Archive for August, 2008

Spending My Allowance

I got my first Linden allowance yesterday! Whee! I figured this was akin to my first RL paycheck – it should be spent immediately before it had to pay for something sensible. 🙂 But what to buy?

I was supposed to meet a friend inworld to quaff some beers and hang out. I rifled through my closet trying to figure out what mood I was in. Apparently I was in a Beautiful in Black mood. Slipped on my jeans and shirt, dug out my leather motorcycle jacket, found some funky jewelry. But I had nothing to wear on my feet. Shoes are VERY important you know. Someone once described shoes as jewelry for the feet. 🙂 Works for me. I had black stilettos, but they really didn’t work. So I tp’d over to the Freebies dungeon. I wandered about there, but didn’t see anything.

So I tp’d back to the boardwalk. Someone there had dynamite black boots on. I asked where she had gotten them. She told me but added that boots were everywhere. I mentioned I’d been being cheap (because it WAS cheap, not frugal) and she said that good boots would run me $L200-300. Ah Hah!!! My allowance!!! So I did a search on boots. I read the list of stores, picked one that looked suitable, and tp’d over. No question that the boots and shoes in that store were better looking than the freebies. I wandered up and down the aisles enjoying all the possibilities. Finally I decided on a low-cut pair of black boots for $L200. I handed over my money and changed shoes right there and then! Nothing like a new pair of shoes to perk me right up!!

In the meantime my friend logged in. Seems we couldn’t get together until later that evening. Uh oh. I was sooooo tired. There are only so many nights in a row I can stay up til 2am in SL before I crash in RL. Last night was crash night. I did TRY to stay awake. I updated the “My Notes” page for all my contacts. I organized some inventory. But it was useless. I stretched out in my beach chair, closed my eyes and logged out.

The Great Avatar Debate

There are certain topics that will aways draw a response from SL aficionados. Even as a newbie I have realized that. Several posts ago I mentioned the conversation on money and economics in SL. Apparently avatar appearance is even more controversial. There seem to be two camps – the people who want avatars to be as reallife-like as possible versus the people who think avatars should be as fantastical as possible.

Digression: I really hesitate to say that there are only 2 camps. I googled the question “Are bananas berries or fruit” the other night. That seemed simple enough to me – berry or fruit. 2 camps. Well. How wrong can a person be?
Berry and fruit are basically interchangeable terms.
Bananas grow as giant herbs
a banana is an herb, aka a spice
“Spices” and “herbs” are culinary divisions
Not a simple question….The tree is an herb.
Get the picture?

Anyway, back on topic…. For me it kicked off on Sophtopia with a rallying cry of No Realistic Avatars. This generated and is still generating (as I write) comments. Those against the realistic shapes were many with reasons ranging from “you should be using SL’s tools to create an avatar that’s better, Create your digital selves as your ideal, whatever form that might take” to “it’s a LABORATORY and we should be experimenting as widely and as vigorously as possible” to “The thing that worries me is that people may be taking forms that are unthinkingly modeled after ideal FL forms” to “Can I have both, please? “. The opposing view (which isn’t so much of an opposite view but more of an angled view) ranges from “Let’s face it: [greek mythical gods, movie stars] are the stuff of myth, a lot more so than, say, a giant pink-striped eggplant with six wheels and tentacles” to “They might be trying to tell us that they are quite at ease with their atom selves” to “they might be using SL as a meeting place rather than an area for self expression”. There were many more, this is a mere sampling.

I commented that I thought that a lot of the posters had lost sight of what it is like to be new in a virtual world. Not all of us jump in and immediately drop all our FL habits and harness. It so happened that I was hanging out with a friend over the weekend. She showed me her kitsune ears and tail. I LOVE that look. I want to do that too! But when she took me to the store and I saw all the detailed shapes available – some of them creeped me out totally. And I’d really have to be in the right frame of mind to wear fox ears and a tail. It seemed like a fantastic idea then. As I sit here typing this, the whole concept of having fox ears seems less appealing. Wings, on the other hand…..

As is often the case for me, I found that Botgirl Questi’s comment really summed up the issue for me: I think people (human and virtual) can take almost identical actions for very different reasons. So from where I sit, I can’t really see anything inherently positive or negative in any particular choice of form just on its own merits.

And yet – I find that despite agreeing with Botgirl and with Chestnut I do have a certain bias against certain shapes and forms. Dale had that comment on Chestnut’s blog: On the other hand I think a (what?) milder form of judging is entirely valid; if someone looks a certain way, it’s reasonable to conclude (to judge?) that they’re someone who wants to look that way (since they have so many other choices).

I’ll accept that we can conclude they want to look that way. But where I think I miss the mark is when I judge them on the appearance. I need to remember Botgirl’s point that people can take identical actions for very different reasons. So just because I know why I would have chosen that shape and I regard that choice negatively, that does NOT mean that the person chose that avatar for the same reason I would have. If SL really is a laboratory and it really is a chance to do better than in FL, then I need to do better mentally, not just physically. If your avatar is less fantastical than I might prefer, it does not mean that you are lacking in creativity. If your avatar has physical attributes that carry certain connotations for me, it does not necessarily follow that those attributes denote who you are.

So my promise to myself is that I intend to do better with my avatar by being less judgmental, more open. And maybe next time you see me I’ll have a tail! 🙂

Post Script added the next morning:
So much for my resolutions. I was hanging out on my favorite boardwalk bench with friends. A new person joined us. I looked at him and JUDGED. Sigh. It’s true, I did. I IM’d one of my friends and asked WHY would ANYONE pick THAT name and wear THOSE clothes?????? My friend replied that maybe this was someone’s alt, maybe they were trying out a new concept. I was ashamed because of course that could be the case. Even more to the point – that scenario is “acceptable” to me. But maybe that person chose that name and appearance for whatever reason worked for them. And maybe they were sitting there looking at me thinking “Good grief, why would anyone want that name and those clothes?”.

So I’m going to have to try harder. Maybe I’ll set myself a goal. If I can go a week and not judge other, I can earn my ears and tail. 🙂

Beach Party

What a great weekend! SL is so much better when there’s no packet loss! I was able to spend several hours inworld, seeing friends, shopping, partying. And I had FL fun too. So all my lives were cool!

Friday started quietly. I was organizing my inventory. I was getting tired of my jeans and looking for something fun to wear. That’s “fun” as in “girl fun”, not “fun” as in “new shape/gender” fun. 🙂 I didn’t have any party dresses. Oh, I have several long gowns and ornate outfits, but nothing for dancing. I love to dance! I love having my skirt twirl about me as I spin. No such thing in my SL closet. I decided I needed to go shopping.

Where does a gal with limited disposable income go to shop? Why the Freebies Dungeon in Deva Loka, of course! I’ve been there several times. I was sure that somewhere I would find a dress for dancing. For those of you who have never been to the Dungeon, I’ve included a glimpse into one of the myriad rooms. You can find anything and everything in there. Yes, I really do mean anything and everything. Certain rooms would not have been suitable for photographs. 🙂 Sometimes when I wander into a new room I am quite shocked. To buy something, you right-click on the photo (or the box – there are also rooms where there are cases and cases piled about). A window opens up showing you the items that make up that selection. You can either click on “buy” or cancel. Nearly everything costs $L0. Of course, my bad habits have followed me into SL. I found the room where the dresses cost MORE than $L0!!

But I fell in love with a dress that looked perfect for dancing. I decided it was well worth the expense: $L1. LOL. Yep – one dollar. So I picked up a few items, put on my new dress and headed back to the boardwalk. There were a few friends hanging about but I wanted to show my new dress to someone I thought would appreciate it. I noticed M was online so I IM’d and asked if I could model my outfit. M tp’d to join me. She decided that was a nice dress and a good price so we tp’d back so she could pick up some dresses too! At that price, who could resist?? Not us, obviously!

It was nearly time for the weekly beach party so I headed back to the boardwalk. The dancing had already started so I touched the party ball to join in. Except – I touched the wrong dance ball. LOL. Have you noticed a trend here? Just when I think I’m so cool and I know what to do and I’m going to fit right in, I pull a newbie move. 🙂 I touched the dance ball for the Tinies, not the dance ball for the – what are we, Not-Tinies?? LOL. Anyway, I was all squinched up and contorted. I looked pretty silly. But the LO (Land Officer) IM’d me and set me straight. I touched the tiny ball to stop dancing tiny style and touched the dance ball. Look at my beautiful new dress – see how nicely it twirls!!!

There was a lot of chat going on and then someone mentioned the (apparently) key phrase “Toob Race”. Everyone started racing to the water. I asked A what a toob race was. He decided a picture was worth a thousand words so we headed on down to the water. We touched the green toob balls and presto! an inner tube appeared. A was resplendent in his tux and I was in my new dress but that did not stop us!! We hopped into our inner tubes to join the race. You can see me in my multi-colored inner tube, lining up at the starting line. I don’t know how I got such a beautiful inner tube, but there was no question in MY mind that mine was the prettiest! You can see the course outlined on the board in front of us. There aren’t dragons in the NCI toob race – there are giant squid!!! Big orange squid!! Two of them. And they eat inner tubes!!! So if you paddle (use your arrow keys) too close to the squid – you are walking home. 🙂 The countdown began – Three, Two, One! And we were off! I was left bobbing in the wake as I tried to figure out how to paddle the tube properly. It’s very hard to paddle an inner tube when you are screaming with laughter. I am proud to say that I made it all the way around the course, inner-tube intact. (oooo – those squid are mean!!!!) I came in 10th out of 11, which I figured was just fine for my first race. NEXT week i’ll wear clothing that won’t slow me down (I’m SURE my dress was creating drag….) and I’ll be edged up closer to the starting line!

A and I and everyone else put away our inner tubes and headed back to the dance floor. The party was much fun – door prizes, Lucky Chairs (lucky chairs call out a letter, and if your name starts with that letter and you sit there first, you get the prize. I got a beautiful strapless green and black gown. Hmmm, I’ll need to find someplace to wear it!). Unfortunately, one of those annoying vampires showed up. He IM’d me offering a bite. Gross. I said no. The LO saw him offering bites and warned him and then bumped him from the land. It’s very hard for me to feel any pity for the vampires. There are signs posted all about NCI now warning them about the rules. I don’t need any vampire bites in my neck, thank you very much.

We continued dancing til the wee hours. Finally it was over. So I tp’d to a friend’s house. I was too tired to even kick off my shoes, so I simply stretched out on the bed and went to sleep.

Sitting Pretty

YES! FINALLY!!! All the pieces have come together and last night was what I thought hanging out in SL would be!! Although first I had to be scared silly before it all worked out.

My new router came 2 days ago. I left work and headed straight home to get it installed. Installing things like this are so NOT my forte! But I’d consulted with my co-workers, had all sorts of hints and tips and moral support. So I gave it a try.

It seemed to be very simple. Plug one computer directly into the cable modem, start the CD that came w/ the router. NBD. But then this software install popped up as well. I didn’t know exactly what it was. I let it unzip and install, but then attempted to back out. I could do that, but then my network wasn’t up and running. So back in I went and stumbled about, trying to get the machines in the house back online. Long story short, I got 2 machines up and on the internet. Seem to have knocked my printers off the network. Could NOT get my new laptop onto the wireless network. Still don’t know why. But I didn’t care because I had and have it hardwired directly to the router. So I was good to go for the Grace McDunnough concert!! I had new equipment, I had a body, I had inventory. Home stretch!

So I went to login to SL. I could NOT get logged in. It was 7:10 pm and the concert was at 9 and SL was not letting me login. I WANTED to scream and freak and hit the computer. But there was no one there to hear and I thought that perhaps breaking the pc was counter-productive. So I checked one of the new things I’ve finally learned: SL Grid Statistics. And look at that: SL was having login issues. It wasn’t me – it was THEM! So I puttered about for another hour.

Around 8:30 I logged in successfully. I saw other friends starting to come online too! Such fun – everyone IM’ing and chatting. I was hanging out with my usual beach crowd, catching up on the news and listening to the banter. It was nearly concert time. I met up with a friend and we tp’d over to the landing spot.

Ches had confided earlier that there would be a boat to take everyone across from the landing spot to the island. And there was! The island was gorgeous. For all the details about how it was created and by whom, check out What a Day! There were lots of people there. Very exciting for me – I got to meet so many people whom I’ve only met through blogs. I needed an AO that would let me jump up and down for joy! Grace gave a wonderful concert. She has a warm, rich, semi-throaty voice. It was a pleasure to hear her. All my hardware was working great too so I could hear perfectly. (So it WAS the router!!!) I pushed my rez back up to high and the water was stupendous. Shengri La may very well have the best water inworld.

It was a fantastic evening! Kudos to Chestnut & Zha for hosting it, to Shenlei Flasheart for building it, and to Grace McDunnough for the entertainment! You can see Michele, Dale and I sitting back and enjoying the evening!


YES!!!!! I’m me again!!!! I’m not a cloud!!!! I LOVE YOU KATE LINDEN!!!!!!! WHEEEEEEE!!!!!!! Look out world – here I come!!!!! (good thing I wasn’t venturing out of my hideout however – Kate confirmed my suspicion that I was indeed unclothed. oops.)

with apologies to Simon and Garfunkle:

Oh SL, you’re breaking my heart
You’re shaking my happiness daily
Oh, dear SL, I’m down on my knees
I’m begging you please, no more clouds!

Changing clothes back on Monday night
When SL did crash, I’m in such a plight
I logged back but cried out loud
When I got inworld
I found I was a cloud!

Jubilation, I’m human again!
I jump in the air and I’m laughing!
Jubilation, I’ll party tonight!
Dear Chestnut please send the TP!

Okay, so what really happened? Beats me. SL had major problems back on Monday night. Tuesday night I tried tech support. I did get my inventory back, but I still couldn’t rez, couldn’t edit my appearance, couldn’t change clothes.

Foolish me – I waited patiently, hoping someone from tech support would contact ME about my open ticket. Hah! I do 3rd level support in FL. (by the way, I’ve decided I prefer First Life to Real Life – deal with it – 🙂 ) I know how these things really work. If it matters to you, follow up.

So today, on my lunch hour, I logged in and opened a chat. This time I knew that my issues were inworld and clicked the correct link. Almost immediately Kate came on the line (so to speak). I explained my issue. We went through the now familiar steps – change your preferences, check mesh details. yeah, been there, done that. Then Kate told me to tp to a region where there wasn’t much going on so there wasn’t much lag effect. She met me there. She agreed that I was a cloud. We stood there a bit as I ran through my inventory. And then Kate said: now I see your avatar. YES!! Except I still saw only a cloud. And I was definitely naked.

I told Kate that I was glad I actually still had a body, but that the naked part was a little uncomfortable. 🙂 So she built a box around us! Now THAT is what I call Very Considerate! We tried re-baking me. Nothing. Then Kate had me go to the Test Female Avatar on the Help menu. And THAT worked!!!! I had a body, I had clothes!!!!! I looked nothing like myself, but I was THERE!!! Hallelujah!!!!

Kate stood by patiently while I pieced myself back together from my inventory. She had me go into Edit Appearance and do a Save As so should I lose myself again, I can recover. My hair is not exactly right (I think I had let it grow out a little from my original cut, LOL) but otherwise I seem to be me!!! Which means with any luck I can get to Shengri La Love and hear Grace McDonnough play tonight



You can read that title in at least 2 ways. Either is valid.
(1) I made a commitment to SL last night. I finally signed up for a premium membership.
(2) I should be committed to the nearest mental health facility because I signed up for a premium SL membership.

After over 24 hours of not rezzing and my inventory not loading I was prepared to contact technical support. I am too impatient to simply file a ticket. I prefer to talk with a person. The only way to do that was to upgrade my membership. So I did. I figured for $6/month I could spring for a premium membership.

Of course, as you might expect by now, I chose the wrong group when given the choice of which support group to contact. 🙂 I should know by now that if I think “a” is the correct answer, I should pick “b”. I had to take an online security test for work yesterday. The test had maybe 5 sections with a little quiz (5 or 6 questions) at the end. I got a question wrong on every single section. Always a true/false. I tend to read too much into these questions. LOL. What can I say? I like words. 🙂 Anyway, I got transferred to the correct support group. The person there attempted to fix my inventory. It looked okay at first glance but when I typed “worn” at top, it never came back to show me what I was wearing. It stayed at “searching…”. And I never rezzed. He said file a ticket and I did.

So now I wait, floating, a white cloud, waiting for resolution.

This Defies Logic

WHY do I still like SL so much???? This makes no sense whatsoever. I’ve spent thousands of real dollars on new equipment: pc, wires, modem, router. I’ve reorganized my schedule so that I can go inworld every day. And everyday SL “rejects” me. I crash. SL crashes. I can’t rez. I can’t tp. My inventory won’t load. It’s not just me. I hear everyone else chatting and they have crashed. They aren’t rezzing. They can’t tp. I see friends go offline and come back online w/in the next few minutes and I know that they either crashed or are trying to improve their connection. When I logon and see 52,000 people inworld and then I crash and log back and see that now there are only 43,000 people inworld, I blame SL, not my setup. I crashed last night – couldn’t even log back in. Tried this morning to get back and finish what I’d been doing. I could get inworld but couldn’t rez, couldn’t get my inventory to display. So there I stay. Thank goodness I’m someplace enjoyable!

But if SL were my real-world love interest – NO WAY would I tolerate this relationship. And yet….. I’ll be back tonight, trying yet again to rez. Hoping I’ll put on my party clothes and meet up with friends and savor SL. Because it is so much fun. Either you “get that” or you don’t.

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