A perfect sea urchin

A Second Life

This area belongs to Iyoba, my favorite avie from Second Life and me. We share our thoughts here and discuss our adventures in the metaverse. To return to the main blog page, just click here.

Ruthless and Heartless

This is how I am with my turtles. Of course none of them know their fate, and since this is a long term project it may not even come to pass. In the long run after all, we are all dead, including the turtles. My ruthless plan is this. The turtles will live for a long time. They have a lot of work to do. Shamayith and Jurgis have to produce fifty eggs between them. Bethel and Negev have to produce fifty eggs between them. Mating is random. Somewhere in there, there is either a very ugly or beautiful egg, quite a few glowing eggs, and hopefully a Luna, one of the Cosmics. When the first pair reach fifty eggs between them, I'll retire them along with Gianna and hatch out three P1's. When pair number two retire, I'll hatch out two more P1's. Road Not Taken's fate is undecided. He may or may not get retired with the second pair.

What this means is I am collecting interesting looking red eggs, slight bicolors, and interesting greens and yellows. I have enough oranges for an army so right now I'm bored with them. I'm not really bored with my turtles. They produce well, including a lot of glows and some unusually handsome eggs. Still acquiring a storehouse of replacement eggs, means I accept that sooner or later all the turtles on my land are going to get retired.

In other turtling news, Road not Taken, my youngest and newest turtle, has produced a glow egg on his second mating. It was a thirty percent glow egg with a yellowish shell and a red body. Road not Taken is an interesting turtle. I hatched him on a whim. I was going to hatch a Fall 2010 (special) egg that I obtained for 50L from Snakelady Melody at the Free Turtle Society. I took one look at Road's egg and said, why not. He was the road not taken by another breeder. So far he has produced one incredibly ugly (Probably good for breeding since browns, reds, and oranges are related) offspring and one 30% glow. I was surprised to see the glow since I don't think of Gianna (who is two steps away from a red starter) as much of a breeder. That she produces fairly good young somehow never sinks in. I need a red I guess. Gianna and Road not Taken still had a 30% glow egg, and today Gianna and Jurgis (who has two cards the same, indicating the ability to produce glows) had a handsome offspring that was not a glow but still lovely in the way cosmic offspring can be. I remember Fariel fondly and will ressurrect him some day. Mount Marcy (I name all my eggs even if I never hatch them.) is bright red with a kahki body and light brown undershell, a handsome combination.

Whe I gathered up Bethel and Negev's eggs (These are one of two pairings that produce full F2 offspring), I took a count. They have produced seventeen eggs together so far. They are a third of the way to their quota. The quota hangs over them like an invisible sword. I hope I can convince myself to relent. I also hope I stick it out to the end of the quota.

I had an interesting experience Tuesday. I fell asleep Monday leaving Iyoba on Information Island where we have a late night Monday volunteer shift. Iyoba rezzed still wearing her volunteer HUD and her tags. A patron who barely spoke English wanted to find a place to rezz a YouTube video. There are various ways to show movies in Second Life and the software is freely available, plus in version 2.0 and up you can just put a URL on a prim. You get the idea. The problem is of course land.

I knew there was free land on the EduIslands, but I did not know where to go to find the land office. I gave a vague answer, and the patron asked me to teleport him. I went out looking for the land office with five minutes of my lunch break to go. I came back to Info Island empty handed, apologized, and gave him the Sambiglyon URL and signed out. Later that evening, I went looking for the land office. I had seen it when doing the land survey a month ago. It was still there. I found it and let all the other librarians in the reference group know one way or another with note cards and IM's.

I also contacted the patron and gave him the information on the free land through Sambiglyon. Now while I was sending out note cards to all in sundry and stuffing the suggestion box in the Info Island reference hut, a library school student from the University of Hawaii thought I was on duty and asked to shadow me. I told her she would have to wait nearly a week. My shift had been Monday night. I also explained to her about the free land and told her my tale of coming back to find the land office and getting the news out. I also explained about the dress code, because I had on a short skirt, though the outfit was conservative by SL standards. The library school student congratulated me on "my follow up." I guess she will have a great presentation to give in class about reference done right...well sort of. I should have landmarked the Sambiglyon Land Office in the first place.

In case you are curious, Sambiglyon offers 150 prims worth of space for six months for free on a first come first served basis in the EduIslands. Such land is clearly not for adult use (as in porn), but mature topics seem to be OK, despite general ratings. If you want the free land, contact Fleet Goldenberg by instant message or notecard when you are inworld. If you don't come inworld, you clearly don't need free land.

Eileen H. Kramer with help as always from Iyoba Tarantal -- October 28, 2010

Petable Version #2 and More

My turtles are updating on to Petable Version 2.0. I don't mind this. It was just one more thing to do. Gianna and Jurgis laid a 40% glow egg. Jurgis apparently snogged all three of my female turtles. Something that occurs only twelve percent of the time. Yesterday, Shamayith and Negev hatched out one of the world's ugliest turtle eggs. Gathering eggs is always full of surprises. Feeding turtles is a pleasant chore.

Version 2.0 brings turtle racing to Second Life. Turtle racing means turtle training. Turtle training means a lot of time alone on one's parcel playing games. If I want to spend time alone on my parcel, I have a radio that plays one of six different stations. I can catch up on the news or listen to music. I can also work on paperwork and sort inventory. All of these activities are much better than playing a pointless game such as Simon, Mastermind, or BlackJack. If I wanted to play those games, I wouldn't need Second Life. And none of those games really have anything to do with the turtles which makes them poor competition for watching the horses go at it. Yes, there are people who enjoy watching virtual horses mate. That they produce "breedable bundles" the way turtles lay eggs doesn't seem to concern any one until the price drops.

Meanwhile, I am moving back from obsessing over turtles to just enjoying them. Since the current crew can mate in any combination that pleases it without danger of consanguinity, I can set up a single pit and let the gods of chance work their magic. I just add food and gather eggs and sometimes zoom in and watch everybody walk around or sit among them while they sleep. My property doesn't get overrun. My turtles hand me surprises. I don't need to buy or sell anything, since the market for turtles is awful right now.

That means I get to go back to the Second Life I know and love. I went dancing at Dance4Life. There was one awkward moment because I am short in Second Life and a host wanted to age verify my avie. I don't know how not to stick out. I don't know how not to take heat. I'm not much for fighting back either. I try to vary the clubs where I show up. Where I feel I am required to be reasonably social, I try to go when I can give being there my full attention. I was using Dance4Life as background music by which to clean litter pans in real life last night. That was fine. The music was new and good. Iyoba looked sharp in her short denim dress with the red dahlias on it. I was able to make a dress for Iyoba Tuseday evening.

I'm going to try again at dress and shoe making when I can find the time. Time inworld is always at a premium. Iyoba needs new winter clothes. I also have managed to get back to bushwhacking. Last night, Iyoba had a magical swim beneath the sea on Immersion Island (also called Second Earth 2) where there were wonderful coral reefs. I have some images. I know, this blog gets full of bathing suit shots. Maybe some time next week, I'll present a photo shoot. I know there is always tomorrow or next week. That is because Second Life takes second place. It has to whether I like it or not.

Eileen H. Kramer with help from Iyoba Tarantal and six Petable Turtles. -- October 21, 2010

One Purpose in Life?

Virtual turtles have one purpose in life which is why sterile eggs are such a tragedy. I put all my mature turtles and Road Not Taken, my youngest, together in one pen with three food bowls and one homing object. It's ladies choice or random choice and every twenty four hours, three female turtles are goign to lay one to three eggs. I keep the food bowls full, put the eggs back into inventory, and wait for any surprises.

This means the turtles are set on "auto." There is no "love shack." There is no chance of fixed eggs. I can get my Second Life back. I can work on Iyoba's winter wardrobe. I want to experiment with the alpha layer as well. Iyoba has three dress textures ready to go and three new hair pieces.

Needless to say we also need to bushwhack. Hopefully we can find time for all this. There is a simulation of Bonaire, that Iyoba needs to explore thoroughly if she hasn't all ready and then it's on to MCG (My tax dollars hard at work!), and then probably back to the Sci-Lands, and then (Yes then!) we need a list of community colleges in Second Life to explore. You can see how a winter wardrobe comes in handy some of the time. Sooner then we both like to think, everything will be covered in snow. I can feel it when my avie gets cold. Brrr.... I know it's mirror neurons but mine are sensitive.

Who knows, I might even put a photo shoot on this blog. I know it needs one.

Eileen H. Kramer with help from Iyoba Tarantal -- October 19, 2010

A World Without Turtles?

I have to remind myself sometimes that the streets of Second Life, when there are streets, are paved with broken needles and leftover syringes. Second Life is addictive though that is the wrong words. We are addicted to our mirror neurons because we are human. We bring ourselves inworld. The avies are pieces of ourselves unbound by our first life's skin. That sounds poetic, but right now it feels toxic. I've done nothing wrong and neither has Iyoba. I probably won't be in world today until 9pm. Still one steps over the needles and it hurts.

Iyoba and I both love our turtles. We had a devil of a time boxing up Bernarde. Neither of us could do it. All we had to do was stare into her pale green face which is nothing special and it was as if she was pleading for her continued existence. In a day or two she will starve to death quietly in my inventory. I have elixir to revive her so I can bring her back, and the way things are looking she may well get her shot some time this winter. I almost cried the two times I backed down from boxing Bernarde even though she was no longer capable of producing decent looking nonconsanguinous eggs. I have limited space. I can always bring her back. Don't you hate to read my rationalizations.

Perhaps as Bernarde's revenge, I did not hatch out my Fall 2010 egg. Instead, I found a dip egg that looked similar to the beautiful ones Gianna, Bethel and Negev were making on the other side of the garden. This turtle has some Crash blood in him and I named him Road not Taken. Road is only three days old. Shamayith, my Cosmic Earth female of normal stock on both sides is six days old. I'm thinking of making one giant pen and letting everybody have at it in any way they please. Yes, Bernarde you would be glad for this. I want fifty eggs from Shamayith and Jurgis. At that point I'm out of the cosmic business unless I have a luna or an earth or two.

Grimm Hathor did not set it up so one could produce Cosmic's wholesale, besides, I learned a lot from my first cosmic offspring, Fariel. Grimm Hathor and Matthew Anthony made it very plain when they set up the Cosmic line that they would breed true only in a very limited way. Call this exponential decay. It makes sense. To know it makes sense, all one has to do is look at the loads of cosmic offspring or if you are wearing a Petable HUD, look at the appearance for a typical cosmic. They are all alike which is terrible (a narrow gene pool and a high chance of inbreeding) and they are particolors which is fantastic though aqua marine and red are not my favorite combination. Fariel who is on ice in my inventory was a cross between a Cosmic Earth and a yellow and he was gorgeous. Does that tell you something? Bred back to normals and specials and anything else, cosmic offspring can produce wonderful progeny. As for creating armies of cosmics and rare ones by mass production, exponential decay stops that, but it also encourages breeders to create more turltes like Fariel and practice good breeding for diversity. Besides, mass creation of cosmics or anything else is self defeating. Supply will rise to meet demand.

I don't have to tell you that a lot of turtlers consider themselves ripped off by the whole Cosmic fiasco. That I regard them from my 2048 with schadenfreude goes without saying. Schadenfreude nearly always preceeds the knowledge that it bites you on the tail and my turtles. If enough turtlers leave, I lose my supply of dip eggs. If Grimm and Matthew close up shop, I lose my turtle food and my turtles die. If I could just keep them as statues or without feeding them that would be fine, but the food may disappear. I enjoy turtling and would recommend it to any one. So what if mass producing Cosmics as a commodity doesn't work. Who wants a bunch of clones anyway?

And horses are just as bad. They also have a much higher entry cost at eleven prims each. Unlike real life horses, these are just as R-selected as turtles and just as fecund. Supply is going to meet demand and excede it. Fecundity is fun but it has a price. Horses also don't have all the great color of turtles, and I don't want to see pixel horses hump eachother. Lending (selling for 0L) turtles means you could use males for stud as well. I saw my virtual turtles do the dirty one night. It wasn't that exciting. I want to keep turtling, but the Turtle X-change has emptied out and the orphanage is closed.

That is a bad move. You might just get more customers if you start new turtlers out with a freebie kit one or two bowls, and a few lives they see in action. And turtle eggs are worthless. That's just the way it is unless you see an egg or a young'un or a mature turtle you like. Turtles, plain and pretty turtles, are the best advertisement for turtling. We need that orphanage and Grimm and Matthew need to stay in business.

Eileen H. Kramer with help from Iyoba Tarantal -- October 18, 2010

Waiting Until Lunch

I made Iyoba a short and long prune plum dresses. They look almost like jumpers. I may try for something with an empire waist at some point, but not now. I have to get back my rusty building skills and work on a page boy hair piece, but not yet.... I'm behind on my bushwhacking and I want to get that caught up before major sandbox work. LoopRez dresses have a very routine quality to them. Hair pieces take real work. The turtle separation is scheduled for my lunch break. I'll have one more clutch of eggs to take into inventory after today. Then the retirement can begin followed by the hatching out. Somewhere in all of this Bethel will get pregnant for the first time. She may be pregnant as I write. That is fine. I hope that Negev did not impregnate Gianna and that Bethel is not pregnant by Fariel, though if that is the case, I have all the time in the world to produce my first F2 turtles. Patience is the name of the game with turtle breeding.

I also owe my favorite landlord, and now Iyoba's employer, Walter an update. I hope I don't have to give any one notice, but who knows. So far no one has shot Iyoba for being the bearer of bad news. I hope it stays that way. I have ideas for more dresses but I'm taking it slow.

Iyoba went to a very good dance party Sunday morning. It was at Trenza mall, a place I used to consider a hole, but there was a new club there which was reasonably attractive, and a DJ who played a mixture of American and Brazilian pop and who gave 115%, not just 110%. Good, really good DJ's are hard to find. Many are stuck on their ego. Also a night of all oldies is depressing. It makes me feel old and know that I am in a club full of fellow middle aged types. It is bad enough I am one myself. I don't want to be reminded that I am still stuck in the past.

Hopefully, I'll get Iyoba out this lunch break. There are new sims to explore and old ones to check up on. There are the turtles and there is always the hope that the next run in Second Life will be really good.

PS For anyone who is interested, Bethel laid an absolutely beautiful sterile egg. Turtles don't win any prizes for intelligence, and Bethel mated with her father, Fariel. Shamayith turned out to be a female so Captain Kosmo became Jurgis. He is an ugly, bruiser of a creature who did not look the part of a Chessed. The other P1's (Two more are coming) will wait until I can catch Gianna and/or Bernarde with fales fertility. That doesn't look all that likely to be soon since Bernarde and Jurgis are in the same pen and you know what turtles do once fed and awake. Let's just say they have active social lives.

Eileen H. Kramer with help from Iyoba Tarantal -- October 12, 2010

Am I That Heartless?

I have a plan for the turtles. I'm going to retire (Note the euphemism!) all my P1 turtles and begin a new hatching early Wednesday morning or very late Tuesday night. The first turtle I will hatch is Shamayim, my atypical, Cosmic Earth. If Shamayim is female, I will revive Kaptain Kosmo and rename him BenIShu (for the son of the Shunamite woman). If Shamayim (Shamayith if female by the way.) is male, I will proceed to hatch out my Fall 2010 egg which will receive the name, Chessed. Yes, I love Hebrew names. If Shamayith is female, I will hatch out Chessed third followed by Dauphin. I just have a good feeling about Dauphin so out he will come. He can be either gender. It doesn't really matter. I just need one of each in this group of four. If Shamayim is male, I will hatch out either Berea or one of the P1 reds I bought. I don't know what I will name them. Adam seems obvious but too obvious. Yiscah is a good name for a turtle. I can look up the Hebrew word for ruby. Why not....

All that is a couple of days from now and I will miss Gianna, Orpheus, and Bernarde, though I can have them back again. I have the elixir of life in my inventory. Meanwhile, these next two days are a time for making clothes and catching up on bushwhacking.

From the above, it appears that everything is cold-blooded and organized. You know it isn't. I ended up with Kaptain Kosmo lying stone, cold dead in my inventory quite by accident and utterly on impulse. I went out to look at some "Cheap Freakin' Turtles" at Coral Reef and found several empty group bowls. There were uncollected eggs, though no specials among them, and half a dozen Cosmic Earth and Cosmic Mars turtles, all with a hunger of 30/30 which meant they were about to starve to death. I thought about whether I could buy them all, but realized I did not have the room or the desire. Kaptain Kosmo, a green eyed Cosmic Starter, was all ready dead. I could keep him in my inventory indefinitely. He will not get any deader. I can also give him a new chance at life and may be doing so later this week. He cost me 25L and it was a cheap rescue and a show of cheap sentiment.

The hard part lies ahead. Working with a whole new generation of turtles will feel weird and sad. I'll miss Gianna, Bernarde, and Orpheus though I do have the option to bring them back. Invetory and shelf life in Second Life is endless. I would never do what I am doing to my virtual turtles in the real world. In the real world, however, I would not let them reproduce with utter abandon as I looked for the perfect egg. I have to remind myself that Second Life and real life are two different places.

I also tell myself before I separate the turtles, to prevent me from retiring any that are "pregnant," I need to sort the F1 eggs by parent. It will be sad to see all those eggs, I don't have room to hatch. A few generations down the line, I tell myself, things will be different.

Last night I was able to make the Tasmanian Devil dress for Iyoba. She looks good in it but probably won't wear it to work tonight. I'll have to change her clothes. If I can find the time, the prune plum dress is next. Danyca Guise, an avie whose One Who Thinks She Knows (as Iyoba would call her) comes from Brazil, complimented Iyoba on her appearance and her Lime Time dress. I made the texture for another winter dress on Sunday. I guess it is time to think of winter wardrobes and also hair. Iyoba also has the paperwork to do for our library gig. We also should pay rent. Second Life is nothing if not a bit of creativity, between long and reassuring bouts of taking care of business.

At least I get to think of some good designs for winter clothes and Iyoba wants a pageboy which I will try to make for her. This last is a real challenge. Making another amaryllis dress (How many of those have I made?) is not going to be that difficult. I found a good photo of an habanero pepper for ourlatest creation. I promise a photo shoot for this month, and a photo shoot of the turtles.

Eileen H. Kramer with help from Iyoba Tarantal -- October 11, 2010

Ill Wind in the Turtles

Iyoba and I found two more interactive exhibits to add to the bushwhacking inventory. We'll have to do that late this afternoon or early this evening. I want some sandbox time in the worst way as well.

Meanwhile, two days ago, Gianna and Orpheus, two of our turtles, bore a Cosmic Earth egg. This is a very valuable Cosmic Earth since it arises from normal parentage, but the magic of the special turtle market is great for the buyers and poor for the sellers. Put another way, supply rises to meet demand and price falls with increasing price. That's not going to get better. Petable Turtles are just too fertile, and people will pay for the primmage to hatch out huge broods.

A Cosmic egg places me at a dilemna. I don't have room to hatch it. It was not part of my breeding program. It won't fetch a great price if sold either. It is a classic ill wind that blows no good. The classic breeding strategy for a Cosmic egg is to buy another Cosmic of the opposite gender to start breeding. That can be anywhere from 50L to 1,000L (about $4.00) depending on the gender and whether I buy a Cosmic Earth, Mars, or Venus turtle. The Mars and Venus are more expensive, but they produce hard to get and very expensive offspring that can pay the rent on my land, or so the story goes. Actually, the Cosmic eats her way through the same amount of turtle food. Selling costs because you have to rent space and take time to do it. My time is precious etc....

Also most Cosmics have a uniform coloring under their pretty patterns. That coloring is not really something I would add as a P1 to my breeding program. Anything I buy should be able to breed with all the turtles I all ready have. I am thinking of breeding my cosmic to a Fall 2010 special which I can buy cheaply or else to a Summer or a part of the wood breeding program at Starsong Bright's turtle ranch. That's a better all around P1. It's an odd strategy but I don't need a bunch of red and turquoise clone eggs, Cosmics of a given planet all look alike. That is a recipe for dullness.

I guess I have my mind made up, but I'm going to wait a few more days before retiring Bernarde, Orpheus, and possibly Gianne. That will leave three free spaces for Shamayim, my Cosmic plus two other turtles. In a group of three turtles there is an eighty-seven point five percent probability of getting both genders. Negev and Bethel will be nearly old enough to mate with the new P1's to keep the line fresh. It should be interesting to see what happens from there on out.

Eileen H. Kramer with help from Iyoba Tarantal -- 10/8/10

World of Distractions

I retired Chai, Lucifer's daughter, and Lucifer himself. Some time this winter, I may bring either one of them back. They can mate safely with either F3 or F4 offspring depending on the parents and grandparents. Both produce excellent young. Bernarde and Lucifer were/are my best breeders. Bernarde even laid a thirty percent shine egg yesterday. I will feel sad to retire her even though I have plenty of Elixir of Life onhand to revive her.

Too many avatarim make Petable Turtles a business. The special of the month is in fashion and nothing else is worth anything. Of course supply and demand take over. Supply rises to meet demand. The market works which for those who are trying to live by it means it collapses. My hope is the market matures because I am dependent on others for P1 eggs. If avatarim leave turtling because the price of the cosmic breed collapses, there go my P1 eggs, there go the dips or the walls or the Pretty Regulars, as Starsong Bright calls them.

I try not to think of this. I hope the market matures which would mean that Petable Turtles like any other creature have a number of breeds. Regulars, including pures, particolors, whites, and blacks are a breed. Shiney turtles are a breed. Glowing turtles and glow-shines are a breed. Cosmics are a breed. Specials are a breed. You can have whatever breeds you like. A particolored regular is probably as rare as a cosmic is because turtles are extraordinarily fecund. A female produces on average ten eggs a week. If you have three females you have thirty eggs a week. One male can service up to six females per day and if you have a few males and two or three females and allow the offspring to mate with one another and hatch out everything. You can do the math. Somewhere in these large numbers a small probability means you get a special egg. The specials can breed more specials at a higher probability. The cosmic starters for example produce cosmic eggs somewhat regularly if you just let them go at it.

This meaans there will always be more eggs and turtles of all types than there is demand unless it's that one special turtle or you enjoy a particular appearance a particular creature, or the randomness of egg colors, turtles are not for you. Not making money when you want to sell a good thing is not fun in and of itself. The magic of the market is downright brutal.

Meanwhile, I have baby turtles that are unbearably cute when they hatch and even cuter a day or two later and aren't so tiny they disappear in the grass. I need to spend more time just watching my turtles. The two hatchlings which do not share ancestry are Bethel, and orange female with a burnt orange shell, and Negev, a male with a pale pink shell (It looks greyish brown due to the texture), and a sandy yellow body. Negev's parents are Lucifer and Bernarde, and Bethel's parents are Fariel and Gianna. I like zooming in on them and watching them walk. Sometimes they bump into Iyoba who leaps out of the way. I know this is just a computer program, but it is fun to watch.

Because the hatchlings take a week to mature, I'm going to be collecting fewer eggs each day, and I only have to top off the food bowls in two pens. I brought down the food bowl from the love shack in the skybox which is currently out of commission. I'll probably move the turtles around and have a four-two combination over the weekend. Next week breeding ramps up.

Meanwhile, I want to go back to enjoying Second Life in the way I've habitually done. Iyoba needs to bushwhack on Second Health, CDC, and MCG islands. She also wants a prune plum dress. I think I can oblige both her and me. Spending less time around turtles, turtle markets, and eggs will do us both some good.

Eileen H. Kramer with help from Iyoba Tarantal -- 10/6/10