With All the Frills Upon It

The house is dressing up in its spring finery now. Just like when I was young, my father always got my mother and me camellia corsages at Easter. And then my mother and I would buy ourselves new dresses too, and shoes and hats as well, and feel so fine stepping out in the warm spring weather. I like to think the house is dressing up for spring that way now. It always looks so pleased with itself this time of year.

House in Spring














Easter Parade
Lyrics by Irving Berlin

In your easter bonnet, with all the frills upon it,
You’ll be the grandest lady in the easter parade.
I’ll be all in clover and when they look you over,
I’ll be the proudest fellow in the easter parade.
On the avenue, fifth avenue, the photographers will snap us,
And you’ll find that you’re in the rotogravure.
Oh, I could write a sonnet about your easter bonnet,
And of the girl I’m taking to the easter parade.

Hope Will Find You

“Hope is the thing with feathers,” Emily Dickinson tells us, “that perches in the soul.” But what if you can’t see it, can’t see your soul even? Maybe it’s too dark, or maybe the soul is an overgrown thicket that surrounds the bird and camouflages her who, after all, looks exactly like the soul itself? I think then you have to take hope on faith, almost like a prayer. Or maybe it is a prayer: please let love through, let my beautiful soul shine out. If you can’t find hope, then you must have faith that hope will find you. I took this picture on the hillside above the house, and that little “thing with feathers” is there, and even though hard to see; yes, it sees you. Promise.

Bird in thicket








Hope Is the Thing With Feathers
By Emily Dickinson
“Hope” is the thing with feathers -
That perches in the soul -
And sings the tune without the words -
And never stops – at all -
And sweetest – in the Gale – is heard -
And sore must be the storm -
That could abash the little Bird
That kept so many warm -
I’ve heard it in the chillest land -
And on the strangest Sea -
Yet – never – in Extremity,
It asked a crumb – of me.

Here Comes Peter Cottontail, hopping past 100,000 views!

It’s funny how serendipity happens when you’re least expecting it. My Second Life machinima video “Here Comes Peter Cottontail” has just hit the 100,000-view mark, making it one of the most popular Second Life videos ever. There are others more popular to be sure, but it’s right up there. Thank-you all for watching. Having entered a number of Second Life machinima video competitions, and never having won a single prize, I find Peter’s popularity very pleasing.

Also pleasing was the way I made the video. It was a cold, lonely, depressing Easter weekend a couple years ago, so I “hopped” into Second Life and started racing bunny carts around. A few friends joined in, and soon we were doing wheelies on the hills in my home, “the Bay Area,” zooming through the sky, and squealing around the wrong way on the seal racing track. Just for fun I started filming all the antics.

Then I dressed up as a psychedelic Petter Cottontail avie and started dancing. I filmed that too. I threw the video together on Easter Sunday, added a soundtrack of an old vinyl I had of Rosemary Clooney singing “Here Comes Peter Cottontail,” and put it up on YouTube. It took off immediately. I thought it was a flash in the pan and would die down, but its popularity has continued steadily over the past couple years. Of course, Easter is Peter’s primetime, and he hopes you’ll all be watching. He’ll be watching out from the screen, twitching his psychedelic ears, and thanking you all for making him the Bunneh Star! Thanks everyone.

AutoAwesome Animates Winter Pictures from Second Life

You can get animated falling snow and twinkling lights from Google+’s AutoAwesome in your Second Life winter and holiday photos. The pictures that are picked don’t have to be from the real world – they can come from virtual worlds, game worlds, scans from old scrapbooks, even stills from movies- anywhere really.

Google Can Make Snow Fall and Lights Twinkle

For the holiday season, Google announced (on a Google+ post, of course) two new AutoAwesome features - falling snow and twinkling lights that they will add to our photos – for free! The way it works is you upload qualifying pictures to your Google+ library, and Google behind the scenes will turn them into animated gifs with either falling snow or twinkling lights. All you need to trigger the falling snow is that you have some snow in your picture. To trigger the twinkling lights, you just have to have some bright lights in your picture, like a Christmas tree.

And Here Are the Pix to Prove It!

I’m going to post a few samples here, but if you want more, visit the AutoAwesome community on Google+. Everybody proudly posts their pictures there, and there are lots of good tips too.

Here’s my first Auto-Awesome’d pic: a holiday family portrait in Second Life. Below it is a pic of some beautiful winter trees that caught my eye in my friend Willow Graysmark’s sim Serenity Sea.

Family Holiday Portrait


Twinkling Trees AA


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A Dream of Snow

Put the stillness of deep winter together with the peace of Japanese meditation and you have Jac Mornington’s new sim, A Dream of Snow (Yuki No Yume). I have hardly left here since it opened a few days ago; it is that lovely, and there is so much to see and do.

I’ve spent a good deal of time sipping tea on a meditation pillow watching the snow fall. I’ve also sat on the dock and watched the ducks float by on the lake. I’ve watched horses thundering by in the woodland hills, seals bark on the frozen seaside, cranes dancing in the icy meadow.

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Where the Trail Stops

Where the Trail Stops
by Bay Sweetwater

Where the trail stops in a stand of pines and birches,
and the breeze hurries home in the darkening afternoon,
there lies a lost and frozen lake,
framed by holly and persimmon trees.

A fallen tree limb makes a bench, I settle
and gaze at twilight dressing for the evening
in a gown of silver, ribboned in pink and blue,
waiting for her escort in the chariot of Selene.

Sudden as lightning, a crack fractures the lake,
so swift and dark and silent, you could miss it,
if you did not love this lake as much as I.
The leaden sky presses low and scatters snow.

(Photographed in A Dream of Snow sim, Second Life)

Is the new Interesting Second Life viewer ignoring Macs?

The new Interesting Second Life viewer may be interesting, but not to many Mac users. It looks like the beta “Project Interesting” Second Life viewer  doesn’t function on most Mac computers. All I see on both my macs is a world with no clouds, awful water, and not much in terms of landscape. It appears shaders just aren’t working. Has anyone been able to have a good viewer experience running the Interesting beta on a mac yet? If so, please let me know in Comments. I’d love to hear.

Both my macs are relatively new. But just this morning Jo Yardley reports “Unfortunately the new viewer doesn’t work for macbooks with old operating systems like mine.

So it appears the problem is with new and old macs. Macs have always been stepchildren in Second Life, although lately I have been able to run both Linden and Firestorm viewers  well enough. Firestorm crashes quite often on my 2013 iMac, but I keep hoping I’ll be able to troubleshoot it.

Continue Reading “Is the new Interesting Second Life viewer ignoring Macs?”

“Boobies first, Clothes last”: Humorous suggestions for Project Interesting rezzing order in Second Life

There’s a new Second Life viewer that rezzes what is “interesting” first. It’s called prioritized object loading.” But this leads to the interesting question of what  is interesting? Of course, residents in the  Second Life Forum have had a good time making humorous suggestions. Spoiler alert: Boobies first, clothes last.

You can get the beta of the new viewer on theSL Wiki  (Viewer version is called Project Interesting, and it’s the  finishing touch on Project Shining, which launched a couple months ago.

The idea is that the viewer will now prioritize object loading to rezz what is “interesting” to your avatar first. So, for example, if you’re visiting a big castle, you won’t run into those non-rezzed doors anymore. They’ll rezz first because they’re important to your avatar’s experience. See Torley’s video about Project Interesting  here.

The idea is actually a good one, and I’ll put an update here just as soon as I try out the new viewer.

Proj Interesting


Missed Connections: We Met in a Zombie Shooting Sim (and Now I Can’t Forget You)

The “Missed Connections” Second Life Forum is a little-known mysterious corner of the Second Life Community. Lost someone? Missing someone? This is your second chance in Second Life.

For those of you who might not know, the Second Life Forum maintains a dozen or so forums, with tons of sub-categories, one of which is “Missed Connections,” in the People Forum.

The idea of Missed Connections is if you have lost track of an avatar in Second Life, or you are looking for someone you saw but never had the chance to meet, this is the thread for you. Just leave a note in the forum, and your second love may reply and you can reconnect. Here’s how the forum’s pinned post describes itself:

“Saw someone in Second Life, but missed your chance to say hello? Now is your second chance at making that connection happen.”

This kind of thing is right up my alley. Perhaps it is the nostalgia of autumn that has me thinking of what might have been, and  especially of who might have been. What if, after all, I had mustered up the courage to say hello to the blue dragon eating the chocolate chip cookie on the edge of the dance floor? Where might we be now? Ah, if only.

From Mysterious to Heart-rending

As you can imagine, this thread makes for absorbing reading, especially on a rainy autumn day when memories and thoughts of yesterday can visit. The discussions go on sometimes for pages, and they range from mysterious to dramatic to heart-rending, and even funny. I’m going to give a few examples here, but for the sake of privacy, no names. If you’re really curious, you can visit the Forum.

The Fish Who Got Away

Probably the most common poster is someone who is looking for a specific avatar they met but didn’t get the name … the age-old fish who got away. Sometimes saved chat logs and IM histories just aren’t enough. Say, for example, you meet your dream girl in a zombie shooting range and she logs off before you get up the nerve to say anything? That’s what happened to this forum poster:

“We Met in a Zombie Shooting Sim. You are beautiful (but i’m sure you get that alot. …) We were shooting in the police statation together and I’d really like to get to know you better. But you logged off before I could say Hi.”


Or on more of a poetic side:

“It was a warm, quiet summer night – a while ago … when a tall, dark, handsome stranger out of the blue asked me for a dance. It was magical and then … we went off. I never danced with him him again … where is he?”

The Disappearing Act

And then there are the known avatars who suddenly disappear without warning, leaving mystery and tears behind them. They bring posts like these:

“Every time I see a water reflection it hurts me, I miss you so much baby.  Sometimes I think I would flip the whole damn sim upside down just to see you one more time, but I know it wouldn’t be the same.”

Some are very straightforward, such as this one looking for Princess Luna:

“If you get this … or any of her friends read this … please tell her to get in tough with me via im or so, Please?”

While others are more dramatic and poignant:

“Dear XXX, if you ever get to read this my love, know that I think about you everyday. You are missed more than you will ever know. I know you are fighting  the most vicisous ennemy in RL. I wish you strenght, I wish you love. I have no words to say how much I miss you. Je t’aime mon coeur.”

Or the stark simplicity of one who longs for bright Lucinda:

“Where is lucinda, with views that opened doors within the mind to explore, how dull this forum is without Lucinda “bringer of the light.”

Posts like these sometimes bring snarky replies, such as this one to the hunt for the bright Lucinda:

“Perhaps there was a power outage.”

The Distress is Very Real

The distress of some of the posters is quite palpable, and very real.

Of course he could be just ignoring me or maybe he’s in a hospital! Completely nothing in any of the social media we were in touch with…I welcome any pat on the back and shoulder to cry on…I think my heart is breaking…keep checking my IMS even in the mid of the nite….sob*”

There are some who, instead of missing someone, wished that they themselves were missed:

“Sometimes I wish … I wish I was missed. I look on here wondering if anyone misses me… sadly no.. lol. Am I the only one?”

And then there are the humorous posts, that come with tongue in cheek:

“I was there. Well cut suit, white hair, pale skin, fangs. You were there. Brown spikey system hair, bandito moustache. Black shirt with a Rolling Stones logo. Disco codpiece over jeans. You smiled, and a whole new world was created.You left. You came back. Then you left again. Whyyyyyyy….? Can you at least come visit once in a while? The children keep asking for you…”

So if you’re a writer looking for ideas, this is your treasure trove. Or maybe you are missing that special someone? Take a look here. Maybe they’re looking for you too.


More Second Life TOS talk, this time with lawyers

I attended the United Content Creators of SL legal panel discussion today inworld with three RL lawyers about the new TOS changes to Second Life. What a turnout. Sim was packed; after the first 5 minutes you couldn’t get in without a wait. At one point, I counted 128 avies either at the event or back on the Justitia sim trying to get in, listening to the aviewTV stream. Here is what stuck in my head after the discussion.

Give up the right to litigate

1. Although most of us are focused on the relinquishment of license to our content to Linden, a bigger problem is our relinguishment of the right to litigate. (Section 10). As one of the lawyers said: “The issue is not whether you would prevail at court, it’s whether you could ever get to court.”

No limits

2. The other big problem is the lack of limitation on Linden’s license to our content – it is not limited in these TOS by time, degree, or purpose.

Before and after
3. Many of us thought the new TOS would apply only to content uploaded AFTER the new TOS, but the lawyers seemed in agreement that Linden was making the claim that it has a license to ALL content, before and after.

Machinima has cause for worry
4. Machinima makers definitely have reason for concern as to whether Linden could claim a license to the content they film in Second Life and show outside of Second Life.