Monday, October 22, 2007

Cozy crystal cave

I saw Patrice a few days ago at her new place. It was great to see her. We chatted for a bit, then she had to go offline. So I wandered around the island she's living on, since I know some of her neighbours, one of whom is Tatsuko.

Tats wasn't around, but I'd heard about this grotto that Patrice had built for her, and I wanted to see it. I found Tats's house and the stairway leading down into the earth. It got a bit stuck on the door post but managed to duck and make my way in.

I turned the corner to find the grotto itself. What a beautiful place! I love the fountain on the right as you walk in, pouring out of the wall into the giant urn. Then there's a lovely big hot tub in the floor, which is most inviting. And to the left, there is a shimmering wall of water. The whole place just sparkles.

As usual, Patrice has paid attention not only to the look of the place but also to sounds. The running water is so relaxing! I tried out a pose ball or two and just enjoyed being in those surroundings, listening to the beautiful sound.

Sorry you have only my poor snapshots to look at. This grotto is on private property. Maybe Patrice will get a commission to build something similar on a public sim somewhere. It's well worth sharing!

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Feedback loop

It took two invitations to get me to join Twitter, and even then I went kicking and screaming. Well, maybe kicking and whimpering. Twitter started out as a way to tell your friends what sort of trivial thing you were up to every moment of the day ("having coffee") and evolved into a sort of mini-blogging and social networking service. When I was invited I thought, ye gods, I don't need a new way to waste time. Can't get sucked into this.

Cala tried to get me to join a long time ago, but it was Cheri Horton who succeeded. She was already a member of Twitter (as Noche) as was Lienna (as Mercy), and the service was going to be a way for the PixelPulse staff to stay in touch. So in went Julian, Samantha, and me. It wasn't long before my tiny network of friends had grown to something like 20 or 30, and "tweeting" became a bit of an obsession. Yep, I got sucked in.

I'm usually cautious about who I follow in Twitter. I always follow those I know. I have also added, over time, certain people who know someone I know. Many of those people are in Second Life. So Twitter has ended up augmenting my SL Friends list and introduced me to cool new people.

One of these people whom I have known in Twitter for a while is HyMe Neurocam, who might or might not be a robot. HyMe is quite a character. One of the more recent additions is a fairly well-known person in SL with a particularly imaginative name, CodeBastard Redgrave. When I logged in to SL late on Saturday night, I saw a notice from Codie that there was a party at her club. Almost immediately, a teleport assist from Codie showed up on my screen. Normally, I don't hop on TPs that aren't preceded by at least an IM, but I figured I'd go with this one.

By the time I beamed in to the Code Red Lounge, there weren't many party goers left. Codie was bumping and grinding on a pole, which she says she rarely does. I'll have to take her word for it! I met HyMe in SL for the first time. He was giving us a bit of the ol' Chippendale routine, and there sure ain't nothing wrong with that.

I didn't stay too long, but I had fun while I was there. Even with only a few of us, conversation was good. Codie's got some pretty cool dances loaded into her dance machine. The music was a bit techno, but I was handling it OK. I offered my services as a rock DJ if one was ever needed. And next time I see a notice from the Code Red group, I'm going to show up earlier, is something much redder and probably skimpier, and party down!

Monday, October 8, 2007

Burnt Life

This entry is really late, but I think the Burning Life sims might still be up. Consider it a retrospective.

Being completely out of it, I had never even known what Burning Man was until I looked it up this year. Seems like something I might have been into, oh, 20 or 30 years ago, back in the post-hippie days, or more likely something I would have been dragged into by friends with more enthusiasm for camping than I ever had.

Burning Life is kind of a Second Life tribute to Burning Man. People are supposed to let their creativity run wild, just as at Burning Man. There are art installations, staged events, weird little things like that Sacred Heart of Elvis with Pineapples setup (I have no idea what it means), and at some point a virtual burning of a giant statue, just like at the real thing. People even build campsites.

I visited the Burning Life sims over the course of several days, both alone and with my friend Anwen. I never caught any of the events, I'm afraid, and I didn't even find the controversial naked sculpture. I did find a controversial defence of child avatars, as you can see in the photo. That was a bit surprising, but certainly plays into the theme of freedom of expression. I also found a few interesting builds, but not nearly as cool as I expected. I actually saw stuff like upside-down cones covered in moss. Ye gods, that's like building practice 101! Why would such a thing be at Burning Life?

I did like the Shakespearean theatre (not sure if it was supposed to be a Globe replica), the frozen Arctic exhibit, and a few other installations. "Chicken Eatza," a pyramid designed to highlight the inhumane treatment of chickens, was mildly entertaining (I agree with the sentiment expressed). Still, I thought there would be cooler stuff. Maybe I missed it all somehow. There was definitely a lot of room there!

Maybe next year I should pay more attention to events and try to find out where the really good stuff is, assuming it exists.

Monday, October 1, 2007

They've shown this on both screens

Pardon the first life intrusion, but this has a Second Life connection, which I'll explain.

I'd been hearing about a band called the New Pornographers for years. Since I live near Vancouver, British Columbia, it was hard not to hear about the famous home-town band. It was made up of musicians who already had solo careers or careers with other bands, people like Carl Newman and Neko Case. They'd formed in the late 1990s with the intent of recording one album together. Mass Romantic was so successful, however, that they kept going, and have now recorded their fourth.

Even though I had read about the New Pornographers, I didn't pay much attention. I wasn't paying much attention to rock bands at the time. I was still intent on making my own music. And I have always been allergic to hype. As well, I wasn't hearing music from this band on either of the rock stations I tend to listen to when I'm driving my car, and that was my only music input at the time.

Fast forward to my life in Second Life. After lots of career false starts, I started to DJ in the spring of 2007. That spurred a renewed interest in music, especially new music. I started to find music from as many free but legal sources as I could find. That's how I discovered Bloc Party, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Les Breastfeeders, Land of Talk, and the Decemberists, as well as not-so-new stuff from artists like PJ Harvey.

While I was DJing, I was also listening to other DJs to hear what they were playing. One of my favourites was Barely Schlegal. He played a wonderful array of music from a wide variety of sources, including one of my favourites, Mission of Burma. It was at one of his shows, likely at the Velvet, that I first heard the New Pornographers. I was hooked immediately. And how embarrassing! I had to be made acquainted with a band from the town where I lived by a DJ from Texas!

Once I discovered the New Pornographers, I downloaded a whole slew of their songs from eMusic, and they became a regular part of my sets. So when my SO and I found out that the band were playing at one of our favourite clubs in Vancouver, we were there. I bought the new CD, Challengers, which I loved, and got familiar with the songs.

The show was last Friday, and it was amazing. The New Pornographers don't really put on any kind of spectacle, but they are such a good band that you don't care if there's nothing in particular to watch. They played most of the new album and songs from each of the previous three, mostly ones I'd been playing on my shows. I cried for joy listening to the gorgeous "Challengers," which Neko sang beautifully, and "Adventures in Solitude." I couldn't stop dancing and bopping for the rest of the show. It earned a place on my "best of all time" concert list.

We might never have been there if it had not been for Second Life, my DJing, and our man Barely. Thanks, dude.

More Second Life to come—wanderings across the playa at Burning Life. With pictures!