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What’s in a name?

March 31st, 2009 by Marianne McCann

A few months ago, a RL friend of mine who happens to have been a Linden did a favor for me. They went up the ranks, attempting to get one little word added to the abuse report categories.

The goal? Get the word “Sexual” amended to the word “Ageplay,” so as to clarify the action. At the time it was declared unnecessary, and did not happen.

Why is this important? In the real world, th’ term ageplay refers to both a sexual and a non sexual activity. Not all who ageplay are doing it in a sexual fashion. Wikipedia covers it in more detail than I’m gonna get into here.

But since the beginning of the controversy, Linden Lab has referred to sexual ageplay as simply “Ageplay,” without any clarification. This has led to more than a year of false reports against all child avatars, assuming they are involved in sexual activity. It also means that people who come to SL with a first life knowledge of ageplay risk account troubles by identifying themselves as ageplayers.

I still hope this will change, and we’ll continue to work with LL to see improved language for this category.

Weekend Update

March 30th, 2009 by Marianne McCann

Hope everybuggy had a good weekend!

Mine was pretty good, though on the surface maybe not as action packed as one might expect, but I did manage to have some fun. :-)

Recently I’ve been playin a bit with some airplanes. I found a nice place near Bay City to use as an airstrip, an have been doin so. Mostly with biplanes. This led me to do a biplane piccie up near the airship mooring in Bay City.. because I could.

I’ve been debating getting one of the nicer biplanes, but I’d rather not have to go into ones that require extra attachments if I can help it. Still, I’m open to suggestions for good ones. I’d also prefer to find something a bit more 1940s or 1950s, given my Bay city stomping grounds.

Speaking of which, I recently was a little grumbly about Bay City, but some of the events in Bay City – Imaginario lately have definitely brought my enthusiasm back full force.

Several parcels recently changed hands, including an extra 1008m into my little fingers. I turned around and sold it to a friend who really anted a parcel in Bay City. The way I look at it, I’d rather he have it than me do whatever with another plot. So now, where before there were empty buildings, we have his place, a combination Bellimisia and 1-800-Bettys store, and the soon-to-open expanded main store for Designs of Darkness. Add that to Nikki’s Shoes, Seventy Seven, and my own store, as well as a couple residences and other places and… well… Imaginario is a-rockin’.

This is my friend’s store, built this weekend. It looks great and fits into the region so nicely. He also has some nice bikes in there — an yes — they are resizable and fit adults and kids.

Like many others this weekend, too, I hit the Bunny Hop hunt. I’m now all the way up to egg #108. I dont know how many of them there are, but I hope it’s not too many more. I’m just about hunted out. It does amaze me how popular these continue to be. Given my store will be participating in a kid-specific gridwide hunt next month, I guess I should not be all that surprised, either.

I also saw a Grace McDonnough concert, went briefly to Show and Tell in Lummerland, participated in the bi-weekly Bay City Alliance meeting, and did a bit of building as well.

To finish out the weekend, I stopped by Avaria. A group notice recently told folks that the ground level will soon be remodeled, so ‘take your photos now.” So I did. First, here’s me an my brother an my sister out exploring:

And here’s a shot I took in Avaria Sav — one that I jes noticed got an Editor’s Choice award on Snapzilla tonight. Woo!

And… that’s it!

Weekend Update

March 23rd, 2009 by Marianne McCann

In the SL Forums, in a thread called “just ignore and let this one die,” I usually post a weekend update, a write up of all I did from Friday night into the wee hours of Sunday. I’ll be posting them here, too. Sometimes the weekends are pretty thing, sometimes they’re not. This was another one of them very full weekends. One of those ones where I wonder exactly how this all happened, an how it all fit into the space of two days and an evening.

I do these write ups party out of my own “wow” factor about these weekends, party as a diary of sorts, and party to show that — as a kid avatar — I can manage to get into a whole lot of very different places. I’m a firm believe that kid avvies should be out and about when we can, showing that we are a part of the world at large.

On Friday night, a friend of mine who does some code work for a certain Virtual World we all inhabit god teeped me into LindenWorld C. this is not the sorta place many of us Residents ever get to see. The Linden in question needed a warm avatar to test on (an no, I don’t tink I can talk too much about the “what” involved, even if I did know ll the details), and well, there I was. LindenWorld is a small block of sims that various Lindens use. Part sandbox, part office, the place is pretty chaotic. And yes, you know I snapped piccies. M Linden posted a piccie recently of LindenWorld on his flickr stream, so I figgure if he can, then I can.
GTeam Griefer Area

Finishing off the night was some late evening exploration with my sis and my daddy, of a sim called Pteron. I tink it’s part mystery, but it says it’s for meditation — and I believe it. It was gorgeous.

Pteron

The next day was the big snail race. RacerX Gullwing usually does big snail races, but this one was special. Over 100 snails crossing 45 sims as a Relay For Life fundraiser. It was utter chaos. Well, it was close to utter chaos – that was Sunday. Anyway, it was lotsa fun. I was cheering on my brother, who did’t quite come in last place. Here’s a shot of the leaders from very early on.

Snail Race

I also made a stop at KIC, to check out the concerts and the sim itself. Reminded me a lot of Kids5B. I hope it serves our community well!

This night a Linden teeped me to an event, but not in any place like LindenWorld or nuttin, and not a god teep neither. This time it was a fundraiser for the SL Shakespeare Company. Thing about this? It was a sushi party. Specifically Nyotaimori, or body sushi. I wondered: should a kid avvie be this close to a naked CodeBastard Redgrave, and should I AR myself?

Yes… there is a picture:

I ended this night with a bit of 7 Seas fishing in the heart of Bay City, which concluded with the blowing up of Brock Lazlo’s building. He wanted to make room for a new build of his, and a better use of the space for commercial purposes.

Now then, Sunday. Parade time in Nova Albion, in honor of their 5th Anniversary. This really was utter chaos, with enough avatars to fill two mainland sims, enough lag to stop us dead in our tracks, and everything from Barcola zombies to giant musical intrument robots.

Oh yes, and kids. There were four of us there. The Nova Albions have always been good about us kids, and welcomed us with open arms.

Here’s just one shot of a small amount of the group including yours truly:

Nova Albion Parade

You can see the rest of ’em in an album on Snapzilla.

This was crazy, but it was also a ton of fun. Even with all the lag and troubles, I’d gladly do this again — and will.

Finally, the party with the Forum Cartel. Doin it up 50s style! Thankoo all f’r the fun!
50s Party

And that’s the weekend!

Second Life Selflessness

March 21st, 2009 by Marianne McCann

Last week I witnessed something amazing.

Another Second Life kid, Abby McDonnaugh, had to be rushed to the hospital. She was facing a serious, life-threatening health condition and had to be rushed into surgery. The response form the other SL kids was to do what they could to help their friend.

Over the course of the weekend, L$409,000 was raised for her, with L$178,262 of that in an auction hosted at HardKnock Elementary. At L$259 to US$1, this is a sizable amount of real money we’re talking about. Given the sort of medical bills she will be facing from surgery and aftercare, it is likely a drop in the bucket, but it’s a whole lotta money in either world.

If you listen to the most people Second Life is a game, a pasttime where people go and have throwaway relationships. No one really cares, and heck, few of the people there are really people anyway. It’s a ghosttown.

Further, all the virtual kids are creepy at best, deviants and perverts at worst. Mad, bad, and dangerous to know.

None of that makes any sense when you got back up a couple paragraphs. People opened their hearts to someone who they know only in pixel form, who has touched their lives, and who they’re willing to drop hundreds of real dollars for. Heck, people who did not even know Abby, but who knew and trusted people they knew who knew Abby, dropped money into the kitty.

Cool. huh?

That is the amazing part. I’ve seen people give selflessly in hours, dollars, and anything else they can muster for a good cause. Abby’s story is not an unheard of one. Many others in need have found themselves several thousand Lindens richer thanks to the caring souls in their lives. This community wants to help each other.

I think that culture of caring is the single most important thing to me in Second Life, beyond the exploration, the building, any of it. It’s seeing the heart that is within each avatar, somewhere beyond the prims, the mesh, and the pixels.

SL Wiki and Child Avatars

March 20th, 2009 by Marianne McCann

Oh, and while I’m thinking about it, a special thankoo to Zai Lynch f’r helpin’ move my page on Child Avatars in Second Life off my namespace and into the main SL wiki area.

It’s a page I made some time ago for explaining to people who’re givin’ me guff about bein’ a kid, or saying I wasn’t allowed to be in SL, so maybe they would educate themselves. I like to think some do. At least the smart ones.

Anyway, you might get something out of this page too.

http://wiki.secondlife.com/wiki/Child_Avatars

An see? I do talk about kid stuff here too, after these last couple posts. Hope to have s’more news soon, too, but it’s stuff that’s a sekrit yet.

The loneliness that is Bay City

March 20th, 2009 by Marianne McCann

I am one of those saps who bought a plot in Bay City.

When I first heard about the Bay City project, I envisioned a big-city a’la Chicago of the mid century. A destination with a nightlife, fascinating stores and exhibits, you name it. A place were the best and brightest would come together buoyed by the idea of being able to do “thick” builds on double-prim plots. I looked forward exploring this place, finding the cool, funky stores one might find in Lloyd or other sims.

In the real world, I love that whole thing. This kinda retro nostalgia kick for that bygone era. If you look at my store, you can see that in my products. they tend to be toys from my own childhood. Things I had or wished I’d had. Bay City gave me the chance to really do it up, do a mid-century style toy store with all the trimmings, the perfect neighborhood for such a place. I’d already been eying land in Nova Albion to do such, and knowing there would be a lot of cheap, plentiful double-prim mainland in the midst of a land glut, well, how can I lose?

A lot of that dream died on the first day of the auctions, as the bids went up and up, putting the cost of even modest-size plots into full island region territory. The plots I was interested in went to a land speculator, who them flipped them a couple more times. They now house an empty lot and a burning car, respectively.

I did manage to finally score a plot in the sim I wanted, late in the game. A modest one, bigger than what I looked at before, but with no connecting road and along the void. I spent a lot of time making it look like it might belong in that world I was sold, only to have vacant lots surround me. Right now I’m probably in my best position, neighbor-wise, with a shoe store next door, a vacant lot behind me, and a “park-like” for sale plot across the way.

Yet the people who come to my store — a store featuring toys and novelties for both kids and adults — aren’t encouraged to do much shopping in the area. There isn’t a lot of there there. So much possibility and promise, but such a barrier to entry. Who is going to want to spend L$150,000 for the 1024m plot behind me, knowing that there not exactly going to get traffic from the vacant lot and for-sale land decorated as an Asian temple across the road? There’s little there to draw people to explore, so my customers come and shop, then TP out.

What about those who bought the land to resell it? Well, they seem to either keep the land barren, or put up for sale signs and not much else. Some of them opt to do what some call “grief build,” butting up an unattractive build in the hope that someone will buy it out just to pretty up the area. That might have worked for overpriced 16m plots with spinning ad signs, but not so much here.

Those stores that are there fall into a few categories. While there are a handful of “main stores,” a lot of the locations are “satellite stores,” places that house a “pick of the best” of a merchant, with a pointer to the real store elsewhere. A number of others are little more than collections of “affiliate vendors” set up in an attempt to get at least some return on the investment in the land. There is very little there that is unique to Bay City — my own store included.

There have been other issues as well. While there is a small number of people who are passionate about the area, we’ve also had to deal with a lot of in-fighting that takes us away from doing fun events and instead leaves us worn out simply from running in place. The last few months have seen events for Christmas, Valentine’s Day, and now spring scuttled while some force a largely unwanted (and unlikely to be implemented as some desire) issue of self-governance on the city. Morris Vig did a good write up on some of these issues. This also does little to help the area.

In the SL Forums yesterday, Bay City was labeled a FAIL, with people mainly citing the cost, the lack of unique shopping, and the lack of events amongst their reasons for not wanting to shop the area. Really, I can’t fault people for that.

I do wish I could help everyone find the beauty and promise, and see that dream I had when I first opted for land there. I feel there is some to be had. the block of buildings that Barnesworth Anubis & Co did is amazing. Cubey Terra and Akhnetan Grommet’s stores — satellites that they are — are great. There are many other examples. Yet it is all few and far between in a city that had the cards stacked against it from the start, that everyone seems to want to see fail just so they can gloat, and that has been largely populated by people looking for their own personal “get rich quick in SL real estate” scheme.

So it’s a bit frustrating to be a Bay Citizen sometimes, ya know? Those of us who are there really are trying, but we’ve got a rather large stone to roll up the hill. I’ve spent a lot of the evening reflecting on the area and my own involvement, trying to find my own personal spark. So far, I’ve been coming up a little empty.

Horray!

March 19th, 2009 by Marianne McCann

Jes a quick brag, I s’pose. Looks like I took first place in two different categories at the the Sci Fi & Fantasy Portal photo contest. It was an interesting contest, requiring that you shoot it all inworld, with no photoshop or other post processing. Here were my two entries. one in the category “Sci-Fi Scenes” and one under “Sci-Fi Avatar”

Here’s my two entries:

and

If you want to see them an the other winners inworld, they’re displayed on Info island, and will also be shown in Rez Libris next month.

The fantastic, or the hyper normal?

March 18th, 2009 by Marianne McCann

Something I’ve been thinking about a bit over time.

Within Second Life, we’re set up to do amazing things. each one of us can fly. We can teleport (when SL lets us). We can form ourselves into any shape, unbound from the constraints of our real-life flesh. In SL, we can explore amazing worlds: the dark spires of Svarga, the mid-century science fiction of Planet Mongo, or the world of the Tunnel of Light — to name just a few.

I cram a lot into my own second life. My day-to-day can be full of the fantastic, so much so that I might even view those things as mundane.

Also within my second life, I live in the world of an average — if there is such a thing as average in our world — kid. I go to an elementary school and do, well, elementary school things. I help my aunts with their stores, and hang out at the dock in Livingtree to do some fishing from time to time. I have a nice little house in the suburbs (and, actually, two of those nowadays).

Over the weekend there was a real-world space shuttle launch, and a couple folks on the Forum Cartel list wanted to watch it. I fired up the media stream and tossed it on a big-ish prim in the backyard in Shermerville, and they teleported over. I also called over a couple friends, including shouting “c’mon over” a friend or two within the same set of suburban sims. We sat and watched the launch, ate some grilled burgers off the backyard grille, and enjoyed a cola from the ol’ ice chest. It was a pretty traditional block party.

Last night, while a number of us (me, my sister Robin, my brother Pygar, and my Aunty Carrie) were at that property, we heard the ringing of a doorbell. Setting aside that I’ve not scripted in a doorbell at that house (yet), my brother answered it to find a door-to-door saleslady on our stoop. Well, she wasn’t actually selling anything. Just goofing around with a “Judge Judy” soundboard and fashioning a conversation.

 

Aside from being quite funny, and more than a little surreal, I was struck with how “normal” this seemed. A little suburban house, and its housemates being disrupted by a door-to-door sales person. Heck, all of this is almost “hyper real” to me. It’s almost like the suburbia you hear of from earlier centuries, an almost saccharine version tinged with nostalgia or longing. Or is it? In the real world, salespeople don’t use soundboards, and block party members don’t teleport in and out. Heck, after the time with the door to door salesperson, we all went to Alien Isles in the Unknowable region and dances around while making music with planets.

So what is your world? Is it the mundane or the fantastic? Is it a bit of both? Do you choose it, or does it just work out that way? What are your thoughts?

Weekend Update

March 16th, 2009 by Marianne McCann

So nows th’ time when I should write up my weekly update. I had some trouble with gettin’ my piccies out of SL, so I dun have as many as usual — but I do have some.

On Friday evening, it was school time — an it was time for our report card! I’m very proud to say that I scored 100 on both parts of the test, great attendance, classwork etc., an got an A+ :-)

Yes… the RP school does grade your work. :-)

Anyway, earlier in the week, I had talked with Lorin Tone. He was one of the two creative minds behind the blurtophone from Burning Life 08, an the band bots at Madcow Cosmos’ store. You see, I wanted a newer blurtophone. Lo an behold, he was able to make this happen. I helped test the new ones out, an will now have one for next weekend’s big parade in Nova Albion. Woot!

Meanwhile, in Bay City, I had to do a big presentation. I called it “Bay City Style.” It’s on the real world design and architecture that influenced Bay City. The presentation was well attended an well received. I was very glad folks liked all I hadda say, an that the time I spent in RL art history courses was not wasted. 😉

I did not get a piccie of me doin the presentation, though, so I’m gonna borrow one from Molly Montale from her flickr stream. I hope she dun mind.

The Shuttle took off in RL on Sunday, an Dakota mentioned it on the Forum Cartel group chat. He sent me the URL an before you knew it, I hadda block party. It was actually a lotta fun, an one of the reasons I’m glad I have a little suburban house in Shermerville. It is funny how we can do whatever we want in SL – but this sort of thing is both absolutely real world, yet also someting many of us don’t experience in our First Lives. I barely speak to my RL neighbors, an I s’pect the same is true f’r many others.

Anyway, here’s alla us sittin ’round the backyard watchin’ the flame come off the back of a large craft being hurtled into space.

Also that evening was a fundraiser auction I hadda go to. Abby McDonnaugh is a long time member of the SL child avatar community. She’s been a friend to many, a creator knowing for an innovative use of “MLP” style scripts to make a bed that is perfectly G rated, and allowing for kids and parents to interact. She’s been dealing with some serious health issues related to high blood pressure, so much so that she had to either get surgery, or risk death. The community, in a way to show support, has been donating and had this big auction. The auction raised $178, 262 — and combined with all the donations this weekend, it’s a grand total of L$409,000.

Editorial moment: how amazing is it to live in a world where a bunch of people would donate what is a sizable amount of real world money to someone who that know through little more than her pixels and personality? What does it say about those who talk of how “creepy” kid avvies are, and assume we’re all perverse to see that great an outpouring when one of our own is in need? I’m really touched by it all. More on this soon.

To finish out the weekend, there was a Sci-Fi/Fantasy photo contest I jes hadda enter. No photoshop allowed — hadda be totally show inworld an all that. Here’s one of my entries. I’m really proud of it.

Have a g’night an g’mornin, everybuggy!

By way of introduction…

March 15th, 2009 by Marianne McCann

Welcome to my little blogspace. 

My name’s Marianne McCann, but you can call me Mari. I’m just some kid in Second Life. I’m also a storeowner there, a citizen of Bay City and Shermerville, one of the people behind Livingtree island, and someone who tends to get very involved with things at a whole lotta levels. I’m one of the high muckity mucks in Second Life Children, write for the Metaverse Messenger, an do a lot of other stuff too.

The name of the blog? Feted Inner Child. It’s a group tag I wear often. It’s a play off of “Feted Inner Core,” the theory that there is a small number of Residents who negatively control the actions of Linden Lab. Or maybe it is more a play off the lampooning of that theory.I get around a lot inworld, and a lot of that is with Lindens and others. Hence why I would invoke “FIC.”  It’s also a play off of “inner child,” not just the name of a mall in Fletcher, but also a real world term for what a lot of us kids are doing in SL.

I’m a bit of an inworld photographer, so dun be surprised to see more than a few photos in this blog too, as the mood strikes. For me, photos are part of telling the story.  A thousand words, and all that.

What am I going to write about here?  I don’t know. Probably a few deep thoughts, people some silliness. I’ll take it as it comes, y’know?

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