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You Know, For Kids… 2.0

April 5th, 2015 by Marianne McCann

This site is being moved: please go to https://mariannemccann.wordpress.com/ – thanks!


One of my big projects this year has been redoing my toy store, You Know, For Kids.

Exterior shot of You know, For Kids in Bay City

I started it back in mid-2006, when I was still a fairly new Second Life© Resident, and kept it going for some time — yet with the advent of mesh, plus a focus on events and other work, the store fell by the wayside: still there, but lacking in new content. I decided that, in 2015, it was time to change that.

First off, I rebuilt the building. Now it does essentially look the same, but I’ve added a lot of additional mesh details, and even a backroom for, well, storage or what not. Really, I felt it broke up the interior a bit, and added to the feeling of the space as a real “thing.” First life stores have back rooms, while Second Life ones don’t often have them. It’s a small difference, but adds to the feel of the space.

You see, I want my store to serve three functions. First, it needs to be, well, a store: you go there, you buy things. Second, I want it to be a space one could, if they wished, “role play” a visit to a toy store with their friends or family. Third, I want it to have a nostalgic “mid-century’ toy store look and feel that fits with both Bay City and with my own “retro” product line.

With the first part of this in mind, I’ve moved to the E2V Vendor system, which allows people to not only buy my products, but get cool stuff like store credit, redelivery in case they lose anything, and even gift cards. Except, sticking with the vintage feel, we’ll call them “gift certificates.”

The front Desk at You Know, For Kids

I’ve been adding additional details to the store, to enhance both the “RP” and nostalgia factors. The gift certificates are presented as gift certificate books, the credit terminal is the old “knuckle banger” type of credit card machine, and the redelivery terminal is a “lost and found” box. I want to avoid a lot of the “expected” Second Life-specific things — kiosks and terminals, signs that vend, etc. — while still having the functionality people expect.

When I’m putting stuff on the shelves, everything is presented as stock on the shelf, sometimes with signs attached and usually with additional stock boxes, to give it a “full shelf” feel. It’s still sparse yet, but this will, I suspect, change as I go along.

The overall interior “motif” of the space is mid-century, with a slight additional circus theme. Striped walls and some circus animal drawings I did to tie it all together. Well, I did have help, studying my old Walter T. Foster books as well as some vintage toy store gift wrap I recently got ahold of.

Interior shot of You Know, For Kids in Bay City

Of course, I’ve also been slowly adding new stock to the store, while revising old stock to mesh, with new features when appropriate. I’ve learned a lot more scripting and such since I did my earlier toys. It’s fun to be back in the swing of it again. I’m pretty proud of the new line, and am looking forward to putting out more over the next few months.

I hope you’ll visit the new store, even if you don’t buy anything, just to enjoy the space. I’d also love your feedback — not just toys I need to build (though I love suggestions), but any details you feel the place needs to have.

As always, You Know, For Kids is located at 100 Willoughby Way, on the corner of Willoughby and Route 66, in the Imaginario region of Bay City, SL.



Did Business Insider get it right?

August 2nd, 2014 by Marianne McCann

There’s been a lot of discussion about a recent Business Insider article on Second Life®. I also echo some of the views that the author of the piece got a few things wrong, including her graphics settings. There’s a lot I would pick at in this article, a lot I think is wrong. I don’t think the author really bridged from the premise of their headline into their walk through. I feel like they may have — whether they feel they did or not — set out with an agenda. The article itself reads like so many SL hit pieces, after all.

All that said, this article points to a lot of the troubles with the new user experience.

She complains about the “beginner world,” then about ending up in a Game of Thrones region where she was ignored. She then “glitched” and walked through a hill. I suspect this wasn’t a glitch, but just the typical bounding issue or some such — stuff that experienced SLers shrug off, but would be viewed as an error by a new user.

She also talks about her experience with a friend she met at Caledon Oxbridge. There was some discussion of nightclubs and dances, a trip to Abbotts Airfield for some skydiving in an old, prim skydive plane, some time in a sandbox, some clubbing, some pole dancing, and even discussion about a skinny-dipping event later that evening. The whole experience — if I were seeing Second Life for the first time — would seem dreadful. Why would I want to even bother with such a place?

Still, this is what it’s like for most first time SL users.

Should Business Insider had a top of the line gaming rig with all the bells and whistles? Certainly it would have helped the otherwise mediocre photos. Would that have been a true new user experience? No, I doubt it. Instead, we see a typical new user, shown from the standard camera position, with the graphics settings I’d not be surprised were the suggested settings for the system they downloaded Second Life on.

Their experience is probably not atypical of a first-time user. Indeed, I suspect they had a better than average first user experience, being guided directly by another avatar rather than signing off sometime between that first island and “glitching” through a wall at the Game of Thrones-ish space they discovered.

Nevertheless, I don’t think their guide showed them the best of Second Life, either. Abbotts, while a lovely legacy airport and a personal favorite, is not well traveled nowadays. If they wanted to check out an airfield, there are more populated ones out there, even ones that have built-in skydiving pads. But a flight may have been more exciting: look at that osprey taking off in the background!

They could have gone to some of the LEA art exhibitions. They could have gone to some of the Linden Department of Public Works created games. They could have gone to any number of Resident-created spaces that would have impressed them. Something far beyond a beachside bar that looks like it was built and textured in 2007, a dance store, or a pool adorned with a dance pole.

Yet I must ask: how different is this from the usual new user experience? More so, how can that experience be better? We can say that the reporter could have done a better job, could have had a better rig, and could have spent more time — but is their Second Life experience any better than what most see when they join?

Let me also put this video in the mix. Some of it — okay, a lot of it — might be not safe for work.

This too is a common new user experience. Yes, this fellow obviously is going to show you the most outrageous parts of his experience for the video — but can you not look at his time in the welcome areas and not nod, knowing that his experience is not that much different from what you might discover on your first login to Second Life today?

I guess what I want to say is this: let’s not shoot the messenger. Let’s look at this as a symptom of a troubled new user experience. This is a wake up call: we all can do a bit better. What should their experience have been?

UPDATE: I edited the above after it was pointed out that the mentor was not a member of the Caledon Oxbridge staff.

A Child of the Corn

July 24th, 2014 by Marianne McCann

So I’ve been spending some time in The Cornfield, a new project by Linden Lab’s Linden Department of Public Works within Second Life®.

A child of the corn

But before I talk on that, a word or two about the Linden Realms Portal Park that leads into the Cornfield, as well as The WildernessMagellan’s Grid Scavenger Hunt and Linden Realms. The Portal Park is what the portal on the “social Island” should have been

It has a central area to land in, but the decoration of the area draws you out of this space. There are no benches facing in, nothing to serve as a focal point. Meanwhile the paths to the different experiences wind tantalizingly out of site from the hub, drawing you down. No featureless portals here. You get a sense of the area you are entering before you go, but with informational note card and the overall dressing of the area.

You can tell that Linden Realms is soft fantasy, that the Cornfield is a dark, well, cornfield, and the grid hunt is snowy. The other portals are clearly designed with expansion in mind, most notably the largely-dressed-but-unmarked Arena portal.

Very well planned, very well built. My only complaint might be the overall simplicity of the build — but I am sure this is by design. Very helpful for those who are not running big gaming rigs. I might also wish there was some way to drive people to a non-gaming area, akin to a “back button” to other choices (including social and information spaces).

Now then, let’s discuss the Cornfield.

It’s a simple “shooting” game. Go to the cornfield and collect corn to turn in for “Corn Bucks.” Beat up the baddies (in this storyline, griefers left over from the old Linden Corn Field penal area) to get more corn bucks. Get beaten by them, you lose you corn (but not saved corn bucks) and go to a spawn area. Oh, and corn bucks can be redeemed for armor, better weapons, and prizes to take home.

It all uses the experience keys, which were roughly formed for use in Linden Realms and are soon to finally roll out to other users. As such, when you go into the realm, your HUD, armor, and weapons appear, and all your saved states appear from where you last left off. Leave the area, and all the armor, weapons, and the HUD automatically detach. It’s a level of playability that has been lacking in Second Life based games for, well, ever.

It’s not the easiest game in the world, with the baddies in the corn being hard to spot in the dim light. Most take a couple hits to kill, while you are soft and fleshy, and easy to harm. This makes armor — and the odd bottle of moonshine you might find in the field — very helpful.

There are also other items in the field you can sit on for a breather, and even a still that will power you up to full strength.

The prizes are simple but fun, ranging from corn necklaces (which would be nicer if modifiable or at least resizable) and system t-shirts (I’m surprised they weren’t fitted mesh) to “griefer avatars” and plush toys. Cute, but these are not necessarily the most useful items.

Still, the fun is in the play. It’s an enjoyable bit of playtime to get out there and beat up the baddies for a while. The prizes are secondary to the overall game play in my opinion.

It’s clear that the LDPW has done all they can to limit issues of lag in the build. Designs are simple and textures are repeated. Scripts are minimal. Nevertheless, when it is crowded, you will face some lag from other users and other typical Second Life latency issues.

It’s a great use of the Second Life platform. Much like with Linden realms, it’s fun to take your day-to-day character and “enter” an alternate world. It feels a bit like the old TV show “ReBoot” and hopping into incoming games to beat the user — while retaining the shape you always inhabit.

I’d recommend it. Go play.

On SL11B

June 22nd, 2014 by Marianne McCann

Empires of the mind

Empires of the mind

Picture this. Here we all are, in a virtual metaverse that exited its initial beta eleven years ago.

It started as the Rig, a simple virtual world for testing haptics technology for Linden Research. Then, it was LindenWorld, where people terraformed with grenades and watched ators eat birds.

Eleven years ago, Philip Linden counted down with a small crowd of Lindens and early Residents at the Ahern Welcome Area, ending Second Life’s initial beta and opening to the public.

Reflect on how this world has changed since then. An economy. Prim attachments. Pose balls. Music streams. Flexible prims, Local lighting, Voice. Windlight, Sculpties, Mesh, Materials. etc., etc. Hundreds of innovations — and infinite possibilities.

Think of how you have changed. How your avatar has changed, — and how your experiences in Our World have crafted the person behind the keyboard.

Consider how we’ve grown. 16 regions became 22. Today it is 26,000 or so. Many favorites have come and gone, like Greenies Home, or Spitoonie, or Nakama, while many have sprung up and remain today: 1920s Berlin, Bay City (yay), and so many others.

“The Empires of the Future are the empires of the mind.” At Sl11B we are showing our siblings in this metaverse our own empires: these places we’ve created through the sheer power of our own minds.

And at SL11B, we too have crafted our own shared empire of the mind. Eleven beautiful regions full of art, and community, and celebration.

Viva SL11B!

About Ever Dreamscape

May 18th, 2014 by Marianne McCann

Ever Dreamscape

Ever Dreamscape, from an episode of Etv’s “Ever’s Tiny Island.”

Ever Dreamscape came to Bay City in early 2011, and in that time founded the Bay City Post, started our Oktoberfest and Miss Bay City events, helped in the creation of the Park Plaza hotel, expanded our Mole Day and Tree Lighting events, and Started the Bay City Rumble races. She was also well known for the time she spent on the SL feeds, creating her “feed spam” story lines with her various “Etv” photos.

When I first met her, she was asking for help. She had just purchased a parcel in Bay City – Falconmoon and had no idea what to put on it. She opened rez to me, and I placed one of the Bay City prefabs that fit the parcel and her plans – a sort of proto-version of her Bay City Brewery. I don’t want to talk about predestination, but even that first moment I thought that this was someone who was going to be a big part of the community. I had no idea how much.

Of course, the next time we talked, she had somehow managed to rez an incredible assortment of Linden Trees in the middle of her bar.

In first life, she was many things, including a successful business owner, a homesteader, and a mother. She also struggled with being bipolar, panic attacks, and having liver disease, each of which took her away from what was an active first life. She was loyal, and she was honest — sometimes even to a fault. She had no filters, and would often say or do things long before she realized what she’d done.

In her last weeks, she was in an increasing amount of pain, and could not type well with her left hand. Her liver was failing, and she had also injured her back. She did not talk about this much publicly, and tried to keep up with her many inworld duties. Her last work was on Bay City’s Sixth Anniversary Celebration, trying to line up performers.  She had a feeling that her time was short, and worried that she’d not make it to the anniversary. Sadly, she was correct.

From a personal standpoint, she’s a friend that I will miss greatly.

Her and I talked nearly nightly. When we weren’t talking about Bay City events or other inworld things, we talked about our lives. She told me of her history, or her loves, of her life. She talked about her son regularly, both how proud she was of him and how much she felt she was a burden to him. She told me all she lost due to her own health complications, and all she was doing to try and stay well and together.

We all knew her through her characters: the hung over housewife in pink bathrobe and curlers, the little green alien, the banana daiquiri-induced chimpanzee, the Etv news reporter, and dozens of others. Most were silly, yet some were cut from deep in her heart.

Ever was a very complicated person. She came across in SL as a dumb, silly, unpredictable person that always appeared just before a disastrous, hilarious calamity. She was Chaos. Underneath all that was a kind soul, a person of great intelligence and drive, and the sort of person who – if she had it – would give you the shirt off her back. It’s hard to describe how a person could, oh, show up at your door dressed as a shark, or walk into your pub as a monkey and set the place on fire could also be so beloved by the community — but she was.

She helped keep me — and the rest of Bay City – moving forward. She was the thing that kept it interesting, and disrupted the status quo. She was a big fan of Pink Floyd, and truly was our crazy diamond.

Shine on, Ever Dreamscape.

Ever Dreamscape

A self-portrait of Ever Dreamscape

Celebrating Bay City’s Sixth Anniversary in Second Life

May 17th, 2014 by Marianne McCann


Celebrating Bay City’s Sixth Anniversary in Second Life®

Bay City 6th Anniversary Celebration

This Sunday, the 18th of May, 2014, Bay City celebrates its sixth anniversary as part of the Second Life Grid™.

The celebration will start at noon SLT/PDT, with a parade lineup at the bandshell in Bay City – Harwich. The parade will make its way down Route 66 beginning at 12:30 p.m. SLT/PDT, concluding at the Bay City Fairgrounds in the North Channel region.

2014 Parade Route

A live concert will kick off at 1:30 p.m. SLT/PDT at the Bay City Fairgrounds, featuring Christov Kohnke, Ultraviolet Alter, and Winston Ackland, and including GoSpeed Racer of KONA Stream providing music leading into the event.

All Residents of the Second Life grid are encouraged to participate. Posters, banners, parade float bases, and other goods are available at the Bay City Community Center, in the Daley Bay region, for those who wish to be a part of the parade, and able viewing area is provided. The music event is also open to all who desire to attend.

The event is dedicated to recently passed Bay City Resident Ever Dreamscape, who had helped arrange this and many other Bay City events since she came to Bay City in 2011.

Bay City is a mainland community, developed by Linden Lab™ and home to the Bay City Alliance. The Bay City Alliance was founded in 2008 to promote the Bay City regions of Second Life™ and provide a venue for Bay City Residents and other interested parties to socialize and network. It is now the largest Bay city group, and home to most Residents of Bay City.

The kindness of strangers

April 10th, 2014 by Marianne McCann

An Easter Portrait

I feel like this entry is practically a fashion entry — though it’s not really my best “fashion” photo above — so I will indeed add a “style card” at the bottom. You can click it to see the photo at a larger size. While I am sporting a whole lot of attire from the April round of Collabor88 and other current events, this post is actually more about the kindness of one of the designers for same.

It is often difficult to find good clothing for a kid avatar. Most of the kid stores are building for the Toddleedoo mesh child avatar shape, while adult designers are using the standard sizes to rig their outfits. This can often mean some fairly sparse pickins’ for an old-school kid avatar like me. I’ll write more about this in the future, including stores like Intrigue Co. and FATEwear/FATEplay which do sometimes make clothes for avatars like me

It can often be a disappointing search, especially with events. You might see something previewed on a blog that looks positively adorable, only to try a demo and discover that even the XXS size has got ample… space… up front. I could go on about how XXS size clothing from many designers still display at least a C cup bust, but I’ll save the rant for another time.

I saw a very cute skirt and blouse combination from The Secret Store. I’ve bought quite a bit over time from this store during various treks to The Arcade. I think I still have an abundance of spare skates and casette players in my inventory while hunting for rare items.

So I had to try this new outfit from Collabor88. It was simply too cute. As you can guess, however, it had a chest.

Unlike many, this wasn’t a huge amount, and I did opt to wear a white version of the top during Collabor88 set up, I was somewhat disappointed it did not have a flatter chest. While talking to the owner of The Secret Store, Maylee Oh, on other issues, I mentioned the top.

Mere moments later, she passed me a top to try out. It fit perfectly. I was stunned by how quickly she presented this, and that she would even be willing to do so.Thanks to her, I have four great outfits that people are going to get really tired of seeing me in this spring and summer, because I will be wearing these until they’re threadbare.

If you happen to be a child avatar, or just someone who prefers a flatter look for whatever reason, stop by Collabor88 and pick up the Betsy Halter Tank. Maylee does not have the kid size in the box there, nor has she reshaped any but the tucked halter — both things I hope she’ll consider changing down the line — but she is willing to provide the flat version of the top by request.

This is only one of many amazing things in Collabor88 this month, BTW, including things that would be great for SL kids. The Clawtooth hair is wonderful (though “Chick Habit’s” ponytail is clearly made for a larger chest), the Schadenfreude flats are amazing, and both MishMish and Half-Deer have brought the cute to the table. Check it all out when you can, but I know the sims will be jam packed for days yet.

Thank you again, Maylee. It really means a lot to me when someone will go that extra mile.

P.S.: If anyone wants a “typical” kid-size shape for creation or testing purchases, I have this one up on Marketplace and at my store in Bay City and Livingtree.


Welcome Home to Our World

April 5th, 2014 by Marianne McCann

A strange thing happened this week: I met Ebbe Linden

Me and Ebbe

Now I suppose this should not be too shocking, given I have a lot history of meeting Lindens. He’s not hardly the first, nor is he the first Linden Lab® CEO I’ve known. What makes this unusual, though, is how hard it has been to find Linden Lab employees inworld over the reign of the last CEO.

There were policies in place, I have heard, that prevented Lindens from socializing inworld. Instant Messages would go unanswered. Governance and support Lindens were hidden behind “Governance Linden” staff accounts. Office hours became user groups, and most of those were quickly shuttered. Linden Village – already decimated after the June 2010 layoffs, became an empty ghost town. By the same token, the blog and other forms of “official” communication went silent.

I can understand a lot of the reasons why. There were other policies that forbade Linden Lab staff from being on social media, too. No one wants the company tainted with a Justine Sacco-like situation. Likewise, the company insisted that they wanted the focus to be on the things its Residents created and did, not on their employees’ efforts. Fair enough.

Yet from its earliest days, Second Life™ has been a collaborative effort. The Lindens and the Residents, at first, worked very much hand in hand, with the Lab’s Liaison program hiring from the Resident pool. Additional Lindens worked with the Mentor program, or worked with both Lab and Residents in other ways.

This began to change during Mark “M Linden” Kingdon’s era, and while many hoped that Rodvik “Rodvik Linden” Humble might revive some of that spirit, instead things went very much the other way.

Now — to steal liberally from Crap Mariner — it is not Ebbe Linden we should be seeing so much of. Yes, he should be there for the big events; the SL birthdays and such. He should be busy doing “CEO things,” however. Steering the company, keeping it profitable and well. At the same time, he should have people who work for him who can be that face, who can serve to communicate his and the company’s vision, who can help the community, and manage the same.

It would not be the first time I’ve noted this, but I think Second Life is better when Linden Lab’s staff are present on the Agni grid, experiencing what all of us experience. See what works and what does not, and understand what Second Life’s users experience.

I saw a big first step with this, not from seeing Ebbe inworld, but the following day

First, while out shopping at Happy Mood, I came across Marissa Linden at the same store. I then went to a new island in the chain of Linden Village regions on Northwestern Sansara, where I witnessed half a dozen Lindens setting up their own homes.

Linden Village

Linden Village during the Rodvik era was a symbol of how bad things were. It was abandoned, Empty, full of damaged and disused parcels. The feeling was, to me, that they really did not care for this world any more. They had moved on.

So this was heartening to see. It was great to see Ebbe, but it seems far better to see Linden Lab staff there, in Our World, with us. Experiencing the same joys and heartaches of any other user. It was a new symbol, one of renewal and hope.

Second Life is a shared experience, and really is best when it is shared at all levels. We all have something to bring to the table, and there is no better place for that than within Second Life itself.

Welcome Home, Lindens.

Dear Ebbe,

February 25th, 2014 by Marianne McCann

Ebbe Linden as the Iron Giant

Welcome to Linden Lab©, Ebbe. I hope you have a long and successful career.

First off, I have to welcome you. I read that you have had some experience with Second Life™ before, and I think that’s great. A lot of folks have complained in ages past that Linden Lab doesn’t always use Second Life, or at least does not use it like their Residents. I hope that you get some time in just to see the world and try your hand at Second Life when you aren’t otherwise tied up keeping the lights on at 945 Battery Street, or working on some of the Lab’s other gaming properties.

My name is Marianne McCann. I’ve been in Second Life now for eight years, almost to the day. I’ve outlasted three other CEOs — one of them twice — and have seen the Grid go through some amazing changes in all that time. The world of Second Life is not the one I originally joined, and has changed countless times. With your new role, it will change again.

Many people, as I’m sure you noticed, will be asking for your attention, for all sorts of issues. Heck, there’s already a parody Twitter account dedicated just to all the things folks might feel you need to do. In a world as diverse as Second Life, I’m sure that any requests will be just as diverse, even contradictory. On top of that, you have to look at the big picture. You are answerable to the Board of Directors, and you have to do the good job they expect of you.

That said, I AM going to ask of you just one thing. Not for me, mind, though it will certainly make my Second Life easier: communicate.

Now I don’t mean that you need to spend your day jockeying at Twitter or posting to the Second Life feeds and message boards. While that is appreciated, it’s far from sustainable. You’ll get swamped in a heartbeat.

But I hope you will consider looking at how the company as a whole can better communicate to us, the Residents of Second Life. There is a reputation of poor communication, and knowing what was going on with Second Life from the Lab’s perspective has often been spotty. The Community team staff, cut thin in 2008, has remained so, and communications has been largely relegated to a grapevine of Residents. The JIRA was closed. “Office Hours” between Residents and Linden Lab employees were shuttered. Lab employees were barred from fraternizing with Residents.

When no news is provided, people build their own narratives — and they tend to focus on little more than doom and gloom. It hurt everyone, not the least of which is Linden Lab.

The Second Life community can be a best friend or a worst enemy. Some days they’re both. The better the communications, the better information and resources are provided to us — and the easier it is for us to do what we choose to do in Second Life — the more times the community will edge towards the former.

The community — some would say communities — of Second Life is your best asset. It always has been. We do more than build the content, host the events, and fill up servers: we evangelize Second Life. Or we do, when we feel there is something worth evangelizing.

Now I don’t think this is anything surprising or groundbreaking for you. I’ve read your tweets, and you do seem to get how important this is. I only ask, as you go forward, that you keep it in mind, and do what you can to open — rather than close — communication channels.

Thank you for your time, and I hope we’ll hear more from you soon.

Looking back on my little part of 2013

December 27th, 2013 by Marianne McCann

Out on the Solstice

Out on the Solstice

In looking back at 2013, one really can just note that — not including this one — I managed to get a whopping two blog entries up here within the year. It’s just been that kind of year.

I helped get the Second Life tenth anniversary community celebration, otherwise know as SL10B, down the aisle. In some ways I was behind the scenes, helping to arrange for the regions, preparing the corn field and bear island — yes, that was a part of my collection out there this time — and doing infrastructure work.

Most noted was my SL10B History Walk build, which I did with Pygar Bu and Harlequin Rhode. It was a year by year breakdown of notable portions of Second Life™ history, the good and the not as good, as well as a large selection of items emblematic of each year. It was an honor to put that together.

My Year!

My Year!

Little known fact, though: I had about 8 or so builds at SL10B. As well as the history walk, I built the Bay City History Pavilion, co-built the SL10B welcome area (which used original vintage items from the very first Second Life welcome area in Natoma), created a sculpture garden featuring works by Starax Statosky and others, presented a display of items from Greenies Home, put up a vintage infohub display, and did a temple to Mount G’al.

This wasn’t the only big event for me this year: at Burn2, I was the lead on The Man, working with a small team to recreate The Man and Man Base from the 2013 Burning Man event. It was a difficult build at time, particularly as hopes to have the actual blueprints fell through, but it came together fairly close to the real thing. I also worked on Inner Child Camp for Burn2, and did a build focusing on the “Leave No Trace” principle for Burn2’s “Conception” event.

Meanwhile, on the Playa...

Meanwhile, on the Playa…

Bay City is very much my home, and there too I found myself with plenty to do. As well as leading the Bay City Alliance in its weekly meetings, I helped arrange for the Fifth Anniversary parade and celebration, the annual Mole Day event, our fashion week and “Hot Bay City Nights” events, the Hallowe’en Hay Maze, Oktoberfest, and our Annual Tree Lighting charity event. I also built up one of my Bay City lands into The Pen, a Beatnik coffee house with regular open mic nights and other random events.

Bay City's 5th Anniversary

Bay City’s 5th Anniversary

One of my other priorities for 2013 has been Livingtree, Robin Sojourner’s island I share with her and Pygar Bu. Early on in the year we decided it was time to update the overall look and feel of the island, and I took point on refreshing everything. There is still a couple things we wish to do, but the heavy lifting ended around August and September. I think it’s overall turned into a lovely and photogenic place. I also did my usual Summertime fireworks shows on the island, and helped with the hosting of fishing contests.

Autumn comes to Livingtree.

Autumn comes to Livingtree.

Beyond these, I hosted fishing camps at the 7Seas fishiversary and the Fall Fishing Festival, I attended the Summer and Winter sessions of Camp HardKnock, I took a role as Head Moderator for the popular Arcade gacha event, I attended Oceanside Elementary, and I did an awful lot of flying in SL in a growing collection of aircraft. I got interviewed a couple times for Designing Worlds, appeared in several of the Drax Files: World Makers episodes (most notably the Rodvik Linden and Robin Sojourner episodes), and was seem in a few other spots besides. Oh, and I started to learn mesh, added a couple things to my store (many less than I intended), re-dressed some of my other locations, and took scores of photos.

So, as you can well imagine, I did not get a lot of down time. Some parts were too busy, and a busier first life will mean cutting back on parts of my second. I’ve yet to decide what form that might take.

But was it fun? You bet it was. I worked alongside some great folks, and met all the more. More than that, I helped a great many others get to know each other, learn, and grow. Totally worth it if only for that.

And now, onto 2014!

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