Archive for January, 2011

The Night Wanderer

Life is full of little coincidences. I was reading Chestnut’s blog the other day, the one where she talked about a friend giving her a bed for free and asking her to review it. The coincidence is that that very day, *I* had received a bed from a friend of MINE. She had plurked asking for volunteers to test it out before she released it. I answered that I’d try to get in to help, but was not able to make it in time. So imagine my great pleasure to be gifted with the bed anyway. *grin* I decided that Chestnut had started a meme (although I’m not really sure this is a good use of that word), and it was my obligation to continue it. So here it is – the “I’ve been gifted with a bed” post.

I’ve mentioned my friend Thaumata Strangelove to you before – she finds great websites and plurks them to her friends. I’ve shared several of them with you already. Thau is also a VERY talented creator in SL. She builds lovely furniture and other goodies. (She’s also a great baker in RL, but I must confess I’ve only SEEN pictures of the pastries but never gotten to INGEST any.) Her store is The Grindstone in Ursa Major. Some of her recent objects are a snuggle Bed with 25 fabrics, vintage apothecary bottles and jars, octopus chandeliers and a guitar case.

Thaumata was building a bed that resembles a ship, The Night Wanderer Bed. We got to hear a lot of her comments and thoughts via Plurk as she built. The finished product is lovely, with both couple poses and single sleeper poses. I dressed up in my Pirate outfit (it seemed appropriate somehow) and Bamboo and I went aboard to try out the poses and play with the fabrics. The bed is 21 prims and only L$500. That seems like a good deal to me. /me smiles. I admit, however, that my other bed was a gift also, so I am not necessarily the most informed consumer.

What I CAN tell you, however, is that Bamboo and I LIKE this bed. It fits nicely in our beach cottage. We plan on sailing away in our dreams, secure in our Night Wanderer.

Refresh Your Body and Soul

Check your calendar. It’s January. Monday is January 31st. That means that SUNDAY is the LAST Sunday of the month. And we know what THAT means, right???? It’s time for the HalleCalliLujah gospel brunch! Sunday, January 30 at 11 AM SLT.

Remember – it’s about music and friends. Come and rock your soul – and all your bits – with us at Meatspace Lounge! Wade through the water, drink some champagne, hear some great music, and laugh a lot. Oh – and *I* bought a new dress for the occasion! *grin*

Obvious to Me

It happens less often now but I still have friends and family look at me “funny” when I talk about my time in SL. There is still a great deal of eye-rolling and smirking when I talk about my time in SL. Well, we started with a blizzard in December and we’ve had either an ice storm or a snow storm EVERY WEEK since the blizzard. The wheel came off my snow blower, my shovel broke, there was a water main break in town and we are still under a boil-water emergency, my sunroom window shattered from the extreme cold (it’s taped and I’m not dealing with it til the spring) and just for fun, one of the toilets broke and one of the cats had gastrointestinal difficulties in the basement. /me looks about. I think that covers the major issues.

Now LOOK at these pictures. Where would YOU choose to be????? The answer is obvious to ME.

Cracks in the Foundation

I remember my mother and her brother having a conversation one day. I believe it was about ESP (extrasensory perception). It may have been about ghosts. Whatever it was, she believed in it. He did not. She kept arguing point after point. He had counter-arguments. Finally he said to her: What would it take for me to convince you? She thought about it. She replied: You can’t. I believe I am right.

There you have it. If you believe, you believe. It is incredibly difficult, if not actually impossible, to move you from that belief.

Belief. Faith. Trust. If they exist, they are nigh indestructible.

But once that first crack appears, like Jericho, the wall comes down.

Once I think you lie, the crack has appeared. If you lie about something inconsequential, the cracks multiply rapidly.

Sigh. I found myself thinking: It doesn’t matter what you say. I don’t even care if you THINK you are telling the truth. I no longer believe you.

I’m sorry. For both of us. For our friendship.

Wizard At Work

Between the brutally cold RL weather and my weighty SL obligations (such as serving on momentous juries), I need a bit of time to mellow. So I was playing cowgirl and riding my rocking horse when I began chatting with Dale. Dale is rarely idle, preferring to script, build or meander about. This time the work to hand was building a new look: new skin, new shape, new clothes. I pointed out that since Dale IS my Script Wizard, there was no reason not to come and create at my place, while I watched.

I was a bit taken aback by Dale’s new look. I’m used to having to reconfigure my pronouns depending on whether it’s g-Dale or b-Dale who comes to call. But this new look was something much different. Definitely alien. I think “stately” and “regal” capture my first impression. I liked the shade of green as well. Being the consummate back-seat-driver that I am, of course I began offering suggestions and comments. *grin*

One of the COOLEST looks Dale achieved was the result of a viewer mishap. Maybe “mishap” is too strong a word. Probably it should be called a nuance or a foible. At one stage of the creation there was a white line on the top of the outfit. Because of how it was rezzing, the line appeared to be flickering, moving horizontally across the dress (think of a ticker tape running along the bottom of screen, but more as moving white dots). It was GREAT. Unfortunately, if you adjusted your camera angle at all, the flickering stopped. Of course we immediately tried to figure out how to build or script to make that line move like that all the time. Given that it was late and we were both multi-tasking, we didn’t solve that puzzle then, but it was fun spec’ing it out.

Building in SL is such fun because you can be working hard even as you are playing. Notice that although Dale APPEARS to be riding the rocking giraffe, you can see the little dots leading from hand to prim, indicating that Serious Work Is Being Done. *grin* Alas, one of the issues with prims is often that they are not flexible, even if made flexi. Camera angles also have major impact on appearance.

What didn’t change that evening, however, was my enjoyment of my wooden pony!

The rocking giraffe is from D-LAB, created by dazai Voom.
The rocking horse is from HPMD, created by Sasaya Kayo.
The bubble chair, as you might recall, is also from Sasaya Kayo and Happy Mood. *grin* Happy Mood is a WONDERFUL place.

Lessons from Working Out

No, I’m not going to talk about “no pain, no gain” or “mens sano corpore sano” or even “suffering builds character”. Today’s workout lesson came from my iPod. From Bonnie Raitt and “I Can’t Make You Love Me”, to be more precise.

I got angry and frustrated a few days ago. Someone did not do something I expected they would do and so I missed doing something I planned to do. NOT the end of the world. But frustrating. I will be taking action today to make up for what I planned to do and didn’t, so it has been on my mind. Then while I was rowing, this song came up. Let’s start by saying I love Bonnie Raitt’s voice, so even though it’s not really the kind of song that makes you row harder and faster, it does help the mind drift away from the rowing repetition.

I’ve talked about psychology before. People do what they do because, for the most part, life IS all about THEM. We are, in our minds, the center of the action. Very few of us set out deliberately to hurt, harm or impede others. Yet often that is the result of what we do or don’t do. The key for the “others” is to realize – it wasn’t about you. While that is reassuring on one level, it is still hurtful on another. We all have emotions and we’d all like to think that others care for us above and beyond all else. That is unreasonable.

Bonnie sings:

Mornin will come and I’ll do what’s right
Just give me till then to give up this fight

My fight, and I fight it daily, is to remember that I am responsible for my actions and my behavior. It is unreasonable of me to EXPECT certain behavior from others. You accept people for who and what they are. Let it go. Move on. Love them. And hope that you are not stepping on someone else’s toes as you move through the center of your universe.

By the way, Bonnie also sings: You can’t make your heart feel something it won’t. I happen to disagree with that to some extent. A very wise man told me: smile as if you mean it, and soon you will find that you do. He was right.

Grace O’Clock

I used to post about Grace McDunnough regularly. I made a point of making it to her regular gigs. I love to sit and listen to her melodious voice, her excellent song selection and to listen to my friends chatting. Then life got more complicated and it got harder to get to the regular weekend shows. So I’m always thrilled when I get to hear Grace during the week. This past week offered up another such treat. The word went out that Grace was performing and I could make it!!! I find her voice so pleasant. I like to get lost in the sound. (Yes, it’s true, I’m very partial to female vocalists I’ve noticed. Check out my iPod: Judy Collins, Joan Baez, Laura Nyro, Maria Muldaur, Jennifer Warnes, Pink, Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood and more. But you know I like to rock it on out too. I’ll spare you THAT list.)

I had an additional pleasure this Grace O’Clock. Oh – for those of you who might not know, the Grace regulars refer to Grace’s performances as Grace O’Clock. *smile* I think that has a warm sound to it. Anyway, this time besides the usual pleasure of Grace and friends, I made a NEW friend. Another Grace “regular” was there – a blogger whose blog I enjoy tremendously. I IM’d a hello. Of course, being somewhat spacey, sigh, I confused THIS blogger with another. *grin* How humiliating. But I DID manage to redeem myself and get my people straight. We had a lovely chat about virtual worlds and real life and building and even cats (another favorite topic of mine). I was pleased and flattered to be friended.

For me, it’s often these little moments that are the times that make SL so precious to me. Music, friends, conversation. These are the experiences that tie us together and forge community.

Rigging the Jury

Another “True Confession”: I’ve never served on a jury. I have gotten the notice a few times, but all times but one, when I called the recording I was told I didn’t need to report. That one time I made it upstairs to the courtroom, but they filled the jury and alternates before I even got to answer a question. But yesterday I was summoned to court to serve. (If you want to know HOW that happens in SL – summonses are served via Plurk.)

It was a fascinating experience. You can read all the details on Honour’s post. I admit – what I heard there was shocking. Who KNEW that such things happened in SL???? (Apparently Everybody knew, but you need to read the trial proceedings for the inside story.) On the other hand, I got to see notables up close: the High Priced Counsel SeanMcPherson Senior (wow, I could NEVER afford HIS rates!), the reknowned prosecuting attorney Second Lie (I’d recognize HIM anywhere) and Gertrude, who usually is the court-appointed defense attorney. The Second Life Halls of Justice are as beautiful and impressive in person as they are in photos. My fellow jurors and I were quite honored to be part of such a momentous SL event, and to be present when Chief Justice McArtherops handed down the verdict.

Virtual Worlds Making a Serious Impact

Yay! Another guest blogger!

Svea Morane coordinates Second Life activities for Mayo Clinic as part of his administrative role there. Mayo Clinic is a medical group practice with 56,000 employees, providing patient care, professional education and research programs. You can read more about Mayo’s work in virtual worlds at MedCity News and at the StarTribune of Minneapolis.

Some days SL makes you proud

A little while back I had one of those days where you want to put a gold star on the calendar so you don’t forget it, and Second Life played a huge role in making that day so great. Second Life helped different Mayo groups deal with real issues. Along the way it made me look good for having the tool available and SL associates to make it sing. šŸ™‚

In the first instance our facilities and project management folks were re-designing some space for another work group in our organization. Approximately 50 people will move into the space and utilize conference areas, project areas, open desk seating, drop-in worker seating, closed-door office areas, and reception. We modeled the space to scale in Second Life, using replicas of the actual textures, floor and wall coverings, desks and tables, lighting and even correct views out the windows. The build was done in a couple of weeks with the help of skilled SL builder, Oura Scribe.

The magic came when members of the facilities staff and the soon-to-be occupants saw the space and went through it TOGETHER in Second Life. People saw issues and solutions together, right in front of them, in ways they had not after looking at 2D paper drawings for months. The team were thrilled with the communication, problem solving and resulting cost savings that came from that meeting. SL delivered something of value to every person in the room.

Later in the day, we were able to show another build, not a “to scale” build but a “concept” build, which showed how some ideas for providing services to different groups in one space could actually happen. This time the participants were internal staff, and external partners. Again we had the help of SL builder Oura Scribe, who worked with us over the course of a few weeks to put a 3D face on a bunch of concepts.

When the group got together and walked through the space, the magic happened again. People discussed and smiled and wrote notes and pointed and laughed and made decisions. One very experienced member of the group said “I have been close to this project for over a year. And it never really came together until I saw this”. The build that was presented may never resemble the actual space when created, but the way it helped the discussion and brought ideas together was an amazing thing to witness.

So thank you SL, for giving me a gold star day, and a solid reminder of the very positive things that can come out of this environment and the people we meet here.

Thanks to YOU, Svea! Both for blogging and for the fantastic work that Mayo is doing in SL.

When Worlds Collide

Way back in the beginning, when I was trying to convince my manager that there was a future in virtual worlds, he challenged me. He said (approximately): All these people you “know” in SL – show me how any of it translates to “real” gain. He didn’t want to hear about people making money IN virtual worlds – making money by renting land in SL or selling SL goods didn’t count. He meant – show me how physical reality changes. Now whether that was a fair or reasonable challenge is moot. I thought a moment (because he wasn’t really giving me time to come up with examples) and did the best I could. I said “My good friend’s husband is thinking of building a wall in their backyard. It would be a retaining wall. My husband has offered to help with the plans. If my husband were licensed in that state, he could charge for this work. As it is, he’s not licensed in that particular state and we don’t charge our friends for such help. But if he were and we did, he could be getting work from acquaintances across the country, from people we’d never have contacted or dealt with without this interaction. ” My manager thought about it and conceded that he could see that potential.

Well. That was all very well and good. But if you want to know how SL REALLY pays off in RL, I’ll tell you. Peanut butter balls. Yum, yum. *grin* Oura sent me peanut butter balls. I probably should have taken the photo of the FULL container. It was full once. Now it’s my tummy (and my son’s tummy) that’s full. *grin*

When worlds collide, you get peanut butter balls. nom nom nom


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