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.

Confessions of a Guilty Pleasure and More

A week ago Wednesday, I fell into Flurbils. Yes, they deserve free advertising, but not the kind I'm about to give them. Flurbils are a clever marketing trick. They are breedables that don't breed, don't require food, yet do all the cute things you wish virtual pets would do. Moreover, one only sees live flurbils (There are no eggs, baskets, or bundles) in ready made habitats that some owners buy. If you don't want to buy a habitat, you don't have to, but I'll get to that later. I have no desire to buy a habitat.

As a result, you always see flurbils at their best. When yo usee Petable Turtles, they are confined to small pens, or one sees them as eggs that have yet to be hatched. One sees cats (There are two vendors for cats) crowded in a space that doesn't give them room to move and with loads of text over their heads. Bunnies tend to look a bit more lively, but they too become clouds of text, and Amaretto Horses are the saddest of all. Bright Petz had the right ideas with their pigs, a few of which they let wander the sim. Flurbils, by contrast are only seen going about their business in fairly decent settings. It was enough to get me to spend 300L (about a dollar) for my first Flurbil, Leonida and two more dollars to acquire Pythias and Zenobia, two other flurbils. I now have a team of three.

All I have to do with Flurbils is take them to someone else' park/playground collection of habitats, and let them play. They earn points. When I get enough points, I can have a free special flurbil. I could have an army of flurbils. Some owners do because flurbils can only do so many activities in so many habitats.

And flurbils are cute things with a personality far less neurotic than turtles. The messages I receive from the habitats at the Flurbils site feature such pearls of wisdom as "Leonida went potty and remembered to flush," "Zenobia prettied up its belly hairs in Melina's Spa and Beauty Salon," or "Pythias changed a lightbulb at the top of the light house in the lighthouse habitat." You don't want to know what my turtles say. Irving, my Autumn special male, says "I fling my nuts in your general direction. You lose! Good day!"

A sumo flurbil named PythiasThis is Pythias. He is a sumo flurbil. You don't see that many paid, specialty flurbils though he only cost a dollar. Even for a bruiser, he is cute. He is walking down the road of the open air habitats at Private Fraka. Flurbil appearance makes no difference except some varieties are harder to get than others. They are rewards for scoring points. Every time my flurbils meet another flurbil or accomplish an activity for the first time in a given habitat they get one hundred points. Because they exhaust all the activities in habitats until they are reset, I need to keep finding them new places to play. Some playgrounds are also "faster" than others. Private Fraka is a slow playground due to the distance between habitats.

ZenobiaI'm glad I bought Zenobia. She so far is rarer than many of the extra point flurbils and she only cost a dollar. That makes her interesting. She's also a relatively new release. She's my laziest flurbil. I'm not sure if it is related to her species or just bad luck or something else. She earns points though and no complaint there.

LeonidaThis is Leonida my original flurbil, whom I purchased on impulse. I called her Leonida because her color is like a Leonidas rose. She was the flurbil I extricated from a scrum at Garden of Dreams. There were close to twenty flurbils caught in a pipe and I was able to get close to her with the camera and take her back into inventory. She has the most points of any flurbil but she is a long way from making hero status.

Can you see where this is leading, and don't ask me if flurbils are addictive? My answer is they can be. My other answer is that they very much violate my reason for being in Second Life. You can not make habitats for flurbils. The scripts are not freely available. All the habitats look alike. They are store bought, and there are some people out there tempted to acquire whole armies of flurbils and then buy the habitats which are not that expensive but which take land and use up prims. Do you get the idea. Many of these folks are into other breedables, but one of the joys of conventional breedables is setting up a custom "pen" or more accurately a naturalistic setting where you can watch them and gather their eggs. The roof of my house is a custom Petable Turtle habitat. I will never be able to have such an arrangement for Zenobia, Pythias, and Leonidas.

Second, Flurbils take work. You have to go the playground, release them and keep an eye on them. A flurbil that is not producing is often a flurbil that is stuck somewhere. Then one has to log in and pick them up. Peer pressure lets you see the more active playres and their points. Suddenly you want to earn points too....Wait, is there only one way to play flurbils? Apparently for the lack of hassel in feeding and breeding, and good display, you sacrifice flexibility with flurbils. I've noticed it. I am taking my flurbils to play a bit less. I worked on a dress this afternoon for Iyoba. She has two sets of dress textures, which means we get some sandbox time and I have ideas for new projects. If I know my time is better spent...well I'm writing now, but I just had a crash and want Second Life to work out any minor kinks before I log in and then...pick up the flurbils. It's time to give someone else a turn and I'm putting them back in inventory because Iyoba and I both have lives beyond store bought habitats.

By the way as with any reinforcing system, it is easy to get sucked in. Think vote exchange and site fighters. There are those out there running crews of twenty to fifty flurbils moving them from playground to playground and hey it gets to look like work. That is not going to be me. The Flurbils are cute. They are fun to watch. When they stop being fun to watch, it's time to retire them to invetory, and...they won't even need the Elixir of Life.

I did create a functioning turtle dip. I tried out three scripts and found that if I added floating text to the random object giver script, I had a free (not paid!) turtle egg dip. As far as I know, my free dip is a one of a kind. I feel proud of it. I even had a sculpty barrel and psychadelic texture for it. I put it in my garden. It cuts down primage, and someone even emptied it out once. As with a store in Neopets, advertising a dip takes work. I don't always have time for this. Dave Ramsey would call this the hassle factor. He's right, though I doubt Pastor Ramsey would have much use for Second Life. To each their own.

I have one dress texture in inventory and another ready for upload. Iyoba is also back to bushwhacking for the CVL inventory of libraries and museums. This is a sad task. Nothing is where it should be, and some very beautiful places are gone. I don't miss Illumination Library which I made sure I caputred in pictures. When it comes down to it, I am just not that big a fan of classic literature, except novels. Illumination Library was overbuilt. Virtual Polluted Ithaca was also overbuilt, but it looked enough like the real thing that it filled me with utter nostalgia. Last night when I was feeling low, I decided to take Iyoba for a walk there. We could mark it off on the inventory spreadsheet as well. Well you guessed it, all I have left is memories and photographs. I'm glad I took those photographs. I guess Cornell's department of government is not going to run that course again, and had no more use for the island. What a shame. I wonder how many alumns there are running around Second Life who would have loved to rent land on that island. It could have paid for itself. There is an island called Ithaca, but it is home to a Western Wear store amd mostly bare land to support primmage. So it goes.

An avie and her altie I'll shake off my case of the sads and take Iyoba on another bushwhacking expedition. No doubt you will hear about it here, and I'll show you Iyoba's new spring dresses. Hey, every avie deserves some spring clothes. Meanwhile, this is probably the most unusual picture I have ever taken in Second Life. This is Iyoba standing next to Yonatanna, her altie. I sent Yonatanne inworld to rescue Iyoba by giving her a Linden. The rescue did not work, and Catherine on the support crew had to help us out, but Yonatanne tried. You don't see how short either avie is, but they are wearing the same pear of shoes which I made the summer of 2008. Yes, I've beenin Second Life that long. Yes, Yonatanne is that dark. That is a custom made skin. You do see people that shade every now and again in Atlanta Georgia. You'd see a lot more of them in Lagos, Nigeria or Kinshassa, Congo. As for Yonatanne's weight, well you see lots of people who have her shape in real life, why not in Second Life?

Five out of six turtles And here of course are the turtles. The pen which holds their food is porous. Watching them escape is all the fun. Finding their eggs behind trees, hanging in the air, or over by the tape deck (Yes, Iyoba and I have one of those) is half the fun. You can zoom in on them with Viewer Two and follow them around. They move pretty quickly. They'd whip any Ozimals bunny in a race, but nobody has figured out how to make virtual breedable rabbits race yet. I think both the turtles and rabbits would rather mate and eat than do something dumb like try and cross a finish line at human commands.

Eileen H. Kramer, Iyoba BatOni, Yonatanne Xaron, Six Petable Turtles, and Three Flurbils -- February 27, 2011

Recovery, Rebuilding, Forgiveness, and Aspirations

No, I have no forgiveness for Katya Dirval and her heavy-handed tactics. I will probably (and you can't ever say "never") never rent land from her. I can forgive Walter. Real life happens. I can forgive others for saving their property or leaving and starting elsewhere. I had a 512 and that gave me the option of patience. I also had multiple bottles of Elixir of Life. I could have bought more of them. That too would have given me the option to wait. Also, as Rosewolf said to me: "You know how to make clothes." In other words, I can live without land on which to rezz store bought things for a period of time. That might have given Iyoba and me, options other people did not get.

I am sorry, there are no pictures to accompany this entry. I want to write more than I want to do a photo shoot. Besides doing a photo shoot makes me think it might be my last, much like last month's photo shoot when Stinky Stink at Imperia Corp I. Now, let me tell the rest of the stories of Walter, my favorite landlord's, and my misadventures, and Iyoba's misadventures as well. It was after all her land and the turtles' land. First, the turtles did fine on our 512. They are laying wonderful eggs, eating lots of turtle food, and just being nice turtles.

Imperia Corp II, went under about a week ago. The sim went under in a way that was different from Imperia Corp I and Imperia Brasil Corp II. Walter and I share a preference for Roman numerals, but I would have named the islands differently. All empires (Imperias) end. From what I could gather, Ariane and Fernando Scarmon were co-owners with Walter. These are all avatar names. I don't care who these people are in "real life." They could not reach Walter and cut a deal with the upstream landlord and/or took over the land. I don't blame them for this mutiny. These are large land owners and they needed to protect what is often a large investment in store bought inventory that is hard to rezz. A 2048 even is still relatively portable, and when you build your own stuff, the scripting is more minimal and less complex. Picking up and moving, is an afternoon or evening's worth of work. For large land renters, it is another matter.

Meanwhile, the tenant on one of Walter's homestead islands decamped. I'm not sure if Walter owns the island or if it passed to the upstream landlord. There is a new tenant, but I'm not sure to whom he pays rent. It's a male tenant by the way.

This bring's Walter's empire down to Eddesign Island and the homestead of Tyrone. At the bottom of the crisis, Edde Walter's co-owner at Eddesign Island took over the land, buthe relinquished control when Walter had access to Second Life again. Walter in turn gave me new land on Eddesign Island. I moved in. Currently, I pay no rent. I update the spread sheet. Walter is grateful to me for my loyalty, but without loyalty Second Life is a bad place. Besides, loyalty was the most sensible course. I could make arrangements to stay loyal, but that was only half of the issue. An avie can camp out anywhere that is quiet. I am an ace at looking for couches for Iyoba. Turtles will die in inventory, but you can reivive them, as I said above. For the cost of a several dollars, I could buy all the time in the world, and as I also have said on this blog, time was on both Iyoba's and my side. There was no point in either of us rushing out and purchasing new land from a friend or from an unknown who ran a familiar place. Sometimes this works. Sometimes this doesn't. Like any relationship, it is bound to work badly on the rebound. Even if we no longer trusted Walter, waiting a decent interval made sense. Since we were waiting anyway, and Walter did not commit malfeasance, there was no reason not to continue to trust him. He also had a history as an excellent landlord. I'm glad I trusted Walter. I'm glad I did not forget his kindness and competence. I'm glad he trusted me with his records.

When Iyoba and I set up our new land we did it differently. We got rid of the skybox. I still have it in Iyoba's inventory, but we just took the house and set it on ground level and added stares. I also "murled it" with a picture of papaya trees, which is an improvement. The house has no windows, but that is fine since it is a private office on one side and a bathroom on the other. Yes, avatarim use the facility and take baths. There are animations for all this. No one wants a dirty avie! I have to watch the mini map to see if any one is close enough by to look through the walls with a camera, but Second Life has the population density of Wyoming. The turtlerie is on the roof top and there are stairs to the roof. I also have a huge table of free turtle eggs on display, but I'm going to get rid of that and make a 1L random turtle dip as soon as I'm sure it really functions. I need someone to test it for me.

A few days before Iyoba and I lost our land, we went looking for a herd of Indian cattle, a bunch of lemurs, or a pack of warthogs to graze on our land. We wanted large animals without the constant care, feeding, and reproduction that Amaretto Horses require. Also Amaretto is involved in a suit and countersuit with Ozimals, another breedable company in Second Life. I wanted lifelike large animals that required no further care after rezzing. I found a place that sells them. Then of course.... Once Iyoba's and my prim use is under control, we'll make the purchase and put something lifelike that I don't have in real life on my land.

By the way I think virtual cats are extremely cute, but they make me queasey. I can play a virtual person because I am a real person. Iyoba is partially human as far as I'm concerned. She thinks I'm partially avie. That arrangement works. Cats are a different matter. I have real cats in "real life." Virtual ones just strike me as counterfeit. I think they also strike me as energy in the wrong place. Real life cats need homes and many are in kill shelters. You don't need virtual cats. Get a real one! I don't feel this way about virtual turtles since the sale of baby turtles is prohibited. I don't feel this way about virtual warthogs, since you are unlikely to have a pet warthog. Virtual horses have their own issue since they spend their lives locked up in stalls or corrals which is sad. To each their own when it comes to breedables and pseudo breedables.

The same is true for clothes. The snow storm, the land loss, and the rebuild have cured me of making Iyoba into Imelda Marcos. I am no longer making two or three gowns a week. I just made a couple of power dresses, but it is nice to have something other than the inevitable black pants and men's tunic for an avie who works. Modest but not dowdy is my slogan. I am more interested in getting a functioning dip going. Also the last power dress while beautiful, was a failure. I got a very interesting optical illusion and a lovely satiny silk with an interesting pattern, but I wanted batik and was tired of having to hunt for batik patterns rather than make my own. Yes, I have a project that I'm anxious to start. Actually, I have two projects. I guess I am going to be busy.

Maybe the move and rebuild shook up my Second Life for the better, though it is an experience I'd wish on nobody. Yes, I'll have some pictures too soon, not just of the land but some rather unusual shots. I'm a pereptual shutterbug in Second Life, as Iyoba will attest.

Eileen H. Kramer with help from Iyoba BatOni -- February 1, 2011