Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Second Life Addiction

"If it's possible for an avatar to look crazed and delusional, this pic proves it"
(Click to embiggen)

Do you sit at work, daydreaming about decorating your Second Life home or designing the layout for the island you just bought? Does your boss walk by, shaking his head as he spots you doodling new fashion designs on the company supplied sticky notes?

There are those lucky few who can log in to the grid on company time, the self employed, the unemployed and those who have forged a career of flexi hair and designer shoes on Second Life, but the rest of us poor, working stiffs face a very real affliction...

Prim-Texture Deprivation Disorder

What can you do to alleviate the symptoms of this very real disorder? The sweaty palms, the dazed expression, the automatic reach of your hand for a mouse in order to mute the CEO during the quarterly meeting are all not only embarrassing, but could eventually lead to unemployment.

Forget food, rent and water bills, how will you pay your tier without a job? You've got two alts to support and 27 of those damned Sion chickens to feed.

Relax ya'll. There's no need to panic, I have the answer.

You can connect to an entire community of other Second Life folks on social networks like Plurk or Twitter. There's nothing to download and it's easy to keep up with either one while working on that budget proposal in the other window. To get started, you can enter "second life" as a search term to find other users and let your contact list grow from there. You can get your fashion fix from designers posting previews of their newest releases, relationship drama and the inside scoop on events or places to visit.

Too busy to do the whole social network thing while working for "the man?"

How about streaming music? Most offices allow folks to listen to radio broadcasts online, how about the streams you listen to in-world? Two of my favorites are "Martini in the Morning" and "Radio Riel." Martini in the Morning plays Rat Pack era tunes, with that old Vegas feel. You can almost hear those Harvey Wallbanger glasses clinking in the background.

Radio Riel has three streams to choose from, Traditional (pre-1950, including Celtic, Folk and more,) New Toulouse (New Orleans, Jazz, Blues, Big Band) and Steampunk (Goth, Steamwave and Dark Cabaret.) The Radion Riel Traditional stream is my personal favorite and the music I enjoy on my own land. I especially enjoy the old pirate songs and the sound of Gypsy mandolins.

It's the perfect way to forget where you really are and have just a tiny taste of your Second Life in your first life.

Other ways to get your SL fix without ending up at the soup kitchen include visiting the official Second Life forums, doing a little window shopping on XStreetSL or, of course, catching up on all your favorite SL blogs.

If you've got any other ways to stay out of the unemployment line while holding on to your sanity during working hours, drop a comment! I'd love to hear your ideas.

Until next time, I'll see ya on the grid!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Everything Old is New Again

Why didn't ya'll TELL ME????

I've tinkered with the idea of upgrading my graphics card for a while, but I didn't start to really look into it until my computer started sounding like the space shuttle whenever I ran SL for more than a few minutes. Being the cheapskate that I am, I first tried rigging up an external desk fan to cool my tower (go ahead and laugh... sounded good in theory) but then I had to deal with a whole different roaring sound.

Eventually, a combination of horror stories of melting puter innards and a quick check of Linden Labs' minimum requirements for running SL led me to decide to upgrade my old, yet dependable computer. Dell, some Plurk buddies and a sorta techy guy at work helped me sort out what I needed, where to get it and how to install it.

I'll leave the gory details of the actual installation to your imagination. It was sorta like Forest Gump trying to do algebra, underwater and blindfolded. I did, however, eventually sort it out.


I'm wandering around the grid like a n00b in a strip club, constantly amazed at the newly discovered appearance of...


Who knew it could actually look like.. well.. GRASS?

And Alejandro? He's zooming around like he's on turtle crack.

If ya'll can't find me, I'll probably be holed up in a forest glen somewhere, in a daze as I zoom in on the texture of a tiny mushroom.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

In Love

There's a new man in my life. He moved in a few days ago. His name... is Alejandro. He doesn't need to be fed, he doesn't have babies, he doesn't leave eggs laying all over the place and there's no molting.

He's perfectly content to swim around under my little magic cabin on Wando.

Oh and.. he listens to me ramble on those long, lonely Second Life nights.

He's also trained to attack and likes to eat toes, so be careful if you're wandering around my back door.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Relationship Issues

I'll admit it. I have them. I have a butt load, truth be told, but that doesnt mean I haven't learned a few things along the way.

I've complied a list of clues to help those of you who are relationship challenged like myself, to know when it's time to let go, cut bait, set sail for smoother waters, get the hell out of town, make like a banana and peel, take the last train to Georgia and say "Hasta la bye-bye Baby!"

In other words...

How to tell he's not that into your avatar:

  • He begins every conversation with "I talked to my ex today... blah blah... broke my heart... blah blah.. lost without her... blah blah... I'm wondering if I should stay in business with her... blah blah..."
  • He suddenly starts popping up in IM when he's not showing up in your friends list. Or, he thinks he's a smooth operator when he marks your name as "unable to see me online" but forgets you own land on the same estate and use the Emerald viewer, with built in radar. It takes him a while, but he eventually does figure out to recheck the box by your name before he sends an IM.
  • He enjoys ejecting you from the skybox you share, everytime you tp in. He tells you it's just a joke and laughs it off, telling you to get a sense of humor.
  • He has lots and lots of female friends, who are always having a crisis that only he can solve.
Sometimes, it's painfully obvious from day one that you probably shouldn't waste your time. Some of those clues..

  • He doesn't have time to talk because he's busy trading stocks. What he really means is he's unemployed, lives in his mother's basement and he just found some really good free porn. You probably won't see him online for a while, he'll be busy hauling his computer down to the Geek Squad to get all those nasty coochie shot pop ups off his computer before his mother sees them and makes him move back to the garage.
  • He manages to bring his webcam into the conversation everytime you talk to him. He even offers to send you an image he shot while talking to you last. Be prepared for a slightly unfocused, happy little winky, standing at attention. An extreme closeup. It's okay to laugh out loud, but try to be kind when you respond to the IM. He may be a little unbalanced and you could push him over the edge. You don't need that on your conscience.
  • He thinks relationships in Second Life are stupid, feels that those who participate in such foolishness should have their heads examined and just doesn't see the point. (Down here in the South, we call this being "uppity.") What Mr. Uppity can't explain, however, is why, if he feels this way, is he walking around with his nose up your butt every second you're online, trying to get you naked. Or for that matter, why he's there at all.
  • Then there are those who are obsessed with the myth that every single female in Second Life is really a man. They'll use this belief to try to force you to share personal information. Just walk away. They're missing the whole point. I'll be happy to chat in voice with anyone I'm friends with, even if I am a little shy. But when I barely know you.. and you demand it as "proof".. well.. you can go screw yourself.
By the way, I love dishing out advice. Do you have a Second Life dilemma that's just crying out for a solution? Drop me an email and I'll post your quandry here, along with my own words of wisdom.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Don't Forget to Play

The past few months in Second Life have been busy, awesome and just a tad bit stressful all at one time. Normally, I love the busy pace, but when you add in a little more RL stress than usual, it starts to be too much.

I needed a break.

I wiggled out of the tight, formal dresses and wore my comfy Panthers jersey and faded jeans, postponed interviews, put off major business decisions for a few days and  hid from everyone.

It was time to get out and explore.

Have you ever opened your search page and typed in random words, like.. "weird" or "strange" or "oddity?" Well, you should. There's some freaky stuff out there. I'm not posting SLurls.. get out and find them!

I've noticed that in SL, more and more people are logging on and spending all their time working. Isn't that what we're trying to escape? There's more to life than working and shopping. Stop hiding behind your glowing red banlines, your nose to the virtual grindstone and get out there! Kick off your scultpie shoes and fly into sims unknown. There's STUFF people. Lots of STUFF. Silly stuff, childish stuff.. FUN STUFF.

When was the last time you sat on a pink, pulsating brain? It may be just what you need to get your creative juices flowing again.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

The Truth About Furries

Furries... The wild, sexual deviants of Second Life or innocent victims of rumor and prejudice?

I went to the Second Life Wikia for their definition of Furry:

"A furry or "anthro" (short for anthropomorphism) is an avatar that has both human and animal qualities. An example is a fox that has five fingers and walks on two legs in a bipedal fashion. In Second Life, "furry" avatars are those which use prim attachments to reflect upon a certain animal or mythical creature while keeping the basic humanoid framework."

Sounds innocent enough.

One of my past relationships was with a knuckle dragging neanderthal who boasted himself to be both biker and scripter, neither of which turned out to be true.. but that's another story entirely.. who had a deep hatred for Furries. He'd often arrive in a cloud of dramatic particles, his hat pulled down over his face, weilding a spear adorned with the bloody head of a newbie Furry avatar.

Needless to say, the relationship didn't last long. I do have my limits.

Since then, I've encountered more than a few people with strong opinions about Furries, but when I questioned their motives, I couldn't get a straight answer other than "perverts."

I decided to take my question to the infohubs and see what I could find out. My first stop was Moose Beach.

Mahala Roviana: anoyone here willng to answer a few questions about Furries for my blog?

Mona Chronowire: Ask away Mahala

Mahala Roviana: Okay Mona.. would you date a furry?

Mona Chronowire: Sure - why not.

Mahala Roviana: Alot of ppl seem to have strong opinions about Furries in Sl, I'm just trying to find out why

Mona Chronowire: For the record though -- I'm a shape shifter on another ALT...

Mona Chronowire: so I'm a Furry from time to time myself.

Mahala Roviana: oh coolness :)

Mona Chronowire: I do not Yiff

Mona Chronowire: though.

Mahala Roviana: do you think that's what most people seem to focus on?

Mona Chronowire: could be. Most of the furries I know -- few if any do that - that I am aware of.

Mahala Roviana: I've heard it, but I'm not sure what it means. Can you explain "Yiff" in PG terms?

Mona Chronowire: Sexual intercourse....but more like an orgy.

Mona Chronowire: was that PG?

I'd heard the term "Yiff" in some circles, spotted the word on some search pages. I didn't have a clue what it actually meant. My imagination ran wild with descriptions of bodily fluids, awkward positions, inanimate objects.
My imagination is a scary place.

Regardless, I had a hard time believing "Yiff" was simply a euphanism for Furry sex.

I turned to the Wikipedia description:
"The term "yiff" is most commonly used to indicate sexual activity or sexual material within the fandom—this applies to sexual activity and interaction within the subculture" and according to other sources, it is derived from the sound made my mating artic foxes.

Is that all? Apparently my imagination is way more perverted than actual Furries.

I decided to dig a little further and made my way to Hyles, where I presented the same question:

Mahala Roviana: I'm doing a blog story and I'm trying to find out why they're so disliked

Poot Dibou: who are disliked?

Mahala Roviana: Furries

Poot Dibou: are they?

Mahala Roviana: it's been my experience..

Poot Dibou: isnt it just like disliking transvestives, or any one who doesn't conform to the norm?

Mahala Roviana: I don't know, that's what I'm trying to find out

Poot Dibou: how?

Mahala Roviana: there used to be a guy at my old hub who walked around with a furry head on a spike

Poot Dibou: if you ask people directly, how will you know they are being honest?

Mahala Roviana: and many acted as if that were acceptable

Poot Dibou: I suspect they will not reveal their true feelings

Poot Dibou: there seems to be a myth that furries = sexual pervert

Poot Dibou: and also that child av = sexual pervert

Mahala Roviana: I guess then one has to define what is perverted

Poot Dibou: but if the myth is being propogated by non-furries, non-child ONLY because they dont understand it

Poot Dibou: then this is why they are unliked

Mahala Roviana: that makes sense

Name Withheld: Hello

Poot Dibou: (Name withheld), hey, do you consider yourself a furry?

Mahala Roviana: Hi (name withheld) :)

Name Withheld: kind of

Poot Dibou: I just arrived a min ago and heard Mahala say she was researching why people hate Furries here

Poot Dibou: I said I reckoned it was because they're equated with sexual perverts, as child avs are

Poot Dibou: and that people don't like 'un'normal things, such as transvertites

Name Withheld: yeah, I think it's because of the sexual things. A lot of furries are into that

Poot Dibou: but is it most?

Poot Dibou: is being furry like wearing a badge to say "I'm available"?

Name Withheld: I think most are either sexually active in SL or look at furry porn.

Poot Dibou: FURRY PORN?!

Mahala Roviana giggles

Name Withheld: yeah, drawings

Poot Dibou: okay, so they ARE perverts, then

Poot Dibou: maybe deserve head on stick, Mah?

Poot Dibou: :-)

After my visits to the infohubs, I decided that maybe there really wasn't anything to this big Furry mystery at all. I know I've heard that the Furry culture was more accepting to alternative lifestyles and that there are strong ties to the Gay and Lesbian community. Could that be the basis for all the Furry bashing in Second Life?

I stopped by Luskwood to find out for myself. Prepared to face piles of fur engaged in deviant sexual acts, human sacrifice and baby eating, instead I found a nice group of indviduals, discussing the evenings dinner plans. The wildest thing I witnessed was a recipe involving Skittles, vodka and a Mason jar.

I'm sure there are Furries out there participating in carnal acts that would make your Grandma's toenails curl, but I'm just as sure that if you wander the grid long enough, you'll find just as much, if not more, raunchy nookie action performed by human avatars.

We have to stop jumping to conclusions, passing judgement on individuals based on outward appearances.

In both worlds.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

The Future of Second Life

Monday's "Gripe Session" at the Second Slice Cafe had the biggest turnout of all our events so far. The biggest gripe? Not enough griping!

We had a great time, lots of chatting, friendly banter, a little networking and some shmoozing took place, but as has become the tradition, very little attention was paid to the actual planned topic.

With the experimental phase successfully completed, I'm happy to announce regularly scheduled chat-shmooz-meet some folks-get togethers on Sundays, 5 p.m. SLT at the Second Slice Cafe. For reminders, you can sign up for the Second Slice group or check the events listings. More may be added later, but I think this is a good place to start. I expect to see ya'll there.

Don't make me come looking for you.

In other news...

The grid has been buzzing with news of the latest virtual pets in Second Life. Turtles are invading the sims with promises to replace the Sion chickens as the "next big thing." The little critters are sold as eggs, which then hatch, breed, eat and I assume, eventually expire.

I'm sorry, if I have to worry about buying food, my property being over run by turtle babies when the little things go crazy doing the humpty hump and whether or not they're inbred, my Second Life starts getting as stressful as real life.

What's wrong with the little two prim critters that stand around moving their head or the tiny ducks you can plop down in some pixelated water to swim in eternal circles, never wanting for a thing?

It sounds like a huge pain in the hiney to me.

Don't get me wrong, I love little animals as much as the next person, but if I'm going to have to devote that much time, attention and money to something, I expect it to protect my property or at least keep my feet warm.

I hear bunnies are next.. and ya'll know how fast they multiply.

And bunnies aren't dumb like chickens and turtles. Bunnies are crafty. Their numbers will grow uncontrollably, they'll evolve and organize. The first sim to fall under their control will be Zindra, where promises of kinky bunny sex will attract a flood of newbies who'll be tricked into entering their little clubs, their eyes glazing over with lust, the temptations of fluffly little tails rounding the carrot shaped stripper poles, gyrating to the beat of loud house techno.

You'll start to see Lindens in bunny ears, the forums will be over run with messages from avs with names like "Bugs" and "PeterCtail."

The sky is falling my friends.. and it will come down on the heels of freakishly giant, furry feet.

It's the end of Second Life as we know it.

Just my opinion.


Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Too Busy to Date Your Avatar

This was just too precious not to share. I think I'm in love with the zebra.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

What I Was Going to Write

I was planning a story on the baby farm next door to Second Slice Cafe. I took lots of pictures, I took notes, I intended to expose them for bucking Linden Labs' traffic system by storing around 13 bots on a platform over their "clinic."

I wanted to poke fun at their fuggly prim babies and shoddy looking lobby, but honestly, I was just ticked off about the lag.

Then, they moved them to cold storage, inside this skybox. I figured, it would be harder to prove that way than it would be if they were just standing around on a platform..

So I let myself inside and took more pics of all the avs standing around in a daze. I even tried to strike up a conversation, just to be sure.

That's right.. I infiltrated the enemy's camp, risked my own life for the story.

It was going to be GREAT.

But then, I logged on this morning to check my own traffic and was surprised by the ease with which I moved. Something was different. I checked my mini map, looking for the cluster of sky bots, only to find..

Nothing. The baby farm was gone.

So my first big "expose'" was a bust. Not to worry, I'm told I've got a nose for trouble. I'll see what I can sniff out for next time.

See ya on the grid!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Live Music in Second Life

I've been doing some late night venue hopping for the past few weeks (like bar hopping, but with less chance of arrest.. or ya know.. death,) checking out live music acts. The music scene always intrigued me, but I was usually way too busy walking around with my nose up some smooth talker's pixelated butt cheeks to check it out.

I've enjoyed a two man bluegrass show, complete with corny jokes, experienced the blues and an acoustic version of "Poker Face" played to a packed house. I've mentioned some of my favorite acts in past posts, but as I hop from one act to the next, looking for the one that will hold my interest through at least one song, I've determined that there are some really sucky singers out there.

No.. seriously. The music begins and I'm all excited because it's one of my favorite songs, when suddenly and without warning, a sound like that of a dying mule in a hail storm spews forth into my headphones, making their way into my brain and, no doubt, causing irreversible damage.

I could do better. If you'd ever heard me sing, you'd realize how bad that truly is.

The only thing I can figure is, these vocally challenged residents must have been children of the 80's, when parents were being fed all that "self esteem" nonsense, when children received certificates at award ceremonies for such awesome accomplishments as showing up and not stabbing anyone in the forehead with a sharpened No.2 pencil.. things that used to be considered behavior of reasonably functioning humans, suddenly became worthy of reward.

I know I can't sing. How do I know? My mother told me, because somewhere deep in her psyche she knew that I'd grow up to spend valuable chunks of my life sitting in front of a computer, manipulating a mini-me through virtual worlds and I needed to know that if I tried to belt out a tune, it would be an assault on the senses of people all over the earth and could result in an international incident.

Moms know stuff like that.

And since we're on the subject of live music in Second Life, I'd like to say a word about the venues, most of which are freakin' awesome. When you book an act that's really popular, there are going to be alot of people show up, which is the point, right? So you come to expect a little lag as a result.

I understand that. It can't be helped.

So why do put the tp point 500 hundred miles from the stage, across six bridges, up a ladder, behind giant castle doors and up on the roof? It's like being on a scavenger hunt with the map upside down. By the time I get there, I'm so tired and annoyed, I just wanna rip someone a new one.

There are lots of great acts on the grid, if you've not had the pleasure, you really should check out a few. Most venues are well managed with friendly staff and for the most part, I've had a great time.

If you happen across an exceptionally awesome act, drop me an email so I can check them out.

I'll see ya'll soon.

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