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.



A Tumultuous Week in Pictures

A picture says a thousand words, and that is true for both Iyoba and me, and particulary last week in Second Life. Looking at it from Monday, all I can feel is relief, between Petable Turtles and modems, we both took an emotional trip through the mill.

a new dress in Ikenuburo The weird thing, is we started out on such a good roll. This is a dress I made for Iyoba in the Ikenuburo sandbox. Iyoba migrated here after the University of Manitoba's sandbox was full! I wish academic islands would keep their sandboxes clean. This one was about as scuzzy as they get. This is Iyoba taking a timeout in a park across the street from the sandbox. There are not a lot of sims left in what was once a huge ring of Mag Tokyo SL islands. The ones that are left are still a lot of fun and among my favorite places to take pictures.

Hair to spare! The great achievement of last weekend and Thanksgiving was learning to make better and fuller hair, some of it caucasian, some of it not. We really did need purple hair. I think I took this picture on one of the NMC islands. I think it was TX State II. Iyoba is wearing a dress with a five panel skirt, and yes, the hair uses a civet turd texture (Thank you New York Times) and a purple overcast to give her just the right shade.

Eicha Of course a lot of any week is involved in the care and feeding of our virtual pets. We have fourteen turtles and five zwickies. The turtles need to be fed daily and have their eggs boxed up and gathered. No, we won't ever have space to hatch them. I doubt we'll ever retire our present turtles. Yes, that is one disgusting euphemism. The turtle in the picture is Eicha. He is an F1 or F2 turtle, bred from my own stock. He is all brown which means he produces lovely dark colored offspring.

Feeding time #1 The pale pink turtle in this photo is Chai (a female), and the turtle with the shiney, turquoise shell is Noor (also a female), and yes that is a box of turtle food in the foreground. And, yes, yes, yes, all the turtles have names. Now you can ask if our Petable Turtles (Sorry no link. Read the previous post) have personalities? The answer is that they are pre-programmed to be neurotic. Regular turtles, which all of Iyoba's and mine are, are less neurotic than specials. They give a nasty message if you check their stats when they are sleeping. They do sleep.They put their heads and limbs in their shells and a series of Z's for snoring eminates from them. They don't blink their eyes, but they have big, cute, cartoon eyes, and they walk or float.

More shots of feeding time on the roof Petable Turtles, which are really tortoises, are happy, hedonists most of the time. They spend their days running through their pourus pen, through eachother, through the trees, and the food box and their food bowl, and eating and copulating. After they copulate, the females lay one to three eggs. They are busy. They eat a lot, but let's just say they need the calories. Above is another feeding time shot, featuring Yael (female) in the foreground, and Dinah (female) somewhat further back. The turtle in the far background is Damien (male) with the lovely magenta shell. Damien is a super breeder, often producing both glow and shine eggs. I'm not interested in glows and shines, but a lot of other pepole are. Yes, I name the turtles.

Two of Dinah's eggsTwo of Whaidde's eggs in the treesYou can see why both Iyoba and I were perturbed, to say the least, when the Petable Turtle food bowls ceased to function. It was just a server hiccup, but we did NOT know that at the time. For both of us, it felt like the end of the world. Well not quite, it was the end of a small and important piece of the world. You would think that by now, I would know never to put my dreams on someone else' server. My head knows it, but my heart forgets it. And yes, those are two of Dinah's eggs, on the roof and two of Wahidde's eggs in the trees. Wahidde is one of a small group of flying turtles in the garden.

Iyoba in tears!Iyoba of course was utterly incosolable. She asked me to help put her in sack cloth and ashes, but of course not the Two Parrots flour sack shirt we made for fun. We both agreed that now was not the time to show off gorgeous (at least to us) hair and pretty dresses. I found a military outfit we had gotten somewhere and we dyed it black.

Iyoba sits among her petsIyoba wanted to do nothing other than sit among her pets, so she could enjoy the time she had left with them. Remember, we both believed our turltes were doomed to starvation. Here she is with two flying turtles. If you want to know how to make turtles fly it's simple. Put their food bowls and homing object above ground level. It's sometimes easier to find eggs that way. Other times they get stuck in the trees. The reddish turtle is named Wahidde (female), which means valued in Arabic. The male who has a gold body and brown shell is Mithras. He is our youngest turtle. We hatched him out by accident and did not have the heart to condemn him to instant retirement. He has turned out to be a fairly good breeder.

Iyoba, a turtle, and a zwicky. Here is another shot of Iyoba and the pets. In this picture Geronimo, our male, white, starter zwicky flies alongside of Whaidde, the reddish female flying turtle. In the far background is a blue, female, starter zwicky named Yocheved.

Here comes the sun!After four hours of retchedness, I attempted to feed the turtles again. It was a hope against hope move, but the server worked! See the post below for more details. Iyoba and I had a short, new, lease on life. This picture was taken the day after Petable's servers returned to life. It shows the sun coming up over our landlord's prefab that serves as his office. Our landlord, Walter (also called Darth Imperius) and Iyoba and I are neighbors.

Pampass grass at Manchester Community College Teaching 7What Iyoba and I did not know was that the modem at my house was going to go belly up at one in the morning on Friday. I spent hours on the phone with tech support and got no results. I had other online issues more pressing than Second Life that had deadlines. I met those, went home Friday, and my modem was working. I still have to thank my provider's extremely competent tech support.

Orange flowers on Teaching 7Meanwhile, Iyoba and I bushwhacked once again. We visited Teaching 7 where we saw some beautiful plant life, including this pampass grass and these hibiscus. The hibiscus may be a bit much, but part of me thought they were stunning. I make plants, so I take an interest in them. Biophilia is a big part of life in virtual worlds.

Iyoba puts away her sack cloth and ashesOf course by the time we were bushwhacking, Iyoba had put away her sack cloth and ashes. She was back in her Turtle Deeds dress I made for her about a year and a half ago. Yes, how appropriate. I took that picture on the fence of the Lehigh University Sandbox. It's a lovely sandbox, and Leighigh University is a great build.

Iyoba can still feel the magicNever forget bushwhacking is all about discovery and magic. The two go together. At My Base, an island created as a publicity move by the US Air Force, Iyoba got to run the confidence course. This is her swinging on a rope over metal obstacles and a barrel complete with bonfire in it.

No entry and it was a great sim too!Sometimes though, pictures tell sad tales. They have told a lot of them in this long blog entry, but this one was a story in itself. Somewhere along the line. Iyoba went dancing at Rock'n Rio, a live music venue. When she logged in again there she found most of the grounds including the ferris wheel were behind ban lines. She photographed it any way with the long range camera, and you can see it here.

A glowing egg. Thankyou AdamaminaAnd of course life goes on. Gathering eggs was as enjoyable as ever on Friday. This is a picture taken with the interface active. It shows an egg mothered by Adamina (Picture coming soon and I've taken one before) and fathered by Techumseh(He is a star stud and a P1 male. I've also taken his picture.) It is a glow egg. I named it Yours Is as in the song by Yes, "Yours is No Disgrace." Maybe that dates me but this week of cybermadness has left me aged a bit. I'm looking for the grey hairs. Iyoba of course has a shaven head, so she just wears wigs. Avatarot can get very emotional, but it does not age them. I wish I could say I learned not to worry. Instead, last week, I learned how much I care and how much worry is unavoidable. I also learned to take lots of pictures, but I knew that all ready.

Eileen H. Kramer with lots of help from Iyoba BatOni, five zwickies, and fourteen Petable Turtles.

DON'T PANIC!

Wait, One, before you tell me to calm down, and before you get all excited yourself. We had a real scare last night, and I'm the one who had to look into those poor Petable Turtles' eyes. Oh, they're so cute. I can understand that you love them as much as I do even though you have a "real life" turtle and two "real life" cats in your world. You know why we got so upset last night. I'm going to tell the world.

You had to see your intern, but first we went to see the turtles and gather their eggs. These are Petable Turtles. You can fill in all your "real world" readers on the particulars of Petable going "out of business." They'll keep the turtles going as long as people feed them. We even went to buy turtle food. You'd been putting that one off all weekend.

We put down a food box, and clicked on the first food bowl. It answered "Attempting to fill food bowl small bowl()" and then...nothing. You tried again and again. I tried. Then you went to see if something was wrong with Second Life. It was fine. You worried. You tried the big bowl on the roof of our house. We had the same results. You went to check the Petable web site and then...Well you found out the domain had expired. You howled. You cried. I cried too. We sent messages to everyone we knew who still cared about turtles. We told all our friends when you went to see the intern.

Then you came and got me after you did a lot of cooking in "real life" and decided to see if you could feed the turtles. This time IT WORKED. The web site may be gone, but the turtles seem to be OK, but are they OK tonight, One, you have to be calm about this. I'm back at Stinky Stinky now, our home on Eddesign Island.

I am thinking about last night and how I tore off my pretty clothes and new hair made twenty-four hours before. It was lovely purple hair. I looked for the plainest, ugliest, and most sombre thing I had. I put on ugly, texture hair. Now was not the time for fine clothes. I cried as I sat among the turtles. I wondered how long they could survive without food. You cried too. I know you cried.

Right now, the truth is that we don't know if we'll be able to feed the turtles. I am on Eddesign Island at Stinky Stinky, our home. The sun will rise soon. You just checked the environment editor. The sun will come up over our landlord's huge prefab where he has his office. We just have a small house that we empttied out to support the turtles and zwickies. Oh One, I am so scaird.

We put down the box of turtle food. I'm going to click on those bowls at the feeding station in the garden where the zwickies also eat....One, Two, Three.... Hold your breath please. Pray. IT WORKED!. Woo-hoo! Let's feed the rest of the turtles and then let's get the eggs!

I feel relieved and still a bit scared. On August 7, 2011, Petable Turtles run by Grim Hathor downsized and cut back support on turtles. It did not pull the plug on their virtual pets. In fact, after much agonizing and hand wringing which a lot of you read on this blog, I decided to hatch out more turtles so I could buy more food. Food keeps Petable in business. Food keeps turtles alive.

And last night I bought food. It cost me 1350L or $7.00 in real world currency. I do this every two to four weeks. Petable Turtles are fecund, but they eat a lot. Iyoba and I brought back the food to Stinky Stinky, our home on Eddesign Island and we started feeding the turtles. Well, the bowls malfunctioned. There was nothing wrong with the grid. I went to check the Petable Turtle web site and found it gone. I also found that the domain name had expired. What was I to think? I left Grim Hathor, who runs Petable, a plaintive note. I asked: "Is this how you want it to end?"

I thought I knew the rest of the story. It takes turtles four days to starve to death. They can do so in inventory. This is not particularly humane, but it is easier on the owner and avie. Yes, they are only virtual, but the alternative is finding your property strewn with virtual corpses. There are ton of euphemisms for killing turtles in this way. Retiring them is the most common way to speak of it. People also talk of turtles being long gone, joined the circus, or if they are selling dead ones that are boxed up, they call them iced.

I had the option of boxing up my shell babies. The only question was when I would use it. I planned that out as I did some work around the house. I had extra food from times I went on vacation. If the turtles continued to eat, but I was unable to feed them, I had three or four days until the four day starvation cycle kicked in. After that I could take my time. I decided I would box my turtles when they reached between 50% and a hundred percent of starvation. That was some solution!

I still felt retched. I told everyone. I hurt all over. I almost cried. Iyoba really cried. Then late last night, after I got done cooking and meeting with my intern, I was able to feed my turtles again. I have also been able to feed them tonight. I have a reprieve. I still think I should take lots of pictures. Nothing lasts forever. Boy is that one disgusting truism! Lack of communication from those who sell a product is a very scarey thing. In Second Life, one always suspects the worst of merchants. I paid a trust tax according to Stephen Covey. I made other people pay it too by being positively disgusting.

On the other hand, what did I know. As of tonight, Grim Hathor, has not responded to my note even though I asked him for nothing, not even a refund for the food. Win some. Lose some. There are perils to having an "unsupported" virtual pet. One of them is no communication. I'm going to enjoy the time I have with my turtles and so is Iyoba. We really didn't learn very much except that one day the real end is really going to hurt.

Eileen H. Kramer and Iyoba BatOni -- December 1, 2011