Oct 27, 2008

Happy Rezday to Me

It's not my first Rezday until 1st November but I'm writing about it now just in case I forget. There's going to be no big party; no fanfare; no fireworks. On reflection, it's almost tragic that after a year of Second Life I don't appear to have a circle of friend with whom to celebrate! Sure I have people on my "Friends List" but unlike the regular notion of "friends," I don't believe any of them either know nor care about my Rezday.

Of course, the question is; do I know and care about other people's Rezdays? The only ones I would make an effort to say "Happy Rezday" to would be Mony and Merry and Willa. And even then, I think I've missed Willa's already.

So I shall have a quite Rezday, letting it slip past anonymously. Maybe this is not a bad thing. After a year of making no real friends, perhaps that can be an advantage for a journalist. Perhaps I can leverage the "splendid isolation" to become much more aggressive. Perhaps I don't need friends but do need to decide whether I want to be liked or appreciated. So what if I write a few stories that cause a fuss - what does that matter? What if I do go on the offensive and start openly criticising the SL Press as being, in the main, nothing but pretend journalism focused on trivia and advertising? How many friends will I lose? None!

Of course, I could find that no-one ever hires me to write a story ever again, but then I could just go ahead and do what other folks do - start my own paper: The Leominster Times. Provided I don't get kicked out of the Associated SL Press group, I could gather together a small (probably very small) group of disaffected writers who want to do something different.

Or maybe the Herald and SLentrepreneur will keep the faith and let me continue to write. I don't intend to become a miserable, nasty hack just for the sake of being that way; I just want to be able to be more critical. I know I offended Angelico Babii when I used the word "moribund" to describe the "My Metaverse" social network site two months ago but that wasn't intentional, simply an observation. And the last blog posting there no turns out to be by me on 9th October, preceded by Isadora Fiddlesticks announcing the launch of Avenue Magazine, another "ads and amigos" magazine. Incidentally - or not - Fiddlesticks previously edited HodgePodge magazine, a "lifestyle" magazine that folded after just under a year; possible because it drowned under the weight of Isadora's over-use of exclamation points! I swear, in one paragraph containing three sentences she used three exclamations. Hey, try a period or even a comma and give the !! a rest.

So if I actually get in-world on 1st November - and it's a Saturday so during the afternoon I have time - I'll go search for a sad-looking cake, a lonely bottle of cognac, set it on my empty table, and sing a flat "Happy Rezday to Me" before logging off and drinking myself stupid.

Bah, humbug!

Oct 26, 2008

Second Life Herald's 5th Anniversary

The 5th anniversary party for the Second Life Herald started at 2:00 SLT and by 2:40 SLT had to be moved to a different sim. At that stage, I was still in Real Life working on some editing for a local periodical but I was monitoring my Gmail chat and there was a message from Pixeleen Mistral alerting folks to the shift to the Woodbury sim.

By the time I got there, the place was full of names I recognized and people I didn't. It struck me that I have been writing pieces for the Herald since January 2008 and have never actually met anyone. And I'm not sure I still have. The place was a blooming, buzzing confusion with folks tossing web addresses for hastily created YouTube videos at me. By the time all the folks had rezzed for me, the Sim crashed. Kaput.

It took me a few minutes to log back in, choosing "My Last Location" as the entry point. Tragically, the location was still down because I ended up in my house. So I sat back, started chatting to Alice, and waited for some information from the group.

A message arrived that folks were moving to a new location - the party had become a progressive. Someone sent me a TP and I found myself underwater below the Temple of Iris! A few folks began appearing, including Pixeleen, who turned out to be shorter than I expected. We bantered for about 15 minutes about nothing much. Trivia at its finest.

Pix had to leave to make dinner. Somehow it seemed so ordinary and banal. And once she had left, the others dropped one by one back to wherever they normally hung out in Second Life. Or Real Life - I don't know.

And it's the not-knowing that I find so fascinating. I feel like I belong to a group that is made up of individuals, and that they is very little "groupiness" to it. I might also speculate that this is, in part, because of the nature of the Herald. One of the things that gives it the flavor of antagonism that it has is the fact that it isn't a "hobby publication" where a bunch of friends get together and play at being journalist. No, it is actually a focal point for a bunch of individuals who may well not even like each other, let alone know each other and hang out.

This is also a strength of the Herald. It can be sacred at times and then profane. It can focus on trivia and then substance. It can be praised and ridiculed in the same article. It can be scatological and then erudite. It swings from left to right, forwards and backwards, offending and delighting at the same time.

Five years and still going. All in all, that's not bad for a Second Life publication (although it admittedly started in the Sims environment). It's fun to be part of it. It remains one of the two publications in SL that I prefer to spend my time on, the other being SLentrepreneur.

My time in SL lately has been less. Real life has some priorities but that doesn't mean I'm about to leave. What I'm doing is the same as Mony - developing a balance. Her balance is tipped much more toward the Real Life end of the scale, and that's what she needs! Mine is too, but I still spend a few hours per week in-world.

I have two new Herald investigations to work on, I have completed an article for FreeLife, and I have two others to chase for SLentrepreneur. Toss in the odd piece for the Metaverse Tribune - which is struggling a little at the moment to remain topical since Runeswan Ceawlin left - and that should fill my plate.

Oct 14, 2008

Another Missed Deadline and an Idle Weekend

My Second Life has been pretty non-existent of late, specifically in relation to actual presence in the virtual world. I intended to complete an article for FreeLife magazine as Saturday was the deadline, but I failed.

So last weekend, I logged in to collect messages and check dates, and flatten out my land. I also spent some time chatting with my neighbor, Lillianna Bailey, who is wanting to sell a plot of land adjacent to mine. I could up my square footage from 1024m to 2048, thus doubling my prim count! On the downside, I would move from the $5 monthly tier fee to the $15, which I think I can afford but am not sure I can justify - yet.

My dear sweet Mony logged in for a short time - both of us had real life things to do - but it made the day all the better for seeing her. We chatted for maybe 10-15 minutes, and then poofed out. That Saturday night, I had a real life party to go to so no SL for me.

I'm now in a hotel in Minneapolis for a business trip and so won't be home until the weekend. Which means I may try to get on late tonight using my laptop, but that's typically a bad idea because it can't cope with SL. I don't know why but I suspect the fact that I have a ThinkPad with the Intel (i.e. unsupported) 950 graphics chip has a lot to do with it. Maybe I'll just drink myself to sleep.

Oct 9, 2008

Take a Break from SL® and Listen to Fretkllr

While surfing the net for information for an upcoming article, I stumbled - yes, it was serendipitous - upon the YouTube® home of Fretkillr, a singer/guitarist who has posted some of the freshest, unadulterated music you're going to find.

As in the picture on the right, all you see is his guitar and hands, and all you hear is his voice. If there were justice in the music world, he'd have more of a presence than a bunch of YouTube postings. The guy is just wonderful. His voice is not perfect but man oh man can he make you listen! it just sounds... right.

Treat your ears to something deliciously tasty and hop on over to Fretkillr's YouTube channel. Make sure you listen to the stunningly well-crafted Somewhere Over the Rainbow, a cover that is just magnificent in its simplicity and well-crafted in its execution. Yum yum!

Oct 7, 2008

New Articles Published - And An Interview With a Vampire

Although the number of postings to this blog has declined of late, that doesn't mean I've been slacking off. I admit I missed two fashion events this weekend, which represents a loss of income, but I did write two new articles, one of which has already been published.

I met with a trades unionist from the UK, Johninnit Ni, who was preparing for an in-world event to parallel the real world World Day for Decent Work, organized by the international trades unions. The write up can be found at the Second Life Herald along with some lack-luster responses. It seems that the previous article on a fake war in Second Life drew nine comments, an article on Gor had 64, Gina Glimmer's "Post 6 Grrl" debut had 14, but real world political activity got four. That's 4 - one more than three and a tad less than five. Seem like political activism in Second Life has a long way to go before anyone takes any notice.

Also out last week was a profile of Saffia Widdershins, owner of Prim Perfect magazine and presenter of SLCN's Meta Makover show. This is another entry for the SLentrepreneur Magazine search for the Entrepreneur of the Year.

After the interview with Johninnit, I went to Tammy's Jazz Bar to talk to their robot waiter, Mario. He's the product of Maged Wise, a scripter who has combined lifelike avatars with an artificial intelligence program to create interactive robotars. I talked to him last week and there's an article coming up in the Metaverse Tribune.

While sitting at the bar, I was approached by Jolee Indigo, a pale and attractive vampire who simultaneously said "Hello" and asked for permission to drink my blood. I declined the blood offering because I'm just not the sort of guy who lets a woman suck his blood without at least being taken out for dinner ;)

So Jolee sat and chatted, and it turns out she is not quite the evil, soul-stealing, blood-draining succubus that she first appeared. She's a mom from Florida who "vamps it up" on occasion and who used to be a Game Master in a Second Life combat game. But that's another story. Seems to me that Jolee may have an interesting tale to tell and I'll reserve the full "Interview with a Vampire" for a later date