Saturday, June 30, 2012

Wings of Peace

I made this image for my aunt, who passed away last week after a long illness.  Today would have been her birthday. R.I.P auntie.  I love you.

"I will write peace on your wings and you will fly all over the world" - Sadako Sasaki

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

SL9B and Community in Second Life

Entrance to the Egypt sim at SL9B

Well I thought I would have more time this week to blog SL9B, but it's another busy week for me all around.

Last night, I spent about four hours welcoming people as they arrived at the SL9B Welcome Hub, which was fun and mentally exhausting at the same time.  I'd forgotten how much work it is to help newbies!  I'm not complaining though.  My time was well spent and I feel good about making a small contribution to the celebrations.  

Since the theme for this years birthday celebration is "Community", I thought it was appropriate to dig up a blog post I wrote two years ago about community in Second Life.  Also, I don't have a lot of time right now to sit down and write a thoughtful post on what community in SL means to me, so I'd like to invite you to click the link and read one of my old posts:

How to build *Community* in Second Life

Hopefully, if I can get my shit together this week, I will post some photos of builds that caught my eye. Let's hope I can get this done before the celebrations are over!

Monday, June 18, 2012

SL9B: Let's get this party started!

So today is the big day.  The Second Life 9th Birthday celebrations are about to get started!

I’m pretty excited about it this year, mostly because it’s the first birthday celebration that has been planned and run solely by SL residents without any help from LL.  Yeah, it kind of sucked when LL announced that they weren’t going to do the big birthday bash this year, but I think it was a blessing in disguise.  The event organizers and community members themselves pulled it all together in a very short period of time, and I think it’s going to be the best birthday celebration ever.

The SL9B Main Stage (Lotus Stage)

I took a tour around the SL9B sims this weekend.  There are a lot of cool and interesting things to see and do.  I took a lot of pictures and I was a little overwhelmed as to which ones to start sharing here.  I decided to start with the shots of the five event stages to give you an idea of the amazing creations that are waiting for you to discover them.  Throughout the week, I’ll share some snapshots of the different builds to see. 

The Lake Stage(all mesh)

Before you get to the party, please go read this very informative blog post about the dreaded lag monster.  The post contains some very helpful tips to reduce your contribution to lag on the sims and dealing with it from your end.  Please go read it.

You will also find the full performance for SL9B on the blog as well.

The Sunken Stage(underwater)

When you arrive at the Welcome Hub, be sure to grab a SL9B Teleport HUD.  The HUD makes it very easy to TP to all the main event stages you see here, as well the rest of the sims to view the various builds and activities.  If you can't find the box to get the free HUD, you can get one from one of the greeters.  I signed up to be a greeter this year, so you just might see me hanging out to welcome you to the celebration.

The Egypt Stage

Needless to say, there is a lot to see in the coming week.  My suggestion is to visit one sim at a time, and don't expect to see everything in just one visit.  Check the events schedule for performances at each of these stages pictured here, and then maybe roam around the area to explore. 

The Cake Stage

I'm kind of in a bit of rush to get this blog post out today because I am at work, so if I have forgotten to mention any pertinent information, please let me know and I will come back to edit later.  

Lag at SL9B: How to deal with it

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Excuse me while I ramble for a bit

Yesterday was a busy day and it seemed like a lot happened.  First, tensions at work have been running high and I had a conflict with a co-worker.  It was weird and awkward, especially because it happened right before a group program we facilitate to a room full of women.  It was very uncomfortable, and it became clear to me that in order to get this project completed one of us has to walk away from it.  I don't want it to be me, but I resolved to express my concerns in a non-judgmental way to my Supervisor and let the chips fall where they may.  The big decisions are out of my hands after that and I just have to be okay with it either way. 

In contrast to the unpleasantness of that, I met my friend Rasputin from Second Life, face to face in the real world that afternoon.  It was the first time I have met with someone I know from Second Life and it was really very cool.  For some reason I thought it might be awkward, like there might be some level of cognitive dissonance from identifying my friend with their avatar for so long.  It wasn't like that at all.  We went to Starbucks and talked up a storm before I had to jump on the subway to get back downtown. My cheeks were kind of sore afterwards from laughing and smiling the entire time.  It was awesome!

I arrived home feeling great and then checked my email to find a DM on Twitter that another friend from Second Life was deleting their Twitter and other social media accounts, and most likely not coming back to SL for a very long time, if ever.  I'm not even sure why I am mentioning this.  It was just weird to be welcoming one friend into my RL, and shortly afterwards saying goodbye to another.  We all do what we have to do and I hope that friend will find balance again.  Who knows, maybe our paths will cross again somewhere out in the real world.  Stranger things have happened. 

There was a time that I would never even consider meeting someone that I met from SL face to face.  I was in a different place in my life, emotionally, and the thought of stepping out from behind my avatar mask felt too risky.  

Now, meeting someone that I have come to know from Second Life, out in the real world, just feels like the next logical step in the evolution of my online friendships.  It's not a risk or a big deal at all.  It's as normal as...well, going to meet your friend for coffee at Starbucks.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Sopor aEternum: Creepy and kinda weird but cool place to explore

I have nothing against creepy and weird...except when it's night time, the house is quiet, I'm alone downstairs with my laptop exploring a strange and creepy, mysterious place in SL and the floor creeks upstairs...eeep!

I have to give the creators of Sopor aEternum credit though, for creating a very interesting sim for explorers like me.  I imagine this is a popular destination during the Halloween season, aka the national Second Life holiday.

I always judge a sim by how it makes me feel.  I actually really felt a little scared as I walked through the area, but not scared enough to teleport out of there.  The strange and mysterious element kept me wanting to explore further and find out what this place was all about.  

Even though the place is rather dark and rainy, there are some romantic places to have a cuddle with your loved one - not pictured here, you have to go find those spots yourself. ;)

And speaking of the rain, it is intense.  As my friend Rasputin said to me, " It is the kind of rain, that if you are caught in it, you would say, screw it.  I'm wet, no bother."

Yes, indeed.

The sim is rated Moderate, however I did see at least one pose ball that definitely would not  get a moderate rating.  I didn't notice any others, but I wasn't really checking out pose balls.

There is also a teleport system that will lead you to eight different locations around the sim.   There is one teleporter at the landing point, and also scattered around the sim.  The giant chess board pictured below is one of the destinations. 

Sopor aEternum.  Even though I got the creeps in some areas, I enjoyed exploring it.  Be sure to set your windlight to the recommended settings - [EUPHORIA]Realm, for full effect. 

Saturday, June 9, 2012

One blog just isn't enough

Ahhh, how nice to leisurely wake up at 10am on a Saturday morning, make some coffee and watch the sunrise over the horizon.  Yep, 10am.  The sun rises and sets whenever we want it to in Second Life.  Not the same as a watching it for real, but it still looks pretty.  

I don't have much to report here lately.  I thought I would be out and about exploring more in SL now that I can take pictures again, but the weather is too nice here in RL to be sitting at home on the computer.  It's not officially summer here yet, but all the weekend events and outdoor activities have started and there is something to do almost every day.

I do have another blog though, a RL one, if you are interested.  I started it to have another place to write about my interests outside of SL, but all I have been doing over there is cross posting my Instagram photos and not doing very much writing at all.  Yesterday, I took myself out to lunch and felt inspired so I blogged about it.  Me, a food blogger.  I never would have thought!  

Actually, I'm not quite sure if it will be all about food, but I'm feeling excited about going out to try new foods, and even to cook at home so I can blog it.  I do not enjoy cooking, so to say that I am inspired to actually cook something special and share recipes is a big thing.  Somebody buy me an apron!

So I think on my Tumblr blog I will be blogging about food, family, travels (in the Toronto area) and other randomness.  I'm not quite sure where it will go, but after the blog post I wrote yesterday, I think I'm onto something.  

Check me out if you're interested:

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Kingdom of Sand - action role playing sim

Kingdom of Sand is another role-playing sim that I visited some weeks back but didn't get a chance to take some screenshots.  I went back last night and explored a big and got some shots to share. 

I've been in Second Life for over three years and have done many things, but role playing games are not one of them.  Sometimes I wish I could be more immersed in Second Life like some of the role players that I saw scattered around this kingdom.  I can definitely see the appeal of getting lost, temporarily, in your imagination in a place like Kingdom of Sand. 

Like many other role playing regions, you will need a visitor's tag so that you can access the city.  You pick this up not at the landing point, at the end of the trail of red footprints that leads you to a teleporter that takes you down to the city.  You need to wear the tag to use the teleporter.  It is good for three days. 

Judging from the amount of avatars clustered around the city, it looks like a very active community of role players.  I quietly went about my business, careful not to disturb the role play and didn't have any problems.

There is a lot to see here and I took a lot of pictures, but I think I only just scratched the surface of what there is to discover. 

As I was roaming around, the atmosphere reminded me of an Arabian or Moroccan theme.

The windlight setting I used for shots: [TOR]Sunset - Kyrosonatine

If you like role playing sims, or are looking for a role play game to get involved in, Kingdom of Sand looks like an interesting one to be a part of.  It's also a fascinating place for explorers too. 

Saturday, June 2, 2012

A morning stroll through the woods of Eryn Vorn

I grew up in rural Northern Ontario.  My backyard was wooded trails, through tall pines and rambling brooks.  I live in a large city now, surrounded by concrete , so naturally, I enjoy exploring virtual world destinations that pay tribute to the beauty of nature.  

I took a stroll through the woods of Eryn Vorn this morning.  It was a nice and peaceful way to start my day as I sipped my coffee early this morning.  

Eryn Vorn is part of the Calas Galadhon parks, which includes the Gulf of Lune and Misty Moutains.  I have blogged both of these destination before.  As expected, Eryn Vorn is just as beautiful as would be expected from the creators of Calas Galadhon.

When you go visit, I recommend turning off your music stream and turning up your ambient sounds so you can really immerse yourself in and experience the forest atmosphere.  

 There are a lot of little bridges here.  I like bridges.  I don't know why, I just do. 

The Sleeping Bear Lodge in this picture, is available for visitors to dance or cuddle with a loved one and take in the mountain scenery. 

There is so much more to see and do in this park than I have shown here in these pictures.  It's a great place to take a leisurely stroll alone, or bring a special someone to enjoy everything the park has to offer.  


Friday, June 1, 2012

Back in Business

I finally brought my laptop in for servicing yesterday and got a memory upgrade to 8gb of RAM.  It's double what I had before and is as far as I can go with this computer.  

Holy shit guys!  I can't believe what a difference it has made in SL performance!  My FPS has shot up, I can take high res pictures again without crashing when I even just think about hitting 'snapshot', and I can use the Firestorm viewer again.  I am so happy about this!  She's going on four years old and after three drink spills, this Macbook still has some life in her yet.

Photo taken at Dreaming Machine by Yooma Mayo, LEA15

I couldn't wait to take her home yesterday and try 'er out.  Depth of field works great, shadows look pretty good, and I can adjust windlight settings while my graphics are set to Ultra. Couldn't do that before.  Of course, I like to push things to the max and set my sliders as far as they will go, so I'm not crash free for snapshots, but it's still way better than before.  

I wasn't able to use Depth of Field before in the SL viewer, so I'm not used to the settings for it in Firestorm, but I am looking forward to taking more shots using this feature.

Grey Havens, Calas Galadhon 

Another thing I have found is that I can save larger size shots to my hard drive now.  I couldn't save large size pics because I would get stitching lines in the sky and water.  So last night I tried doubling my pic size and it worked beautifully.

My private home

You're probably all relieved because now I can stop complaining about my system issues!  It's okay, I'm relieved too! And happy!  Now I can get back to business and start doing what I love most - taking pretty Second Life pictures to share here with you all. :))