Archive for September, 2009

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Apocalypse When?

September 28, 2009

AN

A Welcome Center.  Shit.  I logged into a Welcome Center.  Every time I log in I think I’m gonna rez at my home but my sim must be down.   When I was in my second life, I wanted to be in my first.  When I was  in my first, all I could think of was getting back in-world.  Every minute I’m stuck in this Welcome Center, I get antsier.  Everyone gets everything she wants in Second Life. I wanted a project, and for my sins they gave me  one. Brought it up to me like room service.

A few months back, I was hit with an idea as I watched the Apocalypse Now.  Why not try to make a version of Apocalypse Now based in Second Life?  What really put the hook in me was a sentence in the opening narration.  Captain Willard (a young Martin Sheen) was waking up in his Saigon hotel room and talking about his return to Vietnam for a second tour of duty.  The line that got me was this:

When I was here, I wanted to be there. When I was there, all I could think of was getting back into the jungle.

Why did it hook me?  Because it reminded me of moments of my experiences with Second Life.  Of the times where I was in my first life and wishing I could be in my second.  Then times in my second life where I was feeling the good pull from my atomic world.  This, of course, got me thinking.  What about a Second Life version of Apocalypse Now or Joseph Conrad‘s Heart of Darkness?  (and for those of you who didn’t know, Apocalypse Now is a loose retelling of Heart of Darkness)   I found that I was thinking about what was common to those stories and linking them to SL; telling a tale of a  lead character set on a journey for Kurtz in Second Life, but going deeper and deeper into her darker places.  Done well, I thought the SL version could be a fascinating comic, machinima, blog with pictures, just about anything.

So why are you writing about an idea that you never did anything about, Lanna?  Because, just like Captain Willard in Apocalypse Now, I got the mission I wanted.  And when it was over, I would never want another.  What mission was that you say?  Look after the jump to find out.

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Where did you want to go today?

September 26, 2009
yadni

Yadni's wonderful and eclectic junkyard.

Looking for something entertaining to try?  Look to your inventory!  No, I’m not suggesting that sorting your inventory is a fun pastime (although I suspect it is for some) but you can look to some of your older items to see what you will find!  Despite having a few moments of ruthless sorting and management of some notecards, objects and freebies I’ll never use, most of what I’ve ever taken into my inventory is still in there somewhere.  The great thing is that it makes for an archeological record of my time in Second Life.  So, out of a touch of nostalgia, fun and curiosity, I decided to revisit my first ten landmarks in SL.

Where did I go?  What did I find?  Peek after the jump to find out!

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The Velveteen Avatar

September 21, 2009

velveteen

Margery Williams wrote The Velveteen Rabbit back in 1922.  It is a moving story about a boy’s velveteen rabbit and love; you really should have a look if haven’t read this classic of children’s literature yet.  While reading it the other day, I couldn’t help but ask questions about Second Life after the following conversation between the Velveteen Rabbit and the Skin Horse:

“What is REAL?” asked the Rabbit one day, when they were lying side by side near the nursery fender, before Nana came to tidy the room. “Does it mean having things that buzz inside you and a stick-out handle?”

“Real isn’t how you are made,” said the Skin Horse. “It’s a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real.”

“Does it hurt?” asked the Rabbit.

“Sometimes,” said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. “When you are Real you don’t mind being hurt.”

“Does it happen all at once, like being wound up,” he asked, “or bit by bit?”

“It doesn’t happen all at once,” said the Skin Horse. “You become. It takes a long time. That’s why it doesn’t happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are Real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.”

My avatar is a collection of pixels that I’ve customized and there is a person with a very full first life behind the keyboard.  But Lanna also lives a very rich, but parallel life that by Skin Horse standards makes her real.  So my question is this, dear readers, do you believe that the Skin Horse’s definition of Real exist in Second Life?  Has your avatar become Real?

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All the virtual world’s a stage

September 17, 2009

Salvatore

To say that roleplay (RP) is a popular activity in Second Life might be a bit of an understatement; there may be more roleplay communities in SL than there alts cruising around on Zindra.  If you’re so inclined, you could find just about any sort of roleplay imaginable.  Steampunk, Gor, Firefly, high school, dystopian future, and more than can possibly mentioned here.  It is a little difficult to say just how many Second Life residents are involved in roleplay communities.  The only way to estimate is by looking at the number of members in RP groups and even then it is tough to assume you’ve accounted for overlapping membership.  Let’s just say there are lots of residents involved, somewhere between 30,000-50,000 people. Given the popularity of RP in SL, I thought it would be interesting to learn more about it.

Salvatore Otoro didn’t come to Second Life for roleplay, but has become an eloquent advocate for RP.   Salvatore is not only an active member of the City of Lost Angels RP community, he also runs the Second Life Roleplay blog and writes for ROLE Magazine.  The Second Life Roleplay blog is a fantastic resource on the ins and outs of RP; among other things, there are examples of good and bad RP, lists of RP sims, and a section on roleplay 101.  I was very happy that Salvatore agreed to chat about RP with me.

/me smiles and points excitedly to the jump and says, “I really hope you’ll read on to see what Salvatore had to say about RP in SL!”

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What’s in a name?

September 15, 2009

name

This may come as a shock, but my name is not Charlanna in my first life.  I think it is a pretty name and it has meaning for me, but I might have put a little more thought into it if I knew that I was making a final choice.  A few months back, I had someone named Charlanna in her first life follow me on Twitter which I thought was cool and a little fun.  Yet shortly afterward, she sent me a direct message asking me why I “stole” her name.   Her question surprised me and got a hearty guffaw, but got me thinking, too.   What if my name were Charlanna in the atomic world?  Would she still think I stole it?  Or just think it was cool that we shared a unique name?  I really think her questions of my great name caper came because I had the opportunity to choose it.

Does that which we call a rose smell so sweet by any other name?  Just how much do I share about my name? Does naming matter in Second Life?  Read on after the jump!

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And she’ll have fun fun fun…

September 11, 2009

Chakryn for twitter

It is hard for me to believe that I’ve spent two years in Second Life, especially since I initially checked it out because of a healthy dose of skepticism.  Of course, I’ve had myriad ideas of navel gazing blog posts on the subject of two years in Second Life but somehow they didn’t feel quite right.  So what do I do?  Seek inspiration from a well-worn first life behavior that has driven some professional colleagues a little batty.  You see, the moment any project I’ve been working on has been completed, I always ask “how could we have done this better?”  After seeing people react like they have ataxia, I’ve gotten better about this and recognize where people need a little time giving each other high fives before they look to making the next thing better.  So, after two years, I have to ask myself: If I want to stay in SL, how can I make my virtual life better?

I have to admit it’s getting better, a little better all the time!  Better look after the jump to see!

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My random word challenge

September 8, 2009

words

I like words.  No, I love words.  There has always been something special to me about expressing myself in writing.  I’ll admit that I find a particular joy in finding what feels like just the right word.  It doesn’t stop there, I love crosswords and just about any sort of wordplay like bad puns.   This is, I suppose, part of the reason that I prefer text over voice in Second Life; there is just something about communicating in text that I find fascinating.  (But I’ll  save my ramblings on that dead horse for another post, perhaps.)  Instead I want to throw out a challenge to my fellow bloggers for a little word fun.

As I mentioned in a previous post, I worked for a while doing outdoor experiential education for young people.  Well, when new groups would come, I usually got the honors of doing the welcome and setting up the first activity before we would split into smaller groups.  Well, I always got the honors of doing the welcome activity; it was great fun and part of what I would do was tell a silly story to set of the premise of the activity.  I’ll admit that I really got into telling the story in a humorous and absurd way, but it got so that I did it enough that it felt a little rote.  One day I whined a little about this to a colleague and he challenged me to tell the same story I usually told but to try to do it while slipping in a few random words he gave me.  Being the sort who can seldom ignore a challenge, I gave it a shot and Yay! a new ritual was started.  So after that, before I started my spiel, other staff would come up with a couple of random words for my story (the only rule was that they could not be bawdy words) .  Things seldom felt rote after that!

Fast forward to a couple of weeks ago and a conversation with the wonderful Kate Amdahl.  Somehow we got chatting about words and blogging.  Actually, I think it had something to do with one of my very favorite words of all time, meretricious. ( I’ve so badly wanted to use meretricious in SL, but always chicken out!)    But SL is probably one of the only places where you could use the word and someone might thank you for it.  We had a good laugh over this, of course.  But from it, a new challenge was born.  We traded  words that we were going to publish in our next blog post.  I got: transcend, marshmallow-like, absenteeism, vim, panacea and Kate got: meretricious, pus, moist, pugnacious, and flaccid.   So we both dove into our respective challenges and I used them in my post called /me doesn’t understand and Kate posted them in her post “My Secret Plan to Wear Everything.

So, how about it folks? My challenge is that you try to convince three blogging friends to play this little game with you.  No, this isn’t one of those things where you tag people and expect them to give it a go; this is best done with friends and as your own little secret challenge.  So ask three friends or acquaintances to try this challenge.  Once you’ve agreed, you each get to pick out a few words for the other person to try to fit in their blog post (heck, you even can decide how many words you’re most comfortable trying….three?…five?) They don’t need to long, fancy or difficult words, they just have to be fun.  If Dr. Seuss can write Green Eggs and Ham using fewer than 50 words on a bet, how hard can it be to plug some silly words into your next blog post?