Monthly Archives: August 2006

Unplugged

I’ll be traveling over the weekend, so don’t expect activity by me either here or in-world from tomorrow through Monday.

(ACK! Four days without SL? How will I cope? AAAAHHHH!!!)

Just please don’t burn down the Grid while I’m gone. 🙂

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Whammo!

So I spend a bunch of time preparing a country-flavored set for Soulmates’ “Boots’n’Chaps” event tonight, even soliciting Pamela’s advice as to what bands would be good here…I include songs from Poco, Arc Angels, Mary-Chapin Carpenter, Shawn Colvin, Johnny Cash, Shania Twain, a remix of Faith Hill…

And what happens?

Midway through the 8th song of my set, Joe Linden sends out a broadcast message saying “The grid’s going down in two minutes.”

Crappity crappity crap crap crap.

I’m leaving my stream running just in case things come back up quickly. But I’m not hopeful.

Updates later if warranted.

UPDATE: It came back before my time slot was over, so at least I got to finish my set.

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Filed under Audio, Downtime

One Hundred Days

At this point, I’m somewhere close to my hundred-day mark in SL.

“One hundred days” seems to be a popular metaphor for the initial period of the tenure of something. It’s quite popular to examine the first hundred days of a new U.S. President’s term, for instance (and it looks like that tradition started with Franklin Delano Roosevelt). I suppose it’s because it’s a nice round number, even though, calendrically, ninety days would be more “rounded” (it’s a decent approximation for “three months”). There are any number of references to “one hundred days” as a significant quantity in the literature.

So…in my first hundred days as a Resident of Second Life, what have I managed to accomplish?

  • I’ve explored many interesting locations on the Grid, and taken hundreds of photos of my activity, some of which are over on EMinds, some of which are in my Snapzilla gallery.
  • I’ve accumulated a Friends List of some 30-odd people, with calling cards for a number of others, plus cultivated the acquaintance of a few other folks, including some “celebrities.”
  • I’ve become involved with Danielle, and we’ve navigated our way through a number of stages of a successful relationship, from courtship, through marriage, now to “baby on the way.”
  • Aside from Danielle, I’ve accumulated a number of other “family members,” such as sister Skye, adopted son Bott, and sister-in-law Val. (And one dearly-departed brother-in-law…Chris, we’ll never forget you.)
  • I’ve built at least three full-scale structures from scratch (all of which have mostly fallen by the wayside though…that’s OK, nothing lasts forever in SL), as well as a number of minor items.
  • I’ve accumulated an inventory of some 4,300 items…which is in perpetual disarray despite my best efforts.
  • I’ve been a partner in two business ventures.
  • I’ve broadcast 20+ hours of music as a live club DJ. (Tacking on another 2 tonight…)
  • I’ve taken part in two weddings (including my own) and one memorial service.
  • I’ve spent enough time at The Shelter to be considered an unofficial “part of the family,” welcomed whenever I show up.
  • I’ve started this blog, writing plenty of words about SL, and I think I’ve at least made it to the “B-list” of SL bloggers…uncertain as to whether I’d be considered “A-list” at this point.
  • I’ve developed a little facility with LSL, though I know I’ve a long way to go before I can match the feats of the more-accomplished scripters.
  • I’ve come to see that SL is very similar, in some respects, to EMinds in its community interactions; Sl just gives you more “toys” to play with. (Alas, most other EMinders would beg to differ…)

Hmm. Not a bad track record for a mere hundred days.

The next really “big” milestone I’ll have to look forward to is my first rez-day, next May. I don’t know what else I’ll have accomplished by then…but it’s going to be fun finding out.

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Be It Ever So Humble

When you whack Control-Shift-H on your keyboard (or select the appropriate menu command, or get “killed” in a damage-enabled area, or some object calls the appropriate LSL function on you)…where do you go?

For some time after I started in Second Life, I didn’t much care; I just moved my avatar to some identifiable location before logging out. At first, it was a mountain peak just outside the Welcome Area at Ahern; later, it was the Shelter’s Garden. When I started building the Cutlass Club, I actually started using the “Teleport Home” functionality, and set my home position to the club…reasonably enough, I think. Then Danielle heard about this (while we were touring Spaceport Alpha, as a matter of fact) and invited me to “move in” with her at her rented condo in Revolution Paradise. Doing so was just a matter of holding the right group membership and resetting my Home position. Later, we moved to the land we bought in Yangpa, where first we erected the New Roma villa, then later, a more modern house with a lush garden. Now, we’ve sold that off and are renting again…this time out in Sunset City, an oceanfront lot with a lot of prim space. (It’s a better neighborhood…too many yahoos shouting and getting careless with firearms in Yangpa.)

On that lot in Sunset, we’re now on our third house. The first two were larger, but Danielle wound up razing both of them and starting over because she needed more prim space for all the furniture she wanted. Now we have a nice living room set downstairs along with a “home office” (two computer desks), and, upstairs, a bedroom and a baby’s room.

Seems like a lot of effort is put into the building and upkeep of residential property in SL…property that, almost by definition, generates no revenue. These structures range from palatial mansions like Sumar Morgan’s, to fancy open pavilions like Reina Quine’s, to more conventional residences like ours, all the way to one-room prefab cabins like the one my friend Ed put on his First Land (that he acquired within a week of starting SL). It’s such a big thing that companies selling homes, home furnishings, and the like do some serious business. What drives this?

Self-expression has to be the answer. Like an avatar’s appearance, a home is another way for people to express themselves. Tastes in furniture, artwork, and so forth can say a lot about a person and the image they want to project, if only for visitors to their home. (Which reminds me…I have three nice Japanese art prints I want to hang up at some point.) It also provides a nice, familiar place for an avatar to set out from and wind up; I know I find myself TP’ing home every night just before logging out, so I’ll show up in the right place the next day. And it’s comforting to see the walls and furniture of my living room rezz around me as I enter the world. Occasionally, when I’ve had problems getting there (due to sim issues, or because Danielle’s SIN malfunctioned in some strange way and orbited me as soon as I appeared), it’s actually been more than a little distressing.

Guess Glinda the Good Witch was right after all…there really is no place like home.

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Poetic Justice

As a postscript to Mera’s entire purple episode, I offer this small token: a poem written by my RL wife Pamela, entitled “Is Purple.” The poem is about purple, but it’s mainly about passion…and I think that’s one quality Mera has for her work and her Second Life.

Three o’five A.M. the freedom

Of wonder

in the dark

I am alive

The passions

of my heart

My

Soul

Is

Purple

Creativity flows

in this world of dreamtime

Where does

it go?

Who does

it know?

When the sun

arrives to make time

My

Soul

Is

Purple

I feel my pulse

deep, loud

silent, I hear

It moves in me

hard, fast

soft, clear

My

Soul

Is

Purple

The images one

can see

during the night

The ones some

do not see

in brilliant daylight

My

Soul

Is

Purple


Copyright © 1991, All rights reserved. Reprinted by permission.

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Filed under First Life, Philosophy

Meme Propagation: Alpha to Zulu

Since three bloggers on my blogroll have now played this game, I feel somewhat obligated to carry on myself. Herewith, the A-Z of the human behind Erbo Evans…

[A is for Age]
37. You got a problem with that? 🙂

[B is for Booze of choice]
I don’t drink a lot anymore, and never really acquired a taste for much alcohol in the first place. But some of the things I can stomach are white zinfandel, champagne, Asti Spumanti, and margaritas.

[C is for Career of choice]
Hacking X for Y. Sometimes I think X = “Second Life” and Y = “Linden Labs,” but I don’t really want to move to the Bay Area. Then again, I’d like to win the Powerball and replace Y with “myself” for the rest of my days…

[D is for Drug of choice]
Caffeine, usually in the form of colas or Penguin Mints. Not only that but, as Timothy Leary once said, “I’m using electrons to activate brain circuits to get you high now. Fortunately, that’s still legal.”

[E is for one Essential item you use every day]
My Nokia 3100 GSM phone. It acts as my alarm clock, my communications lifeline, and a source of entertainment when I’m away from everything else. Other candidates for this position are my custom-build Athlon64-based PC (named “Sangruse” after the nanotech device in Jeff Duntemann’s The Cunning Blood) and my Fossil Abacus WristPDA (A Palm in a watch!).

[F is for Favorite song at the moment]
“Cover My Eyes” by Marillion, from the Holidays in Eden album. It takes me back to when I saw them in concert a year or so ago. “Pa-a-a-a-ain, and heaven…”

[G is for favorite Game]
I will avoid answering “Second Life” here, because I don’t consider it to be so much of a “game” per se. Instead, I will mention Toe Jam & Earl III: Mission to Earth (Xbox). I was a big fan of the original TJ&E for Sega Genesis, and they seem to have preserved a lot of the spirit of that original in the new one. Hey, gonna make a TJ&E4 for Xbox 360? 🙂

[H is for Hometown]
I was born in (near, actually) San Diego, California. Many of my family members still live in that area.

[I is for Instruments you play]
Some keyboard, and I’m also a hand with a sequencer on occasion; I used to do arranging of pop songs as MIDI files as a hobby.

[J is for favorite Juice]
Grape.

[K is for Kids]
None. Pamela (see below) can’t have ’em. But we have two cats who think they’re our kids.

[L is for Last hug]
From Pamela (see below), this morning.

[M is for Marriage]
October 29, 1999, to Pamela, atop the courthouse clock tower in Santa Barbara, California.

[N is for Nickname]
“Erbo” is my usual handle pretty much everywhere on the Internet. Even some friends of mine–and my brother–call me that.

[O is for number of Overnight hospital stays]
Maybe three or four, the most recent last year when I had to have knee surgery to reattach a couple of tendons I ripped when I slipped on some black ice and dislocated my kneecap.

[P is for Phobias]
Large dogs, talking to strange people on the phone, nuclear annihilation.

[Q is for Quote]
I quote often and frequently. But my recent favorite is from The Cunning Blood (see above), where it was used as an epitaph on a tombstone: “Kick ass. Just don’t miss.”

[R is for biggest Regret]
No regrets. Ever. (Except maybe getting so far into debt at one point…)

[S is for Singing]
Frequently, with the XM radio in my car, if it’s a good song.

[T is for Time you woke up]
On weekdays: Usually by 8:00 AM. On weekends: Hopefully by noon. 🙂

[U is for Underwear]
Boring White Briefs.

[V is for Vegetable you love]
Potatoes…baked and with some cheese and bacon bits. Or scalloped. Or au gratin. Or simply French-fried. And don’t give me that dirty look and muttering about “carbs”…

[W is for Worst habit]
Forgetting to take out my contact lenses before falling asleep. Ow!

[X is for number of X-rays you’ve got]
A number, most recently for my knee (see above). I had two or three series of X-rays for that, and even an MRI at one point.

[Y is for Yummy food you make]
Tacos. I always brown the ground beef for that, mixing in green chiles, reconstituted dried onions, and various spices.

[Z is for Zodiac sign]
Scorpio (November 1). Just missed being a Halloween baby…

Pass it on!

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The Song Remains The Same: Identity Cues

(or, “Well, Erbo, you wanted excitement…”)

First of all, Tateru: Touche. But I note that, even as a furry, you’ve retained some of your “visual identity cues” from your “standard” avatar…the dress and the flower are the most obvious two. For me, that made that image of you instantly recognizable, despite the furry body. I’ve seen this with another of my friends, too; when matt27 Churchill went furry for awhile, he retained sufficient identity cues, such as the rose he carries, to provide a “bridge” between his previous identity and that one.

This makes me wonder: When people change their visual identity in such a manner, do they often leave “identity cues” like that, consciously or subconsciously, that provide this kind of bridge? Certainly, I have done so…as in the case of my “Goth Erbo” appearance. (And I wish I had a picture of it to post here…but I couldn’t find one either on Snapzilla or Electric Minds.) The body shape is still my own, of course, but, in addition, I added a silver version of my Bent to the outfit. And it still felt like me, despite the pale-bordering-on-ghostly skin, the black eyeliner, black lipstick, black nail polish, and black hair…none of which I would ever do to myself in RL.

But there’s another point to consider, one which I neglected to make in my last post…not all “identity cues” are visual. A big identity cue for me is typing style, and vocabulary, as well. For instance, only Torley seems to use the words “Yayzerama!” and “Thanxies.” (When I was talking with her not long ago, I actually used the word “kewlzerama” when I spoke at one point, mimicking her style. She said, “I’ve got to use that word more often!” 🙂 ) It could be as simple as how people express laughter; Travis would say “hehe” where I might say “LOL,” and someone else might say “lol” in lower-case. It could be people’s use of “smilies” in text; I tend to the three-character “:-)” where others favor the simpler “:)”. (Onionpencil Musashi often uses “XD”; I never quite “got” that one…) At an extreme, my coworker Ed uses a very “clipped” way of speaking in chat and IM, which is sometimes hard for me (and others) to understand. I tend to the opposite end myself, trying to type in a more “literary” fashion, though sometimes I forget my capitalization if I’m in a hurry. (And don’t forget gestures! Many people make more use of SL’s gestures than I do, and they’ll prefer a variety of different ones. I don’t use them quite as much because I’m always forgetting the commands or key-bindings.) Sadly, Tateru, I haven’t spent enough time around you to know your typing style as well as I might/should…

Those of us that are bloggers and blog-commenters have another way of expressing our identity, too…through our writings here online. I’ve had more than one person in-world tell me that they liked my writing style here on Evans Avenue Exit, for instance. It also offers us an opportunity to influence the opinions of those people who are not (yet) Residents. And that brings us full-circle…Tateru, your change in appearance didn’t alter my first impression of you, mainly because, via your blog, I had already formed a “first impression” of you before I ever set foot on the Grid. It was a favorable one, to be sure…you struck me as an intelligent person, and someone who knew an awful lot about online community, a subject near and dear to my own heart. And, as one of the first SL bloggers I ever read, you may have helped influence me to “take the plunge” in the first place. How’s that for a job of “mentoring”?

(Oh, and while we’re owning our own clarity here…Mera, at least part of my reaction to your new appearance was overexaggeration, for dramatic effect. But you probably already figured that out.)

UPDATE: Herewith, for your entertainment, is Goth Erbo:

Also, read the comments for Danielle’s important observation and my reply.

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Filed under Appearance, Identity