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.

The One and Her Song

The One Who Thinks She Knows does funny things when we go travelling. Sometimes the funny things are amusing. Other times they are weird. Occasionally they are scarey and not scarely like the way I walk around unarmed without looking tough. I'm just tough enough on the inside that I don't have to be tough on the outside.

This is a different kind of scarey. Friday, we reached the University of Texas Austin sims in the relatively new University of Texas archipelago. I've seen my One act strangely before. She's been acting strangely a lot lately, and since I share a lot of what she thinks, it scares me. For example, when we were in the University of Maryland Dental School museum, the One became afraid someone would grab her and stick ugly things in her mouth and pull all the teeth out of her head. When we visited the hospital in Talent for Growth and in the UTMB sims, she became scaird someone would grab her and poke her with all kinds of instruments and really hurt her. The person doing this would say he or she was making her well or giving her tests to keep her from getting sick. Having never been sick, or met any one who would do this to me (because I would teleport away from them.) I found all this very distressing. I told my One: "Don't be scaird. The sim is empty."

Other times my One got scaird because some of the sims reminded her of something in her past. My One asked me not to write about this, but my One felt like crying and she was angry at someone long ago. That is all I can say.

Then we reached the University of Texas at Austin. There is a tower there. It is not a real building. You can't go inside it but it is very tall. The tower fascinated my One. The tower made my One sing. She sang and sang as we walked all around the sim. Here are some of the words to her song:

It is an early Monday morning.
The sun is a'coming, bright on the land.
No one is watching as he comes a'walking,
Two bulky suitcases hang from his hands.

He heads for the tower that sands in the campus.
He goes through the door. He starts up the stairs.
The sound of his footsteps. The sound of his breathing.
The sound of the silence when no one was there.

He reaches the catwalk.
He puts down his burden.
The four sided clock began to chime.
Seven am. The day is beginning.
So much to do and so little time.

He looks at the city where no one had known him.
He looks at the sky where noone looks down.
He looks at his life and what it had shown him.
He looks for his shadow it cannot be found.

He said: "Listen you people
I've got a question.
You won't pay attention but I'll ask anyhow.
I've found a way that will get me an answer.
I've been waiting to ask you till now....
Just now....

Am I?
Am I a lover who's never been kissed.
Am I?
Am I a fighter who's not made a fist.
Am I?
If I'm alive there's so much I missed.
How do I know I exist?
Are you listening to me?
Are you listening to me?
Am I?

I won't share more about this song because it is about a murderer, who killed many of his fellow Ones, because Ones can not teleport away from dangerous places. That is not how "real life" where the Ones really live works. My One said the song she was singing was unusual because it is very old, almost forty years old, and no one would write a song trying to understand or sympathize with such a heinous criminal today and if they did write such a song, no record company would produce it. This song made it on to something called a vinyl LP called Sniper and Other Love Songs. The singer was Harry Chapin who is also a dead One though nobody murdered him. My One says he died of a heart attack while driving on the Long Island Expressway which is far away from the Tower in Dallas. "Real Life" is a very big world.

I don't know what to think of the song. I don't know what to think of think of my One sometimes. I don't know what to thinnk of the people who built the tower in the University of Texas at Austin sim and left it there with no notecards. Unless your One knows the story or the song the way my One does, Ones and avies will think it is just a big and ugly build. They won't know why it is there. Later by the way we saw the four sided clock from the Sniper song. It was floating in the air. The builders haven't put it on the tower yet.

I think we will come back to the tower when it is finished. I wonder if we will be able to go to the top of it, though I don't want to pretend to be a sniper. I don't think my One wants to do that either. She just wants to sing the song in her head though I am not sure why except that she says it is unusual. She says that sometimes all Ones, good Ones and bad Ones, ask the question that is in the chorus. I guess it is harder being a One than being an avie. As an avie, I know my place. I know I am not a fully independent being though I can think for myself some of the time. I think my One has not accepted that she does not always think for herself. Noone really does that all the time. At least that's what I believe.

I hate to break into Iyoba's post, but you probably want to know more about the song, "Sniper," and what is behind it. Perhaps then you can understand why I was surprised to find a replica of that tower, and why as Iyoba says, I sung. Here is an article about the song, and here are the full lyrics to "Sniper" along with an explanatory note about the real life shooting. I just want to say that the best builds in Second Life sometimes create the images in your mind and memory and not on the screen.

Iyoba Tarantal with help from Eileen H. Kramer -- 8/30/10

My first Machinima

Yes, I even bot the spelling right. I have no idea if this is going to work. It needs a fairly heavy duty version if Flash but it would sure be fun to share Iyoba in motion. It's even better than a photo spread, though I'm going to make one of those as well. If this software I obtained really works, I'll be very impressed.

This is Iyoba in a new dress I made for her today. Yes, we are finally getting in some sandbox time. I made the machinima at James Madison University right at the edge of their sandbox. It took a while for Iyoba to get her costume straight. I still have to make a short version of the dress. You never know when you can use a nice, African wax print, cotton dress, do you ?

Eileen H. Kramer and Iyoba Tarantal -- 8/25/10

Two Hundred Libraries and Counting!

Last night Iyoba and I found our two hundreth library. It was at Texas Women's University which offered two other libraries/exhbitis for the big list on Google Docs. I have four dress texture sets (80L hard at work!) ready to go, as soon as I can find some sandbox time. I still owe my avie a photo shoot, and I owe you one two.

Currently we are five islands away from finishing the NMC archipelago which has lost islands in its northeast quadrant. Sorry, I just remember it as a much bigger place. I have had a great time exploring it except three islands were off limits. That was a bit of a disappointment.

I have collected close to a dozen new sandbox landmarks. Now if I can only find some sandbox time, I'll start working on more dresses for Iyoba. Now, Iyoba doesn't need the dressese, but like all avatarim, she has unlimited inventory. Of course she can only wear one dress at a time. Somehow that doesn't stop me. I have a compulsive urge to make gowns and club dresses. Iyoba needs a new wardrobe for every season of the year, and you need to see Iyoba wearing it, right?

If this sounds crazy, I know it is. The library and exhibit census makes a lot more sense, but everyone including both Iyoba and me need breaks. We pick out a random club from our IM's and go dancing. A couple of nights ago, Iyoba received a supreme compliment. An avie named Athena said "Your avatar is scarey." Now Iyoba is about as little and inoffensive as it gets. True, she had big hair and I joked about big hair days and bad hair days, but I also said that it was a hoot that my avie was scarey. I mean she's unarmed, has no fangs or claws, doesn't even wear spiked heels, and she's fun size. Best of all Athena had fangs, a studdend belt from which hung several small, unidentified but menacing objects, and wore black boots with spike heels. She was dressed all in black, jeans, turtle neck etc... and of course she was nice and tall, though shorter than most avatarot. Iyoba doesn't have to look scarey. Power comes without looking powerful. Power also comes with professional and appropriate dress. More power to my terrific and infinitely patient avie.

Eileen H. Kramer with help from Iyoba Tarantal -- 8/24/10

Time Out!

Last night bushwhacking was a bust. Last night, I got inspired. I saw someone whom I respect for his technical expertise and writing wearing a suit. It was a pretty good suit, but a black suit in the middle of summer looks hot and uncomfortable. This man doesn't have his mirror neurons well tuned to his avie. My own avie is a bit warm right now but I'll get to it. I said: "I could make you a suit." Then I lamented that men's clothes are hard. I'm right on both counts. Iyoba now has a new red suit. The photo is forthcoming. I need to get back to bushwhacking and see if I can find more libraries. The NMC archipleago is daunting. I'm mostly through with Info Island. There are three more islands that I want to survey. I'll get to those.

I am not really ready to go back to making gowns. I'm not sure why. I have some intresting patterns in mind. I also have a pattern for a tree, but the red suit practically made itself. Now, my avie has her first pants suit and she wears it proudly with red sandals and a frosted short bob. I think I have two shirts in my inventory she can wear beneath the suit. That makes it even better. Maybe the blazer even goes well with other pants. I guess I have to find all that out.

Some sims are just sad places. We spent the late evening on one called Talent for Growth. If you live in Connecticut, this is your tax dollars hard at work. I think it would be great to make a page of government owned sims and publish images from them. At least my threat to email certain New York State officials got one sim open, but that is another story. Monetization and no regulation brings with it a lot of petty corruption. Talent for Growth looks like a well made sim. There are buildings, an office, hospitals, houses, classrooms. Nothing, however, is interactive. There is a car. My avie can not drive it. There is food in the cafeteria.. My avie can not have a plate of it to eat. There are a few clothing stores. I wonder if anyone ever visits the mall. There was also no library.

There are also fantastically good builds. I'd recomend the Central Florida Memory Project on one of the Edu Islands and the University of South Florida's School of Health's exhibit on sexually transmitted diseases. My favorite library is Xtension which has the clothing templates for download to start avatarim making their own wardrobes. I do have to have a favorite. Oh well, it's off to bushwhack and hopefully, my search might just turn out to be productive.

Eileen H. Kramer with hope from Iyoba Tarantal -- 8/13/10

Walking the Earth

The work related survey project is now well underway. I have access to a Google Docs spreadsheet to record my findings, and Iyoba does as much hiking as teleporting. That means she gets to dress more informally, and we both get to dredge up our memories as we seek out libraries and their owners and their sponsoring organizations and of course their SLURL's. Hopefully, some day this should make it to this web page where there is a list of libraries in Second Life. In an odd way, it feels good to be doing more than just two hours volunteering at a very slow desk.

It is hard work but oddly rewarding and surely not impossible. I don't really miss dancing as much in clubs as I used to. Iyoba misses it a bit more than I do. I do miss the trips to the sandbox, though Iyoba has more clothes than she can wear. Part of me needs to "weep graphics" or shed them. Part of me needs to "shed reportage or fiction" as well which is what I am doing here. Still, a bigger part of me likes to be useful and after two years, I am finally useful.

The most interesting part of the surveying adventure happened last week, when I managed to get ejected and banned by a landowner with a security orb. On his land once stood a library. I input the SLURL, hit the teleport button, and Iyoba found herself face to face with one of those ugly, self promoting security orbs that always advertise their store with each warning. How positively handy and clever! Iyoba sat on the grass. With older orbs, this can defeat them. With newer orbs, Iyoba figured the worst that could happen is she could be back home in Hartley gathering her wits at the Honey Hut.

That didn't happen. This orb was a bit uglier than most. Iyoba flew up into the air and spun around in circles. When she returned to the library, she could not land on it. She walked over some mountains and found herself face to face with ban lines. The property owner had banned her. In the end the property owner and Iyoba made up. He realized shew as a "senior." Iyoba won't be going back there again.

I can't say too much about the more humorous side of the surveying project. It has taught me that there is turnover among libraries and on educational sims, something I did not think existed. I guess permanence is an illusion in Second Life, but it was always fun to believe that it existed somewhere. The recession has been part of the reason, also it's not the greatest press to learn that your tax dollars...well you know where they end up and they do indeed work hard when they have Second Lives.

Eileen H. Kramer -- 8/10/10

Waiting at the Gate

I was all over Second Life yesterday, but the work-related project is at a standstill. I'll probably do the next phase of it at home anyway. That said, I'm jonesing terribly to be inworld with Iyoba. Actually, what I really want are new textures to make more dresses. Iyoba needs more dresses and more tops like holes in the head. My other building project is a 1970's stereo on a table, a kind of very retro and very ugly DJ booth. What I'd really love to build, however, is a small library building. I have the media mix script so I could easily put up links to all the right stuff. Getting the land when my institution has zero investment in Second Life and getting it without pleasing every burocrat and administrator would be difficult. My secret dream is an under the table swap, land for labor. Hey, I'm not going to get paid in land! I am a volunteer! I get paid in service points and cultivate references like weeds. That is the way it is. Since when did one ever earn a free lunch. You know the answer to that question.

Iyoba mentioned a fashion shoot/show in our last post. The truth is I don't have the slightest idea where to film it. One thought is the University of Cincinnati which has a fascinating sim. Israel in SL, is another old standby. James Mason University or Dotomori are other good candidates. I think I have about six or seven new dresses. I also have one shirt.

I am moving into fall or late summer here, which means I can make corn and squash dresses again. Part of me wants to work with Oxacan green corn more than anything. Part of me wants to look for a really good winter squash photo or gourd photo and adapt it. Part of me thinks Iyoba needs a basketball shirt. I make sports shirts. She wears them once or twice, and then we both realize that Second Life is just too dressy. By the way, because I did not make Iyoba's dress for her until late last night, she ran around in shorts and the dress top which is also a shirt. Iyoba was dressed appropriately for her assignment, but it was not difficult to feel how hot, sweaty, and dusty she was. Even now, she really wants to take a bath in the worst way. There is a reason there is a bath tub in oue sky box at Stinky Stinky. I figure an avie can use some privacy for sleeping, bathing, and bodily functions. If avatarot have bodies, they obviously have functions. Put another way, if I have mirror neurosn, my avatar has bodily functions.

On another subject, I saw this article on New World Notes. I read it, and all I can think is that only someone who is very unhappy would want this avatar skin. All I could think of was the poor avie digging her nails into her own face, and then sneaking that look in the mirror to see what she had done. Then she goes out, either pretending to be ashamed or not ashamed at all. She may have to feign shame for "doing such a stupid thing," but inside she wanted to do it, because it made her feel better from whatever secret pain she suffered, even if she just did it to take the edge off.

I admire the guts of any one who would make an avatar skin like this. Iyoba would never wear it, even if it were available in her color. I would not let Iyoba wear it. Iyoba, may suffer from unhappiness of her own, but it is not the kind of pain that makes you want to scratch, squirm, and fool around with your skin. It's a pretty pedestrian pain, but I just don't think Iyoba has the wiring for it. That said, Iyoba's nails need permanent cutting, especially on her feet. She has a lovely French manicure on her hands, and she has some rough, darkened spots on her arms. She has a cute outie, and yes, she has twelve toes. I gave her two extra, one on each foot. No one has ever noticed this but me, and I'm the one who made her skin. That's why I say no self scratching or cutting, not that Iyoba has those urges.

Yet no doubt there are "Ones" (as Iyoba calls them) out there with such urges, and among them there are those who probably share those urges and pains with their avatarim. I don't feel bad for the avatarim. My avie had to put up with my motion sickness on Tuesday and yesterady. She's right now being denied a bath while I write about us. All avatarim suffer in little bits from their "Ones." That is just the way of Second Life.

Eileen H. Kramer with help from Iyoba Tarantal -- 8/6/10

Ride with Me!

I am involved in a work-related Second Life project going over a list of SLURL's to make sure they are accurate. Some aren't. Some can't be. Either way, Iyoba and I have to teleport a lot. I'm not sure how it effects her. I have her sit down a lot because she seems tired. Me, I get sick, almost nauseous. I guess it is similar to motion sickness. I still have a pile of SLURL's to get through. I feel queasey even thinking about it.

Sometimes I think of what it would be like to take Iyoba for a ride on the MARTA buses. I'd have to buy her a Breezecard or Breeze Ticket. She'd have no place to keep it, however, since her clothing has no pockets. She has never carried a purse in her life. Still we could figure something out. On the bus, Iyoba would turn heads because she is both so well dressed and so well coifed. She is a very pretty, little woman. Aside from that, I have no idea how she would react to riding MARTA.

Actually, I would love to take a ride on MARTA. I think my One Who Thinks She Knows could make me a purse. She is kind of clever that way. She made me a huge wardrobe. Now she dreams of building her own library. She's not going to get to do that, any more than she is going to take me on the MARTA. The MARTA like the pool is a one of a kind. It's a big bus system (I've ridden in buses and street cars, but they only go a few blocks or just around the block. I've also ridden in carriages pulled by horses, and I've remember hang gliding at the old Club XxesS. My One has never been hang gliding!). Where the One lives everything costs money, and dollars are much more expensive than Lindens. For example, it costs nearly five hundred Lindens to ride the MARTA bus one way. The One buys a pass that costs 15,000 Lindens. I don't think I've every seen that many Lindens! My mind boggles.

I think I've seen the MARTA map. It extends over two counties which are much bigger than sims. A county would be maybe like half a Second Life continent. I'm not sure of this, but it is big, and a bus can take you across five or six sims, and that is a short ride. My One said she went all the way up to Doraville on Tuesday. It put her so out of sorts and made her so sick that she did not make me any clothes yesterday. Now, of course with her new project, the One found three sandboxes for us, so she had to try one out. She has to finish a dress for me. That is great. I also got an all texture dress last night. I told her we have to have a fashion show. The One is thinking of where to have it. Leave it to my One, but she is good with a camera.

I'm not sure I want to go riding on MARTA after what it did to my poor One. Where would we go and what would we do when we got there? I don't mind going somewhere like Info Island when we work the library shift on Monday nights, but I don't think my One goes to very many dance clubs. I can't imagine what they cost if she has to pay 15,000 Lindens a month for the privilege of getting from there to here. Where would we go One?

I think I would take Iyoba to the rose garden at Fernbank. I'd like to take her to the Community Gardens at Oakhurst. They have bee hives there and chickens. If money were no object and we had a whole Sunday, we'd definitely go to Zoo Atlanta to look at the animals, but I think Iyoba might be disappointed that she can't pet or snuggle zoo animals in real life. The chickens and the children's zoo might work out better, since the animals there are pettable and tame.

I think it would be great to take Iyoba out on a day when there were thunder storms. I don't think Iyoba has never seen a thunder storm. I'm a bit scaird of thunder, but that does not mean Iyoba would share my fear. I don't think Iyoba has ever been motion sick either. Avatarot are not quite the same as humans, and yes, I wish all that teleporting didn't leave me nauseous. Those mirror neurons are their own kind of double edged sword.

I get the last word. If that pool where you pay 750 Lindens is open when I'm in your world, will you take me there? I do know how to swim. I'll even obey the no diving rule. I hope the pool doesn't stay closed for long. It must be awful, having nowhere to swim. Yes, I do feel sorry for my One and she's a good One.

Iyoba Tarantal and Eileen H. Kramer -- 8/5/10