Aug 31, 2008

"Herald" and "Tribune" Publish Sig Stories

It's been a busy weekend though mainly outside of SL. Following the opening of Tammy's Jazz Cafe I submitted the write up to the Metaverse Tribune, where editor Runeswan Ceawlin decided to run it for the Sunday update. Check out Tammy’s Jazz Café for the full story.

Then during my Saturday morning review of SL news and blogs, I came across a broadcast from WNBC, the New York affiliate for NBC, which thought it had discovered shocking secret - there's sex and violence in Second Life. This was definitely Herald territory so I sent off copy to editor Pixeleen Mistral who ran it today. Take a look at WNBC Scoop: People Are Having Sex In Second Life! for both the article and a video of the transmission.

Aug 30, 2008

New Jazz Club Opens

Just got back from the opening of a new jazz club, Tammy's Jazz Cafe. The owners are Tammy Toll and T0ny Mantel who met just a few months ago and came up with the idea of the club. For the opening there was live music from Paisley Beebe and CTM Underwood, free champagne, and the opportunity for close-up romantic dancing. Sadly yours truly simply parked himself on a stool, grab a bourbon, and spent the time interviewing T0ny and Tammy for an article aimed at the Metaverse Tribune. No dancing for Sig.

SLurl for Tammy's Jazz Cafe:

Aug 29, 2008

Breaking Even

Although I will never be able to retire from Real Life and live on a sim island with palm trees and a fabulous house stacked to the rafters with extravagant, prim-loaded stuff, I am now officially breaking even in Second Life. By that, I mean that I have now accumulated enough real dollars to pay my annual subscription, monthly tier fees, and still have money over to buy clothes and gadgets, and the occasional CD from iTunes.

When I joined SL, I have no clue what I intended doing here. But over the first few weeks, it became clear that I wanted more than a free account and needed to get lindens to buy things. What I didn't want to do was use real life cash to do this. So my plan was to find a job that would pay me lindens that I could change into cash. And my choice of becoming a reporter paid off - literally.

As I approach my first Rez Day (1st November), I feel as if I am settling into a Second Lifestyle that suits me well. My house (bought and paid for) gives me a base of operations and a "Fortress of Solitude" where I can hide from the world; my art collection gives me great pleasure and I now have more paintings that I have room to show them, which means I have, like museums, to have rotating exhibitions; and my contacts and friends make sure I always have articles to write and people to talk to.

All in all, it's still working out for me. Still.

Aug 28, 2008

Procrastination isn't just a long word...

Damn me! I missed a publication date and now have an article on my hard drive with no place to go. Grrrr! Usually I am ahead of the game and able to produce good copy on time and on topic. This week I messed up and lost an opportunity to rack up a higher score on the Googleometer. If I could kick my own butt I'd do it.

The article is a piece on the excellent clothes designed by Wavie Haller of Valiant men's clothing. I mentioned Wavie a few weeks back and that's when I started the article - or at least when I added the article to my "prospects" list. My plan - and I do have one - was to complete two others first and then move on to this. Sadly I procrastinated a little too long and ended up passed the deadline.

I am so mad with myself on this. The fact that I lose a paycheck is irritating enough but so far I've been able to deliver product in a timely fashion and this slip bugs the hell out of me. Of course, the lost check is one of the down-sides of being a freelancer instead of a staffer - no article, no pay. And with no boss to breathe down my neck, it's up to me to impose self-discipline.

So I will lick my wounds and start work this evening on TWO more articles to make up for my error. Painful - but I have to be hard on myself ;)

Aug 27, 2008

ARTist's Park Grand Re-Opening

I'm not really an artsy type. Honest. Apart from Ovid, Dante, Milton, Coleridge, Tennyson, and Keats - no, not a law firm from LA - I usually find poetry uninteresting. In fact, my article for the Second Life Herald, Slouching Toward Bethlehem, pretty much sets out my stall. With paintings, I wallow too much in the 19th century with the Romantics and Neoclassicists.

So my recent forays into the world of Second Life visual arts have been an education. I actually bought two amazing photos by Seikatsu Koba and Gina Glimmer, both of whom I met via my working on the staff of SLentrepreneur magazine. At their Visions of Japan exhibition I bought a picture from each of them and added them to my new art wall. On top of the house. I intend to use the roof for more modern art, leaving my precious 19th century stuff downstairs in the main room.

Then last weekend I went to the ARTist's Park Grand Re-Opening in the Mystary sim. Wilder PR did a great write up of the event, made all the more entertaining by the fact I get a mention! Thank you, Annette, you are too kind! And it was there that I realized I am riding the wrong art train. One painting there was on sale for $10,000 linden. That's ten thousand in words. I have to write about 10 articles to get that. I'm sure the artist spent a considerable amount of time on the piece, but I was suffering from sticker shock.

All the more reason for me to continue my one-man stand to make sure that I get paid for writing. My blogs are free, my letters are free, but once you get past 200 words I need lindens. Some blogs and papers in the SL world are happy to print your stuff but see it as an "opportunity" for the writer to get "exposure." That means "we don't pay." Hey, that's OK because I don't write!!

Aug 26, 2008

Can We Still Be Friends...

A little pain is not a bad thing. I am scared about writing how I feel. I guess we all are. But it helps me. It's hard when things change, and in Second Life, things change faster than in Real Life. You can flip from one state of being to another in a matter of days - or even minutes. That's just the way it is and neither hoping nor wishing will make any difference.

A little pain is also good for the soul. Even for atheists. The trick, so I hear, is to use the pain to learn a lesson. So I'm going to do that. It doesn't help when the pain is somewhat self inflicted as a result of a situation that was always a little risky. No pain, no gain.

But the pain that follows pleasure can sometimes remind you just how good things were. The fear of possible future suffering shouldn't stop you from seizing the opportunity for moments of happiness. If you want to avoid pain, simply do nothing and risk nothing. That'll keep away the heartache but also the wonderful experience of sharing something really really special.

Todd Rundgren's "Can We Still Be Friends?" is the most bittersweet song I know. It's a favorite but then I am, as was pointed out to me, rather dramatic. But I hope it's true. I hope it's possible to keep a special friendship with someone who has been, and still is, a rock.

I regret nothing. I hurt a little. But I know our change in relationship is ultimately going to be a good thing. It was never really supposed to go as far as it did and so we really do need to step back and readjust. Find a new balance. I'm OK with that.

Just remember: A little pain is not a bad thing.

Aug 24, 2008

Another Cool SpaceJunky Track

By way of a disclaimer, I am not on the SpaceJunky payroll nor do I get free stuff other than whatever everyone else does. But here's a band that is currently making me very happy with their music. This video for Killer Coat is perhaps the most "pop" sound I have heard so far complete with a hook and a wicked sense of humor. And for what it's worth, an extended mix could be amazing - Acid moshers take note!

The keyboard break in the middle is recognizably SpaceJunky - and it surprises me that I am beginning to sense a "sound" to the band. Hats off to Stretch Mayo for the video production - so slick. And I just LOVE the facial expression when the coat is found to be sold!!

As an aside, I reached into my treasured collection of LP's (those round plastic things with grooves in them that people used to buy for music) and took out Steve Hillage's L album and Live Herald. SpaceJunky fans who have not heard the Hill-meister might want to take a trip to planet iTunes and catch a sneak preview of some of his stuff. Sure it's old(ish) but if he were touring, I think SpaceJunky could easily be on the bill.

Aug 20, 2008

It's a Sig Fest... Another Article

Either I have no life or am on a roll. Today's Second Life Herald has my latest offering, I'm a Barbie(R) Girl, in a Barbie World..., a story of my first experience in Mattel's Barbie Girl(TM) virtual world. The one thing is has in common with the Second Life environment and Google's Lively(TM) is that is also has the same method of logging out - the crash!

Anyhow, check out the dirt on America's plastic role model. Also keep an eye of for the September issue of Castle Keep magazine where I have an article coming up on social networks.

I'm also working on two more articles for FreeLife magazine and a biggie for Slentrepreneur, which restarts publishing in September after a summer hiatus.

Aug 15, 2008

More Siggy in the Metaverse Tribune

There's a review of Ben Vanguard's Slmen blog site, a location I highly recommend to anyone interested in men's style and fashion, in the Metaverse Tribune. It's a great place to get ideas of what to buy and where to find it. You may not always agree with the assessments of the clothing there but you're damn sure to find a store that caters for your needs and preferences.

Aug 14, 2008

California Farewell

Whenever I visit California I find it hard to leave. It is odd but every time I deplane at LAX, I feel like I am "home" in some strange way. That may be why leaving is so depressing.

We had breakfast by the inner courtyard and took our time checking out. I was in no hurry to go but a 3:30 pm flight meant we had to leave just after midday - checkout time. Before leaving, we toured the Inn for a while, wandering through low corridors and walking along balconies. We saw the St. Francis chapel and also took a look at the small museum.

The trip to the airport was uneventful, as was the flight. On the upside, it was warm in Cleveland and we were able to drive back home with the windows down, arriving just around midnight to find the house intact.

It was a wonderful vacation. I actually rested and did no work. None. I dread the thought of going back on Monday to a pile of requests and demands. But that's the price you pay for taking time off. And as ever, my Californian sojourn was all too short.

Aug 13, 2008

California Mission

We left for Riverside at around lunch time after breakfast in the K'Ya restaurant. My wife had no clue where we were heading but I'd booked a special deal for a night at the historical Mission Inn. I'd been there once before for dinner with a friend but didn't stay. I decided even then that I'd come back for a night.

Our suite was on the second floor with a view from the balcony into the courtyard. The architecture of the Inn is breathtaking and is a fusion of cultures, but predominantly Spanish.

I'd arranged for champagne and chocolate-coated strawberries to be delivered to the room about an hour after our arrival. That ensured we had time to shower and lounge around in soft hotel bathrobes.

That night we dined at the hotel's premiere restaurant, Duane's, where we ate glorious steak and drank wonderful Californian Merlot. As always, I ended with a cappuccino that served to fortify me before the arrival of the check. Let's just say that we probably paid almost as much for that one meal as we did for all the others combined. On the other hand, sometimes you have to remember that one day you will be dead and opportunities have to be taken whenever they are presented. Carpe diem indeed.

Aug 12, 2008

California Beach

We wanted one reasonably relaxed day so I'd picked Tuesday as a beach trip. having taken my daughters to Huntington Beach in the past, I felt it was time for my wife to experience it too so we took the short drive from Anaheim to Huntington and wandered around the town before taking our shoes and socks off to paddle the Pacific. It was a red letter day for my wife as she had never touched the Pacific Ocean before. She was convinced it was colder than the Atlantic - I suspend my judgment on that one.

After spending some time on the beach, we went back to the hotel and lounged by the pool smothered in sun tan lotion. I chilled out to SpaceJunky on my iPod and began reading Pedro Páramo by Juan Rulfo for a second time. The first time I got the book from the library but I was so taken by it that I bought my own copy in Santa Monica. It was recommend to me by Mony and I now recommend it highly.

Dinner was at McCormick & Schmick's of Anaheim, located in the Anaheim Garden Walk across from Disney. Good food yet again, washed down with a Glenlivet single malt.

Aug 11, 2008

California Coast

Monday found us driving up to Santa Monica to experience the tourist thrill of the 3rd Street Promenade and the pier. We started with a hearty breakfast at a Denny's, which may be a chain but I happen to like the choices there.

After a long, slow walk down 3rd Street, we headed for the pier and walked the extra mile to the end and back. Then we went Big Dean's Oceanfront Cafe for beer, which always tastes better by the beach and when the sun is high and hot.

We then took a long drive up Santa Monica boulevard to Beverly Hills to stroll down Rodeo Drive. We did see someone who is supposed to be a celebrity: Heidi from "The Hills," but unfortunately I have never seen the show and all I could see was some cute blonde surrounded by people with cameras. That's the thing about celebrity - it only works if people know who you are!

After a quick browse through the Dolce and Gabbana store, we headed for Huntington Beach and dinner by the sea at Dukes restaurant (I snagged us a window table for two). I'd been there a couple of times before but not with my wife. So this was her first experience of Hawaiian-influenced food - and she loved it! She ate Ahi Tuna with a papaya and ginger dressing. I had grilled salmon stuffed with crab and shrimp. Yummy!!

It was late by the time we got back to the hotel so rather than head for the bar, we headed for bed.

Aug 10, 2008

Californian Days

I'm terrible at taking time off. Just terrible. I have to be forced to do it. So on 10th August I did the unthinkable and left for a four-day trip to California with my RL wife. It was our wedding anniversary so that helped me focus.

We left early Sunday morning and by noon PST we were sitting outside Joe's Crab Shack in Redondo Beach drinking Modelo beer and eating seafood. I'd picked up a rental car at LAX and so we had all day to cruise down to the hotel in Anaheim.

After a leisurely afternoon, I drove along the Pacific Coast Highway and ended up at the Hotel Ménage close to Disney. The high-ceilinged roof and hardwood floors made it look and feel cool, helped by the efficient AC system, of course.

Within minutes, we'd found the bar close by the pool and I treated myself to more beer and a fresh mojito, ice cold and positively brimming with mint. A wonderful end to a laid-back day.

Aug 9, 2008

New Siggy article at FreeLife Magazine

In the latest edition of the stylish FreeLife Magazine, Aydan Darcy talks to Tragedy Kanto, owner of the Oh Tragedy store, Inga Ember visits the $25Diva store where everything is only $25L, and Sigmund Leominster - oh, that's me! - raves about Iota Ultsch's collection at her Tres Jolie store. You can also pick up some free T-shirts designed by Sid Kwon.

Spent some time at the new Valiant clothing store talking with owner/designer Wavie Haller. Nice! Keep an eye open for an article in FreeLife in the very near future.

Aug 7, 2008

Au Revoir Montreal

The day started well with a last-minute two-hour mini-presentation to a group of 20 key folks over breakfast. I love breakfast meetings, especially when bacon is involved. I have absolutely zero taboos when it comes to eating animals and pigs happen to be high on the list of tastiness. If it moves, eat it. After all, meat is just Nature's way of making sure carnivores get their intake of plants. "What," you say, "are you talking about?" Ask yourself; what does a cow eat? Answer; grass! Therefore when I eat a steak, I'm eating recycled grass. In fact, I am contributing to the whole eco-cycle.

Anyhow, back to the last day in Montreal. Close to the place I was staying, Le Dauphin, is a fountain called "La Joute," an installation designed by the artist, Jean-Paul Riopelle. Here's what the Wikipedia has to say about it:

The fountain operates on a kinetic sequence that takes about 32 minutes to complete. It begins a few minutes before the half hour, every hour from 7 to 11 p.m. during the summer. The sequence starts when the fountain jet expands to form a dome over the sculptures. Then at the back end of the park the grates on the ground start to mist. The 12 grates each mist, one after the other in sequence, taking about 90 seconds to sequence from one to another until they reach the fountain.

After about 18 minutes, machines inside the fountain start to produce a particularly dense cloud. The fountain jet then turns into a dribble. On the hour, nozzles in a ring surrounding the central sculpture within the basin shoot up jets of natural gas through the water; these are lit by flame sources installed in the daises of some of the sculptures, producing a dramatic ring of flame. The flame lasts for about seven minutes. The fountain itself stops. The misting stops, and then the fire is "doused" by the fountain which has restarted. The mist sequence, without the fire in the fountain, occurs every hour throughout the day.

Pretty cool, huh? I managed to take a picture of it but sadly not in flame, so I borrowed one from the internet. Bad Siggy.

Eastbound flights from Aéroport international Pierre-Elliott-Trudeau de Montréal were delayed due to storms. Lucky I was heading south ;) However, just as we were taxiing to the gate, a hail storm rolled in and all ground crew were rushed inside because of the heavy lightning. That meant sitting on the tarmac for 20 minutes watching pea-sized hail hammer the floor and rattle the aircraft. On the up-side, I had 20 minutes of iPod music, which included Steve Vai, Steely Dan, and yes, SpaceJunky.

Welcome home, Siggy.

Aug 6, 2008

Canadian night out - at a Polish restaurant

There was a mild drizzle this evening as we made out way downtown on a busy Wednesday night. Apparently there was to be a fireworks contest at 10:00 pm by the docks, but I was more concerned with food than pyrotechnics. At the recommendation of one of our party, we went to the Stash Cafe on Rue de St. Jaques.

The place was busy. It seems it was the owner's birthday and so most of the restaurant staff were out celebrating. So with maybe three wait staff and who knows how few in the kitchen, our party of ten became two parties of five and after a 15-minutes wait we were ready to go.

Fortunately, the menu has some fixed options, and I chose the Primer - a selection of Polish favorites that started with hot borscht and ended with an apple fritter with creme fraise. In between these was a salad with a "secret home-made recipe" that clearly contained mustard, and a plate of bigos, krokiety, placki and mixed pierogis.

As is my custom, I finished off with a cappuccino, sprinkled with both cinnamon AND chocolate. What the hell, it was my last night!

Aug 5, 2008

Filet Mignon at La Gargote

For the curious non-French speakers amongst you, a "gargote" is slang for a small, cheap bistro - which is exactly what La Gargote in Montreal is about. Situated in the old part of town at La Place d'Youville, the restaurant offers a selection of French-based dishes and a wonderful atmosphere. I dined on the terrasse across the road from the main building along with some good company.

After having eaten a poor steak au poivre the previous night, in a restaurant whose name I forget and, quite frankly, don't care to remember, I ordered the filet mignon in a black pepper sauce, served with some crisp mixed vegetables. Delish!

The blueberry creme brulee was heavenly and almost too good to share - but share I had to. We also ordered a chocolate profiterole that was also gorgeous, but of the two, I really did prefer the brulee.

A cappuccino helped end the evening and after a 15-minutes stroll I was back at the hotel feeling full and rested.

Aug 4, 2008

Bonjour Tout le Monde

I'm not in SL because I'm up north in Montreal, Canada. It's a dirty job but someone has to do it. This means I also have to endure endless dinners with attractive women all in the service of the Company. So far I have managed to have two dinner appointments that have kept me up so late that keeping this blog up-to-date has proved tricky. So in the interest of brevity, all I need tell you is that the restaurant Boris Bistro is excellent, especially is you sit on the terrasse. I had the Lapin aux pruneaux - rabbit with a prune sauce.

Aug 2, 2008

Maloney and Hudson

I discovered a new clothing place: Maloney&Hudson. I bought a couple of items there: a black polo shirt and a pair of light blue jeans. Here's a pic of me taking it really easy on a recliner on my patio, wearing the polo and jeans.

Again I'm wearing my Redgrave black shoes, but that's because I really really do like 'em.

Mahoney&Hudson Slurl:

The Metaverse Tribune: New Siggy Articles

It's late Saturday night and I have just got back from the bar. This means I am (a) relaxed and (b) not necessarily fully in control of my faculties. Still, many good writers were also damned great drinkers, so I'm hoping the alcohol coursing through my brain is helping me post.

Two new articles have been published today: One on the wonderful band, SpaceJunky, entitled "SpaceJunky: Resident Aliens in Second Life(TM) Metaverse," and the other is "Calamity’s Haute Models Agency."

I also finished off an article for Castle Keep magazine - let's see if it gets published as this will be yet another outlet for me.

Aug 1, 2008

Wilder's Angels

OK, so a journalist is supposed to be nobody's friend and he, or she, should be objective, independent, and incorruptible, standing apart from the world and simply reporting the facts. Well, I guess that's one definition :)

So with my "friend" hat on, I really have to share the latest pic sent to me by the PR queens at Wilder PR. With the core team now consisting of Annette Wilder, Bibe Mayo, and Mahala Bing, I found it real hard not to refer to them as "Wilder's Angels," and this most recent photo (courtesy of Ludwig Prinz) only serves to reinforce that cultural meme.

And for those curious about my objectivity - and I am happy to have a long discussion as to why I think being anyone who claims to be "objective" is, at best, being disingenuous - the only thing I get from my mentioning of Wilder PR are press releases, news tips, and friendship. I'm not on payroll and just think they do good work. OK?