Sunday, August 31, 2008

Iroquois Wildlife Refuge

The Iroquois Wildlife Refuge is owned by Orchid Jameson who I'd met by chance while visiting another garden. We'd chatted for a little while about gardens and she'd offered me a LM to her site. I promised I'd visit when I had the opportunity. Her profile picks list the refuge as the "Home of llamas and other interesting species." Curiosity piqued, I double clicked the LM and dropped in.

I rezzed in under the shade of a huge elm tree, and waited for things to come into view. Almost immediately a llama approached me and stopped meters away and begins to graze on the grass. It looked up at me and I half expected it to speak, but it went back to its grazing and soon wandered away. I turned the view around zooming out for a broader look at the site. I small river intersected the grassy area of the TP entry point. Off to my left the pasture land extended itself and was dotted with llama, sheep and goats. Across the river were two structures, and so I decided to head off in that direction.

The nearest structure came into view as I approached it. It's a Victorian style home, brick and wood sided. The lower level is trimmed with a light blue and the upper a burgundy. The most prominent feature is the three turrets, rising up and towering slightly over the main roof. The one on the left has an open porch at the second level the others I'm assuming to be bedrooms on top and below either a sitting or music rooms, or perhaps both. The second home, also a Victorian was much smaller. It was all wood, painted blue and trimmed with white windows and columns. Not wishing to intrude on the privacy of the owner noting that neither home is part of the refuge. Having satisfied that curiosity I turned around and headed back toward the grazing area. Finding a bench to sit on, I did and enjoyed the relaxing atmosphere while watching the animals graze. I thought it very generous of her to create this space for SL residents to enjoy.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Ohana Isle Treasure Hunt

Second Life's Favorite Treasure Hunt is having its One Year Anniversary, August 29th through September 7th.

When you come to do the hunt, pick up the Ohana Isle Hunt Guide at the starting point in Club 33 at the top of Mt. Wannahawkaloogie. Use it to help you find the numbered treasures all over the island. Buy each for L$0, and the goodies inside are yours.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Butterfly’s and Olive Oyl

A friend dropped a LM on me, while I'd been off line. Trusting her judgment, I hit the TP button and whooshed over without thinking too much about where I might arrive. I found myself standing in a clearing when I did rezz, very near a small rustic looking structure. Turning the virtual me around, the dazzling display of a thousand meadow flowers filled my screen with their colors. I stood and took in the warmth and beauty put on view for an arriving avatar. Curious now, as to my virtual location, I looked at the world map and saw that I was at Wanderstill on the ODE SIM, and I remembered both hearing and reading of the butterfly hunts that occur here on a somewhat regular basis. As the memory of reading a note card came up, several butterflies floated past my view on screen. I smiled seeing the light blue, orange and yellow colored butterflies following their scripted paths through the flowers and around then past me.

There were several people nearby when I checked the mini map and I was about to set off and wander through the meadow when a new arrival rezzed in. I waited a few second before typing out "Hello" in chat. She didn't reply, while moving off screen and into the flowers to my left. An arriving IM caught my attention and I spent the next few minutes taking care of some business. Once again, I was about to set off when I saw that the recently arrived lady had slipped into a new avatar. She now closely resembled Olive Oyl, the cartoon character and Popeye's girlfriend. Having been a fan of the cartoon while growing up, I had to chat with her. So I opened her profile and quickly read through it seeing she was a member of a group called "Scout It" – SL Guide Agency and her name was Delphina Audina.

"Please forgive my intrusion. I'd said hello earlier, perhaps you'd missed it. I'm a journalist ... I freelance while I'm writing my novel." I said

"Hi … sorry I didn't see it." She replied.

"I opened your profile and see you do travel tours. Can I ask you a few questions, if you don't mind?" I asked and then continued: "By the way, Olive Oyl, the avi is cute."

She replied smiling, "Thank you for your comment, it is fun to change. You can ask, it depends on the question as to whether I will answer, and yes that is correct about the travel tours."

"What does a virtual travel agency do?" I asked.

"Well we run personal guided tours in-world. If someone is interested in a certain topic, we put together a tour for them and come along giving background information or other help. We provide the service for residents, or for company's or colleges or tourist institutions."

"So you have packaged tours ... for example if they're interested in the arts, then these are the places to visit and things to see." I said in reply.

"Right, we customize it for the interest of the clients. A tour guide avatar comes with you and as I said gives additional explanations while conducting the tour." She said clarifying her earlier statement. I asked if she doing some scouting. "Yes, you can say that." She said and laughed.

"What about other virtual worlds ... or is it just SL?" I asked

"Well we did explore others -but flash 3D are not really interesting to tour or others are more or less closed server environments. So for now we stick to SL as this allows individual content creations." She responded.

"Have you ever been booted off a SIM you were scouting?" I asked her.

"Well we do respect privacy … it's mostly the how you interact." She said in reply.

"What was the most interesting place you've seen in SL?" I asked

"Geez that's hard to say there are some just breathtaking places either due to creativity of art or by the way how they are designed." She answered.

"What drew you here to this site?" I asked her.

"Oh, I was on a neighboring SIM, so I TP'ed over. It's a lovely, peaceful place, and Random is known for his good taste." She said and then excused herself as she had to attend to business. I thanked her for her time and then TP'ed home.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Kicking the Tires

I found myself in a mood for a little exploration this morning, so I opened search and the Popular Places tab and scanned the list. The number two place caught my attention, being a guy, and having worked in the industry (RL) a site name like "CARS, CARS, CARS – BEAM Automotive" drew my immediate interest, so I hit the TP button popping over to take a look.

Arriving and waiting to rezz I looked at the traffic numbers and at 123193 the site did see a fair number of SL'ers on a daily basis. A check of my mini-map showed no one in chat range, but the world map showed me that 86 people were on the BEAM Automotive SIM. The building I arrived in was substantial and had on display seventeen automobiles, some even recognizable to their RL counterparts. A fair assumption to think I'd arrived at the virtual dealer's showroom.

As I was about to walk around and kick a few tires, a new arrival landed next to me on the TP platform. And I do mean new, his second day in SL. We exchanged pleasantries and he asked, "Can I work with you?" The avatar who rezzed asked.

"Work with me on what?" I replied and then explained that I didn't work here. Hearing that he wandered away immediately and I sent him an IM explaining that I am a journalist and blogger and whether or not I could ask him a few questions.

I saw his avatar stop, and then turn as he walked back toward where I stood. "Yes, sure." He replied

"What brings you here to this site?" I asked

"I want to work on a job." He responded

"What sort of job are you looking for?" I asked him.

"Selling Cars." Was his reply

"Do you sell cars in real life?" I asked

"No, I want to work in selling cars in second life."

"I see this is your second day in SL, how have you liked it so far?" I asked.

His was a short reply, all he said was, "Yes". After saying it he immediately turned and walked away toward the nearest vehicle and jumped in. I called out to him as he moved away saying, "If you're interested in working here, I'd suggest you contact the owner his name is Monday Beam." I'd done a quick check on the 'About Land' drop down to see the owner's name.

With a no response from him, I went back to looking at cars and kicking tires.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

NPC Scavenger Hunt

Already underway is the Nonprofit Commons "Scavenger Hunt", the opening ceremony at Nonprofit Commons 2 Aloft SIM began at 7:00 pm SLT on Friday the 22nd of August and featured a performance by Vincent Merricks . The event runs through the entire weekend and there are still opportunities to join in the "Hunt". The event concludes with the awarding of the GRAND PRIZE $25,000L! The closing ceremony will be held at the Nonprofit Commons 1 Plush SIM at 8pm SLT on Sunday, the 24th of August, with a performance by Kim Seifert along with the prize awards Ceremony. This is an awesome opportunity to become more aware of what Nonprofit Commons and its wonderful organizations are all about. The first prize is 25,000 Lindens, the 2nd Prize are two Kiva Gift Certificates and many other wonderful prizes to be awarded.

Check out the fun!

Horror Fest 2008

A brief visit into SL late on Friday afternoon to put an event poster out in my booth on Book Island and I happened to run to Emz Mazie, writer and podcaster. We chatted for a few minutes, and she passed along an invitation and a note card to the "Horror Fest 2008" event going on today, Saturday the 23rd of August. Emz is the "Toast Mistress" for the event and will be welcoming two writer guests of honor, Mark Eller (Bearon Schoonhoven) and Elizabeth Draper (Lizard Yokosuka). Additionally, as part of the activities an SL Vendor Guest of Honor, Mars Bracken & Lyle Maeterlinck from "Liquid Designs" the owners of the "BLOOD" store along with an SL Fashion Designer Guest Of Honor, from "All Dolled Up", Fauve Aeon and Aberdon Enigma will be recognized in the opening ceremonies beginning at 8:30 am SLT at the Lower Pits of Hell Amphitheatre.

The day will be packed with events and activities for SL residents and fans of the genre, including interviews, readings, a fashion show, "Zombie Target Practice" and a Vampires Bloody Ball. The closing ceremony will begin at 8:30 pm SLT tonight. 

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Angel Hearts Charities

Several months ago, I wrote an article for the SL Newspaper about a woman in SL who had been deeply involved with the "Make a Wish Foundation". Her dream had been to open her ballroom and mall in order to raise funds for the charity. When I had interviewed her for that article, she'd revealed her own life's situation and how she had been dealing with it since being confronted with a diagnosis of Adrenal cancer. She and I have kept in touch, over the months since I wrote, "A Rebel Heart and an Angel". Last night she sent me a note card and I wanted to share it. If you have a chance, stop by and say hello to her.


I am Heartlite Jewell.

When I came in to SL last year it was my dream to create a ballroom in which I could provide a place for others to find peace, love and happiness while helping me raise funds for children's foundations. My first kids foundation was make a wish foundation here in the USA where I live. Then I meet some wonderful friends that live in Australia and they wanted to join me in this dream of helping kids. I happily added the Starlight Foundation in Australia, both foundations help children who are sick or terminally ill by granting their wishes in who otherwise never grow up to make their own dreams and wishes come true. My friends in Australia donated their island to my little angels. We have built a beautiful ballroom for all to enjoy as well as many other fun places for all to come visit and just have fun. As well as we have a second level mall in which our vendors donate 25% or more of their sales to the kid. We make no profit all goes to the kid's foundations and caring for the island. We are not here to make money, we are here to share fun, laughter, joy and a lot of love with others everywhere while helping kids from around the world. I hope you find Angel Hearts Island a pleasant and fun place to visit. Please remember we are a PG SIM so all children are welcome to come and play as well as adults. If you would like to know more the owners of Angel Hearts Island they are: Chip Masala, Sugarbuns Mantha, Buzzbox Mungo and I Heartlite Jewel. Please feel free to contact me have a blessed day and most of all come have FUN!!!


Angel Heart Charities

Sunday, August 17, 2008

“Arthole” Season 2

I received a note card from friends Arahan Claveau and Nebulosus Severine, an update on their gallery "Arthole". Ara and Neb are preparing for their second season to include collaborative new works on the second floor of the gallery. The note also said they'd invited a second guest artist, Selavy Oh, who will be joining with Ichibot Nishi for new creations on the third level. I had the chance to take a pre-opening peek at the gallery prior to its grand opening earlier this year and wrote an article for the SL Newspaper. Ara and Neb have created a superb venue for their creations and it's a must see to view and experience their immersive art.

Arthole re-launches with Season 2 on August 31st. See the Arthole Blog for event details and announcements.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

"Word Art" at Tranquil Cafe

"Word Art" at Tranquil Cafe welcomes author Nazz Lane as he reads excerpts from his novel "Borders of Our Lives". Nazz will be at Tranquil Cafe on Sunday, 17-August at 6:00 pm PDT (SLT).

Tranquil Cafe

Virtual Ability Grand Opening

A new SIM, Virtual Ability is celebrating its grand opening in SL today starting at 1:00 PM SLT. There will be tours and entertainment along with a dedication ceremony of the SIM. I met with Gentle Heron, from the Virtual Ability Group in SL. Virtual Ability helps bring people with a wide range of disabilities into Second Life, and provides them with a supporting environment once here. They help their new members integrate into SL society and provide information, encouragement, training, companionship, referrals to other SL resources and groups, ways to contribute back to the community, and ways to have fun.

Gentle and her team hope you will be able to stop by.

Friday, August 15, 2008

"My Private Supermarket" Multimedia Installation

I received an invitation from my good friend and artist Myth Guyot to the "My Private Supermarket" Multimedia Installation exhibition. If only TP's worked in RL. The exhibition is in Frankfort, Germany. It's a town I'd visited in RL, three times while on business and I've yet to run into a glass of beer I hadn't liked. Sorry for the slight digression, most people know me as a scotch drinker but I do enjoy a cold beer every now and then, especially when visiting or working in Germany.

So, back to the exhibition, which has already opened is located at Gallery Eulengasse 65 . 60385 Frankfurt, Germany, and began on the 8th of August and runs through the 24th with the Finissage and presentation of the catalogue on Sunday the 24th of August 2008, 3 - 7 pm (2 – 6 PM GMT)

Haike Rausch (Laksmi Giha) and Torsten Grosch (Myth Guyot) work together on art projects under the name of 431art in both real and second life. I've written about the Amazing Maze (SL Newspaper) they'd created at their site in SL and about their Machinima film "Walk to Elea!" in Lane's List. Later today, at the exhibition, video and Machinima short films by 431art will begin at 9:00 PM on the 15th of August (8:00 PM GMT).

Myth was kind enough to offer me the following translation about "431art" and the exhibit by Martin Doll, Media critic:

Haike Rausch and Torsten Grosch have been working together on art projects under the name of 431art for more than ten years. They understand their work as experiencing the phenomena and proceedings of nature, work situations and everyday political - social realities. Through their estrangement of the common view, their gaze on familiar objects breaks the habitual patterns of perception. In so doing; they take away the supposed inherent quality, of being real, from what is considered self-evident.

As prowlers between the different expressions of art, 431art often blurs aesthetic reception. They play with different categories of work often irritates the observer, the spectator experiences estrangement, an inability to classify, a puzzlement of everyday phenomena, experienced now as something new and totally different in the form of an art work.

In individual art shows the confrontation between graphic, photographic, film and sonographic elements is for example expressed by oscillating between these various forms of artistic expressions. Graphic art serves alternatively as standalone pieces, sketches of conceptual works or merely as descriptive panels. This creates a very vivid dialogue with the viewer and the objects on display.

In instances where Grosch and Rausch allow their artistic exploits to be experiment instructions, as seen in the concept for Ripenings, their art is turned into an experiment between science and non-science. Or rather between science and art. In this particular concept they explore the effect musical waves have on the growth of bean sprouts.

This experiment, which likely has its professional sceptics, aims to be a challenge to the logical and rational thought processes, it understands itself to be a provocation to the positivistic methods taken to explain our world. The demarcation line between art and science illustrates the very potential the ephemeral offers; the resounding, the wave, in so doing it sensitizes the observer to a scientific-artistic way of looking at the transient. In this sense the results of this experiment are not only natural science relevant but they also have dual impact as an artistic and tactile sensation. This form of aesthetic construction of the non-material is undertaken in; I'll be your substitute whenever you want me – an art project in the virtual space of Second life. In an age where seemingly everything can be digitalized (from human interaction all the way to very private spheres of reality) 431art tackles the way we perceive reality and identity.

The virtual environment combines Plato's allegory of the cave – the classical western philosophical image, which encapsulates the dilemma, between being and appearance – through the visualisation of labyrinthine formations. The tension between immersion and distance has an epistemological implication for the virtual and the supposedly real plain of perception. The structure of the work itself is a labyrinth, which mixes up various levels of real life representation. The aesthetic interferences between audio, video, the source code of the first Second Life Viewers, the avatar and the observer, sitting at his or her computer, creates a metaphorical field of analysis for the questions of authorship and personality, within an online existence. In this dense matrix the user must grapple, in his quest for a stable identity, with mirror images of himself and his environment. Confronted with a virtual doppelganger and the software created environment the user is directed towards cognition of the entire digital parallel universe.

With My private supermarket 431art opened a small shop, in the display window a shelf with jam jars was on show. The exhibition room at first glance seems to be a mixture between a modern convenient store and a quaint corner store. However upon closer inspection it becomes obvious that the goods on offer are by no means limited to commodities. On one wall cryptic handwritten texts are projected, show cases featuring butterflies with rather strange costumes of interwoven typographic structures. A video screen shows a bumblebee, as it assiduously flies from blossom to blossom ticking off it's shopping list. Even the jars on offer contain everything but ordinary jams. The labels on the jars do not only give information about their contents but additionally allude to the methods and essence in which the contents were harvested: Happiness-Harvest, Spontaneous-Harvest, spontaneous planned harvest, coincidentally saved harvest, intuitive harvest.

My private supermarket moves at the same time between various different subject fields. The various exhibits, with their different thematic aspects, cover the length and breath of today's marketplace with its organic food and to a large extent the lost culture of self-reliance. It picks up on the increased homogenization of the world of commodities, the loss of small individual shops and finally with the gathering as a leisure activity the means of survival. The strange labels do not, as is common practice, tell of the final product but instead tell the observer about instances of intuition, spontaneity and chance, which have determined the contents of the jars. On a different level of introspection within the institution of art, the question is raised - is there a reciprocal relationship between artifacts that are for sale and if so, what is the relevance of process and experimental projects. Accordingly 431art "leaves" the exhibition space by unexpectedly accosting the public in the social services office across the road where the only commodities that are not for sale are offered to the visitors in the form of jam-spread bread. Due to this temporary intervention of a kind of non-place, the socially regulated care system is confronted with the unconditional art of giving.

In their exhibition as with many other projects of 431art the ephemeral is stressed –consequently following through the orders of management – by the subsequent closure of the shop. However the vernissage is not the beginning of an insolvency case, but rather a catalogue in which all the stores goods are contained which will retrospectively still be available.

Horror Book Launch Today

A few weeks back, I wrote a story for the SL Newspaper on the upcoming release of a new novel "Dobbit Do". The authors, who were a joy to speak with, were eagerly anticipating the launch. Early this morning I received from Madddyyy Schnook and Angeline Blachere the following in a note card:

"Today SLGuides presents the horror book, Dobbit Do, by Woodard & Witt. Location will be sent at 5:50 PM SLT and the event starts at 6:00 PM SLT (Pacific) followed by dancing on the HellFire dancefloor to horrortechno trance and hard horror death by DJ Bcreative Wilde. Only in Second Life can you walk around a section of the book, meet the authors and main character, with scares and screams at every turn.

NexTech Development has perfected a combination software, hardware and radical new chip which make the new Dorango computer system totally compatible with every other operating system in the world. It corrects its own errors and evolves to accommodate the user's situation, whatever that may be. The only problem is that it has been infected by an ancient demon with an agenda. Dobbit Do (pronounced doe) tells the very contemporary tale of science crossing moral boundaries and people suffering the consequences. Set in Seattle and Austin, this technically perfect and socially shocking novel makes the reader consider all possibilities of cyber existence. It is a story about the binding moral decisions the characters choose, based on nothing more than their current situations, and the repercussions Dobbit Do forces them to accept.

It opens doors some people would rather leave closed, and very definitely will make the reader think twice before accepting their next . . . instant message!"

Also, check out the video ... Dobbit Do

Congratulations Pam and Wilbur!

Dobbit Do, by Woodard & Witt

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Would you know what to do if your loved one disappeared?

Stop by for coffee at Sunbelt Dreams Beach on Tuesday, August 19th at 4pm PDT (SLT) as KellyJ Shepherd (in RL, Kelly Jolkowski, founder of Project Jason) speaks on creating a personal identification kit for yourself and loved ones. Kelly's powerful presentation spotlights an important way to provide information to authorities in the event a loved one goes missing. The event is being hosted by MS Hawker, a representative of the Sunbelt SIM, is hosting the event.

Project Jason is a U.S. nonprofit devoted to assisting families of missing persons.