Saturday, October 31, 2009

A hats gripe

I have a gripe. In case you missed the title, the gripe is about hats.

I would love to be able to wear more hats in SL. I would love it. Really. But I just can't figure them out.

It seems to me that there are four options. You either switch your hair for a buzzcut, you have hair sticking through the hat, you postion the hat so it perches delicately on the top of your hair, or you make your hat so large that you look like Jamiroquai.

Surely if boobs can bounce someone can do something about making hats work, can't they?


Sometimes it is just good to hang out with friends, dance a little, chat a little, and laugh a helluva a lot.

I am lacking in the roller-skates department though. I've decided.

Wherever Wednesday - Bug Island

It's a little late, I know. But I got there. Eventually.

This week's random explorer tour (I'm not explaining again - if you want background read back here and here and here) took me to Bug Island. Look at the view below that I saw as I landed. Erm, not a good start, eh?. Just once can I go somewhere interesting!?!

Yes, you guessed it, it is a sandbox. The gods of the loading screen decided I should explore a sandbox. Genius.

But, on your behalf, I decided I should still walk around to see if anything interesting was around.

There was some mildly interesting stuff as I cammed around. Some blocks and some balls and some numbered blocks in the sky.

Probably the most interesting thing I found, and everything is relative, was a Dan Linden shiny test. You sit on a pyramid and get given 4 huds and then check a picture the HUD shows you against what you are seeing in order to check that your shiny works. You do it for noon, midnight, sunrise and sunset settings. Yes, that's it.

There was also a lighting test. But I figured I could only take so much excitement for one day.

The final piece of relative excitement was noticing a blue dot on my mini-map. I don't think I've seen a blue dot before, only green ones and yellow ones. So I cammed over, and ooh, hello a Linden. I always expected them to dress better.

I then left because someone sent me a TP and dancing with friends in her roller rink sounded much more appealling than a sandbox.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009


You know, there are some great things to be said for SL. For plurk too. We virtually meet people, we make friends, we share our SLives (and lives, to some degree) with wonderful people all over the world. Who would not want that, eh?

But then sometimes there comes the realism that our friendships, our relationships, are really quite detached and vague and really quite unlike their RL equivalents. When someone is a plane ride away you can’t just nip round for a coffee. If they’re offline, usually we can’t just phone them or send them a text to say hi and see how they’re doing. If they are not inworld or plurking, for the most part, there is just no way of reaching them and no way to find out why. No way at all.

I feel lucky in some ways because so far in my SLife I haven’t had a friend disappear without warning. Speaking to friends though, it seems clear that at some point it will happen. It happens to us all sooner or later.

Now, this post is not really melodramatic or anything emo like that, and is hopefully just prompted by storms causing power outages in Queensland, but it just made me realise, I guess, that when we need to speak to someone, sometimes we cannot. And that is frustrating. And there is pretty much no ideal solution. Our world-wide community has its limitations and drawbacks as well as it’s attractions and advantages. We just have to hope that the latter outweigh the former.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

A glimpse of the future?

I went to see a movie last night. In RL. I know I don't blog RL here and make a point of not doing, but the film is kinda appropriate so I will break my own rules this one time.

The movie was Surrogates. If you've not heard about it, it is set in the near future. Basically robotics and stuff have developed to the stage where almost everyone use a robot in every part of their everyday life. People are linked to their robots via "the grid". They stay at home in pretty much isolation, on their "stim chairs", and go and live their lives via a robot they are connected to. Their Surrogate. They can be young and attractive forever. They can do things they would not normally do. They can be who they want to be.

Do you begin to see why I might have thought this movie made me want to blog?

The story of the film is not really important. It's a decent murder/intrigue sorta of a thing but the key thing for me was the basic premise. The idea of surrogates. It all felt quite real, and not really too far from the lives we currently lead. The second lives, I mean. For surrogates read avatars.

We can be who we want to be, and we can do whatever we want to do. We can leap from tall buildings. We can fly. We can be perky blonde bimbos instead of fat blokes in Iowa.

The only difference is that at the moment most of us only use our surrogates when we have spare time. And the grid is still inworld, rather than outworld too, if you see what I mean. But it's not too big a leap, I don't think. How many of us prefer our second lives to our other mundane one? How many of us would leap at the chance of a surrogate?

As the film ended, some punk-kid stood up in front of me, turned to his mate and said "well, that will never happen". I think most of you, like me, would disagree. The future is not far away.

Friday, October 23, 2009


A little while ago, I met Arora. We clicked instantly. It's hard to put my finger on it exactly, but it just felt right. And good. We fitted.

She is the Nala to my Simba, the Buffy to my Angel, the Princess Buttercup to my Westley.

I learn more about her every day. And I love that I do. Time spent with her is so easy, so perfect, but always too brief.

We can sit and chat alone for hours. We can hang with friends and laugh. We can explore together.

It is easy. It is fun. It is perfect.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Wherever Wednesday - nowhere

Wherever Wednesday has been cancelled this week as I have been exploring in RL instead of in SL. It will return, as usual, next week.

I am tempted to bore you with my wanderings around Sydney instead but this is not an RL blog so I won't. If you want to see pics of that you'll have to find me on plurk.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Wherever Wednesday - Gibson

So far Wherever Wednesday has taken me to Beaumont and Insilico. Wednesdays roll around fast these days and before I knew it was time once again to cast my dice and submit my wanderings to the gods of loading screen.

There are some places that looking really quite interesting on the loading screens. And some that don't. There is one that just looks like an empty beach. Last night, said empty beach appeared as I loaded up Emerald. I thought about having to blog my time roaming over sand dunes and nothing else and almost decided to cancel and reload SL. I reconsidered. That wouldn't really having been playing within my own rules, would it?

So, an empty beach, and a sim called Gibson. Expecting sun, sea and sand I donned a pair of shorts. It felt semi-appropriate. I didn't give my companion explorer and guest photographer, Arora, any clothing guidance as I wasn't quite sure what to expect. It turns out SL is the a place you can explore in heels. Her. Not me.

When we arrived we found a box of a city with skyscrapers called Nexus Prime. A citadel perhaps. There didn't seem to be any doors though or anything to press or click. Even the gun turret just sat there doing nothing. Luckily there were a few others things to explore though that we saw as we cammed around.

The first we found as we wandered over a hill from the landing point was a big pool-type thing. We're not really sure what it did or why it was there. We just took a quick look and then wandered off to find some more stuff. I blame the over-exuberance of having a full sim to explore. The stuff at the beginning always loses out.

Round the back of the citadel was a delapidated wooden hut - the love shack the sign said. In side we saw a dirt mattress on the floor and another leaned against the wall adorned with a blood stain. Not precisely my idea of a love shack, to be honest. Moving on...

Up in the sky we came across a glowy white sphere and inside it was big organ with screens that seemed to want to play media but did nothing. Oooh, so close to actually having something to interact with...

Under the citadel, in a pond, we discovered a black box. It took impressive camera ninjery to find it, to be honest. Camming inside showed some sort of Tron-looking room labelled Black Sun.

And through the screen doors there were some inaminate but intimidating sentinels. Like lots of this sim, we were kinda left thinking "Interesting, but why? And why put it here?"

By now we were feeling a little deflated with Gibson. There were some nice ideas and stuff but we were left with more questions than answers. Some things we wanted answers to. Some, like the very organic-looking tunnel complete with bright blue nub over the entrance, we didn't really want to enquire about in too much depth. Either way, we decided it was time to move on and noticed movement on the sim next to us so headed over. What we found was a waterfall overlooking some sort of officially-branded educational stage.

As we stood there we noticed more movement. Huge cubes flashing with colour were falling from the sky to the ground. Tens and tens of cubes. A waterfall of giant flashing cubes. With no indication as to why. It was becoming a theme for the evening.

In a short while, they were everywhere, almost completely covering the sim. One cube that wasn't falling or flashing was a Borg cube complete with "We are the Borg. You will be assimilated" soundtrack. In the end the sim got so covered we decided to run over to the next sim where we had seen some sort of racing inflatable ring boats things complete with cannon. But we didn't get time to check them out as the cubes continued falling, speading out into the new sim we were on. We couldn't quite figure it out but it seemed we were being targeted. Was it some sort of surreal security device? We certainly had no answers.

In the end we had to wander over to the next sim over again, the third over from Gibson, where we started. Here we found an eclectic collection of houses and judging by the "Foxes at work" signs and 'erotic' porcupine wall art (don't ask!) I reckon it could well have been a furry community. But I have no room to explore that further here even if I wanted to.

In summary, Gibson, where we started for this Wherever Wednesday doesn't quite seem finished or have any common threads we could really identify. And the sim next door pours flashing cubes on you. And the next one but one after that has porcupine soft porn. All in all, we were not quite sure really. This week was a bit on the confusing side.

But for every Insilico there is a Gibson (& neighbours), I suppose. That's the beauty of SL isn't it?

Monday, October 12, 2009

Happy rezzday, laydees

I went to a party yesterday. My first rezzday party, I think. Well, not my first rezzday party, that won't come around till February sometime, but the first rezzday party I have been too. At least I think it is. If I have been to another and I have forgotten, I blame the foggy haze that is Monday mornings and I am sticking to excuse. I know I have had a few invitations to rezzday parties but y'know, timezones and stuffs...

So yeah, the rezzday party. It was a joint party for Arora, Ember and Bindy - three of my fave Aussie lasses and it was held up in Bindy's awesome forest garden skybox.

It turned out that the theme of the party was 'white'. And most people turned up in suitable attire or, like me, changed into white once the theme became obvious.

Of course, with a white dress code, you just know that someone had to put on a stormtrooper outfit. But boy, that stormtrooper sure had riddum.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Wherever Wednesday - Insilico

Last week I started my new blog idea - Wherever Wednesday. You can read more about it back on that blog page. I just wanted to make clear though, because people have asked, I may not blog about it on Wednesday and I may not even go though on a Wednesday (although I will try to go when it is still Wednesday in at least one timezone around the world) - all I promise to do, following my own rules, is make a note of the SLurl of the Emerald loading page picture thingy the first time I log in to SL on a Wednesday and then visit that place as soon as I can.

So on to this week's trip. Wherever Wednesday edition 2 takes you to Insilico. The loading screen image is dark and kinda futuristic, so me and my travelling companion for this trip, Lysi, donned appropriate clothing before tp-ing off.

The big overview-type picture shows what sort of place we're dealing with here. It is futuristic, as I said. A stark, black, cityscape.

Upon landing the first thing I noticed was movement behind me. As I turned around for a better look I wished that I hadn't. Mechanical spiders don't make for friendly-faced doormen. We hurried off down a tunnel opposite, hoping the spider would be too busy to want to follow us and devour us. Mechanically.

The first stop on our trip was a diner in an old train carriage. There were no staff so Lysi had to step behind the counter and rustle us up some travelling food. I was tempted by the quiche down the counter from me. Until I saw it was green. And it wasn't a spinach quiche.

Our tummies filled with futuristic food and Pepsi we carried on down the tunnel until we reached a sort of factory pod-filling type room. I am not sure what the pods were for, and what the blue gloop in them was. There were no tourist-information signs.

Insilico has a transit system with wall transporters dotted around the place. In some ways I am against using this sort of thing when exploring a place as it kinda seems like cheating to me, but in other ways it does allow us to skip to the highlights without getting too lost.

One of the first places we headed, were the apartments, mainly because we figured that's where the people on the map might be and it would be good to be somewhere with people, rather than empty, shadowy tunnels and alleyways.

It turns out we were right next to the apartments so we didn't tp far. We walked up floor after floor of spiral rampway finding the door to each apartment locked. Ok, so this isn't where all the people on the map are. Camming around, all of the apartments looked empty apart from one. To be honest, I wasn't surprised. I think living here instead of a nice sunny beach would lead to me doing myself some harm. It's not exactly a cheerful sim.

Take this bedroom of the one non-empty apartment as an example. Now, I am all for tying in your decor with the theme of the sim, but would some decent lighting go a miss? Maybe a plant or two, a painting of a mountain landscape, a bookcase, and more of a bed than a dirty old mattress?

The next place we found ourselves, quite accidentally, appeared to be some sort of church that appeared to be a place of worship to the colour blue. You had to join a group to make a donation. Seems a bit cultish to me...

Eventually, after some more wandering, and TP-ing we found ourselves in a skybox high above the skyscrapers. As you would expect with this sim though, it wasn't your usual skybox. Now correct me if I'm wrong, and I don't live in a skybox so I might be, but they don't usually come with cyborg justice pods as a standard fitting, right?

Just upstairs from the pod I got plugged into, on the mezzanine, if you like, was something much more homely - a couple of sofas and a tv. After wearing ourselves out we decided to rest our weary feet. I wish we hadn't. The Japanese advert for 'Fruity Oaty Cakes' will follow me to my dreams...

So overall them, it is sims like this that blow me away. The sheer scale and imagination that goes into something like this. The level of detail and the time needed are phenomenal. Take for example the fire in the pic above, or the moving shadow on the floor of the rotating ceiling fan. The pic doesn't do either of them justice.

It was a dark and brooding place, very Blade Runner. You wouldn't want to come here for a bit of light-hearted sunny frivolity. It is a beautiful place in it's own way but not exactly cheery.

Again the random gods of the loading screens seem to have picked a place for me where there is little to do, but in some ways that doesn't matter at a place like Insilico. You just need to walk around and look.

A battle of wills

Do you ever have those evenings where banter turns into sticking tongues out at each other which turns into flicking the v's at each other and where, before you know it you're stood toe-to-toe, eyeball-to-eyeball, refusing to be the first one to stop an animation?

No,....erm.... me neither.... ahem.

Missing out

No, that's not really me there in the middle. I'm not Mr Popular. My cut-out is. I was at work.

Boss decided it would be a good idea to rez a cut out of me at his club. At least he kept the Marnix cut-out under 50 feet tall. This time...

Wednesday, October 7, 2009


Sometimes you just gotta dance, y'know? And when a friend TPs you to head on over to the new club her friends have set up, sometimes you just have to put on your dancing shoes and hail a taxi.

I'd not been there before, given it only opened last week, but the Mile High Club looks like a pretty cool place. Especially since it has the twirly sky dancing platforms thingies me, Lolita and Boss first saw while watching Starflower play a while back. I don't often frequent clubs in SL, mainly because anywhere with more than four people in the sim presents a high probability of me crashing, but this place seems like fun. But of course half the fun of any place is the people you're surrounded by.

Even if I was there on my own, to be honest, this place would still get a thumbs up though. Any club where the DJ will play me Axel F (the Harold Faltermeyer original of course, not the Crazy Frog version!) on request is alright by me.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Home sweet home (again!)

I thought it proper, given I moved home a while back, to give you a bit of a tour. I have been busy getting things right, so I delayed until I has happy to take visitors. It is almost there now, but is probably about ready so take a wander round while I put the kettle on.

The house is a prefab. I wouldn't even consider building myself. Are you quite mad? It's by that well-known bloke who sounds like a cross between a Second World War spitfire pilot and and Egyptian god. The house is called Angolo, which means 'angle' in Italian, factfans.

If we start outside you can one of my favourite parts of this little island. This hammock is just awesome and has some cute little poses in it. I love lying here taking it easy.

Wandering through the door you come to the living room, complete with dog corner and open fireplace. I love my gorgeous new bonsai tree. I killed a bonsai I had once in RL so it is good to have a second chance with one that won't die.

I've gone for quite a minimalist look with the decor as it seemed to fit well with the house style.

Up and round the corner is the bedroom. La boudoir de Marnix, if you will. Actually. it might be le boudoir. I don't remember. Excuse my French. The bed comes complete with 'jump' animation. There really is nothing quite so good at erasing the worries of the day as jumping up and down on your bed.

By the way, how much of your own artwork can you put up around your house before it can be classed as self-indulgent?

And just up from the bedroom we come to the bathroom furnished with a brand new hot tub.

I 'built' and textured that floor myself. I was so proud of the achievement :)

And now a few gratutitous night shots, just because they looked nice. And demonstrate how long it took me to take all these photos. It was daytime when I started!

So yeah, house complete. Apart from a few little finishing touches. Any time you're free, stop by for a chat. The coffee pot is always full.

A big claim

Close by the Beaumont sim I noticed a sign.

Sadly the structure had banlines around it so I couldn't get any closer but a little camera ninjery allowed me to view all the way to the top. So the answer is....a platform and some flags?

While I'm here, this sign makes a bold claim. But is it true? Can anyone beat the height of this column?

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Wherever Wednesday - Beaumont

I've been thinking for a while now that I need to explore more. But where to go? That's the question. Then, while loading up SL the other day it came to me - my new bright idea - Wherever Wednesday. My idea, which natch I'm gonna blog for your delectation, is to tp to wherever the Emerald loading screen is showing, and do it on each and every Wednesday. Can you see where I got the name from perchance? At the very least I'll end up in some places I've not been before. I'm just hoping there isn't too much water to photograph. My graphics card doesn't do water.

So, Wednesday. Time to explore. The very first Wherever Wednesday. And the loading screen suggests..... a sim called Beaumont. Now I have never heard of Beaumont at all but on landing it seems to be a workspace for Lindens.

Of all the amazing places I could have tp-ed, the random gods of the loading screens effectively chose an office. I apologise. At least the dancing frog was welcoming though.

There were some interesting looking 'workspaces' though. Not your usual glass box. On, and in case you're interested those big white boxes above have a pic of a rat on them and say "Lindens want you! To be their rat! Tell em to slurp your butt!" Er, ok then...

There we no Lindens in sight while I was there but there were some pretty important looking posters. I think the one above me here shows how LL plans to take over the world.

And there may have been no Lindens in person but there were plenty of Linden bears around the place.

Now this is my kind of workspace...

To be honest, I felt a little like I was trespassing as I wandered from one office to another, eating their left-over pizza. I hope the Linden whose communications tower this is wasn't saving that for breakfast. Can you get banned for eating stray pizza, d'ya think?

I felt very important sitting in all the chairs of these clearly very important people. I too want a laptop with a squirrel on it.

Overall, the sim was a very eclectic place. It did feel like lots of different buildings and locations dumped on the same sim rather than having a consistent flow. But I guess this is exactly what it is, to be honest. It's not meant to be pretty and flow-y and consistent. And there's not an awful lot to do.

Up on the hill, by the observatory, you get a great view and more interestingly, there is a cannon.

Show me someone who cannot resist climbing into an empty cannon.

It's very tempting, you know. READY...



"Six point oh" for a perfect landing. I have to say, travelling by cannon is a great way to get to meetings when you're running a little late.

In summary then, this was not the best ever start to Whatever Wednesday to be honest. I hope future excursions will be a little more riveting, with a little more to see and do.

Oh, and just a final disclaimer - the Wednesday in the title refers to the day I explore, not the day I blog :p
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