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What it's All About

This is the story of Iyoba BatOni, my favorite avie who sometimes thinks for herself; me, the One who Thinks She Knows; and our Second Life.

We share our thoughts, discuss our adventures, and engage in a bit of amateur sociology which is not as boring as you tink.

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Before We Knew

Iyoba shows off her newest dress This blog episode should have happened two weeks ago. My One and I took most of these pictures on July 11 which was the day we discovered that there was NO MORE FOOD anywhere for our Petable Turtles which were on the way to becoming statues. The food run, a routine errand (aren't they always!) was something planned for later in the day. This first picture is not part of the ones taken before we descended into a world of hurt and learned once again to live with our beloved shell children. My One Who Thinks She Knows took it in the Foresnices sandbox on UoP Island. It's kind of proof that despite a whole bunch of milestones and endings, life goes on.

The She and Him Boutique Way back two weeks ago, my One had something to prove. I didn't have anything to prove, because in some ways I am a very practical sort. I am also a working avie and I need clothes for work. My One makes me those clothes. They are bright and colorful. They are feminine. The fabrics have themes or messages in them. I am modest, but not dowdy. My One also styles my hair, and both our tastes run to the outré occasionally, but hey this is not "real life." My One for all her hard work is not considered a "fashionista" and that bothers her. She is a content creator, and she wants respect. If she can't have respect, she'd have a photo shoot right in the heart of fashionista territory, which includes the She and Him Boutique on American Bazaar. She told me to put the link in "with reservations" as they say in Choice' book reviews not due to the content but to extreme lag. She was a very unhappy and exhausted One Who Thinks She Knows by the time she got done with these photographs.

Iyoba seated by the empty gumball machine. We made our first visit to She and Him Tuesday or Wednesday night (July 9 or 10). It was gorgeous, took forever to load, and My One began to sing. She said her clothes, though not mesh, were every bit as nice as the ones for sale here and more practical and more interesting etc... Here is the song My One could not stop singing. She said I looked sharp and we were savvy, and you can see for yourself, that I blend into my surroundings pretty well. You can even see that I am wearing some very outré hair. This is my dikdik dress, though you can't see the cute little minature deer that form its pattern on magenta batik very well.

The I-Spy Mango Spy dress One of the reasons my One was singing her Look Sharp song and so much into our clothes (She usually laughs at my overstuffed closet and huge wardrobe), is that she was flush with inspiration from trying the exercises in The Book of GIMP. This dress, is one of her first attempts at retouching and clipping out photographs, cloning, etc... It's also homage to RJR Farmer's Market fabrics and the ataulfo mangos at Your DeKalb Farmer's Market. RJR doesn't make an ataulfo mango pattern, but My One came up with one.

Charmed Snake EnsembleMy One wanted a lot of study-in-contrast photos of me in our designs standing next to the hottest, trendiest, mesh items. This ribboned number is pretty good, but it is just a polyester or satin/sateen ribbon on white, and the colors are cold and loud at the same time. The charmed snake dress I am wearing has a painted snake (made as part of a lesson in painting with GIMP) and a subtly patterned, kahki ,leather fabric, with emerald green trim. There is a lot you can do with color and it's all part of good design, says My One.

Art imitates life in the summer manatee dress Inspiration is another part of good design. Here I wear the Summer Manatee dress. Those creamy creatures are manatees that almost seem to be laughing, but the orange background that looks like batik isn't. It's made from a photograph of this writer's neck when he had just had surgery on a vein or artery and a huge scar. She made the skin into a filter with GIMP and created the orange fabric from that. Now doesn't that beat polyester sateen!

The first GIMP design My One says this was her first design made with a Book of GIMP exercise. It is a yellow dahlia on a background made using GIMP's noise and a lot of blurring and other adjustments. Green as you can see is the new black. Black is what everyone wears, and emerald green is under-used and definitely deserves more exposure. I agree with my One there, but sad to say at least for me, my One wasn't doing all these GIMP exercises to expand my wardrobe which is all ready too extensive and only going to grow. My One is looking for fame and fortune in "real life." She was following the lessons in the Book of GIMP so she could write a sample review (one of two) as part of her application to review books for Library Journal.

As of tonight, My One got accepted. That means soon a book will arrive and my One will be inworld a lot less. There will also be a lot less of this blog until around the middle of August. Last night my One bought Zwicky food (The Lily Frogs all ready have plenty to eat so no worry there and our Petable Turtles don't need to have their food replaced and topped off any more.) and paid enough of our rent that we are good until the end of August. My One said if we are ever going to use those pictures that took forever to take and caused our browser to crash more than once, the time was tonight. Once the book she is going to review for real arrives, we're both going into hiding. I don't mind. I'll be in the garden under the Curl-go-la with the Petable Turtles. All she needs to do now is name Geronimo's newest baby Zwicky, and set our Zwickies to "breed all" This will cut down on the number of zwicklets they have and give the males more time between pregnancies and not leave any of the females frustrated. Now that our Petable Turtles are glad not to be constantly reproducing, we've both resolved to treat our breedables better. My One also doesn't care about the She and Him Boutique or fashionistas any more. She has her shot at fame and fortune. Wish her well.

Iyoba BatOni (hard working avie) with help from fame and fortune seeking Eileen H. Kramer (One Who Thinks She Knows) -- July 29, 2013

Travels with Turtles

Iyoba sits with her shell family as they all enjoy dinner There is no question. Our turtles (the ones that are out and even the ones in inventory) are better off now and happier than when they could run around, mate, and lay eggs. As you can see in this picture, my One Who Thinks She Knows took earlier this week, The turtles now have improved food. I can also eat the apples. The prune plums are new and I can eat those as well. We can all eat together. This is a new experience. I even brought the turtles home a Blue Hawaiian on Wednesday. I had one and they shared another. Yes, you can imagine what happens when turtles drink part of a Blue Hawaiian, and poor Oktif is under age.

Billies is on Iyoba's back and ready for her travelsAnd who is Oktif. Well her name used to be Empty Garden, but she was our brave not-quite-volunteer for statuing and travel. She deserves a place at the fruit bowl and even a few sips of Blue Hawaiian. This is Billie and I getting ready to go out on a trip.

Billie and Iyoba on the second floor of the Cushing Library on 12th ManTaking a turtle to work when we go bushwhacking makes the work easier and more fun. Our first stop on this trip was the Cushing Library on 12th Man. The real content is downstairs, but the second floor offers a nice place to rest, check on chat conversations, and generally enjoy the atmosphere.

Billie and Iyoba go dancing at DefaultOf course what is the point of just going to work. The turtles talk to one another, and one of the things they discuss is music. Oktif started it all when she sat on my shoulder while I played the piano at Paris 1900, so when I got the invitation to a new club on Default, we just had to go. True, Default is an adult sim, but Billie is certainly an adult turtle. It was late at night, and only the owner and I were at the club. We line danced for a while before heading home.

La Tour Eiffel Of course all my travels with Billie, Jurgis, and Oktif (who used to be Empty Garden), left Adiv with a leftout feeling. My One used to praise her to the sky for being an excellent breeder and she figured that because she couldn't breed any more, my One was treating her as an inferior turtle. Yes, your turtles will talk if you are willingto listen, and sometimes like me, they too think for themselves. So off wewent to visit Paris Eiffel.

Sign for a poster presentation on the history of la Tour Eiffel.My One Who Said She Knows said she remembered a hanglider on top of the Eiffel Tower. She did not remember this poster exhibition that was all in French. She can read French and I understand it a little. Still we wanted to find the hang glider.

Parachuting down from the Eiffel TowerThere was no hang glider. My One Who Thinks She Knows thinks that there is another Eiffel Tower somewhere and there are definitely hang glider rides at Iwish where there is also an excellent club. I remembered riding the hang gliders and promised to take Adiv there.

Iyoba crosses a wooden bridge with Adiv on Czechoslovakia Meanwhile it was off to Czechoslovakia. My One liked that there was a bus to ride and a cute town and lots of nice forest. She did not like that the beach was tropical for no good reason. The sand dunes near the beach intrigued her. Adiv and I loved this rope bridge and the bus ride. We even heard avatarim speaking Czech. We took out our translator and listened.

Something so you don't get drunk so fastMy One Who Thinks She Knows found it mildly amusing that Czechoslovakia is awash in alcohol. Most campuses in teh Southern United States in "real life", where my One lives are dry. The United States has a twenty-one year old drinking age too. Well, this bar also served food. My One was thrilled to see latkes. Those are the brown potato pancakes. They are one of her favorite foods. Latkes is of course a Yiddish word. She is sure the Czechs call them something else. I ordered an Ironess beer at the bar and a Blue Hawaiian. I also got a Cosmopolitan at another tavern. I did not stop to drink my drinks. I saved them to take home to the turtles. My One was not sure our turtles would get drunk. Even if they did get drunk, they can't go anywhere and make trouble. They can't even bother the zwickies.

Billie and me at the piano in the Notic Getleman's Club My One has nothing against the turtles drinking. She agreed with me they deserved a little happiness just like Billie enjoying me playing the piano in the Notic Gentlemen's Club on Czechoslovakia. By now all four of our "out" turtles have heard me play the piano. Jurgis got to hear it at the Universidade de Aveiro. According to my One, the Portuguese name for the place does not have an elysion which is an apostrophe between the "de&qut; and the "Aveiro." To my One all Romance languages look like French. We also got a notecard to Presnickety Isle where there are more musical instruments, lots more. I guess I have a new place to take the turtles.

Of course we have to be very careful where we take the turtles. I could get thrown out of a club for wearing one. There are jerks in the world, and I don't mean my One or me, if you know what I mean. I mean there are sad things out there like Eagle Island. It's better for the turtles not to see what gets done to animals in "real life." Billie has all ready asked me why none of her young were ever given life and hatched out. My One pleaded lack of space and the cost of turtle chow. God, that was one stupid excuse!

The problem is, we won't ever be able to shield the turtles entirely because they share what I know, and I share what my One Who Thinks She Knows knows. We know some very sad, very bad stuff. Then last night, we needed to check on the zwickies. Nimrod was finally pregnant after waiting an extra day and he had the sleeping sickness. He was just sitting there and not eating. His hunger was up to fifty-seven percent. At a hundred percent he would die. My One put him back in inventory and rezzed him. She shook him. She set him by the food dish. He just sat there getting hungrier. She repeated the procedure and then couldn't find him in inventory. It's bad to see a pet vanish. We had that happen to a few of the turtles. It's equally bad to to see a One frantic. My One made another attempt to find Nimrod, got him out of inventory, shook him real hard, put him on the feeder and this time he ran away from her, which any one would do after the kind of shaking she gave him. My One was overjoyed, but then we both realized... the turtles had seen the whole thing.

In a way this is justice. The zwickies used to laugh at the female turtles who spent most of each and every day pregnant unless they had just laid eggs. Then they had a three hour break before getting pregnant again. My One used to be real proud of her turtles' being fecund. The zwickies had another idea. I think my One is starting to understand. She is no longer impatient with frogs and zwickies who take longer breaks between reproducing. She's not sorry yet, for the way we exploited about twenty-five turtles, over nearly three years. The turtles have it easy now. They have great food. They go travelling. They don't have to worry about always laying eggs. It is the zwickies who are vulnerable to exploitation. Shaking Nimrod probably saved his life, but my One is thinking about letting the male zwickies breed less often. She's just thinking about it. I'm going to tell her that it is one very, good idea.

Iyoba BatOni (who thinks for herself some of the time) with Eileen H. Kramer (One Who Thinks She Knows) and Billie and Adiv (There is life after exploitive reproduction)


Why my Turtles Matter

Turtles eye their new food supply When I log in to Second Life again, I will take posession of a box of eating animations, that cost me 300L (About $1.20, the price of a soda in many plaes.). It will have many uses, but the first use is going to be for animating one of those apples or one like it so that Iyoba can eat along with our turtles. No, the turtles "really don't eat," but if you want to think like that, they never did eat. True the food gradually disappeared and required refills. It cost 1300L every two weeks to feed a crew of nine turtles. That averaged obut to $3.50 a week. Multiply that by two years and ten months worth of weeks, and you'll know what I spent, and for all that the food made canned catfood look like elegant fare. This food is much nicer, and it will only cost me if I want to make something that I don't have in inventory and then just for a texture upload. Do you feel better? Besides watching Iyoba eat with her turtles will more than make up for the fact that Petable Turtle chow doesn't disappear any more.

Jurgis gets to visit Mars. And here Iyoba and Jurgis visit Mars on Explorer Island. We watched dust devils spin and a bunch of air bags like kahki grapes fall onto the surface of the red planet. Jurgis has often spoken of (It shows up in Iyoba's chat box) exploring onward to infinity. He is after all a green eyed Cosmic Starter, but his entire life has been on three sims, all of them more or less residential. Friday, he really got to explore!

Here is the bunch of grapes air bags tumbling on Mars Now a lot of you out there think I am absolutely bonkers. You think I should get a life. This last is a rank insult. How dare you call what I do worthless. I don't call what you do worthless, but then again, you don't go around justifying it. Oh well.... What is happening with Iyoba's and my turtles, is part of what makes Second Life special for education and recreation. Yes, my mind knows the turtles are just pixels. I know they can't reproduce any more or move unless carried, though they do go farther when carried. My mind knows they won't cost anything more to feed. My emotions, however, tell a different story, and we need our emotions or we have knowledge and not wisdom, and you need both knowledge and wisdom to act in a humane way.

Iyoba wearing her HUD in the respiratory ward of the hospital on Imperial University Island That's why you're seeing this picture of Iyoba walking down the hall in the Respiratory Ward atImperial College Hospital on Imperial College London. She has her badge. She has her HUD. She can buy tests for the patients. They cost a few Lindens each because you don't want to do unneccessary testing. England is not the United States. Iyoba ordered just about every test with my blessing. Neither of us wanted to tell the patient the bad news unless we were absolutely certain.

Scant comforts on the bedside This is the patient, Mr. Cook's (Yes, he has a name), night table. The cup is a cheap souvenir, and it is empty. The Bible is standard issue. There are no cards, no flowers, no treats from home.

Mr. Cook And here is Mr. Cook. I know he is just a bot, but I had read his profile and knew his fingers and toes were clubbed. That meant a shortage of oxygen. There was no oxygen. And here he was all alone in a hospital bed. Iyoba felt very sad. I felt very angry. Where was this man's oxygen, pain meds etc...? Had he met with a chaplain or someone from his house of worship? I remembered when my exboyfriend's mother was in the hospital and was not eating. She had cancer and she lived longer than any of the doctors predicted, a lot longer, probably because she remained at home most of the time and received palliative radiation. The first or second time she was in St. Elizabeth's, she wasn't eating, and she liked bananas, but the sorry excuse for a banana that Dietary put on my exboyfriend's mother's tray, was the color of sickly grass. I picked up the evidence, marched down to dietary, and managed to secure a ripe piece of fruit and an apology. Well, Mr. Cook looked like life had given him a green banana. You see why you need emotions as well as knowledge.

Iyoba gets ready to give the bad news to Mr. Cook Eventually, Iyoba realized (after several tests we were not supposed to order but which came in handy anyway. You'll see why!) that she would have to tell Mr. Cook he had lung cancer and a related bone ailment. There was a good chance the cancer had also metasticized. I hope I spelled that right, but probably didn't. Here is Iyoba trying to pull herself together in the hospital hallway.

Iyoba's answer Then Iyoba walked into Mr. Cook's room. She promised him oxygen and pain meds. She cleaned up and then walked over to his bed. She put her diagnosis in the box and then told him the truth. She touched him and he asked "Will I survive surgery?" On the note card was the stock answer which was that it would depend on his lung function, something Iyoba all ready knew from the PowerPoint we both watched. Her answer as you can see is a little different. Maybe Americans have more fighting spirit. Maybe it is wisdom and emotion that gives us hope. I'm not sure how a real medical student can act, but surely, the realistic looking bot and situation is bound to pull on their emotions.

By the way, working with my turtles, with whom Iyoba and I tend to spend a lot of our time, may also involve wisdom and build strength. Surely we are seeking a creative solution to having to statue our pets. I, who hold the purse strings, have invested a lot. I got a lot back, and I still get a lot back. Finding a creative solution to a problem is empowering. Maybe finding a way to deal with my turtles being statued other than just walking away will make me feel stronger and more empowered in other areas of my life. The turtles after all have a part of me in them, anda part of Iyoba as well. Taking care of a part of oneself, has got to make oneself stronger. And if you are the hard nosed, rational, practical sort, the eating scripts are full permission, and I've alawys wanted to make my apples edible with something other than the default drinking animation, which is really pretty disgusting. I have an apple machine so there is a pay off for my $1.20 and a dream.

Eileen H. Kramer (One Who Thinks She Knows) and Iyoba BatOni (Favorite avie and ace turtle tamer) -- July 21, 2013



So How are the Turtles... Really?

Shed a Tear for Your Dear Children Please don't tell me this is not important. Don't tell me to get a life. Don't bombard me with rhetorical questions about something else, anything else being more important. The more important part goes without saying, and turtles still matter. Two nights ago after trying to live a normal "second life" neither Iyoba nor I could take the oldies and metal at a club. Instead of making us bored, uncomfortable, or even good, we felt maudlin. We went back home to our turtles. They are still there, Adiv (grey brown turtle), Billie (purple shell), and Jurgis who cheated death four times. Since the mega-prim is back in inventory as part of construction plans that are supposed to be "letting go and moving on." Iyoba could sit on the ground as we both listened to Kol B'Ramah which played the "Mother Rachel Cry for Your Dear Children." This picture says it all. Both of us felt bad for our turtle statue friends. We wanted to talk to them. We wondered what they could say.

What Jurgis has to say these days. We could find out with a texture changing script placed in a HUD (heads up display). I could build such a device and have the turtles communicating up a storm, better than in the old days. Well maybe not quite, but there is life after reproduction. And face it, Petable Turtles, are only alive and precious because Ones Who Think They Know and avatarim say they are and believe they are. This is a faith-based enterprise. Getting the script to work was easy. I put multiple messages on each texture so we are starting out with sixteen to start our conversation. Chatting on a channel other than 1, prevents Iyoba and me from being overheard by those who would question our sanity. The best life is the one you make for yourself on your own terms. This picture shows Jurgis' messages. Click the thumbnail to see them in full size.

Of course this kind of enterprise has hidden pitfalls. Textures cost 10L a piece to upload, .045 if you are curious. With multiple messages on a texture, it will take a long time to spend what I would have unquestioningly spent on turtle food to keep my turtles in conversation. The problem with this kind of approach is that once one gives virtual creatures a chance to speak for themselves in an unfettered way, they tend to become melancholy. Face it real life animals have it pretty bad unless they are someone's pet or far enough away from human kind that we are not a danger. Virtual pets don't have it much better. Just read these adventures which is some of what happened to my Neopets (All indica removed in accordance with copyright law) after I had a frozen account and decided I was better off playing my pets where I could make my own rules. This isn't the first time I've worked with virtual animals away from their original server. Suffice it to say, the world is not a great place when humans can serve you on a bun, and not that much better a place when they can "retire you to inventory." Still, Second Life is a far less miserable environment than either Neopia or "the real world" for virtual creatures. Iyoba and I need to keep our turtles happy.

Iyoba and Empty Garden visit Puyo Puyo's Special ZoneOur next task was to get our turtle statue family moving again. Now if you are literal minded, you will remind me that Petable Turtles and Turtle Statues are no modify. Well I will reply that stones move, and I don't mean over millions of years. Your coffee cup moves, and I don't mean the liquid inside it. I mean it moves when you move it. Edit is clumsy, but carrying or wearing are graceful. Why not attache a turtle and wear him or her? I could then dance with the turtles, walk around with them, and even teleport with them to new places. You can see the possibilities, but I lost a turtle traveling that way. His name was Mithras. I have him as a broken creature in my inventory. I needed a test turtle. Empty Garden, a hatchling who became my first statue, was the chelonian guinea pig. Here is Iyoba wearing Empty Garden on her soulder on Puyo Puyo in the Special Zone which made the Explore SL Spread Sheet.

Iyoba plays the piano in the Moulin Rouge museum while Empty Garden listensAnd here is Iyoba in the Moulin Rouge Museum on Paris 1900. I realize this is the first time any of our turtles has ever seen a piano or heard any one play one. Yes, I know turtle statues don't see or hear, but if you go down that road, everything in Second Life is pixels. Some things have a piece of yourself in them, and you have to respect that.

And late last night, we had our first Turtle Statue conversation with the Turtle Listener (See the picture above to see the HUD display). The turtles of course do not just say what is on the HUD. The HUD is just a starting point. Jurgis of course wanted to revisit the land of his birth and Explorer Island. I told him about that. Billie asked why no one had ever hatched out any of her eggs. As I said above, talking virtual creatures often travel down sad roads, and you travel with them. And all the turtles want me to rename Empty Garden. I hatched her out at random. She got lucky or as lucky as a turtle statue can be. Of course I can't use teh Petable HUD to rename her, but I can alter textures and call her anything I please. Some things are easier done when you are off the grid and in your heart.

Eileen H. Kramer (One Who Thinks She Knows) and Iyoba BatOni (Favorite avie) -- July 19, 2013



Shouting into the Wind

Lucifer, my first Petable Turtle returned to life The end began for Petable Turtles last weekend. I learned about it on Thursday when I went to get food and found none to be had. Jeep Streeter's affiliate vendor did not work. The one at UBS Orphanage and Farmyard was gone. The one at the Petable enclosure in Shark (Sorry no slurls) was also misisng and in it was a white box labeled Petable. It took a couple of more trips to examine the box's contents. Nothing in it was for sale. It was impossible to take a copy. Little did I know the contents was no transfer. It just didn't register but the names of the contents did. They were: "Elixir, Turtle Statue Kit, and The End." I remember the way I felt when I first saw this. It felt as if I had been socked in the gut. Every muscle hurt. The worst part was I could tell no one; for they would not understand.

Pyhrrus formerly Useless, a sterile male turtle What followed was a flurry of desperate instant messages to the Petable Turtles' creators to get a kit and to ask if it really was the end. It is. Here is a copy of the note.

Greetings Turtlers,

It was a wild ride, and a blast. I thank you for all of your dedication and support. Alas, the time has come to pull the plug. The food sales no longer cover the server costs (And haven't for a few months). I investigated downgrading the server hardware, but it just isn't feasible at this point.

As promised, I have created a Statue box for your turtles. It works exactly the same as a normal box, except it displays your full turtle, and can't be unboxed. You have 1 week, Until Midnight Saturday July 13th. At that point the server will be shut down and the HUD, live turtles, boxes, etc will all cease to function. Only eggs and statued turtles will remain, and only visually.

Thanks again,
Grim Hathor

I read the note Saturday night and realized I faced only a few more hours with my turtles nad some very stark choices. I stil had choices:

I could let my turtles die a natural death.

I could statue all my turtles quickly and be done with it.

I could take lots of photographs.

I could do something utterly crazy but deeply sentimental.

One of the last three eggs Choices three and four turned out to be the ones I chose. This is a picture of one of the last three Petable Turtle Eggs I will ever gather. I had over a hundred and fifty photographs. I'm not showing all of them on this blog because unless you are into turtles, I don't think you can really understand their significance. I also gave the gift of life to several eggs and one long-dead turtle. His name was Lucifer, and he was the first turtle I ever hatched out. I bought his egg in the now long-gone Turtle Market on Remik on the mainland (no slurls the market is long gone.) I revived him with the Elixir of Life of which I now had an unlimited supply in my statue kit. He is the pink turtle next to the first paragraph. I retired him because I was a young and stupid breeder who did not know how to appreciate turtles just for being all different colors.

An egg by Adiv and Shais, one of Lucifer's descendents. I of course never hatched any "fixed eggs." I did tonight. I hatched out a beautiful egg named Useless and renamed it Pyhrrus. The pretty male turtle graces the second paragraph of this blog. It did not matter if he could reproduce any more. These eggs were from Adiv and Shais. Adiv is an ugly female with a grey-brown shell and body and a burgundy plastron. By all rights, I should have never hatched her and should have retired her right after birth since I had just hatched out her much prettier sister, Yatif. I did not do that, and Yatif turned out to produce wonderful offspring. I did get to hatch one of them out.

An egg named Beautiful I named the egg beautiful even though it appeared to be the least promising of the brood. Promises no longer mattered, and I liked the symbolism of the act. I also hatched out an egg called Empty Garden on which to try the statue maker to see if I could stomach statuing all my other turtles. The statue maker produced an immobile, noneating, awake creature, no worse than the nonbreedable animals one can buy on various sculpty sims. I would not be keeping all my statue turtles on Stinky Stinky because I did not think it a good idea to be reminded so much of my loss. Also, I wanted the prims. I would keep three, and Adiv would be one of the lucky ones. I can always take the others out of inventory if I change my mind.

Turtle Statue Makers Ready to Go Around 2:20am EDT, it was time to begin the end for my turtles, even though I am not sure it is really the end (see both above and below). I got out all the statue makers I would need. Here is Jurgis who has now cheated death a fourth and final time looking at the statue makers. He has no idea what is in store for him and that is good. It is better than what his first owner did to him and what I did to him at least once, and what almost happened to him twice in the last year when the Petable servers glitched.

Iyoba lying with her three statue turtles in the Curlgola Here is Jurgis along with Adiv and Billie who are the statue turtles I have out now. I'm not sure how I feel about turtle statues. I'm not sure if they are dead or alive. Petable Turtles after all were virtual creatures, and Second Life's rules are not those of "real life." Many things are almost living and alive enough to pluck heartstrings. Think of the bots in the various jails and hospitals. Think of the kitty couches. I think Iyoba feels better sleeping next to the turtles every night she sleeps at Stinky Stinky.

The turtles homing device and food. One last look And why should I who knows better than Iyoba grieve for the loss of my Petable Turtles? It's a complicated answer. It's more than my Mirror Neurons made me do it. I grieve that three years of shared history has come to an end. Plants were the reason I rented my first big land, but turtles cemetned the relationship. There was the comraderie of other turtlers and other breedable fanatics. Turtles led to zwickies.

On another level, my Petable Turtles have been a point of stability in the last turbulent fifteen months. Doing the "daily do" to gather eggs, was part of my routine. I think it is what I will miss most. The ride with the zwickies is wilder, but I first learned to zoom in and follow my turtles in the camera's eye. I also learned to appreciate letting breedables do their own thing and not shooting for any goal other than letting them just be. They provided their own surprises even when "no longer supported." I don't think my statue turtles will provide those surprises, but I could be wrong.

And ask me what I will do next. There are moralists among you who think I shall devote more of my attention to the "real world." To you I will explain, I like to stay up late, and the turtles were a perfect activity for when most of the world was asleep. After all, we are all entitled to some soothing form of leisure. I do not think I want to start another breedable. Smaller breedables (low prim) or those with less of a following tend to have weaker support. Weak support is fine until the store closes down and food and supplies become unavailable.

Besides as of this morning, the statue kit in the Petable Enclosure at Shark was still nontransferable. I had all of four hours notice due t Shabbos and the fact that I did not need food until Thursday night. The end of Petable Turtles has not been as smooth as I had hoped. The support for them, however, was excellent for most of the two years after August 8, 2011. I'm glad I stuck around. Choosing a breedable means investing in someone else' creation. It also means you have faith that the creation is not going to vanish somewhere in the night. I still have crying Flurbils that look for a nonexistent server, but flurbils simply gave silly messages and let you watch them. They were not true breedables, but they were way too server dependent. I'm not sure I want to tie up my money and heart in another creature that is fundamentally not wholly mine.

I have other projects. Freeing up prims for them is my first priority. Iyoba needs dresses. She doesn't need them, but I need sandbox therapy. At least the wardrobe is all hers. That is a big relief. I may be taking down the Curlgola now that I have room for something larger and something larger in mind. It's the Ovi-ring which you will see in future episodes. I want to make more of a Judaica site out of Stinky Stinky. With the right links and some script tweaking and the Ovi-ring, I can have innovative architecture to show off and make copiable, and material and resources that are lacking in the rest of Second Life. Maybe it is time to let others put their faith in me. Right now, though, I am still reeling with shock. Some things just hurt.

Eileen H. Kramer (One Who Think She Knows) with help from my favorite avie, Iyoba BatOni -- July 14, 2013



Sand in my Shoes

Iyoba in a fairly new dress crouching in the grass on ECU IIIMy One Who Thinks She Knows told me that Sciences went down last night, and it is probably permanently gone. (Actually, the sim may have changed hands.) Sciences along with Arts and Letters were part of East Carolina University's sims. These days they have their own archipelago. This was my second visit here. In the illustration, I am grateful to be crouching in the tall grass looking at some new contruction (see below), but the minute we arrived on East Carolina University, I knew something was amiss.

Where is the grass on ECU II?Here I am standing near the library on ECU II. One thing that my One loved about the East Carolina University Islands was how they resembled her idea of the North Carolina lowlands, forests, grass, memories from her bus trips south, waking up in North Carolina after darkness fell just south of Washington, DC. Now I had sand in my shoes for no good reason.

Engineering teleport boards are everywhereActually there was sort of a good reason. These engineering teleport boards, nearly always on a purple background were on nearly all the islands we visited. They are part of a large set of OR and IE (Operations Research and Industrial Engineering) exercises with a homebase on East Carolina University, and satellite buldings all over the other, publicly accessible sims.

East Carolina Bank -- Notice the Brass Name PlatesThe exercises even feature a touch of humor. They center around computer support and data crunching for the East Caro Bank. At the East Caro Bank, all the administrators and any body of rank gets an ornate, brass nameplate. The top brass get one name plate each, while those lower down share a department name plate. Rank has its privileges.

Indoor fountain in MendenhallEast Caro Bank even attempts to treat its customers right. It treats them to a fountain with a family of ducks and a calico koi in the Menden Hall on ECU III. The only problem is that East Caro Bank has pretty much taken over the library on ECU II.

Mountain of Education PowerPoints My One is torn up as to whether all this repurposing is a good thing. She liked the Spanish history game laid out on top of the under-used football filed on ECU III, and we were both fascinated by this granite mountain also on ECU III.

Wood stove keeps students warmOf course we had to find our way to the top or inside. That is how we found a treasure trove of PowerPoints about pedagogy, including classroom and data management/assessment. These are written in jargon, and clearly not everybody's thing, but they are still useful. And those who built the classroom make sure to keep students warm with a modern, wood stove that burns full of bright flames.

An old time fan in another classroom in the Mountain of PowerPointsOf course if students get too hot, there is also a fan in another classroom to cool them down. This is a classic anachronism of a fan, but it is built tough, complete with spit-ball protection shield, according to my One, though none of the bots in the classrooms know how to shoot spitballs. My One Who Thinks She Knows says I should teach them. She says the optimal technique is to shoot one through a straw.

We also did not get any photographs of a Civil War or Frontier battlefield on ECU VI. Yes, that's the right number. The sim once had a very walkable and lovely Grand Canyon, but the gritty, battle scene of pickets and trenches complete with tools is impressive in its own way.

Internet Cafe for Guests of the Pirate HotelOf course not all the repurposing is complete. The Pirates Hotel, where I am sitting in the GUESTS ONLY internet cafe enjoying the computers (Ones Who Think They Know use these all the time and they are fun!) lost its spa in a separate building. That building is now an office suite of empty rooms. And all over the islands are telport boards and link givers that give SLURL's of which seventy to eighty percent lead either to nowhere or to vastly changed sims.

There is also the Virtual Hospital on ECU IV that has patients complete with histories. There is just one small problem. The patients have been in the hospital since 2010. Is this one of the old time mental instutions in which patients could be locked up for life? I asked my One this and she said the patients should sue for false imprisonment, but you can't find any lawyers in Second Life. Down in the lobby, behind the Flying, Silver Figure Eights is a PowerPoint detailing assignments for a course given in 2009.

If sims don't grow, get repurposed, and used, they die, because why pay the rent for an unused sim. That's a rhetorical question, dear reader. Think about Sciences, though the sim may have changed hands and now belong to tenants who add value and keep paying the rent. The question with the ECU islands is whether those using the sim have repurposed it enough to make it earn its keep. None of us knows. I did see a class in session last night, so maybe things are looking up. In a glass that is half empty or half full, there is still only half a as much of your favorite beverage as there could be. Meanwhile, on some of the ECU islands, there is more than enough sand to go around, and it makes my feet itch.

Iyoba BatOni (who can think and write!) and Eileen H. Kramer (One Who Thinks She Knows) -- July 10, 2013

Two Ways to Do Art

Can you find Iyoba sitting under the willow tree My One Who Thinks She Knows has a love-hate relationship with Ars Simulacra. We both love the place because we used to run all over the landscape, though it is a bit out of human or avie scale, and more importantly we swam in the waters. This was our swimming sim, and swimming in world was new to us both. There was lots of water, and it was deep. The art was pretentious and separated by lots of green, and the night we went to a concert of someone doing a live cover of Billy Joel tunes with no single, avie dance balls, we both decided the place was really only good for solitary swims.

A gold and copper sculptureOne of the reasons My One Who Thinks She Knows positively detests Ars Simulacra these days is that instead of sacrificing it last year when NMC could no longer support all of its sims, NMC sacrificed NMC Orientation, the sim where I spent my first days as an avie and where my One spent her first days learnng the ropes of Second Life in May of 2008. We returned to NMC Orientation countless times because it was just, plain fun. There was a tutorial for making pose balls. There was a village. There were drums to play and a trolley to ride. We both miss this sim very much.

A spinning golden gobletThe art on Ars Simulacra is supposed to be interactive. It has an exclamation point with the word "interact" under it. This golden goblet is interactive. It makes you look at it from the top when you touch it. That is supposed to be an "acid trip." Even without the interaction, the golden goblet is quite beautiful though the knots in the Knot House give it a serious run for its money.

A great big scarlet sculptureThe problem with a lot of the art on Ars Simulacra is that art in Second Life is distressingly common. Any avie whose One Who Thinks They Know makes their clothes or hair is a walking art exhibit. Try and create your own house and you make art as well as craft. And then there are all the sculptures, posters, etc... everywhere. Art of course is a great way to give something back, and we visited Ars Simulacra and don't mind giving them all the publicity of our links because the sim very definitely belongs on the Explore SL Spread Sheet. My One Who Thinks She Knows knows that she does not have to like every piece of art she sees.

Avie scale at last and you know whyAnother reason neither my One nor I am fond of the Ars Simulacra sculptures is that they are way off human or even avatar scale. They are huge. We did not even take a prim count. Here is a picture of me enjoying the landscape which my One really does think is prettier than the art work. Monetization is hard and NMC made the wrong decision.

Two Little Twin StarsNow when it comes to art we are truly all our own critics, but My One and I both enjoyed the art at Electrobit City. The builders consider the sim an homage to the world of 8-Bit color, 1980's computer games. My One who makes my clothes said that the color used was far more than eight bits. You can do a lot with 256 colors used in .gif images. She also called the art style hard-edged. She says the sim reminds her (and it also reminds me) of Moya Land, Ouvroir, or even our own Stinky Stinky because most of our plants and textiles start out as electronic hand painted objects or as colored pencil drawings, NOT as photographs. Often abandoning photorealism makes for better art. A big miss looks better than a near one, in my One's opinion.

Iyoba sitting on a bench but it's not like other benchesThe art on Electrobit City is also utterly interactive. It does not give notecards and it usually does not give helpful chat messages (We were both too busy wtih the artwork to see the messages until after the fact.), but you interact with it anyway. This bench is a case in point. You have to walk over it and then click an exclamation point to sit on it. That's interactive! Having to move in a whole new way with camm and sit disabled (If you can't sit, what's the point?) is about as interactive as it gets!

Iyoba admires the viewSometimes you just interact wtih the Electrobit City artwork by walking through it. Here I am getting the lay of the land from a castle balcony. Notice the handsome, 256 color, brown, apricot, and white pattern, and the thick black outlines. There is more than one way to look at the world.

Iyoba ponders a big, cerise and red chimneySometimes Electrobit City's art forces you to resort to trial and error. I don't know how many times I tried jumping from one platform or ledge to another. It was fun. I cut my teeth as a newbie by jumping over low stone walls on the beaches of NMC Orientation and nearby islands that have by now gone the way of all flesh or where islands go when their Ones can't pay the rent. I always teach new avatarim to jump. My One says you can jump much higher and farther in Second Life than you can in "real life." She says this is especially true if your avie is short as I am.

A wet avie who can swimAnd sometimes the artwork on Electrobit City bites you back. I found out looking at my chat messages that I had died, even though all that happened was I fell in the water. You can't see it in the picture, but there is an unreachable aquarium on the other side of some glass behind where I am swimming. I wonder if I'll ever get inside it, and whether the creatures in there were created to be mean. Only those who built Electrobit City know, and it goes without saying that we added Electrobit City to the Explore SL Spread Sheet.

Iyoba BatOni (who sometimes thinks for herself) and Eileen H. Kramer (One Who Thinks She Knows) -- July 7, 2013

Finding Trouble for my One Who Thinks She Knows

Iyoba looks out a window of a building that no longer exists on Writers Island My One Who Thinks She Knows was still out of sorts, but she is usually out of sorts, AND we had bushwhacking to do. We needed to find new places and check existing ones for the Explore SL Spread Sheet. That is why we paid our THIRD visit to Writers Island. On our first visit, the sim had been created less than a day ago. It was a sandbox and we made our Curlgola to replace the Big Old House. On our second visit, the island was green, no longer allowed outsiders to build, and had one house with a few literary posters on the wall. That is my looking out the window in the image.

Iyoba stands by a reasonably new bridge This time the island was quite developed with buildings that looked like houses. Ninty-nine percent of these buildings are prefabs. There is a whole industry selling prefabs, and there are even a few free ones or used to be. I won't tell you what my One thinks of prefabs. Most of them have the same problem as our big, old house that is now in inventory. They're useless. I don't have time to sit in a house and neither does my One. They also suck up a lot of prims which kind of adds insult to injury. Worse yet, we had no idea whether the prefabs were private homes or public facilities. Any one can name an island anything they want, which means this could just be a bunch of snobs renting to their own kind, and snobs are not above security orbs or a few ugly words.

The Illustrated Woman Now there were some hints that the island or part of the island at least was public. Here is a sculpture of an illustrated woman. She has tattoos all over her body. She is a take on one of the story's in the book The Illustrated Man by Ray Bradbury. My One and I share a lot of knowledge and memories.

An anachronism in an art gallery And then there was this weird device in a very, small art gallery with real, original art. My One Who Thinks She Knows said she had a manual typewriter. Maybe she still does. My One used to play around on it when she was a child, but she never learned to touch-type on one. She learned on an electric and has typed on a computer most of her adult life. She says the manual machine has a different touch. There may be people in what my One calls the "third world" (could that be like Third Life?) who still use manual typewriters. She's not sure about this, but the machines are very, very old fashioned.

A picture in the art gallery wtih the typewriter Then while we were exploring the other buildings on Writers Island we met someone who looked like the owner or landlord. As much as my One Who Thinks She Knows had wanted to find trouble, this was NOT the kind of trouble we wanted or needed. "Think fast!" my One said to herself. We got ready for the usual barrage of pseudo-polite questions which is how civilized avatarot handle these encounters. Yes, you thought your island was private until a stranger walked in the door. Well too bad. You don't want to throw out the trouble maker because he or she might not really be a trouble maker and besides, you are not really that kind of a person so you start asking rude questions instead. We both knew the drill: "What are you doing here? Why are you interested in.... Are you interested in..." because if you are not you have no reason being here...etc...

My One Who Thinks She Knows is surprisingly good at answering these. She gave the landlady a link to the Explore SL spread sheet, and then she said that she really liked the images in the art gallery particularly the photographs of the scars. YOu can see one of them near the top of the other paragraph. It's a thumb nail touch it to click it full size. There is another scar picture that my One felt was too provocative to print. I don't understand all of this, but my One has a thing about scars. She has a lot of them on her body and she loves them and hates them. She says they are proud symbols of surviving battles in life. She says they hide secrets. She says they are records of violence. She says she sometimes wants to hide hers and sometimes to flaunt them. I can't say more because my One won't let me. It's unbloggable. Any way, those photos amazed my One. She told the landlady and she gave my One the blog of the man whose scars were photographed and on display. The scars by the way do not come from a fight. The man was in the hospital and had an operation on his neck. The scars in the thumbnail image are from where the nurses inserted the IV lines. My One says they are bruises under the skin and injured blood vessels. Well now, we have a new member of our blogroll, and we'll be making a fourth visit to Writers Island.

By the way I wonder what would have happened to us, if My One had been high school kid or a working class person who could not glibbly talk her way out, or not an aficianado of scars. Private property after all is still private property. My One wonders what would have happened to us if I had been a six foot tall adolescent-looking adult woman covered in bling with six inch heels, and more rips and tatters in her clothing than coverage. My One says that running a truly public facility is hard!

Iyoba in the Rembrandt Museum Long Island University" is a truly public place. It had a lot to offer, two art galleries, one of which had new pictures, a Great Hall full of links, and this wonderful Rembrandt Museum which is also a replica (probably with artistic license) of his Sixteenth or Seventeenth Century studio. Here I am painting in the work room. It's a shame the Museum het Rembranthius somehow never makes lists of quality places to go in Second Life.

Iyoba speaks her mind Most of these lists are outdated and based on a list that has been copied over and over again with no one checking and updating. The Museum het Rembranthius is just too new or unknown to ever make the list. There are boxes with traditional ists of educational places to go in Second Life on shelves in the Kahn Discovery Center. My One, who knows the state of such boxes suggested we try them out to see if they were receiving updates. I said: "One, this is a colossal waste of time! You know what those boxes are like." My One winced but still suggested we take the boxes out for a test drive. We got three lists of links, educational ones, health ones, and cities. The Health List featured HealthInfo Island which still exists, and the virtual Hallucination at Sedig which is utterly underwelming with my One's video card. The NHS Polyclinic remains half finished. The rest of the links were either long gone (Teleport just did not work.) or had changed to something else when someone else bought the property. If you can't pay your rent in Second Life....

Iyoba lands in Barcelona We could spot many of the dead links in the Education box. The rest just turned out to be dead. Then it was on to the Cities Box. Most teleports failed. The ones to the cities of Munich and Paris 1900 both worked. Munich is largely a mall, but we will have to explore Paris. As for the rest of the links on the list, most simply led nowhere but a few offered some upleasant surprizes. Here I am under a building in the water on what used to be Barcelona.

Iyoba on a windowsill in Knightsbridge, London At least the link to Knightsbridge landed me on dry land, but I was trapped in an upstairs room above a store. When I cammed down I could see state-of-the-art displays full of mens wear, but no stairs, trap door, or elevator. Fortunately, my One cammed through the windows. I found a place to sit on the sill, and jumped/flew to safety. We explored the streets, but soon found we were in a mall that charged high rents rather than any particular creation of a city. The architecture may have been reasonably accurate, but there was nothing educational here. So it goes.

Iyoba warms herself while her One gives the sim creator a piece of her mind I was glad when we gave up on the Kahn Discovery Center which my One downgraded to a facility thanks to my "research assistance" and went to explore the Great Hall. This last is an impressive spot with reproductions of masterpiece paintings on the walls, intellibook manuscripts, and note card givers nestled discreetly among plush and elegant furniture. Unfortuately, my One Who Thinks She Knows met the sim administrator. This time she did not have to do the polite word shuffle or utter a sincere compliment. She told him that his links in the Kahn Center were out of date and that she would be happy to replace them. The sim administrator ignored her, but he could't throw us out. Long Island University after all is a public place.

Iyoba BatOni (doing most of the work) with help from Eileen H. Kramer (The One Who Thinks She Knows) -- July 4, 2013

What a One Does When She's Out of Sorts

Iyoba stretched out on a hay bail contemplating life and her One Who Thinks she KnowsMy One Who Thinks She Knows was out of sorts again. This happens most days, but My One was REALLY OUT OF SORTS. She said: "Iyoba I want to get in trouble and have a fight." Of course, she wanted to fight with someone worth fighting. In other words, we needed to find an idiot who really deserved it. Our first idea was to stage a home invasion and try to outwit a stupid security orb. We picked out a nice Arab sim where we did not know any of the people. Arabs often make beautiful builds and we'd hope to find someone's private residence and take pictures of me on the furniture. We went to Ksa Al5oBar. Ksa is "island" in Arabic. We walked around. We met some avatarim, and they welcomed us and were nice to us. Arabs are hospitable even on private property. I went swimming and then I found this nice haybail on which to lie.

Off to the Fermi SandboxWe had to figure another way to have a fight. Our next victims were the prejudiced idiots who run the Fermi Sandbox. They don't allow child avatarim. It's their sandbox, but it's prejudiced, and people who don't like child avatarim don't like short adult avatarim either. Height prejudice is ugly. Our plan was to go the sandbox, make a new dress, get threatened, and give the idiot who threatened us a piece of our minds. Actually, the One would be doing all the arguing. I'd be making myself vulnerable on a posing stool...and, nothing happened. I got a new dress as you can see in the picture.

Phat's ClubOf course My One Who Thinks She Knows was NOT going to give up. She knew where she could find a whole nest of small minded idiots. We both remembered an encounter with an idiot bouncer at Phat's Jazz Club. We hadn't been back since, but my new dress just might NOT meet some small minded fashonista's idea of formal. Here I am sitting on a couch at Phat's after a half hour of dancing to rhythm and blues. I liked the music a lot, and the bouncer was nothing but polite and friendly.

My One having fun with GIMP again. We may even go back to Phat's again, but meanwhile there was nothing for my poor One to do but go back to Stinky Stinky and tend to our turtles. Here is Yael, our dark brown shelled scarlet bodied female, heading for some cheese, which is going to be a tastey snack. Yes, my One has been making fake pictures with the GIMP again.

The north end of Billie, the turtle, going south This is what our turtles really look like. This is Billie who has a gold body, a purple carapace, and a burgundy plastron. She has eggs in her own time, but she has beautiful eggs. She is one of our oldest turtles, and yes she has a front and a back end.

Adiv and Tecumseh's egg And this is an egg parented by Billie and Tecumseh. It is unusual because eggs from this pair usually don't turn out this pretty shade of light green. My One believes all eggs are precious, and she says this egg would breed quite well if we could find unrelated partners for it and had enough room. While I took care of the eggs of course, My One started chatting with another One in one of her librarian groups. They started talking about censorship, and switched to collection development. Soon the other One was complaining about something called a Board of Trustees. I am very emotional and if I did not have turtle eggs to gather, I would have craked up with laughter. My One had found another One as out of sorts as she was. The two Ones comiserated, and my One felt better...for a short while.

Iyoba with her trusty peace maker My One had another idea how to have a fight with someone or something that deserved it. We'd go to a shooting sim and get in a fire fight. People in shooting facilities want to shoot and get shot so it's OK to fire at them. There are also targets if we could not find any other avatarim and Ones to shoot. My One and I headed off to Velocity Weapons and found ourselves on Octavia instead. This was a biker sim. We had a bike, but I could not ride it with a dress on. We gave up on it and went looking for a place where residents were gathered. Hopefully this would be private property and we'd do battle with the security orb or ban lines. If the security orb threw us out, we'd come back near by, fly up in the sky, and I could sail down on my parachute. If there were ban lines, I'd just land on the top ones and bounce on them. This is actually a lot of fun. I was even psyched and....the people were nice to us! We only had to leave due to lag.

Modifications to the Safety Bicycle Of course I did need a new bike. Iyoba said she'd help me modify our "safety bicycle" so that I could ride it in a skirt, and she'd lower the bar to make it a female bike with a thicker frame and a new paint job. You can seee it in the image. We made the bike in the TTU Libraries 3 Sandbox home of the modesty police. Of course running through a sandbox nude is just plain dumb, so we didn't do that. My One was in the mood to work on my bicycle rather than any dresses.

Iyoba rides out of the sandboxOf course I did get to ride my bicycle out of the sandbox on into TTU Libraries 4. It was a wearable bicycle, so no one could stop me. I even rode my new bicycle up and down stairs, which amused my One no end. She said she couldn't do that in "real life." I had a great time.

This is a great way to model a new dress Of course my One still owed me a new dress, so she made this Denim Like This Dress at the Sapporo Sandbox. Here I am modeling the short version with the animation, my One got for me at Waseda. My one Who Thinks She Knows really does have a good heart, and she has it even when she is Out of Sorts. Of course she is Out of Sorts again.

Iyoba at the Sky Club resting on a couch She is Out of Sorts even though we went dancing this morning at a new club called Sky Club. Here I am on the couch again. My One loves fancy, mesh furniture. She said she still wants to pick a fight with a deserving victim. That means I'm not sure where we are going next. We have done some bushwhacking. She knows of some biker sims where I can ride my new bike, in a dress, like a real lady. And I'm not scaird of bikers, zombies, or even Ones That Think They Know. I guess if my One is going to have a fight with someone who deserves it, we'll have that fight sooner or later.

Iyoba Bat Oni (who thinks for herself some of th etime) and Eileen H. Kramer (One Who Thinks She Knows) -- June 30, 2013