I Hate to Complain, but….

Things are off kilter in my SL (photo 2007)

I remember very clearly from my earliest days of SL that we use the grid at our own risk.  No guarantees that you’ll have your stuff, your land, even your avi, tomorrow.

Like everyone I knew back then… tp issues, lag, sim crashes, hair and shoes up your bum, , etc., were all a part of the deal.  A hassle, but no real “losses” for me.

I grow tired quickly listening to others complain about these things…It couldn’t be THAT bad, could it?  And, I’m sorry for your struggles, but, don’t bring my SL experience down with your problems… Complaining only depresses us both!  If it’s that bad, sign out for awhile.  And please, surely there are enough blogs full of crying and whining already??

Well, I can’t shut up anymore – I’ve got to write this down – and sadly, I’m asking you to listen!

My SL experience has really taken a dive.  In October, while exploring a Group Land error I’d made, I discovered I was double billed for my tier (a $200+usd error).  My avi is borked – I’m a cloud or Ruth 99% of the time – unless I change viewers.  That’s ok, but with the other viewer, I have no assets or access to About Land menu.

At no time does everything work.

Of course, I’ve tried all the tricks I can think of – scoured the forums for new tips and spent hours with endless Tickets and Concierge Support.   All to no avail.  Particularly disappointing was the customer service from LL.  Not only did it not  help, but they were often vague, even rude! – and their typing/spelling was atrocious!

For several years, I had AWESOME support from LL…this change is the biggest surprise and disappointment for me.

A case of SL burnout had crept in this past autumn, and I discovered InWorldz – so I’m not really minding my viewer issues too much.

Mostly I’m disappointed that the SL/LL support is so bad.  That after years of unconditional support for them, I get none in return.

Whew, I feel better!  I’m done trying to fix things there – and I don’t really feel too bad about it.  Perhaps I’ll retire Dancer and use an alt… perhaps I don’t really need it all to work perfectly.  and truly, I’m not wanting to feel bitter about all of this.  SL has been an awesome adventure!!!

Bruce, AM and Jac get a huge hug for listening to my whimpering!

Thanks so much for listening!

Published in: on December 31, 2010 at 7:34 pm  Comments (1)  

A Dancer’s Muse

Astoria della Mar, InWorldz

My prior report about prim counting will confirm that I also didn’t know a thing about building.  It was about six months before I rezzed my first plain wood box.  My mouse hand was actually shaking!  Today, my house hand is prone to pain and strain, from too much building!

Building skills and enthusiasm vary amongst my friends and acquaintances.  A few don’t/won’t/can’t build at all.  Many seem to build/create as needed – they have the basic skills and weigh out the time vs. expense for the object.  Yet, others are here specifically to create – creating objects/fashions for sale or exhibit.

A bouncy baby prim!

There are 2 components – skills and creativity.  Of course you need to know your way around the Build menu – but, having inspiration for something to create, is another story.

I hope I’m not the only one who used some other creator’s modifiable object to experiment with.  I took them apart and then made replicas.  It was a helpful tool for me!

This was a fun feeling of accomplishment, but… quickly grew dull.  My most coveted purchases were some non-mod vintage lamps – so I tried my hand at creating my own versions.

Oh they were beautiful!  A complex 3 prim concoction – it even glowed – sort of like a light.  I made a series in a wide variety of colors and quickly figured out how to sell them on Xstreet.com!  I was going to be RICH from these babies!!

LOL, or not!  They were complete shit!

The First Creation!

Not a single lamp ever sold!!  Couldn’t people see my clever skills??  🙂

It was months before I tried my hand at anything else – and then it was for some steps and retaining walls – (look behind the lovely lamp) I wanted around Astoria.

Now that I was a BUILDER, look out!  I learned how to make a flexy plant with a transparency plant texture – and that was exciting, but when rezzed alongside Julia Hathor’s amazing plants (I own every single plant she has created!) my plants came up sorely lacking.

Other than wanting to save some money, (like with all those big texture packs!) there was no real unique creative inspiration behind my builds.

Since SL has amazing creations, I was able to fill the Astoria space with unique and beautiful objects.  I LOVED the antiques I could buy and had a blast decorating and landscaping.  I was actually quite proud to be supporting the SL economy!  It never occurred to me that anything would be more fun than shopping!

At some point during my 2nd year of 2nd Life, I realized that creating textures was often the key to unique objects.  I’d heard of PhotoShop, of course…but Jester Wildcat told me about GIMP, which I downloaded and began experimenting with.  Gads, it was complicated and I could do NOTHING!  Slowly, like everything else I learned – it started to become a helpful tool.

Eventually, in year 3, the skills became more useful, and gradually the creative ideas began to sneak in.  A few chairs, mirrors, a fireplace, beaded hippy curtains…I actually liked these items – and much to my surprise, people bought them!

Advertisement for my store.

I had shifted from buying endless amounts of antique crap to creating endless amounts of antique crap – and it was so much fun!   It was very satisfying to see an idea take shape.  So satisfying that it began to overshadow most everything else I’d come to SL for!  (but that’s a different blog)

Fast forward to October 2010 and my entrance to InWorldz.  I had so many great feelings about being there.  A fresh feeling, starting from scratch with an Inventory that contained only the basics (and sometimes not even those things!) and people that were so generous without being pushy or nosy!  A wonderful sense of camaraderie and a genuine desire to make IWz a good experience.

I went to a sandbox and began experimenting.  With so few textures, sculpt maps, etc in my inventory it was a unique feeling.  Somehow it made me think more logically about my approach to building.  I’d always “eyeballed” my builds in SL, but here…it dawned on me that the Edit tools could be put to better use and there might actually be something beneficial about geometric symmetry!  LOL …or perhaps I had  finally figured out how to use all the tools available.

At first, it seemed important to figure out how to transfer items from SL to IWz.  That didn’t last long, and quickly I was wanting to do the reverse!  I was liking my IWz creations better than my SL stuff…somehow, my IWz stuff was cooler, fresher, better quality.

Astoria Bandstand, InWorldz

Something has really been set free within me, since I’ve joined IWz!  For the first time, I actually feel creativity in my head!  I’m looking at RL with a different eye, contemplating the way to recreate certain things virtually.  I have a list on my RL desk …things I want to add to Astoria, IWz.  It keeps growing – even though I’m also drawing lines through completed items.

Of course it helps that IWz is so much less expensive than SL.  You can’t imagine how it feels to have 45,000 prims at your disposal.  Okay, maybe you can imagine!  🙂  I’ve always been a detail oriented decorator – and IWz gives me the freedom to do that.  Odds and ends scattered about, a calculated randomness to object placement, clusters or nooks for conversation or a cuddle, and the biggest detail of all – the skylines.

I have long been an enthusiast of the amazing virtual photography.  Check out the FlickR or KoinUp sites for SL/OS photos and you’ll see why!  These photographers of virtual content will get a blog from me, showing some of their great works.  But, until then, I must confess – more than any thing else in my IWz, they are currently Dancer’s Muse!

The Oasis IWz

Home is Where the Prims Are

If I was to try to describe why an avi needs a virtual home, I’m sure it would sound ridiculous to anyone who hasn’t been here!  (not that this whole thing doesn’t sound ridiculous to most!)  Isn’t the whole point of being in this environment, to go out and socialize?  It’s not as if your avi is in-world while you’re at RL work…

I have met 2-3 people who seem to have managed finding a comfortable life – homeless!  Yet even they, have a default Home – a place where they may sign in or out of.  A quiet spot where they can try out a new outfit or fix their hair.  A place that allows them to rez objects – like shopping packages full of new shoes !!…that need editing.   A special event that needs the perfect ensemble.  A certain attachment you can’t be seen editing in public!

If you choose to pursue romantic relationships here, you definitely need a place to call home.  Yes, there are many public/free romantic spots to visit and explore, but privacy can become a valuable commodity!

Deciding to get your first home is a big deal – as it (usually) involves some sort of financial commitment.   But for just a few bucks a week, you can have your own apartment!!!

I think I waited 3 weeks before I decided to get rent a place.  My neighbor was Nic Paravane!  (a great gal!)  I knew Nic already because we were both strippers at Benny Rosebud’s “Paradise Club”…which I think still exists, on the Sand region….but I digress!

I was extremely nervous and concerned about my $3usd per week commitment for this studio apartment – but it was in a very cute high-rise building with an ocean view and I was allowed 35 prims!  I was sure this little apartment could never need more than 35 items of furniture – I was going to be living in style!!

Generous friends had all given me freebie furniture – sofa, chairs, tables, bed, fruit basket and a giant bright pink flying penis!

I tried a bit of decorating (a slow and painful process) – first rezzing my chair and table.  They didn’t match and were, well frankly, they were…ugly!  If I spent just a few dollars I could totally deck this place out with some cool furniture!  With some fresh Ls and LMs in my pocket, I set out to find some cool antiques!

…and did I ever!  I was lucky to discover the amazing Jeannie Moonflower’s store.  A full sim, room after room, multiple floors, FILLED with antiques of every era!  Her light fixtures were unlike anything I’d seen – and I’d seen a lot in my 3 weeks!  🙂  I was siting on the edge of my seat!  I invited Berford (forgot her last name) to see these creations.  She commented that they were “lovely but so high prim!” I was secretly pleased she thought they might be too…classy – prim and proper!

I managed to restrain myself and just buy the essentials – after all, I only had room for 35 pieces of furniture in my studio, right?

I guess I don’t have to tell you how that chapter turned out!!

Within a day, I went from confused about prims to becoming a prim whore!  This studio apartment was not going to do at all!  Returning to the land rental pages, I found an attractive house, in a neighborhood with lots of water and it’s own deck, yard and hot-tub!  It was only going to cost $1.00 per week more than the place I was giving up…this was gonna be great!  This place allowed over 100 prims – I’d be able to rez my new things – and probably get some more!  The landlord told me I could upgrade my lease for more prims if I needed.

I needed.  I really needed.  There were amazing designers here!  Clever and fun furnishings that let your avi sit on them and look awesome.  I needed that great rug with pillows that let all my new avi friends sit in front of the great fireplace – with real flames and fire sounds!  Art deco decor!  No…wait, Louis XIV…but this mid-century stuff is great too!  *sigh*

I threw a party and invited everyone I knew!  To decorate for it, I needed just a few more prims allowed on my parcel and the landlord quickly helped out!


Interior of an early home.

and the next home ....


Within a month I was renting 1/4 region on a stunning private sim – sobbing 2 months later when the landlord left and removed his sims – then annoyed, when the restrictions were too picky at the next private sim I rented from – and within 6 months of joining SL I was paying tier for a small lot on the Masan mainland sim.  The prim addiction grew and grew – and my lot became Astoria della Mar and my tier for one full region.

Astoria - the beginning!


It wasn’t all just because of my prim addiction -Really!  There were lots of great motivators for expanding my space!  In particular, the objects I learned to create and sell (Glimmer Moon Warehouse), the great musical events each week, even providing space for friends to call their own home.

The space wrapped up in things I find beautiful and interesting!  Nostalgic, quirky, unique…a development of virtual space, but more magically – a development of creativity in myself.  I’ve NEVER felt creative and always admired those who are.  SL and my little place called Astoria have unfurled this fun and stimulating new thing for me.  I actually feel creative here!

At the time of writing this, I’ve greatly reduced the size of Astoria in SL, and much to my surprise, I’m surviving quite well.  🙂

Meanwhile, this newfangled InWorldz has lured me over to experiment…have you heard that their sims have 45,000 (yes, 45,000) prims each???  For a third the cost of SL?

/me searches Inventory for her cute pink tee-shirt that says “Prim Whore” on the front….

The Cover of My Book

The 2009 "Look"

I’ve yet to meet an avatar that didn’t have extreme interest in their appearance!  Countless hours and unknown amounts of $$ spent on making your character “just right.”  Just like our Real Life appearance – there are so many ways to display ourselves.

I’m no different than the other avis – perhaps even worse!

One of the appeals for virtual activity is the opportunity to take on any shape you want.  You can be a dragon, pirate, princess, squirrel, runway model, super-hero, or even try to duplicate your RL skin!  You can change your mind daily – the virtual creators provide an incredible variety of choices.  Even like this random visitor to Astoria SL in 2009….

That's me, on the right...

Perhaps because I’m not interested in Role Play, I want my avatar to look like a female human.  I’m sure I’m not alone with my first noobie goals – to be as sexy as possible!  Shiny and sparkly, blinging my way through the metaverse with the shortest skirt and the highest stilettos possible!  When I look back, it’s like seeing my RL photos from the 80’s..the bad hair, the ridiculous shoulder pads and the shoes!  Eeeek!  What was I thinking?

I couldn’t agree more with the endless discussions about avatar overcompensation.  Unrealistic females with legs too long, waists too narrow and breasts too large – and the guys with shoulders much too wide for their waist and hips, then quads bursting their pants!  And height??  OMG, height!  Heights are soaring!  It took a few months, at least, before I started noticing this – and even then, it was “other avatars” that did that…not moi!

Eventually I think we all find that gadget that translates your avi height to RL height – were you as surprised as I was to discover a giant??  LOL  Promptly I brought my avi height down to something more like RL!  …and then discovered I was a midget compared to everyone around me.  *sigh* I’ve yet to figure out how to get everyone to do it MY way!

Ultimately I settled for something in between realistic and average.  Then I aspired to create a more…full figured avi – something less like Barbie.  I didn’t feel the need to make her have my RL shape (hahahaha)  (Ha!) – but I also didn’t want her to be a typical overly perfect shape.


January 2007 - moi!

This was the first look I was rather happy with.   I then became fond of wearing reading glasses, up-dos and then wild curly hair!

I never did get the more “average” size/shape I’d hoped for – though, on more occasions than I can count, I was complimented for not being too skinny!  (my RL ego thinks twice about that sort of compliment!)


Wild AND Smart, lol

I probably kept this look the longest (2008-2009)- thinking it gave me the sexy and smart look – lol, it’s absolutely AMAZING how attached we become to our avatar! (btw, the photo is shot in a garden loft I’d created.  I loved the pond, the arches (thanks Mike Hamlin!) and the great collection of antiques I’d collected.  It is missed!)

Of course, I’ve changed the cover on my book/avi yet again – (which I’ll surely show in future post) and ya know, I am beginning to think you CAN judge my SL book by it’s cover!


Published in: on December 19, 2010 at 6:45 am  Leave a Comment  
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What’s In a Name?

The Virtual Astoria Houseboat

It’s a long story, but I’m really partial to the name “Astoria della Mar” for my place in SL and IWz.   I think I had named my first patch of mainland “Dancer’s Place” or perhaps something even less clever!

I was indulging in my favorite pastime in 2007, virtual SHOPPING!  (that continued through 2009, fyi!)  I kept trying to understand this new thing I was seeing around SL…Steampunk.  It was a great architectural look and feel.  Victorian and a touch of goth – with neat mechanical gadgets and gizmos, usually made with great attention to detail (and prims).  I came to decide that Steampunk was a celebration of the age of invention, Tesla (noooo, not Edison!), and Victorian (including some bodice ripping).  While exploring some Steampunk themed sim I saw It…I had to have It…”It” being the Houseboat Astoria.

In spite of the fact I really didn’t have room for it on my land, I bought it.  It was beautiful!  So much detail – great textures.  It included documents describing it’s Real Life history – even photos and video!


The RL Astoria on The Thames

My new houseboat was a replica of a vessel really on The River Thames…right now..in RealLife!  and, I was cool enough to have a virtual copy of it for my virtual space!

I learned that The Astoria’s original owner was Charlie Chaplin’s agent, Frank Karnac (sp) and it had been built in the early 1900’s – it was neglected over the years, until David Gilmore bought it, refurbished it and began using it as a recording studio for Pink Floyd (cool history, eh?)

This virtual replica “needed” to be crammed full of virtual antiques, and I made short work of that.  It became so lovely, so romantic – I couldn’t resist turning this, my home, into a “venue” – open for visitors!  To do this, I’d need a name….hmmmmm something with the word Astoria…..

I played with the name Astoria by the Sea – and somehow experimented with Spanish and Italian and….Astoria della Mar felt so right on my tongue – such a nice roll and rhyme.   To heck with the fact that a literal translation didn’t really work – this was a virtual reality!  To my ear, it sounded exotic, romantic and unique.  It set the tone for everything I did there after…and was certainly better than “Dancer’s Place.”

So there you have it.

The First Party

The first party at Astoria SL

This photo still makes me laugh out loud – as it did when it was taken in 2007.   Grandpa (identity unknown) was totally passed out, if my memory serves me correctly – it was due to the abundance of absinthe I was serving.  Kerupa Flow (now a famous virtual world artist!) quickly donned her nurse outfit and was ready to provide assistance!

Ahhhh, my early days in Second Life seem like a million years ago!   The photo is at the original “center” of Astoria della Mar.  After renting a few places, I’d finally decided on some mainland of my own, with a lake!   I had visions of creating a lush landscape with vintage decor – and in the photos, you can see the beginnings of my landscaping obsession!   (and that’s me, overdressed in the black cocktail dress!)

..the Argue Poseballs!

Before Grandpa was flattened, he and his friend (her name escapes me now) were having an argument, as you can see above.  This animation is STILL a popular attraction at Astoria, people even bring their friends over to try it.  It’s an early Abranimations creation, I think (I’d better check sometime). The facial animations are great – these photos do not do it justice!

I don’t know if it was early photo technique, bad graphic card, viewer settings, changes in the terrain…but gads, this photo content looks awful! (no offense to the photographer intended!) Or perhaps it’s just my sentimental memory that thinks it should appear greener and ..prettier, than it appears here.  In the pic below, you get another angle..featuring the first waterfall.  Jester Wildcat did an awesome job, they are still there today (though surrounded by clutter!).  The basic terrain is the same, but I hope that Astoria is looking prettier these days!  🙂

I did not know these two avis well, but I immediately was impressed with their unique look, their choice to not go for the Ken and Barbie Doll appearance.  To this day, it’s rare that I see avatars that aren’t doll-like!  (even my own!)

When I first opened Astoria, I threw a few of these events/parties.  Always fun, but always stressful to me.  Perhaps I took it all to seriously – but I’d worry before, worry during, worry after!  Ultimately, I grew to dislike events and avoid them at all costs!  and, errm….well, ultimately, I’ve become a hermit.  But I suppose that’s a different blog!



I think a few flowers would look great on this hill, and the next thing I know, hours have passed and my landscaping creativity has taken off like…well, like wildflowers.

It’s really an indulgent feeling to dabble on this amazing, new, complete, and TOTALLY mine, sim!  🙂  Like a clean slate!  (vs. SL)  I’m sure this is why I am feeling such creative surges!

This photo was taken about 6 weeks in to the project.  The light house has definitely become a skyline focus!  Kudos to Bruce Dyszel for his great build!  (by the way, it’s for sale!)  I’m trying hard to rez only my own builds on this sim…the light house is one of 3 items (so far) that I didn’t create.

I seem to struggle conceptually here, with the wonderful hills and skyline.   They are a great backdrop empty – but ultimately, I want to landscape them…somehow.  The hills are steep and finding the right vegetation keeps my mind guessing.  As I’m prone to TOO MUCH CLUTTER, lol, I’m not rushing to cover the hills, I’m sure I will find something to put there!

Unlike my building experiences in SL, I’m much more interested in the overall vision of this sim.  Looking at new additions from every angle, every distance, every time of day.  A much bigger scope than I’m familiar with – and quite enjoyable.

Nostalgic Beginnings

Considering I manage social media for a big part of my Real Life work, I guess I was surprised when I found myself reluctant to start my own blog. Then again, perhaps it’s no surprise I was not in the mood to do work-like tasks after hours…

I’ve been dabbling in virtual worlds since 2002, and have never been confident to talk about it with RL family and friends. Perhaps my own initial experiences and goals weren’t the proper topic for the dinner table … When I did find myself talking about it, I always felt the need to justify it, qualify it, defend it – and my time spent with it.

Now, I find myself entering a new level of virtual experiences, and realize I’m no longer embarrassed to talk about it. In fact, I WANT to talk about it – even share my details with my MOTHER! (geez, I’m really getting old!)

My intent is to write a bit about my past experiences and journal about current activities. I’ve always been a slow learner, and this virtual stuff has been no different. But…finally, I’m feeling experienced, savvy, professional and perhaps best of all, PROUD, of my work in this element.

So who knows…but, here we go!

Published in: on December 16, 2010 at 8:41 pm  Leave a Comment