Friday, December 11, 2009

Virtually Consumed

It has only recently come clear to me (because, undoubtedly, I have had my head where the sun don’t shine) that there is just too much information out there for me to handle. I am loath, however, to cut back on anything. How many atheist blogs does a person need to read in a given day? Perhaps I should cut them back to once a week – Sundays, for example. Then there are all the library-related blogs. Even with scrolling past the posts that aren’t aimed at people in children’s services, there’s still so much to absorb.

Social networks are starting to annoy me. Don’t get me wrong; I still crave the contact, but it seems to be oppressive now. Twitter bores me, although that might be my frustration with the Tweetdeck, which is still, for me, the only way to view Twitter. Brizzly just didn’t do it for me at all. What I want is something that looks like the Tweetdeck, but is online. Plurk seems to have lost its luster after I achieved Plurk-Nirvana, but I still look at it obsessively.

So, what I see from reading this back to myself is: whine whine misery BUT.

Currently I am reading Buying In: The Secret Dialogue Between What We Buy And Who We Are by Rob Walker. This, of course, is mixing in with SuperSense: Why We Believe in the Unbelievable by Bruce Hood and making me reevaluate my thoughts about consumerism.

When I first entered Second Life, I was looking for serious dialogue – so, basically, what I’m saying is I had no idea what SL was. I quickly grew frustrated with it until I met some like-minded people who subtracted the mono- and inserted the dia- and made SL more what I wanted. I was dazzled by the builds and loved visiting them, but had no interest in buying anything. What would I buy? What were other people buying? Clothes? So what? Prim hair? I loved my system hair. It did exactly what my RL™ hair did not: looked poofy and stayed smooth with every “hair” in place. Why buy something that looked like fat ropes of cake icing? I was disgusted by the consumerism, the ubiquitous malls with their endless merchandise. Really what I was disgusted with was the lack of quality. All the clothing seemed to look alike: plunging necklines, butt cleavage, prim skirts that looked more like tutus.

All I did was hang out at the library (causing mayhem and the creation of regulations about where people could hang out) and other reading-related locations. After all, communication in SL is all about reading. It’s all typed chat despite the voice chat that was added later. It never works for me when I need it.

I became the Freebie Queen, having subscribed to a couple of the freebie blogs, and hunted down the freebies and collected them indiscriminately. In vain I swore to keep my inventory levels below 10,000; then 12,000; 15,000; 20,000 items. As soon as I think I can get them below 35,000 and that I can avoid the Hunts, then the Advent Season starts. I now have a notecard with Advent Gift landmarks on them. [/me hangs her head in shame.]

What was it that drove me to collect these things? Well, according to Buying In, it’s the craving for novelty. That really resonated with me. Now that I’m trying to empty my parents’ home of the accumulation of 65+ years of collecting, I think buying virtual goods to assuage that craving instead will be just the ticket. SuperSense is helping me let go of the crap in my life, or at least pare it down to something manageable. Buying In informs me that my need to see something new is human. I unpacked twelve boxes of newness just this morning and have yet to try everything on. Oh, look! What a cute pair of reindeer slippers for my avatar (who is already wearing her Christmas pajamas)! Does it clutter up my RL™ house? Nope. ‘Think I’ll keep them until someone makes even cuter ones (which might be hard – these have antlers with little ornaments hanging off of them so they might hang around until next year).

Now I shop in RL™ only when I absolutely need to get something. It’s a pain to actually get in a car, go somewhere, and stare at lousy merchandise when I can shop from the comfort of my own desk with a nice kitty in my lap. The fact that I can own many houses and they’ll all fit in a virtual file folder makes it even better! [That reminds me, do I really need that freebie vampire crypt with sex bed? Think I’ll delete that stuff next time I’m in world. I only kept it because it struck me as absurd.]

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Romance On Ice

Lludmila and Cal on a sleighride.

Holiday Picture Frame HUD courtesy of Prim & Pixel Paradise.

In the interest of providing you with the best in Romantic Winter Sites in SL, I dusted off my skates and lured Cal out of his den to visit a few places. I only made it to three this year and I think I can stop looking. The first place was adequate and the second just beat anything I've seen this year or last. The third had its own points - that gratified Cal, anyway. You know how men like to steer.

Snowthulu, Lludmila, and Cal at Winterfest.

The place to go is Island of Inspiration North. They have two sims and lots of space. Besides, they have Snowthulu. There is plenty of skating, some freebies, and a (start singing, y'all) one horse open sleigh ride that takes you through both sims pausing only for things like sim and moose crossings. I loved it. It's a tour, but you can ignore the green chat and concentrate on romantic conversation with the avatar of your choosing.

Drive-It-Yourself sleigh (just remember to take off your scripted skates).

The Winter Wonderland at Equus was fine, too. What Cal liked was that he got to drive the sleigh. This means you have to stop everything to chat or take a picture. There is also a nice-sized skating pond with flashing disco lighting and a brisk snowfall:

Cal and Lludmila in skate autopilot.


Winter Wonderland:

Monday, October 19, 2009

The Haunted Library

Aw, shucks, I knew it! This was just a trick to get me to read a book!

At the far edge of Rachelville, in a secluded corner in the dark, lies the Haunted House of the Librarians. It isn't a scary ride, it's just a spook house with some deadly poses - with at least one I hadn't seen before. More than that, it's a resource for some scary stories. Dagnabbit! It's always books with those ding-dong liberryians!
Get a thrill reading them aloud to each other over voice chat.
Lludmila tries on her new pumpkinmask.

The real reason to go is that upstairs there is a selection of free pumpkinhead masks for free! Dang, these are cool! And free! Did I mention they were free? Yeah, so ignore the pesky reading stuff - just hop on a pitchfork and get some free pumpkinheads! For free!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Great Expectations

Okay, if you label yourself the Greatest Halloween Ride in the World Ever, you had better live up to it.

Kathy visited a couple of Haunted Houses later on her own and curled her lip at "the scariest haunted house in Second Life" when the front porch just had a big "Boo!" on it. So, she was ready to grade hard when she arrived here.

But you know what, they might be right. This ride had the usual stuff (Camp Crystal Lake - I mean, really!), but then suddenly it went underwater!

Traveling through the whale's ribcage toward The Flying Dutchman.

The stage dressings here were also beautiful and nicely laid out. Kathy unfortunately crashed part-way through, but we saw enough. Enough to say this is a "must see." I don't want to give away too much. Go, just go!

Carnival Pleasures

Carnivale Amusements is not really a haunted house locale (although there is a haunted house for visiting, renting, or sale), but has some good rides.

Cynthia wasn't as impressed with Carnival Amusements as a Halloween venue (despite the fall leaf ground cover and some decorations), but the rides are enjoyable.

The Alice in Wonderland ride is particularly good.

We had a great time on the rollercoaster, too. Kathy sucks at the shooting gallery. Sometimes it's pathetic to be out with her. Doesn't watch horror films, doesn't play video games ... not sure what she's good for, maybe just laughing at jokes.

It's Called *Acting!*

Ruh-roh, a black cat crosses Kathy's path!

Cynthia and Kathy continue their Tour of Haunted Houses.

This was good luck, we found a walk-in haunted house with a difference. Maze-like houses seem popular this year, but we ran across one with avs acting out parts. It was delightful! The poor things were trapped in position, sucking blood, impaled here and there, laughing maniacally ... you know, just what you'd want them to be doing. But they can also give you some lip. Heh! Cynthia and Kathy found this quite fresh!

Also popular seems to be directing you originally to one location and making you tp to the actual haunted house. This might only be fiddly if you were with a large group. It is slightly annoying.

Don't get fresh with the organist! She is apparently free to improvise.

It's That Time Again

Kathy and Cynthia meet for some Haunted House Touring.

My SL pictures from last year (labeled "Butter Haunted Houses" in homage to a misspelling on a sign) have been very popular for the past two months, perhaps frequented by people planning their own creations. My new friend, Cynthia, IM'd me and asked if I'd like to look at this year's crop. An "ossum" idea! So much fun to go with someone and crack jokes (or, in Kathy's case, laugh at jokes)!

We started at the Willow Grove ride. Riding in a pumpkin is not so novel, but the stage dressing was colorful, disgusting (yay!), and some of it beautiful!

A colorful example

Of course, the ride moves slowly and somewhat jerkily, but it lasts a good, long time and there was a lot of evident care and planning put into this. We were both impressed. In fact, it was so good, we went through it a second time.

A lovely graveyard area

Give these people a nice tip. Visit often. Bring your friends.


Just guess.


New boots. New Freebie Boots. All the period outfits in the world (especially freebie ones that you click on and never arrive in your inventory) are nothing compared to a nice looking pair of boots and some attitood.

Something wondrous has happened in SL - textures that are this nice, sculpting this sharp, boots this - this boot-y ... They are miniature works of art.

Monday, September 28, 2009

So Much for Happy

Lludmila camps out where her lovely home used to be.

Why did I, knowing what would happen, do it anyway? I invited tons of avs to my third rezday party just to get them to visit my house, which they resolutely refused to visit unless I threw a party, and none of them showed up. Well, not "none," of course, I had six people show up. How Second Life can so accurately mimic my first life should make a dissertation. I had given up on birthdays because parties were always ruined. Either no one showed up or it was hijacked by someone else.
So, after the party, I deleted my house and all its contents. What was the point? I now hated it. It would be a constant reminder of how little I or my feelings meant to other people (despite the probability that they are busy in their first lives and/or just spaced, which I do all the time). So for a couple of days I replaced it with this pathetic tent (and some lovely trees). I used the fetal position option inside.
To be absolutely accurate and fair, I had accidentally dragged a HUD out of my inventory, so even if the party had been such an overwhelming success that we crashed the sim (ha ha ha), I would have taken the house and most of the contents down to look for the errant object that was running my prim count over the limit. Deleting the house, though, seemed like the perfect gesture. I deleted it seconds after the last guest left, punching the keys so hard that the keyboard rattled and jumped on the desk. It spooked the cats.
I threw almost a week-long Pity Party in a new skybox far above the painful memories and then Carla's Workshop sent me a notice that a free horse barn was available for pick up. Ooooo! Well, I thought I'd look at it. It came with a spider and spider web and optional Pferdapfeln (with buzzing flies!) and straw bales. I loved it. Especially the mojones. The only problem was, I needed a horse to put in it. Tempting as turning it into a pennyfarthing garage was, I was dead set on getting a horse even if it beggared me (read: I had to buy more Lindens). Imagine my surprise when I won an extra flipping-great-wodge of Lindens at the next Book Trivia Quiz!
I went right out and test-rode some horsies and made an actual decision and actually purchased one with actual Linden dollars [starts hyperventilating].
Why I bothered to get the one that could ride two avs at one time is the subject for another dissertation. I hate other avs. I hate Real Life (tm) people, too. I wouldn't give one of them a ride on my nice horsie if they begged me now. Ha! At least I could if I wanted. Double-ha! Neener-neener!
Well, we can see I never grew up.

You're never alone with a quadruped.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Almost Actually Happy!

Lovely heeled clogs - only 20L!

You probably haven't noticed my obsession with shoes (okay, maybe some of you have). You'd never know it looking at my feet in Real Life (tm). I suffered through over a year of plantar's fasciitis and threw everything away that survived the "I Can't Wear Heels Anymore After My Smashed Kneecap" purge. Shoes must now give me support and comfort. They must aid and abet, dammit! But my avatars don't weigh anything in SL, so they can wear anything I actually like. And shoes have gotten so good that I now will only put on shoes that I actually really honestly and truly love.

So anyway, after swearing off hunts, I fell back in by accident when I saw the Skipping Stones posters at an awesome shop. Oo-er! I looked at the prizes from the first shop, a freebie connector direct to Twitter from the same place where I got my button eyes (oh, they're so CUTE!) and I was off. This is the best organized hunt I've ever seen. Each file I collected arranged itself in perfect order in my inventory because the file names were standardized! OMG! OMG! I did have a teensy bit of trouble understanding that right click wasn't working on these, and I'm so used to right clicking that it never occurred to me to left click anything until hours later and all the rebooting and cache-clearing in the world. After that it was smooth sailing ... and then I hit Duh.

Duh is the same of the store (or, I suppose it's "Duh, it's the name of my store" is the name of the store ... name of the store, the store). While waiting for things to rez, I had a look 'round, which is what these hunts are for. Sometimes I will also have a look 'round after I've found the prize. I saw the cute clog above. Then, 20L! TWENTY LINDENNNNS?! I cammed all over looking at prices. This person obviously does not know how to price their wares (bless their hearts!).

Cute flats, a whole sack o' colors for 50L!!!

I was running all over this place. I have shoes I ain't tried on yet.

OMG! Look at these boots! 20L!!!!!
Now, if only they made some nice men's shoes (they have sneakers) ... classic euro-fag loafers or riding boots, I'd be back slavering and buying so my guy avs didn't look like dorks whose sugarmomma was a tightwad.
This is my advice, get your sorry asses to this shop and buy some effin' shoes. I mean it. Right now! Before this shop finds out they left zeros off their prices!
I sure have come a long way for someone horrifed by the ubiquity of commercialism in SL, ain't I?

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Making It My Own

FEMA trailer.

The temptation to put something really (wonderfully) awful within sight of my neighbor/s sufficiently squelched, I set about making my little area something I would find interesting. I may have to change the area around every month or so just to keep from getting bored with it.

New free furniture for the downstairs. Previous furniture "damaged" in catastrophic terra-forming accident.

Photos of the landlord have now been removed from the living room (due to too many dart holes) and replaced with a nice antique-y wedding portrait of my grandparents (did I mention that I'm really, really old?). A shop kindly offered this lovely set of grotty furniture which coincidentally went well with that grotty carpet. Ooo, I love the serendipity of it all! Free bookcases take up the rest of the wallspace, making it look that much more like my RL house.
As for the yard, for that we have to thank an exhibit of photos I saw years ago in an outdoor venue. They had been hung by fishing line from the trees along the bank of a river during the spider lily blooming season. The photos as a group turning slowly in the breeze in the shade but glinting shards of sunlight made a more profound effect on me than the artistry of the individual photos themselves. It was almost magical.

Lludmila's backyard and exhibit of old family photos.
I don't have the trees to pull off the exact thing, but it was a happy challenge to my limited skills to have some of my favorite old family portraits to twirl slowly on skinny sticks. I'll leave them up for the month of June, in memory of my dad's birthday. He would have been 102.
Exhibit in Awen.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Erste Wolken am Himmel des jungen Glücks

Ruh-roh! Looks like Giacomo needs to call FEMA.

A virtual life is by nature one in which change is not only imminent but also instantaneous. So, let's say you could have a quick conversation with your landlord about a terra-forming project he's planning to implement and you be all down wid dat, you see what I'm sayin'? And then you go out dancing and when you get back, your living room is full of sand. The little bits and bobs you had out in your yard are now inside the ground (which is, thankfully, hollow so you can cam around and find them).

At this time you get the inkling that you're going to have to move. So you ask and you're assured that you won't be moving. But then you notice that the name of your land has changed and the name has now been assigned to an area on the other side of the island [island in this case being used in the common sense of the word as opposed to another word for a sim]. Hmmm, you think. Then you get the news that you are, in fact, moving.

How hard can it be to move your house in a virtual environment where everything you've got can fit into an invisible file folder? Well, there seems to be more to it than you'd think. For example, a house comes in pieces. If there are moving parts, they are separate to the house. The doors are an example of this. If I want to adjust the house after rezzing it, I have to have all the bits selected by clicking on one piece to edit and then joining the rest of the pieces by shift+click. Then everything will move as a unit until you click away. You can also take it into your inventory this way, and then re-deploy it when ready at a new spot with all the pieces intact and where they were. It is recommended you re-deploy while Edit is active, so that it will all stay together.

Despite knowing all this coming into the moving process, I was still able to mess it up. I thought I had clicked on everything when I took my house and furnishings into my inventory, but I had apparently missed some things.

In the interval, I put up a freebie tree house that I was sure the landlord's terra-forming could not possibly cover without revealing not-so-latent hostility. Ha! Take that!

Once the re-forming of the geography was complete and the go-ahead to move was received, I re-deployed my house and its furnishings ... and didn't like the way it fit. Then I tried moving it, but I hadn't deployed in Edit mode and had to re-shift+click in a hurry, which caused me to forget some bits. Finally, I "took" all the bits back into my inventory and resolved to redecorate after I'd decided where the house looked best.

A new waterfall (almost as important to me as carousels, I guess) was created for my new area. Trees were put in, and plants, and I was told I could return anything I didn't want. I'm unable to move them. That makes me a teeny bit cross. But I jiggled and I tinkered and ... it just isn't the same. It will take some getting used to, I guess. I had walked the old land like a Cherokee woman walks a deerskin before making it into anything. I walked it day after day. I looked all around. I tried to see a new and different house on the site. In the end, in a flash of inspiration, I bought my heart's desire and placed it where I wanted it. True, I was getting complacent and putting a new house together is more fun than actually just living in it day to day ... but it just wasn't right. I can't put my finger on it. It just isn't right. It might be later. For now it's not. It may look fine to others, nicer even, but I feel the house isn't sitting right on the land. I started putting things back in, but gave up. Because it isn't the same.

Then and now ...

The title of this post is from "Die Dreigroschenoper."

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Gee, Sounds Like Me!

Giacomo, looking relaxed.

I found a link to this blogpost on Twitter and, because I'm always interested in these things, gave it a read. It reminded me of an experience I had recently with my male avatar. Now, I don't have any alts, that is to say, an avatar with a different account and name. If I change shape, which I do all the time, the name remains the same. Transparency is an issue with me. Oh, I give them little nicknames to keep them separate in the inventory (they all have their little outfits that look best on them), but they are all called Lludmila according to SL. It might be obvious to me that "Lludmila" is a woman's name, but not everyone seems to think so.

Anyway, I created a new (I've had several, all based on the same freebie shape and some freebie skins) male av just in case I needed to go places where a female av might cause comment, say, a mosque. Rather than dress wrong for that, I just slip into the old male av and take off my shoes and all is well! Like the author of the linked post, have made a male av that appeals to me. The burly, pin-headed types I see in SL revolt me ... almost as much as they do in Real Life (tm). Giacomo (above) might look a bit girlie, but, you know what? That seems to be what we prefer. Eight out of ten women prefer something other than a Mr. Universe wannabe. (I just made that up, but I betcha there's some truth to it. SL men, wise up!)

Lately, I've been slogging through the 570 location SL Discovery Hunt. For these (think: scavenger) hunts I try to stay low prim, dressing casual, but it's whatever av I have on. I had been trying on some guy stuff a while back and, after checking my Avatar Rendering Cost, went off to cull more treasures in the hunt. [If you don't know what I'm talking about, hunts generally involve going from one location to another (commercial locations, such as shops and malls) and searching for a three-dimensional symbol that you click on and "buy" for nothing or a low figure. You receive a package containing some small prize and a slurl, an address, for the next location. Some shop owners are quite fiendish in their secreting of these objects and the hunters wrack their pointy little RL (tm) heads over it. This generally leads to unofficial teamwork. First, you start watching where other avs click (and this clicking involves a particle beam from the av's fingertips to the object). After a while, you put some "hangtime" into your click to indicate to another frustrated hunter where you've found the object or you go so far as to IM them and say, "Hey! I finally found the d@mn thing!"] Looking for the hunt objects requires that my camera, my eyes, drift quite a ways from my av. I will often forget what I look like. So, I might start out the hunt thinking I should be more reticent about speaking or IMing other avs because I'm wearing the male av, but then I'll forget and start being helpful.

Now, being helpful as another "female" av is one thing. Most avs are grateful as hell for help on some of the tougher locations where even the hints have not been at all useful (and, yes, I mean you, Shabby Chic!), but I don't know how well they would take it from a guy av. Would they find "him" pushy? Or would they take that as an opening gambit? Anyway, I try to be careful. Once you and someone else have found an object together, you go on to the next location and see each other again. Sometimes relationships develop, even for just 10 minutes or up to an hour (if you can standing hunting that long).

So Giacomo and I were being careful. I had slipped up and shared information with one av, but it wasn't turning into anything and I felt secure in continuing the partnership-lite. Then suddenly I was double-teamed. Another male av started chatting with me in a furniture store. He claimed we were twins, not unlikely if we're wearing pre-packaged shapes and skins. A female av came up shortly afterward. Now, this was annoying. They were keeping me from the hunt, but I feel like I should be polite. The two seemed to know each other. And they were still being friendly, but I started to get nervous. I've been solicited before, as a female av, but I could just say "No, thanks" and disappear. I didn't want to leave this store until I found the object and they were distracting me. Not being a real guy, or perhaps being similar to a real guy with a fishing pole, my inclination is to ask them to shut up and get out of my way. I could just feel the concept of a "three-way" marching its way towards our conversation. I felt I would be letting my adopted sex down if I had to say, "Ewwww, no way!" - but that doesn't mean I was going to say, "Sure - where?"
I was rescued by my hunt-buddy who told me where to look for the object. I cammed over and, after saying a swift farewell (virtually impossible in the virtual world), I moved on, sweating at my keyboard.

I blame the new haircut (see below). Someone who already knew me IM'd me for a dance later. Methinks Giacomo is going back into the inventory for a while ... to cool off.

Giacomo gets a haircut.

This is all very, ho-hum, interesting, I hear you mumble around a tongue firmly inserted in your cheek, but ...
Well, let me get to the telling part. Yesterday, I was out hunting as my little zombie self (the one I consider to be the real Lludmila) when a male av I'd been seeing around the hunt the past few locations IM'd me, calling me "little one." Okay, he has a point. Lludmila is only 4'8" tall (I shrank her years ago to fit her into a space capsule). I took issue, though, with the term "little." And within two sentences, Mr. Smooth had me in an embrace. Mind you, this is all in chat. Our avs are stock still in a huge store while I search in vain for the object. I counter with a knee to the 'nads. No, I delete that. I slip away from the embrace. Apparently, I am just playing hard to get, and he makes another play for me. I pointedly mention the hunt. He claims to be on it as well. I've checked his profile and while it doesn't look scummy, I still don't like being distracted from the Business At Hand, especially with unwanted sexual advances. This in no way stresses me out. It's a petty annoyance and I swat it away, find the object, resolutely not tell him where it is, and teleport on to the next location while he suggests "Perhaps another time." Like hell! (Note to self: Must put bigger hints on my profile.) I was just short of being rude to this guy, had no qualms about swatting away attentions if it came to that, and barely gave it another thought until I started writing this.

So, why does Giacomo's typist sweat the distant footsteps of a three-way and Lludmila's typist go "phbbbt!" and wave her hand airily and almost totally forget the actual chat-grope? Does the idea of a three-way so appall her? Or is it the unfamiliar social behavior of a male av?

Lludmila and the cuddly toy she got on the latest hunt - Dawwww! It's just So Cute!

Friday, May 1, 2009

Now the Tricky Part

Lludmila contemplates home ownership tinged with melancholy (note memorial photo).

I had a lot of furniture. In two and a half years I've collected plenty and even made some (very primmy, not being sculpty), but not all goes with the new house. And I'd just bought that pot bellied stove in the corner and needed to be able to use that somewhere. That and the flamingo lights sealed the deal on the choice of the Homedecked house. They were the first things to go into the house. Next came the free carpet ... and the free stack o' books chair (so perfect for a librarian on a book-related sim!).

Lludmila relaxes on the best thing to come out of the Twisted Hunt.

Another freebie is this lovely cart full of sacks of something (Lludmila imagines sweet feed and drinks in the smell of oats and molasses.) There, now I don't have to worry about what goes under the deck. Most people would park their jalopy, or a mule if they had one. I have this cart that seats two. That was another thing that had to be in the yard, at least.

I have beds. Some I made and some came with 50 sex positions or something (who knows, who cares - although my husband did ask me if I was going to try them out), but they were too modern or too gothic. I went all over looking for something suitable to the house and a resident zombie and I think I found it.

Lludmila in her bed: a mattress on the floor. Also pictured: freebie mosquito light, freebie carpet, crate from a pack that was about 10L for the lot, and a seascape that is an actual painting that hangs over my bed in RL.

Other additions include: A rocking chair that only cost 1L with texture changing cushion (turns out it only rocks along one axis - but that's okay, I just make sure it's aiming the right way), another seascape from my RL house, freebie "Japanese" wooden deck chairs and small table (for the upstairs deck). I'm considering an art or photography exhibit ... outside on the beach. I'm supposed to have a party, so that people will come to my house. Apparently, just accepting an invitation to visit isn't good enough. Parties entail dancing or something. Sigh, that would mean another weary round of shopping, and I've walked little Lludmila's legs off!

Lludmila collapses from exhaustion after her latest shopping expedition that involved freebie grabbing, lucky board/chair wrangling, and actually cash-linden purchasing.

Happy Homemaker

Weeks and weeks later, I've finally decided on a house. I had a few ideas in mind: thatch, wattle and daub, Tudor, medieval ... something that would fit in with the community. I used all sorts of search terms: "rustic," "Tudor," "cottage" and ended up looking at castles and Tudor townhouses. Prices ranged from 150L to around 4,000L. Fortunately, there doesn't seem to be an architecture review committee, so when I chose the dilapidated hobo beach house, there was no picketing or mysterious returning to my inventory. Phew! Also, the pink flamingo lights can stay, which is a relief because I actually paid money (well, Linden dollars) for them.

My new house: Homedecked from Never You Mind.

I can see you looking at this in vain for any thatching, wattle, daub, or period touches earlier than the 1920s. Well, the best laid plans yadda-yaddah a-gley. I went to Never You Mind (people ask me, "Where did you get it?" and I, of course, say, "Never You Mind." So, there's even a nice joke built in by the creator!) and waited patiently on a rustic carousel for things to rez, not having high hopes for this place. I probably even made a pit stop in RL. When I got back and things had rezzed, I looked around in amazement. I wandered off and immediately found this totally cool two-story house with a waterwheel! It was even turning! Suddenly, I wanted the waterfall back. I'd find a place for it, or, by thunder, I'd stick that side into the ocean! Soon I was flying (literally, because I couldn't walk around fast enough to look at it all) all over looking at buildings. Then, near the watertower, I saw my One True Love: Homedecked. Sure, I went to look at other houses, but none of them spoke to me like this house. It had "A Zombie Lives Here" writ large all over it. The only thing it didn't have written ... on anything, were the dimensions. I popped a note into the proprietor's mailbox and hoped for a quick reply.

I was still dithering the next day and looking at the photos I've taken making notes on them when I realized that my heart was set on Homedecked. It had everything I wanted and I'd make it fit if I had to put some of it out over the water. Luckily, that wasn't necessary.

I recommend going to Never You Mind. It isn't laid out as a shop for buildings and rustic accessories. It's laid out like a community, a shabby community, granted, but a community. It's fun just to wander through.

Never You Mind

Monday, April 20, 2009

Maybe I Shouldn't Be Allowed Back On

Sure, I have a place to live in SL now, and I've been looking for the perfect house to put there (to replace the one there now). I dithered and dithered, looking and evaluating, and then when I finally almost decided on one, when I went back to the store, they were gone. I tried sending a notecard to someone in charge, but they were busy cybering, apparently, and my notecard got bounced back with an IM about how busy he was. Right. How, (ahem) Dare he!

Anyway, although I hadn't decided on a house to fit in with the general "Welsh Village" appearance of the island, I had lucked into a free (free!) Balinese long house that I use as a skybox. Part of it is pictured above, having sprung some leak from a free (free!) shower I had unpacked to look at. When I deleted the shower, the water running on its floor did not go with it and I didn't notice for a couple of days. Fortunately, Bali is a humid place and their houses are built to stand a bit of moisture.

The open Asian-style house in the sky contrasts nicely with what I plan on being a small, thatched cottage on the ground. I can be all cosy on island level and then, when I need some space and what barely constitutes privacy in SL, spread out in the skybox. It also gives me an opportunity to exercise my delight in all things Asian that I inherited from my mother. I've got some Asian frills that go nicely with modern furniture: the paper lamp, the Tibetan prayer flags, the stone lanterns. I have more, but there's conflict with the alpha layers making the kimono stand pointless.

On island level I had been torn between a small, dark cottage and a mill. My land had a waterfall on it and a stream to the water surrounding my tiny peninsula. I worried that it would encroach too much on the neighboring land and had gone out to look at the property lines one more time ... when I noticed that the waterfall was gone. I also noted that I had an actual neighbor in an actual thatched cottage. I looked at where the waterfall was. I looked at my neighbor's build. There is a small waterfall there. I looked at where "my" waterfall used to be.

Having come back one day to find my house gone is all that keeps me from weeping. Perhaps this is just some temporary thing. Perhaps the waterfall is in the process of being moved, moved to accommodate this new home that is nowhere near where the waterfall was.

Regular readers (ha!) of this blog may know that I have a tendency to accidentally delete things.

Two years ago I deleted half of a sky-sandbox trying to put out a fire. Okay, I was trying to find the particle emitter. It didn't occur to me that I had the power to delete someone else's build. This did teach me a lesson: even if you do finally find the tiny prim you were looking for, you can't control it when you are hundreds of meters below on the ground. So, if you finally are able to click on it and still can't delete it, it must mean your avatar isn't where you thought it was.

And this happened to me this weekend. I was unpacking some boxes from the Albero hunt and one turned out to be not a box at all, but the actually necklace. I clicked on it and tried to "take" it - but apparently, I did not take the necklace. There was all my furniture hanging in space, and the necklace now much easier to see, and I was nowhere to be found. If only I had still been sitting in my chair!

I had to try twice to put up my Balinese skybox. It was a regular comedy of errors. I suspect that there is another one up there somewhere that I don't know about. I can't see it, but I'm thinking it's there, perhaps at 5,000 meters or something.

If that were the only dumb thing I'd done this past weekend, I wouldn't take it so hard. But I ran my motorcycle into the stream and had to delete it. Could I have deleted the waterfall at that time? Would I have even noticed? Deleting a nearby waterfall isn't as noticeable as deleting a platform in the sky you were nominally standing on (and chances are if you were looking intently at something else, it would be a while before you noticed that).

I'm still working up the nerve to mention this to the landlord.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Goddess of the Hunt for Lunch

Walking around the Albero Mall, I saw this great satellite shop for LOLO - and the fab hungry crocodile. OSSUM! I almost bought it, but then when I went to the main store I saw the ... Great White Shark! Can't decide now!

Of course, Kathy had to try it out. Here she is being eaten while she's trying to claw away from the croc. Ohhhhh, I had her eaten several times. Husbob says the skirt needed to go (you can still see it after Kathy's been swallowed), but it looks so cool coming out of its mouth.

Goddess of the Hunt

All hail the Albero Mall Hunt! I saw a photo of a cute blouse on one of the freebie blogs and thought I'd go looking. (Note: still haven't found the clue box for that blouse - rats!) I'd never been to the Albero Mall, but it's an attractive space with many nice shops and very little empty space.

Even though the hunt has numbers, the prizes are not necessarily sequential, so if you can't find one, you aren't totally lost until you can wheedle a clue that makes sense from the hunt group IM. That's a plus! Also, the merchandise at this mall seems to be really great stuff! Avs who know me will go into shock when I say that I actually bought some items ... with real Lindens. But the hunt itself is a bit fiddly.

You walk around the mall (which is huge) and find the grey boxes with numbers on them which are supposed to be in front of stores, but some may have strayed. They may also be slightly embedded. These numbered boxes have a word floating over them. So, what I did is, I wrote down the number and the word next to it and created a big list. I didn't find all the boxes (prob-bo-lem number 1, but since it's not sequential, who cares?), but at least I had a list to go on.

Next, you find the grey landmark givers in front of particular stores. The landmark is to the main store of the satellite shop the LM giver sits in front of. Yeah, try saying that five times fast. You click on it, and, theoretically, you will be sent to the main store where you will have to hunt (in vain in some cases for me, but it's not sequential, so who cares?) down the numbered box. When you find it, you just say "/(number) (code word that goes with number)" near it and it gives you your prize. It took me two days to get the hang of this!

Lest you think I'm somewhat of a "thickie" - I was hindered in my searching by frequently being sent to the wrong location:

The above picture is of the map with the landmark (above, circled) that was given to me by the hunt LM giver. Along with it, the shop itself gave me a different landmark (below, circled). Note the difference. Using the hunt landmark, I often wound up in strange locations, causing me to tp back to the mall, relocate the shop and the giver, and trying again. Usually, the second time took me to the correct location. Usually. As far as I can tell. (This is prob-bo-lem number 2.) A good clue that something was terribly wrong was that instead of rezzing on solid ground, I would rez in midair and fall a considerable distance.

Eventually, (note on learning curve graph "over two days" for this maze rat) I tried the shop's landmark that was given at the same time. That landmark was accurate. Look where the hunt would have landed me on this next example (see orange arrow):

Can yew say: "Refreshing landing for Lludmila"? In another example, I would have been sent to coordinates that were similar to the ones from the shop, but on a totally different sim. I might have found that a tad confusing! (See below)

Those two problems aside, it's still a fiddly hunt with much traveling back and forth even after you've found every single numbered box. And then there's more hunting at the main stores. If the quality of the shop merchandise hadn't been so good, I'd have given up long, long ago. Haven't had a chance to look at much of the hunt merchandise, but I have high hopes for it.

By the way, the mall map above, which is posted in several locations, is, as far as I can tell, utterly useless.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Grizzy's New Place

Grizzy's Old and Grizzy's New Cafe

Grizzy Griswold recently renovated her cafe in Second Life. Things have certainly come a long way since I first started hanging out there 2 years ago! In the Early Days, it was just a dance floor where you could go and chat while your av gyrated (and crashed, which is what usually happened to me in those days). She moved to a different location and slowly added games and live musical artists. After her last move, she decided to renovate as well.
This innovative reincarnation of the new Grizzy's Cafe was realized by Skye Lewellyn and LaDonna Upshaw and it has really taken the former hang-out to a new level.

The new space has a large dance floor, a sitting area (for Grizzy's famous discussions) and gaming area upstairs. Grizzy has had to add some hosting help to keep the place busy all week long because her Real Life (tm) seems to interfere on occasion. [What's that all about?]

There's a host of games upstairs and a regular night for getting together and playing.
And, of course, the skating is now on the roof, to allow for a larger building:

The fishing and beach parties still go on outside! The snarky comments still fly inside! Caring friendships still abound. It isn't the shell that's so important - this place is held together on the strength of Grizzy's personality (something she seems to think she has more of in SL than in RL) but this particular shell is something special. Come visit.