HeadBuro Antfarm

Come visit Steal Head’s Lair (before I delete it!)

Hi all – I don’t know how many of you managed to see the Lair I set up in Gia’s fallen rail car, but as I’ll be deleting the content in a week or so I thought you might like to visit – maybe even post your pictures over on the Ning in my “I’ve Seen Steal Head’s Lair!” thread?

Anyhoo, here’s the SLURL (http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Steelhead%20Shanghai/163/86/28) so get your Sunday best on, polish off your box brownie and head on over to Shangahi – watch out for all the gory heads when you swim through the submerged entrance!

Ya Yiwamas Lair_002

p.s. A HUGE thanks to Gia for allowing it to stay this long and for her kind help ‘destroying’ her gorgeous rail car just for the storyline.
p.p.s. You can read the whole Stead Head Tale here, Mutations here & Gang Wars here.

Building a log cabin – part the first

Over in Steelhead’s St Helens region I’ve embarked on my first building adventure since I built a wall for The Show Must Go On a couple of years ago. This time I’ve decided to build a log cabin for the poor burnt HBA to live in to get him out of the snow and rain – and it’s been a hell of a slog!

To start I rezzed up a sky platform over my land and laid out a copy of nichus Berman’s log cabin he kindly donated to me so I could see how he’s built his:
Steelhead St Helens

From here I needed logs… lots of logs!
Steelhead St Helens

It was at this point I started to learn that all textures are not made equal… oh god, the pain… Still, moving on, I went back down to earth to start laying out the rough shape & first layer. I’d decided a while back that for roleplay purposes I wanted to make the site look like a real construction site and build the cabin in a way that looked like it had been built in real life. I found this picture on the web which I chose as a guide:
Old Log Cabin

And you can see here how I tried to follow the RL building methods:
Steelhead St Helens

Steelhead St Helens Steelhead St Helens

All the while, a wee cat watched my every move…
Steelhead St Helens

I’d set up a skyline to the forest above so I could get the felled trees down to the building site – it wasn’t long before I had quite a collection!
Postcard from Second Life.

I’d been hard at work shaping the logs and planks…
Postcard from Second Life.

After many days of hard graft (not to mention steep learning curves and frustrations aplenty thanks to SL being right old sack of shit at the moment) I got the walls up, door and window frames in and even the roof beams on!
Log cabin with some roof and mud 001

Postcard from Second Life.

I’ve still got loads to do (doors, glazing, shingles, porch, steps, fire, furniture) but I’ve broken the back of it now and it’s looking good – even if I do say so myself! I’ll be posting some updates as I go along, but let me tell you it’s been one hell of a learning experience! I can’t say I find building a whole heap of fun – a low point being when I accidentally set half the cabin to Physical and it all but collpased. Between textures and linking/locking I think I have a lot to learn…

p.s Sorry for the various photo styles, but SL is still being a right bastard about sending photos by email so there’s a mix of upload styles here.

Come and see it all here 🙂

Shock! Twitter Fan now likes SL

You may remember a wee storm back in June when Chris Abraham, a marketing wotsit, said that Twitter was better than SL. Now I know and you know this is like comparing TXTing/SMSing some friends and flying to America to spend a week with family. Yes both are social networking, but hardly comprable I’d argue.

Well I saw on NWM today that the same guy now likes SL and his blog post about it is a really interesting read, especially the parts about what puts people off. True we all know the reasons – loneliness, empty sims, the old “what do I do?” question – but the real question behind those is that if WE know that and HE knows that, why hasn’t LL fixed it yet?

Anyhoo, read his post and leave him your thoughts – I know you are a civil and thoughtful lot so you’ll be able to share some good stuff with him and hopefully show others that SL isn’t all talking cocks and griefing.

p.s. After I’d posted this it occurced to me I’d never read Chris’ orginal post, only the New World Notes post about it. I wish I hadn’t – his reply to OpenSource Oobscure was rather horrible. Pointing out the typos is just mean – escpecially when a bit of research would tell you that Opensource is not an English speaker.

p.p.s. Here is my comment to him:

Hi there – I found your post through New World Notes and enjoyed it a lot. I remember the Twitter vs SL stuff and thought at the time that something had been lost in translation as they just can’t really be compared, so I’m glad you came back and saw what SL has to offer.

Let me say up front that SL will not be for everyone – I love it yet my wife tried it and thought “Meh” and left. The hardware needs and the steep, steep learning curve are more than enough to put off casual passers-by, but even so a surprising amount of them do stay so there must be something in it.

I don’t see the technical & learning curve issues getting better anytime soon, either – they were there when I started in Nov 06 and they were there when it was beta in 03 so I don’t see why they won’t be with us for some time to come. Having said that, it’s not rocket surgery either – yes the controls can be awkward, but they still work better than some FPS games I’ve played in the last year.

No, what I think puts people off is a combination of concept and something you put your finger on (and I’ve ranted about many times over the years and covered on my blog as recently as this week), loneliness.

Loneliness is easier than concept to explain so I’ll start there. SL is big, really big (I’ll avoid slipping into a Douglas Adams impression) but the number of people online at anyone time isn’t. Well it is – 70,000 people is not small change – but in terms of entering the world and expecting it to be as populated as a real world city, well it never happens. There are places where people congregate and it is to these places that newbies need to head, but not all such places are equal and some won’t help a confused newbie become an addicted oldbie. Still, there are dedicated centres that help, teach and develop newbies and give them their first taste of friendship and community in SL. I only wish I’d have known about them when I started as it would have save many weeks of wandering around, feeling lonely and simply ‘not getting it’.

Now, by concept I mean the age old question we SLers get asked (and have asked ourselves more than once) “What is SL for? What do I do there?” In some ways this is tied into loneliness. In real life, if you move to a strange, new city where you know no one then one of the ways you start building contacts by joining hobby groups to meet like minded folk. Second Life is no different. My advice to newbies is to go and grab SL with both hands – if you want to build something, join one of the hundreds of free classes and build. Whatever you want to do, there are people in SL doing it or wanting to do it with you.

A common comment I get as an SLer from non-SLers is that they have enough fun in their first life and therefore don’t need a second one. My simple answer to this is that my SL is not a replacement for my first one (I have a family, friends, job, mortgage, social life and hobbies) but rather just another aspect of it. SL to me is just another hobby – an amazing hobby that allows me tremendous creative freedom and has allowed me to make some brilliant friends, but a hobby nonetheless. It’s fun and that’s how I will always strive to enjoy it.

Oh, and before I go, I’d like to just mention the other aspect of SL that captures people attention and colours their perceptions: sex. Yes people come into SL to have sex with other people (although, technically it’s not sex is it. I’m fairly sure you two people in the same room at the same time for that). Why people are surprised is beyond me, people have been using every new technology to fornicate since the invention of cave paintings. But it would be wrong to think that a rampant ball of sex awaits around every corner waiting to pounce upon newbies and have its wicked way with them. I’ve had more propositions in RL over the last three years than I have in SL and in both the easiest way to avoid being ‘sexed’ is simply not do it (sigh, I know you’ll be heartbroken ladies, but I’m taken in RL).

So, there you go – my guide to SL. Give it a go, join a good newbie-helping group, find something you want to do and go for it. And don’t believe everything you read in the papers. That last one is good for non-SL stories too.

Yours,
HeadBurro Antfarm.
Currently having a great time in Steelhead, a steampunk style Oregon town set in the 1880s.
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The bulgy faces of McCain and his Pitbull

I came across this poster for the loopy side of the US election (1) and it caught my eye as weird (and not just because she is plain scary). Looked at from this angle it seems ok:
USA Prez Poster 1

But cam around and it soon takes on a rather horrific aspect…
USA Prez Poster 2

For some reason the faces have been rendered as odd, clown-like sculpties. Why? It’s just plain spooky. And with that gruesome twosome on there, it really didn’t need any help in being that.

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(1) If you don’t agree keep it to yourself – this is not a political discussion forum.

Catching up with Os & Enj

It’s been a time for catching up and I had a fun time with Elle, one of Enjah’s extended family members, the other night.
Catching up with Enjah & Osprey

Elle took me to an amazing build (1) that was based on a Buddhist version of Hell (it is to my shame that I have to say I didn’t know such a thing existed) where giant demons hurl boulders at the screaming souls of the damned and knock them into an eternally burning lake of fire and lava.You can even click on special poseballs so you can join the throng of the damned – and I can heartily recommend you do 🙂
Catching up with Enjah & Osprey

Catching up with Enjah & Osprey

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(1) SLURL to come – I can’t remember the name at the mo.

Catching up with TR

Way back in the lost mists of time, I met TR Amat in Murray. She came at a time when the minimaxes were being a right pain in the arse and I helped her with some shields and advice. Ever since then we’ve remained friends, although I hardly get to see her at all these days as we are both busy bees (1). TR is a robot powered by AI from the outside world but I have to admit that the last time I saw her, she was a little less robotic than now 🙂
Postcard from Second Life.

It was really great to catch up and she was a real sport to explore Natoma with me knowing how much I stop to take photos – here we are looking up at The Man:
Postcard from Second Life.

Hope to see you again soon, TR 🙂

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(1) I was in Murray a couple of nights ago and didn’t recognise a single person – something that has not happened since I found my way there in December 06. It was an odd feeling – it was never my home (I beamed into Braunsworth when I first entered the world) but it has always been the closest thing I had to a home and now for the first time I don’t feel I fit there.

My Second Life Road Trip 7 – Swimming, climbing and hiking in Welsh (part 1)

Things move fast on the grid, even in the old lands (1) and by the time I had decided that best way across the water dividing Clementina from Welsh was to coax Frank into the sea so he could swim us both across, the huge pirate ship and wooden building behind it in Taber had gone. I’ve no idea how long they had been there or why they had now gone, so I just flicked Frank’s reins and eased him down to the water’s edge. To my eternal gratitude, Frank showed no signs off displeasure as I moved him deeper in and soon was swimming away (2) as though he’d been doing it all his life (come to think of it, I had found him on an a sim that was essentially an island and had seen exactly no other horses in my time there – he may well have swum across in the first place).
Welsh - The Horse Ferry

We made landfall near the south west corner of Welsh and came ashore under the boughs of an enormous tree that had been hollowed out for a hat shop by Tweke Underhill back in 2006.
Welsh - The Hat Tree

I nudged Frank off to explore this old area of the grid; the whole sim seemed to be broken and divided by water channels, some shallow, others deep and fast flowing and I wondered just how much swimming Frank would appreciate. We crossed a small bridge and headed to the landmark that could be seen all the way from Clementina and beyond into the inland sea of Omidyar: a huge green beanstalk flanked by a continually rising and falling hot air balloon.
Welsh - The Welsh Beanstalk

I left Frank to graze and dry out as I wandered around the base of the giant stalk to where I found a notice challenging anyone to try and climb to the top without cheating. Steller Sunshine (3), who had grown the beanstalk from a seed prim back in July 2003, was offering to pay L$500 to anyone who succeeded.
Welsh - The Beanstalk Challenge

I looked up at the huge plant and decided that today was not a good day for dangerous sports – instead I flew up and landed on one of the many huge leaves. If you come here and take up the challenge, let me know how you get on – it looks all but impossible to me!
Welsh - Atop the Beanstalk

Just behind the beanstalk I found the half-buried remains of a truly massive statue seemingly uncovered by Steller who had then turned it into a tourist stop (or butterfly haven, I wasn’t sure which).
Welsh - The Fallen Statue

I walked off east past a large water tower towards a huge bucket and spade belonging to Saaz Roentgen and found a delightful Whack-A-Mole game Saaz had built. Unfortunately I proved not to be very adept at it and more moles escaped my fevered clicks than not.
Welsh - Whak-A-Mole Game

Beyond Saaz’s place a wide expanse of water, deep and cold, divided the landmass and across it rose a mighty plateau topped with what looked to be trees and signs of habitation, but I could see no way of getting up outside of flying.
Welsh - Rasied Paradise

Instead I opted to brave the cold waters before me and swim across to the eastern half of the sim. It was hard, cold work and I made a mental note to give Frank an extra sugar lump when I made my way back to him. But for now, I concentrated on reaching the far shore…
Welsh - Swimming  around the plateau

Yours in Travel,
HeadBurro Antfarm
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(1) It’s strange really, some parts hardly ever change (4), or rather they seem not too. In truth even they do, sort of like digital erosion I guess. But in SL it can happen fast and often. So far during my road trip I’ve lost a volcano, a skulk, a couple of huge ion-cannon wielding teddy bears and now a pirate ship and pirate castle.

(2) Poor Frank, he’d be mortified if he knew I told you this, so please shhhhhhh. Frank can’t swim! I know, I know – there is a photo showing him swimming, but it’s a fake, a phoney, a three quid note. Frank was flying and we hovered in the water to make it look like he could swim. But please, don’t tell him I told you.

(3) Steller Sunshine is credited with being the first resident in SL and was rezzed on Wednesday 13th March 2002 (the grid being opened on Tuesday 12th).

(4) The Forest of Kahruvel is one such place I see as eternal, but as we all know its past shows this to be far from the truth. Even today it is changing with the large, black mall in Noyo soon to be demolished to allow the forest to once more stretch its borders. No matter who or where, the grid is not eternal and everything and everyone in it just a piece of the flux that makes it work.

Hey! I got a mention in NWN and IDG 🙂

The Giant Phallus of SL

All this time and I thought the biggest cock in SL was Maximus Phlox*
The Giant Cock of SL

TY to Osprey and Enjah for pointing (ahem) me to it 🙂

SL Beauty: Rodeo Bay and Kahruvel Forest by Windlight

I was in Rodeo to re-taking a pic for the blog header so I could have it all in windlighty glory when two things happened. One I bumped into Doug who flew by in an amazing dive, loop and landing, and two I had the idea to replace the blog header more often with windlighty goodness 🙂

Here is Doug:
Postcard from Second Life.

Here is the full pic for the blog header:
Postcard from Second Life.

I’m on the look out for more so stay tuned 🙂

p.s. here was the old pic:
The old BB blog header

Backpacking Burro Road Trip 5: Around Mohrr and The Inland Sea.

The question of how to get five people across the water to the small island of Mohrr was, in the end, easy to answer. Speedboat! I had one that comfortably took seven people so I started the engine and we all hopped in*.

Mohr 1

The water behind us spewed white foam as we sped off towards the ever burning spaceship embedded in the small tropical island. Once on land, we circled the smoking craft and examined the crash site – it turned out that it belonged to Harry Linden who crashed here back in early 2006.

Mohr 2

He must have survived the accident though as his tent and campsite were still there, along with his luggage… which we riffled, of course! Such wonderful freebies he’d thoughtfully left behind for visitors!

Mohr 4

After we had relaxed in the sun loungers, my fellow explorers had to leave and as the sun set over the horizon, I found myself alone.

Mohr 5

I made camp for the night and resolved to explore the small islands dotted around in the morning before returning to my car.

Mohrr and About 1

The sun splashed rose petals across the new sky as I woke and started the motor once more. I took a far more leisurely pace and headed over to the lighthouse I could see rising from a sea in Kremer.

Mohrr and Around 2

I swung my boat over to the stone steps and set off to explore the small island – all I could find was a few seats and some information screens that told me this was an Linden office where public meetings were held. As I climbed back into my boat, I couldn’t help but think that this was one office with a far better view than mine…

Mohrr and Around 3

I headed over to the only other small island I could see and found it was deserted but for an empty Linden tee-shirt and collectors card dispenser – for what purpose, I could not tell.

Mohrr and Around 4

The inland sea offered a myriad of possibilities – the huge lighthouse to the south, the forest to the west, the rivers and inlets to the east or the buildings to the north. I had to choose one and I decided on the architectural temptations of the north and headed across the empty water of Rechleff towards Clementina. The only problem was that I had left my car parked in Bodgea far across the sea in the south…

Mohrr and About 5

Yours in Travel. And a speedboat!

HeadBurro Antfarm.
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* Well, in truth, while the others chatted on the roof of the Bodega Explorer’s Base, I did a quick search for speedboats, teleported to a few marinas until I found one I liked, bought it, teleported back, discovered I could not rez it up in the water there, spent five minutes flying around for a place where building was allowed, sped back to my friends and hollered for them to leap from the three-storey building into my new boat below. What followed was the amusing spectacle of five people shouting “Where are you?” “Down here?” “Where?” “In the water! Jump!” with avatars blindly leaping off and missing the boat completely. But none of that sounds as romantic as “I had one that comfortably took seven people so I started the engine and we all hopped in…”, now does it?