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New cool stuff from Robin

September 23rd, 2010 by Marianne McCann

It’s not too uncommon for me to write posts promoting some of my own stuff, but I’m steppin’ back for a moment to help tell you about the stuff of a good friend of mine.

I knew Robin Sojourner a little bit before comin’ into SL, and know off her for a lot longer than that. I did not really got to know her well until I asked her, in the late Summer of 2006, for a skin. I’d seen what she’d done with adult skins, and really wanted a decent skin without the limitations others had way back then. Out of that she created a whole line of skins for child avatars, I’ve worked with her, and called her a friend, ever since.

Anyways, about a year or so ago, she had to focus on some first life stuff, and this cut heavily into her time for building stuff. Much of what she got out over the last year – until recently – was also not specifically for us kids. She worked on trees, on tea sets, on water coolers, and other really nice projects. – but for the last couple months, she’s been back into doin’ kid stuff, and doin’ it up nice.

Now SL is fickle. If you don’t put stuff out for a while, people don’t come by to see what you got. Makes perfect sense to me. But now that she’s back to makin some cool stuff, I want to make sure people know about it. So here’s some of the new stuff.

1. Ball caps
Robin's Ball Caps
These came out a bit before camp this summer. There’s a nice, sculpted ball cap that you can get with different deigns on it. It’s touchable for a change of colors. Pretty basic stuff, but still nice, I think.

2. Cutoffs
Beach Bunny
These also came out right around camp. I asked her to make some up because I find it hard to find pants that aren’t low-rise. Her regular jeans fit me great, and I wanted some cut offs. So she released several colors of cutoffs, in two separate lengths. I don’t have a shot of them, but they’re really good, I think.

I did’t have her vendor-y image, so here’s a shot of me with the shorter cutoffs on, an one of the ball caps besides.

3. Candy Jewelry
Candy Jewelry
Candy necklaces and bracelets. Sure, a lot of people have made them. But these are all custom sculpted, and scripted so you or a friend can eat the candy right off the string. Very cool stuff!

4. Chucks Sneakers
Glitterpop Chucks
Camo Chucks
Lately, Robin has been big on shoes. She did some flip flops, then quickly moved to these sneakers. While some of the sculpts in these are commercially available, and a lot of people have used them, she took them back to the drawing board, remapping some of the object files to get a better result. That’s why the textures don’t look stretched out.

Calico Kitty Chucks
She also did these adorable kitty ones that took the whole idea into new territory.

5. Mary Janes
Mary Janes
A couple weeks ago, as she worked on Chucks, I suggested to her that no one had any really good mary janes. Most appeared to be ballet flats modified with a strap. So she took on the challenging, creating these beautiful, very accurately modeled mary janes. Nothing from a kit here, and she put in a ton of little details to them. I’m way biased, of course, but I don’t think you’ll find mary janes this accurate anywhere else in Second Life.

She’s got more stuff comin, but that would be telling. If you are interested in any of the above, or any of her other stuff f’r SL kids, see it all at Kick The Can in Livingtree. Hope to see ya there.

P.S.: kid fashion bloggers. If you are interested in covering any of these goods, please drop me a line. Or jes do it, of course. :-)

On the hunt

September 6th, 2010 by Marianne McCann

Hunting for clues

I’m hunting for some old Second Life history, and am hoping you can lend a hand. I am interested in hearing any stories, seeing old snapshots, and even gaining an artifact or two. If you know anything about the below locations in Second Life from around 2003 and can help, please drop me a line.

1. My SL brother owns a small section of Varney, and this appears to be around were the Varney Boardwalk once was. As such, I am looking for anything on this location. All I have found are two photos in the Governor’s Mansion, a photo from an older version of secondlife.com, and some video footage from YouTube. I’ve also had the good fortune of securing some content from the boardwalk. I would love any more that could be out there, particularly good images of the entrance arch and the overall area. Any relics would be appreciated, as well.

2. Photographs or materials from the Sami Infohub would be greatly appreciated. This infohub was my SL “home” in early 2006, but was decommissioned sometime later that year. I would like any photos or information about this site.

3. Early maps show a location called “Mysterious Ruins” on the border between Lusk and Perry (Roughly Perry 10, 30, 24). There was also a Lindenball Court around Perry 100, 30, 24. I would love any information and photos of these: was Lindenball the same as Jetball (in Rizal), or something different. What were the mysterious ruins?

4. I’ve seen a great many photographs of the outside of Shangri-La, aka Yamato Town or Orientation Station at the Castle. Are there any photos that focus on the interior? Also, many items were presumably lost from this location. Can anyone provide some of what was lost? I’d like to pass these to the LDPW and see if the site cannot be more fully restored.

5. What did Native American Village look like, either in Zoe or Oak Grove?

6. Does anyone have materials from LindenWorld the amusement park? Good photos, signage, the shirt, notecards, or anything?

Any help on these locations or any bits of old Second Life history would be appreciated.

Burning Up

September 5th, 2010 by Marianne McCann

The Playa

It took me a while to warm to the whole Burning Life “thing.” I just did not get “it” on my first couple visits. It just seemed chaotic, of varying quality, and largely pointless. As a result, I only saw small amounts of the event in 2006 and 2007.

It was not until 2008 that I really started to “get it.” This was some months after the disaster that was SL5B and its constantly evolving anti-kid avatar policies. Burning Life that year, by contrast, has its own “Maturity Policy” that allowed for all, and saw child avatars as valued parts of the community. I opted to get a parcel and create “Inner Child Camp.” It was a small spot, somewhere around 512m in size, and I squeezed every possible prim – and a few extras from time to time – I could out of it.

I was back in 2009, which a bigger Inner Child Camp. This time I brought in elements from the First Life event, particularly the KidsVille Camp that springs up in the Black Rock desert. it, like its 2009 predecessor, was a home away from home for two weeks, a virtual playa treated as realistically as the dusty playa near Gerlach, NV. Me and my team came in through the main gate at the beginning of the event, and left at the end. content is only what we can logically “truck in” (bearing in mind, however, that a bunch of kids would not likely be trucking much of anything in, but assume we have some adult supervision).

Last year’s Burning Life was amazing. It was vast and huge, with a little of everything. It was region after region of camps and art installations from all over Second Life. It was about twice the size of Second Life itself in its earliest days, and more than twice as vibrant. Events this Spring and at SL7B celebrating the Burning Life culture made it clear that this was a growing, vibrant event that could not be matched.

Like everything in Second Life, however, the last paragraph ends with a “but then…”

Linden Lab, hungry for ways to quell a stream of red ink, and Burning Man, eager to stick to its own policies of decommodifcation, severed whatever agreements they had that allowed Burning Life to exist in its then current form. The scores of regions, amongst other things, were no longer going to come to the event for free. The vent went from Burning Life (sponsored by Second Life) to BURN2.

(An aside: can we someday have something – anything – happen where we don’t treat Linden Lab as if they’re the villain in an early silent movie, twirling their mustache and cackling in overdramatic glee? Not that they don’t make plenty of missteps, sure, but they’re not The Great Satan. Just sayin’)

Burning Man itself is not free. While there is some free camp space and low-income/scholarship ticket programs, tickets for the event range from a low of $210.00 each up to $360.00 at the gate. This money in turn covers Burning Man’s operating costs, including the rental of the land that Burning Man is held on.

I mention this because two of the biggest changes in Burning Life – that is, BURN2 – from previous years. For one, the parcels are going to be smaller and the virtual playa itself is shrinking dramatically. Also, gaining a plot for the event is, for most, not a free venture. Even the land lottery had a modest entrance fee.

Many have balked at this. Frustrated, some complain that the event is now only for the wealthy (land costs for the event include several plots being sold at L$8,000.00 each, or roughly US$25.00). It’s simply not as easy, financially, to be there this time.

BURN2 is being run in a similar fashion to the First Life event that spawned it. Those dollars are what gives us the virtual playa to play on. That is what allows us to spend the time on these regions. If you don’t have 25 bucks to put towards it, too, consider this: put together a fundraiser, and/or find collaborators who can offer up some of the land costs. People do it in first life, and we can do it here. DJ a party or do something else to bring in some Lindens, and make it happen. It’s where some of my Summer firework tips are going!

By the same token, it is less space than it was in previous years, and I will miss the vastness of Burning Life 2009. My own plot will be 32 x 32, as opposed to the space some four times than in 2009. Yet, I also know I’ll have about the same amount of camp space as I had in 2008, and we managed to squeeze a very suitable camp into that space without resorting to nearly as much sculpted trickery as I did in 2010. This year we’ve already got some ambitious ideas, and I look forward to including them.

If you’ve been on the fence about the event, I hope you will be there. Join in, host a camp, and be part of an event that — big or small – is unlike anything in Second Life.
Leaving Burning Life