Sunday, October 23, 2016

Shop Til You Drop

      In the world of Second Life, we wear a costume of avatar and clothing all the time. Is it any wonder that Halloween is a favorite time of year for many residents? There will be countless theme parties and haunted house destinations to report on. All this fun inspires us to dress up our own avs and homes, with a few shopping adventures. What could be better than finding 20 shops, dedicated to Halloween, all in one location. An avid shopper, we checked out an event that runs until October 31, called "Shop 'Til You Drop. The landing puts one in the center of the sim, with eight blocks of about 20 shops.

   Keeping in the spirit, we sent Thing (from the Addams Family), to take notes and pictures. The layout of the streets made it easy to zig-zag through and see all of the shops.

   We found lots of clothing, for both conventional and mesh and even a shop for "Dinkies". You could also find accessories, to enhance your costume. The Thing gave a thumbs up, at the vendor for Halloween painted nails.

   Down the street, we found a shop that sold full scale animated skeleton bots, including a caged go-go dancer that shakes her pelvis and a butler that serves drinks. Thing posed for a picture with three sitting on a coffin, in the classic see no, hear no, speak no evil pose. We are tempted to return to get a prim count, to see if it would work in one of the tower rooms, back at our castle.

   At another furniture shop, Thing got downright silly, trying to give a "hi-five" to a chair shaped like a hand. This relationship would never have worked, because the chair was only into big butts. Thing made up for this silliness, by finding a mesh dress shop, with a gown that Sha would surely find "to die for".

   Whenever possible, one should always try the demo, before buying mesh clothing. We returned home, to prepare Sha for a visit, including some custom spooky lighting. The demo was a perfect fit, so by the time you see this, she will already have worn it to her next event, along with some bat wings.

   Before we went to explore, we had no idea of where this story would take us. It turned out to be a lot of fun and even Sha found something she couldn't live without. We recommend that readers get off their butts and send in a hand, before the witching hour arrives.


Sunday, October 16, 2016

Science Friday

   When the Editor, Bixyl Shuftan, mentioned this destination, he did not have details, but it sounded like the perfect location for this reporter to explore. Bix explained that it was a group in SL that gets together on Fridays to listen to a NPR radio program, called "Science Friday" and discuss the topics that are covered in the two hour program. Science and Art have been my two greatest interests, throughout this life time. While I am, technically, an amateur, some of my theories could stand their own against those of the pros. When watching science videos, narrated by celebrity scientists, like Neil deGrasse Tyson, Brian Cox and Bill Nye, I'll debate them in a heart beat. In a group debate, you'll find me sitting on the same side as Carl Sagan and Michio Kaku (my favorite). My top three theories include; What Dark Matter is and why we can't see it, The real story of the Big Bang and The True Shape of the Universe is a Big Donut. Recently, scientists have begun to confirm my donut, calling it a spherical torus.

   Determined to find the group and location, we did several searches and found the group that hosts the event. The group's description stated that they conducted Friday meetings and that SL comments and questions would be linked to the live radio broadcast, but the location of these meetings was left out. To get the whole story, I joined the group and then opened group chat to ask for the LM. Within minutes, one of the members shared a LM. Armed with a time and place, there was only one question left, for this scientist to ask. What to wear??? Intuition hints that this event might favor coming in human form, so I selected my "Newser-Jade" outfit.  It turns out that, although most were human, we were joined by a cyborg, so it probably isn't important. When Friday came, I was the first to arrive. in the center, there is a conference table, with a limited number of chairs and around the perimeter there are hanging basket chairs. As a newbie/observer, I selected a basket, with a good view of the room. As members arrived, I was invited to sit at the table. Each time that somebody sits at the table, it increases it's size and number of seats. One of the members, Beragon Betts, sent a friend request. Heavens YES, it's always good to have friends that out-rank us in the member's hierarchy and are more "in the know" than us. Beragon is friendly and helpful and has since come to visit Sunweaver Bay and Sunny Beach's Gathering Oak. During the Science Friday event, I noticed there didn't seem to be communication between the group gathered and the radio program. I learned that, it had been so, in the past, until LL regulations stopped it. LL realized it shot itself in the foot, by ousting non-profit groups and reversed the rules. It may take time to heal, because schools are reluctant to return to teaching in a world that supports sex and vampires, over the acquisition of knowledge.

   The radio program provided a number of topics, which we discussed in nearby chat. Some of the members were professional scientists and the group, as a whole, had an above average knowledge in science topics. The first topic was about research of gene editing to create bulls without horns and hey, we all like to talk a little bull, now and then. The second topic was about the continuing AI research needed to get computers to understand the spoken language. The sounds that carry our thoughts to others has always been of great interest to this writer. So much so that, I created my own True Type Font, called "DiJiFon", with a 40 letter phonetic alphabet, with each letter stored in only 8 bits, that can be displayed on any digital watch.
   Attending Science Friday is a great adventure, for it's friendly people and leading edge, on topic discussions. But Wait, there's MORE!!! It's all about Location, Location, Location.

   The Science Friday location is right in the midst of several science sims, including scale models of rockets, landers and satellites. I always get a thrill from the shift in perception of going from seeing it on paper to walking up to and going inside of the full scale model.

   Hop in the cargo bay bed of this Texas size pick-up, because Houston: We are go for launch. Come, 4...3...2...1... your way to some fun and start next week-end  with a sub orbital journey to Science Friday.


Sunday, October 9, 2016

Dark Side

   Several weeks ago, I did a social commentary, called "The Drawing Board", in which I hinted that SL was like a high speed computer model system, with which behaviors and life styles could be pre-tested, and ultimately lead us into an age of freedom and enlightenment. One could even say that there is a kind of Jedi Force, which is leading to a better way of living.

   Last week, I gathered a dozen SLURLs from the Destination Guide, in hopes of finding the next Great Adventure to take my readers to. I found lots of pretty scenery and special effects, but none of them were good enough to get a recommendation from my hand. Added to this, I was also attempting to help mediate some local drama. This led to a lot of WTF questions, like; What's wrong with the Destination Guide, What's wrong with the local community and OMG, does Second Life also have it's own DARK SIDE?

   In RL, I have been a publicly elected Mediator and am a life time student of ancient wisdom and secret brotherhoods. You would be amazed at how much of "Star Wars" was based on real history of planet earth (the correct spelling of Jedi is Djedi). Everything in the universe is a mixture of Yin and yang, male and female, positive and negative energy, good and evil, which have to be mixed in harmonic proportions. An out of balance mixture will cause a thing's structure to decay and die. The Masters, that I studied under, have explained that They do not call the dark ones evil. Instead, They call them "Our errant brothers" and teach that we must also love our enemies. In order to truly love something, you must first know and understand it. If the side of Light is good thinking and the side of Dark has errors in it's thinking, we need to look at what's on the minds of these two sides.

   A Brother of Light understands that the universe runs on the law of economy and strives to plot a path, in our upward evolution, that is the straightest line between two points, from clod to god. Efficiency is the mother of all virtue. These Brothers know that the knowledge of Truth cannot be given or forced on us. It must be gained by each one of us. The prime directive is FREE WILL. They will never take away your ability to make your own mistakes. We learn faster that way. These Brothers also do not want to call too much attention to themselves. When you shout, AHA! I FOUND THE TRUTH, They are pleased that you think you found it on your own, without following the bread crumbs they dropped along the trail. These Brothers are also all about the Oneness and encourage gatherings, families and communities.

   In contrast, the Errant Brothers are divisive, creating disunity and dissension. They do not allow others to have free will. Going against their way of doing things will make you an enemy. They do not serve others. They want everybody to be their servants. They don't want to change things for the better. They want to reverse evolution to make us little more than a pack of sheep, that they control and feed off of. Having no light in them, they lack a sense of humor and are short tempered. They are insensitive to the needs and pains of others. They will say they feel our pain, but the only pain they know is the frustration of not getting things their way. Even an innocent word or deed will incite them to harass and or ban you, to get control over your choices.

   By now, many readers will be aware of avatars in SL that are very light or dark. We don't want to name any suspects here, because that will only get us drawn into their illusional dramas. What we do want is a world, where evil, erroneous thinking has been carefully put in it's proper place, in the past, behind us. Get thee behind me, Satan. Having a war between good and evil is not an efficient solution, because eye for an eye, evil for an evil creates a never ending cycle and will last for many thousands of years, like in the Middle East. How, in SL, can brothers of light put darkness in it's place? It's relatively easy, by using attrition. The two things that wear evil down the most are being ignored and laughed at. If your so called enemy puts a road block in your path, your feelings might tell you that they are being hurt and you should be angry and return the hurt. Not a very safe way to handle things. The mind holds the answer and reminds you that, Hey this is SL and you have super powers. With a click of the mouse, you can fly or TP around any road block. OK, but what if the enemy is threatening and harassing us, in our home and community? Stay in mind and remember, such activities are against FCC regulations. Being a bully in SL could get you in a RL federal prison. A mind, kept in the light, will see the threat, record the facts in the brain, override the emotions, while letting the negativity pass through, or bounce off, so that the state of mind and peace is maintained. An old saying goes, "A curse that finds no place to land, returns home to roost". This means, if your enemy's threats are like water on a duck's back and roll off, that water will end up in your enemy's lap. As a kid, we had our own saying, "I'm rubber, you're glue. Anything you say bounces off me and sticks to you".

May the force be with you,