Monday, 29 September 2014

065: Ezziedq "Ezzie" Mirabella elected Chair of Second Pride

I've just noted this on the blog of Bock McMillan, found here: at last Tuesday's meeting of the Board of Directors of Second Pride, Ezziedq "Ezzie" Mirabella was elected as the new Chair of the Board. Congratulations, Ezzie, and I'll look forward to informing my readers from time to time of what's going on. As it happens, Ezzie and I met in a different context not long ago and he kindly agreed to an interview; considering what his schedule must be like, I'm not expecting it immediately, but I'll hope to show him to you soon.  I've lifted the picture from Bock's blog but I'll take some myself next time I see him!

Sunday, 28 September 2014

064: Ello, Ello?

Well, apparently I'm not one of the cool kids yet, at least as far as Ello is concerned. They sent me an invitation to join (thanks to my RL friend Moffatt -- dude you rawk!) but the code just didn't work. Nevertheless, I have high hopes.
If you are not one of the cool kids either, Ello is the hot new site that's going to replace Facebook, at least among people who don't want to use the name
on their birth certificate for social media. And so far that seems to be a lot of drag queens -- Jackie Beat was how I heard about this in the first place -- anyone who's got or has had a stalker, people who want to be known by a name they've chosen rather than the one they are legally entitled to, people with professional names (PeeWee Herman comes to mind) and ... and of course,
everyone in Second Life who isn't really truly allowed by Facebook's rules to have a social media presence in the name of their avatar but wants one anyway.
So right now all the cool kids -- well, okay, this cool kid is waiting for Ello to come out of beta so I can sign up for real. I'd like to have a social media presence as my av ... and I know that a lot of SL residents have had problems
with that, and would like to ditch Facebook as a result. (For instance, my friend and fellow resident Bock McMillan -- check out THIS great rant!) Ello promises no advertising, you can call yourself anything you want, and they apparently don't care if you put pictures up of nearly anything at all. Unlike FB, which I think would delete my avatar's account merely because it's there, let
alone if I put up pictures of taking a leak.
I think Ello is not necessarily going to be the Facebook killer that people might be expecting, but I do think that it's a very welcome sign that FB is not the be-all and the end-all that it once was. I'd like to relegate it to the part of my life that plays hidden-object games -- FB is very good at providing those! -- and keeps in touch with my high-school girlfriend. And
then I can use Ello, or some other service that isn't constantly trying to inundate me with advertising, and if I want a wider range of services, I'll buy it from them, as they suggest.
I'm very much looking forward to having the opportunity to see all of my Second Life friends on Ello, just as soon as they let me have an account! And then we'll all have a venue in which to agree that
Facebook has -- jumped the shark.
Oh, the pictures? I take a lot more snapshots than I publish, believe me. This was a photo shoot I did for fun at a place that offers various backdrops, props and poses whose name escapes me, for the moment.  Ostensibly it was to see if I could get better at arranging camera angles, but really I just wanted to be a supermodel for a while. Enjoy!

Saturday, 27 September 2014

063: Crash!

If you haven't seen me the last few days, it's because I'm recovering from a huge equipment failure. I'm back in operation now with a smokin' new system -- metaphorically smokin', as opposed to when smoke literally starts to curl from the computer's ventilation system! -- and I'll be in to SL as soon as I pick up the threads of the transfer between old and new.  See you soon!

Monday, 22 September 2014

062: Group gift from Blue Balls

As you know, I don't ordinarily blog about clothes and furniture and stuff, but every once in a while something comes along that inspires me. Today's nice thing was a group gift from Blue Balls, just in time for the fall -- a stack of hay bales, a few pumpkins and a nice cuddle rug laid out in front. The boyfriend (Alex Thaub) was around, and curious, and one thing led to another ... thanks for modelling, Alex!
The animations are just enough to give you an enjoyable half hour testing them out and perhaps taking some pictures. Blue Balls, in my experience, has good original animations that are made for M/M couples. (I always distinguish the ones that aren't because when you're standing and hugging your boyfriend, one of your legs bends backwards at the knee. Not really masculine.)
Alex and I had a fun time testing it all out; the hay bales will even provide you with a tray and a couple of cups of cocoa. Very nice indeed and just in time for the first day of fall. Thanks, Blue Balls!

24 hours later: It occurred to me that I should come back and include information for how to reach
Blue Balls, whose principal is Chaz Longstaff (I've mentioned him before in a different context here). The Marketplace store for Blue Balls products can be found here: I have a bunch of their sex furniture and it is damn good stuff at a competitive price point. You have to be on their mailing list in order to get the group gift, but I hope it will be seen as a good thing if I make it easy for
you to do that. Merely use this SLURL; it puts you in front of the group gift itself, but you won't be able to "buy it for L$1" yet (you get your L$1 back immediately, as is common). Walk away from the group gift and into the building behind you; there's a desk near the front entrance where, to the left of a free animation for the currently memetic "ice bucket challenge", you'll find a place to
join the "Mailing list" at ankle level. Join, and then I think you'll be able to get the gift (act fast!).  And honestly, you get cool stuff like this for free every once in a while, and information about new stuff ... what's not to like?

Sunday, 21 September 2014

061: Walking around Governor Linden's Mansion

Continuing my introduction to the SL Destination Guide by randomly selecting interesting-looking destinations has been interesting. Yesterday, I picked something called "Governor Linden's Mansion" and was pleasantly surprised.
What you won't grasp if you just look at the pictures here is that this is ... well, I suppose I'd have to call it a historic build. This construction was done in 2003, as I
understand it -- during the beta testing of Second Life. So it may well be the oldest remaining build in Second Life.
So, yes, that's why it looks so primitive; primitive in that it's not very sophisticated, and primitive in that it's made out of primitives, which you probably know better as "prims". This is not a very pretty build, but it's certainly instructive in one respect; it lets you
know how far and how fast both the residents and Linden Labs (and the third-party folks who make excellent viewers like Firestorm) have come.
Yes, folks, this is what it used to be like in the old days. I must confess I never saw the old days this long ago, my first Second Life account was a few years after this house was built. But I do remember buildings like this, where it
looked like one tiny piece of furniture had been abandoned in the middle of a large metropolitan airport building. Look at that swimming pool in the first picture. That's not something where the builder went and got a freebie from Marketplace, someone actually built that and decided that it needed a drain and a diving board and scalloped stairs and that precise shade of aqua. They weren't
exceptionally familiar with the way a diving board works and that too is interesting; this is like digital folk art, in a way. Naive art, like Grandma Moses. Although, to do people proper credit, it wasn't because of a lack of artistic skill or inspiration or reference materials; the tools just weren't there to do the job properly. Second Life is something that everyone built together and figured out
how to make things work. At this point in time, it seems likely that no one had yet figured out that you could apply a texture to a flat prim like a wall. When you walk into the rooms, you keep waiting for the textures to rez, and then you realize -- that flat putty colour is what has been designed to be there. There's also a significant emphasis on pieces of furniture and landscaping that are built
out of squares and rectangles. Bookcases and kitchen cupboards were apparently the first type of furniture built. There's also an office with a computer on the desk that made me laugh aloud, and you know, I HAD one of those computers in 2003. It was just a surprise to see that it had been preserved in time. If it looks this funny 12 years in, imagine what it's going to be like in 50 years? This will be
in the digital equivalent of the Smithsonian. "Mom, is that what a computer used to look like?" says the future child, as he takes a movie of it with his wristwatch.
I wanted to point out particularly the two monuments, photographed at the top of this page. One is from the Lindens to the beta testers and the other is from the beta testers to the Lindens. You know, take a minute and think about that. When was the last time you saw the Lindens and Residents putting up monuments to each others' good behaviour and helpfulness? It made me stop and think for a minute. Yes, we can put textures on walls, but we've lost a certain spirit of cooperation over time, which is sad to contemplate.
There is more to see here; I should mention there is a kind of museum in the basement that contains a time capsule, a photographic exhibit, and some helpful materials about public information sessions. I actually did take photographs of these things, and they were up to my usual standards of off-kilter polaroids, but my computer decided to squirrel them away in some as-yet-unknown location. But honestly, I do recommend you give this build a few minutes of your time; the SLURL is here.
I started out by thinking that this funky old build would amuse me for a few minutes and I'd get to take some silly photographs and make you all chuckle at the good old days. After I'd spent a few minutes there wandering around, it made me think about the work that people put in to beta test Second Life, and what it must have been like as virtuality pioneers, where if you wanted to build a house you had to make it out of prims yourself and spend hours making sure everything lined up and was the right colour instead of just going and buying it on Marketplace or picking it up as a group freebie or from a gacha machine. Are we too spoiled? No, I think we all have to work hard in different ways keeping up with the capacities of Second Life. We cope with technical issues that would have been incomprehensible to the beta-testers. It's just that, every once in a while, it's nice to contemplate that we should be grateful for "the tools to create this amazing world". This historic exhibit may help you do that.

Friday, 19 September 2014

060: Dancing at Rumpus

So after my visit to Innsmouth, where I scared myself thoroughly (see my previous post), I needed some company and some good dance music -- and found myself at Rumpus for their regular Thursday night party. Last night's theme was best in black. That's me in my little black shirt; I've either been working out more than usual or I shrunk it in the wash. Oh well, it was the only black shirt
I could find at short notice ...
Rumpus is owned and steered by Jackhammer Rod Jackson [prowlrshardbody Resident]; if you haven't seen it, he's combined a dance club with a wrestling club and created a very popular location. In the backgrounds of the pictures I took of happy dancers last night, you can see the wrestling rings, locker rooms ...
rumour has it that the penalties for losing a match can be very onerous indeed. But that's for another visit.
Last night was devoted to dancing to a set provided by DJ Scary Jester, who's been DJing for quite a while now and always lays down a smooth set of fast house. The dancing pole was managed by Randy Wantmore, who DJs himself in other locations that I've seen, and
hosting was split between Rod Jackson himself, who was there for a while last night, and Fritz Stoneshield.
Rumpus offers two very, very popular parties each week; Thursdays 7 to 9 PM SLT, with DJ Scary Jester, and Sundays 6 to 8 PM SLT, with DJing by my neighbour and friend Karl Kalchek. Try it out next Sunday. That is one busy party.
It seems like all the best looking muscle
guys go to Rumpus! You can make your own mind up from the pictures ... might see you Sunday!

Thursday, 18 September 2014

059: Walking around Innsmouth

In my time in RL I've read a bunch of the work of H. P. Lovecraft and enjoyed it; Lovecraft had a way with pulpy horror that lifted it above his fellows, and the Cthulhu mythos will survive for a long time, I bet.
Cthulhu and the Elder Gods from beyond time and space have their own little corner in Second Life, an abandoned and eerie town called Innsmouth,
somewhere in Cape Cod, where aeons ago it is rumoured that the Elder Gods were exiled. I can tell you it's certainly a frightening place and so far in Second Life the place that's most effectively given me the creeps. That's why I have that scared look on my face in all these pictures; the build is effective and really good at giving you the creeps in a very Lovecraftian way. There's not much you
can point to, but a very effective air like all the people in the vicinity left quickly -- or were snatched up by gigantic tentacles.  I had a lot of fun taking pictures there and I bet you would enjoy visiting it.
I wanted to get this up quickly because there are two things happening with Innsmouth. One is that its creator, Darmin Darkes, just can't keep it going
and has offered it to the community that RPs there, and to Second Life at large. I just went and dropped some Lindens in the box; I think this is a good idea and Innsmouth is worth keeping.
The second reason is that tonight -- right now -- Thursday, September 18, 2014, at 7:30 PM SLT, they are having a public meeting at Innsmouth Opera House to
discuss plans and fundraising.  If you want input, this is a good place and time (and there will be plenty of people around so you will be relatively safe if tentacles appear from the ceiling and start taking people into other dimensions). If you
want input but you have read this after the meeting -- a nice gentleman named
Arik Metzger [arikthered Resident] was on hand at the landing point, complete with rustic fisherman persona and sandwich board, to answer my questions and indicated that he would answer yours.  His photo is here so you will recognize him. And here is the SLURL to Innsmouth, where he'll be located or some other greeter, I'm fairly sure -- he should be able to give you a TP to the
Opera House.  Innsmouth itself is easy to search in-world and I think it's even in the SL Destination Guide.
Go have a look at the place and get yourself in the mood for Hallowe'en! And if you're at all an aficionado of Lovecraft, you will enjoy the hell out of this place, the atmosphere is just right and it's always like something is making a tiny rustling noise just around the corner ... Please give them some financial support if you can spare it.
P.S.: I should have mentioned that I was alerted to this situation today by a fellow member of the SL blogosphere, Ciaran Laval, whose blog is here. He said it first and best.