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.

Fall is a Time-Spangled Graveyard


I like the season fall because it reminds me of what’s important. As the days get shorter, I remember how short life is, how valuable each day is, how I am living the glory days when people I love are with me. I know that the two things most important to me — that I am alive, and that I want to be alive–are more valuable than all the money in the world. I know a day comes to us all when any one of us would give everything—anything!–just to stay here a little longer. I call it fall because I don’t want to forget that we all fall one day, away from this life, away from everything we’ve ever known, and alone. As the leaves fall, I am reminded that everything and everyone I love will be taken from me, as well as life itself one day. And so I hold close the ones I love and tell them how much they mean to me. I do the things with them that I might wish I’d done if they were suddenly gone. As the red and golds grow bright, I remember that there is beauty even with death all around. And as I watch again my favorite video of all time, Dance in the Graveyards, I am reminded that it is possible to dance in joy even in a world where everyone either is, or will be, dead, no matter how much I love them or they love me, in a kind of time-spangled graveyard.

A Machinima that Makes Me Wish I Knew Polish

Believe it or not, here is a lovely machinima video enactment of the fairytale Hansel and Gretel – in Second Life! I don’t understand a word of it since it is in Polish, but I still watched all 11 minutes, 54 seconds of it. I know nothing of its maker, Borysjestem on YouTube.

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Playing Second Life on the iPad

The #1-coolest thing about playing Second Life on my iPad using remote access technology is that the touch interface works inworld. You can move your avatar around and do most actions just by touching and swiping the iPad screen. I’ve spent the past couple weeks playing with SL iPad-style, via the remote access app Splashtop, and I have to say it’s fun.

Here’s a video I made filming Second Life on an iPad 4, accessed from my iMac, using a digital camera to capture the iPad screen. See my avatar walk, run, dance, fly, tp, sit, take snaps, change clothes, use AOs – not to mention hug and kiss! -all on an iPad 4, just by tapping and swiping the screen (and typing IMs on an external keyboard).

How It Works

Let’s be clear upfront: This is not a Second Life app running on the iPad. Second Life currently does not run directly on the iPad. This is Second Life being accessed on the iPad remotely from a computer (in my case, an iMac), using the remote access mobile app Splashtop. This is a productivity app designed to let you access anything on your computer from your mobile device – so you can be, say, out on the patio with your iPad, and access any document, photo, video, or software on your tablet, via your wireless network.

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Singin’ in the Bay…coming to a theater near you!

This is my response to Strawberry Singh’s challenge to make a movie poster starring your Second Life avatar. Bay has been in quite a few machinima, but you may remember her best from her big screen role in Singin’ in the Bay. Thanks, Berry! I fell in the water far too many times during the shoot, but it was worth it. Continue Reading “Singin’ in the Bay…coming to a theater near you!”

Jingle Bell Snowman – Happy Holidays to all!

My machinima short, “Jingle Bell Snowman,”  to say Happy Holidays to all. May your holidays be merry and bright, and may all your loved ones be near.

Walk through Robert Frost’s snowy woods, in Second Life

I’ve built a snowy woods in Second Life where you can walk around inside Robert Frost’s much-loved poem, “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening.”  Come visit! You can also get a sled to ride around on – and snowballs, skates, and hot chocolate too. It’s my Christmas present to all my blog readers and friends in Second Life. I think of it as a sort of 3D Christmas card.

In case you’re not familiar with Second Life, it’s a virtual world where you can make yourself an avatar and visit worlds of your and others’ imagination, for free. I have lived there now for four years in the sim of Farhaven, which is where I built this little woods. To visit my snowy woods, just register at Second Life, pick an avatar for yourself, then click here and choose “teleport.”

Snowy Woods

I first got the idea of building this woods when I was laid up with a foot injury four years ago and couldn’t walk. I didn’t know if I would ever be able to walk again, and it left me dismal and frightened. I had heard about Second Life, and I decided if I couldn’t walk in real life, I would build a snowy woods where I could walk virtually. I had always been fascinated with the idea of being able to walk around inside a masterpiece, be it a painting, a poem, or even an idea. So I built my woods four years ago, with painstaking attention to detail, which took my mind off myself.

My body healed, as bodies often do, and I am now fully recovered. I looked back on the memory of that little woods and decided to build it again this year. I have built other “Poem Parks” over the years, but it has always been my favorite. So I give you: Snowy Woods 2.0. It’s similar to the first one, but there are a few changes. Just as there are in me, and probably you as well.

Also, please don’t miss Farley Crabgrass’s wonderful video of the the woods four years ago, called A Second Life Winter’s Night. He filmed it in my little woods, and I was so incredibly moved by it. I loved my little snowy woods, but to have someone else say it was beautiful too, and then to put it in a movie, I was over the moon. I watched that video every day for quite awhile. It’s the perfect accompaniment to a cup of hot chocolate and a moment of relaxation.

It is a rough time in the real world. Some people ask: How can you play around in a virtual world when there are so many problems to solve in the real world? I do it for relaxation and inspiration. Also, it awakens a soft poetic dreamy side of me I find so hard to touch in real life. It’s not a substitute for reality, it’s an accompaniment.

May all your holidays be merry and bright, and may the peace of the season accompany you.

I just deleted my favorite youtube video, and so can you

OK, I was tired. And it was late at night. And maybe I wasn’t as attentive as I should have been. Still, I have not yet forgiven youtube for making it soooo easy for me to delete one of my favorite youtube videos from my Second Living video channel – forever! I had a backup of the video, Tahrir Voices, on another hard drive, so I have reposted it here – but it lost all its 4,000+ views, and its historical poignancy of being posted during the Egyptian revolution. Also, since it has a new URL, anyone who clicks a link to the old video gets this ugly, unfriendly pic.

Video removal screen

Just so you know, it was not removed. It was deleted. By mistake. And despite my pleas, my desperate e-mails and calls, Google assures me it keeps no backups and cannot restore it by any means. Sob. How can a company that has a mountain of background info on anyone of us, who tracks our every move, who can offer me search hits based on what I looked up a year ago NOT have a backup of a video that retains its views? I can even see the views sitting in my Google Analytics laughing at me. I don’t believe you, Google. Not for a second. Sigh. Rant over.

Now I’m going to tell you exactly what I did so that you will never do it yourself.

It started when I was making a playlist. Simple enough. You click the big “Video Manager” button at the top of your channel, and then in the menu down the lefthand side, you click “Playlists.” So far so good.

But here’s where the road gets rocky. If at this point you click that big “Video Manager” button at the top – you do not, I repeat NOT – stay in your Playlists.

You go into your “Uploads.” These are not a playlist. These are your actual videos that you have on your channel. See that big “Uploads” title at the top? Well, I didn’t. I thought it was a playlist. So I clicked that little box to take Tahrir Voices out of the playlist, and it became history … instantly. The ironic thing is that video was history. It has clips from a video of Asmaa Mahfouz – who later became my Facebook friend and inspires my life so much – calling the world to come down to Tahrir Square on January 23, 2011, and join demonstrations that toppled the 30-year regime of then-Egyptian President Hosni Mubarek and contributed to the domino falling of regimes across the region.But now the video itself is history. Sob. Please watch it reposted here and help it regain some of its rightful views.

My star gets a little bling

Yobee, the robot co-star of my latest machinima Pieces of Your Heart and its outtakes spinoff Broken Pieces, won his very first prize today. He is so excited. He attended the “Sci-Fi in July” screening last weekend sponsored by machinima and media company AviewTV. Despite his shyness and avoidance of the paparazzi (read about it here),  he entered the CosPlay (costume) competition. To his astonishment, he was informed today that he won the 3rd place prize – among all those creative machinima makers and amazing costumes! Here is the portrait that won him third place.

He asked me to accept his award for him, as he is shy and, being a robot, not very good in English. He was also afraid they would ask him to talk in voice, and his voice is … well if you’ve heard it in my machinima, you know … umm, I’m trying to be kind here … it’s sort of like a machine that needs to be oiled. Anyway, Yobee was over the moon with his win and very excited to see his one-of-a-kind trophy, made by Doe Silverspar, when I brought it home.
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Why Joey’s note caused tears

This is the note left by the young hero Joey in my machinima Pieces of Your Heart (part of the University of Western Australia MachinimUWA V film competition) before he embarks on a fantastic space voyage in his Radio Flyer wagon to find the lost world of a stranded alien robot he finds hiding in his backyard. As you can imagine, it made his mother cry.

Both the mother’s crying and the note took some doing to pull off in a Second Life machinima. But the note in particular took far more attention than any 10-year-old would ever give it. I thought I would tell you the story of its building, since the whole affair touched my heart and had quite a lot to do with how the machinima’s story itself unfolded. Also, it shows just how much goes into the making of machinima in a virtual world. Continue Reading “Why Joey’s note caused tears”