Memory Lane

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Jun 052014

I’ve found that when, in RL, I start going through too many old photos I begin to get too depressed to function for a while. That’s been happening to me lately, and I suspect it’s worse because my RL wedding anniversary will be in a couple weeks. It would have been eight years this month, but on that day instead of eight years of marriage,  I will have been looking at almost eight months of widowhood. I don’t want to think about that, so I dive into the old photos and try to relive happier times, but I think I just miss my husband more with every photo I see.

I sometimes find that it’s just as hard to look through my old SL shots of his avatar, or the two of us together. It may not be the RL us, but for each shot I can remember what we were doing, whether it was some fun little random moment at home, or out exploring. And for each shot we were together, a few feet apart, in RL. We were constantly looking over each other’s shoulders to see what was going on. I miss that terribly. Every time I go in world I miss him. I want to take him to fun new places, and watch him find spots I never thought of exploring.

Given that I’ve been feeling sad for the past few days you wouldn’t think I’d want to dive into nostalgic photos of our early days in Second Life, but I just felt like doing that today. Maybe it was the idea of “Throwback Thursday” that inspired me, I see people on blogs, or Facebook, or Twitter, posting with that theme every week. so I thought I’d jump on the bandwagon. So back I go to those thrilling days of yesteryear, when particle clouds floated in non-Windlit skies, and ad farms were cultivated all over the mainland.


The old home site. Looks a bit empty these days.

Every now and then I like to go back to the first parcel we ever owned, just to see what it looks like these days. I should have thought of this last month, as it was right around the first of May in 2007 that we decided we really needed to own land. Technically the first land program was still in effect when we joined, but it was never available so we went shopping for a suitable little 512 parcel and eventually found one that wasn’t too pricey, and was bordered on one side by what would eventually be a Linden road. These days there’s nothing there and it has been abandoned to Governor Linden, but back in May of 2007 it was a little green patch amid flashy nightclub supply places, resorts, and big stores.


Almost the same angle as the pic above…

Still, it was all ours and we loved our little patch of land. We happily rezzed a cottage from the library, moved it around a few times, eventually built a privacy screen at the sides and back, then finally moved up into the air, where my hub re-textured the cottage and built a turret, with a little library inside.

16- June b_005

But the best part was the giant flexi earthworm hanging out under the platform

We kept the first plot for about five months before selling it off to the guy with the giant store across the road, and moved to a larger spot. At first I just rezzed the old house, then we began building our own hobbit hole, and I kept trying to set up garden spots with just Linden trees and freebie landscaping items. It may be a little cheesy by today’s standards, but at the time I was just excited to be building stuff and I didn’t care how bad it looked, it was all wonderful and fun.

03-SEP-07 hobbithill_001

In a hole in the ground lived two avatars

We spent tons of time in world in the early days, just building anything and everything we could think of, then deleting it and trying something else. Part of it was because the ability to make stuff was just so much fun we couldn’t resist it, part of it was we were super stingy. If I wanted something to decorate with we hated to spend money on it, at least in those early days, so we tried to make things ourselves. Some of the biggest joys of my second life were watching my husband get absorbed in creating something.  As he started experimenting with making sculpts he decided to build a tree house. I actually quite miss the little tree house, I think if I had my own land I’d be tempted to fish around in his inventory and rez some of these things, just for nostalgia’s sake.


With fab particle clouds, and spinning ad signs too! Woot!

Much like the first, the area around our second land is mostly empty these days although a large build sits in about the middle point of where our land was. I looked around for a bit, but I didn’t want to loiter too long because there were people about on their own property and they were probably wondering what sort of trouble I might get up to, just standing around on the road, so I flew away.

A lot of the land around where we had the second home was up for sale, though some was at a steep price for a landlocked bit of mainland. Part of me considered the cheaper parcel for a little while, I’m not premium anymore but I’ve contemplated going premium again to get a little plot of my own. I’m not really sure I’d want to live on either of our old sims again, though. Too many memories of the things we built, and all the fun we had there. I have enough trouble wandering through my city in RL and finding spots that remind me of my husband, I’m not sure I want to have that be any more of a thing in SL than it already is.

Still, it was fun to look back, and remember how excited we were about everything in those early days. It was a nice little trip down memory lane.

If only First Life were as easy.





May 272014

Everybody loves questions! Well, I love questions. I used to love reblogging the “ask me” posts on Tumblr, where readers pick from the list and drop the question number in your inbox. I don’t see those as often anymore and I miss answering them, dorky as some of them tended to be.  Tumblr hasn’t been much of a social space for me in quite a while, even though I have more followers than ever they are all very quiet. I really miss the interaction and community I used to see a couple of years ago.

At the same time I have noticed the SL Tumblr community seems to have really taken off. At the moment I only follow a handful of SLers and haven’t used the Tumblr counterpart to this blog in a good seven months, but it’s fun to see so many posts in the SL tag these days. I sometimes think I should make a new primary account to follow only SL blogs, because right now when I follow them they probably wonder why and assume I’m fishing for followers since I don’t post anything related to Second Life. On the other hand even if I make a new SL Tumblr I suspect I’d always forget to log into it, because that’s what always happens whenever I’ve tried to make an SL-specific account on any social network.

In the end I think I’ll just dust off the little neglected Tumblr mirror blog and see if I can pay more attention to the SL community. The Strawberry Singh Monday meme for this week asks Twenty SL Personal Questions, which seems like a good post to start with if I begin publishing back to the other blog again, right? 🙂

And once again: Yay! Questions! Jumping right in to the long list.

  1. When and how did you discover Second Life? • My husband saw tech blog articles about it, when it beginning to get a lot of attention in 2006 as a place to make money and create things. As an artist he thought that was pretty cool, and he was also intrigued by the idea of buying and selling land. But at the time we were too busy being newlyweds so we didn’t get around to thinking of signing up until January of the following year. Since we were both hopeless researchers we bought the Official Guide to Second Life, studied it cover to cover, read everything we could find, and were probably the most prepared newbies to hit the grid in early February of 2007. We were ready to create!
  2. Did you know about virtual worlds before or was this your first experience with them? • Although they were not shared virtual worlds I was hugely addicted to the Sims and Sims 2 games, so I was familiar with a 3D environment and was pretty instantly comfortable with SL. This also probably explains why I mostly just wanted to decorate houses and dress up my avatars when I joined. I was aware of online virtual communities well before I heard of SL, but because they were for social interaction they scared me off. I preferred a single player experience.
  3. Has Second Life met your expectations? • I didn’t have any expectations to start with, so I’d say it’s exceeded them and has made me very happy.
  4. If you could teleport back to the first ten minutes of your avatar’s slife, what would you tell yourself? • Can I go back to the first ten minutes of registration instead and head myself off before I create my first account? At that point I will be shouting in my ear, “No! No! Give the name more thought! You can’t change it, ever! Pick something you really like!”
  5. How long did it take you to master avatar flying and driving vehicles inworld? • Flying was pretty easy, I got that right away. I still can’t drive any manner of vehicle without looking like I’m drunk. You should’ve seen me trying to steer a bike around Frisland recently. xD
  6. Do you have a mystery alt? • I have several alts, but usually I only log them in if I want to take a pic with more than one av, or to take them shopping to spruce up their wardrobes. Most of them were created to make cute names, to be testing alts, or to see what was going on with the new user process.
  7. Is your SL avatar a reflection of you, or someone you wished you could be? •  Actually just yesterday a friend commented that he thought I’ve done one of the best jobs he’s seen of matching my av’s looks to my human, lol. I feel he’s being pretty generous, but I have spent a lot of time trying to tweak my avatar’s  features to be a reflection of me. Well, at least as much as one can do with sliders. I wish my RL self was as thin and pretty as Ravensong, she’s me, but definitely an idealized twenty years younger version of me. Personality wise she’s entirely me, I’ve never attempted to create a persona and unique avatar identity that is distinct from my RL identity.
    Actually in some ways Ravensong is someone I wish to be, in that as I tweak her shape a bit I’m using her to visualize my fitness goal, as she’s right around what I aspire to reach ultimately, if I can stick to my plan for a year or so.
  8. Is there an individual you met in SL that inspired you in your RL? How? •  Although I’ve never met them, a lot of the SL photographers I see on Flickr are amazing and inspire me creatively in SL and RL. 😀
  9. Do you feel it is easier to create stronger bonds/relationships with people you meet inworld as opposed to the real world? • I don’t think it’s any easier, actually I’ve found that my social anxiety is a little worse in SL than it is in RL. I’ve seen other people make a similar statement and I have no idea why this happens. Maybe it has to do with not being able to make eye contact, and read a person’s body language and hear their voice. Now once that social anxiety hurdle is crossed I think it’s as easy to make good friends in SL or elsewhere online as it is offline, and the closest friendships I have at the moment are with people I met in online communities.
  10. Did you ever imagine or believe people could fall in love with someone they never met before Second Life? • Sure, as Strawberry mentioned, you used to hear about people who fell in love as pen pals long before there was any such thing as the internet. I was never a bit surprised to hear about online romances.
  11. How has your perspective of dating changed (or not) since you started playing second life? •  Not really.
  12. How has your perspective of employment changed (or not) since you started playing second life? •  I don’t think so.
  13. Name three things in both your lives that overlap each other significantly. • I love photography in both worlds. I love to create things in both worlds, albeit with entirely different tools! I keep in touch with some friends in both SL and RL.
  14. If you could live your life more immersively in a virtual world, would you? ( Kind of like the Matrix) • I don’t particularly want to plug something into myself physically because ouch, I’ll just wait for the singularity and download my consciousness lol. Actually what I always wanted was my own personal Star Trek holodeck so I can make my wish fulfillment fantasies come true. Okay, yes I do want to live more immersively, at least sometimes. 😀
  15. How do you think behavior changes for people if they’re inworld vs in real world? Why do you think that is? • If somebody keeps their real life identity a complete secret then they can do whatever they want in world, whether it’s good or bad, because they are totally anonymous and there won’t be real life consequences.
  16. How has second life consumerism changed your perception of spending habits, the value of money, the need to be “bleeding edge” with fashion? • I budget a little fun money for SL each month, though not a lot, and I’m stingy with my Lindens when it comes to buying clothes and stuff. I don’t really care about how bleeding edge fashionable I am, I do like to read fashion blogs and pick up new things, but I also still like to wear my regular system layer clothes sometimes. (Horrors!) I am far more likely to buy clothes in SL, RL me is totally the opposite of fashion forward… I’m content to putter around the world in jeans and tee shirts, and when I do see something cute in a display at the mall the first thing I think sometimes is “I wonder if I can find something like that in SL?”
  17. Do you think virtual worlds like SL drive and redefine human interaction or do they narrow and limit it? • I think they present a fun, new dimension to human interaction.
  18. If technology progressed tomorrow to allow you to send emotions to people the way you’d send text or voice messages, would it enrich your SL experience or infringe on it? •  I think you’d want to limit that to only receiving ‘feelings’ from people on a very restricted friends list. A sensation of loving emotions from your partner would be pretty cool, or sending someone a feeling of joy, or something uplifting. Not sure I’d want to be the recipient of an emotion sent by a friend who was mad at me though. And certainly not from random strangers, imagine an emotion IM from somebody who thinks your avatar is super hot and wants to let you know just how attracted and excited they are about you… *shudder* O.o
  19. Name three skills you attribute to having learned or honed in second life alone. • The only thing would be 3D building, because I never attempted that before SL. But everything else I’ve honed in SL has also been applicable to and practiced on real life hobbies, such as practicing on how to compose a nice photo, or becoming more comfortable with Photoshop.
  20. If your grand kids googled your Second Life Avatar’s name, would they be intrigued, disgusted, proud or something else? •  If I ever had any I suspect they’d be amused.



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May 162014

Linden Lab released new mesh starter avatars yesterday, giving new accounts a variety of choices of human or supernatural avatars, all using fitted mesh bodies over the basic avatar shape.  They’ve also been added to the library, so I thought I’d try them on to see what new accounts will have to choose from, and to see just how much they could be tweaked.


This is the Sara av in her natural state. It seems that they are entirely no mod when you put them on, but you can swap out the shape for one of your own and then tweak the body a bit. You can’t modify the face, unfortunately, and they’re incapable of changing expression. I think she looks okay but she’s a bit thin, (although probably not when compared to most of the standard small and extra small avvies running around SL.)

I swapped her base shape for a standard medium shape, then outfitted her in a nice new Magika hairstyle and a mesh dress from Cracked Mirror, also in medium. Some of the mesh dresses I tried fit okay, others required a large size because it’s not possible to wear an alpha layer for the dress.  Since I had her standing still in a pose I’m not sure how well she’d move with the dress, I suspect she’d have a bit of clipping here and there. Shoes are a lost cause, since nearly everything is designed for Slink feet these days I think our starter will have to stick with her boots or roam the grid barefoot.

15-MAY_017She doesn’t look bad, although the skin on all of the avatars looks sort of splotchy up close. I can’t guess at what people entirely new to SL will think about these. I remember my first few minutes in SL, I wanted to start playing with avatar customization immediately, and didn’t even start exploring orientation island until I’d tweaked my shape and fiddled with my clothes. If I’d found it impossible to customize my look and thought my only option was to swap to another starter avatar I’d have been really disappointed. On the other hand I came into SL having already gotten used to highly customizable Sims characters, so I may have had a higher expectation for how much I could change my appearance than other new users.

I don’t know how much information LL will have available for brand new users to explain the difference between a basic avatar and a fitted mesh avatar, or if they even feel it’s necessary.  If they don’t offer anything I suspect it will fall to merchants to explain why clothes don’t fit, or in the case of system layer clothes or new skins, why they don’t appear on the mesh avatars at all and require switching to the “classic” avatars. I would imagine most people will eventually want to change their appearance. especially after they see how nice an avatar can look with a good skin and nice clothes, so there will probably be some moments of frustration. I rather wish I could think of someone I know offline who might be persuaded to give SL a try so I could hear what they think of everything. I’m curious to see how this works out.

As for me, I was just really happy to put my own shape and skin back on.

May 062014

The blog challenge this week over at Strawberry Singh’s blog is all about color! She asks us to blog a pic of our favorite color or colors, and we learn that if anyone is considering giving her a gift it probably shouldn’t be teal. 😀  I wasn’t sure if I’d try the challenge this week because I felt like it should have a fashion component, and I usually avoid fashion challenges because I’ve no idea how to style my avvies and talk about clothes like a fashion blogger. Eventually I realized that it’s useless to resist a meme so I began sifting through my inventories to see if I could find something colorful.

I always say my favorite color is blue, (and I’m pretty delighted by the skies in the pic above too) but I also am fond of pinks and earth tones, and I really like some shades of fuchsia and (sorry, Berry) teal, especially when paired as an accessory with black. In RL I’ve always tended towards wearing dark colors, in fact I have far too many dark colors. I definitely took to heart that old advice that dark is supposed to be slimming for a big girl and as a result I now have to stop myself when shopping because I instinctively reach for the black shirt first. I seem to be doing this in SL as well, although as standard mediums I don’t think either of my girls need to worry about looking thinner. I’m amused that I dress Ravensong like me rather often… sometimes just in the sort of clothes I’d love to wear if I were a bit slimmer or could afford the RL versions, but other times, as below, she’s totally me. Or I’m her… I haven’t quite determined which yet it is yet. 😀

Raven and her slightly flashier altsister do have the benefit of a better wardrobe selection than I, and there were some brighter colors lurking in inventory. I love the little pink jacket from Emery, and the pink Nairobi shirt from Cracked Mirror at the latest Fameshed needs to be in my RL closet. 

At the end of the day, I realized I was more obsessed with finding pretty skies than finding colorful outfits.  I may not wear a lot of vivid colors, but I love to have them surrounding me, whether it’s windlit SL skies, or colorful accessories in SL or RL, or the various bits of cobalt blue glass stuff i have a fondness for in RL. Color is wonderful, I could never last for long in a subdued, monochromatic home.

I think the next time I take Ravensong out shopping I’ll inject some brighter hues into her wardrobe. Since she’s pretty much mini-me perhaps she’ll inspire me to liven up my RL wardrobe too.


Relaxin’ With Flat Ebbe

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Apr 202014

I’m almost a week late in keeping up with Strawberry Singh’s Monday Meme, but life was tossing me around a little and  I just didn’t get in world.  On a bright note, I have finally been reunited with my wayward laptop, all repaired and ready to let me explore again, and, more importantly, take pics. Yay! Of course the first thing I did was grab Flat Ebbe from the marketplace.

Since he’s had an entire week to hang around with lots of bloggers I thought he might be tired by now, and I didn’t have a good plan for sims to tour, so we just stuck close to home at Kannonji Zen Retreat. We started off just chilling by the pond so he could unwind after all that traveling.

He still seemed to be feeling a bit stiff, so I suggested taking a few moments out of his time to have a quiet sit at the main zendo. There wasn’t a scheduled meditation going on when we stopped by, but it’s still a great place to find some peace and rest.

I’d originally hoped to check in on Flat Ebbe from some fun location via SL Go, but unfortunately despite trying at least a half dozen different places in town I can’t find any free WiFi that has a high enough download speed. These are all national bookstores, or restaurant chains, so I don’t know if it’s part of a general policy or just bad luck in my city, but in every case but one the On Live app advised that the speeds were too low and it refused to even connect my account. The one time the speeds were sufficient there was apparently some sort of firewall in place to stop On Live. Oh well. I still think it’s a pretty cool service, even if I can only use it in my house.

Ms. Berry also asked us to include three things we’d like to communicate to Ebbe, so we sat at the coffee bar for a few moments before he set off on more adventures around the grid and I tried to think of what I’d like to tell him. I’ve read through what others have said and really I think I just want to echo some of the suggestions:

  1. Please work on the public relations issue. I couldn’t agree more with all of those who wish SL wasn’t regarded by the media as that virtual porn game. It’s also so frustrating that people who use SL are so often portrayed as stereotypical friendless losers who need a “second” life because they don’t have a “first” life.
  2. Tier prices. While I probably won’t be in a position to own land again anytime soon it would be nice to see some reworking of the tier structure to lower the fees and make land ownership more attractive.
  3. Keep talking! I love that you’re being so communicative with the users, and I hope you keep it up! 😀

Many thanks to Berry for our meme and for Flat Ebbe! I’ve been following his comments, from the keynote speech to his twitter feed and so far I’m feeling pretty optimistic about the future of Second Life. I’m eager to see what happens next!

Go! Go! Go!

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Apr 062014

This past week OnLive announced an adjustment to the pricing for their SL Go service, adding the option to subscribe for a month of unlimited usage at $9.95, and lowering the cost to $1 per hour if you choose to buy credits for hourly access. I had tried the twenty minute free trial a week or so ago, but at the time the $3.00 per hour fee was a little too high to consider giving it another try – I know how I tend to use SL and the last thing I wanted to do was watch the clock and worry about wasting time and money. An entire month for a flat fee is a much more appealing option, and they note that you can cancel anytime. Now that a month works out to about the same cost as a couple of magazines, and provides just as much entertainment value to me, I think it’s worth 9.95 to give everything a proper trial run and get to know how it works. Having spent several hours using it I find I like it a lot better than I did immediately after the trial.

Calas Galadhon is always a good place to enjoy the scenery 😀

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Dance With Me

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Mar 292014

My involuntary vacation from SL has made me very sad this month. It never fails to amaze me how when I can’t do something it makes it a thousand times more appealing. That’s certainly been the case with Second Life lately, if I had easy access I’d take it for granted and put off logging in. Can’t explore at all? Massive withdrawal, especially since I really wanted to go to Skin Fair. *Pauses to cry a bit.*  I’ve been wondering if I might still be able to visit on this machine if I set draw distance to 32, turn all the eye candy off, and cross my fingers and hope really hard…

Oh well. Since I couldn’t manage a brand new pic for Strawberry Singh’s Monday Meme about dancing  I’ve gone back in time and found one of my older shots that I’d always liked, mostly because it was just a fun memory. We didn’t dance too often, but it was a good bet if we were involved in any sort of a couples dance I was trying to take pics of us because we were so darn cute. I always loved to watch our avs dance. ♥︎

dance with me04182010

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