Friday, 21 October 2016

Witches; Death; Dilemmas

No: of witchy things bought: 8 (good); No. of Halloweeny items already in inventory: Numberless (or possibly, 666); Hysterical witch accusers encountered: one (awkward)

In a couple of weeks is HALLOWEEN which is always fun time in SL as great opps for becoming ghost, creating spooky haunted houses etc. etc. After a couple of days away from SL due to physical world travel arrived back just in time for Virtual Worlds Education Roundtable meeting, which was v. interesting talk from Greg Prumier who has been teaching in SL for 7 Years (that was in fact title of talk). When got to VWER he and a couple of others were variously standing/sitting by circle of cushions on one side of VWER area. Greg asked where to put presenter and so told him and then set out more of Dustbunny's Darling Sectional Cushions (which are indeed v boho and cute) in orange and red to match autumn theme of sim. Realised afterwards that didn't ask Beth (organiser and host of event) if she already had plans about setting up area, so hope didn't offend.

Anyway, next week am leading discussion on "Halloween and other festivals - can we use them for education in Virtual Worlds?" which is basically an excuse for me to drown VWER parcel in witchy stuff. Had not yet visited the Salem event, so tped over and had happy half hour trying out gallows props, deciding how many new mirrors I needed (answer: lots) and musing over whether should buy Besom hair with stylish witch hat (answer: of course). Snapped up sparkly spider webs, village stocks (with tomato giver for throwing at person IN stocks), pumpkin cookie-giver, sinister cloaked form holding moddable poster and a few other items.

During tour of event came across sign (see above)which said that Abigail Williams (famous accuser at Salem witch trials) was hidden on sim. After Black Dahlia hunt assumed that this might be challenging e.g. with small effigy of Abigail hidden up a tree somewhere, but in fact proved to be v. easy as simply followed path in wood and there was real avatar dressed as Abigail, pointing and muttering wicked, wicked under her breath. Was all very nice, but immediately felt like awkward situation, since this was an actual person (though presuably an actual person who was going afk a lot). Was not sure of appropriate behaviour. Should one say "Hi, I'm Sheila I believe you have some issues with witches?" or shout and point "Evil liar evil liar"? or was one expected to interact in order to learn fun facts about the Salem Witch Trials? In fact did the British thing of pretending hadn't seen her and scuttling back down the path. Am shown in pic hiding behind tree when crept back later to see if she was still there.

When got back to VWER had fun time setting out a Halloween setting that was spooky but not too gruesome. Am not sure if got level right e.g. felt that guillotine and people in nooses might be going to far for educational area, on other hand flying skeleton holding lamp and coffin with skeleton hand curling round lid somehow seemed ok. Set out cute rustic table with assorted Halloween food givers including cauldron of poisoned apples (when you accept one and wear it you fall over dead - see pic, am sort of slumped under table).

Might be challenging for newbies as have to detach apple to become not dead (as opposed to undead) (see pic). On other hand would give people someone else to throw rotten fruit at, when got tired of pelting miscreants in village stocks. Am sure there are educational life lessons there.

Wednesday, 5 October 2016

Hunts; Walls; I Am My Cat

No. of hunt items found: 3 (good); No. of hours spent searching for hunt items: 1.5 (bad); Number of gigantic boundary walls bought: 1 (good); No. of kittycats whose bodies I have occupied: 1 (so far) (not spooky AT ALL)

With October comes halloween hunts and one of fave SL designers, namely DRD, has a hunt in their shop. You get a HUD, you go around spotting Black Dahlia flower heads and get cool stuff when you find them. This sounds v. simple, but have trawled lower floor of DRD's store twice, camming into corners and waiting impatiently for all to rez etc etc, plus have gone round upstairs twice, and done quicker trawl of builds in their garden. However have only found 3 items out of about a dozen. Was at least glad to hear from DRD group chat that wasn't just me that found this challenging. Hunt object is small and also black, and as DRD do a lot of dark stuff and store is huge have evidently missed loads of dahlias lurking in corners and under carpets. Also they produce a lot of small fiddly objects that look v. like dahlias until they rez properly.

In 2nd pic you may be able to see object on floor that got overexcited about til saw was "film cans" not dahlia. Realise have got used to hunts where you (a) get a hint (b) have a large and flashy hunt object, so am probably lazy but frankly life is too short to spend more than 1.5 hrs looking for objects however cute.
Was, though, friendly experience, one avatar IMed me to ask if was on hunt and we exchanged cheerful remarks on lack of success in dahlia finding. Group chat also good natured except when spammer spammed chat with random request for 100 Linden which resulted in multiple insults and group bans for spammer. Would be careful about spamming DRD chat, probably contains people with arcane knowledge of spells and potions (AM JOKING know that people who like to recreate post-apocalyptic dungeons and spooky haunted asylums are quite likely frightfully well adjusted individuals who would no more think of cursing someone than of jumping the checkout queue in Tescos).
Anyway have ended up with (1) carpet (2) very cute tray of bedroom decor stuff (3) some sort of notice on a cute board PLUS there was a free thing just waiting to be nabbed on the 1st floor, vis several female corpses hung up on pegs, some of Bluebeard's wives according to the description. Obviously maker did not subscribe to the "it is all symbolic of mental abuse and Bluebeard's wives are now all enjoying fulfilled lives with more suitable partners, it's Bluebeard you should feel sorry for" line. It will be a useful item for my halloween decor this year.

Thinking of Halloween made me think of dungeons and caves, so wandered over to the Felix Alter sim as he does v. good v. reasonably priced cave and mountain decor. Did look at caves (see pic), but got distracted by what is v. good idea and wonder why noone else has done it. He has created high thin and attractive cliff walls (with walkable paths) for people to put round sims when they want privacy from neighbours. One of perils of mainland is suddenly having some huge hideous barrier penning you into your plot, because your neighbour doesn't want to see your beautifully landscaped gardens but would rather see some giant, implausible and out of focus picture of a tropical beach.
There are several options which mix and match, all priced at 250 Linden, and bought one and immediately put it to good use. Trouble with previous similar things is that they have tended to be (a) not thin enough (b) not that much more attractive than the hideous beach picture. Will post some actual pics of walls at some point but cannot pause to do that as OMG final thing is MOST EXCITING.

Namely, KittyCats have a new update and YOU CAN BECOME YOUR KITTYCAT. OMG.

In fact practically never desert my human form but took all of 10 secs to decide that I wanted to inhabit the bodies of my KittyCats. Took copy of body shape, made sure outfit was saved and then you just click on your chosen KittyCat, select something off the interaction menu, get a folder which includes a "KittyCat Transponder" you wear the folder and voila!

In fact it wasn't Voila! at first as simply became invisible. Wandered about a bit invisibly and then thought would try logging off and on and THEN trying the wear transponder thing again and this time it worked. I went through the spooky change thing (see pic, I am migrating, Jennifer is sitting all unconcerned to my right), Jennifer disappeared and then I WAS JENNIFER. I walked and ran and sat and flew. When you fly a skateboard appears underneath you. I may moderate VWER as a kitty on Thursday so went and practiced sitting at the VWER table (see last pic) and OMG I am so cute.

Was a slight worrying moment when I transponded back and initially the "Jennifer kittycat" in my inventory simply would not rez. However all was well when I logged out/ in and she now seems to be sleeping and pottering about quite happily again, all on her own.

Am deciding which Kittycat I will comandeer next. Probably Marl.

Is this a bit creepy? I don't care if it is a bit creepy. Thank you KittyCats creators for providing me with awesome features I never even knew I wanted.

Wednesday, 15 June 2016

Shop; Repeat: Squeak

No of items bought from The Arcade: more than intended (bad); No. of hours spent decorating houses: more than intended (bad); No. of items bought which squeak on touch: 2 (good)

First first time for a while was asked by fellow researcher to write some thoughts about teaching in SL, difference SL made to Life and Work etc. Reminded me that hadn't blogged here in a while. However, followed scholarly activity of reflecting on SL practice with usual burst of shopping and decorating, so afraid this blog will be same old.
First, June 1st, as anyone knows, means a new round of THE ARCADE that Linden-pit of a gacha event. Started by buying rare Hedera Caravan from Dust Bunny on SL marketplace, the ebay of SL. In fact this was particular extravagence as only really wanted it for lace awning that came as kind of extra (see first pic.). Thought would be salutary and informative to list subsequent orgy of consumerism. Should be lesson to reflect on how many of these will not get rezzed, let alone used.

Sanarae event
barberyumyum*53B (hair) (cute Japanese hair)
Car Neon Wall Decor (half a car, in a neon colour, to put on your wall)
Dreamer Tent (a very small tent, with some frilly bits, I think you are supposed to hang it from a branch. The one I got was red)
Candy Crunchers - Moon Bunny (what WAS that? blowed if I can remember. Ah yes - it was a kind of hanging ornament with a cute bunny on a crescent moon. Obvious really. It is now hanging from the duly-installed Dust Bunny lace awning)  (which you can't quite see in the pic)
.::THOR::.. Ticket on a plate (this is a plate with a receipt on it, perfect for cafe decor)

Collabor88 event
floorplan. potted cactus
Soy. parasol indian cotton (3 colours)
Soy. metal double chair
dust bunny . darling sectional cushion ( In 3 colours - red grey and later I came back for orange plus a boho hanging cloth with lights)
dust bunny . darling hanging plant (a hanging plant in a macrame holder) (think there's one in the first pic.)
+Half-Deer+ Ceiling Drapes (Drapes. For the ceiling)
Ariskea[Wild] Boho Plant Hanger (another hanging plant in a string holder. I can't get enough of them)

Truth hair shop
TRUTH HAIR Elira - pastels
TRUTH HAIR Fenella - pastels (shown above)
(Two first-class new hair designs, both styles come with and without hats)

Fifty Linden Friday special deals
Izzie's - Assorted Beads Bracelet (bangles. I can't get enough of them)
7 - Now Serving (this is a metal sign saying "now serving" and with numbers underneath you can change, perfect for shop decor)
JIAN :: Ferret Habitat (a large cage with three ferrets in it, which sort of twitch and you can change their fur colour) (see last picture)
#EMPIRE - Xylosma (sandals in 12 colours. For only 50 Linden!)

The Arcade
+Half-Deer+ Purrfect Patisserie Gacha (4 goes - got a malformed but cute kitty to hold, one to rez, and a pice of cake and dish of maccaroons with a cute kitty theme. These are obviously destined for the cat cafes)
Le Primitif - Fashion Office (what was this? I have no idea)
Nylon Outfitters - Cat Music Icons (times 3 - clever pictures of pop icons, as cats, in twirly frames)
Second Spaces - Bake Me a Cake (cooking utensil decor)
Mutresse - Witty Cats (a cat which looks perpetually about to pounce and wiggles its bottom, seen in last pic.)
Ariskea - Tropical Paradise (um, something, I'm sure since it's Ariskea it is cute, could be wooden sign in last pic.)
Sway's - [Atepa] Tipi (a small green tent, v well made)
O.M.E.N - My Pet Adventure Gacha (some sort of ornamental thingy)
Intrigue Co. - Carousel Cats (you wear it and you are sitting on a carousel cat, bobbing up and down PLUS you get a cute tiny rezzable ornament version)
Ingenue - Melisande Heels (shoes, green I think, Ingenue do beautiful shoes)

Yard sale
D-LAB+LIZAIL Peti - P Set 10 (a cartoony small penguin, and a small paddling pool)

!Go! shop
Mercy - tunic & boyfriends (a nice summer dress with linen trouser cuffs underneath, those are the boyfriends)

LaGalleria Prefab Houses
Seashell Planter w FERN
Starfish on Stand
Bird Yellow - touch song off/on(seen in last pic.)
(Free items from someone who makes large houses and upmarket furniture of the style you see in expensive but not boutique international hotels).

Gami gacha

Dimitrova went to this, but suppose have to accept that she was actually spending my money. There were some random bonus tokens, Dimi got one and she threw it in the machine thingy shown in the 2nd to last pic. A present came out - think it was earrings or a septum ring, or possibly both. Anyway Dimi is very street, so she wore the septum ring.

That just leaves the things that squeak. Firstly there's the cursed creations vendor above. Dimi was hoping to get Marshmellow, because that's her favourite cat in Neko Atsume,but ended up with Evil Spirit Fox Rare. Anyway, it squeaks when you touch it. She's pictured with an evil dark spirit lord who I presume is the proud father.

Now the mystery remains, what is the 2nd things which squeaks? Know that when started this blog post, definitely had 2 in mind, but am blowed if can remember which it is. Could be penguin. Could be ferret. For all I can remember, could be Seashell Planter w FERN. Unfortunately is no way to search through inventory for THINGS WHICH SQUEAK ON TOUCH (Linden Lab take note).

Note to self: buy more squeaky things.

Wednesday, 2 December 2015

The season of goodwill

Advent gifts collected: 3 (good: well, 2 of them were good)

Advent in SL is a time of rushing round gathering baubles and clicking frantically on giant advent calendars and/or parcels. Could in fact spend whole day going round trying to collect advent freebies of varying quality (with pompoms, stars, candles, mugs of hot chocolate, silly hats and ill-fitting skater dresses featuring prominently). In rare burst of altruism am sharing 3 lists of advent gift events, namely

Am restricting self to usual favouries i.e. Sways and Kittycats as both have decent prizes. For Sways you have to wander round sim spotting baubles representing each day of advent and clicking them to add to a HUD. Then you go to the parcel pile in the middle of the shopping mall and click on the parcel corresponding to today's date. You don't get the gift unless you found the bauble with that date on it.

Swayland is a pretty sim, and happily spent, um, well suppose it was about an hour in the end, going round (see 1st pic) and eventually finding all but 4 of the baubles. Inevitably, one of the missing ones was 1st Dec so will have to buy that gift if I want it. With Sways you have to get the gift ON THE DAY or pay.

Kittycats' advent calendar (see 2nd pic) is more forgiving - you can turn up on any day and get any of the previous day's gifts. Also, all you have to do is TP in and click the date, so easy-peasy (though correspondingly, less fun). In past years some gifts were for you and some for your kittycat.

So far have got pair of candles (Sways) and sparkley nails (Kittycats: there was also hair+eyes, but the hair was the wrong colour i.e. not blue, so junked it)

Ah! This is what Christmas is all about: frantically collecting piles of gifts, and then throwing some of them away.

Tuesday, 1 December 2015

Not writing; Christmas; Transmediation

No. blog posts written in digital writing month: 1 (bad); No of stories written in digital writing month: 0.5 (could be worse); No. of items on shopping list: 35 approx. (bad)
Have failed singularly to increase amount of Yoshikawa blogging during digital writing month, as month has flashed past oozing with teaching, family emergencies, storms, meetings and cute SL items that SIMPLY HAVE TO BE BOUGHT.
In fact had decided that thing wanted to do more of was not digital writing but uninterrupted sustained writing (USW), as in getting into flow of writing for a couple of hours so imagination can take wing and so forth. In fact managed about 1.5 hours of USW on train between London and Sheffield, so partial achievement. Have also peered through window at digital writing activities, so to speak. Would have been fun to join in, but v. time consuming. One digital writing challenge was doing something transmedia, and was pondering extent to which SL is transmedian in itself. Could argue that is just one environment, on other hand have sound, pictures and movement and can zip about between different locations and import things in and out of SL. Is probably substance for whole, dull, peer reviewed article in debating this.

Anyway, did find time for some Christmas shopping as deluge of cute Xmas cheer kicked in as soon as the pumpkins and scary Halloween skeletons had been collected up into inventory. Thought that might be able to limit Xmas expenditure by going through all the events and making up a shopping list in advance, so am not tempted to buy anything extra. However not sure that this will work, e.g. for Lost and Found event my initial advance list ran

Lost and Found
Kalopsia - sewing table, crackers box or present pile 90 Linden each
 plaaka - kitchen cupboard? Linden 300

Kalopsia and plaaka are familiar puveyors of cute things, and although cabinet was on expensive side, all the items on cabinet shelves are v. cool e.g. artisan japanese ceramic bowls and tea whisk.
When tp-ed to Lost and Found was still impressed by cabinet. Decided that already had enough piles of presents, but the crackers were nice and the sewing table reminded me of the old treadle sewing machine that we had when was young (though it has to be said that nostalgia has already led me to buy 2 different SL reproductions of this treadle sewing machine, however don't have table without machine, so obvious gap in inventory).1st pic shows me stoutly resisting urge to also buy decorated Xmas chair, watering can with artful bauble tree in it etc.
However was drawn inexorably to the display of boots by Deadwool. They are v. realistic all wrinkled leather and laces. Suffice it to say that they cost 450 Linden and am now wearing them with my new Go! dress and Atomic woollen legwarmers. All very boho.

Eye was also caught by SariSari upcycled Christmas tree, a snip at 299 Linden. Well, in fact not PARTICULARLY a snip, but v. well made.Was more charming than in advert and could immediately see it being an amusing conversation piece in my new Fallingwater House art gallery. In fact had thought it came with a nubbly cotton rug (see 2nd pic) which proved not to be the case, but  am not too disappointed.

Can see from this account that future does not look promising for list approach, since started out intending to spend max of 480 Linden and spent nearly that on unplanned boots. Oh well.

3rd pic shows me with the acquired consumer items. Am wearing boots but also have displayed one on top of cabinet.

So, this is the kind of thing I was doing instead of digital writing.

I must say, it seems pretty transmedia to me.

Saturday, 31 October 2015

Digital; graveyard; tagged

Digital writing done: 1 (digital and, like, writing); Urns clicked: approx 40 (good); Graveyards toured: 1 (atmospheric)

So, came across some publicity for Digital Writing month and thought that should contribute, as any excuse to do pics and write stuff is welcome. Am pondering in what way this will differ from all writing that normally do, which is mostly clickety-clack on some keyboard and screen as have almost forgotten how to use pen and form legible words. Would probably have found this out if had read blog about Digital Writing Month rather than just thinking, hey, cool idea and bookmarking it.

Through this blog, discovered pic that had been Thinglinked (or was it other way round, discovered DWM through Thinglinked pic? oh well) and so below is first ThingLink. Not sure whether this is any more digital than usual writing, but gave excuse to do more pics of kittycats which is always welcome.

Meanwhile have been doing halloweeny stuff as halloween in SL is THE time of year, since ghosts, suppurating wounds, zombies, graves that drag you in, carniverous trees, haunted mansions etc. etc. etc. are all SO easy to do. Had to abjure SL for some weeks as was a) swamped with work and b) away some of the time with no SL-enabled device, so have had a bit of an orgy of SL-ism the past few days.

Did the WHOLE of the tag! gacha tour, in which you click the tag gacha HUD and get whirled to the next destination. Each destination is of course a shop, what else, with a gacha but also an urn which you click to mark that you've been at the store, plus it gives you a freebie trick or treat. Since wanted to get round it haven't yet opened most of the trick/treats nor indeed most of the items snagged from the gachas. The starting and finishing points to the gacha hunt were including a mortuary and graveyard, so have shown a couple of pics.

First one shows the Bonus Room which was a mortuary (it was unlocked once you'd been round all the shops). You can play "spot the witch" (i.e. me, was pretending to be the forensic expert inspecting the corpse in NCIS or Body of Proof, though if their mortuaries were in this state think that environmental health would have been called in by now).

Second pic is arty photoshopped view of the Redemption Graveyard that you could go to at the end. Called Redemption because you redeemed any Mystery Bonus Tickets and also think there is pun there about being redeemed, but not sure that spending oodles of lindens on virtual halloween items is actually path to redemption. Was interesting to see little arrangements of pictures and flowers that each creator had put by their tombstone, sure there is ample fodder there for psychologists, should any such be SL gacha addicts. In the meantime, enjoyed wandering round graves feeling pleasantly melancholic.

(Is this enough digital writing for now? (Think it might be. (Ed.) Next episode: installing haunted piano in the twisted greenhouse: or by the time get round to doing the post may be: removing haunted piano and twisted greenhouse, together with zillions of candles, pumpkins, gravestones and ghosts)

Friday, 31 July 2015

Strawberry, distraction, reality

Strawberry catgirl beds bought: 1 (good); FB nonsenses: 1 (bad)
Have procrastinated into blog to note that have bought a strawberry cat-girl bed (includes cute poses for one or two people) on Fifty Linden Friday offer and installed it in the ancient Insect and Fruit Houses on Infolit iSchool. Can see specifically that have put it in strawberry house, and indeed remembering this house (which has hovered over Infolit for 8 years) was chief excuse for clicking "pay" on the cat-girl bed vendor. Bed is large enough for real sized avatars, not just cats. It is the thing with green ears inside the strawberry house (just to make things crystal clear, since you may not have seen a strawberry catgirl bed before now).

Was diverted when entered this blog, though, as follow Bryn Oh's blog and noticed this post: For those of you who have lived their lives snuggled in their skybox watching virtual soaps and do not venture out, this is the internationally reknowned artist Bryn Oh, who does extraordinary magical art installations in SL and I imagine also magical etc. in the physical world (e.g. exhibition in Berlin at the moment) but haven't experienced those first hand.

Bryn Oh has been asked by Facebook to prove that this is her "real name" and since she can't produce the normal certification, her FB account is likely to get closed. As one commenter on her FB page says "Bryn Oh is more real than some actual real life people I know!" Bryn Oh has won awards! been given grants to create art in SL! has a reputation and connections and people who take selfies by her artworks and buy them to put in their homes! (and that includes me, I don't know Bryn Oh but have admired her work for years)

In what way is that not real? Seems bizarre but not unexpected that a company that makes its living through the virtual (ie FB) is out of tune with what it means to live a life across virtual and physical worlds.

Here is pic of Bryn Oh work that came across randomly on someone's land a couple of years ago. It cause me to pause and think about things and feel refreshed. Definitely real.

Tuesday, 21 July 2015

The perils of ducks

Ducks acquired: numerous (good); Crashes experienced: 8, or was it 10, no, think it was 11 (bad); Psychedelic glithes: 1 (v.v. bad)

Had formulated idea that since already have oodles of unrezzed stuff in inventory should not acquire more, but, heyho, saw an ad for this duck bobbing game at the Wayward event, and off I went. Proved to be not the most enjoyable experience since the venue was incredibly laggy, a combo of lots of people (it's featured on the SL login page) and all the fairground rides.
Additionally, flying had been disabled.  Simply fail to understand why someone who wants people to stay at their events disables flying. Means you spend more time camming round, or chair-hopping, or hopelessly double clicking your mouse to try and go above a crawl.

Anyway, despite this, persevered driven on by fantasy of bobbing for cute virtual ducks. Was not really intending to indulge in any other purchase but predictably ended up with
1 seat in form of old weathered ferris wheel carriage
1 air balloon
2 ducks which can sit on shoulder
1 elegant whicker lounge with gauzy canopy
1 pair free mesh eyes
Was there something else? Have vague feeling that may have thrown 50 Linden at some gacha or other. All these were encountered before coming across bobbing ducks. Painstakingly worked way round event, crashing every few booths. Think rot started when had crashed twice in Soy booth and in the end felt sort of emotional attachment to the Soy ferris wheel carriage that had been dithering over, and bought it. 2nd pic shows this in situ, has replaced equally cute truck/shower from MMG at end of garden. Hope you can see have tried to be a bit arty with this pic, with strategic seagulls and shadows enabled.

Crashing got worse and worse, until part of computer screen was obscured by sort of tangle of pastel coloured shapes, which think was own graphics card saying help help help. Therefore eventually rebooted and then wasn't quite so bad i.e. only crashed every 10 minutes rather than every 3. Was then able to appreciate that Wayward sim was actually v. nicely set out with all sorts of cute items to sit on/ride, including numerous carousels (teacups one, cat one, seahorse one etc. etc.) and other rides that zoom round and round or up and down. First one tried remained static, but enjoyed ride on The Vortex (see first pic taken as whizzing) although way pose worked meant that could only glimpse self squeezed between 2 seats, perhaps in fear.

After having to go round event twice, found ducks. Vendor had also created beanbag game (see 3rd pic). You click on the item, you attach beanbag, you click on bean toss board, you toss it, end of story. Somehow felt ought to get a bit more for 250 Linden. Tried duck bobbing, and found that curiously, when posed by bobbing bucket, did not lean over bobbing bucket but rather hunched up several feet to one side. This gave a moment's pause (is this bugged?) but desire for cute ducks overcame common sense.

As can see from 4th pic, unfortunately the bug continued when got booty home and unpacked it ie when SAT on bucket, immediately moved to right and hunched. Am too apathetic to contact creator to say "It's bugged" so am hoping someone else will do this and will have corrected copy dropped on me at some point. This does generally happen, only the other day got a less buggy version of some complete outdoor bathing set that had of course forgotten had ever bought.

Upside is that after have bobbed for a while, get given a duck which attaches to head.

Can forgive people a lot for random freebie head duck

Wednesday, 1 July 2015

Embodied souls: Life Lessons: Shopping

Days saved: 1 (good); communication malfunctions: 1 (bad)

As regular readers will know, am one of coorganisers on regular Thursday meeting of SL educators i.e. Virtual Worlds Education Roundtable. In VWER we
a) discuss hot topics of day or
b) listen to someone talking about hot topic of day or
c) reassure each other that is really cool to be a SL educator: latter achieved by talking about same old same old viz. why don’t people “get” SL, why doesn’t SL fix group chat, will SL disappear when SL 2.0 comes along, what are good examples of teaching./assessing/learning/research in/about SL or
d) tell each other what the weather’s like where we are.**

Most exciting VWER recently was 3 weeks ago when Kali and I had a 2-avatars-1-voice experience, that was nearly a 2-avatars-no-voice-at-all experience. Kali was due to interview 3 v.v. interesting people but sadly had SL voice problems, which is not total bar to interviewing but using text chat tends to make things slower. Also more difficult to manage voiced people if YOU are in chat, not that would want to imply that any speakers would be in need of managing, cough.

Anyway was emailed earlier in day by Kali saying her SL voice was kaput, and could she skype and speak via my avatar. I said no problem, obs. However was busy day and when had seen last student out of RL office felt was in need of some play and rest and so checked out whether kittycats needed feeding and then took opportunity to finally tp into The Arcade (see 1st pic) and scope up umpteen gatcha items that will doubtless sit unused in inventory for forseeable future (except for peacock shown in 2nd pic, cute or what).

As sidenote, am now on constant lookout for new items of food for SL cat cafes (see yummy 3rd pic), unfortunately whilst have increasing cornucopia of exquisitely fashioned cupcakes, steak dinners, pretzels, fruit plates etc. is also rise in % of SL food that simply sits there and looks ornamental, rather than giving portion of said food on click. Would not want clients of the Yoshikawa chain of cat cafes clicking madly on array of coffee and cakes in vain hope of obtaining something to drop into inventory and ADD (here’s me stuffing face with pixel muffin etc. etc.).
Think should be some kind of SL food standards authority decreeing that only allowed to call something “SL food” if can actually eat it. Perhaps non-edible SL food could be called food sculpture, equivalent of RL food being made of plaster or plastic.

To return to the VWER meeting. Whilst was technically free for hour and a bit before VWER meeting, was indulging in SL wandering around and random thoughts as above, so was less than half hour before VWER meeting before tp-ed into the VWER auditorium to say hi and work out the voice thing.

Now must confess that had engaged zero brain cells in thinking this through, but had vague consciousness there was something wrong with arrangements that had been made. When using SL listen via headphones and speak via USB mic. Kali was going to skype and then was expecting to speak via me. How was the sound to go from my ears into SL?
Think now that must have had unquestioning faith in Kali’s ability to manage magic mind transfer, though suppose if she could do that would not have had the voice problem in the first place. Magic mind transfer would solve SL’s frequent voice problems at a stroke though could also cause embarrasment when one forgot to turn off mind transfer and broadcast all sorts of unsuitable things to assembled avatars. Although forgetting to turn mic off can also be embarrassment as I and others have found out hard way, thus does experience teach us life lessons.

Well, to cut long tedious story short was some fruitless inteplay as start time of VWER session approached and indeed was upon us, before realised that headphones were the problem. Essential element for the thing to work was placing microphone next to speakers that had sound coming out of them. Once this was realised, twas but a moment’s work to turn on speakers and so forth and away we went with efficient and effective interviewing process.

Sat in audience being Kali’s dummy and reminding people periodically that was not her. If had put more effort into whole thing could in fact have put notice over head saying KALI IS SPEAKING THROUGH SHEILA but there you go, most people probably didn’t even notice.
So what life lessons come out of THIS experience?

1) Do not go shopping when should be preparing for serious professional event
2) Test things out more than 10 mins before intending to use them if do not want to appear idiot
3) Apply simple questions such as “Is this going to work”?

In fact can dispose of first 2 points, since if apply item 3) will swiftly emerge whether or not there’s time to go shopping or whether need to be
• squinting at incomprehensible Windows control panel
• pulling jack plugs in and out
• checking and unchecking boxes in SL preferences
• deciding which of the unlikely sounding audio device names listed on the pull down menu is the one that is the actual name of the audio device you have plugged in and therefore want to activate

Final life lesson is that if have ace people (i.e. me and Kali) trying to cobble together a solution then solution will be duly cobbled and no-one else will be aware was problem in first place.


** NB VWER is one of fave things in SLife so all this tongue in cheek ahem ahem

Monday, 15 June 2015

Carriages at 9.30

Big fluffy ballgowns owned in SL: numerous (good); Pet peacocks owned in SL: 1 (v. pink); RL dress code conundrums: 1 (bad)

In RL have gained university award for TEACHING EXCELLENCE which is obviously v.v. good. Various benefits including RL dosh (no lindens, although perhaps could CONVERT some to lindens) to spend on teaching and learning, which apparently can include swanning off to conferences to work v.v. hard and not do any lazing around AT ALL, ahem. Additionally get given certificate and shake hand of v. important university person on graduation day, plus go to DINNER with other awardees and get to shake hand of v. important university person again.

As is way nowadays all this communicated via email, and in particular emailed invite for dinner has been perplexing somewhat in that there is severe lack of instructions about how to dress, but however fulsome timetable which finishes "Carriages at 9.30".

Now "Carriages at 9.30" conjures up images of laughing Edwardian aristos sweeping out of mansions and saying "Home, James", somewhat in manner of Downton Abbey, or alternatively dramatisations of the complete works of Trollope with flighty young debutantes flicking their fans at their caddish suitors. Does not conjure up visions of senior lecturers earnestly debating merits of constructivist vs. construuctionist pedagogy whilst trying to pick the edible bits out of a dinner supplied by WeAreUniversityCatering.

Is difficult to tell whether the use of "Carriages at 9.30" is: a) Cut and paste hangover from previous invitation to rather more upmarket do for potential donors to university funds; b) Post-modernist sardonic jeu d'esprit, indicating that of course one will be departing on foot or on eco-friendly bicycles; c) indication that one is expected to come in white tie and tails (men) or full blown ball gown inc. tiara (women).

At any rate, as usual, is lot simpler in SL. If one finds oneself inappropriately garbed in SL (e.g. dressed as an elm tree, and it turns out that "smart casual" was in order), then one click and a few blurred glimpses of half-rezzed mesh and there you are changed into what's needful. Also, you can bring a choice of carriages folded up in your inventory, and add ornamental pets for added pezaz.
Therefore decided to exorcise worries about correct RL dress tomorrow at physical world dinner (and, incidently, procrastinate over marking**), by rehearsing in SL.

Thus you see
(1) Arriving at steps of venue - as usual am a little behind everyone else - but being early is SO unfashionable
(2) Adjusting pet peacock before entering the stately pile
(3) A pause in the festivities as we are encouraged to pose on the battlements
(4) Wandering round after dinner; am glad have left own peacock indoors as this one seems a little agressive
(5) Carriages at 9.30: appear to have to drive own carriage, my dear, one simply can't get the staff nowadays.

** marking, or dressing up in a ballgown and driving round in a carriage, no contest really.

Adventures of Yoshikawa

The blog of Sheila Yoshikawa on her adventures in Second Life. This may be very thrilling. Or possibly not.