Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Machinima link to share

watched this very cool Machinima video that was featured on New World Notes today. I really love it and just felt like sharing. Enjoy!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

I'm Just Sayin'

Being a blogger and a naturally introspective person, I spend a lot of time thinking about stuff. I consider myself pretty open minded, and if I can really dig into something, I can usually come to some kind of understanding. But alas, there are still things out there that are beyond my comprehension.  

Take for example, people's online/social media interactions with others. Why people feel it is ok to spew cruel and hateful comments to or about another person is beyond me. What's even more scary is seeing how quickly crowds of other onlookers will jump on that bandwagon.

In SL, we see, and unfortunately some of us experience this kind of thing all the time. What puzzles me is why certain people feel that they can dole out such hatred to another person, without taking into account what kind of repercussions this kind of behaviour can have. Really, I do not get this and quite honestly, I think this is probably the lowest form of social interaction I have ever been witness to.  

Would you walk up to someone in RL and tell them to their face that they suck, they're a loser, their products are crap, or ban someone from your store for petty reasons, or whatever it is that is the latest drama on the Plurk timelines?

I know I’m not the only person who finds this kind of behaviour disturbing. For the most part, I’m oblivious to this type of stuff, but once in awhile it crosses my path. You know, if you want to be mean and cruel to someone just for the purpose of being mean and cruel, it’s gonna come back to bite you in the ass. That thing called karma, it’s not just points you rack up on your Plurk page so you can get access to more emoticons. There is an actual cause and effect of not only your actions, but your words too and it can potentially have devastating effects on real people.  

But what do I know? It’s not like I ever get involved in or have some personal stake in any of that stuff. But from someone observing from the sidelines, it all seems pretty damn stupid to me. I'm just sayin'...

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

How to Build *Community* in SL

i have always been an idealist.  i can't help but dream about my lofty ideas for what my ideal world would be like, in RL and SL.  

most of the time i'm pretty happy, but there are times when i feel a little bit discouraged.  like last night, when i decided to fly around the sim i live on to take a look at my neighbours parcels.  i just wanted to see and admire their houses and work, when i got unceremoniously EJECTED from the parcel!  really, i wasn't up to anything besides looking... no camming in and spying on people, so i felt there was no reason to be arbitrarily ejected.  that surprised me considering that it in the estate covenant it clearly states that ban lines are not permitted.  i was shocked and annoyed to say the least.

a couple of days previous to that, i was in a busy store and i spotted an avatar whose particular style i really liked.  i cammed in on her to inspect what she was wearing.  not even a few seconds later, i got a rude i.m from her asking me why i was camming her.  call me naieve, but i had no idea there were such tools so you would know if someone had their cam on you.  what the hell are u doing in a busy and popular store that gets a lot of traffic if you don't want anyone to look at you?  wouldn't shopping on xstreet from your private skybox solve all your problems?  

these two incidents got me to thinking about privacy in sl.  it puzzles me why anyone would want to go to such lengths to keep people far away from them in a virtual world where complete privacy is pretty much an illusion.  sure, i understand the need for privacy and down time and a place to escape the lag, that's what my skybox is for, which by the way is equipped with a nice security orb.  but on ground level, i like to leave my parcel open for explorers and passersby.  most of them have been harmless and i have only had to eject maybe three avatars who were being pests.  besides, that i have not had any trouble with visitors.  in fact, i have met some very nice and interesting people who were passing by my place.

today while i was at work i was thinking about all of this.  it's ironic, because today i had a conflict with someone about my privacy at work - i have a nosey co-worker that i share my cubicle with who is always peeking over my shoulder to see my computer screen.  it would be nice to have one of those hud thingies (or whatever it is) to let me know when she is camming me in rl, haha.  i would eject her and ban her from my cubicle!  told ya i was an idealist.  

i digress...anyway, while i was at work, i started thinking about what it would take to create a sense of "community" amongst SL residents.  not that there isn't already a sense of community, but what kind of little things could we do in our daily SLives to create an even tighter sense community?  

in the office where i work, this hangs on the wall next to my cubicle:

i thought to myself there should be one like this for virtual worlds like SL.  a quick google search brought up nothing but software tools for creating online worlds.  i didn't find too much in the way of creating a sense of community amongst the residents of a virtual world.

so, i decided there was no reason why i couldn't adapt the "how to build a community" poster for SL.  i don't know if this breaks any copyright laws or anything like that, but i think in the spirit of the original poster, some adaptations for virtual worlds would be ok.

how to build "community" in SL

come out of your skybox
turn off your ban lines
set your security orb tightly around your house instead of your whole parcel
put up a swing so explorers can sit down and admire your virtual home
leave your parcel
introduce yourself to your neighbours
explore your sim
stop to say hello to strangers
greet people
help a noob
have a party
say hi to those people on your friends list you never talk to
pay attention to local chat
participate in group chat
read other people's profiles
comment on profiles that you like
write something meaningful and interesting in your own profile
step out of your virtual comfort zone
brave the lag
take off your unnecessary attachments
hang out at a dance club
invite people to dance with you on your chim or huddles
attend a live music event
fashion show
or art opening
tip the performers, artists, hosts and venue
explore the grid and appreciate the hard work and effort put in by the creators
write about it on your blog
start a blog
comment on other peoples blogs
link to other blogs from your blog
find your sl friends on plurk
make new friends
invite your old friends to plurk
share your building skills
learn a new skill
sign up for a class
accept a compliment
pay it forward
reassess your mute list every once in awhile
listen before you react to drama
give people the benefit of the doubt
know that everyone is in SL for various and diverse reasons
don't judge
and above all...
treat everyone in SL with the same respect and kindness
as you would expect to be treated with in RL.

i'm certainly not suggesting we all do every single thing on this list every day and all the time. i know i have a lot of things on that list to improve on, but wouldn't it be nice to try?

Saturday, May 8, 2010

My SL Home: It's not just a place, it's a feeling

I have called the Costa Rica Sims Estate my home for almost as long as I have been a SL resident. In RL, my family has a close connection to this small Central American country. Years ago, my husband and I vacationed in Costa Rica and fell in love with the country. We loved it so much that we decided to scrape together every last penny that we had, and two years later, we were able to buy a small piece of property where we will one day retire. This is a life long project for us and as things are now, our modest little house stands about half finished.  

Costa Rica is indeed a special place for us. It’s where my daughter learned to swim in the ocean, had her first taste of papaya picked fresh from the tree, and it's where my son was born. I feel so happy for my children who will grow up with warm memories of family times in Costa Rica.

Now before you go gettin' jealous of my glamourous lifestyle (ha ha, just kidding), I just wanna say that we work hard to maintain the house and property. We aren’t rich and we have had to make some sacrifices in our lives here in Canada so we can save up money to finish the house in Costa Rica. But I know that all the hard work is going to be worth it in the end…some day.  

When I first found SL, we hadn’t been able to go to Costa Rica for over three years. I was sorely missing the climate and being able to work on the property and the house. Our dream was starting to feel like a fading memory.  So when I first heard of the Costa Rica Sims, I was pretty stoked about checking it out and seeing how it measured up to the real thing. I was not disappointed in what I found. I was amazed, and still am, by the detail put into the sim. It really is an amazingly accurate representation of Costa Rica. The Costa Rica Sims Estate gives realism in SL a whole new meaning.  

It didn’t take me long to decide that I wanted my SL home to be in the Costa Rica Sims Estate. At the time I didn’t even really know what exactly I wanted in a parcel except that I wanted something green. As beautiful as the white sand beaches of Costa Rica are, I prefer green, and in rl, my Costa Rica house is not on the beach. It’s up in the hills surrounded by lush green tropical plants and trees (and howler monkeys that wake us up at the crack of dawn lol). And since I had been missing the house so much, I wanted to recreate that for my SL home (the lush green, not the loud monkeys). 
I found a pretty little parcel in the lush green sim of Alajuela Sureste. I absolutely love it. 
Inspired by the view of the waterfalls from my house, I named my parcel Cascada Pura Vida.  

Translated literally, Pura Vida means “pure life”, but the expression goes way beyond the literal translation. The Ticos, as the locals affectionately refer to themselves, use the phrase as a greeting, a farewell or even to express satisfaction. Pura Vida is a phrase that is very meaningful to Ticos and it expresses a sense of community, perseverance, resilience in overcoming challenges with good spirits and savouring life slowly. Sounds pretty good to me :D  

Did you know that in RL, Costa Rica is considered the greenest, happiest country in the world and tops the Happy Planet Index? It also has one of the longest life expectancy rates in the new world, 77 years. It must be that Pura Vida lifestyle…and the climate of course. It doesn’t surprise me that the SL version of Costa Rica maintains a 99% occupancy rate and it’s residents often stay long term. Estate owner Giancarlo Takacs has definitely captured the true essence of his beautiful home country. I can feel it every time I go off exploring something new he has added to the estate… the Geko Stoop Memorial Forest:  
The forest was created in honour of long time Costa Rica Sims resident Geko Stoop, who passed away this year. It’s a stunningly beautiful forest and is one of my favourite spots to go and chill out and relax in the peaceful atmosphere.
One of the things I love about the estate is that ban lines are not permitted so that residents and visitors can freely fly around the estate or explore by land or water. I don’t mind passersby, and in fact I like having explorers stop by. Feel free to come take a look at my parcel - so long as you respect my home as well as the homes of my neighbours. Perhaps if i'm around when you decide to drop by, we can explore the estate together :))

There’s lots to see, like the Plaza Colonial shopping district, often referred to as the Rodeo Drive of Second Life...
You can visit the active Volcan Arenal, that is complete with lava and volcanic ash eruptions...
A lush rainforest located in Parque Nacional Volcan Tenorio...
You can surf the epic waves at Las Baulas, Just watch out for the turtles, this is also their nesting grounds....
Bird watching at Palo Verde...
White water rafting...
and you can watch the humpback whales from the Parque Nacional Marino Bellena...
There's so much to see and do, I don't have room here to fit it all in here. Instead, I'll let you read all about it at the Costa Rica Sims Estate Blog.  

So, as you can see, there are many reasons why I love my SL home so much. But the biggest reason why it’s so important to me is because it is a reminder of my RL goal of one day calling Costa Rica my home.  
My SL home is not an exact replica, but that doesn’t really matter anyways. To me it is a virtual representation of a RL goal, and each time I log in and rezz at my parcel, I am reminded of what it is I am working towards. It motivates me to keep going and hold to my vision of what my home in Costa Rica will one day be like. It’s kind of like my interactive virtual vision board...and it feels like home.  

And guess what...I think my virtual vision board works. This past winter we had a 3.5 week family vacation in Costa Rica for the first time in over 3 years, and it was fabulous.  

Have a great day peoples....Pura Vida!
RL - sunset at Mal Pais, Costa Rica

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

i'm a bad, bad blogger

i can't believe i've let a month go by without posting anything new.  but you know how it is.  rl got busy and i've been consumed by other responsibilities this past month.  not that that's a bad thing, but damn i'm tired.  my brain is too fried to think up something smart, witty or insightful for this blog, and the thought of taking any snapshots right now makes my head hurt.  right now collecting freebies and shopping are about my limits in sl.  oh, i started taking a modeling class which i'm really enjoying, but i have to admit, if it wasn't for that modeling class, i might not be logging in to SL at all.  Life is just busy, busy. 

aside from the usual craziness with my rl work, we bought a house!  i am now the proud owner of a depressed property, haha!  it's not a house for us to live in.  we're going to renovate it and rent it and eventually resell it.  so that will mean more stuff to organize, but for the next month or so, i get a bit of a break from thinking about the house, which is a relief.  

speaking of houses and homes, i've started working on a blog post about my SL home.  i've been wanting to write about it for awhile but as i said earlier, my mind has been occupied.  but i'm committing to writing the blog post and i'm gonna get it done this are my witness to that.  i think i should post something new before i lose the few readers i have :P

so, that's it for now.  just wanted to let you know that i am still alive and kicking and i will be blogging again soon.  take care and i hope you are all having a fabulous second life! :))