It’s that time! The time when everyone on the grid becomes terribly confused and thinks the celebration is all about SL being 8 years old, hence SL8B, when they SHOULD realize that it’s really about AH3B. Ah well, sometimes it’s simply easier to go along with the crowd. So I got myself a press pass in order to get a sneak preview before the sims open to the public officially on June 23. This year’s theme is the magic of Second Life. Magic refers not just to practitioners of the craft, but also to the magic we all find in our lives in SL, whether it’s social, commercial, creating, enjoying or whatever else brings you to login. There are many free gifts for attendees and special presentations. You can take a tour of the sims. Yavanna Llanfair made the tour pods. You can hop aboard a pod near the welcome area, or anytime you see an unoccupied pod floating by.

I headed in on Saturday morning, having rezzed my press package and donned my press pass. *grin* I tp’d to the welcome area. I don’t think I went to SL6B nor SL7B, so I was not really sure what to expect. Wow. That was my first reaction – Wow. It’s huge. It’s dazzling. There are monumental builds and smaller, intricate detailed builds. I thought I’d start by looking at the formal auditoriums and stages. My press notes ask me to credit all the builders and give locations, etc. but I confess that I failed to capture most of that information on this first pass. I had gotten to the 2nd stage when I knew I was going about this all wrong.

At that point good fortune intervened. Shenlei was at her SL8B build and saw me on the radar. She and Fancy Mesmeriser offered to come and fetch me and take me on my very own tour of the sims. *grin* See – it IS all about me. Although the standard tour pods are cute and very efficient, *I* got to tour in a carriage drawn by a beautiful prancing horse.

This is where I fall down on my press obligations. I took many pictures, mostly ooo’ing and ah’ing at the builds. I’ve posted all my pics to Flickr. There are 21 sims and I believe that Fancy carried us through nearly all of them. One build that caught my attention and camera was Karesansui by Sel and Nom Creations. I made sure that I got to see Honour’s build and Shen’s build, as I had some sneak information about both of those during the building phase. Of course, their two sims were just as far apart as they could be, with Honour on Spellbound and Carriage Trade on Stunning. Brave, dear, strong Fancy!!!! /me pats Fancy’s neck and offers a sugar cube. You need to have streaming media (v2 or a tpv based on v2) running in order to appreciate all the photos at Honour’s build. And you get to live out your dreams of life in the circus at the Carriage Trade build. *grin* The circus outfits are in the apples! You, too, can dance upon a gorgeous circus horse.

I will be heading back and posting more, I am sure. I want to be certain to get to Bear Island and get my free Linden Bears. 🙂 Following is the official information, including links to blogs with information and SLURLS. Happy 8th birthday, SL!!

Spanning 21 sims with over 700 contributors, over 300 exhibits, over 300 live performers and speakers with special speeches from Philip and Rod Linden, SL8B is a showcase for the accomplishments and content of all SL residents, celebrating the “life” of Second Life.

SL8B kicks off at 10:30 a.m. SLT on Monday, June 20 and runs through Sunday, June 26 with a glittering assortment of musicians, speakers, artists, business leads, media mavens, merchants, social organizers, and other amazing Residents like you.We’ll be keeping the 20-region site open for another week, so you’re welcome to come and tour the builds at your leisure. We’ll officially close the gates on Saturday, July 2 at 11:59 p.m. SLT.

About the Theme:
This year’s theme is the magic of Second Life. No, we’re not just talking about wizards and sorceresses (though of course they’re included). The true magic of Second Life is something different for each of us. It’s all about that moment when we realized how amazing Second Life really is. It’s when we found our own personal connections to Second Life, realizing its potential in our own lives and the lives of other Residents. Whether it’s the social aspect, the content creation possibilities, or unique business and commerce opportunities, we’ve all got a tale of Second Life magic to share.

All event times and locations, slurls, links, social media, etc., can be found on the resident blog: We will be updating the blog every day and including the most up-to-date information.

Important Dates:
June 20—10:30 a.m. SLT: Gates open to the public for the opening ceremonies. Scripts and build disabled throughout estates for the duration of opening ceremonies to discourage instances of lag and disruption. They will be turned back on after the opening speech.
11:00 am. Kim Linden speaks, opening the celebrations.
June 23—The Birthday!
3:00 pm slt. Rodvik Linden will be attending festivities at the Main Stage
June 26—Last day of entertainment.
July 2–Gates close. Sims will be locked.

Important Links:
SL Destination Guide:
SL8B Flickr Group:
SL8B Blog:
SL8B Wiki (for all rules, dates, etc):

Chestnut Rau’s 4th Rez Day

There is nothing more fun than seeing someone’s hard work pay off. My good friend Chestnut Rau had her 4th rez day yesterday. Zha wanted to do something special and fun for Ches, so Zha arranged a surprise party. She got Zachh Cale to play piano and sing for an hour and then Marx Dudek came in to DJ and spin the tunes. Both of these folks are among Chestnut’s favorite entertainers and friends. Crap Mariner wrote a 100-word story in Chestnut’s honor and we all got to hear him read it aloud for the very first time. Scores of folk came through Zha’s gorgeous, fantastic party-build. Zha had beauty, robot-comfort, dancing and even a touch of kitsch. It was fun not only for Chestnut but for all her friends who got to meet and greet each other too. Considering that Chestnut had given strict instructions that there was to be NO PARTY, it’s a good thing we know when not to listen. *grin*

There were too many pictures to post, and far too many attendee names to list. Photos are all up on Flickr.

For the party that never was, it may have been the party of the year. Happy happy rez day, Chestnut!

Loving the Live Music

I joined two more music groups last night! I don’t know where I have been that I have never heard of Taunter Goodnight before (doesn’t that sound like a James Bond name?) but oh my! what a huge oversight that was!! Taunter is FANTASTIC!! Superlative. Wonderful. Amazing. I was looking for something to do last night, chatting with Lalo to see what music might be happening (we have discovered that we both enjoy following the good music around the grid). As we chatted, my Live Music Enthusiasts group posted:

Taunter Goodnight LIVE @ the Drunken Drow! 5pm!!!!
Pure honey dripping with sultry seduction…! She will seduce you with her renditions of Pop, Blues, Classic and Alternative Rock!

I said “let’s try something different, this sounds good”. So we headed off to the Drunken Drow.

I thought I’d been there before, but if I have, either it’s been remodeled or I didn’t cam about. I’m SURE I’d have remembered the aquarium. I do like fish. 🙂 It’s a great venue. I KNEW I was on the right track when I saw Lin Ochs tp in. Lin owns a great music venue himself: Up the Creek in Houses. I am there regularly for my Komuso Tokagawa fix. I see Lin at other venues as well so I know we have similar musical tastes. Lin promised I would not be disappointed and oh my was he right. Yes, Taunter OWNS Adele’s “Rolling in the Deep”. As well as several Bonnie Raitt tunes, and Linda Ronstadt and yes, she even does a fantastic job on ZZTop’s “Tush”, just to name a few. Ah, Taunter, I think I’m in love. *grin*

Not only does Taunter sing in a rich, warm, solid, pitch-perfect voice, but she has great crowd banter as well. So not only do you love the singing, but you are smiling and grinning from the chat as well. I met the host of Drunken Drow, Raredread Nightfire, a charming gentleman. All in all it was a wonderful wonderful evening and I know that I will be back there.

After a great performance like that, sometimes it’s hard to go and hear other music. But the night was still young and there was still time for dancing and chat, so we headed over to FogBound, which seems to be turning into my home-away-from-home these days. 🙂 There was more live music happening there: BigJim Allerhand and Tabasco Delicioso (BigJim Adam and John Stilwagen in RL). They played some amazing “swampy” blues. Great voice, fantastic music, and again great crowd banter and rapport. So what else can a gal do but join the group so she can follow them about?

SL is full of incredibly wonderful live music. Get out there (in here?) and listen.

Soul Man

Heaven gained another star and SL lost another avatar. Bear Rasmuson – gentleman, scholar and music aficianado extraordinaire – passed away on Wednesday, June 8. I have known Bear for a long while now. Bear was a good friend of and to Callipygian Christensen and so we would often meet at Calli’s art exhibits or when she was DJ’ing. I have been spending more and more time lately inworld following the good music. I discovered that Bear DJ’d and was a fantastic DJ – informative, personable and with great taste in music and a huge play list. I joined Bear’s group and wore my “Dances with Bears” tag proudly.

Last night as word spread of our loss, many mourners began gathering at FogBound, a great SL blues club where Bear was often to be found – both DJ’ing and listening. Meredith Mistwalker and Yannik Lytton own FogBound. Meredith informed the community:

Anyone who knew him will be saddened to learn of the passing of Brother Bear Rasmuson out in real life. He was a great friend to many, both at FogBound and throughout SL. He loved the Blues, but loved sharing the Blues with others even more. He will be sorely missed. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his friends and family in this time of loss.

We all began to share reminiscences in local chat. Bear had mentored many of the DJs that were there, including Minx Nootan who was directing the wake. Minx started the set the way Bear started HIS sets, with “Soul Man”. As Minx spun the tunes, she would tell us why she’d picked that tune, what it meant to her, to Bear, to us. The people kept coming – at one point there were 67 folk in the venue. Bear DJ’d at The Wharf Rat Blues, the Savoy, FogBound, JJ’s Joint, and Riverside to name just a few of his homes and friends.

I am glad that I had finally begun to know Bear personally. I remember all the times we shared a table at Tribeca listening to Calli spin the Blues. Part of me regrets that I didn’t chat more with Bear, learn more about him, but most of me feels that Bear and I were communing then in the way he most preferred: good music and good friends.

I’d like to share what Kohrabi Wittels said last night as Minx played “Soul Man”:
Bear is really a Soul Man now – watching over all of us, I’m sure.

I’m sure too, Kohrabi. Bear lives on in our thoughts, our memories, the way he taught us, educated us, shared with us, influenced us. His memory is a blessing. Thank you, Bear Rasmuson.

Summer Sunset

Ah, it’s summertime and the living is easy. At least some of the time it’s easy. Life gets easier for me when I log in to SL and visit the horses. I planned to check out their SL8B build. On the way, I encountered Shenlei and Starbuck. They offered me a chance to live out a fantasy I’ve had since 1st grade: to be a bareback rider in the circus. In 1st grade we did a “circus” in the classroom. AW, who always beat me out for everything – this was simply the first in a long line of her theatrical triumphs – got to be the tightrope walker. Hmmph. Not to be outdone, *I* said *I* would be the bareback rider. Hey – that’s like tightrope walking AND I got to have an (imaginary) horse, too!

So we headed over to the ring and after a few practice rounds, I felt comfortable enough to put on my costume. *grin* Star has the smoothest gait imaginable – I never felt any fear of slipping or sliding. Shen watched from the wall, giving encouragement and tips. I got to flip, pirouette, pose – the whole experience! We had a great time. The Carriage Trade SL8B build is wonderful and full of magic, certainly in my opinion anyway. There is nothing like the magical experience of being with horses. I urge you all to check it out when SL8B opens.

As our circus act drew to a close, Lalo mentioned that he was going to cool down after a RL hot summer day by tubing, would I like to join him? As I, too, had a hot humid RL summer day and now was all sweaty and tired from “performing”, floating about in an inner tube sounded fantastic! I changed into my suit and Lalo sent the taxi to get me to Harbour.

We hopped into the tubes (pink for girl, of course *grin*) and began drifting about the islands. The tubes are great fun – steered and propelled by the arrow keys. At one point I was lazy enough to do nothing but take photos and let Lalo bump my tube to move me through the water. We checked out the neighbor’s waterfall. An interesting experience when it turned out all the rocks were phantom and I found myself inside the island. *grin* I closed my eyes, held my breath and paddled like crazy in one direction til I came shooting out of the rocks. 🙂

We drifted about, admiring the setting sun and relaxing. Horses and playing about in the water. These are a few of my favorite things.

Conformity is NOT a Crime

I have a friendly acquaintance – a smart, talented, passionate woman. For the most part I respect her as I believe she tries to live a “good life”. What is a “good life” in my terms? One who tries to help and heal, not harm others. I don’t like her much, however. Her passion extends to her politics. And while we actually agree on many things, we don’t agree on all things. And despite her protestations of “people should be free”, no one should be persecuted, the victim of discrimination, this woman is incapable of living that way when it comes to politics. I am NEVER allowed the courtesy of polite acceptance of my differing views. No; she harangues, argues, contests, makes faces and exasperated noises should I not agree with her point of view. So that teaches me that I am only free to my view as long as it agrees with hers or as long as I do not voice mine. Which leads me to the discussions of virtual worlds and conformity…..

Conformity is NOT a crime. It’s not a sin. It’s not wrong. It’s not bad. Keep your dismay and your disillusionment off my appearance and behavior. You do NOT know me. Maybe for ME, doing in virtual worlds what YOU consider “conforming” is me rebelling from my regular persona. Maybe my body does not fit within normal physical measurements. Maybe my mental condition is such that acting “normal” in the virtual world would astound those who know me. Maybe I live my organic life in a fashion totally at odds with how I portray myself in avatar form. YOU DON’T KNOW. Even if you know my external trappings and behavior, you do NOT know what rages, swirls, flows, twists, soars, floats, plummets, dances within me. How DARE you presume that my avatar indicates a lack of creativity or individuality????? Who are you to judge MY choice of expression? As Jesus said: He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone. Oh Scarecrow, scared of a little fire??? Too much religion there? How about the saying usual credited to Native Americans: Before you criticize someone, walk a mile in their moccasins.

I’m not posting links. You know who you are. Look at your avatars. Are you a sphere? Are you amorphous flashing lights? A tornado? Is your avatar repellent by “normal” standards? Do you hangout with your friends or do you go every time to meet new and different people, different experiences? Do you have ‘your crowd’? How do you spend YOUR virtual time? Are you so different than I?

Virtual worlds do INDEED give us the ability to break free of our organic lives. And maybe for some of us, we take smaller steps than others might take. Maybe what we seek is the community of souls, the togetherness of being. Maybe by “conforming” in our looks, we can break past that particular obstacle and reach to the inner core of where we are truly ourselves. Maybe conformity actually frees us to be us.

I did it again – PWA (Posted while agitated). Maybe one of these days I will learn to rein in my inner-6 year old. Or maybe, just maybe, the blog convention has freed her.

Geometry Was Never This Fun

I remember my geometry class. Despite being longer ago than I will admit, some memories are crystal clear. My friend Sharon and I spent hours on the phone (a rotary phone, only one phone line in the house that we all – oh the indignity – shared) as she tried to explain sine, cosine, secant. I’d been alright up to that point – squares, rhomboids, triangles. Nice friendly shapes. I have 2 other vivid memories of Geometry class. They both come with warning labels: Read no further ye of faint heart. It was in geometry class that I “met” my first computer. It was hidden in this tiny room behind the stage (no, I have no idea why) and it ran on – brace yourself – paper tape. Leroy and Larry and other nerds (because back then they did not have the cachet of being “geeks”) LOVED that computer and lived in that room. I hated it passionately. Syntax Error Line 30. Repeatedly. I HATED it and swore I’d NEVER deal with computers. *grin* Truly, I did. The third memory is also embarrassing in a completely different direction. To protect the not-so-innocent, I will not name names. BUT Geometry class is where I read “that scene” in Rosemary’s Baby as well as parts of …. No, actually, I cannot bring myself to print the title of that particular book here. Suffice it to say it was extremely intense misogynistic pornography. Yeah, maybe that’s why by the time we got to trigonometry I was having difficulty concentrating.

But Wizard Gynoid makes geometry beautiful, interesting, captivating. Many folk blogged about Wizard’s exhibit at UWA in the month of May, Honour McMillan, Lalo Telling and Soror Nishi having some of the best posts. The centerpiece of the display is the 7200 prim Fractalized Tensegrity Icosahedron, described on The University of Western Australia in Second Life’s blog. (For those of you who might not know, UWA is a major supporter of machinima and art in virtual worlds.) Unfortunately, the exhibit and the Icosahedron are gone now but you can still find articles and pictures if you missed the experience. There are some amazing photos out there, taken by people who understand camera angles and lighting. Juanita Deharo interviewed Wizzy in May. Wizard was a 3rd Prize winner, along with Miso Susanowa‘s TIME AS A HELIX OF SEMI-PRECIOUS STONES. Miso is another fantastic virtual world builder.

I made it to Wizard’s exhibit with a day to spare. I’m delighted I did. I suspect that my memories of geometry CLASS have now been supplanted by geometry WITH class. The exhibit was intriguing and fun. One thing I’d like to point out are the FISH!!!! In all the posts I read, I don’t remember anyone mentioning the fish. *grin* I like the fish. A lot. It was such a wonderful irregularity among the lines and angles. Most people looked up. I did too. I even took a trick from my friend Dale and attempted to sit everywhere I could. Getting into and out of some of those sits is trickier than you might think. But I also looked down to the fish and the water. It was a hazy hot humid day in my organic life so my companion and I jumped into one of the pools. It’s only taken me 3 years, but now that I have finally learned some camera controls, I had to look up from underneath. 🙂 The icosahedron was beautiful even seen through the ripples of the water.

Belly Dancing

It’s interesting how traditional dance can suit modern music. I was at The Listening Room Friday night, where Guenevere was spinning the tunes for us. Of course I don’t remember which song it was, but someone remarked how a belly dance seemed appropriate for the tune. I wondered aloud if I had such an animation in my inventory. Marx Dudek said that she did and loaded up her HUD and invited me to join her. I changed outfits to fit the movement (*grin* any excuse to play “dress-up”). Marxie stayed in modern-day attire and you know what? Bunnehs look GOOD belly dancing in blue jeans. *grin* Another fun evening with friends at TLR!