Here I sit , neither sad nor disheartened, waiting for a Metaverse Tour to get started.
A tree had lassoed me and now here I was, trying to recall what a hypergrid does.
In RL it was good, I got half a new kitchen,
New oven and microwave calmed my conniption
My health had returned, my family was quiet,
But my virtual life had burst into a riot
Of messaging , politics, pueblos and tours,
IM’s and networks and metaverse lore
Calenders, spread sheets, excitement galore,
As the shiny new year burst in with the roar,
Of “WHERE IS ARCADIA? “IS THIS THE END?”
And I suddenly found I had so many friends
With calm heads and brave hearts
It seemed that no project was too big to start.
On my hypergrid home, there was oh so much fun
New grids brought new music new role play to run
New friends joined Craft grid, and old friends returned
One said “Where’s your blog? For news we do yearn
And do something different that we may learn
Okay, if I have to bust one more rhyme I will lose it on such a scale that the ghosts of Alfred Tennyson , Edgar Allen Poe, and Edna St Vincent Millay will appear, beat the living snot out of me, then; as they begin their slow ascent back into the cloud strewn glory of literary immortality, six glittering eyes will look down in unison to answer my trembling whisper of “Why? WHY?? I mean Al you have been in a snit since Browning put his foot up your ass about the editing weirdness and Edgar you were just flat out BORN strange and hissy, but Edna- how COULD you?? ” with the sudden appearance of a beautiful, elongated chapeau, exquisitely crafted gossamer playfully strewn with lines of crimson and alabaster floating gently down through the golden rays of celestial light to land aside my battered form, igniting the smallest of hopes that all may yet be right with the world, when out of the hat pops Dr Seuss, who launches his foot at the rest of my teeth snarling ” It’s not like you had to do it for a living!!”
Hello my dearest dears! How marvelous, here we all are ready for another whirlwind adventure on OpenSim, the software platform that hosts hundreds of independent grids, may of which choose to be connected by the hypergrid, an amped up teleportation system that allows you to endlessly traverse these brave new worlds, exploring, making friends from all over the planet, and scoring so many free goodies that it just makes you dizzy; not the BAD kind of dizzy where your head is spinning from a lifetime of twisted artistic frustration in the form of a red and white striped jackboot barely missing your face, but the GOOD kind of dizzy, like when you grab said footwear and hang on as the specter soars screaming with rage back to his home in the men’s room of the Great Celestial Literary Pantheon; releasing your grip in time to dive straight into the pantheon’s core and stagger over to Gertrude Stein, who tend your wounds a midst vows to wreak a terrible vengeance. At Gertrude’s insistence, Alice B. Toklas reluctantly contacts A.A. Milne , who turns out to be the All Pantheon Knife Throwing Champion, and perhaps a shade too eagerly volunteers to “manage” the Seuss situation, as the entire Beat Generation turns up, goatees aruffle and horn rims askew, announcing they have wrestled Poe into rehab for the 264, 133,567,896th time- THEN it happens- carefully pocketing his day pass, Haruki Murakami ditches the Fitzgeralds , making a mad dash in your direction, arms flung wide, bellowing that only you could ever be Zelda to his Scott , whilst in a flash Jack Kerouac breaks away from the hippies, clotheslines the hapless mortal, and sweeps you into his arms for a passionate embrace, with Charlie Parker and John Coltrane circling overhead playing an eclectic set of romantic tunes. Bet ya didn’t see THAT coming! Oh shut up.
If you do not know how to get on OpenSim, (and believe me, you are not alone) please see my “How to Get on OpenSim in Six Ridiculously Easy Steps” and don’t forget my “Newbie Glossary” page, also at the top of this blog! Come on, it’s easy! Come spread your wings in the free metaverse!!
If you do not regularly read my blog (sob) or follow me on Facebook, Twitter or G+ (whimper) you are blissfully unaware of my long time menagerie, my 2 1/2 month descent into respiratory hell fire, nor my subsequently stalled plans for finishing a small project. In the weeks before the sinal apocalypse the most excellent Public Domain Review Fortnightly Newsletter (which is 100% free, so check it out! ) had brought my attention to a wonderful collection of drawings from 1903, of Hopi Kachinas, spiritual beings that Pueblo Peoples portray in art and dance.In a permanent state of homesickness and old school political correctness I had been loading up my “home” platform on Monte Gordo in Craft for months with cacti and little doo dads that reminded me of my far away home in the American Southwest. It occurred to me that I could box these beauties up as textures for inworld use! A pretty box that would fit into the vaguely uneurocentric desert theme.
Well a box became a kind of statue thingie boo that moves gently in the wind. It went up my “quelle the homesickness/ethnicize the metaverse” flagpole so completely the that I made a bunch more, then changed the ground to a red sand color, and began setting out campfires and baskets and calling it my Kachina Garden! What a hoot! I eagerly began rethinking the base of the platform, which was a random illustration I had picked up wherever the hell…
…that eventually became this beautiful image of the Anasazi Ruins in Mesa Verde National Park, Colorado, by revered American photographer, Ansel Adams. A few informational notecards were next on the agenda!
At this point my sinuses went wilder than an elegant nineteenth century opium addict being stuffed into a straight jacket by a pack of scraggly stoners. After about a month and a half, when I could look at the computer screen without having a migraine, LOTS of stuff was happening inworld and out, making my own little project seemed unimportant.
Then wildly prolific hypergrid blogger Zaphod Enoch of The Hyperzette showed up and hoisted me on my own freaking pitard. Yes, he blogged about the one damned thing on the region that was in no way shape or form finished: my platform.The poor guy took the trouble to come here, and then had no idea what he was looking at! Nerts, I was gonna have to info the place up.
Researching the notecards turned out to be incredibly soothing- an oasis a midst the struggle of coping with ill health, work and responsibilities up the slime ridden wazoo. I remembered how much I admired the Pueblo Peoples, who bravely defended their culture, and against all odds retained an astonishing degree of autonomy in Mexico and the United States. I rediscovered how utterly cool Ansel Adams was, from his environmentalism, to his courage in publicly condemning the governments illegal detention of Japanese American citizens during WWII. I also realized that he had really sucked at legalese, and consequently a large amount of his work belonged to the government, putting it smack dab in the public domain.
You enter the little exhibit here just behind my platform. I have included some more pictures by Ansel Adams in his info box, including one of his most famous images, “The Teutons and Snake River” which was one of 115 images included on the Voyager Space Probe’s Golden Record. If you would like to take a look at more here is the link to Wikimedia Commons Ansel Adams collection!
As Egyptian antiquities had fired European imaginations in the early 1800’s, ancient pueblo peoples, and their modern descendants became the darlings of the American public and intelligentsia at the end of the 19th century. This not only provided the cash strapped Pueblo tribes with a source of income as fashionable art dealers snapped up their baskets, pottery, weaving, and jewelry , it inspired a
generation of creative minds to celebrate Pueblo culture with a level of respect rarely shown to the non European. One of my favorite small examples: Pulitzer prize winning author Willa Cather’s, Song of the Lark, the third book in her seminal Prairie Trilogy, was a novel chronicling the life journey of a great world class opera singer, who has her moment of blinding clarity not standing in an opera house, but high above the Arizona desert in an Anasazi cliff dwelling, contemplating pottery shards.
And in the course of the notecard research I saw lots and lots of photos of Pueblos , traditional towns of connected structures, made of stone or adobe bricks. Really lots of photos. Then one day as I was doing something or other in the Sanctuary museum Mer city exhibit, it occurred to me that the stone walkways looked kinda familiar.
The next thing I knew….
…this had happened. Yes, when the going gets weird, the weird build slightly lopsided Pueblos. I am slooowly filling the rooms with wonderful public domain photos and artwork of the Hopi and am hoping to add an agricultural exhibit,and a Kiva!
The whole Pueblo madness episode ran partially in parallel to another whopper, that thankfully reared it’s head after the third round of antibiotics had failed and my ENT began stuffing me with chinese herbs that finally did the job, so I was slowly recovering, when what the German language SL forums succinctly referred to as the “shitstorm around Arcadia Asylum” began.
– The Facts-
What has happened is that, as of this writing Arcadia Asylum(in her current avatar name of Aley Resident) has been banned from Second Life. We are assuming that it concerns two DMCA’s filed around one five year old sculpt map of a tree, that Arcadia got hold of in a box of freebies floating around the SL sandboxes. Since Arcadia gives full credit to the creator of every freebie she uses, by leaving thier UUID (identification )numbers intact, a creator who saw one of the trees on a build was easily able to identify it as her own. The creator approached Arcadia, and asked her to take down the sculpt from her builds. Arcadia removed it from individual pieces, but neglected to take it out of some larger collections. So the creator filed two separate DMCAs, as one other item using the sculpt came to her attention at a later date. The really unfortunate part is that the DCMA was filed when Arcadia was taking a break from her virtual life, to move house in her real life! A DMCA flips a switch in the Linden Lab computers, and you are given an automatic suspension that results in a ban if you do not reply. When Arcadia tried to come back she had been banned, which combined with RL complications, appears to have been the straw that broke the camels back. She has expressed her loss of enthusiasm for SL to several friends, and has been completely out of contact since early December.
So how can a copyright problem with one tree be classified as a shit storm? Well my dear, that last paragraph is the result of a huge amount of reading , sifting, emailing, and rentless networking. The rumor mill was FLYING, faster than an army of winged monkeys after an uppity Kansas girl, as the many many people who have inventories stuffed with hundreds of her items,were blowing their concerns at gale force all over the internet. It was unmitigated freaking chaos. And whether that concern was with creators rights , not wanting to get their own asses banned, or just what the HELL was actually going on, with Arcadia silent, who in the world was going to answer them??
The Friends of Arcadia Asylum is who! Our G+ community,( formerly known as Arcadia Asylum All Around), initially conceived as a way for museum curators to communicate across several grids became a kind of news feed, as Arcadia’s curators and friends combed social networks, contacting individuals, asking for clarification, cross referencing comments from thread to thread and network to network. Conclusions, facts, summations, findings and pertinent links are posted in the group, as is the current status of all our projects. Well of course there are projects, in fact, there are more projects than ever!! Here are the broad strokes:
On That Really Big Laggy Closed Grid Whose Name Escapes Me…
…some of you may have seen this sign. Professor Grey, also known as Brian Lander, who had not only revived the Arcadia Asylum Museum movement, but under whose warm and capable helmsman-ship it had spread across the metaverse, became so frustrated with the shitstorm and hurt by the loss of his dear friend Aley, that he decided he needed a change. So he closed his museums and said farewell to the SL group, assuring them the organization he had built would be perfectly capable of running without him.
Not that he is totally gone, hehe! It’s a big ol’ metaverse, and Brian is getting acquainted with the hypergrid ! A real thrill for me; it seems like just yesterday I worked up the courage to ask him if he would think about maybe allowing me to open a museum out in the black, and his immediate reply was to slap a curator tag on me and start a packing lesson!! Here he is getting a tour of that museum on craft-world.org:8002:Monte Gordo- he knows so much, I learn more in 10 minutes with him than I do on ten hours combing the internet!!
And although the Professor Grey persona is officially retired, Brian Landers is extremely active on the G+ community, posting wacky pictures, lending his expertise, publishing catalogs of his Arcadia personal inventory, and starting an Arcadia themed online OAR repository!
My Friends of Arcadia Asylum group co owner, Briony Juran’s lusciously steampunk Cog and Grog is not only still running strong, it is moving next door to an even roomier parcel!!! This lady is as busy as , well, a curator with an entire museum to lug next door, packing vendors, checking inventories and…
…visiting the 9 region Sanctuary Museum for a gander at how we do things in big sky country!!! We both had so much fun and again I just learned and learned !! Our next date is a tour of Diego Blake, a pirate region(next door to Flotsam in fact) that Aley contributed to extensively! I had no clue it existed before Briony posted a lovely little film about it on The FOAA G+ group!!!
-On the Hypergrid-
Well as you well know I am damn near impossible to shut up, much less get rid of, so my museums on Craft Grid, on Sanctuary Grid, and the library on Metropolis Grid are still very much open. Not only that; do you see the tree on that aquatic wall piece? That’s the little bugger in the DMCA. Now you see it…
… now you don’t! I re-read my own damned 2011 article on how to link and unlink, sent Briony some pics, and now my inventory, like hers, is 100% kosher, including the box with everything on Metropolis Grid! What inspired me to actually do something myself instead of my classic” whine until *insert name*’s begins to weep blood and they *insert name* for me in a desperate attempt to stop their frontal lobes dribbling out of their nasal passage” strategy?
Well surprisingly, the historic joint indictment of my larynx by the Vatican and the Hague didn’t really play into it. My inspiration was this pretty kitty, Ada Radius. Here we are in the Kitely grid Cookie II Hobo sandbox; I am looking on, chattering about shinies, as Ada, a former forensic auditor gone inworld theater impresario and techno whiz, inspects her beautiful rescripted and modified version of Aley’s Kuula Forest piece, making sure it is working and kosher for redistribution on the hypergrid. It took two hours, and Ada had put in several hours before that, contacting the creator who had filed the DMCA for a list of items for removal. Ada’s work ethic is as formidable as her intelligence, and she has started a google spread sheet of the entire Arcadia collection. She wants to create THE definitive shitstorm proof catalog of Arcadia’s work , which is just the first step in ,well, I am so excited about this I can hardly type for giggling. You see, Ada is also the CEO of a successful non profit called New Media Arts whose “mission is to develop graphical, theatrical, literary, educational, library and other fine and practical arts on the internet, in 3D graphical user interfaces, multimedia, new generation computing devices, and other electronic and digital communication media. Our current projects are: The Antique Pattern Library,Avatar Repertory Theater, and Avatar Media Productions.” And their latest interest is the collecting and curating of virtual world artists, starting with Arcadia. In a nutshell, Ada, and New Media Arts want to get everything Arcadia has ever made ON THE HYPERGRID, koshered up, cataloged and scripted, for public use. And Ada posts about this budding project where? In the Friends of Arcadia G+ group!
sanctuary:homelinux.org:8012:The Spirit of Arcadia 1
Thus endeth the broadstrokes.
So, as the whole Pueblo Madness and shitstorm ring cycle wound down, why didn’t this girl get to blogging again in a big way? An excellent question, if I do say so myself. And the answer is…
-You Can’t Fight the Tree-
Here I am relaxing on an ostrich on my first and last Hypergrid Safari, meeting Serene Jewel for the first time. She was kinda quiet,which was a relief after the mad whirl of the big safari group. We wound up wandering off sort of together and I liked her as she politely let me dibs the osterich .What could be less suspicious than a well mannered arboreal? Now I wonder, was it all part of a devilishly cunning plan?
A few weeks passed, and one Saturday evening I “happened” to run into Serene again on Craft grid’s welcome region. Well, even in virtuality, you don’t forget a tree that gave you first shot at an ostrich ride. We chatted a bit and she mentioned that she lead the Metaverse Tour group, which I had vaguely heard of. She asked about interesting Craft builds and invited me to join her little tour at 10pm CET, on the Kitely Welcome region. She was really nice and funny, and I thought that, with other things having consumed so much of my inworld time, this might be a good way to get some ideas for a blogs post!
A few Saturdays later, when I had written my blog post, and was getting very comfortable in the little group- Serene began dropping subtle little hints like, ” Guess what? Devokan Trust Mavin Dot Matrix and accomplished Kitely creator Min Tigerpaw have agreed to become Metaverse Tour Guides. Wouldn’t it be great if we had four people, then we would only have one tour a month each! Can you think of any overweight lady bloggers with snakes in their hair who might be interested in volunteering?” which I would skillfully counter by pointing over her lower branches screaming “IS THAT THE OSTRICH ??” as I teleported out of chat range. The plot thickened as one day I received an exclusive, gold trimmed invitation to a swank four person Metaverse Tour Guides G+ group! I swaggered in, spouting reasons why I couldn’t lead any tours in the immediate future, searching for the chocolate fondue fountain my finely honed blogger instincts told me would be center stage in the sumptuous members only buffet, when I suddenly received my first group notice. There was going to be a meeting in 5 minutes about a special guides project, and would I care to join them? I was really excited- a meeting would definitely involve several tables groaning under the weight of tray after tray of expensive hors d’oeuvres !
Not a vol au vent in sight! But it was a good thing I showed up , as our little “surprise” project for the metaverse was spinning totally out of control in a nose dive of esoteric symbolism and good taste. Valiantly ignoring my hunger pangs I hoisted the banner of schlubs everywhere, firmly introducing graffiti, garbage and cheating to the agenda. I also made some discreet inquiries into the groups um, lack of structure. For example, why did we not have a general g+ group for the tours? The answer” Because we’re lame?” brought home the grim realization that there was not a chance in hell these starry eyed liberals had unpacked the hampers for the VIP buffet! Heading hurriedly back to the g+ guide group, as I rummaged around for anything marked Maxim’s or Harrod’s, the tree made her move. Suddenly the notifications were coming faster than a big lady blogger hot on the scent of Cordon Bleu roast turkey with black truffle butter and white wine sauce- there was now a public Metaverse Tour G+ group AND a calendar for the guides to PICK A DATE!!! Dizzy with raw fear and the lack of gourmet nibblies, I tried to save myself by leaving the page, but my family’s clawing my legs and begging for dinner diverted me at the last second, and to my horror I realized that I had booked a tour date!!!
It turned out to be a hoot and a half! Serene and Dot came along to help with the herding, as we oogled the amazing art at Spiral Silvester’s massive surreal gallery Phantasmagoria…
…to exploring Daniel Hoffmans weird and wonderful Transgenia world, both on Kitely Grid! grid.kitely.com:8002:Transgenia
It was a great group, not too big nor too small, with a great mix of old friends and newbies! By the time we got to Craft Grid’s Uptown roleplay freebie region, we were giggling like a pack of school girls and um saplings. craft-world.org:8002:Uptown
The tour ended at Craft Grids animal and garden freebie region Noah as we all stood around laughing and chatting excitedly about the next tour!! Hypergrid newbie Hisano Xelax had such a good time, she even blogged about it! 4 times!!!!
Unfortunately my computer had a nasty virus the night of Min’s excellent tour, which was a bummer, but this Saturday’s tour I will make if I have to buy a new computer because this week is the Devokan Trusts 5th anniversary in OpenSim, and Trust co founder Dot Matrix is going to take the Tour group on a special anniversary walk around some of thier many breathtaking builds. Here is a short article by New World Notes, about the trust from their OS grid days, and a longer article by me from that period, which gives simple explanations of the complex Myst Uru culture, on which the Devokan builds are based.
The anniversary week will conclude with a really big party on February 7th at 11 pm CET which I will try to make not simply because I think the world of the Trust, but because it will mean I FINALLY get to see something put on by Roxy Roller, a Second Life event organizer who is taking Kitely and the hypergrid by storm!
Little 3rd Rock Grid has also made a surprisingly big dent in the hypergrid cultural scene, with almost non stop musical performances, and a high profile Star Trek role play community that is growing in leaps and bounds!
So how do you keep track of all this stuff?
-The Google + Guru-
This is a picture of The G+ Group Hypergrid Destinations, run by the hypergrid’s own Google Guru, my buddy ShawnKmaloney, who is on a mission to get, among other things the hypergid using all the great free tools that are available for communication. He wants every man jack of us to understand that if people create calendars and events, then muck about in their g+ settings guts, they can create their own calendar that not only shows anything your friends are posting, but, sends you reminders, puts the invitation in your language and time zone, hell, my android tablet RINGS when the reminders come up!It is an amazing system, that is also a trifle convaluted to use. So if you look at the bottom of this list, you can see a link to Shawn’s Google Calender, which is the only one I link to , because he has pretty much everyone on it. Shawn doesn’t just nag us to do things, he also makes very useful videos showing us how to do them. The videos are not organized unfortunately, you have to scroll through the photo section of his profile until you see a vid that looks interesting. Shawn troubleshoots different viewers, makes travel documentaries, and how to videos on different aspects of google plus he finds useful. All of which is thoroughly peppered with a wild brand of humor that would have George Carlin rolling in the aisles.
There is a link to his latest pet project in the Hypergrid Destinations group- The Interactive HG Address List. This is a Google spread sheet, such as Brian and Ada are using for their catalogs. Shawn is using it to create, well the title says it all. Send Shawn your google email address and he will get you on the editors list- you can test grids to see if they are up and running, add grids, create categories,; Shawn is very keen that this be a community project. I am using it, and it is amazing, there is a live chat function, you can leave questions and comments, and I can assure you it is 100% idiot proof!! The undo button will bail you out of any corner you back yourself into!
And don’t forget, Shawn’s signature move is ” crazy yet extremely helpful”, he will walk you through all this stuff, he loves to skype and is just generally very very accessible. So drop him a line, and start spread sheeting:)
And now my dearest dears I must love you and leave you- oh wait, more tour info. this coming Wed. February 4 the infatiguable Nara Malone will be leading a Hypergrid Nights Tour to my Museum on Monte Gordo! And I will be up at 3am to greet the group and generally stagger around! Take a look at Shawn’s Calender for the details:) Another tour!! See, you DO need a calendar!
I would like to thank Shawnkmaloney, Nara Malone, Talia Sunsong, Serene Jewell, Selby Evans, Ada Radius , Briony Juran, Brian Landers, Leighton Marjoram, Avia Bonne, Zaphod Enoch, Tosha Tyran, Hisano Xelax, Dot Matrix, Paislee Myrtle,Roxy Roller, Zinnia Frenzy and the 3rd Rock gang, Min Tigerpaw, Daniel Hoffman, Ger Orsini, Spiral Silvester, Beth S O’Connell, Maxim’s de Paris,my family, the ostrich, and of course all of you, for listening to my ramblings, and sharing my small adventures. Your company means the world to me! The sweetest of dreams and the brightest of days to all of my beloved readers! Until next time, Adieu!