In real life this week, the United States says goodbye to President Obama, the country's first from an ethnic minority. While he accomplished a few things, such as the "Affordable Health Care Act," his term was also noted for initial hopes of a nation finally free of racism dashed as his political opponents were charged with bias and in turn his most vocal supporters were accused of it as well. In Second Life, as we can all look like whatever we want to, one might think an avatar's appearance wouldn't be a big deal. As it turns out, there are a few places that are likely to hassle you for being the wrong kind. But how widespread is the problem?
On Tuesday January 17 at 5PM SL time at the Cookie sim, comedian Lauren Weyland held the last of her weekly stand-up comedy shows in Second Life. For ten years, she/he had been doing the performances with only a handful of weeks missed. And now, it was time for the final one, and the close of an era in Second Life comedy.
As she always had whenever I've seen her, Lauren drew a large crowd, some with signs saying "Thanks for the laughs, Lauren." The show was different from others as Lauren looked back at his/her ten year virtual career, which included a few real ones at Second Life Community Conventions.
The show would poke fun at Second Life, such as the tale of the virtual hooker whom continued to do business with her best client even when it was revealed like Lauren "she" was a make in real life, "but we'll keep it on text." The comedy would also poke fun at real life newsmakers, such as Donald Trump whom assumes the US Presidency later this week and Chelsea Manning, a transsexual serving time in prison for leaking secrets to Wikileaks whose sentence had been shortened by President Obama that day.
The crowd included a few noted personalities, such as filmmaker Chantal
Harvey, DrFran Babcock and Any1 Gynoid whom wrote for the Newser in the
past, and Catboy Qunhua who volunteers for the Second Life Birthday, as well as doing one of the supporting acts of the stand-up show.
The show will continue on, relying on those whom had been Laurens supporting acts such as Doc Grun and Jamie Jordon. But the noted blonde with the falseto voice will be absent.
"All of you, to my last breath, will be my friends." Lauren says while this is the end of her weekly show, this is not the end of her comedy in Second Life. She says she'll pop up "time to time."
Over time, Linden Lab has released a few details about how their upcoming virtual world Sansar will look and how people will get around. But about the rules and policies of what will and won't be allowed, not much. Almost a year ago, the Lab stated they had no plans to restrict adult content there. But given the controversy explicit images have been with Second Life in the past, the increasing skepticism of Second Life's core userbase about the place, and perhaps the reputation of the new generation of computer users, might it be decided that it would be best if Sansar was free of adult content?
Hair. In real life, we comb it, have it cut, dye it, and have it styled. Thankfully in Second Life, a new hairstyle or color is much easier as one can just get a new hairpiece. But do different hairstyles just look different, or can they do something for your overall look? Mylie Foxclaw takes a look at the question, by comparing several different hairstyles, some that look similar but have subtle differences.
Saturday January 14 had the Tenth Anniversary Celebration of the New Baggage steampunk community and region. And a good sized crowd attended at the town hall in Babbage Square.
Unfortunately, due to real life events, I couldn't make the event until just as it was ending, and by the time everything rezzed, more than half of the people had departed. Oh well, "the best laid plans ... "
Taken at the Oahu sim. Real foxes are by their nature strict carnivores, and it's difficult to imagine one gene-engineered to be humanlike down to the capacity for an omnivorous diet to give up their taste for meat (though in some stories such as "Zootopia" they're limited to meat substitutes). Still, it's obvious this anthro fox wasn't brought up in a society that banned pork.
Some of us use quite a few attachments for fancy outfits. And at parties
we'll engage in the consumption of scripted food to make it look more
like a real life event. But how many of us thought about doing what Mijn Seoung
(Martina Menegon), a performance artist in real life and Second Life,
recently attempted. She tried attaching everything she had in her
inventory to her avatar.
As one can see in this video, early on in the process her avatar was looking less than comfortable. As things went on, she ended up with thousands of objects and eventually "overloading the system" that finally caused her to crash. Unfortunately, she finds that her stunt has rendered her unable to get on.
I was a Second Life resident for almost 10 years, and the only reason I
am using the past tense is because I somehow destroyed my poor virtual
me for an art project: I wanted to record the result of me attaching
everything I owned in Second Life to my avatar (thousands of different
hair styles and colors, clothes, shoes, animations, furniture, houses,
etc.). I somehow overloaded the system and my avatar started changing,
then transformed into a white cloud, and then the software crashed.
Since then, whenever I try to open Second Life, the app crashes. I tried
some solutions I found online but nothing worked. I will try to contact
the Linden Lab soon, because I have to admit, I miss being in Second
For the full story, read Hamlet Au's article on this noteworthy test of Second Life's tolerances as part of artistic expression. To my knowledge, sorry to say Mijin is still unable to log on and could use some advice on what to do. No doubt she's tried calling the Lab for help, though as Hamlet put it, "Not sure if Linden Lab tech support has a 'Performance art' category in its tracking system."
"The skies over Raglan Galaxy seem to be in a graffiti war. January 1st there was a sheep with Baa Baa Baa. By Jan. 10th it had turned into a grumpy cat face with Baa Baa Baa. This evening we have an unbearable situation."
There were a few chuckles and comments of mock outrage afterwards, "This is scandalous, something should be done, where is the Law?" Someone asked how this was being done, and Linn offered an answer, "Objects above a certain height don't show on the map - that's why the space station doesn't show on the normal view of Raglan Galaxy. The huge blue prim, words, and picture are all placed just below the space station - high enough not to be seen from the ground, low enough to show on map view. If you want to know who did it, do what I did: jump off the space station and fall a short distance, then fly when you see the blue go past you, and inspect the prims to see whose they are. There's more than one person in on this gag, but I'm not telling who!"
So what kind of tom foolery is next for Raglan Shire? It's just a matter of time before we find out.
On Tuesday January 17, an era in Second Life entertainment comes to a close as Lauren Weyland holds her last show. For a decade at about one performance a week, Lauren has been the best known stand-up comic in the virtual world. The combination of the male voice and female avatar never got old, and she had always been able to joke about current events, Linden Lab blunders, or those things in Second Life we take for granted that when you think about it are a little silly. A few days ago, Deaflegacy interviewed the noted entertainer about why she was walking off the stage for good, and some of the highlights about her virtual career.
Place Pages are a new feature
aimed at making the huge variety of awesome places in Second Life easier
to find by creating web pages for each inworld location that opts to
show in search.
Today, we’re starting a beta for this feature. All regions and parcels that have elected to Show In Search
now have an automatically generated Place Page that’s visible on the
web, you can check them out and share them today! Places rated General
will be visible to anyone, and those rated Mature or Adult will be
subject to the usual Maturity controls.
Inara Pey called the announcement, "frankly – vague. Whilst explaining the purpose of Places, and the fact
it is beta, the blog post itself doesn’t actually provide information on
where to find detailed information on the new pages – such as how to
get started or even how to view the new pages." Hamlet Au stated that he had been told six years ago this feature was in development, but obviously work on it had never gotten far until now. He went on to say the feature had much to be improved, notably one problem that made it next to useless for anyone not a user of Second Life.
"The first problem is right in the announcement itself: 'Places rated
General will be visible to anyone, and those rated Mature or Adult will
be subject to the usual Maturity controls.' Trouble is, most great
Second Life locations are rated Mature or Adult. So in other words, hardly anyone including and especially non-users will be able to even see these web pages.
Seriously. Imagine you're a fan of HP Lovecraft who wants to show another Lovecraft fan the Page of Innsmouth, a great Second Life sim devoted to the horror author's work. If they're not already a user, (they get a page just marked "Mature Content"). 99% of non-users will give up at this point. On Linden Lab's scale, 'Mature' is equivalent to an R rating from the MPAA, but they're
currently treating M places like porn. So hopefully Linden's web devs
realize what a fail this is."
Other suggestions by Hamlet include, "a button for sharing pages on Plurk" and "an option to embed pages on blogs and other websites."
On the official forums, there was a general feeling of approval, "Love, love, love this idea!! Thank you SL!" "Something like this has been needed for quite a while." Though some felt it still needed much improvement, "We really need a way to let outsiders see these pages though, without them needing an account first.Use these pages to lure non-sl people in. Perhaps a little disclaimer about possible maturity issues or something, but these pages should be viewable for everyone." Loki Eliot felt this feature had a great deal of potential, but at the moment the description had "less space than on the destination guide. What was the thought behind limiting to 250 characters?"
Troy Linden on the forums admitted that most pages not viewable to non-users of Second Life was a problem, "We're working on a better solution to gate content based on the visitors and hope to have a better solution soon." So it seems there should be changes in this feature in the near future.
Following the close of the 2016 SL Christmas Expo and final accounting from off-season fundraising 2017 Relay For Life of Second Life Chair Nuala Maracas announced to the RFL community that the milestone of $3,000,000 (USD) all time had been achieved. The RFL community is invited to celebrate this accomplishment at a special party to be held Sunday January 15th at Relay dAlliez.
Relay For Life is the signature fundraising event of the American Cancer Society. It began in Tacoma WA in 1985 and is held in more than 5600 communities and in more than 23 countries outside the U.S. Relay For Life of Second Life began in 2005 and raised $5000 that year. The annual event has grown into the largest virtual fundraising event ever. In 2011 the event passed the $1,000,000 total and raised its 2 millionth dollar during the closing ceremony of 2013 Relay weekend. In 2014 the Relay For Life of Second Life raised more than $420,000 and was the ranked 17th largest Relay event in the world.
The Thank You Celebration to be held Sunday, January 15th will begin at 1pm slt will be broadcast on T1Radio and will feature special guest performer Maximillion Kleene, a longtime supporter of the Relay in SL.
The 2017 Relay For Life season in Second Life will begin with Kickoff on March 5th. Team registration will be announced shortly. Grid residents interested in participating can join the Relay For Life Volunteers group (secondlife:///app/group/7f1cc591-7968-9204-4082-98c7e544c371/about) for more information about joining or starting a team.
For more than 100 years, the American Cancer Society (ACS) has worked relentlessly to save lives and create a world with less cancer and more birthdays. Together with millions of our supporters worldwide, we help people stay well, help people get well, find cures, and fight back against cancer.
Visit cancer.org or call 800-227-2345 for more information
On Saturday January 7, The Oahu sim had their official grand-reopening party, the "Oahu Ohana." The party got started at 12 PM with some music, and at 1PM had a "Maori, hula, and fire" dance.
Twstd Ruggles (the lady in the grass skirt to the left) is the owner of Oahu. The sim had been up for several years, but closed sometime in early 2016 due to her real life financial situation. She informed the Newser on January 3 the sim was back and online, with the official celebration on Saturday.
On the other side of the island from the celebration stood the island's most noted feature, the USS Arizona memorial at (176/22/23), a tribute to those killed in the Imperial Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. People drop by the memorial, notably on Memorial Day, Veterans Day, and the Pearl Harbor anniversary on December 7. But the island also has much to offer people who just want to kick back and relax on the beach, watching the surf roll by.
"Around the Grid," the Second Life blog published by Harper Ganeswort, Conan Bankersbox, and Jern Sternhall, has opened it's 8thAnnual Oscar Fashion Photo contest, to run from January 8 until March 5, 2017. The guaranteed prize fund for this year's contest is L$50,500, with L$25,00 going to the 1st-place winner.
"The calendar has rolled around again to January," Harper Ganesvoort said, "and so it's time for my annual question. Once again, if you received an inviration to this year's Academy Awards and the various after parties, what would you wear?
"Just as people enjoy critiquing the actors' and actresses' evening wear on the red carpet every year, and imagining ourselves wearing those clothes, we like to take a look at what our friends and acquaintances in world wear. Our annual photo contest combines the two pastimes into one, allowing
us to imagine ourselves on the red carpet in Los Angeles while the cameras of the world are on us, or on other aspects of that day for the Real Life Hollywood crowd. Second Life gives us a chance to not only talk about what we think would look good, but to demonstrate our concepts to the world through displaying the photos on Flickr and in our blogs.
"The 2017 prize fund holds steady from last year's advance,"Harper said. "First Place will receive L$25,000; Second Place L$10,000; Third Place L$7,500; and the four Honorable Mentions will receive L$2,000 each. I can't recall if there have been richer prize packages for other peoples' contests in the past, but I'm pretty sure that the OFPC's package is the biggest and most consistently awarded over its eight-year history, as well as possibly the longest running annual contest aside from the well-known beauty pageants such as Miss Virtual World. When this year's winners are paid, the total cash prizes over eight years, based on guaranteed pools, will have hit L$185,000."
Taking a look at the current technical aspects of Second Life fashion, Harper noted the increasing preference for wearable mesh body components, as opposed to the "classic" SL system bodies. "Mesh has definitely taken hold of the fashion industry with both hands. The latest advance, SL's Bento skeleton changes, is just now starting to feed into the stores. It may be too early to see much in terms of the new articulations in contest entries, but it still promises to make for wonderful new photographic opportunities, including for Second Life's artistic photography in general.
"As always, we hope that Residents will help us spread the word, and we wish the entrants the best of luck."