months ago.  Now he’s gone out of business. (I can’t blame either of them on this; one of the things dragging on SL’s economy is the RL economy.  People just don’t always have the discretionary income that lets them buy islands like we did in 2007.)

I checked out someone the Pandora landlord suggested, and the one lot they had in my price range was surrounded by hills I couldn’t drop down — they were the property lines, essentially — and had a pond along one side that was also a terraforming no-no.  I didn’t know this until I had put down a week’s tier on purchase.  Apparently non-refundable, as well, or else I’m just too tired of the whole affair to try for my grand back.

Well, one of my cohorts on the Fashion Emergency group came through, suggesting her landlord, and I found a nice apartment to rent.  The good news:  it’s in my price range.  The bad news:  I may have jumped in on a long-term tenant who just missed their rent by a day or so.  The place is loaded with furniture I can’t delete — including a room of kid’s furniture, and a Hello Kitty rug that’s driving me up the wall for some reason.  (I think I just don’t like Hello Kitty; too kawaii cute, as in Cute Overload, as in “Himawari-chan is so cuu-uuuuu-uute!”.)  Any road on that, I’m letting the landlord here check with the previous tenant to see if they’re still interested.  I did a little research on the group page, and the tenant had a recent login, so it’s entirely possible.  This landlord is willing to refund me if it comes to it, though, which is a Good Thing.

After diligent searching, I may have located a lot that I can move to if worse comes to worst at this place.  It looks like the neighbors are more diverse than the herds of My Little Ponies I was surrounded with in Parkside, and the tier, while over what I thought, is reachable.  But if I lose out on this lot through needing to wait….  Well, take a look at the first picture.

UPDATE, August 28, 2:13 a:

The old tenant is no more in the apartment.  I’m laying it out as I get a chance.  If I get this place finished, which I never did with the Parkside site, I’ll shoot some photos and let you see.

Get Along, Little Doggies

Taking a break before I start unpacking

Whoop-ee-ti-yi-o get along little doggies,
It’s your misfortune and none of my own.
Whoop-ee-ti-yi-o get along little doggies,
You know that Wyoming will be your new home.

— Woody Guthrie, “Get Along Little Doggies”

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A sign that all is not as we could wish yet in the RL economy:  two days ago, my landlords with Nukunono Estates contacted us on Pandora and Pitcairn Islands and said they would have to close down the sims, as they just weren’t getting enough tenants in to cover their tier.  I’d been on Pandora for close to two years, my longest tenancy in Second Life; and so having the virtual rug pulled out from under me again was something of a wrench.

Instead of the search taking a few days this time, I lucked out right away.  Indeed, I had one offer from a friend to take up a quarter sim for myself; but the tier was far too much for me to handle on that; another friend pointed out to me a plurk that I had not noticed of someone offering a lot.  If things don’t work out here — which I hope they will — I’ll reconsider that one (assuming it’s still open).  In the meantime, though, I’d committed to this place.

This is a step up for me, actually, just as moving from the cabin to the loft on Pandora was.  This place was just land, an open 2048 m2 lot, which meant I had to buy or build a house.  I could probably build, given lots of time, but I elected to buy, as nice prefab houses are quite affordable.  I did wish I’d spent more time looking at houses at the Home Expo a few months ago, though!  In the end, I chose a house built by Hunter Nieuport, an architect recommended to me by another friend.  The design was long but left me enough space for a side yard, while the width just fit within the rectangular lines of my lot.  It’s big and light, with lots of glass.  And the lot gives me more than double the prims I had for only L$300 more rent than I was paying, so I have room to landscape, and maybe even add a more sophisticated photo studio on the second floor.  The only thing down I’ve found so far is I’m surrounded by folk who are breeding and selling breedable horses like nuts.

So here I am again digging stuff out of cracks in my Inventory, figuring out how to distribute it, and probably buying more furniture than clothes over the next few weeks.  With any luck, I’ll show the place off eventually in photos, so keep tuned here for more news.

Lest we forget….

As I’m tired, and need to get a short nap in before work today, this will be mostly photos.  But the photos will say most of the words here, aside from this —

Beyond the fact that tomorrow will be Memorial Day in the United States RL as well as observed by many USA Residents in Second Life, we should also remember that this December will be the 70th anniversary of America’s entry into what became the Second World War.  In the Real World, the living memory of those years is rapidly fading as our parents and grandparents, those who Tom Brokaw referred to as the “Greatest Generation,” pass away.  Today or tomorrow, be sure to call or visit with them and thank them for all that they did, both then and after; speak with them, if they’re willing, of those days, and remember and record their memories, so that we shall always know what they did to save a world.

This, and all photographs following the break were shot at the virtual recreation of the World War II Memorial in WW2 Pacific. I hope you will visit, and that you will contribute to its upkeep when you do.

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May 25 is Towel Day

If there’s one thing I’ve learned from science fiction it’s this:

Don’t Panic!

Tomorrow, May 25, is Towel Day, when we remember the author of the five books in the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy Trilogy — yes, that number is right; it’s a long story…. — and the insanely accurate commentary he delivered back in the 1980s on modern society.  Official celebrations begin at 12:00 noon SLT, and will center on Milliway’s, the Restaurant at the End of the Universe.  See the Second Life Destination Guide for more particulars, or drop in before the festivities start.

And remember, frood:  always know where your towel is!  If you can’t find your towel, or you can’t get to the SL version of Marks and Spencer, there is a free towel dispenser in the lobby at Milliway’s, along with a few other goodies.

If you run into Zaphod Beeblebrox while you’re running around, tell him hi for me….

5th Annual Beltane Celebration In World

By the grace of Her Ladyship Eva Bellambi, Lady Chief of the Clan Bellambi, Patron of the Order of the Red Rose, & etc.:

Poster for 2011 Beltane

Lady Eva Bellambi is pleased to invite you to a celebration of the Celtic holy night of Beltane, to be held in Winterfell Anodyne on the evening of April 30 at 6:00 p.m. SLT (0100 UTC/GMT, 1 May).  This will be the fifth annual Beltane feast held by Lady Eva, and will include music May poles, and the lighting of the Beltane fires.

More details, including a synopsis on the tradition of Beltane, may be found at her Ladyship’s blog article.

Caerleon Museum of Identity Explores the Question of Who We Really Are As Avatars

Botgirl Questi announced  that a new virtual art exhibit, the Caerleon Museum of Identity, will be opening on Saturday, October 2, at 12:00.  (Her press release was not specific, but I would assume that this is SLT.)  The announcement included a video clip:

You can read the full text of the press release at Botgirl’s blog.  With 18 artists represented in the exhibit, which will run through October, it promises to be a thought-provoking museum.

I say this because this exhibit goes to the point of one of the things that provokes discussion among people “living” and working in virtual worlds:  when we’re looking at an avatar, is that someone’s real identity there?  The anonymity of an avatar gives people wonderful flexibility — with this creation of bytes and pixels, we can be who we want to be, not what we really are.  For some, it’s wonderfully liberating; for others, it allows them to conceal aspects of themselves they’d prefer not to show.  But for all of us, we have to confront the question at least once:  is this what the person behind the other computer is really like?

Most of us play various roles in our RL day as it is, usually linked to our interactions with those around us.  We have one face for the customer in our store; another, a presumably looser version, for the co-workers when we’re in a private moment on the floor or in the back room.  Friends outside of work may see yet another, at a sports game or club-hopping.  Even our interaction with some family and relations, if not all of them, can be a form of role-play; we have favorite grandparents we love to visit, or abysmal aunts we wish would never stop by, and we either display our feelings, or conceal them as deeply as we can out of politeness’ sake.

But what happens when all of the cues built by society and the knowledge base of personal, direct interaction in a meeting are made invisible and irrelevant?

In Second Life, we only have what the person is showing us with words on a screen, or perhaps a voice; and, of course, the appearance they choose to build for themselves out of pixels and prims.  For all we know, the rampaging extrovert with chopped, grungy hair, greasy leather clothes and piercings in places never dreamed of, might be in RL a dramatically shy wallflower with clean, tied-back hair, an ultraconservative wardrobe, and never even piercings for earrings.  Indeed, they might not even be the sex they’re portraying themselves as.  And then,of course, there are the furries, dragons, fae and aliens teleporting all over the place.  One of my favorite avatars from my days at the Blarney Stone was a blue fox.  That surely wasn’t what the person was in real life!

You may want to check out this exhibit while it’s open.  Hang around for a while and meditate on the studies; see what these artists’ thoughts evoke in you.  I haven’t seen this yet, though I may attend the bloggers’ preview on Friday.  But my experience and training tell me that the best art make you think, opens up your senses to a new reality, or a new take on reality.  This virtual world we love and deal in is a reality in itself that needs new thoughts, new philosophers to work out its parameters.  Perhaps the Caerleon Museum may begin the walk toward such an exploration.

Teleport to the exhibit.

Oscar SL Fashion Contest Submissions Extended to March 6

Gee, I’m offering avatar girls free money, and nobody’s taking me up on it…?

I published an article on a little contest I’m running for your best choices for red-carpet-worthy Second Life gowns, leading up to the Academy Awards on March 7.  The response?  Well, I’m having to go out and hunt for contest entries, and invite them to my Flickr or Koinup groups.  You’d think a shot at L$1,500 first prize would get some interest.

Well, I’ll put this fresh announcement up, and I’ll extend the deadline to 11:59 p.m. SLT March 6 (or 12:01 a.m. on the 7th).  C’mon, ladies!  Are you gonna pass up the chance at the cost of a new Miamai or Nicky Ree gown here, plus a little ego-boo in the bargain?

A Pandora Island Sunset

Sunset from my new apartment

I’ve moved again, folks — but this time it was of my own volition.  I wanted higher ceilings than my old house had, and so I went around Pandora Island to the new apartment block, and snaffled a nice pad.  A fireplace I can turn off and on, Venetian blinds, high ceilings, almost the same number of prims for maybe a Benjamin less — and dig the view up the coastline!

I’m hanging on to my old house for the moment, in case this doesn’t work out.  But, if it does, I know a pretty nice cabin with a great landlord you could rent:  L$1,000/week/450.  If anybody’s interested, check back with me in about two weeks, and I could tell the landlord to release the lease on it.

Wallace Linden on Proliferating Online “Identity”

Wallace Linden kicked off an excellent article in the Big Blog yesterday (Jan. 22) that can be summed up with this question:  just how “identified” are you?

The two following paragraphs seem to have the nub of Wallace’s point here.  First:

…To me, there’s nothing virtual at all about my presence in various online contexts. Like many people, I have a handful of email addresses, a Flickr username, an XboxLive gamertag, and more than one Second Life account. Each of these represents an aspect of my identity, one of the various ways I express myself online. And as Web and mobile services continue to work their way into all corners of our lives, these aspects will continue to proliferate — and as they do, we’ll start facing important questions about how we handle these collections of selves….

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2010 SL Oscar Fashion Contest (Updated)

The scramble is on!

The 2010 Award Season is officially upon us with the handout of the Golden Globes last night, and it’s time to ask again:  if you were invited to the Academy Awards this year, what would you walk the red carpet in?  If you want to change clothes before going in to the Governors’ Ball, what would you wear then?

Last year, I threw it open to everyone to let me know what would be their favorite gown for such a circumstance.  This year, I’ll make it a little more interesting — I’m going to offer a prize! L$1,500 will go to the winner with the best gown.

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