Thursday, September 29, 2011

249 of 365: Burn2 is right around the corner

I've been looking forward to press day at the Burn2 grounds all week.  I had a such a good time last year, and this year I couldn't wait to get in there ahead of time to take some pics...

I'm a big fan of Mikati Slade and her work.  She definitely has a unique style that is all her own, and to top it off, she is a real sweetheart too.  

The build pictured above is called "Popscape".  From the notecard:

"Once in a while, an important event or realization happens that changes us forever. This change often comes with mixed feelings - fear and hope, loss and opportunity. This artwork tries to capture these feelings. The skulls is our fear for the future, our loss of the past. The hearts is our hope and excitement for the future, our optimism that all will go well, our love for ourselves. The bows blessedly tie all together. Overall, this work tries to communicate a natural and dynamic optimism about the future of people in times of change." - Mikati Slade

Not far down the dirt road I found Claudia222Jewell's build, "The Sacrifice".  A stunningly, beautiful and detailed build about rites of passage, sacrifice and transformation.  

I don't have SLurls right now.  I wasn't sure if I should collect them since the event doesn't actually start until Saturday, October 1st.  But it's only 2 days away, and you can be sure that I will be taking more photos to post and I will have SLurl's then.  

A few more images from the upcoming Burn2:

"Skelly Mer" by Maya Paris

I didn't this artist's information, but I will be going to take more snapshots and find more information.

Burn2 opens this Saturday, October 1st at 12pm SLT.  Further details can be found at the Burn2 blog.  

Monday, September 26, 2011

247 of 365: Script Impacts and our Digital Environment

I didn't really do anything creative tonight inworld, but I did spend some time hanging around in front of this:

What you are looking at is a Script Impact Board.  I'm sure you have seen them before on your travels in SL.  Honestly, I never paid too much attention to them.  I'm conscious of my attachments and the scripts on my av, so I have never felt a need to see where I stand, so to speak.

But I decided to do a little experiment and see how my av script impact changes.  

In the snapshot above, you'll see my total number of scripts is 6, which comes mainly from my shoes and Meeroos hud.  The built in Firestorm AO that I use made no difference when it was on or off.  If you see your name on one of these signs and you're dot is green, you are good.  

In this next snapshot, I turned off the Firestorm built in AO, and put my AO hud on.  You'll see my number of scripts rose to 13, although my dot did stay green.

Next, I took off my AO and put on another favourite AO of mine from a popular animations shop.  Note that when I had both AO's on, they were turned off and still their script impact was the same as when I turned them on.

For this last shot, I had on my AO, my Meeroos hud, and another highly popular scripted hud that contains a radar, spanker, gift giver, gestures and many other features that are advertised as being "lag free".  This brought my number of scripts to 118, and you can see my dot is now yellow, bringing me close to the red 'danger' zone.  I don't wear a lot of scripted items if I can help it, but if I did, I'm sure I would easily be in the red this time.

My Avatar Rendering Cost is usually four digits, generally in the 1000's, sometimes 2000's. I never really understood this, but I think it is worth it to note that my ARC pretty much stayed the same the more hud attachments I put on.  The exception to that is in the last snapshot, where my ARC rose to over 3000 with the radar tool and all the additional invisible attachments that went with it.   

My sense has always been that ARC itself is not responsible for lag - for client side yes, but I'm talking about region lag and performance.  I looked at the ARC of other avatars in the area and I noted that one of them in the green zone had an ARC of over 5000.  He just didn't have on a lot of scripted items. The real culprit contributing to sim lag are all those scripts in our av attachments - resizeable and colour changeable shoes, hair, clothing, and AO's.  That is of course aside from all the scripted items rezzed out on the sim. 

I have spent some time trying to understand scripts and their impacts and I'm no expert, but I can share with you (if you don't already know), some things that I have learned from others and from my own research.  
  • if your hair, shoes or other av attachments are modifiable, you can delete the scripts in them.  If they also happen to be copiable, you can copy the original product and save it if you ever need to resize or change them.  I do this with all my hairs and most of my shoes if I can.
  • I use Firestorm, which has an AO option built into the viewer.  It also has some bonuses like the radar which you can also use to tp to other people that show up on your radar.  I believe Imprudence also has an AO option and a radar.  I find the radar handy, but it's not a necessity.
  • If you are using a viewer that has a built in AO, it is quite easy to set it up and use it.  Trust me, if I can do it, than you can too.  Just search for some easy step by step instructions or ask for help in your TPV support group.
  • If you use the SL viewer, I think there are AO's and hud attachments that have less of an impact than the ones I used for this experiment.  I just used those ones because they are popular.  
I am not advocating for Firestorm or any other third party viewer.  The last time I used the official LL viewer, none of these built in features that can help reduce avatar script impacts were included.  Maybe I don't completely understand how it all works, but this is how I understand it.  I think features like these that can replace heavily scripted items and give the users the opportunity to potentially reduce their impact of sim performance, should be a priority in viewer development.  It is my experience in life, that people like being part of the solution to their problems.  

And yes, I realize that the Script Impact Board is scripted and has an impact itself.  How much of an impact it has, I don't know, but I think this is one of those things where you have to give some thought to what kind of scripts you are wearing, or have rezzed on your land, how much of an impact they have, do you really need it, and is it really worth it? 

If I can, I like to keep my scripts low or have low script and low ARC outfits ready when I have to go to a crowded sim.  

Again, I'm no expert at this.  I'm just someone trying to do my best to not pollute our digital environment with unnecessary scripts that contribute to lag.  If you have any thoughts or ideas on the topic, please let me know.  I'm always up for learning more.  

Saturday, September 24, 2011

246 of 365: Darkness Forest

You know I like to play with windlight, so when I visited Dark Forest this evening, I had a great time trying different settings that I thought enhanced the beauty of this sim.  

It has a dark and slightly gothic feel to it, with it's dark trees and romantic hidden spots to spend with your special someone.  

p.s - I learned today, by accident, that you can drag and drop a SLurl into the Firestorm viewer and it will open the landmark on your screen so you can easily teleport to the location.  So easy!

245 of 365: Old New York in Second Life

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

244 of 365: A Tranquil Evening

This is how I spent my evening tonight...listening to the sweet and tranquil sounds of Fricker Fraker's Native American flute. 

You can join his inworld group, The Fricker Frequency, for updates and upcoming performances.  

243 of 365: Progress...a steps

Well, I don't have very many pretty pictures to post lately because I have been busy playing with prims and sculpted prim other words, I have been making attempts at building something.  It feels weird to say that, because honestly, I have no clue what I am doing.

I purchased some sculptie packs from the Marketplace and pieced together this turtle:

Texturing it the way I envision this turtle in my head, is a whole other thing.  I just threw a marble texture on it because I got sick of looking at the default plywood.

I looked at some Blender tutorials tonight and I actually started learning something.  I think it's not as hard as I want to think it is.  I mean, it definitely takes some skill, but skills can be learned right?  It's not rocket, at least I don't think it is.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

241 of 365: Ask and you shall receive

Well, I asked for help and I got it.  Thank you for those who responded yesterday with suggestions and encouragement.  I really appreciate it. 

I'm so, so tired right now.  All I have tonight is a couple of photos from Electrobit City.  Fun build.  I'll let the pictures speak for themselves tonight. 

Friday, September 16, 2011

240 of 365: I'm so discouraged

If I haven't said it here before, I'll say it now - I have huge respect for builders in SL who can create amazing and beautiful works of art by piecing together simple prims. 

Sadly, I am not one of those people.  

I have grand and lofty ideas of things I want to create, but my skill is so lacking that when I make an effort to try to learn something new, I just get so discouraged and disappointed in myself that I end up giving up on it all together.  My expectations exceed my abilities and it is very frustrating.  Maybe I am getting too ahead of myself.

I downloaded Blender tonight, a free, open source 3D content creation program, and I was determined that I was going to learn something about creating sculpted prims.  Did I learn anything?  No.  I stared at my screen for a few minutes, fiddled around with a few things, closed it and went back to petting meeroos.  I love my little furry friends, but I want more for my SLife! 


There's got to be an easier way for someone like me to learn how to make sculpted prims...anyone?

Please let me know if you have any resources that could help me. 

In the meantime, I'll be petting meeroos and feeling just a little bit sorry for myself.  Sniffle, sniffle :(

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

238 of 365: Secret Spheres by Azee Resident

If you're a Pink Floyd fan, you're going to love Secret Spheres...

From the notecard:

"This is the land of small worlds.... one small unique and minimalist universe enclosed in each sphere... many are intimate and romantic, others simply unusual.... How many are they? You explore and find out!... All spheres on the lower level are connected together by tunnels... or rather a labyrinth ;-) Other spheres float high up in the sky, beyond  the clouds, and a few others  lie underwater... You can follow the tunnels and explore... or fly through their walls as most are phantom, but be carefull not to fall.  Some have 2 or 3 storeys...

* Concept & design of Secret Spheres by Azee Resident (creator of the artistic sim *ZED* 

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

237 of 365: Glow baby glow!

I was lucky to get into Roo yesterday on the first try.  It was packed with people picking up the newly released Pet-O-matic.  Regardless of the ethics that some think of this auto petter, I love mine and the design is very cute.  I also think it's genius that with every product release, World of Meeroos posts a storyline on their blog about it.  It's really engaging and keeps people on their toes for what is to come next.  I am hooked! 

I currently have my Pet-O-matic set to pet my meeroos every hour.  I won't leave it like that because I'm not in any kind of race or competition to build up regard, I just want to see if I notice any differences with them being petted more frequently.  I have noticed that since setting it up yesterday, they have dug up a few new treasures.  Maybe that's just a coincidence though. 

I was going to pick one up for a friend tonight, but due to some minor technical issues, it is currently not available.  According to the World of Meeroos blog, it will be available again as soon as possible.  The Pet-O-Matic itself is free.  What you do have to purchase is the battery which is available in a few different prices.  All of which last for 7 days depending on how often you choose to have your meeroos petted.  It's a really cool little contraption.

I'm trying to keep the Meeroos posts to once a week, for those of you not interested in the little weedrats.  I make no promises though ;p

Monday, September 12, 2011

236 of 365: My avatar is hovering above the ground

You'll notice in this picture, that my avatar appears to be hovering above the ground.  I tried taking my shoes off thinking it had something to do with that.  I took my ao off.  I tried 'stop animations'.   I did the 'character test'.  I rebaked. I went into edit appearance. 

I'm using Firestorm, so if anyone has any idea how I can fix this, please let me know.  I feel like a huge giant when I'm with my friends, whose avatar feet actually touch the ground.

I'm too tired to log in and explore to do any photos tonight.  I need to catch up on some sleep. 

235 of 365: Not today

I thought I was going to blog something different today, something political about how I see the world and the events of 9/11.  I never want to go about saying what I want to say in an insensitive way, so I thought I had the words all worked out in my head...

But then I had a heart to heart with a friend in SL today, someone close to me who's work and life was directly impacted by the events on that day.  As we talked, I felt my gut grow heavy with collective grief.  There are some things you think you know, but it is only an intellectual understanding.  And then someone says something to you that takes your 'knowing' to a completely different level.  I could feel it in my bones, in my gut and in my heart.   

I still stand by my convictions, but today is not the day for me to get political about this.  

I send love and light too everyone who is working towards making our world a better place.  

Saturday, September 10, 2011

234 of 365: Home of Many Nations and the Great Plains, 1850's in Second Life

So this evening I attended my first ever Native American Pow Wow in Second Life.  This was by far the coolest thing I have ever seen in SL so far.  Of course, my opinion may be a little biased ;p ( I am mixed Native American/French Canadian)

I've said it before and I'll say it again, I am very critical of any kind of Native American roleplay in-world not because I am against it altogether, it's just that I have seen a lot of Native American themed roleplay sims that are...just wrong, and offensive to not only Native Americans, but women and humanity in general...

...but I'm not here to rant about that.  

I'm here to share a very cool cultural event in the virtual world that I think would be a nice experience for a lot of people, if you are interested in such things.  I know it's really lame to blog about events after the fact, but I only heard about the event when I logged on today.  

The Pow Wow was held in celebration of the new connection between the Home of Many Nations and the Great Plains 1850's Roleplay sim.  I blogged before about the Home of Many Nations here.  It is not a roleplay sim, however if roleplay is your thing, the Great Plains 1850's roleplay sim is now right next door.  I don't know if another celebration like this will take place again soon, but I will keep my eyes open for notices. 

Still, if you are interested, these are two place that I think are worth exploring because they capture the spirit of Indigenous North American values such as spirituality, community, respect and inclusivity.  Anyone, regardless of race, who has an open mind and heart is welcomed.  

Peace :)

Friday, September 9, 2011

233 of 365: Dear Plurk, it's not you, it's me

(I'll be back later to add my 365 picture somewhere in this post)

Today I decided it was a good time to do a digital clean up - clear out my inboxes, delete old accounts, merge some of them and scale down my social media accounts. It's not like I have a ton of them or a huge social media presence.  I just feel the need to keep things as simple as possible. 

So I'm deleting my Plurk account. 

Not that that's a big shock or anything.  I haven't been over there in months.  Last night I went over to test the waters and although I like the Plurk layout, I really hate the whole karma points system.  I know, I know, it's childish and stupid and I tell myself I don't care, but there is a little voice in my head that does care about it and hates seeing my karma at a dismal 37%.  All my cool smilies are gone...and really, I'm just over it.

When I first tried Twitter many, many months ago, I, and so I left my account to collect dust, gaining no followers.  My interest in Twitter got peaked again when I started seeing Twitter referrals in my blog stats, a lot of them on some occasions, so I thought I should give it another go. Now I'm kind of slow at picking up on things like this, but after putting in some effort to send some tweets and respond to others, I started to like it, gained some followers, and now I love it.  Twitter is one of those things that grows on you I think.

I've been thinking about why I prefer Twitter over Plurk...

The first thing that comes to mind is I like it because Twitter has become a main source of news and information for me.  It's not that Plurk doesn't have that also, I just find Plurk to be more random chit chat, or at least it is on my timeline.  Nothing wrong with that, just my observation.  I don't read the morning paper because I don't have time, but it's really easy to check in with my Twitter timeline on my way to work to see what news and events people are talking about.  Any items that interest me, I 'favourite' them to read later.

I just finally started figuring out the whole #hashtag thing.  It's really easy to see what topics are trending, and create a column or an alert for topics that you want to keep up with.  This is a great tool for people who are marketing a blog, event for a product.  I think the ease of that is also dependent on which Twitter app you sue, which brings me to my next point...

There are dozens of Twitter apps out there for your mobile device or computer that will suit your needs.  So far, I have tried the mobile Twitter app and TweetDeck which was good, except it kept randomly sending double tweets of mine.  I'm currently using Twittelator which so far, I like.  There are tons more apps out there to choose from, and this variety for choice is something I have not seen with Plurk.  The mobile Plurk app is okay on my iPhone, but it doesn't rock my world or anything, so meh.

As a social justice advocate, Twitter is infinitely useful in spreading the word and news of events, and information - think Egypt and the uprisings in the middle east. I have a separate Twitter account for that, but I think you can make lists to tweet so certain crowds.  I haven't tried that yet. (no i'm not involved in political uprisings, but I am passionate about social justice issues  close to home and I tweet about them).

And my final reason for preferring Twitter over Plurk is that Twitter does not have a points system that makes me feel like a total social media failure.  Over dramatic?  Yes, maybe I am, but I can't be the only one who feels that I?  I don't mind games to level up on, I'm totally into the Meeroos, but the Plurk karma system does nothing for me.  But hey whatever floats your boat, if you like it, sinks mine so I'm getting rid of it.

For all you dedicated Plurkers out there, I'm not at all dissing your choice of social media platform at all.  I used it for several months, met some great people, and made a few new friends.  It has it's good points too.  Just for me and my purposes, Twitter fits better into my day and so I'll stick with that.  Besides being a Plurk lurker makes me feel kind of creepy.

No hard feelings, okay? 

p.s - I am @callmeshebear on Twitter if you want to come follow me :))

Thursday, September 8, 2011

232 of 365: "The Blue Heron"

"Creativity is the Blue Heron waiting within us to fly; through her imagination, all things become possible" - Nadia Janice Brown

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

231 of 365: There is a method to my meeroo madness

Okay, I am trying really, really hard not to blog about meeroos everyday, but it's SO HARD, I'm dying here!  So please, just indulge me will you?

I love waking up in the morning to emails that say "It looks like your meeroos will have a new  baby soon".  I'm like a kid at Christmas jumping out of bed in the morning to log in and see what kind of present the meeroo gods have left me over night.  My husband thinks I have totally lost my marbles, and he may be right.  He gave me the 'concerned, I think she's slightly crazy' look while he was handing me a mug of coffee this morning.

So I logged in to find two nests that made me very happy:  a Caledonian and my first Cinder nest!  Now, to some of you more experienced breeders, that may not be a big deal, but for me it's totally cool.

It's exciting because after months of crapshoots of just throwing them together and hoping for something good, I am finally finding a method of pairing my meeroos that is producing desired and pleasantly surprising results.  I'm still not entirely sure, but I have a theory that I am still experimenting with. 

It seems to me that pairing like with like, produces something new - that is, if there is/are rarer traits in at least one of the meeroos lineage.  For example, I bought a normal winecoat male nest that had a Koi parent.  I have a ton of winecoat nests so I chose a female that had as many of the same traits as possible - same coat, same eyes, same size, but with no special traits in the lineage.  I coaxed them, named them Sid and Nancy, petted the hell out of them and so far they have given me a Caledonian/short tail and a Cinder.

Am I completely off, or am I onto something?

Now to prove I'm not totally crazy, the other day I got another Caledonian nest from my two Sierra coats, Jack and Olivia, which I paired together using the same strategy.  The only difference being that neither Jack nor Olivia have special traits in their lineage, or not that I know of.  They are nests that came from some of my earlier meeroos.

I don't read the forums, so if I am onto something that is not a huge breakthrough for anyone else, oh well, it is new to me and is providing me with big motivation in getting those blank spaces in my Tome filled. 

Now, if I get a Koi nest from Sid and Nancy, that will be cause for big celebration and you'll be sure to hear about it here.

/me shakes head and snaps out of it...

I can't believe I think about this crap all day long.  I'd better get back to work ;)

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

230 of 365: Messing with Mesh clothing

I have to admit that initially I wasn't very impressed with mesh clothing when I first tried it the other week.  My disappointment had nothing to do with the quality of the clothing or work of the designer.  It had everything to do with me being attached to my shape and not wanting to change it to fit the mesh clothing.  I realize that mesh is still brand new to the grid so it will be awhile before all the kinks are worked out, I can live with that.

A couple of days after purchasing these two mesh dresses from Jane, I was delivered two new folders of the same dresses with several more sizes/shapes in each.  I chose the 'fair' size, which although was not a perfect fit, once I put on the invisible alpha layer, the fit was pretty close to my av shape that the only one who would notice the difference would be me.  

I really like the smooth look of the dresses, with no prim parts sticking out in odd places.  The dress, for the most part, moves with your av movement, which I think looks pretty good.

I'm excited to see what clothing designers come out with for mesh clothing in the future. 

I heard that Firestorm Mesh Viewer Beta was released today.  I'm still using the SL Viewer 3 to view mesh creations, but if for whatever reason V3 doesn't work for you, the Firestorm Mesh Beta might be an option that works for you.  

You can get these two dresses and other mesh clothing items at Jane.  Direct link here.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

229 of 365: When I was a noob

I was doing an inventory purge tonight when I found this snapshot of my avatar when I was less than a month old in SL:

I cringe when I look at this.  No AO, and I didn't have one for months because I hated the 'sexy walk', free hair, free dress, but I actually paid $500L's for the skin.  I suppose I could have looked worse.  

It only took about 2.5 years, but I'm pretty satisfied with my av now, although she is still always a work in progress.  

Saturday, September 3, 2011

228 of 365: "Fantasy" by Anley Piers at Nordan Art Gallery

There is a great little write up at the Nordan Art Gallery blog about Anley Piers inspiration for this art exhibit currently on display.  Direct link to the blog here.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

227 of 365: What Summer has taught me about Being Happy

September 1st.  Summer is winding to a close in my part of the world, the weather is changing, nights are getting colder and the daytime breeze stronger.  The sun is still shining though, and this is probably my favourite time of the summer.  Sadly though, the warm weather will soon be over and it won't be long before we are swept away with trying to keep up with hectic schedules. 

This summer, I spent a lot of time up north visiting my family, hiking, swimming, and sitting around campfires.  I also had the opportunity to go camping as part of my work, which although was on work time, it turned out to be a sort of mini-vacation for myself.  I went on long hikes in the woods.  I swam and splashed in the lake with children and we floated on our backs and watched the clouds drift by above us.  We went canoeing and tipped our canoe over because we couldn't sit still from laughing so hard.  We huddled together in our tents at night when the wolves started to howl on the full moon, and we played cards until the batteries in our flashlights died.  We laid in the grass at night and looked up at a sky that was so clear it looked like we could just reach up and touch the stars.

I want to hold onto that feeling and I wish summer didn't have to end.

On my way to work this morning, I realized that although summer is coming to a close, I can still capture it's essence throughout the rest of the year.  As much as summer is about enjoying the sun and  the outdoors, I think it is more about slowing down and enjoying authentic moments in our lives.  You know, those rare occasions when your mind is not going a mile a minute, you're not checking your Twitter stream or emails, texting, doing ten things all at once, or rushing to that next appointment.  The essence of summer is really all about slowing down, being Present and having fun. 

I want more moments where I am genuinely present to really experience Life instead of just rushing through it.  I have always believed that Life is not something that  just happens to you, it moves through you and if you aren't paying attention you can miss those small yet wonderful junctures of pure happiness where all seems right in the world.   I may have missed a lot in the past because I was too busy, but the good news is that I can start right now to change that.

So now that September is here, I am making a promise to myself to keep the lessons of summer close and remind myself to SLOW DOWN once in awhile.  In the midst of all the errands, the school days, the parent council meetings, swimming lessons, dentist appointments, and oh yeah, my full-time job, I want to chill out and enjoy the moment. 

My autumn resolutions:
  • spend quality time with my friends more often - in SL and RL
  • have more real and meaningful conversations that make me feel fulfilled
  • play with my kids more
  • make time for romance with my husband
  • go for more walks, in all seasons
  • go for bike rides for as long as possible, until the snow comes
  • get out and see art exhibits and get inspired
  • share a meal with other families at the community centre in my neighbourhood
  • go to the library and sign out new books every week for bedtime stories with my kids
  • call my mom more often
  • get immersed in a really good book, movie or television series
  • write more
  • say 'thank you' and 'i love you' as often as I can
  • do things that make me  HAPPY
School starts next week and it won't be long before my agenda book fills up and the inevitable "chase" begins.  But I'm pretty confident that I can make space in my Life for everything on my list, and then some.  I can do it all.  All I have to do is be present in each and every moment, and remember that being happy is not a destination or something that I have to work hard to achieve.  Happiness is right there at the tip of my fingertips, right within my reach.  All I have to do is slow down, chill out, and enjoy it.