Saturday, September 29, 2012

Everyone is Doing It

Not too long ago my friend Marianne McCann posted a lovely pic of a more-than-lovely boat, the MLCC Loonetta 31 (Web), on her MySL feed and many since then thus making quite a few folks rather jealous. At that time I had been in the market for a boat for a while, eyeing a sporty speedboat with classic wood everywhere. At L$3500 the Loonetta cost the same, though, and managed to to be even more detailed with quite a number of wonderful features, so I had to splurge.

Yes, I gave up wake boarding and water skiing on the speedboat for a slower sailing craft, but this unit is far more complete, right down to a galley and that little room you need after eating greasy food on a rocking boat (with his and hers poses!).

I see quite a few of these boats around now with at least two people on my Friends list owning one so thank goodness that it can be customized via menus right out of the box. Actually, it is not boxed. And you have to get an operator's manual from the boat itself. But it is easily customized. And the base textures are included should I get the urge to make my own. I'm thinking a nice green and teakwood.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Sorry, but I have to do this

Normally I don't "do" trendy, but this video is so nicely produced. Thank you, Soni!


Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Beyond 4D

The other day I visited the stunning LEA exhibit * C i c a * by Cica Ghost (SLurl) and took some snaps for My SL photo feed (Web and below) and I plan on going back very, very soon. Today, however, I was similarly stunned – if not more so – by the comic strip xkcd (Web), another stick figure art piece that is at turns wickedly funny and deeply thoughtful but always amusing. LIke Cica's art piece, xkcd is interactive and something you can spend quite a bit of time with exploring. My brother called it "magical" and it truly is so.

I wore my solid black "low lag" avatar to blend in, but Angela couldn't help but be colorful.

Go see this comic and be sure to click and drag the image. Have snacks near by as you'll be a while.
Also, check out Honour McMillan's post about  * C i c a * here.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

The WTF Towel

Between May 16, 2012 and just a few moments before starting this post, I've given away 989 sets of  my [pop shop] Towel Day 2012 Ladies Mesh Wrap Around Towels via the SL Marketplace (Web). Mind you, Towel Day (Web) was months ago (May 25th), yet every day I get notices that I've given away tons more sets – some 950 sets after the event ended, based on a rough calculation of the Marketplace report data. And the item has had some 3057 page views since it was listed. That makes me wonder how many more towels will be sold before the 2013 update.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Little Get Aways

Standing on Siracuse in the Northsky Channel (SLurl), I fiddle with Windlight settings and snap dozens of pictures for no particular reason. A few hours ago a general sense of dread crept upon me. Perhaps the news of an Arab Winter beginning in the Middle East is getting to me ... many unreasonable people reacting poorly to the ill-concieved actions of just a handful of other unreasonable people can tear down the hard work of so many others and possibly bring the world to the brink of another major conflict. Perhaps I'm simply entering the down stage of a unending manic-depressive cycle and I'm out of ice cream.

Whatever the case may be, it is keeping me from truly enjoying one of the many little treasures that dot the Second Life landscape, the simple build in the middle of nowhere. Siracuse is typical ... just a tiny island with some basic foliage in an otherwise empty region. A channel marker is bobs near by to keep boaters safe and to provide some atmosphere. All-in-all, an LDPW Mole probably spent 20 minutes creating here before popping off through one of their magic burrows to found a new little retreat. Such a short time for something that can mean so much.

Amazing what can be done in less than half an hour. The film that sparked the current Mideast crisis can be viewed in under 15 minutes but like the small island in the Northsky Channel, it will have a lasting impact. The little island can be seen as a waste of resources as it is really the only feature of the region or it can be seen as a creation of beauty and promise. The film can be a force of destruction or an opportunity for people to converse and learn and grow.

Now I need to get my sense of dread to listen to reason.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Avatars, Characters, & Persona

It fairly amuses me of late to see my brother's first Second Life avatar, CC Columbo, hang out in-world more often. Why? Apparently, he's 17-years old again. In real life, he is a solid 49-years old, though he tells folks he's 50 now. He's also tipping 300 pounds plus in weight, has mutton chops for facial hair this week, and a mane a wee bit longer than my own nearly shoulder-length tresses. In other words, aside from wearing glasses and having reddish hair, he doesn't look like his avatar. Behavior-wise, though, he is very much like his avatar – kind, considerate, polite, deferential, giving, loving, funny, reasonably handsome, fiercely loyal, more than a bit lazy, creative, and smart as a whip. His persona is the same in either instance, its just that he has this teenaged elf character that he's playing.

Also amusing is his "old man" character which he assumes when his alternate (alt) avatar is in-world – a cranky yet otherwise similarly behaved explorer of the Steampunk lands in Second Life; a more weathered and far more slender version of his Real Life self. Take away some hair and add in more of the scholarly, former Real Life teacher of the Social Studies and geography past with perhaps a bit more wisdom but no loss in the sense of wonder or other traits that his teenaged rendition exhibits and you have essentially the same persona, but a far different character.

A fair difference, at first blush, but compare and contrast the real to the virtual. Elven teenager or crotchety old guy, each in-world being represents with near 100 percent faithfulness the man who after the death of our father in Real Life raised me and still cares for me to this day. Each representation is easily recognizable as the Real Life man by folks that have met him in both worlds. So why the two different characters?

Well, three different characters, really. He's also a hyena furry. Or more than three. He has a bigger fascination with different avatars than I do and can often be found in the Blake Sea as a turtle, as a dinosaur roaming a desert sim, or as ... really most anything. But again, why? To have him explain it is near impossible. He simply says "its fun" and leaves it at that. Perhaps that is all it really comes down to, but probably not. Consider the teenager. His daughter (my niece, natch) passed away when she was nearly three-years old (hence the tombstone he puts in all his builds, like in the third picture) and she would have been 17 this year. I'm darned sure she would have been every bit as cool as her father, too. But are you seeing what I'm seeing with that character?

CC (which is what I call him iRL, too, as it is far faster to finger-spell than his full name) will never, ever grow up and often says he forgets he's not a teenager (maybe that's how he got along so well with all his students), but every now and then – for about a year or so now – I've caught him feeling his age. He often harks back to things like the first Moon landing, which he watched live, or playing with other kids in the space capsules that were unceremoniously parked mostly unattended on the near-by Navy base because no one thought they'd have future value (at least one he's been inside is now in the Smithsonian). He's been known to stare in wonder at our iPad and mumbling "once I had a Trash-80 that ..." And when a streak of white hair appeared all-skunky-like in his forelocks about a fortnight ago he almost danced a jig. I think he's going to enjoy being an old duffer. Our father liked to play the part when he retired and our older brothers rather relish the role, too.

So I think about my own characters, alts or otherwise, in Second Life – the pixies Zyx and Zyx Flux, the girl from India, the birds alts, the Linden Doggie and other fun avatars, along all the personas I adopt when I become them. They are all me. I am all them.

Now, who are you?

Monday, September 10, 2012


When I get busy building in Second Life, I don't think about much else. Like blogging. Sometimes eating. I've been known to dream about building. If you've been following my SL microblog (here) you've probably seen that I've been building a gasoline station. Well, its done and here's the back story.

My brother, CC Columbo (in SL), tried to convince me to start a garden shop when we moved into Bay City. He bought a lovely shop structure and even helped with the landscaping. It didn't take. For some reason the idea was met with apathy so he came up with something he wanted, a good Irish pub. However, while I was mucking about with avoidance, someone built a neighborhood pub not a block away (SLurl). Plan B was required.

And Plan B was a hotel! CC worked on this himself, actually, and had a rather clever one going. He then started working on several variations and was generally having a good time. In the meantime, he pushed Plan C, a filling station/convenience store. He asked me to make the garage for him and often hovered over my Real Life shoulder to point out features he wanted.

Really, I think that Plan B was a ruse since he's wanted a filling station for at least a month (see here). Afterall, our eldest RL brother owns a repair garage, our middle brother used to manage a filling station, and about once a month I don my personalized coveralls (Name tag: Juggs) or garage shirt and earn a bit of extra cash cleaning up the eldest brother's garage (not ashamed to admit I get paid more if I loosen up a couple buttons during hot weather so the boys kick in a few extra bucks).

CC gave this picture to me to use as inspiration, but with the shape of the lot we had, swapping the design end-for-end was required. He also gave me several pictures of other Sinclair Stations from the period on which Bay City is based (roughly, the 50s-60s).

Come to CC's Pouloco Station in Bay City - Dennis (SLurl).

And this is what I came up with ... a bit more modern and with a different brand. I pegged the design as a rehabilitated structure in the mid-1960s so I could mix in some of the newer-appearing convenience store machines I found in-world and on the SL Marketplace. Until the day the whole thing was installed it was still going to be a Sinclair station, with my partner Angela Seale working on some retro-chic gas pumps based on some Sinclair units I found on the Web. It always nagged me, however, about using a prominent brand name so with that and on the advice of others, I came up with a new brand, Pouloco (Nothing Runs Like A Chicken, Cross the Road with Pouloco, and Put a Chicken in Your Tank), for the Poultry Oil Company, and changed all the Sinclair graphics I had already uploaded. Then I had to shift the whole build several meters in two directions because I had totally mismeasured and hadn't noticed for several weeks.

The pumps you see are temporary as Angela is still finalizing the permanent ones. She'll sell non-branded versions to help cover her expenses and to pay for all the rent CC has to be charging her for to leave her car at the pumps since Day One. By they way, Marianne McCann found some nice garage coveralls (and has a great pic of the garage here) so Ange, me, and CC can all dress alike now. I might work on little name patches sometime.

I created a number of custom pieces and graphics, mostly signs, and will sell some of them inside the convenience store portion of the build. Mostly, though, this build was a labor or love. I balked at the job at first as it seemed like I was back in school. CC was an RL teacher and I had his classes for years (pretty much grades 8 through 12) so it was almost like he was giving me homework. But I enjoyed the challenge as it had been a while since I had built something on this scale. And if it is true that "the devil is in the details" then this build is sin-on-a-prim because I had a great time tweaking and sweating and tweaking some more on almost ever detail, even after the garage opened.

Sure the soda and Slurpee machines are a bit modern, but they are fabulously detailed and I make L$1 from each sale. Hot dogs from the more retro unit are also L$1 each, but you get a custom-made, animated frankfurter in a bun. Popcorn is free despite the L$5 sign. Either I have to find a way to erase that sign or find a way to charge for the stuff. CC bought the L$300 cash register but the decorations and machines in this room set me back about L$1000 ... hopefully I sell a lot of sodas and dogs. CC also bought a really, really nice set of fixtures for the restroom. Much better than the stuff I made and adapted.

I had also made some sculpted garage bay equipment such as a lift, tool boxes, shelves, and more. Then I found everything I had made but in mesh from a shop that that wasn't charging much at all. Fewer prims and much, much better looking? I had to drop the bucks on that stuff. Now I need to get up some girly pictures, slop down some oil and dirt, and take pix to my eldest brother for a critique.

CC made a lovely headstone honoring his real life daughter and Angela left some beautiful lilies.
Saving prims is always a good idea, especially as Angela and I still have our home on the lot, right behind the privacy wall (like there is any real privacy in SL). And CC had me build a cemetery (Web) in the roadside corner.

Of course, I still want more prims. Sometime I'll look at the house and the garage to see what can be trimmed. I found an animated mole in a hole I'd like to put in the yard and the shop needs more signs. Still, though, the Pouloco property really has a great feel. I'm as pleased with it as anything I've built in Second Life to date.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Press Release: "spirit" by claudia222 jewell

"spirit" by claudia222 jewell
Sunday Sept 9, 10:30 AM - 1:30 PM SLT
art screamer (SLurl)

SUNDAY SEPT 9th, art screamer
10:30: Machinima contenders screened and winner announced
11:00: Time with claudia, and a final tour of the sim
11:30 TwinGhost Ronas - Live Music
12:15: JordanReyne Deezul - Live Music

claudia's highly acclaimed "spirit" full sim installation at art screamer is closing on Sunday. Please join us to celebrate the wonderful artist and friend known as "claudia." her "spirit" will live forever!

# # #

Check out one of my visits from last February (Web) but be sure to go explore NOW because I certainly didn't photograph everything.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Best of MySL Last Week

There is still no way that I can find to directly import pictures from the My Second Life feeds to a blog, though it was pointed out that the Firefox viewer can send snaps to Flickr (too bad Firefox progressively slows for me and becomes unusable). And I did start a dialogue with Torley Linden about making the feeds more accessible. It seems that development on this nifty Web resource has stopped, but The Lab hasn't altogether abandoned maintenance. So that being said, here in no particular order are the best pix from my particular feed ...

Yes, I posted this shot on this blog before, but it still works. The Lab has new premium account gift, this dune buggy, and four new regions in which you can to race it around. Of course, the rez zones mean you can also take out other things. I sorted some inventory and flew around a jet plane at one point (from MySL here).

I was convalescing from bruised ribs and general soreness so I got to watch my brother build a lot. He had this thing about hotels and office buildings going on so when I had some time in-world I thought I'd try my hand at it (from MySL here).

Angela took me for a drive eastward on Route 1 and up Park Way (this picture) this week. She loves the car she won while grabbing the Miss Bay City title recently. The car handles great though it had some trouble going up hills. Any drive along Mainland roads is fun and I recommend it to anyone (from MySL here).

This is me thanking Angela for a wonderful evening drive. She's snuggly and comfy and kisses nice (from MySL here).

Most of my building this week has focused on making a filling station. Right now my brother is talking about replacing the greenhouse/shop in Bay City with this, provided I can keep it within prim limits. Then he wants to sell sodas, snacks, and generally have fun with role play. Of my three brothers, CC is the only one who doesn't work on cars for fun or for a living in real life so maybe this is his way to carry on the family tradition (from MySL here).

Angela and I getting comfy for the last of the weekly fireworks at Livingtree this year. G-rated sim so I can understand the lack of cuddle poses, but my wife and I cuddled in IM as we watched the show. Notice how much she loves her Miss Bay City sash? She almost never takes it off. Almost never. Really (from MySL here).

Marianne McCann is the fireworks goddess and no matter how you look, the show is always amazing. If you look close, you'll find Mari dancing away on the roof in her Nomex® skirt (from MySL here).