Monday, June 30, 2008

The Evolution of Olexandrovich, pt 2

There wasn't much there at first. Behind me to the west was some escort thing and a shop. To the south was something I don't know. The carnival was eventually replaced with a home. Anticipating the trashiness of what much of Mainland had become, I decided to put my gallery into the sky. There was something annoying nearby at 600m and another at 400m, so 500m it was. I didn't know whether I'd need the ground floor at all once the adfarms and spinning crap showed up, but for a start I'd plan some lawn ornaments and a means to teleport up for anyone wandering or flying over to the area.

Shortly after I arrived, someone bought two plots of 512 and plopped down a large, L-shaped house which overlapped into two plots on the south side and a little bit on the one to my east. I don't know how cluefull they are, but they didn't resize the thing. They did add furniture though.

About two weeks ago I decided to take the scenic route down from the gallery with a flight feather. A new large build in the distance caught my eye when I hit approximately 400m, so I flew over to the "carnival guy"'s area. A futuristic aircraft carrier beside a Tiki pool setup (well, at least SOMEONE got to do it LOL). I didn't notice that he had no-fly set, so when I re-activated the feather and jumped -

- I landed in front of him while he was terraforming his front lawn. We talked a bit and realized we both had a background in the arts. He said I was welcome to visit anytime, although I insisted that I never enter a stranger's home. Drop on their lawn maybe...

Last week he purchased more land and made a road up to my property. By this weekend a couple had purchased land to my north (between myself and the old carnival spot, which had now become a truck stop / turnpikish rest area). The home and the carnival were restored as well. Suddenly the immediate area of Olexandrovich was lively with stuff and people.

My little fence looked cheesy. I promptly made an alternate version of my gallery for ground level, with the intention of adding vendors of my 3D stuff (while eventually I would have vendors of my art in the treehouse over on Munkie Island, which I'll cover soon as well). Now I think I'd like to have more art down in what I call the plaza, and install a teleporter (done) in the gallery so people can get down. A thingie would hand out Landmarks to the other place, and a thingie there for the gallery. Things are changing, and so far in a good way.

The Evolution of Olexandrovich, pt 1

It became clear to me early on that I needed a homebase of some sort. The original game plan was to have both a home, a party place, and a sandbox platform all on one property at different levels.

A friend from Cybertown, who worked there for me on various neighborhood projects when his neighborhood had been raized (as mentioned in my first blog), had since settled in Second Life. At the time I came in, he owned two islands, one a rental with two malls, and one for role play. In those years he mastered LSL and with his friends developed a working Stargate system among other things.
Evacuating for a sim reboot. We emerged in the mall on Eternal Calm

The 1024 plot was a big deal at first. I got a chance to experiment with building techniques for homes, then. Creating 3D objects was clearly a whole new ballgame now, and I certainly had some catching up to do...

Test Toontown house and a sculpted megaprim of Jupiter Station.

Unlike VRML communities, where limitations are set on the filesize of objects, Second Life cleverly places them on the nodes, or prims as they call their equivalent. I realized pretty quickly that if I were to show off my art and builds, they would have to be in separate places.

After much deliberation, I felt it was time to go premium. Once I would find a small plot of land, there would be no maintenance fees to worry about. Also, the weekly stipend would contribute to rental costs.

First, I had to learn about what Mainland was. Till then I had only been on it for a visit to Flo's place. With Flo's help, I learned there were actually continents. I could not discern them on the map at first, but if one zooms out halfway, they form clusters of money icons in shapes which resemble those on the large maps at NCI beach. I searched for land. I flew. Most of what I saw resembled a sleazy dump. To this day most of Mainland makes me think of New Jersey.

One evening a search resulted in impossibly reasonable prices for flat land. I teleported to a field which the map suggested was in Gaeta. A large expanse of flat land divided up into properties offered by Sarah Nerd. Needless to say I was suspicious. Till then all I'd seen were cliffs and irregular shapes near ad farms or spouting particles, spinning signs... On the next day, Flo - who has been very patient with my newb questions - explained who Sarah Nerd was and that the offers were certainly on the level. Except the field was now rebought by what Flo called "Wannabe Land Barons." Indeed I spotted one a couple of weeks later hovering over a Sarah Nerd property, dressed so overkill in sparkling bling that he was the farthest thing from classy. She sure called it!

After some more flying, I found a chunk of a sim with plots of flat land. It wasn't as reasonable as Sarah's offerings, but Sarah had no tier sized land available since that night, and seemed to be focusing on larger chunks of a new and as yet unnamed continent to the northwest. Not far from the patch was a carnival. In my simming days, one of the EMH's I portrayed had a fascination with carousels, so this sort of bridged a gap to something lost with time. I made the move to upgrade and stake my claim in Olexandrovich.

Another Bookmark Bites the Dust

I left a message board last week.

I had pointed out that OnRez was not free, only that they weren't the ones getting extra funds. It still cost to upload graphics for vendors etc. I got the most insipid replies from people who obviously live comfortably. They had the nerve to ask me my age because I didn't have money to fling around in Second Life. All the money I make there and pump into go into uploads and a rental. Expenses in the real world include monthly maintenance and about $250-300 in supplements to keep me functioning. That doesnt include tests and visits, utilities... I often imagine the places I could travel to if I didn't have Hashimoto's Autoimmune Deficiency.

They're intolerable snobs. Power to them and their elitist rich asses. Anyone who was worth talking to on there are in posts with me elsewhere. Life's too short to exert energy over such terrible people.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Taxi Ride to the Airport

*Holocluck Henly is dragged kicking and screaming to the old Blogger account...

I really didn't want to use this. Last time I checked there were two levels of resources for free and pay, and the archive module had no linebreaks after date ranges, generating a growing mass of characters almost impossible to navigate. Looking at the Blogroll list on the right, I see they still haven't gotten their act together. I've gotten lazy on MySpace, where I could just make another album of pics for a milestone event or topic tied to a blog entry. I'll have to find a place that allows hotlinking and easy guest access to albums. I already know the best, but I'm too lazy and don't want to have to log in and out all the time there. I do that already with so many other places.

Okay, so how did I end up in Second Life?

I was born in New Orleans a first generation American. We moved to Chicago and stayed for three years before moving to NYC. Majored in Advertising Art and Cartooning & Animation in High School of Art & Design.

Other than two years in Cal Arts to study character animation in their Disney program, I've lived in Queens NY since ten. I can certainly namedrop and make you ooh and ahh over who I went with when I did, but I don't depend on acquaintances and contemporaries from my time there to define me.

Animation, Advertising and graphics, comics... I had jobs and I've been published officially under two names (one for the adult stuff), but just like show business, you have to be that minute fraction to live comfortably at it. For 20+ years I've done customer support of some sort or another as a day job, allowing myself to enjoy art and creativity during my downtime, occasionally taking a freelance assignment.

Wait I'm Getting to It...

The Internet in 1995 - following a persona change in 2000 and swearing off Trek simming forever, I decided to continue as an homage to the Holographic Doctor from Star Trek Voyager. An event in 2002 changed everything: a Creation Convention in Las Vegas hosted with simulcasts in a virtual 3D environment online. Vir-Con, which was created in VRML and utilized Blaxxun Contact browser plug-in for shared event and interactive chat, was definitely the future. From there I found Cybertown, an entire city of chat environments structured with a hierarchy, where members worked like busy little bees to maintain designated areas, make fake money, and buy fake stuff in their fake mall. It was there I started making 3D stuff, offering my creations there and other Blaxxun communities around the web. Eventually I was able to get a couple of my worlds added to their Suburbs for posterity. Another activity, one which I probably enjoyed the most there, was hosting trivia contests. My friends and I became an independent group called Team Trivia, hosting in two communities (we tried a couple in iCity but it was a bit awkward).

Sometime in 2005, two years after CT became a subscription site, the threshold of tolerance for those in charge who were oblivious to the pay factor hit its limit. An entire colony was overhauled without checking with the neighborhood staff or residents, thus alienating users and driving them to Second Life by word of mouth from many who had already joined in 2004. This occurred in waves as paid subscribers were dissed repeatedly and those responsible cost Cybertown's owners a ton of money in lost revenue. "You should come to Second Life. I miss your art and your pools," someone said. At the time I was curious and wanted to check SL out, but with Win98 I was not eligible.

Here it is...

In January 2006 I tried for about fifteen minutes from my office PC but wasn't impressed. I'm not sure why the maneuvering was difficult at the time, but I found navigating the landing area of Orientation Island very unwieldy. It could have been the office firewall. That's how come my alt Doc Chowderhead has such a great name - they still had great choices.

Oops, False Alarm

Two months later, after having been duped into resubscribing for Cybertown an additional year while waiting for some projects to be approved by procrastinators, my friends and I said good riddance to them (and all the stuff I amassed over the course of 3-1/2 years) and joined Disney's Toontown Online. It's been very satisfying to drop anvils and pianos on corporate stereotypes in a place where other players couldn't rip you off (you can't sell there, only buy gifts). And the animations are just great. For a cartoonist, what better place is there?

Here it Is (really)...

As much as I enjoy Toontown, I've missed creating. I hadnt really much reason to since my departure from CT and other Blaxxun communities. When I upgraded to a new computer this year, within the week I joined Second Life in earnest. Or I tried to.

The Chickens

I was pretty disappointed with the selection of surnames. Yes, I could have selected Zimmermann and tried to effect Doc's fan-chosen name Mark Zimmerman (many hardcore doc came up with that independently) with creative spelling, but it was decided with my online buddy (Seven/Blaxxun aka Abby/Toontown) that we'd register together with the same surname. We didn't want anything too Aryan, which seemed the bulk of selections whenever we checked. Then we noticed Henhouse. We monitored a special site for two weeks until we were both able to be on at the same time and register. The special site would give us the gateway page which offered Henhouse on a site we could read (most of the time it appeared on Chinese and Japanese gateways) but each time we were told it was no longer available.

We were really psyched about having chicken names, so we settled for Plan B via CSI's sign up page. Thus Holocluck Henly was born.

It's been over three months. Maybe by now I'm in Second Life for four? I still feel new. There's so much to learn despite all I have. So many old friends from CT and Blaxxun are very established here, so I have a long way to go. But this is a milestone week with two shops no longer "Coming Soon." Tomorrow is show and tell in Lummerland (follow the Flo Votes blog link for more on this weekly event), and I'll be doing a presentation while at my parents' home. It's so nice that Dad upgraded this year too.

So here I am as Holocluck Henly. Or Doc Chowderhead. Or Snurky Snoodle. The alts are for testing stuff and are not as likely to give superficial acquaintances the time of day - just a head's up about that. If you actively play Toontown Online and have a MySpace login, drop me a line in SL. I have some more links to add here for sure - including to my SLX page and homes - and much to write about and show you after exploring the grid for over three months, but I wanted to get the long-winded life story out and about.

See you again soon!