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June 23rd, 2009 by Marianne McCann

It’s time for the Second Life 6th Birthday, or SL6B, and us kids are fully a part of the event! My parcel is one of four that I know of that are put together by SL kids.

My SL6B Build

This is “Make the Future Your Playground,” by me, with Pygar Bu Robin Howe, and Johnathon Spad. Been great fun to put together! There’s lots to do, from bouncy craters, planets you can ride, lots of informaton (don’t forget to click the piccies for even more), and lots of hidden stuff. Here’s a YouTube “trailer” to whet yer appetite:

It opens June 23rd at 10:00 a.m. SLT, and is in SL6B Cryo.

Hope you enjoy it!

Dreams of flight

June 21st, 2009 by Marianne McCann

The Littlest Aviator

I’ve made posts about this here before, the idea that in a world where we can do virtually anything, why is it we opt to follow routines from our first lives? We can live in sunken grottos, yet many opt for a simple suburban home. We can create cities in the clouds, yet often opt for storefronts firmly embedded in virtual bedrock. We always come back to some real-world basis for our world. Is it that our imaginations are limited, tethered to reality, or is it that we relate to things closer to our reality much more than those outside our possibilities?

In Second Life, we can fly. A simple tap of my “home” key, and I can hover over the virtual earth, ready to zip around like Supergirl. Its quicker than walking or running, usually more efficient, and just a lot cooler.

Yet many, myself included, purchase and fly virtual aircraft. Indeed, virtual aircraft that look like real aircraft, when we could have a vehicle far removed form the realm of possibility. Some of these even have built in limitations. Take for example the PT-17 Stearman from Cubey Terra.

It’s a great little plane. not the fastest, but still have some kick to it. It also has a limited amount of fuel. You can burn out the engine if you go too fast for too long, and you will kill it if you drop it into the water.

Add all that to the hazards of inter-sim travel as it is — bad sim crossings, ban lines and full parcels, and such — and one wonders why you would ever want to be in a vehicle in the first place.

I think part of it is the challenge. I love taking the Stearman out for a flight from Bay City Municipal Airport to Abbotts Aerodrome and back. That round trip is about a full tank of gas for that plane, especially with some of the navigation one has to do to avoid “problem spots.” I’ve had to coast into Bay City a time or two, and it’s not uncommon for my gas tank to run dry before I taxi to the hangar. but I’m always a little giddy for having made it back, knowing that I did not have to rely on my silk parachute for a dunk into the Gulf of Lauren.

Part two is what I said above. We can relate to it in some ways. I can only fly, unassisted in my dreams. IRL I have been in commercial jets a few times, and once got to take a flight in a friends 50s-era prop trainer. So on one level or another, I “get” this, it feels right.

There is an opposite side to this, too. I will never own a Stearman PT-17 in real life. Aside form it being simply impractical for me to have such a thing, I would not particularly want such. Too much hassle. But in Second Life, it’s only as far as my inventory — and I need not take classes or apply for a pilot’s license!

Likewise, my other usual aircraft is one that is as far out of the realm of possibility as even the most fantastical spacecraft as far as I’m concerned. the Terra Aerius blimp. Seats five, and features a 20x20x60 hull. I call mine the Airship Sansara, with tail marking SL1.

It’s unlikely I will ever ride in one, though I did get to see inside the cockpit of a Goodyear blimp once. I’ll certainly never fly one. Yet in SL the other night, I took members of my virtual family and a couple friends our for a tour of the tri-city waterways. First off, I can report that — aside from a false start that caused us all to take a bath in Battery Passage —
we completed our tour without incident and landed back at the airport. Secondly, it was a great, fun, social time with friends: one that I could simply never do in my first life.

I recommend it. Give it a shot, whether you get one of the above planes or something else, and whether you fly out of Abbotts, Gray, Bay City (which has another privately owned airport in the city proper as well as the future Info Hub in Hau Koda), Hollywood, or some of the other runways.

The rule book

June 16th, 2009 by Marianne McCann

I did want to point that out though, just so it was clear. Policies towards child avatars have not changed. We still can’t do the same things we could not do for the last two years, on Zindra or anywhere. We *can* do the same basic things we’ve done elsewhere on the grid.

I can be in public areas. I can go into privately-owned parcels and islands (within the rules of that particular landowner, of course). I can own land in any place and with any maturity level. What I *can’t* do is be involved in sexual ageplay. I cannot make a place that is designed for sexual ageplay (for example, making a ‘sex playground’ or something like that). I cannot solicit for sexual ageplay. I cannot walk into someone’s private parcel or sim – or SL public space, for that matter – and perform or solicit (or in some cases, appear to solicit) sexual ageplay.

Further, I cannot say that I am underage in my first Life (never minding that I am not underage in my first life). I *can* claim a RP age in Second Life, but that can end up causing some troubles with people who do not understand the difference between role play and first life actuality.

Anyway, that’s all that. For myself personally, I’ve looked at Zindra, it has some nice architecture and is far from the “ghetto” people might have anticipated (One can argue that a golden cage is still a cage, of course, but I digress). The moles did some very nice work there, and I applaud ’em for it. There might be a couple other spots there I’ll want to take a peek at, but the majority of my “Zindra time” will be up soon regardless of who is or isn’t allowed there.


June 16th, 2009 by Marianne McCann

My, it’s been an interesting 24 hours or so.

Yesterday ’round 6 or so, I received word that the adult continent, Zindra, was open for preview. So — as I’d told many that I would — I went to check it out.

My logic on this is simple. When the support tickets go in and when the land sales start, I’d not really going to want to be there. I chose those words carefully: it’s not an issue of rules, but desire. Many of the locations that will be there will be full of sexual or violent content, and neither hold my interest in the virtual world.

What does hold my interest, amongst other things, is exploring. In my three years in Second Life, I’ve managed to explore several of the new land masses in their earliest states. I rose my horse on Corsica, Gaeta, and Nautilus (I think Satori too, but I’m not 100% sure) before they were populated. I explored Bay City and Nautilus City by land and air. I sailed the Blake Sea, the Gulf of Lauren, the DeGrand Channel, and the channel in Jeogeot when these were in their earliest moments. I watched the Linden Memorial Garden and the Bay City Municipal Airport as they went from flat land to fully built.

I love exploring new lands, enjoying the bare fields that will one day be covered with Resident builds, or poking around Mole builds to see just what they’ve hidden this time. To be honest, I usually enjoy this more than seeing the land after. I remember when one of my only LMs in then-new Nautilus got sold and became a sex club, or the flat, terraces, “for sale sign” festooned land of Gaeta, or seeing dark, modern skyscrapers in Nautilus City. Such is the march of progress, to be sure, but that’s when I tend to lose the interest of exploring.

So last night I got my chance to explore the new continent, Zindra. my first stop was where everyone else was, the sim of Mosh, right at the Port of Kama City building. It’s a beautiful building. Under other circumstances, I would even be half-tempted to have land there.

Port of Kama City

Anyway, I hung out there for a while. Watched a parade of Linden Lab staff come and go, even including M Linden, their CEO. Talked with some of the other folks Im friends with from off the SL Forums and elsewhere. Eventually, Blondin Linden tossed some music in on the parcel’s stream, and we all had one of those random dance parties that spring up. It happens.

Meanwhile, some of the other avatars there played with their avvies, doing the “my avatar is bigger than yours,” including some sort of stone indian, a Tiamat-style dragon, an anthropmorpic elephant thing and, yes, a cartoon penis that was one avatar for about five minutes.

So it was interesting when, a couple hours later, some guy told me that I was featured on a particular blog, because I was “dancing with a penis on the Adult Grid (sic.).” I was informed that this proved I was a fraud or whatever. At the least, that it pulled into question the purity of my actions over the last three years in Second Life. Hogwash.

Here’s what the place looked like that I was at.
Meeting in Mosh

Shocking, huh? So thick with sexual innuendo and rife with adult content. Avatars. Fully clothed. Standing around.

Anyway, there it is, the shocking story. FWIW, I think I’ll write another post here, on the more general issues.

Edited to add: here is a photo, courtesy of 3Ring Binder, that can give a real good idea of the proximity of said penile avatar to my avatar (and the elephant thing, and Tiamat). I wasn’t exactly close — or even within camera range. I was definitely there at that time.