Saturday, September 29, 2007


My new home is Caledon Wellsian. The parcel to the right of the inlet is my plot. It’s a dynamic little site with majestic views all around. A mountain range carries the National Caledonian Railway across a grand trestle which towers behind. I spent some time documenting these early days, photographing the landscape before residents settle in. Presently, all resembles a barren Irish peninsula. I’m mulling over ideas for the land…a dolmen or a standing stone to start with. Should I plant birches or more authentic Scot pines? There are quite a few tempting prefab cottages (by Julia Hathor in particular) but I’m working on a cottage myself, textured with stones from Dingle (Ireland).

As I composed a few more photographs, a charming and tiny steamboat came chugging alongside the bank of the river. A lovely Victorian Bunneh invited me to see her plot right by the teleport, under the trestle, at the neck of the river. She toured me around her elegant mansion, with worn walls and warming fireplaces, with a view through every window, and then introduced me to my new neighbors, including Ms. Labrada. We talked about how excited we were to be part of this particularly dramatic landscape. Ms. Labrada is planning a pub at the site across the way which should make our area a bit of a social hub. As the site overlooks Middle Sea, and welcomes exploration through the inlet, it’s a natural haven for mariners (and pirates?) to take cover, so I intend to leave doors open to adventurers and pub crawlers.

I thought about joining Ms. Labrada for a ride through the mountains, but was embarrassed by my horse. I only have a demo, which is white with “demo” stamped all over her hide, and a hot pink mane. Ms. Labrada and her friend were so well turned out in their red coats I couldn’t embarrass them with my newbie ways. Luckily, an invitation appeared to view a dogfight over Middlesea. I tp’d myself over to where Virginia Tombola was handing out airships and directives. I promptly joined Team Blue and rezzed my airship into a plant on the pier. After a few false starts I figured out how to maneuver. The airship looked like a silver thermos with a fan stuck to one end but I had little time to examine details, for the battle started fast and furious and I didn’t want to miss any action. A total novice, I flew up, up and over the island, dove down onto a Red Team member and was promptly shot down and knocked out over my pantaloons into the ocean. I’m officially, and literally, immersed…

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Burning Life

This week Burning Life - sl's version of Burning Man. The theme is the Green Man - the symbol of rebirth. I've never been to Burning Man because it involves extreme heat, sand and nudity. I could take any of those two things but not all three together. Actually, ever since I heard the story about the unsuspecting campers being run over by a flatbed carrying dancing girls the event seems terribly scary. So, a wimpy way to experience it would be through sl. Acres of desert, ominous tire tracks stretching off into nowhere, bright green oases offer respite from the “heat”. Most of the camps are focused on the idea of going green (spinning cloud covered earths, dioramas of the earth falling to pieces, fact filled notecards on emission snd population statistics) . Not exactly promoting rebirth or providing solutions, the camps only bemoaned the inevitable. Didn't see anything burn and the music has been hideous. Most of the camps are depressingly empty. Only one concert hall (an ice palace actually) was absolutely packed with all sorts of people, furries, hippies, industrial types, the largest crowd I’ve come across in sl, and the hosts were playing jazz fusion. Help! The most pagan spot I found was in the Grow camp at Skylar. Sat quietly inside an enormous oak tree, then met up with friends Colleen and Achariya. We took turns being showered with blue particles from oversized tin watercans that floated above us. Automatic chat appeared onscreen that encouraged us to "grow, grow".

Saturday, September 22, 2007


I'm taking the plunge. In order to totally immerse myself into this steampunk-y scene I've bought land in the new Caledon sim, called Wellesian*. It's a tiny plot, with room for perhaps a small cottage, or just a garden. I chose a spot right where the river meets the ocean so I'll have a sea view. The plot is practically under the Trestle so whatever I create, with the train and a tp station so close by, I'll be sure to welcome visitors. Newcomers to Caledon especially, should stop by to say hello.

I'm feeling a bit more comfortable now that I've got a place to stash my stuff, experiment with builds, and welcome guests. This move is in no way supposed to be some kind of substitute for the rl space that I crave. Though I'm not rp'ing in sl, the two worlds are completely separate.

*last night I overheard a debate about whether the "e" was to be removed.
** my plot is the one with the stripey prim, first square to my right.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

September 11th

I visited the 9/11 Memorial (World Trade Center (164, 82, 26) last night. The setting was solemn and elegant; the names of the dead were etched in gold on long polished slabs of black granite, streams of water that resembled columns of tears slid along the surface. The walls were surrounded by water, the sim seemingly in perpetual sunset. Between the walls was a space illustrated with the faces of the known dead. Though difficult to discern, the walls worth of postage stamped sized individuals emphasized how very many people lost their lives.
I remember that day well. My brother and sister in law lived not too far away and it took a long time to reach them. Relatives had come to visit from England and watched in horror as the first plane cruised right above their heads and into the building. Suddenly the sky was filled with what looked like small glass crystals and dust. They were all locked in the apartment for days, having to show identification in order to leave the perimeter that had been set up by authorities around their neighborhood. My father, who was in the city at the time, fell into soldier mode and ran towards the action, to see what he could do to help. He soon found out there was nothing to be done.

Fall Foliage

There are seasons in Second Life. Residents of Caledon have planted leaf shedding trees, illuminating the landscape in red, gold and orange. Caledon and Steelhead are hosting a Harvest Festival this week. I joined the spirit of the season by submitting a scarecrow to a building contest. I came up with a wonky stuffed scarecrow with the face of Ray Bolger. It's defintely a creepy looking thing...I witnessed the parade of the Caledon Lancer regiment, which included an impressive display of uniformed residents, trotting into the night away from the port. Afterwards I spent some time in Steelhead, which, a resident told me "Is like Caledon only weirder". I hung out in a gypsy camp and was offered the opportunity to be shot out of a cannon. So I submitted myself, in a ball gown, to the barrell of a 68 pounder and was shot up over Steelhead into the sunset - huzzah!

Friday, September 7, 2007

Inspired by research I'm doing in rl on 19th c asian art curator Kojiro Tomita, I donned a kimono, obi and zori. As I strolled around Caledon, more strangers than usual came up to me to say hello and offered friendship. Something about the "shy" makeup I've applied, as well as passive gestures, have made me more approachable.

Of course, you can't judge a book by its cover. In a sandbox today, I came across an obnoxious guy who was hurling enormous knives into everyone's builds. He stood on a plinth, towering over everyone below, so I had to plank* him.

*sl term, to plank: to hurl yourself at another in order to knock him over.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

High diving in Caledon
Examining sl drawings by artist and Art Center creator Mar Dwi (will try to share his work on this blog)
Sandbox experiments: Inside my newly built yurt
Too much whisky...


Had a great time with my pal Colleen, wandering around New Orleans. I went ahead to scout out a church. Churches in sl offer a bit of respite from the short-skirted, Amsterdam-lovin’ crowds. I’ve found opportunities for decent conversation and quiet at the Friends Meeting House, Mont St. Michel and now the Cathedral of St. Louis on Jackson Square. In the cathedral I came across a woman sitting in a pew, head in hands, “Katrina Relief” hovering as her group tag above her head. Habitat for Humanity/Katrina Relief boxes dot the landscape. Colleen and I hoped that Mardi Gras celebrations here would benefit Katrina victims in the way Second Life Relay for Life does so successfully. The University of New Orleans in rl has stated that, in case of another disruptive hurricane, they intend to host classes in-world We spent a bit of time thinking about Katrina and then wandered around the place, wishing we could find the Napolean House or Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop (bar). We rounded the corner and there it was! Lafitte’s! Albeit a prim coated version of the crumpled vision on Bourbon Street but still – a place we recognized and loved. We were so excited we celebrated by drinking rum and cokes and smoking ciggies and cigars at the same time.

We had an interesting chat about the men we’ve met online who, though never purporting to be anything else, surprised us when their rl was revealed. I found out my first mate in-world was a 55 year old math teacher from Georgia, newly divorced. He sent me a link to his myspace page, which showed him shirtless holding weights or grinning with his teenaged sons, the page filled with comments from buxom 55 year old blondes…As nice as he was, not my scene. In fact, just the kind of thing that should send me scampering away from this kind of online interaction altogether, if it weren’t for the possibility of escape to places like Caledon, a sim dedicated to 19th century living, where I spend most of my time.

It’s funny meeting people in-world. Some folks are revealing, like the math teacher, and others clam up the moment you ask anything remotely related to rl. I’ve got a lovely new acquaintance that I enjoy spending time with, and, though she’s shown me her rl blog, she never talks rl when in-world. I suppose a good lesson for me, who reveals all readily, in my Italian way, to whoever makes the mistake of pausing next to me for too long…