A new version for Version 5.0 of this part of the blog

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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All I Want

Iyoba dances the siri with Yatif in NovalisIt was back in 2009 when Iyoba was much younger and I was a newbie. We came upon a club where the guests danced in soap suds and the lingua franca was French. I can still feel the bubbles tickling my skin. I don't know where the soap suds effect has gone. I would still find the effect impressive today. On a platform danced what must have been a hostess, in a gorgeous red unitard that revealed enough to excite in the most tasteful way imaginable. She had beautiful sandy hair and a tan. She wasn't trying to be beautiful. She succeeded. Though neither Iyoba nor I wanted to imitate her, we were still in awe of her. So, being curious sorts, we checked her profile.

Iyoba swims on Novalis which is mostly waterOur hearts sank because she was five or six years old. "After five or six years is that all you want!" something inside me SCREAMED. I still hear that scream, only now I am the object of the question. True, neither Iyoba nor I are the glamorous dancer high above the overflowed washing machine full of happy spectators on their lunch breaks, though there is a picture of Iyoba dancing with the turtle, Yatif, in Novalis. The sim is mostly water, so we were doing a lot of swimming, as you can see in the other picture.

There is something faintly comical about an avie with a turtle on her back. There is something vaguely sad and weird about an avie and a One considering that walking a turtle statue through the German Archipelago is a fulfilling and pleasant activity, yet here we were, and it felt good! Maybe it is the sense of still having some power over how we deal with the partial loss of Petable Turtles, and the impending loss of Lily Frogs. That of course is fine as far as it goes, but it only begins to answer the question: "What do we want?" This is not all we want, and "Where do we go from here, to rebuild a Second Life and for Iyoba only life that has meaning?" And where all of this is concerned, I am as clueless as the One of the beautiful, French avie who danced above the suds.

Iyoba finds herself trapped on the grounds of a garage on MBK WestendIt did not bother me that I did not remember most of the German Archipelago. Most of it is new territory or area Iyoba and I had been meaning to visit. We wandered into MBK Westend quite by accident. We made a wrong turn in MBK Bahnhofsviertel. This time we were without a turtle because I had just made Iyoba a new dress in the Hawaii COE Sandbox. You can't sew clothes for an avie who is also wearing a turtle. Also, our connection Tuesday night was very, very laggy. I later learned that the lag was partially due to a 200m draw distance. It was also due to all the mesh on the German Archipelago. Every stick of furniture and vehicle and building part does not have to be mesh. It just doesn't.

MBK Westend turned out to be a disappointment, not just because of the lag but because once the lag died down, Iyoba nad I could see that most of the fenced in yards had no gates. We could not fly, and the barbed wire on top, just screamed "stay out!" We found a factory door. It was locked. Of course there was always cam and sit. I try not to do home invasions unless I am really in the mood or find a landlord's model or space for rent. Businesses are another matter, but the mesh cars were a disappointment as was most of the empty space, and worst of all, we were locked in!

Iyoba sits at a lonely table for one in Semmering I checked the map, and we teleported to Moedling where there were avatarim walking around. They were mostly shoppers and shop bots. The sim lagged badly. It, however, reminded me of the Netherlands and Wonderful Denmark sims even though it was clearly a well disguised, high rent, mall with some businesses like art galleries and tourist info areas mixed in with the lovely houses on cobblestone streets with gardens growing down the center dividers. Unlike the rest of the German Archipelago, Moedling and Semmering brought back memories. We had been here before when fruitlessly searching for snow to ski on last fall. I think Iyoba had even eaten in the same cafe, but now the chairs and tables were scripted and updated to the latest mesh so that they lost their slightly raunchy, out in the styx, ski area flavor. This is a step in the wrong direction.

Chairlift ride through the lagStill we went out to ride the chairlift. There is also a mountain trail that we may try. If you'll notice in the picture, Iyoba is not dressed for winter. Chairlifts and skiing are two things that make Second Life meaningful for me, even if the lift ride was unbearably short and yes, there was no snow! There was also lots of lag. You can see a lot of half-rezzed scenery, thanks to mesh and that stupid draw distance.

I don't remember the lift ride for the ski area in "the Austrian Alps" being this short last time. Maybe I spoiled by the ski lift in Northern New York which covers nearly a whole sim. There was no snow there either, just the satisfaction of being on top of the mountain and the anticipation of a very graceful, almost soaring, trip down, even if the trip down turns out to be a hike and a half. Maybe this is what the beautiful, French avie and her One felt long ago as she danced above the crowd in the suds.

No snow at the top of the mountainOf course there was no snow at the top of the peak in Semmering, just silvery rocks, velvety green moss and grass, and dark and inviting forests. There was a gorge and a river. Iyoba realized that if she couldn't ski, she might as well hike and swim. I thought the view from the mountain top was several times better than dancing in suds, and that says a mouthful!

Down comes Iyoba!Iyoba came down a bit faster than she intened. That moss was slippery. Here at the water's edge she jumped for joy. Too bad we did not have a turtle with us. The lag was also down for a moment. Too bad we had reached the end of the world. We swam inland. The lag returned after we got out of the water in Wiener Neustdt. Iyoba and I both thought: "No shoes, no shirt, no service!" Great minds can think alike.

Store with no interior, not even a fake oneUnfortunately, we could not get into at least one store. Empty stores are the bane of any commercial sim or sim with rentals. Here the owners of Wiener Neustdt use a fake photo of a supermarket to mask an empty rental. It's a cute idea, except they also use a fake door. You can see in, but can't go inside. This is one frustrating experience. Empty stores after all have their uses. You can park your avie in them when you sign off and are assured of a quiet "last location" to log into. Rent collection boxes make great seats as well. The ones that spin are downright fun!

Iyoba shows her displeasure at the fake stores in Wiener Neustadt I guess it does not take much to make me happy, or more precisely to lift my spirits a little bit. If Second Life were not in some ways immensely satisfying, I would not have stuck around for six years. Still, I have to find something to replace or fill the hole left by the Petable Turtles' "statuing" and the impending loss of my Lily Frogs. Taking on another breedable involves trust issues. Building something big (and yes, I have something in the works) involves promotion and networking that I dread. I fear that there is a stacked deck as far as fame and fortune is concerned in Second Life.

I really do need to think about what I want to do over the long haul in Second Life. I know giving the turtles life and certain kinds of exploring that has been on my private bucket list is meaningful and satisfying. It's not all I want, but it's a place to start. I don't think that as a newbie, I ever thought about what the beautiful,French avie in the red costume did when she left the soapsuds club and went elsewhere inworld. I never asked what gave her life meaning. "Is this all you want?" is a terrible question because the answer for both of us was and is probably "no!", or if it is "yes" then it is "yes" for a very good reason. Still, starting out with something that gratifies my avie and me maybe a good way to begin solving the riddle of our long term purpose.

Eileen H. Kramer with help from her favorite avie, Iyoba BatOni -- August 29, 2013

The Gift of a New Life

Iyoba and Tecumseh head down the road high above GoetheAnd yes, it's a new life for the turtles! And no this is not an obsession! This is important! Come September we will have had turtles in our lives three years. I rezzed a little more than six years ago, so I've had turtles for nearly half my life. Also before they were "statued" our turtles worked very, very hard, and they never saw more than whatever big land we rented. So yes... they deserve everything good we can do for them. By the way, this is me with Tecumseh going along for the ride on the highway over Goethe, Novalis, and two other regions.

Cow Fountain in Muenchen

My One Who Thinks She Knows decided that we should visit the German Archipelago in Second Life. This was one of our favorite places as a newbie, and it is still here! The Germans are very orderly (like Cornellians according to my One!) and they revise, rebuild, and change. New islands replace old ones, but the archipelago grows and survives. For us, however, it was all new territory. These lovely cattle are part of a stone fountain in one of the town squares of Muenchen which we walked into by way of Munich City. We had been here last on a night when Iyoba's perspective adoptive daughter backed out on her. Only it was snowy then and we went skiing. Munich City and Muenchen are places we go to when we need to ease our sorrows.

Iyoba makes a muscle in front of a flowerbed on the Muenchen-Goethe Border Beyond Muenchen it was terra incognita. We may have been in Goethe before, but the place has been redone, and it was hard to cross the sim border. Here I am making a muscle in frustration before we found that the jungle wall separating the two sims was phantom.

I guess I'll have to come back to the church in Muenchen to confess my sins. My One really liked this confessional though she told me I could confess my sins any where I wanted, and anyway, the priest, even if he or she was a bot was not home. My One liked the combination of the elaborate crcifix in combination with the clocks that give the time in various places around the world including Vatican City. My One, however, thinks this church is Protestant. She told me about something called the Reformation and the Thirty Years War that left Germany both Catholic and Protestant in "real life." I don't really understand this. I'm glad my One is Jewish. I'm not sure what religion I am. I'm not sure avatarot really need a religion.

Iyoba in Novalis having just outside MBK Bahnhofsviertel When we finally figured out how to get out of Muenchen we found ourselves on a highway over Goethe and later Novalis. There was no way off the road! I just kept walking until we could come down in MBK Bahnhofsviertel. There was a village here with a gas station and other stores, some of them empty, which is really quite common in Second Life.

Food that is not for sale

There was also a shop selling "donner kabobs." In the United States, my One told me, the store would advertise gyros or if they were in the Binghamton, New York area, speidies. And more imporant, a restaurant like this would actually serve falafel, sesame and chickpea balls. The English and Americans (and Israelis and Arabs) have no problems with falafel, but my One traveled to France and the French consider it a weird food and an acquired taste. She believes that they feel that "imitation meat" is inferior rather than an improvement over the original. Maybe Germans share the same prejudice against a supreme delicacy. Either way, we had to explain to Tecumseh, the turtle we were carrying that there was no food here for One, turtle, or avie.

IyobaBehind the restaurant that served no food was a courtyard. My One saw a door with a red light bulb over it. "I think this is a house of prostitution," she said. Europeans are far more liberal about such things. We opened the door, not knowing what we'd find. The escorts could after all be prejudiced against both short avies and against turtles. There were no escorts. It was a club with empty dance poles. I remembered trying out a dance pole once when I was a newbie. This was long before Tecumseh was rezzed. Suffice it to say, we went pole dancing together, just for fun. It is very good exercise!

Iyoba and Yatif go dancing at La BushThen on Sunday Yatif and I did some more exploring this time mostly on Novalis, which is a lovely wildnerness sim. We'll have to see more of that, but my One had also made me a new dress, and you can't be "all dressed up with no where to go," not in Second Life you can't. So off we went to La Bush: Tempel of House, a new club in Velda and the DJ and other guests were NOT prejudiced against turtles, so I could dance with Yatif.

We'll explore more of the German Archipelago often with our turtles in the next few days to weeks. We need to heal as much as possible to be as strong as possible for what happens to the frogs and also for the challenges my One is facing in her "real life." Wish us luck. You can even pray for us if you want no matter what religion you are.

Iyoba Bat-Oni with help from Eileen H. Kramer -- August 26, 2013

Illicit Grief and Real Loss

Here it is while it lasts: Ravens Writing Desk This is the third time around in two months. I thought without romance in Second Life, Iyoba and I were free of drama. We are not. Our drama is tragedy. First the Petable Turtles became statues. We now struggle to keep them alive in a way that is meaningful to all of us. If we believe our turtles are alive, of course they have feelings and they think for themselves, just a little bit, which is more than even some Ones Who Think They Know do when you really think about it. Then Lonewolf and Tweety vanished. They left Second Life. Their club disappeared. Their owl bots are gone. There is one less familiar thing to do and place to go. Iyoba and I go to lots of clubs, but people there don't always speak English or make something approaching human conversation. Now it's the Lily Frogs' turn. The store is gone. lick the thumbnail and you can see what happened to Ravens Writing Desk -- The sim is now defunct. The new tenants did not pay the rent or the upstream landlord defaulted. Suffice it to say, Iyoba and I are no longer banned there, but that doesn't do us much good.

Three Lily Frog eggs all in a red rack at the HOney Hut

The store is gone. That means there are no egg cups and only a few frog crates which I will ultimately need. I am trying not to think about that, but Lily Frogs go into suspended animation and don't starve in inventory. There's a plan B, but right, now I can't pick up eggs. In thirty days or so the frogs run out of food, and then it is over. The rack with its future that might have been will remain behind. So much for all the Plan B's in the world.

Zepheniah close upThe frogs do not yet know their fate. The turtles kind of suspect but the Petable Turtles are experts in abandonment and exploitation. The frogs who are much younger, are pretty ignorant and happy. It still makes me happy to watch them, though a piece of me really hurts, not because I love the frogs like family. I admire them and like them, I will admit. It's the crumbling of the Lily Frog community that hurts, the loss of potential. These are beautiful creatures. I can see that when I look at the pictures.

Millicent and probably Milo's eggThe eggs are especially intricate, even a fairly ordinary egg with a rust, brown, or grey body. You can see the intricate Refuah Shelemah pattern and the bright orange legs this frog would have if he or she hatched, but without a food supply fat chance I'm going to hatch frogs.

Tzuriel and Pabla's eggThis egg has Tzuriel for a father and Pabla for a mother. You can see it is somehwat shiney. The Mississippi Gopher frog pattern is intriguing, and in real life, Mississippi Gopher Frogs are endangered!

Millicent and Milo's eggThe hardest thing about losing a breedable (much like losing friends who run a club) is you lose the community of those who breed them. For Lily Frogs, the loss has been a long time coming. Dragoness Rage' disappearance (for want of a better word) probably effects only me and possibly one or two other people, but my relationship with her is more than business, just as it was with Lone and Tweety and with Jeep, Anthony, and Grimm, my fellow Petable Turtle enthusiasts and several other enthusiasts when Petable Turtles were more popular.

Zepheniah and Pabla's eggI see the contrast with Zwickies and the developers' promises of new features and all the gifts which I stow away carefully and am afraid to use because once you get hooked, you hatch out more Zwicklets, the free food stops coming, and then... well you know the rest. Breedables are a business as well as a relationship.

Milo the frogI wish I could explain this better to others than I am doing on this blog. I even find it hard to believe that the pictures are real. The relationship was and is real because the money was real, and the losses are very, very real. I know the person in the doughnut shop would not understand. He might even be scornful: "You spent money for that." Currently, my Lily Frog food is the last of a graciously given free supply, but when it's gone I won't be able to buy what I need for love or money.

Pabla and Tzuriel's egg, a different one It's the pain that is the hardest to explain. I can not explain it even to myself. There is a hole where gathering Petable Turtle eggs used to be, but there is also the job of Iyoba taking them places and giving them new and pleasant experiences. I don't really need a community 24/7, and sometimes this is a good anti-social activity, and it makes bushwhacking much more pleasant. I worry about Lone and Tweety and feel stunned by their sudden disappearance. I just don't need a third loss of what makes my Second Life meaningful! This last loss when I am all ready vulnerable and hurting makes the whole enterprise mean less. I don't feel like hanging around clubs as much. I just want to go walking with Iyoba while she explores with or without a Petable Turtle companion. I can make myself bushwhack but supervising another is hard. "Bad time," is all I can say.

Zephenia and Pabla's eggAnd the "bad time" has no end to it. It may end eventually and probably will, but right now a month or two seems like an eternity. I was glad my friends chatted with me last night. One friend is marrying a sweetheart she met in world. Either that or she likes to tell stories. She's free to tell all the stories she wants. I find them amusing. She does not ask for money and she has even rented a sim with the sweetheart so maybe he exists. I've never met him though. My other friend begs for money but it's small amounts and he is social and sweet. I just wish he weren't an army of alts. And anyway in Second Life, we all imagine we have what we don't. I imagined Petable Turtles would go on forever, Lone and Tweety might downsize or temporarily lose their land but would stay in the game, and Dragoness Rage may still resurface with a new retail location and of course she's still in world. I'm no less guilty then my friends, and for them it is real, not forever but while it lasts. For me it was also real while it lasted, but it's over now, and...I did not even tell my friends, because...how can I explain?

Eileen H. Kramer -- August 23, 2013

Good Guys, Bad Guys, and the Karma Comes Around

Iyoba waves from the bridge at UAA SeawolvesThere are sims that never make the Spread Sheet but which loom and live large in my head and even on this blog. UAA Seawolves is one of those. You can read about it on September 4, 2012 and then on September 23, 2012. I still go back to visit. I have a sentimental attachment to what was once one of Second Life's best academic sims.

Empty land on UAA Seawolves Sunday night I saw that UAA Seawolves looked different on the map, somehow emptier. I knew that Iyoba and I had to visit, but an empty sim can mean anything from ban lines to serious trouble. We left the turtles at home. We didn't need to put turtles at risk or leave them with unhappy questions. As you can see there are missing buildings here. These included a freebie store and probably a first rate browsing library. Of course if you are a member of the general public, you could not visit these any more due to ban lines that surround the island's sterile core. The ban lines went up due to squatters nearly taking over the island. Simply setting autoreturn or restricting building by outsiders would have worked as well as ban lines, actually better. Oh well, I'm not an Alaska resident so it's not my tax dollars hard at work, but the closure hurt, especially since I had blogged about the squatters and informed the sim owners about them. I very much believe I had a hand in this.

What is left of teh SLENZ Midwifery Center The SLENZ Midwifery Center is the last building left standing outside the pretty but sterile core on UAA Seawolves. It used to be one of my favorite exhibits in Second Life, complete with its pull rope and home like atmosphere, and note cards rich with explanation for a role play. You can see now that this last building is in disarray. It is pulled off its foundation and turned backwoards. Its roof is also missing.

I do not know if UAA Seawolves is receiving a repurposing or circling the drain. The core now belongs to Stella Costello who works for NMC. Only some of the land on the periphery is still in the UAA Seawolves group's hands. I'm not sure what any of this means. Either meaning is the end of a long cascade of very bad decisions, mismanagement, and hurt with a touch of schadenfreude thrown in by me for good measure.

The forest on the border of SUNY Learning Network and SUNY Oneonta

One of the rasons Iyoba and I were so careful when we visited UAA Seawolves is that we had run into a lot of trouble when visiting both SUNY Oneonta and SUNY Learning Network. I'm a former New York State resident, and unlike the U Texas Archipelago, SUNY (State University of New York) has managed to keep up a stable and thriving presence in Second Life. It's done this by NOT building an archipelago. Some of the SUNY's have single islands. Most don't. They share one of two islands. One of those islands is SUNY Learning Network. What this does is prevent overextension. Instead of paying $150 to $300 a month (depending on the presence of the educational discount), a SUNY institution pays only $20 - $25 a month for a 4096 or even less.

A mother hen guards her chicks on SUNY OneontaIf you'll notice, I am writing in the persent tense. A week ago, this would have been a very different story. While surfing the map, something I do obsessively, I saw black structures partially covering the roof of the SUNY Oneonta and SUNY Learning Network sims. Iyoba and I went to investigate. We found ourselves unable to move, mobbed by an army of Phil Lindens that appeared out of nowhere like out of control zombies. The lag was so fierce that even after we broke free of the scrum, we could not move or even see. Another time, we were blinded by the black structures which turned out to be bubbles. Squatters, griefers, bad builders, or vandals had taken over the island. "Well," I told my favorite avie, Iyoba. "Nothing good lasts forever. So it goes." The only question in my mind was how long the messy and degraded pair of SUNY sims would continue to exist before someone who counted beans pulled the plug.

Iyoba peers in the locked hospital door on SUNY OneontaThen Sunday night, I noticed that most of the structures and all of the black were missing from the two SUNY sims. Maybe, I thought we could go back, but it was definitely best to leave the turtles in inventory or at Stinky Stinky. Our first visit did not go well. We headed straight for the St. John Fisher sandbox and got stuck in a mob of Phil Lindens. Our second visit though showed two orderly sims. The hospital, farm, and veterinary clinic on SUNY Oneonta were all back and in excellent condition though with doors locked and no roofs or interactive note cards...yet. SUNY Stonybrook also had its building back and partially rebuilt on SUNY Learning Network. If you don't believe that all a major university needs is a 4096 or smaller plot, visit this building!

PowerPoint about teaching in SL I guess that I am an unlikely fan of order. It is great to see the vandals' handiwork sent back to their inventories instead of ruining SUNY Oneonta and SUNY Learning Network. It's great to see the islands cleaned up, restored, and rebuilding. And best of all it is great so see Iyoba walking those islands without encountering a single ban line. Sometimes sim owners do it right. It does not happen as often as I would like to see it, but it can happen, and when it does not...well... who knows. The day UAA Seawolves disappears, I will not be surprised.

Eileen H. Kramer with help from Iyoba BatOni -- August 21, 2013

We Can't Keep Secrets from the Turtles

Uriel and Inedible FoodIf you are sick of hearing about the turtles, I am NOT sorry. The turtles are part of our life and how we act around them and what we do with them says a lot about how my One Who Thinks She Knows lives both her "second" and first lives and how I live the only life I have. This is the only life the turtles have. We try to make it as easy for them as possible, but you can see, we're failing! Here I am at the Universidade do Porto in an English language exhibit. The food looks lovely, except we can't eat it. When our turtles see food that they can't eat, it frightens them.

Pabla meets Iyoba and Yael at the Honey HutThen there are the Lily Frogs. The females still lay eggs and all of them eat. The eggs are beautiful, but we are now out of egg boxes. Here I am introducing Yael, the turtle riding with me to Pabla. Our turtles have better lives than when they were breeding and eating. I think they know that. They don't know that the frogs will suffer a far worse fate, and right now that looks like a reality.

Pabala and Tzuriel's egg in the last cup.We used our last cup on Pabla and Tzuriel's egg. It's safely in inventory. The older egg cups would not work so this is it unless Dragoness Rage answers our numerous messages or somehow reappears or unless someone takes over Breedable Nation. I think we are the last Lily Frog wranglers in Second Life and that is always sad.

Millicent and Zepheniah's egg is in the rackHere is our frog egg rack. As my One promised, she painted it red. The first egg in the rack has Millicent for a mother and Zepheniah for a father. There will probably be more eggs to come, though neither of our female frogs was pregnant last night.

Repurposing our Second Lives putting up the OviRing Meanwhile, my One Who Thinks She Knows was more out of sorts than I have ever seen her. She said: "Iyoba it's time we repurporse our second lives [Never mind that this is my first life and only life!] away from breedables. It's time to put up the OviRing so we can start building a Judaica Center. Here is the ring rezzing in progress.

Distressed zwickiesWhen we got the oviring in the right position we moved the Zwickies' feeder. The zwickies showed their displeasure by forming a clump, something our turtles who were gathered by their bowl of delicious treats under the stairs (Look in the background) watched with horror. A Zwicky magnet quickly got the Zwickies back to the new normal.

Poor Throckmorton!Even if we hadn't moved the zwickies' feeder, two of our male Zwickies have been sexually frustrated while they waited for the females to become ready to mate. This is Throckmorton assuming the position. Unfortunately, none of the females were ready. He and Geronimo are now happily pregnant. It is Nimrod who will have to do the waiting. My One says it is time for breeding creatures not to be the be all and end all of her "second life" and my only life.

The Ovi Ring on our property complete with neighbor's ban lines and jungle wall The Ovi Ring on our property complete with more evidence of our neighbor's idiocy.

And our turtles and our Zwickies both get to see that our neighbors to the east are utter and complete IDIOTS. You can see our Ovi Ring is a lovely structure colored to harmonize with the property and full of trees. Our neighbors put up a jungle wall and just to make sure we got the message that any one who builds and Ovi Ring and raises turtles and Zwickies is not welcome, idiot neighbor put up a jungle wall that is weirdly translucent with ghosts of some kind of big fancy city. Idiot Neighbor has a "gentlemne's club" on its premises. My One thinks it's a virtual whore house. She also thinks idiot neighbor is an anti-semite. Is this idiot so afraid that her customers will visit our proerty and prefer it to hers or that I will bring all kinds of strange people on to her land? What is she hiding anyway? The Zwickies who are stuck on our land and stuck breeding find the wall more troubling than do the turtles. I just tell them that some avatarot and some Ones left their intelligence in the bathroom in "real life" where maybe somebody flushed it down the toilet bowl.

You're not eating that Iyoba!Meanwhile my One Who Thinks She Knows had to take a hairy fit when we visited SUNY Oswego and the Eco 101 (Eco stands for Economics!) theater. I found I was eating something. It looked like popcorn. Well it was sort of popcorn. It was kind of soft and mushy. My One thought it looked like toxic sludge. She tried to delete or derender the cup of that stuff. I honestly think she was afraid I was being poisoned. She made me got up and the mutant popcorn vanished. My poor One is very unhappy, but she has a good heart. She really does.

Iyoba BatOni with help from Eileen H. Kramer -- August 19, 2013

Two Mama Frogs, One Turtle in the Stars, and One Egg Cup Left

My One Who Thinks She Knows wanted to practice with the "egg mike" and movie making software, so she made a movie starring not only me, but one of my Petable Turtles, Uriel. You won't forget him, because he is a beautiful turtle. His father, Irving, was a Fall 2010 Special (There was no Fall 2011 Special!), and his mother Wahidde disappeared. She was red. He came out glowing, firey, red-orange. He has fathered countless offspring. He knows nothing of amplexus, but neither do our Lily Frogs.

He knows nothing of slow dancing either, except now he rides on my shoulders and this is sort of like slow dancing. I don't think I've ever taken him dancing at a club, but we came close today. While my One Who Thinks She Knows handled the camera today, I handled the narration and I started singing. I'm not sure why. It's not any particular song. Anyway, we made our movie on Telra Ven. It's a very pretty island. West Haven is its village by the sea.

Sad to say, my One always makes videos on too big a stage, so instead of embeding it, she's linking it into the blog. Just click the illustration below to see the show. No, we won't win any Oscars, but maybe all the male Petable Turtles out there who are neither dead nor physically alive can take heart that there is more to their lives than what my One calls "wham, bam, thank you ma'am!"

Click this image to see the video of Iyoba and Uriel

I think our walk on Telra Ven was to stay away from our Lily Frogs. Both the females, Pabla and Millicent, are pregnant. We have one egg cup left. It hurts because we will never be able to remove that egg from The Honey Hut without destroying it. That hurts. We have been contacting Dragoness Rage several times a day. She may be long gone. My One fears that. That hurts. Now you know the reason for the title of this post.

Iyoba BatOni and Uriel with help from Eileen H. Kramer -- August 15, 2013

We Can't Tell the Turtles...

Iyoba ponders our newest problem from the upper deck on MoonstoneMy One Who Thinks She Knows is adamant! No, putting the turtles in situations where they ask awkward questions. Breedables who have lost their first purpose in life, frequently take on a second purpose of learning everything they can, asking questions, and let's just say it gets awkward, because often there are no good answers.

Yatif listens to Iyoba play the piano at Oregon State UniversityThat does not mean that we can't take the turtles out to many different kinds of places or when we bushwack. Here I am playing the piano for Yatif in the lounge on Oregon State University's Beaver Island.

Iyoba and Boaz dance at EnergyAnd what fool would bring a Petable Turtle into a club that discriminates against reptiles wearing shells or former breedables who now have to find something new to do with their existences. Fortunately, Energy and its complex of clubs don't discriminate!

Soda machines that do not vend anythingOf course our turtles ask questions anyway. Last night, those that were out or on my back watched poor Geronimo, our white, luna, starter, male zwicky unsuccessfully try to mate. This happens because he became receptive while the girls were slowly becoming ready. Forcing the males to only mate with one female and have one baby a week felt like exploitation, but turtles who mated every day, find Geronimo's inability to do what was so much a part of their lives utterly tragic. I explained about zwicky hormonal cycles, but to no avail. Likewise, turtles can find food dispensers that give no food equally perplexing. These utterly useless vending machines were under the stairs in the main tower on FSCJ. They looked pretty but gave no food or drink.

No fruit for you!Yatif found these lovely fruit baskets in a store/cafeteria full of food especially frustrating. Here was so much food and none of it available. The turtles have all seen me bring home the food that they eat in their new lives. Seeing unavailable food frightens them.

pregnant Pabla, the Lily FrogOf course My One and I both made the mistake of introducing our turtles to our Lily Frogs. Why not? What could be the harm. Lily Frogs are reasonably fecund, very mobile, and they should remind the turtles that there are still pets much like them in the world or much like they once were. The turtles are now all working on something different.

Lovely Office Building on Ravens Writing DeskOf course neither of us thought we would run out of Lily Frog Egg Cups which we need to box up the eggs. Our frogs are breeding away. We were down to five egg cups. A simple trip to Ravens Writing Desk (No link for you!) would solve the issue and.... When we got to Raven's Writing Desk, the Lily Frog store was gone. There was a lovely office building, a wedding venue, and a big design store. I got stuck in the bathroom due to lag. That can happen. Don't ask what I was doing in the bathroom....Please.

Who set the teleport point way up in the sky?Of course my One Who Thinks She Knows thought there had to be Lily Frog eggs somewhere on Raven's Writing Desk. We went there looking for them, found an inhabitant, asked what had become of the store, and got ejected. Not fun. We went back a second or third time, and I found myself falling from a thousand meters up. Thank goodness I always have a parachute within easy reach.

Your World, Your Imagination, and the manners are optional.The people who ejected us the first time and who have since banned us, rented the entire sim which meant Dragoness Rage, the owner of Breedable Nation's, upstream landlord is gone which meant she got evicted through no fault of her own. My One also says that "real life" can intervene. I don't understand all that.

Of course my One knows what to do. She is leaving messages for Dragoness Rage several times a day. We have time since the frogs are not out of food. My One reasons Dragoness might now know My One is still in the business since she had thirty egg cups and that lasts a while. We are only running out now. Yes, Ones make excuses for each other.

My One says she is too tired to feel really bad yet. She leaves that to me. She says she does not have the strength to go through losing another breedable again. We have a lot of older egg cups. We may be able to use those. We have an egg rack. If there is no way to obtain new food when we run out, it's over. My One swears no new species of breedables. Too many times she has trusted and paid money and once she has been betrayed. Yes, that's the way she thinks. She is making do with the turtles, but we probably won't be able to give our frogs new lives. It's going to end badly and hard. "I don't need this!" my One tells me. I tell her, "I'm sorry I let the turtles know."

Iyoba BatOni with help from Eileen H. Kramer

The Owls are Lonely

Envy, Iyoba's and my favorite, little, cute, owl bot. This is Envy. He was the world's cutest, little owl bot and he was the host's helper at Club Valkyrie (No longer around on Come to Paradise so no point in a link). I miss Envy. He now resides in Lone or Tweety's inventory. Lone and Tweety are taking a break from Second Life. Their Zwickies have all returned to their home dimension where avatarim and Ones Who Think They Know won't use them for fighting, breeding, or making money. Their meeros are long gone. The club and mall have vanished. I learned about their departure third hand. They left without saying goodbye.

Lone amd Tweety are still my friends. That said, I could sense that Club Valkyrie was circling the drain. We staid friends probably because they were on one level or another decent people with whom to deal, helpful, and reasonably truthful.

Poster of a panda in the older build of Club Valkyrie One of the ways you know that Lone and Tweety were my friends, and probably still are, is that I have very few pictures of them or their club. You don't photograph your friends without permission.

It of course possible to have friends and miss them, with extremely mixed emotions. Maybe it happens more often than we think because we somehow like to imagine our friends are smarter, more skilled, and morally better than we are or than average. When a friend does something that is unwise to the point of being damaging, it feels like betrayal.

You can see the fruit of my friend's unwise act in this image. Look down through the skylight and you can glimpse some of the interior of Club Valkyrie. This is the rooftop dance floor. The little owl bot in the background is Wolfgang, a friend of Posh and Envy, the other two owl bots.

The vast majority of clubs and malls simply don't survive. There are a few exceptions to this rule: Bogart's which doesn't get a link, possibly Phat's, and definitely Dance Island. Other clubs have been in business for nearly a year, maybe longer such as Bar None on Caribbean Orca and Energy on Music Wave. Other clubs have had to move around a bit like Zapp which lost its island. Most clubs are nowhere near as lucky as this handfull.

Most clubs fail. Starting a club is a fool's errand, at least if one does it in the conventional way, with a large building and a lot of land. Put simply, clubs don't make money. The DJ and host and the club may get some tips. The club itself may even get some tips, but that's usually not enough. To pay the land rent, a club needs a nearby mall. The mall attracts tenants who pay the rent and then the club brings sales to the tenants. Of course SL Marketplace is an overwhelmingly huge competitor just like Amazon competes with brick and mortar stores in "real life," so the stores in the mall don't bring in expected revenue, and you can guess what happens to most malls in Second Life, and if the malls can't support the clubs, the owners can't pay the rent, and if you can't pay your rent...

Club Valkyrie more or less followed the above, failed business model, with predictable results. And yes, sentimental fool that I am, I toyed with the idea of renting space. I'm glad I didn't. I'm right now very relieved that I was not one of Lone or Tweety's retail tenants. I'm also glad they did not try apartments/skyboxes to support their club. Losing retail space is bad enough. Losing a residence complete with breedables is worse. And yes, I'm glad that Lone or Tweety and I never had any business transactions except the kind that involved exchanging a product for cash. I bought my Lily Frogs from them. I also bought a lot of Petable Turtle food when they had a breedable marketplace.

And yes the breedable marketplace that Lone and Tweety ran is long gone too. Club Valkyrie is their second, failed business venture. And I can hear all of you saying: "How can you sit there and criticize when you don't take any risks?" "Instead of just complaining about a problem at least try to fix it or propose a solution."

Wolfgang, another cute little owlbotI've got a solution: Stinky Stinky. Brazilian street dances along with dancing on the beach on Hobo Island are all more sustainable. Note: the Brazilian dances usually are in the center of a mall with the mall being right on top of the club, and Brazilians are far less shy about advertising and doing so constantly than Americans. When a Brazilian or Portuguese talks about spam, it has a far more benign meaning than it does for an American. Spamming drives the traffic on to Brazilian club/mall sims. Americans can not indulge in this kind of intensive advertising. Hobo Island is a large, member sustained nonprofit sim. Stinky Stinky is or was mixed use development. I've had retail kiosks and egg dispensers on my land. I still have all my plants free to copy. It is also a residence.

Setting up a mixed use area, is probably the most sustainable way to run a "club." The land is also your home. It can be a 1024 or 2048 instead of a 4096 if you don't want to commit to paying full freight for a 4096 (about $25.00/month). Decide from day one that the thing is going to be a dead loss. You're going to get the home base and residence out of it. You may be able to sell a few items. You'll have open space, a dance ball or dispenser of free, full perm dances, and maybe some DJ furniture. Beyond that, if somone has a stream, you put it in the sim's radio and give the DJ radio privileges. You hold dances as much or as little as you like, and yes, this plan needs either light commercial or full commercial land. You'll get thrown out of most zoned sims for having a "club." Note: this is also low prim. Some building skills are helpful, but since you use fewer trappings, your initial set up costs beyond land rent are minimal.

Of course my mixed use solution requires that you think small. I prefer to call it not getting overextended. And no, I did not give Lone and Tweety business advice. It just didn't feel right. There is more to this story than what I am telling. Tweety was the salt of the earth, though right now I'm not thinking about how I won't be checking Come to Paradise (The club is no longer there, so why put in a link?) any more when I am inworld in the evenings. I'm trying to think about what could have happened to Lone and Tweety in "real life." I worry. I feel especially bad for them because I have often found that when "real life" puts me "out of sorts," as my favorite avie complains, Second Life sooths and relaxes me so I can face "real world" challenges again. I feel that Lone and Tweety became so overextended that car trouble or medical bills could destroy their haven in a world where the sun always shines.

Eileen H. Kramer with help from Iyoba BatOni -- August 9, 2013

Food and Clothing

With my One having finished (at least for a while) her hunt for fame and fortune, she is back to taking care of our animals and me. Our Petable Turtles now require special care. We no longer buy food from Petable because they no longer sell it. We no longer need the HUD to rename turtles either. About half our turtles have heard music. One day we're going to Persnickety to try some of the other instruments besides pianos.

Turtles enjoy their grasshopper snaks I try to only take the turtles places that will leave them happy. My One Who Thinks She Knows fears that the turtles may ask too many questions that have only painful answers. They have all ready seen me shake awake a zwicky with sleeping sickness. That was Nimrod who this time has gone through this pregnancy in a lot better shape. We have been thrown off a few sims by security orbs, but we haven't been kicked out of any clubs and the turtles haven't seen any dead or sick breedables. All that is a big relief. Jurgis still asks to go back to the sim he first remembers. My One is not sure this is a good idea since he died there. The sim where he lived his first round of life with us is a much nicer place. I think we can convince Jurgis not to take it personally if ban lines or a security orb send us home. Adiv has seen the Lily Frogs and watched me gather an egg. These are small and lively breedables who only lay two eggs a week. When they bred, Petable Turtles were a ot more fecund than that with seven to twenty-one eggs per week.

It's a prune plum At first My One Who Thinks She Knows thought it would be easy to feed our Petable Turtles. She had plenty of food in her inventory, and places are always giving away drinks and snacks. She found some lovely apples that she had made. She created a bowl, but then everything else we had seemed pretty awful. The Doritos were junk food. The Blue Hawaiian made the turtles... Well thankfully they are statued and can't do too much damage when drunk. The beer was grey. The pizza looked like it was made of wood. My One came up with the idea of making prune plums to give our turtles more variety. Best of all, I can eat the prune plums too.

Not a Plauge Tastey Grasshopper Snaks with Red Onion Then My One and I thought long and hard about something salty and savory to give the turtles. We thought about nori maki and wasabi peas, but then remembered that in "real life" turtles often eat insects. Well I had nothing against eating bugs, but My One is something called "kosher." She said, though that most grasshoppers were perfectly OK to eat, not that she has ever eaten them, but I have. You can see our new Snaks. We'll be making more flavors, not just insects or those who are faint of heart or prefer something else.

The 'corn mourn' black corn dress And somewhere in all of this, my One stopped complaining about the size of my wardrobe. Suddenly she really needed to make clothes textures. She made this black corn dress as a kind of mourning outfit even though are Petable Turtles did not really die. They were not physically alive, and they don't look dead. There are all kinds of nonbreedable animals just like them, so the dress is not completely black but the corn is. Corn comes in so many colors, it is a really popular dress theme, and yes, my One would eat black corn if it were ground into meal or made into grits.

Depokan or Sumo dress My One had a lot of leftover clothing textures. This one, for the Sumo Tangerine Dress, was leftover from April when Sumo Tangerines, also called Depokans, appeared in the the DeKalb Farmers Market for a few brief weeks. They were so good, my One wanted to do a RJR Famer's Market style fabric based on them. She got the fruit. I got the dress.

Daisy Fleabane Club Dress with Baloon Skirt Of course my One would not eat a Fleabane and neither would I, but she says they are a common flower, much overlooked and one that deserves more love and respect. She made the blue batik for this dress background using filters and some of the new techniques she learned through the Book of GIMP. The balloon skirt comes from a free texture for some sort of cup or beeker she got in a big box of sculpty textures. My One is always looking for new scullpty shapes to use for waistbands and for experimental skirts and in hair pieces. Give my One a box of sculpties and both of us are extremely happy for quite a while.

Iyoba BatOni with help from Eileen H. Kramer (the One Who Thinks She Knows) -- August 9, 2013

Bring Your Turtle to Work and Play

Iyoba and Yael ride the Ferris Wheel on Zobovic CloudsWe're back. The world has changed. The turtles get out more. My One Who Thinks She Knows has improved her already excellent heart, and I'm back at work but not always. Here I am taking a break riding the ferris wheel with Yael on Zobovic Clouds.

Froggy sort of went a'courtin' Ironically, there is not much on this island. There is almost too much on James Madison University where we found this cute, little golden frog in the Nepenthe Woods.

Take a bow Iyoba!And here I am in Forbes hall at James Madison. I entered by the ticket office and walked on to the stage accidentally. My One Who Thinks She Knows said: "Why don't you just take a bow?" Yes, I had been swimming on another sim. There are rumored to be modesty police on the James Madison sim, but they must have been asleep. My One assured me that her grandmother wouldn't mind me in a nice, one piece bathing suit. The turtle on my back is not an ornament. It's the handsome male, Uriel, now retired from breeding, but not traveling!

Iyoba and Uriel on Jaguarland USAWe travel all over the place to bushwhack. Sometimes we walk as Uriel and I did on this bridge at Jaguarland USA Education, the University of South Alabama's sim. This sim disappeared for awhile. Now it is back with a whole new look and at least two decent attractions. It is on the Explore SL Spreadsheet of course!

Iyoba swims by an underwater volcano Other times we swim. We do a lot more swimming than you think. Uriel and I swam at Jaguarland USA Education and here I am with Shais swimming by an underwater volcano at the UH Aquaculture Program. UH stands for University of Hawaii which runs three sims in Second Life. My One thought she had seen all there was to see on those sims. Boy was she wrong!

underwater fish on UH Aquaculture ProgramHere are some underwater fish that live in chain link balls beneath the sea on UH Aquaculture Program. On some of the balls there are shelves with trays on them. In the trays grow coral for making new reefs.

One goldfish that is not as safe as she thinksOf course you might feel sorry for the fish in their chain link cage, but I think they are there for their own good. This goldfish in her bowl on Angelo State is not as safe as she could be. The black kitty likes to put her paw in the bowl. My One says that the black kitty would like to eat the goldfish, and that she has a kitty who would like to eat her turtle in "real life." My One called it fratricide, since all pets are siblings.

Playing the piano at University of Warwick Maths Of course we don't always run around when I bring my turtle to work. Sometimes we take a break to make the turtle feel better. Shais like most of my turtles, has lived a deprived life. He's eaten, bred, slept, and done little else. He has never heard music. Yes, turtles can hear in Second Life. My One says they are deaf in "real life," but I don't live in "real life!" Here I am playing the piano in the cafe on Warwick University Maths which had two sites make the spread sheet!

Iyoba and Shais dance on Ubatuba Finally, sometimes my turtle, traveling companion and I really do need to relax, and you have to remember none of our turtles (well by now one or two) was ever to a club as long as they were breedables. In their new life, that has to change, but we have to be careful. Some people may be prejudiced against turtles or think that they are a toy and I am a child. I am just educating my turtles and giving them a new life. Here I am dancing with Shais at a club on Ubatuba. The managers and fellow patrons were quite tolerant of us, which was fantastic. I'd hate to have any of my turtles experience getting banned just for visiting. It's bad enough that there's height prejudice in Second Life, but shell prejudice? Some how that just makes me sad and angry, and as all of you know, I can get quite emotional.

Iyoba BatOni with help from Yael, Shais, Uriel, and the One Who Thinks She Knows, Eileen H. Kramer -- August 6, 2013

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