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.

Yonatanne Got Hair!

The topic line says it all. The hair textures are basic, but I made them on Sunday. It took two tries for Iyoba to share them with her. Iyoba can use some of the same hair as Yonatanne. Once Yonatanne had the hair, it was fairly easy to make simple two prim, skull cap style, hair pieces. Yonatanne is wearing corn rows. This is a good beginner style for an avie.

Yonatanne with the hair on her head I made Yonatanne's hair in the Berkman sandbox. I chose Berkman because it is a little bit social, and it has a security staff to prevent griefing. This was really Yonatanne's first public appearance. Her home, by the way, is now Hyannisport in Gaeta. It's a relatively new Info-Hub. It is full of avies who ignore her and talk in voice. The voice sounds like a bad cell phone conversation. Yonatanne has no voice because I have no mic. Besides, I'd hate for either of my avatarot to sound like bad cell phone conversations.

People watched Yonatanne, but so far no one has bothered her. No one has also said hello. I remember how lonely Iyoba was in the spring of 2008, so this is par for the course. The question for Yonatanne, as always is what is next. Right now, she has a new long sleeved shirt for her orange pants. Iyoba would say that Yonatanne needs clothes: bathing suits, a swimming animation, pants, shoes. I don't have all days to make clothes for Yonatanne though I am going to start her with her first formal gown. I might send her to Bogart's and see if she can meet other avies there. I hope those keeping the door at Bogart's recognize Yonatanne as an adult, human avie. There is just a lot of variation, even if one doesn't see it in Second Life.

The formal gown has yet to be uploaded. I am going to let Iyoba have a Looprez version of it though she'll also have the skirt, because she can upload textures and Yonatanne, who has no funds, can't. Iyoba gave Yonatanne a pair of blue jeans. With luck Yonatanne will find some promotional sweaters of her own. If nothing else, she can go to SL Israel to get a whole t-shirt wardrobe. I guess that's a "next poject" after many other "next projects." I just have to take a deep breath and go slow with all of this, and no, I have not been in world all day.

Eileen H. Kramer, Ihyoba Tarantal, and Yonatanne Xaron -- November 30, 2010

It Only Looks Like I Have Time to be Inworld

The title line says it all. Yontanne has not logged in. I think she's going to end up on a once a week schedule if she gets lucky. I have to make her hair. A trip to a sandbox would be a good place to go. It would be a good place to go if we had the time. We don't. MY MOTHER IS COMING FOR THANKSGIVING.

That meant that Saturday and Sunday were devoted to domestic duties, in other words lots of cleaning. I must have taken six bags of clutter to the dumpster out back. I ran errands. I cleaned a bathroom. I mopped a floor. I had pretty good music for all of this. I was inworld through most of this. I just sent Iyoba to dance, and then used Second Life like a radio. I know at least one other person who does this. She is a potter and the computer must be near the pottery shop or have a speaker hanging in the shop.

On a practical level this makes sense. Second Life DJ's don't play commercials. You can look up from whatever you are doing and see your avie dance. This is a lot of vicarious fun. On another level it is very instrumental and it is really not quality time in world. Friday, I managed to get to a sandbox. I would love to do it again with both Iyoba and Yonatanne, though I have to do it one avie at a time. I have no sandbox time for either avie. That really hurts.

The house is clean, but I yearn to be inworld. I yearn to see Iyoba in a new dress and Yonatanne with new hair. I need to have enough emotional energy to play Yonatanne because she pushes buttons people don't admit to owning. Right now I'm too busy with real life. I hate when this happens.

Eileen H. Kramer with help from Iyoba Tarantal and Yonatanne Xaron -- November 22, 2010

Yonatanne and the Future

Yonatanne needs better eyes. I skinned Yonatanne on Tuesday. It did not take that long to make the skin, but a skin does not have to be perfect to be useable and serviceable, and in Yonatanne's case a big improvement over what Linden Labs provides. When I logged in, the first thing I noticed was that while Yonatanne's buttocks and breasts were fine, her eyes and arms needed some work. It was hard to find her eyes, but I switched them from red to brown. I like the large eyes. I think they give her a sweet face. I took this picture at Mirai where there are changing rooms. I was going to use one for the skinning since I wanted to skin my new avie in the nude. You are not going to get to see her without clothes though. The internet and this blog is a very public place.

Yonatanne on the stairs at Mirai I sent Yonatanne up the stairs into the welcome lounge and down into the changing rooms for the skinning. She climbed the stairs happily but was a bit skittish about getting changed. Skinnings are scarey. I even had a lump in the pit of my stomache as I started creating her "new skin." The actual skin is three full body tattoos. The reason for the new skin is that Linden Lab does a terrible job with darker skin tones. They have too much red in them as you can see from the above pictures, Yonatanne started out copper colored.

Yonatanne in her new skin and in different clothes her new skin is no longer copper colored. There are real live humans with this complexion. One occasionally sees them in Atlanta and if one went to Lagos or Kinshassa (I hope I have that spelled right) or Timbuktu, one might see a fair number of them. I took this picture at Giza in the I-commons where I hoped to make Yontanne's home. Unfortunately, most of the so-called private info hubs don't actually allow avatarot to set home there. Yonatanne lists I-commons among her picks and has a home in Bay City which she is going to use for emergencies only.

Yonatanne in a facial closeup And this is a closeup of Yonatanne's face. As you can see it is round and sweet. It is very hard to make an ugly avatar unless you want to make him/her grotesque. Yonatanne maybe fat, but she "has a nice face." What you don't see in any of these pictures is how small Yonatanne is. That is because she has not been out in public much. Also there are privacy issues when taking other avatarim's photos, but Yonatanne is the opposite of almost any avie out there. She is small, fat, very dark, and has a vulnerable face rather than a hard one. I'm not sure how others will receive her. I am genuinely scaird. I am also genuinely awed to look at this new face and know it is my creation and a piece of me. Looking at an avie that is yours is very much like staring into a mirror.

Iyoba sits on a barrel in the Land of Sodoma So what does the future bring for Yonatanne? I know a bit of where the path leads. I have watched one avie grow and mature, or maybe I have grown or matured with her over the past two years. This is Iyoba sitting on a barrel on an island called the Land of Sodoma (Yes this is Sodom!). Yes, Virginia, there really is a publicly accessible Sodom in Seconnd Life. Now if only Yonatanne can find the equivalent of Ilha Bella Gomorrah which is the mall where Iyoba got her start and looked for social contacts.

Iyoba chops wood And this is more of Iyoba on Sodoma. I dressed her up to go out and she is wearing a "club dress" with a ristra design and a lot of lacey trim. Ristras are bunches of peppers. The axe was a gift from Asaf33 Dsmajin who rents the island from Walter, Iyoba's landlord. The wood chopping animation is a pose ball attached to the chopping block. Who says avatarot don't work!

Iyoba ice skating And this is Iyoba ice skating. You notice she is wearing a winter dress with a pattern of star fruit on it. I often use food themes when designing clothing. I have to learn what works and does not work on an avie who is Yonatanne's size. Iyoba is overweight, but Yonatanne is positively fat. The ice skates which you can see peeking out from under the long skirt are home made and a bit rough. A waltz animation works well as a makeshift skating animation. The ice skating rink is at the Vital Elements mall on Imperia Corp I where Iyoba has her home, Stinky Stinky.

Iyoba at Tokyo Station Exploring is a big part of what any avie does in Second Life. Here Iyoba is on a walking tour of the Mag SL archipelago, a group of Japanese sims which include Akiba and the home of Sad Brown Eyed Kitty, and the world famous Arare Cafe. This is Tokyo City though and this parcel is called Tokyo stations. Nearby are buses and tracks for a train which never comes. On Iyoba's camisole with the keyhole neck is a picture of sushi. Yes, I do food themes quite a bit.

Iyoba goes back to school? Sometimes we use our explorations as part of our volunteer gig. Lately Iyoba has been out in the science lands. This laboratory which is really NOT a classroom is at the Areva Nuclear Power Plant on the Science School II sim. I just found this desk and thought Iyoba looked good sitting there. I am never one to miss a photo opportunity, since pictures help explain what goes on in Second Life to those who might be afraid of a virtual world. The chair had a good pose tucked into it, and Iyoba is wearing a dress with a dent corn or golden corn design. It is an early fall/summer dress, but Second Life is still warm even in November. The land owners will be putting down their artificial snow soon though. When my avatarot get cold, I shiver too.

And that is it for this photo shoot. I will try to adventure a bit with Yonatanne. Right now I am trying not to let her copy Iyoba's social contacts. I'm not sure how Yonatanne will establish herself. Iyoba did ask a Portugese avie to send her a group membership. That works sometimes. I know if I just let Yonatanne walk around, she'll encounter a lot of empty sims. To find places, join a group, get announcements etc.... To join groups, one needs invites. I'm not sure where any of this goes from here. I guess I will live and learn, and take lots of photos.

Eileen H. Kramer with help from Yonatanne Xaron and Iyoba Tarantal -- November 18, 2010

Taking Care of Yonatanne

I can't leave Yonatanne out in the cold though I don't have time for her. Iyoba very much gets the time in world, and she has the purse strings, especially now that I've updated our credit card information. My bank merged with another bank and you know the rest of the story. As a newbie, Yontantanne, has new avie needs. I've never been a true newbie in Second Life, so Yontananne has access to my knowledge base even if she has not had time in world in ten days. Last week, Iyoba sent her textures for a tunic and decent pair of pants. It is hard to make an ugly avie when she is a standard human and wears decent clothes. Iyoba also sent Yonatanne a posing stool, a hair texture, and some shoes.

That still left Yonatanne with a lot of needs. Even after I login as her, and she accepts a huge pile of inventory offers. First, she needs to do some inventory management. Next, I want to work a bit more on her shape. She needs a bit of a portable sofa if you get my drift. Then she needs a skin and a home. Because Yonatanne is a newbie and flat broke, I tried to find her a free skin. I was disappointed. She is very dark, and most of the dark skins are copper colored and too light. Yontanne is an extreme in a lot of ways which may give her a life of her own. Iyoba is extreme too, but Yontanne is Iyoba on steroids if you get my drift.

I did better finding a home for Yonatanne. It's a classy place. Unlike in 2008, many islands have InfoHubs so finding a quiet safe place to which an avie can return is not that hard. It's just a matter of finding and choosing the right spot. The right spot for Yonatanne is going to be I-Commons, Harvard University's Sim, which right now doubles as a sandbox. What could be better. It's got the prestige. It's got the amenities, and it is quiet and peaceful with indoor area where Yonatanne can put on her new skin.

Yes, I did get Yonatanne a skin. I made it. Making skins is not rocket science especially if you have special needs or want a special color. This was my second try at skin painting, and it looks surprisingly good on the SLCP model. How it will look on Yonatanne is any one's guess.

After I get Yonatanne, skinned, homed, and decently dressed, my next step with her will be taking her out. This is where it is going to get strange and scarey. Second Life is not racist. Yonatanne is transgressive and a challenge to the Caucasian norm. She is nearly coal colored, very short, and definitely fat, not just well padded and medium skinned like Iyoba. Will people even consider her human? Will they accept her in clubs? Do I really want to go around and look for trouble? In the abstract, looking for trouble makes me smile. In real life it will feel very different.

Eileen H. Kramer with help from Iyoba Tarantal and Yonatanne Xaron -- November 16, 2010

Take Care of the Land

I haven't updated the spread sheet I keep for my favorite landlord, Walter, as his secretary. A lot has happened in the Imperia estate and very little of it is good. One tenant who rented a whole island gave up her land, after she let it go overdue a week. That means Walter was left holding the bag for approximately $100. Then another tennant who rented one sixteenth of an island left after owing a month's rent. That means Walter lost antoher $25.00. There is no small claims court in Second Life. There is no reputation management system. My landlord got ripped off, and a rip off is a breach of trust that hurts.

Meanwhile, there has been a land grab on my own island, Imperia Corp I. A tenant has increased her holdings and is now not paying, though that may have changed this morning. I haven't checked the database. We also lost at least one tenant last night. He left owing five days rent on one sixteenth or one eighth of an island. I forget which. Either way, land for sale pays no rent. I worry about the stability of my own holding.

I also feel bad for my landlord. I like him as a person. I trust him, but I don't just trust his ability to treat me fairly. I also trust his ability to manage competently. I think I still trust him. Where I'm losing faith is with my fellow tenants, the greedy, the dishonest, the malicious among them. Part of me does not even want to look at the damage they have caused. Part of me knows I have to look, write down the data, and send notices. This is going to hurt. It's that simple.

Eileen H. Kramer with help from Iyoba Tarantal -- November 16, 2010

By the Skin of OUR Teeth

I did not think that Iyoba and I would be able to get to our volunteer gig last night on Info Island. Saturday night, Iyoba got ghosted when the sim she was on crashed. I could login briefly. I then teleported her back to Stinky Stinky and logged out. It was late. I was tired. The next morning all the fun began. Two long sessions with live chat help (I got my Premium membership's worth) later and after setting my timeout to "Never" the problem solved itself. It might have solved itself anyway, but I worried about the turtles, my landlord (Iyoba had to send arrears notices. Such is the life of a rental manager.), and the volunteer gig on Monday. I cursed myself for investing so much time and psychic energy in something hosted on someone else' server. There are issues of trust and betrayal here.

Then Sunday night, I logged off and logged in successfully again. It's all good now or almost so. I made Iyoba two more winter dresses. It was fun standing in the sandbox on Hobo Island watching the macho types test their big vehicles while Iyoba was busy fitting a skirt as she stood suspended on a posing stool. Making clothing in Second Life is a weird and immodest enterprize. People feel free to watch you build. People feel free to comment. People even laugh at what you're doing, but mostly people ignore you. In a typical sandbox, you see a lot of people just opening boxes or trying gestures and animations. I saw a lady dance on the sand yesterday.

As a result of my misadventure on Saturday, I created an alt to go look for Iyoba. That means Iyoba has a sibling, a cousin, etc... I had to rip off all the premade junk that Second Life dumps on new avies. I felt a big sigh of relief when I found Ruth in my avatar's library. Ruth is a generic female avatar, but she is utterly adjustible. I now have a very dark, and vary fat, and very short, African avie named Yonatanne Xaron. She isn't going to get much play. She has no Lindens. She needs a home base. She needs decent clothes. There aren't enough hours in the day for her. I feel bad for her. Iyoba feels worse. She is no longer alone, yet her friend gets a chance to explore inworld at her expense. I don't think the idea of self sacrifice has sunk into Iyoba's head yet. Also Iyoba's account is the one with the money. Still, I made Yonatanne a dashiki and a pair of pants and gave her some of Iyoba's shoes, and a hair texture and a posting stool. That is a beginning. Now I have to find the time to login as Yonatanne and have her accept the inventory and do some inventory organization. Poor Yonatanne.

Meanwhile, Iyoba and I both worry about the stability of our rented land. There is enough money in the land kitty for two more years there. I get half off due to my job as rental manager. It's not exactly thankless work. I have learned a lot, but Walter, our landlord, is not strict enough. He says he has to maintain a reputation as a nice guy, yet has no problems with excessive dunning, a practice considered utterly repugnant to American sensibility. I try to send out the notices every two to three days.

Walter, who has no problem with dunning, however has let nearly a whole island go into a week's arrears. It isn't the length of time, but the amount of land that makes this expensive. Another tenant is over a month behind. One island is half for rent. The land business in Second Life is a legalized casino. It is easy for tenants to get royally screwed and ripped off. There is no small claims court. I all ready have a Plan B. It will take a lot of work, especially since it will involve moving turtles. I'll also end up with less land, but it will mean the end of landlord troubles if they revisit me a second time.

Here is Plan B in all its glory. Plan B will only happen if Walter can not move me to another spot. I will abandon my 512 on the mainland. This is necessary before anything else. This will leave me landless, but not for long. There are 1024's on the mainland and I'll buy one. I'm all ready a premium member so this means I'll pay $5.00/month in addition to my premium membership to Linden Labs, but Linden Labs is utterly stable. They are truely the best landlord in the business. I'm not sure I'll keep my skybox. I may need a smaller shetler for the bath house. I do want to keep my bathroom. My avie never sleeps indoors anyway. Any new land will be group owned and that means Yonatanne will get a share in it. That said, I hope I am dead wrong and Plan B never happens.

Eileen H. Kramer with help from Iyoba Tarantal and Yonatanne Xaron -- November 9, 2010

Let's Kick off a New Month

I don't feel so ruthless and heartless any more. I've realized my turtles have a long way to go before "retirement," and they are having better lives than most. I have more eggs than I know what to do with so I am sorting inventory and naming eggs. Also, the radio on my property is partially broken. I need to replace vanished stations with better ones. This is not an unpleasant job, just one I have to pencil in. It will take much longer to sort out all those P1 turtle eggs. I'm not even at the point of selecting replacements for the current six turtles who live in the garden.

I received two Halloween turtles for free from Shalendra Littlebird. I sent her images of a turtle from an egg of hers that I hatched and bred. He is turning out to father fairly nice looking young with good racing stats. Too bad I don't have time to train a racing turtle. I just don't.

Iyoba walking in her new gown With my turtles managing their own love lives and with Iyoba and I doing maintenance at Stinky Stinky, my Second Life is beginning to recover its sanity. Last night, I made a dress for Iyoba. I all ready had the top part made from last winter. I just needed to make the skirt. Making loop rez dresses several times a week gets to be routine in a very comforting way.

Iyoba even got to wear the dress to our volunteer gig on Info Island International. There is of course more to this picture, a lot more. I made Iyoba's new dress in the Nanoland Sandbox on Nanotechnology Island. We were and still are exploring the island as part of the never-ending bushwhacking project. The Sci-Lands need to be on our list but nobody has had the nerve or the foolishness to survey that vast territory. Bushwhacking can be lonely, but there are worse jobs. It's a good change from perpetual mall crawling, and best of all, there are few banlines, softspots, or security orbs in educational territory. Of course educational sims are generally nice places to visit, but not much to stay.

I wonder what would be a way to encourage repeat visits to such places. Face it I go back to the same clubs over and over again. Music is fine even when the DJ's play the same tunes. In fact, some predictability in music is a great thing, but an educational sim is often too much like homework. Of course the quiet educational sims are good places to sort inventory and some of the museums would make great places for photo shoots, or a good place for lovers to rendezvous. You could IM all sorts of good stuff. You don't need pose balls, and you'd have plenty of privacy.

close up of Iyoba Of course there is sort of a solution: people travel every day or every week to the public library. They are after best sellers and when they can't get those or need some nonfiction, it's the newspaper or current events or how-to manuals. If you offer links to information people need, including homework help for their kids (Remember the average age in Second Life is thirty-five!) you might get something. If you offer current events trivia as a game with Lindens for a prize, again that is a great idea. Maybe you could have a stump the librarians night. Life is not all music or breedable creatures or avie modification, but you need something that competes with those things. Most educational sims don't seem to be able to offer those things even when the exhibits are either extremely immersive or when they are very readable.

Eileen H. Kramer with help from Iyoba Tarantal -- November 2, 2010

When the One Almost Cried

My profile says that the One Who Thinks She Knows was born in 1962.
There was no Second Life in 1962.
I am ten years younger than the One.
I can do the math, but that means I too am older than Second Life.

I never went to high school.
I never sat in a Commons listening to music.
I don't menstruate, so I can't go through perimenopause.
It is good not to look so far back,
Because looking back makes the One so sad.

First she gets sad,
And then she gets angry.
She has this thing she calls "disrespectful."
If I do a lot of dancing where I make a bridge or arch my back,
She calls that "disrespectful"
And we find another dance in my inventory.

There is also disrepectful talk.
Some of it is talk about rape.
This makes us both upset,
And we walk out of clubs when we hear it.
Then there are pornographic gestures.
Why Ones let their avies have sex in public or pretend to
Is beyond me.
I thought that was why Ones helped their avies build skyboxes.

After hearing Layla,
Which made my One cry,
We heard lots of pornographic gesture talk about avies tickling themselves.
We also heard that it was just a radio and not a DJ.
My One was upset. I didn't feel too great about it either,
But my One felt betrayed,
That no one stopped to love the beautiful song.
The radio station went right to the next one,
And the other avies...were "disrespectful."
We stopped dancing and left.

We went to the Onsen on Hakata
And found out where we used to have a store is gone.
We left long before the mall closed down.
I put on a bathing suit and lay in the steam after a brief swim.
The One was weary.
It must be very hard being a One.
I felt bad for her.
I'm not sure what to tell her.

Late at night
At Club XxesS
They play Layla.
It's Eric Clapton before he stupidly droppped his kid out the window.
He has a boozey voice,
But the instrumental at the end of Layla...

I am fourteen again.
I am no longer forty-eight.
I am in the big, dilapidated room outside the highschool cafeteria,
A misguided attempt by adults to give kids dignity,
But still an attempt in good faith.
There is some graffiti, the kind that comes with hard use
And with which everybody in the Northeast just accepts.
I did not yet know that other parts of the country were different.
I knew there was nowhere good to sit,
But there was a stereo.
It played Boston's It's More Than a Feeling.
And it played that song...
I would listen to it and imagine spirits flying with the moon.
I would feel grateful to have escaped from middle school.
I looked forward to escaping to college upstate and in New England.

I had one serious period in my life.
It did not embarass me. It hurt.
I was not good at dealing with the pain or PMS. Both stunned me,
But the older girls all got periods and we were all getting them.
I have no idea if the common room is still dilapidated.
Kids, now do not have a whole lot of freedom.

I am forty-eight.
I don't know how many periods are left in my body.
I don't handle perimenopause well. It too stuns me.

This time there is no cohort of us learning about our bodies together.

I don't think back then I could conceive of myself at my present age.
I could not see myself getting old.
I could barely see myself escaping.
I was too grateful to be done with middle school to care about the next step yet.

Nostalgia sometimes hurts
Because it holds the memory of longing
And you know how it turned out,
But you can still feel the longing, and in the case of Layla,
The sweetness of a reprieve.

I was going to prove myself.
I ended up graduating third in my high school class.
I ended up with a pen mightier than a sword, and I never learned to drive,
But I got a thousand miles from home,
And I never did escape.

PS. Iyoba's and my landlord on Imperia Corp got mentioned in a blog. I feel kind of jealous, but Iyoba is his loyal "secretary."

Eileen H. Kramer and Iyoba Tarantal -- 11/5/10