A Second Life
I am glad I took pictures of Stinky Stinky. I am glad they are on this blog. I took them in anticipation of an orderly move to new land. I had no inkling that two Imperia islands would vanish so fast.
I am glad I spent an hour doing something very crazy last night because Iyoba is right. I don't have pictures of my own pain, but I have pictures of Iyoba in tears on the edge of what was once her home. She even wipes her nose for the camera.
Now ask me. Do I have faith in Walter? I have faith in HaShem who made Heaven and Earth. I have nothing to lose. The turtles are safe. I can take my time finding other land if Walter does not give me land elsewhere. I have toyed with new building projects, planning them out in my mind, and then letting them go. I tell myself: "not yet."
Today when I came inworld, there was a message from the new tenant, whose security orb, Iyoba had tripped countless times. It was actually a series of security orb messages. I replied to our successor explaining why we had repeatedly visited what is now her land.
And last night, Iyoba and I often landed on the roof of a Japanese compound. The people in the courtyard below us were talking using voice. I listened to the conversation. I did state that Iyoba and I were there watching. The people in the courtyard did not notice their text chat. They talked about the snow storm which paralyzed Atlanta for a week. I listened and thought: "You're not so different from me. You're less than fifteen miles from me, but emotionally you are a world away. Would you understand what has happened and that some day it may happen to you? There is no point in my warning you. You won't believe me. It's not real until it happens." Now it is for me to find closure.
Do I have closure? I'm not sure. I do not have the luxury or legitimacy of Iyoba's tears.
Iyoba BatOni and Eileen H. Kramer -- January 17, 2011
Oh Scarlet O'hara
I made Iyoba two new dresses and four new hair pieces. I did not just do this because I have a lot of time on my hands. I needed to feel good and creative in Second Life, and Iyoba needed to show her pride. One iconic picture that I wish I had taken was Iyoba confronting the leasing agent who works for Katya Dirval. Iyoba does not quite stand five feet tall and she had on a salmon colored knit turtle neck, knee length dress with appliques of skunks all over it. Iyoba had presence in that moment. She was her former landlord's representative. She meant business. She was not just "little Iyoba."
Iyoba wears her new clothes and hair like a skin of pride. I don't think it is threadbear pride. Perhaps you do not need land to be proud in Second Life, or not very much land. Our turtles laid some stunning eggs tonight. They looked so good, I was sure they were inbred, but they weren't. The turtles sometimes hide under the bee hives or among the flowers. So far they have been good about leaving their eggs in the open.
Last night, Iyoba handed out the notices to the one delinquent tenant. She asked Iyoba if she were joking. The tenant said she had no access to her island, Imperia Brasil CorpII. I said I would check. I all ready knew what had happened. Iyoba and I went to Katya's headquarters and talked to rental agents and finally learned that the agents had been given instructions to "shut the whole thing down." I had Iyoba send the two "displaced" tenants from Imperia Brasil Corp II a notice similar to what I sent to my fellow tenants on Imperia Corp I.
Suffice it to say, Walter has lost a second Island. That leaves one island and two homestead sims to go. It is just a question of how far down everything slides. I am going to stay with Walter until he says there is nothing left. Iyoba and I now have nothing to lose. Stinky Stinky is pictures on a blog and objects in inventory. The turtles are still alive and reproducing. The worst is over. It's time for clothing design and nice hair. It's time to bathe in the onsens on Japanese sims. Iyoba can make due without an office. Some of our earliest work is still our best.
Part of me would like to go into the landlord business. I could abandon my 512 and purchase a quarter sim and then rent three quarters of it out. Yes, that is asking for trouble. Yes, it's a simple business plan. I may even have a customer. Part of me thinks that is utterly crazy. Part of me knows I can dream all I want, and part of me feels very bad that I never bought those Indian cattle to graze at Stinky Stinky.
Eileen H. Kramer and Iyoba BatOni -- January 12, 2011
The World Unmade
Saturday night, I lost access to Stinky Stinky. Iyoba and I may have lost our access sooner, but I did not learn of it until Saturday night due to Shabbos. We had no teleport access to the entire island of Imperia Corp I. We tried again on Sunday, and the same thing happened. A good friend suggested I try to contact another administrator or Walter. Walter, still my favorite landlord, was of course nowhere to be found. Iyoba declared that she was tearing her hair out in hunks, not her hair piece, but her hair. Iyoba's head is shaven so she can wear prim hair. I leave what she was tearing out to your imagination. My good friend said that this was "nonproductive" behavior.
Sunday we again attempted to contact Walter. I was sure our turtles would starve to death. Monday night, we reached our land. It was empty and it no longer belonged to us. In fact, the entire Island of Imperia Corp I now belonged to Katya Dirval. Iyoba IM'd Katya Dirval expressing her displeasure. Katya consoled her and said she now owned the island and that it was tough having a "bad landlord." Such remarks did not endear Katya to me. I told her I would wait a few days until I rented new land. I also wanted to see if Walter would move Iyoba and me to Eddesign Island.
I managed to untangle my posessions down at the Hobo Island Sandbox and got the turtles safely set up at my 512 square meter plot in Hartley which has always been my home in Second Life. There really isn't enough room for all the turtles, but I'm just going to hope they lay fewer than five eggs at a time. At least they will not starve to death.
This morning, Walter finally got in touch with me. He has lost broadband access. He could not pay his own rent for Imperia Corp I, which meant his upstream landlady, who is Katya seized it. She did not realize that she displaced (oh the euphemism!) two paying tenants.
The ironic part about all this is that while I think Katya's remark about Walter is ugly, and that she should have sent us notice and asked if we wanted to pay her rent and stay on, since three of us, possibly all of us, were in good standing, I am not that angry at her. I say that while incubating thoughts of small time revenge. It would be easy to do. Katya has set Imperia Corp I as an indavertant sandbox. Normally, my good landowner instincts would lead me to inform her of this fact so she doesn't end up with land covered with other people's trash. Let's say my good instincts have taken a beating in the last four days. I could inform those in a couple of groups to come by and use the free sandbox while it lasts. It would be fun. Part of me thinks this is exquisitely petty. Better to use the free sandbox to make a couple of dresses, but why bother?
I'm not at all angry at Walter except for going out of sight. I am not at all surprised at the chain of events that followed. I hated being locked out of my land, but that is Katya's fault. She did not have to do that, and it will very much effect whether I give her any other money. I now have most of what was on Stinky Stinky in inventory, and Katya has to compete with other landlords including Walter who has a shot at crediting me fifteen free days. If he takes fifteen days rent from me, then well and fine. It's three dollars. If he does not find me more land out of his vacant stock and cuts me loose, I can decide who if any one gets my rent money. The best landlord of all in Second Life, but also the most expensive, is Linden Labs. You pay them monthly but as long as they get their money, they leave you alone. If you only want a 512, a yearoly premium membership is a wash due to the stipend and lack of rent. I am very glad I kept my 512. That is making my life a lot easier right now. I can wait a couople of weeks if need be, or I can simply declare the ownership of big land experiment over.
I am also glad I took those pictures in the post below. I am glad I have a photographic record of Stinky Stinky as it stood at its best on Imperia Corp I.
The next and stickier question is: am I still Walter's employee? I still have access to the database. I am not sure what sort of priviledges I have now, but I probably should get in touch with my fellow former tenants and let them know what I know. Communication and transparency are what we need right now, and no Katya, Walter is NOT a bad landlord. Real life happens. Any intelligent adult can live with that. Renting estate land means you accept the risks. Besides that, time is on my side not yours.
Eileen H. Kramer and Iyoba BatOni -- January 11, 2011
Here is Iyoba sitting on her planter. She had come back to her land to check on the turtles and to fix the radio. The radio, as we call our 1970's tapedeck was not working well. Three of its stations refused to play. We fixed that. We can now hear everything from news and old time radio, to Judaica, to kids' music, to techno.
The tape deck uses a free script. It vanished a few days ago and found its way back to Iyoba's lost and found as a no-copy no-modify item. She had a spare copy, since she buit it with a free script. She made it at the Ted Stevens Memorial Sandobx as we call the sandbox at the University of Alaska Anchorage sim. That was her favorite sandbox for a while. Academic sandboxes can be a godsend. They can also be utter crap pits.
I built this planter with Iyoba at the Hobo Island Sandbox. It holds ten hot weather annuals. There are lions' tails, marigolds, several colors of zinnia, calenddula, and nemesia in it. The nemisia are red and white. You can also see a cock's comb celosia in the foreground and a bit of the world famous Stinky Stinky Tempearate House in the background.
This is a long view of Stinky Stinky including the new mini beach/mosaic pool. The largest tree in the image is a gloriosa oak tree I created around Thanksgiving. Much of this building is very new. To the left of the gloriosa oak, is a cashew apple tree. Cashew apples are the fruit that yields cashew nuts as a kind of seed. To the right of the gloriosa oak is a cacao tree. Most of the trees at Stinky Stinky are tropical species that produce either flowers, fruit, or useful bark. They are a great alternative to palms which are mainly sterile. I have yet to see one wtih cocanuts though there is one supposedly out there somewhere I'm sure.
This is a semi-aerial view of the other corner of Stinky Stinky. You can see the turtle pen and another gloriosa oak. The trees with purple flowers and fruit are passion fruit trees. In real life, passion fruit grow on vines. On Second Life, you can break some of the rules. The tree with yellow fruit to the left of the gloriosa oak is a finger lemon tree. Finger lemons really do grow on trees. In the background the tree with the hanging nearly black fruits is a pepper tree (peppercorns.) There is also an Australian Christmas tree (the one with yellow flowers) in the background and another cashew apple tree. The turtles are awake and walking around. Their pen is porous. They can escape but can not get lost.
I will try to take more pictures before I move. I'll take them after too. Moving will not be the end. It just hurts to rent and have no security. I remember how ambivalent I was about renting a big piece of land. I am glad I stuck with it even though this will be my second move. Iyoba is about to go in world to deliver notices. Both of us will be glad when the database is clean and we make a clean start elsewhere, even if we are bringing everything with us.
Eileen H. Kramer and Iyoba Tarantal -- January 6, 2011
Losing One and a Half Additional Tenants
Last night, I distributed the notices after checking and upating the database, I got back a response from A. Like Iyoba, A is a tenant on Imperia Corp I. Well, he isn't a tenant any more. The inventory glitch on that cost me Road not Taken effected him as well. Apparently, it was sim wide. Well, he thinks a crazy property manager messed up all the land, sending all scripted objects back to inventory in big balls, along, at least in my case with a lot of scripted stuff. I still believe it was a glitch, blame Murphy and Linden Labs, and figure it happens in the best of families. Walter's absence, however, does not happen in the best facilities. Imagine for a moment a tenant with a real life stopped up toilet or better yet no heat in the winter. The tenant's furnace has stopped working. The landlord does not answer phone calls. Does not respond. Is out of town or just doesn't care. You get the picture of what is happening in Second Life on Imperia Corp I. I don't blame A or J for what they did.
It hurt to be the one to run interference for Walter, but if I'm home, it comes with the territory. In a way it is good to hear from the other tenants, because their prospective is different from my own. I see the database. I see the two tenants who have not paid (or whose payment the database has not recorded) in three weeks. We also have one who has not paid in nearly two weeks. It hurts to see Walter get run over like a piece of roadkill, instead of standing up and taking care of his property. I'm more worried about the scofflaws and Walter who are both real people somewhere, than I am about my loss of a very lovely, Petable Turtle, who after all was just property.
All that said, I felt so stressed out and uncomfortable from dealing with A, that I walked home from the Kensington Train station in a fit of anger, in real life, rather than stand around for ten minutes on the platform and waiting for the train. Yes, I walked four miles, and tried not to think about what was going on in Second Life. I did not succeed. I got home and there was Lucianna. She rents over half of Imperia Corp I. I just rent a 2048. Lucianna asked me to get in touch with Walter and ask for a sim roll back. The sim roll back will erase my latest builds. I'll need to have my new turtles boxed. I'm not sure what the roll back will "restore." but I have built since then, including a little, lap pool/minibeach. I'll have to take all that back into inventory and re-rezz it. How do you say major inconvenience?
Still, I asked Walter to ask for the roll back. If Lucianna goes, I have to pack everything and move anyway. Walter has land elsewhere and the sim won't pay for itself. How do you say, utter and complete mess? By the way, I checked the Second Life Wiki, and a roll back twenty-two days after the massive inventory loss may well be impossible. This means Walter and I still have some very unhappy tenants on our hands, and may have some empty land to rent. I may be moving for the second time, turtles, trees, skybox, and all.
Eileen H. Kramer and Iyoba Tarantal -- January 5, 2011
Losing a Tenant
Checking the database and sending out notices was fairly routine this morning, until I delivered J her notice. She was behind on her rent for a few days. She got a routine second notice. I paid special attention because she had a minor covenant issue, nothing serious. Usually when I hand out the dunning notices, which Iyoba does as the landlord's "secretary", she receives no respnonse or a "so and so is not online" reply or a busy reply. The hard decisions, the muscle, and in the end the financial losses all belong to Walter.
This time I got back a long, pained, response from J. She had left her land, given up her rental, and moved out. She said she had loved being on Walter's land but one day all her scripted objects had vanished. She'd suffered massive inventory loss. Instantly, a bell went off in my head. With the aid of Google Translate I asked J when this happened. It turned out that J had suffered her inventory loss the same time that half the objects on my own property, some of which were scripted, found their way back into my inventory as a ball and I lost my poor turtle, Road not Taken. At the time, I thought this was a Linden Labs glitch. I took my loss of Road not Taken hard. Life went on.
What I did not realize was that this loss effected any one else. It effected J. It is the reason she has all but abandoned her land. That Walter has been out of town lately or working on other projects has not helped. J could not get a message for him and did not want to leave him one. Anyway, J is gone. Walter has one more piece of land for rent. Sometmes Second Life is a small world.
As happens in cases like these, I relayed J's notice to Walter. I made a note on the Spread Sheet, and saved the notice in Google docs. I could do nothing else. I wished J a Happy New Year, in Portuguese. That's Feliz Novo.
Currently, I am consumed with building fantasies for more land than I own, which means more land than I can support. It all started when I visited Saint Thomas Estates Palm Beach. It's a beach sim, but so are a million others. I offered the owner free vegetation which he refused. The sim consists of sand, a few palm trees, stores, a place to swim that is actually functional, and huge, aslphalt roads and parking lots. Yes, someone paved Paradise. They not only paved Paradise, they took the ugliest aspects of real life and copied them to Second Life with positively fantasic verisimiltude. I can feel the heat radiate off the pavement and a harsh dusty wind blow. Iyoba had a nice swim there and enjoyed wearing sunny clothes, but she thought the bar near the beach would be better used as a bath house.
Of course it took more than a visit to my friend's beach sim, to get me stuck on the "I can do it better" track. The fact is I don't know if I can do it better. I've never had enough land to play with, that I really got to terra form it besides, raising it or lowering it to smooth it out. That's just for starters. I've learned as a builder that I generally need fewer prims than I will think. Fixing up a whole sim is probably beyond my skill.
All that reality aside, my friend did get me dreaming. He asked if I wanted to help him buy a whole sim. This is the dream of males with a case of "the gonnas." I said neither of us had the financial wherewithal to make this pay. Still, I know I could design a better sim. I could make a brick beach, with a walk out ramp and a place to jump or dive off the side. I might even have some fun stuff under the water. Sorry, Iyoba likes to swim. Why are all the beaches in Second Life, white or light tan? Why not have a black (really dark grey) beach? Why not have a temperate beach with plenty of vegetation, lots of benches, a proper bath house. The roads can be paved with concrete or better yet, just plain old dirt. The cars will run on them just fine, and while we are at it, let's have grass skiing or card board sliding on a hill. Some of the Arab builders have put jungle gyms and play equipment near the sea, a kind of Second Life vita course. This makes for even more fun. You see where "I can do it better" comes in.
I have sort of made peace with this out of line building urge. I told myself the weather it too cold to build a "beach sim." My avie still often has to wear winter clothes, and we have goth gotten used to this idea. As we head toward swimming weather, hoever, and if I'm still interested, I can sink part of my 2048 and practice a bit of beach building. I probably have enough prims for this and can get more by taking down a few of the trees. Who knows, a minibeach just might be fun. Meanwhile, Iyoba and I can both dream.
Eileen H. Kramer and Iyoba BatOni -- January 2, 2011