Google+ Adventures of a Southern Gentleman: July 2008

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

The Second Life Historical Museum

While I was out wandering the mainland roads of Second Life I came across a place I'd visited once before during my early days in Second Life.

The Second Life Historical Museum in the Phobos Sim (click the link for the SLURL)

If you have any interest in the history of Second Life, this is a neat little place to visit, there are exhibits on 2 levels that offer information on the history of Second Life.   Among other things you will find maps of Second Life over the years, the story behind the Hippos, the James Miller Taxi Co., and info cards on other significant objects, places and events.

It's definitely on my list of must see locations in Second Life.

The Second Life Historical Museum


The Second Life Historical Museum

Monday, July 28, 2008

Pickin' N Grinnin'

For a while I've been looking around Second Life for a banjo that I could purchase and use as a musical prop for some of my outfits.   Try as I might, I could not find anything that I liked, the banjos I did find were just alpha textures on a board and I wanted a little more than that.

So, since I claim to be a builder, I figured I'd take a stab at making one on my own.   I can be a bit picky when I'm building something, so it took me a while (about a month) to finish, but I think it came together pretty nicely for a first try.   I'm still not quite 100% satisfied with it, so there may be a version 2.0 one of these days, but for now here are some pictures of the silly thing.  

Opinions welcome, please let me know what you think in the comments.

My Banjo

Banjo Front

The banjo face is a free texture from Orhalla Zander, the Creator of Calleta's Hobo Railroad Infohub, the other textures used are also free textures that I've picked up over the year I've been in-world.

My Banjo - angled

Banjo angled

This is a view at an angle, I tried to get a fairly accurate rendition of a banjo by looking at several pictures I found on the Internet.  It contains 108 prims, a little steep, but I wanted to try to build it like it would be built in real life and without relying on texture magic.

My Banjo - Rear

Banjo back

Of course, it wouldn't be much of a banjo if I didn't put an animation in it, so I slipped in a freebie guitar animation and script.  I still need to get some banjo music and set up a little scripted menu of songs for it to play.

My Banjo

Banjo angled

Banjo Case

Banjo case

And what banjo would be complete without a banjo case?   I actually built this case in one Saturday afternoon as a prop for a Drama Libre event, being a little anal retentive, the banjo actually will fit in the case.   It's not quite as bad as the banjo, being only 81 prims as shown.   And in keeping with the purpose I had in mind for the case, I went ahead and scripted it to be a tip jar using a freebie tip jar script.

Banjo case and barrell of waste

Banjo case and barrel

This is the completed prop that I created for the Drama Libre event.   The coins and paper money in the case were re-purposed from a couple of freebie items.   The barrel was also from freebie pack of warehouse items.

DL Underground - Pickin' and Grinnin'

Pickin' N Grinnin'

And here's the final result.  Didn't win the contest, but had fun making the case and putting together the outfit.

DL Underground

Pickin' N Grinnin' at Drama Libre - Underground with Xerxes and Peachy.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Absent Friends

Your friends list, sometimes you take it for granted.   When I look at mine, I see how it's grown in the past few months with new friends I've met and a few old ones that have finally taken the plunge and friended me.  

Since the first time I logged into Second Life, my policy on the friends list has been simple, I generally accept friend invites from anyone who offers as long as they've at least engaged me in conversation before hand, I figure it doesn't hurt to accept the friend offer of a newbie and I think goes a long way toward keeping them in Second Life when they find acceptance when they're new.   Odds are they'll clean me off their friends list eventually as they gain experience.   And the second part of my policy?   I don't offer friendship myself, unless asked to do so, I let the other person decide if they want to do it.   I figure if they're interested in being able to contact me and knowing when I'm on-line, they'll friend me, otherwise it's no biggie.

Sometimes I just look at my friends list and note people who've dropped off, mostly it's people who've friended me when they were new and I've never talked to since, occasionally it's someone I consider a friend who has for whatever reason decided to take me off their friend list.   There's one or two on there who I don't see log in any more and I wonder what they're up to, if they're done with Second Life or just seldom log in. 

The majority of my friends list are acquaintances of various levels of friendship, there are a fair number on there that I'd be very concerned about if they were to drop off or quit logging in, a select few very good friends that I'd be really worried about.   And there is one in particular that I'd be utterly devastated if anything happened to.

During the week leading up to the 4th of July holiday here in the U.S., something happened that drove home to me the fragility and uncertainty of life and made me think of the group of friends that I have made that I only have contact with the Internet.   That one special person on my friends list, one who is more important to me (though I don't think she realizes it) than anyone else in the world with the exception of my kids, disappeared abruptly.   We were in Second Life, it was late and she'd been having computer problems so when she poofed and didn't return I didn't think much of it, I just went to bed.   And when she didn't return the next day, I figured computer or Internet problems were keeping her off, since she would have mentioned if something was going to keep her away.   And as the days passed, I started to wonder if it was more than just Internet or computer problems and began to worry.   Our relationship is entirely based in Second Life for reasons I won't get in to, so I had no way to find out what was going on but I knew that something was wrong, you know that feeling you get when there's something not quite right with that someone you care about and then you get the phone call that confirms the feeling?

Early the following week, I woke to find an IM from her.   There had been a bad car accident, she had been unconscious in the hospital for several days and had just gotten out a few days before and wasn't up to logging in until then, and even now wasn't able to be on for long.  A mixture of emotions washed over me, relief to finally know what was going on, worry for her physical well being, and a very pointed sense of what she means to me.  

It has set me to thinking this past week about the relationships we build on the Internet and in these virtual worlds.   If I were to die tomorrow, commuting to work, would my friends be left wondering what ever happened to Sougent? 

I've left no instructions, made no preparations covering the possibility that something might happen to me and I might not personally be able to let anyone know what was going on.   Before there was an Internet, before there were virtual worlds, if something happened to you, your friends and family generally found out by word of mouth, you know that phone call in the night, or reading the local obituary.   But now in this modern world one can make friends from around the globe and only have contact with them through the Internet using e-mail or chat or Skype or a virtual world like Second Life.  

Do you ever think about your on-line friends and h0w they will know if something were to happen to you?    Do you care?   Do they?  

We spend so much time hiding our real life identities because we're afraid of being stalked or harassed but are the friends we make in Second Life or on the Internet any less a friend than one you might have in Real Life?   Don't they deserve to know and if necessary to mourn, just like a real life friend would?

I think, for myself, the answer is yes.   I don't have a lot of friends in Real Life, it's always been hard for me to make friends in the real world, it has been much, much easier to make them on-line and I value the ones I have made in Second Life and elsewhere.

I spent a week not knowing, of wondering if the last time we were together was the last.   I don't want to do that to anyone.   Maybe we're just casual friends, maybe we're good friends, maybe you don't care and that's fine.   But for those that do, I know that I'm going to take steps to see that if something were to happen to me, whether it be an abrupt illness or injury, or death, no one has to wonder whatever happened to Sougent.