Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Ex Street

This blog, when I first conceived the idea, was supposed to chronicle the exciting things I discovered around the grid; instead I find myself once again Linden-bashing. Which is just as entertaining.

Colossus Linden announced last week that he and the rest of the team responsible for managing XStreetSL (from this point on to be referred to as XSt) had devised a brilliant and watertight new pricing system for listings on the virtual e-commerce site.

Until now (well, actually for another 30-60 days) XSt has been a free listings service. Anyone who had created any content that could be used within the Second life Grid – be that textures, scripts, prim builds, sculpties, hair, clothing, even Island files – could list these creations for free on a giant, searchable online marketplace. It started out as a private enterprise - (called SL Exchange, or SLX) but last year Linden Lab threw a big fat dirty cheque down in front of the creators, who in turn eagerly handed over the keys to the office to the Lindens.

The idea was that you could list your stuff to save residents the time of trying to figure out how to use the easily manipulated Search facility within the viewer, teleporting all over the grid and finally trawling through vendors trying to find exactly what it was you were after. And it worked brilliantly. I have purchased many things from XSt over the years, from vendors who I may never have found in-world. Because the listing was free, many vendors actually relied on XSt to manage an income, being unable to afford shop rentals or find a suitable location that would guarantee them optimum footfall. You paid a small percentage fee in commission, but I never kidded myself that ‘free’ meant 100% free. Someone somewhere would have to pay to maintain the site, maintain hosting, etc. And if those enterprising people made $1L profit (after all of those costs) out of each sale I made of a $50L, so what, I thought, well done to them.

But then The Lindens got hold of it (primarily so that they could have the revenue, rumoured to be around $1million USD). It didn’t matter that they were already a multi-million dollar company, they were still going to charge commission, to a maximum of 5% for those nice costly items. They set about changing things. Just small things at first; they tried to make it look like they were doing things to help merchants and customers alike by integrating the Marketplace within the main SL website. They’d send out e-flyers (if you were lucky, just once. Unlucky folk would get two or three of the same promotion mailed to their Inbox). We’re making it better, they claimed!

But there was a problem; some pesky folk were listing items for free, but charging $0L for them. Some folk were throwing out low-free priced marketing tools. Some folk were giving away stuff because they were kind. Obviously, trying to take a percentage of nothing meant that the Lab made, er…nothing from each of these sales; yet the customer would still walk away with something useful in their pockets.

Some merchants objected to this; if someone else gave away for $0L that was similar to something that they’d made and were selling $250L, they had obviously lost out on a sale. Not really true; for example I, as a customer, have spent a good deal of time before looking for a carefully-crafted and lovingly textured house build than some free slap-dash affair. Nonetheless, The Lindens took these objections on board and decided that because they shared a common concern (i.e. they weren't making enough money), that they’d try and do something to rectify this issue. So, they held a meeting. Well, actually, they decided to discuss it as part of their regular office hours meeting.

Office Hours are times when Lindens decide to log into the Grid. It’s only a couple of hours a week so undoubtedly they can tolerate sitting with their buttocks and teeth clenched for that amount of time, listening to the concerns of a carefully-considered cross section of residents. Only, they’re not; because usually the only people who attend office hour meetings are people with an agenda, a point that they (the Residents) feel the need to try and hammer home to the people (the Lindens) who actually have the power to change something. Heck, the tinies of Raglan Shire are guilty of doing it! For three weeks in a row when Group Chat was shot to hell after an ‘update’, they turned up en masse to protest the lack of action to resolve the problem. Happy days!

The XSt issues were considered so important that they were discussed across three separate Office Hour meetings (no fanfare given to any). Colossus Linden reported that thirty-five (yes, 35) residents attended the meetings to help round out the proposals. Except not 35 at each – thirty-five IN TOTAL. That’s about 0.0000035% of the total population of residents. A fair cross section? Not really, is it? And as there was little fanfare given to what actually is a very important issue for a great number of people, unless you were regularly checking to see what was happening in those meetings, many people would have just taken them for granted.

The plans (as they stand) now amount to LL charging anyone who lists a free item (of $0L price, guaranteed return of, er $0L) a staggering $99L per listing per month.

Anything over $1L will now cost the seller $10L per listing per month.

Oh, and you’ll still need to pay that commission. A minimum of $3L. So don’t even think about putting those freebies up to $1L – we’ll still be taking $3L of each one you sell, they’ve said.

So, if (like me) you have 41 items listed, it will now cost you $410L per month to list all of your items. You will need to make about a minimum of $450L per month to come out with any profit, after commission. And then instead of coming out with the $427L you used to, you’ll now walk away with a paltry $17L. I consider $450L in revenue a good month for me…

Paraphrasing, the Lindens’ reasons for these taxes are: it will help the marketplace easier to search through; the marketplace will be less cluttered; customers won’t be directed towards freebies and those who are trying to make some money will finally be able to make money.

Well, in some regards, they’ve succeeded already. Thousands of items have already disappeared from the marketplace, pulled from the listings by disgruntled merchants who have already anticipated that they absolutely cannot afford to cover the new costs. I myself have reduced my offer from 41 items to a mere 11, and have made a point in my listings’ descriptions to tell anyone looking why there isn’t as much there as a week ago, throwing an SLURL in there to direct people to my in-world offer for good measure. I’ll probably see how well I sell over the next 30-60 days and see if I can make enough to cover my first month in a listings fee culture. Then I’ll pull the rest down.

There are so many better ways that the problems with XSt (which have only intensified, in my opinion, since the Lab acquired it) could have been resolved. Arrehn Oberlander has pointed out just a few in this post, which seem perfectly logical and easily achievable. The assessment of the reaction of the Lindens is also spot-on; they’ve become defensive and have blamed the merchants posting all those freebies and not properly managing their inventories for allowing XSt to become the mess it is. Um, what? I used to be a manager for a popular chain of coffee shops; I didn’t demand that customers pick up their crumbs or drink every last drop of their beverage before they left. I let them in, they paid me for a service already. That’s it, job done. Whatever they leave behind becomes my problem, so I deal with it. If that means throwing it out, so be it. Free items - heck, anything $10L or less - could easily have their own listings section, seperate from the higher priced stuff.

I felt myself fortunate that Colossus Linden took the time to reply to an IM I sent to him in-world; I expressed a huge concern that merchants who make niche items for a niche market (I make musical instruments for tinies: small market within a small market) would be driven away from XSt, and possibly be driven out of business altogether. Unfortunately, his response amounted to “we’re not trying to drive out nice merchants” and an even less useful “why not put your prices up?” Well, it might not have been your intention, but without thinking about it, that's precisely what is happening. That doesn't help me; I can't guarantee I'll sell something at $250/300/400L, so what chance is there that it'll sell at twice that price? How does that help my customers either? I'm not stupid, I price my items in line with what I think they're worth. If I charge a customer over-the-odds, what benefit does that have for them? Nothing: we both lose.

When the whole Homestead sim fiasco was announced a couple of years ago, it also resulted in a massive resident backlash, that the Lindens seem to be genuinely shocked about and reacted to. Back then, they compromised. They admitted they’d made an error by not garnering feedback from residents beforehand and revised their announced policies. However, this time around, there seems to be no retractment, no amendment and no concern towards residents. The only concern seems to be making enough revenue, propping up the loss felt from downgrading Premium subscribers so that the Lab can look forward to a healthy end-of-year bonus. It's another turn for the worse for resident faith in the Lindens. Personally, and I know this also goes for several others within the Raglan community, I couldn't trust any more than two or three now.

Happy Thanksgiving M and the rest of the Linden Mafia (which does not necessarily include all Lindens); thanks for nothing.

Saturday, 24 October 2009

All Burnt Out

Burning Life kicked off this week. Myself, Karma and Misa have spent the past 2-3 weeks setting up the plot and getting everything together for Raglan Shire's prescence, entitled Shoots Of Life.

Our plot is adorned with scorched-bark trees in a desert wasteland. From the branches of the trees hang pictures of fun and activity amongst the Shires supplied by many different members of the Friends group. The pictures are 'shoots', with a double meaning; they are 'shoots' in a literal, photographic sense, but they also double as tree shoots from the branches, the springing up of new life from the desolation of the surroundings. It suggests to those who may be disillusioned with one way of life can always find solace and a new way of life with another, tiny one.

It looks great, in my opinion. It's not over the top, but subtle. It's involving, but not in-your-face. Misa did some cool freebies for us to give away and others also helped out by supplying letters that spell out RAGLAN SHIRE around the sides of the plot. Despite only 3 people being allowed access to the Burning Life sims before the activity started, we've been able to make it a community event by having tinies from around the cluster submit pieces towards the set-up of the plot and Jane 2 McMahon has been hosting stories around the campfire in the middle of our plot; on the opening day, several of us sat around and discussed how and why we chose to adopt a tiny-lifestyle.

It only lasts a week. It's a shame, because there is so much to see and explore, but it also serves as a fantastic testament to the brilliant creativity that virtual worlds offer. I am pleased to be part of it, albeit a tiny part.

Saturday, 3 October 2009

JOUST: The Movie

Zephyr Pennell asked me to make her a video based around the amazing jousting system she and her staff at Lone Star Ranch have devised. I was only too happy to help her out, but as I thought about it, and watched some practice runs happen, it seemed that the crux of a joust happens with a split second: the hit. Factor into that that Second Life would invariably be lagged due to the number of people around, the number of scripts in operation, textures rezzing, sounds etc, it seemed less and less plausible that I would be able to do the system justice on 'film'.

I grabbed the opportunity to take a few shots of people at the closing event of Raglan Shire's annual Medieval Festival. The Joust has become an integral part of the festivities and I felt that if I didn't grab something then, I'd never really have the opportunity to get stuff for a while. To me, what made the event wasn't just the joust itself but the participants: what they were wearing, the range of outfits and colours, the types of avatars and their armour. So I used that as the basis for these two little videos. I edited them as though they were teasers for some medieval-themed epic, such as A Knight's Tale or...er, some other medieval film about jousting. I hope Zephyr likes them!

[I also hope Zephyr likes the Lone Star Ranch logo I put at the front of the film too. I tried to get a texture sent over, but couldn't get hold of one, so made up my own and tweaked it a little in GIMP. Was pretty pleased with how it turned out, despite the fact that I edited it so that you only see it for 2 seconds!]

I called one the Green Teaser because the word JOUST is coloured green at the end, and the other Gold because I coloured it gold!

Monday, 28 September 2009

Movie Making Madness

Today I announced that Raglan Shire would be playing host to a tiny-centric film festival in February 2010.

On Sunday 7 February 2010 – precisely one month before the Oscars! – the Shires will host the first ever Raglan Shire Studios Film Festival!

More and more clever filmmakers are turning their hand to creating some wonderful mini-movies featuring tinies, and who can blame them? We’re a constant source of fun and entertainment and despite our obvious physical limitations (no facial expressions, for example), we have proven that we are able to portray a whole host of roles, from dramatic to comedic.

As such, we’ve decided that it’s way over time that we showcased the amazing movie-making talent that we have around the Shire in our very own festival early next year.

So why are we telling you now? Well, film-making often takes time (not always, but often) and we want to give everyone who may even like to try and do something plenty of time to practice how to do it and try and make something. What you shoot is entirely up to you (except for a couple of rules below), as long as it’s entertaining and creative.


How’s it done then? Well, I use Fraps to shoot my films. There is a free download option (which I still use), which only shoots 30 seconds at a time and leaves a name watermarked on the screen (you can see it in most of my films!), but it serves its purpose.


You’ll edit your film using whatever editing programs you can; I use Adobe Premiere Elements, and throw in titles, credits, effect, soundtracks or whatever you think works.

Then you’ll upload it to the web. Some good examples are already on YouTube, but you can use any video-sharing site you like. Vimeo is good; I know Blunt uses ATOM too.

If you know of any other filming or editing tools or applications or video-sharing sites, please detail them below and post any URLs that folk might find useful.


The exact details of HOW we’ll do all this have still yet to be worked out. We do want to have a panel of judges who will view and rate some of the films, and decide who wins what in certain categories (listed below), but we’ll have a few categories that members of the general public can vote for too. We’ll let you and your crew make posters to promote your film, and give up some hoarding space around the Shire nearer the time for you to display your posters on too!

Categories (so far) include:

BEST DIRECTOR (overall, of all entries submitted, judged by panel)

BEST FILM (between 2–10 minutes in length)

BEST SHORT FILM (no more than 2 minutes in length)

BEST ACTRESS (most alluring performance by a female tiny)

BEST ACTOR (best performance by a male tiny)

BEST ART DIRECTION (best use of Windlight effects, locations or creative scenery)

BEST MUSICAL FILM (serving as a video to a specific tune, e.g. Fuzznutz)

More categories may be entered later.

Winners of the categories will win some L$ and also a special gold-plated Academy of Raglan Arts & Sciences Award for Creative Services, which is a pretty long-winded name; I think they look like my pals Bo and Mutley, so we’ll just call the awards the Otters for short! Maybe we'll figure out a way to have the films available throughtout the week, and have a ceremony on the 7th to award prizes etc?


The rules – so far, this is not an exhaustive list and may be added to or amended as necessary - are as follows:

1. You MUST be a member of either the Friends of Raglan Shire group or the Artisans of Raglan Shire group to enter the contest.

2. Your film, when completed, must be uploaded to an online video-sharing site, such as YouTube or Vimeo (or others) and must be able to be linked for play in-world.

3. Your film must be finished and uploaded, and details of it submitted to the organisers (TBD) by Sunday 31 January 2010, one week before the festival. The organisers will then watch all videos and begin a judging process.

4. Your film must feature AT LEAST two tinies. The tinies that feature in the film do not have to be members of either of the Raglan groups.

5. The film content must be PG, in line with our community guidelines. No explicit language or text (e.g. subtitles) will be permitted. Any films containing either of these will be barred from the festival.


That’s it for now. We will continue to add to and amend this post as required, so do check back often. Please feel free to post comments, links, tips or anything else that might be useful below this post, so that we can make this the best in-world movie fest EVER!

Should be good fun, as long as we can get plenty of entries...that's why I've given folks 4 months notice!

Thursday, 17 September 2009

Engagements In The Fall

Wow, it's a cold day. I guess Summer is over. At least I had one great week of sunshine; however, it was in April, and it was in New York. Oh well.

It's been a few weeks of relatively little output again in-world. I don't know if I'm stuck for ideas again or just lacking the patience to start something. I did set-up a new store on Raglan Shire, moving my treetops vendors down into a larger ground unit on Bo's old Otterwise plot, next to Tiny Inc. (Bo has just downsized); I even continued my philanthropic import/export crusade by giving up a few prims for a hatchie named Carla, who has made a couple of cute little bits and was desperate for an outlet to sell them in. I was more than happy to let her take a corner of the shop for her stuff.

I am slowly putting together a new machinima video for Songbird Sorbet, to accompany one the songs she recorded a while agao, and now sells as part of an album in-world. She's a fab singer, and I'm really working very hard to get this video absolutely right. Am using a lot of effects, both in-world and in post-production, many of which I haven't tried before. This does mean it's been slow-going, because I don't want to make any comprimises - I want it all to be as good as my ability allows. Time will tell. It's a long song to shoot for, but so far, what I've done, I'm very pleased with. I intend to have it done well before Christmas, but at the rate I'm shooting, it may take that long!

After this is done, I have a couple more videos I need to work on; one for Zephyr at Lone Star Ranch to serve as a promo-style video for joust system, and the other another movie-trailer style piece. I'm very excited about both!

However, despite my inactivity on the building/creating front, I have managed to become the topic of conversation in group chat this past weekend, without actually being in-world. Me and Kitti (Natalie, my RL girlfriend) went to Paris for the weekend, and after 20 months of dating, I felt this was the time to go to the next level: I proposed to her last weekend and she accepted! Very happy! And we have both received a number of very lovely congratulatory messages, and I will take this opportunity to thank everyone for them! It means a great deal to know that such a small action by one person has had such a big impact on so many.

Wednesday, 2 September 2009

Heavy Hearted

The reality of how attached one gets to someone else simply via communicating in the exchange of messages typed on a keyboard to someone else out there has come crashing down on me again this week.

Two very long-standing in-world friends, Jaid Marsi and Hiero (he'll forgive me for not even attempting to spell his whole name!) have announced their intentions to leave Second Life. I cannot express properly how much this has pained me. Jaid helped me out so much early on with her most wonderful pictures that we used for past issues of the Shire Times newspaper. Their pictoral adventures in their guise as Fox & Wolf have never failed to amuse and have captured the essence of being tiny in a largely-biggy world absolutely perfectly. They have been sources of inspiration, both directly and indirectly - it was Jaid who asked me to make the Emergency Waffle Case! - to myself, and dozens of other in-world photojournalists and artists.

They have been wonderful supporters of Raglan in so many ways and personally in a million more. I have been genuinely saddened by their decision and I sincerely hope that they do look to other avenues of online networking to allow me to be able to stay in touch with them. They have come to a joint decision that suits them both (and in many ways is perfect for their legacy, as they were inseparable), but for reasons which are wholly personal to each.

It's made me feel really lonely. I don't know why. Every day I log on, I am surrounded by genuinely friendly and caring people; but recently, a feeling of isolation has come to haunt me. I can sort of put it down to a few reasons. Panacea refuses to speak to me these days, for reasons unknown to me. I used to get on very well with Pan, but she has distanced herself quite intentionally over the past few weeks. She was a good source of advice and help, as well as someone to banter with, and I miss that interaction a great deal.

I have upset Bo and Karma too, by speaking my mind over a recent issue around the Shires. I know both of them were hurt by my reaction; I kinda wish I had expressed myself more properly to indicate that I too had been hurt by the matter, but it didn't come off like that. So, partly my fault on that one, but I had my reasons for venting my frustration in the first place. Amazing how having someone just walk away or zoom off on their bike as soon as you get within speaking distance of them can feel like they've just drawn a knife across your throat.

There are probably dozens of other people I upset on a day-to-day basis. If any of them read this (doubtful - I don't know anyone who reads this! Ha!) then I do genuinely apologise if it upsets you, but it's just how I am sometimes. It is NEVER my intention to hurt or upset anyone. But I know only too well after this week that emotions in a virtual world can run just as strong, and yet can be just as fragile, as they are in a real one.

Friday, 28 August 2009

Medieval Fest III

The third medieval festival kicks off in early September on Raglan Shire. The square and the castle have been set out, the dunk tank has been dusted off and refilled, and my vendor has once again been thrown out into the Wares tent. Astonishingly, the Rennaissance outfits I made 2 years ago have undergone very little modifications over the last couple of years. I was really pleased with how they turned out originally, and have stuck with the design since. Folk still seem to like them; I always sell a few each year. I guess outfits for the guys are always pretty limited at the best of times.

My friend Bo has volunteered to run a treasure hunt this year (ha! silly Bo!) and asked Artisans for goodies to act as prizes. I managed to knock out a medieval herald's trumpet at the suggestion of Xavian Starsider, found a nice fanfare and asked the ever-brilliant Etheria to make an animation to go with it, which she managed to do within an hour - I'm always blown away by how quickly and perfectly Etheria is able to do these things - and that's it, done!

Have been SLOWLY putting together another Machinima based video, this time to act as the music video for ones of Songbird1028 Sorbet's songs (album out in Funny Bunny store in Heron Shire, amongst other places!); it's slow, partly deliberately. I really want this to turn out well. I did some sound effect editing last night, that I was really happy with. So far so good; I've edited a minute's worth of footage in, and it's only the lead-in sequence to the song! It's gonna be epic, but I'm looking forward to putting this together.

Have also been asked to do another video promo for Lone Star Ranch's Zephyr. She's a lot of fun and a very sweet and generous person, and it will be a real honour to do some work for her. Just need to find that 'angle' on which to base the video.

I've also taken up a new ground level shop on Raglan Shire too. Zayn opened up a square with 5 classic Raglan shop units in that look great. Have got some fab neighbours, and am looking forward to making that area a real success.

Phew. No wonder I feel tired!

Tuesday, 11 August 2009


Heee! This doesn't feature me, but it does have some pictures of a bunch of tinies playing some instruments I made. Wonderful!

Click here for the Nation of Victoriana article

Blatant Advertising

I caught up with Wynx Whiplash the other day, sporting a brand new avatar she was working on. I'd been wanting to showcase a new avatar for her in the form of an advert for a while, and here was a perfect opportunity. This was filmed, edited, uploaded and presented in an afternoon. Am pretty pleased with it.

Tuesday, 4 August 2009

Tiny New Wave

So I finally cobbled together a machinima project that's been swimming around my head for a while. It took about 4-5 days to film (on and off), and edited it as I went along. It's called 'Le Squabbit Et Les Admirateurs', which basically translates from French to 'The Squabbit & Her Admirers'.

The Squabbit in question is Karmagirl, who spends most of her time as a cross breed squirrel-rabbit (squirrel head, bunny body), hence the 'squabbit'.

If you ever seen a French New Wave movie (Jules Et Jim, Breathless are two good examples), you might understand where this is coming from. Personally, I just can't get to grips with them. It's all a lot of unrequited passion and despair, and despite the often jovial stuff that's going on, there's always an underlying sense of dread about them. It's like the cinematic equivalent of a bull-fight; no matter how wondrous and balletic it might look at that particular moment, you know it's not going to end without bloodshed. I've studied film academically, so I have a lot of respect for the contribution to the medium that the pioneers of the French New Wave made; I just can't bear to sit through their movies a lot of the time. Maybe it's an 'era' thing, who knows...

The narration is a sound clip I found online. It sounded suitably ludicrous to use, and the accordian music was suitably stereotypical. The subtitles absolutely DO NOT relate to what is being spoken. My understanding of the French language is minimal at best. I know enough to get by, but not enough to translate this. So I made up the subtitles; which in a way, is a bit new wave, I guess...

Sunday, 2 August 2009

Happy Birthday Jin

One of my good SL-friends, Jin Barbosa is enjoying her birthday today; I won't reveal how old she is! Although I don't get to see her as much in SL these days, Jin - and her partner (RL and SL) Bo - will also hold a special place in my heart. They are two of my oldest friends and have been a valuable source of support and friendship over the years. Happy Birthday Jinjin!

Saturday, 18 July 2009


Today marks my 1000th day since I joined SL. In that time, I've helped run a zoo (which relocated twice and got bigger with each move!), designed gardens and landscapes way beyond my capabilities in real-life, I've been big, monsterous and finally tiny. I've settled into a niche community whose ideals completely fit my own and am surrounded by people who make me laugh, smile, emathise, sympathise and challenge me every day. They are a great bunch of folk, and I am blessed to have found them.

Have had a fairly productive couple of weeks. Made my treasure chest, then tweaked a few bits to my pirate look. Have also just finished another musical instrument, have just finished another superhero outfit, which I plan on getting out for sale in the next day or two, and have helped out on a few custom jobs too. I'm much happier being busy and creative! I'll post pictures of the goods when I've, er, made the pictures!

Also helped throw some bits and pieces together for an impromptu party on Raglan Shire, for Linden lab's quarterly Waffle Day. Nice to see some Lindens hopping and bopping on the Shire. Blue Linden (and now Darv Linden too) is a Friend Of The Shire and Pink and Alexa are often (if not always) using Wynx-bunny avatars. It would be nice to see some of those bigger names exploring the Shires every now and then. We threw out an open invitaion to M Linden, but alas, another Waffle Party no-show from him. Come on M, unleash your inner tiny!

RL sees me without Kitti's company for another 7 days; she's away for 10 days, and I miss her lots already.

Thursday, 9 July 2009


Pirate month around Raglan Shire starts on July 18, and I managed to find the inspiration to throw together a wearable treasure chest!

But saw today SuperMoose has officially closed down MouseMart, which is a real shame. I actually found tiny stuff at MM before I discovered Raglan. I know Wynx had a hug prescence there, and it was a real good start for a lot of tinies a couple of years back. I hope Moose manages to sort it all out; good guy.

Wednesday, 10 June 2009


I made a chainsaw recently. It uses a very cool little animation-pose that Azelle Mavendorf made, a cool script that Catten Carter made and I threw in a sound effect I downloaded from the interweb. I am like a building leech; all of the important bits were made by other people! I suck! [However, I did make a cool lightsaber that changes colour when you touch the beam; it was really well detailed, and as I threw myself into making it, only took me an hour or so to build. Then I surprised a lot of people by giving it away free to my Funny Bunny group - FREE SWAG!]

Anyhoo, I have had literally minutes of fun going around with my chainsaw, chopping into the sides of folks buildings and around forests, etc. Then I popped over to the sims that will be used for SL6B (Second Life's 6th Birthday), ready to cause some unwanton destruction; but it looks as though someone beat me to it.

I can only describe the texture that LL have used for the land as though someone has dug up a field, then scorched the earth and then scattered manure across it. It looks like a really bad Glastonbury festival after 8 weeks of trampling. It's bad.

But in a strange way, that's good. Raglan Shire is a beautiful, lush cluster of sims, adorned with wonderful fauna and flora - which is what we're hoping to recreate inside the huge drab looking warehouse we've built for it. We could've built a magical-looking palace to hold our satellite Shire, but we thought a dirty metal can would fit better with LL's vision, whilst serving as a great contrast to our own.

Thursday, 4 June 2009


So, since last weekend, Friends of Raglan Shire group chat has been throwing up a bug when, pretty much, 99% of people try and reply to something that someone's said, or it throws up an error not allowing anyone to say anythign at all. Basically, with the excpetion of a few disjointed sentences bearing absolutely no relation to the previous disjointed sentences in chat, it hasn't been working.

So someone forwarded me to this link, which is kinda like filing a ticket to ask someone to look at something. People then get to vote on it, presumably to determine whether or not Linden Lab bother to try and work it out or fix it. I've voted on a few before, but there has never seemed to be much interest in most of the JIRAs, so I'm often astounded that anything ever gets fixed at all. Apparently, this group chat bug has had 500+ votes at the time of writing, so that seems like it's a pretty big deal to a lot of folk.

I've also read some JIRA comments (you get to rant under the query - yay!) that have featured replies from Lindens. So they must look at them; after all, how else are they going to know what to work on in between hourly snacks? And despite the wealth of protestations posted on this JIRA alone in the last few days, how many replies have been posted by a member of Linden Lab?

None. Nada. Zero. Zilch.

No-one has either got the testicular fortitude to stand up and say "I'm working on it" and take the fan-blown excrement straight in the face or the courtesy to say as much.

I'd like to now point you to a post I previously made in this very blog about how LL just spout BS all the frickin' time, depsite their assurances that communication was "a top priority." Hmm, sure. So when a method of communication goes down, you dilly-dally about, running around in circles in your office pointing at the next idiot, right? Or do you actually try and do something about it? Because so far I haven't seen any of the latter to assure me that any of the former isn't going on.

Just because YOU can't communicate with residents, Mr Linden, doesn't give you the right to stop your hundreds of thousands of residents communicating with each other.

Tuesday, 26 May 2009

Much Ado About Nuthin

Wow, it's been nearly three weeks since I blogged last! What a lazy toad I is!

This post might be better served if I had something to show for the past fortnight's inactivity, but I'm afraid it's been pretty much that. Not a lot going on at all. Watched some ballet on Raglan Shire, watched a gig there too, paid some rents on some shops, and generally ambled around. I have actually been working on the Shire Times newspaper, looking to get another edition of that out in the first week or so of June, so that's something, at least.

My staff on the Times has reduced to...well, me. Many of the regular contributors are off doing their own thing (in RL and SL) now, so I'm pretty much having to jot everything down myself. Qyhat does her fashion piece still, but everything else I'm stitching together myself. That makes it hard. And often a bit depressing. I'd rather have other folk writing stuff, not because it's easier for me (it isn't - I still have to proof read and edit everything), but because it serves as a community voice, not just my voice.

I've been wondering where to take the Times, to allow others to take a more active role in participating, but it's difficult to know exactly what to do. My best option at the moment, and the one I'm now implementing is that instead of bi-monthly, it will become a quarterly publication instead. That gives me at least 6 weeks in between each issue before having to think about the next.

Now, back to writing. Oh wait...

Saturday, 9 May 2009


Phew, flying those timezones really takes it out of you! At least, that's my excuse.

So since I returned to SL from the US of A in RL, I haven't done a great deal, but thought I'd blog to be honest about it!

It's Art Walk month in Raglan, and I helped Kitti Dumpling get her selection of pictures set up on the Raglan tree gallery. Her pictures look good, if I say so myself. I made a fancy bohemian top hat based on a stovepipe hat I'd seen at a very exclusive clothes shop in East London; so far I haven't done anything with it other than give it away to a couple of folks. I also managed to find a rather splendid (if prim heavy) new art deco-themed building to serve as the office for The Shire Times. I wanted somewhere to double as a movie studio, but I'm a) out of prims and b) unable to get my fancy new TV bought for me by my buddy Bo to work; or at least play my YouTube clips. Oh well!

As much as I'd like to have submitted something to Art Walk, the fact of the matter is, I don't actually have anything to submit. I keep going on and on about how I want to do this or that in terms of art, or sculpture, or whatever, but never seem to get around to doing it. I'll make more of a concerted effort this year, I hope.

Once I settle back into more of a routine, I'll find some inspiration to do something extra, no doubt. For now, ART!

Sunday, 19 April 2009


Wild West movie got a slight makeover...kinda! I added some 'old-film' style effects to it!

Looks pretty cool! And the stuttery footage (caused by SL being laggy) now doesn't look so out-of-place!

Submitted to CNN's iReport too. Nicole of iReport e-mailed me when I submitted the Parry Gripp video to say how much they liked it, but because of the music, they'd have difficulty using it. Hopefully, this time around, there won't be any problems!

RL holiday in a day. 10 days out of world. :(

Thursday, 16 April 2009

Wild Wild West

New movie time! Hooooo!

For Raglan's two-year anniversary month, we played Cowboys & Injuns - kinda. The square became a dusty Wild West street. I have shot this in bits over the last week or so, increasingly concious that I have an RL-holiday coming up that will keep me off-world for a fortnight, so it started to become a bit if a rush job. But overall, am pretty pleased with it.

Wednesday, 1 April 2009

Tinies Live

So, yesterday in group chat, some folk were getting very upset about the suggestion that Linden Lab could be trying to phase out tiny avatars. Jack Linden's name gets bandied about in the article. Lots of tinies get worried.

Now, being the upfront trouble-maker that I am , I don't see why you should mess about waiting for a Linden to tell you what's what. You go and ask them. So I did. An IM to Jack Linden saying "are LL considering banning tiny avatars?" And this is the reply I got.

[10:40] Jack Linden: (Saved Wed Apr 01 17:29:56 2009) good lord no.. why would we do that? is this an April Fools joke perhaps?

So there you go, tinies. We're safe.

Tuesday, 31 March 2009

Machinima Artists Guild

Visit Second Life Machinima Artists Guild

Hehe, check this!

Lowe Runo invited me to join the Second Life Machinima Artists Guild (this is my profile page there!). It's a group of Second Life Machinima-ists, and a whole bunch of talented folk. Hopefully I can pick up some tips to improve from there.

I also managed to find a great piece of music for my planned Wild West video, so will try and get going on that ASAP. I'm gonna miss the latter half of the event due to RL holiday (Big Apple, woot!), so have to have something done within the next fortnight!

I also kept meaning to get around to posting this blog post from Vlad Bjornson at Shiny Life, who offered some very lovely words about my Coldplay video a while back. Thanks Vlad!

Friday, 27 March 2009

Extrovirtual Video Promo: Tiny Wings

I recently collaborated with the Queen of Tinydom, Ms Wynx Whiplash herself to create a video promo to advertise her new product project - tiny wings!

Due to a claim by Warner Music Group that they own the copyright to the 158-year-old piece of music The Ride Of The Valkyries, the video would be muted if uploaded to YouTube, hence I had to put it onto the vastly-superior Vimeo, and embed it for you here too.

Thanks to Arizona Noel, Shady Fox, Xandra Bracken and Karmagirl Avro for their help in taking part, and a HUGE thanks to Wynx for her generosity! I hope it was worth it. I kinda like it; it turned out to be a lot more difficult to film and edit than I originally envisaged. I'm gutted that I can't get it to my YouTube channel alongside my other stuff in this form, but I might consider trying a different piece of dramatic music: Holst's Mars, perhaps?

Wednesday, 18 March 2009

Burrowing & Tunneling

Holy mo, been a while since I posted an update, it's making me look slack!

Well, what have I done...it seems a lot, and yet nothing (Or at least very little) to show for it! Have had an inspiration of the superhero-kind of late, and have been trying to make some costumes. Expect to see some Fantastic Four outfits, my Thor costume, a Tiny Wasp and a slightly improved Hulk outfit all out soon (paws crossed).

I managed to catch a few key MG events, but the sims were often so laggy, it was all I could do to stand still and focus on one thing. I managed to grab a few Machinima shots of various folk dancing, and a few floats that were in the parade, but I'm losing focus on an 'angle' in which to edit it. I have a horrible feeling that it's going to end up being a project consigned to a drawer on my PC until another day.

An event I am looking forward to filming is the upcoming Wild West month that Raglan will hold as part of their 2nd birthday celebration. That might allow for something more cinematic, and a little more slow paced than the MG video demands. I also plan on filming some 'TV adverts' for a certain in-world creator, which should be fun to do.

Aside from that, have whiled away some time doing some fishing. I'm having fun with it, and the Artisans of Raglan Shire have turned out some great customs for Heron Shire and Raglan Shire. Grab a rod, grab a chair on the fishing dock and take 20 minutes out of each day to just wind down and fish!

Wednesday, 4 March 2009

Getting Bigger!

Magistrate Zayn approved the design of a new bigger shop unit for Heron Shire wharf this week! I have now managed to get my stuff more spread out amongst the vendors, thrown out a few more vendors and basically had a tiny up. Looks pretty good, I am happier with it now, and will actually make stuff to sell, not just waste time doing then throw in the bin.

Visit my Heron Shire shop here: Visit Funny Bunny

Also made and opened a new store at Enktan's Tiny Outpost. I was semi-aware of Enkythings mall, and it seems to get some great traffic. Enky has done a great job of putting the new outpost together, and even let me construct my own outpost store. The second day or trade, he saw 12 bots hanging around my Lucky Chair there (with the Tiny Vampire Hunter Belt in it), so just to annoy them, I moved the chair to the other side of the shop!

Visit my Wilcutt shop here: Visit Funny Bunny

Rizzo also asked me if I had a Leprechaun outfit. I did, but the one I made last year sucked. But Rizzo's asking inspired me to do a better one, which I did. It's out now, ready for St Patrick's Day on March 17.

And I recently modded my popular aviator jacket to fit Loco Pocos avatars. Damien Fate has opened up a boutique at LP Island, which is doing a few folk some great business - which is an outstanding testament to not only their work, but also Damien's - but I need a minimum of 5 saleable items to set up there...so now I need to figure out which I can adapt!

Wednesday, 25 February 2009

Fat Tuesday

Mardi Gras has happened in New Orleans, but it's still to kick in on Raglan! Happening soon though! Hooooo!

And I made another outfit for it. A dixie-land inspired blazer and boater suit. AND I made a new top hat for my Lucky Chair! Voodoo-themed! AND I've started building a shop unit for Enktan's Enkythings Tiny World units. AND I made an acoustic guitar for this weekend's music performer! AND I came up with an idea for the music performers that our resident booker, Teal Freenote, has agreed to adopt! I'm just a production machine!

And just for Summer, here's the Wastelander Soldier picture!

Friday, 20 February 2009

Apocalypto Tiny

I finally made a new outfit! First piece of clothing I've made in months, I think. I have a long standing admiration of all things Steampunk (having first visited Babbage when it first started up and being exposed to some incredibly beautiful, detailed, whimsical and downright astonishing builds). I was inspired again by visiting the fab Eladrienne Laval's little shop on Raglan Shire and seeing her steampunk-tiny outfits and decided I should do something along the same sort of lines. However, it quickly became more 'Wastelands' than 'Babbage', so I settled on that. A 144-prim jacket for desert-bound tinies. I also modded a helmet and collar for the Tiny Inc puppy too. I rule!

And struggled for an hour in GIMP trying to figure out how to layer text for a Mardi Gras sign. I suck.

Wednesday, 11 February 2009

Awards Season

At the height of the entertainment industry's awards season, I was pretty surprised to get this...

Which was very kind of everyone to give me! A full explanation as to why is here.

I also took the advice of Stillpink Sandgrain and submitted the Parry Gripp video to iReport, an extension of CNN.com, that allows folk from all over the globe to submit their own video reports, some of which are then picked up by CNN (or so it seems, forgive me for only a passing understanding). Nicole Ireport (SL name) sent me a lovely e-mail asking me about my vid, and said that because the music used wasn't mine, it would be hard to use in it's entirity, but some footage could be used! That would be nice! But it has lead me to want to find music in the public domain, like classical, or older tunes, to use for my next video work, so it gives it more of a chance to be used in something like this.

Friday, 6 February 2009

Parry Meets Raglan

Quite possibly the most intense piece I've done yet! I built sets and props for shots that lasted less than two seconds in some cases, recruited dozens of tinies to help, and also dabbled with a bit of audio editing to accompany the thing (I say dabbled, I edit audio every day of the working week, so it wasn't too much of a stretch).

My favourite sequence is the Hamster On A Piano bit, especially the scenes with Shady Fox 'narrating' and Summer Seale and her pals Autumn and Winter (no, really!) dancing behind. The Hungry Hippo bit was fun to do too. Took me six days to do.

EDIT: I sent Parry Gripp a message via YouTube to take a look; although he didn't reply, he DID add the video to his Favourites, so that was nice! Thanks Mr Gripp!

Wednesday, 4 February 2009

Busy Bunny

Well, I didn't think I'd done much recently, hence the lack of update; but when I came to write about it, I realised that this week alone I've been putting the finishing touches to the new Shire Times issue, have been filming and editing a new Machinima piece for Raglan, have been trying to get the Shire's 7Seas fishing opportunities back up to speed and have made a Valentine's Walk freebie. So maybe I have been busy after all.

My Valetine's gift was designed to be the most tackiest, cheesiest thing you've ever seen for a tiny in Second Life. I hope I succeed!

My new Machinima has some brilliant moments in it; Kitti says it's inspired, I think it's inspired luck.

The Shire Times has again been great to do and soul-destroying to do. I wish sometimes I had better ways of making up a page.

Made some nice custom fish for the fishing though! Really pleased with how they turned out. Now I just need some other folk to come up trumps with another half dozen or so, and we're on the way!

Friday, 23 January 2009

Linden Lies

I'm posting this image up here, because I don't trust that at some point over the next 12 months, Linden Lab won't 'accidentally' delete it, or deny all knowledge of it. This is my binding contract to throw back at them, attached to a megaprim in January 2010.

I'm not sure simply "announcing" purchases of OnRez (to kill it) and XStreetSL (to tax merchants) is really improving communication, but still, it's done now, and I will just have to seethe about it in my own way. I absolutely begrudge paying back Linden Lab for my work, which I will now do. I didn't mind paying when it was an independent venture - I'm all for rewarding entrepreneurialship - but now am wondering why Linden Lab deserve a cut of my sales? They will say that it will be used to improve the customer experience; I'll believe that when I see it - which won't happen (I found out recently that I make less than 50% of the sales that a fellow tiny makes on Xstreet in a month, than I do IN TOTAL - from all 5 shops I have, and XStreet, and this tiny is making more than double that on XStreet alone).

Three weeks into 2009 and again LL have managed to incense a massive percentage of residents, or more importantly, merchants. They are claiming it is for the residents, but I wonder exactly how many residents actually asked for this to happen? My guess is somewhere around the Zero mark. LL are doing this for the additional $1.2 million USD, of which approximately $0.00 USD will be filtered back through to the residents. After the OS debacle at the end of 2008, and now this, it seems to me as though Linden Lab may become a public company within the next couple of years, after Kingdon displays that income streams have massively increased and can make a potential share price look uber-attractive. Hopefully, he'll take the payoff that will come with such a move and get lost.

In other news: made a custom 7Seas fish this past week though, although all the hard bits were mostly done by Panacea Pangaea, with Bloodsong Termagant providing invauable support too. Thank you! I will endeavour to get it thrown into the sea and fishable very soon!

Friday, 16 January 2009

The Funny Bunny Lucky Chair Fruity Tooty Top Hat

Officially the Longest Name For A Hat In SL (probably), this is the new prize in the Heron Shire lucky chair! I chose not to mention Frootcake in the hat's name, as it is technically a copyright issue - although not an issue to cause any major litigation, but I am aware and respectful of these things. I will replace the Christmas Hat in the Potterswick chair with the Aviator outfit (the DePaul exclusive PAD version - Potterswick Air Defence) too.

Plus, Eth has once again worked her animation magic for my banjo, so that will be going out for sale this weekend too!

Thursday, 15 January 2009

Feelin' Frooty

Magistrate Till bowed to pressure from the TAD Girls - Tinies After Dark Girls, namely Isis Sinatra, karmagirl Avro and AlohaLani Heron - and got in touch with the creator of this game called Frootcake, to adapt the tables to cater for tinies (and after looking across the player rankings/scores on the Frootcake website, just as well he did! I recognise so many names in the list from the Friends of Raglan Shire group!)

The table is now up at the Paw & Whisker clubhouse, and provided there are at least 3 people about with nothing better to do, provides a great means of passing the time. I have so far spent two mornings this week stacking cakes, to find myself in the Top 80 of players!

And I don't think I'm the only person who has expressed an interest for a waffle-themed version...

Friday, 9 January 2009

Raglan Shire Winterfest 2008

Magistrate Zayn asked me to put together short video to commemorate Winterfest. I had been planning to do a Winterfest video before I had connection problems before December, but the idea quickly faded as the days and weeks rolled past and I figured I'd missed more than I could film when I got back.

So when I got asked, I thought it was the least I could contribute. I put this together in about 8 hours yesterday, from filming to editing. Luckily, I had already got a piece of music in mind - Winter Wonderland by Peggy Lee - that was short enough to make the project not too complex and paced fairly nicely. A real slapdash affair if ever there was one though! Hopefully I've captured some essence of the event.

Many thanks to all the tinies who were able to give up a few minutes of their time to help me yesterday!