Wednesday, January 30, 2008

A little tennis anyone?

I do believe I missed the festivities but I dug the sim. How often can you play tennis in a stadium this size? I mean REALLY. I can actually say that I played tennis at the Australian Open at Slam1! Call the presses cause I am just so all that.

What you don't see in the picture is my athletic bag, racket and balls. This is because I'd been trying for days to get that shot and no matter what I did it refused to save. The glitch self-corrected but has left me with minimal excitement with which to post this blog. In fact, it's the very reason I missed the open! (okay, that's a lie but dang!)

The lovely little yellow number I slipped into was actually one of the tennis outfits designed for the IBM sponsored Australian Open fashion show. I will have to look, but I do believe it was of Devilish Cupcake (Talana 221, 50, 23). Enjoy (I know I do)!

Monday, January 28, 2008

The things I do...

...for my friends...

I'm sure I will come to regret this, but when a friend called for some help for a photo shoot, I agreed on the condition I could make the items I was being asked to wear at least a little more modest... you know, like cover up just about all of me. (I asked to wear the parka over it but he wouldn't go for it.)

My friend was gracious and even suggested a theme - punk. Okay, so it's been a few years since I went with that genre... And really, I was more on the goth side, "back in the day"... but I figured I still had a few ideas left in me.

With the help of his friends, we devised a cute little number to make it all go. Below is the before and after shot - the after as I was heading to a game of tennis.

How's THAT for a dichotomy?
This and That!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Down with Vega and a little New Orleans

Back in the day, you know, like 7 months or so ago, I was a fresh faced, naieve avatar with a freebie shape, freebie skin, and well, freebie everything.

Somehow I managed to swing a pass to see Suzanne Vega when she made an appearance in SL. As I recall, that was one of the first clothing purchases I made. The result was something like this...
The fun had at that event led to great friendships with people like a supermodel, a media mogul, and the occassional geek. I maintain those friendships today, celebrating their wins and cheering them up in their losses (not to mention vice versa!).

As such, it should be no surprise that one of them dropped me a little IM-ee-poo to let me know that Suzanne is on her way back to SL this February. Fans will be panting - details to follow!

MEANWHILE -- the Alternative Classix has FINALLY found a home! Months of club hopping and we found a place where we love the people, the people love us, it's about the music and art, and not about ego or drama. All are welcome to join us Friday from 7-9 SL at (are you sitting down for this?) the CETUS GALLERY DISTRICT! *doing a happy dance* Bring your Lindens for tips but not for us - we're raising money for the displaced artists in New Orleans.

See ya there!

What a guy!

Nothing like making a girl blush!

Thanks for the mention Wrath. It was quite unexpected!


Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Bling, BANG, and a Side of Meat

Some colleagues have been wrestling with a lot of issues relating to groups - things like how many should we have, how often should one post, how does one deal with abuse etc. It's an ongoing problem in SL for the business person, regardless of their field, be it entertainment, retail, PR, etc. Over the last few months, I've struggled with many of these issues too. We all want to embrace the best practice for the most effective means of delivering our interests.

But I have a confession.

JCNY is one of the best jewelry designers in SL. If you don't believe me, check out the bling in the pic. Their staff, although my contact with them has been limited, are very good businesspeople and very nice folks. Having said that, their group was getting out of control thanks to spammers.

This probably is not their fault. No one can be online and monitor a group 24-7, nor should there be that expectation. However, every time I was online it seemed that I was being attacked by large cans of spam. Not in their notices mind you - in their group IM.

Not a problem I say, when it is one person making an error or making a statement once. Just close the window. What got me was the five or six or twelve people who had to chime in after him or her, stating how he or she should not spam. That meant several more close clicks, all on top of a laggy SL day, intermingled with a variety of other tabs open.

Perhaps my frustration was complicated by the fact that I had a person in IM who was highly at risk and I was working with the avatar to find some resolution in SL and RL to protect one's safety. Perhaps I was just really tired of people saying "shut up!"

So this is how it went down. Someone spammed. One or two people told the person to stop. Then a conversation ensued ending with someone (we'll call her W) saying something about how it had to stop or they would loose members in the group.

I snapped. That comment set me off. Someone spamming even more, with a spam about consequences regarding spam!

So I committed the cardinal sin and spammed myself. My response was something like, "Yeap. Like me. Have fun folks! I'm leaving." and I left the group.

Not a minute later, BANG I got an IM from W criticizing me for being THE problem.

Now at the time, I figured it wise to let it go. Getting into an in depth conversation about her bacon, spam, and other issues with virtual meat was going to take me away from the problem at hand. But don't think for an instant I was so mature as to let it go for long.

Okay, I was mature enough to bite my tongue and protect her well meaning, although poorly executed, name. But I must say that her action was not the best solution.

Allow me to propose this course of action. When you are spammed in a group IM, first stop and consider if it was an oops or a legitimate spam.

Secondly, IM the person directly rather than spamming even more.

Thirdly, try and keep your sense of humor. If you do choose to spam the group back, a gentle coaxing and a laugh will make it better for everyone and might even inspire the original spammer to think twice.

Fourth, don't leave the group - instead, make sure you drop a line to the group owner in the event it gets really bad. He or she wants to keep members, not loose them. Be polite, share your concern. They may not even know that they have a problem.

Luckily, my sister sends me all the juicy news anyway so I'm still plugged in. None the less, I owe JCNY's owner a note.

Let's all be better meat buyers in the future.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Bears, Bars, Babies, and a Love Life

Apparently my social life was of more interest to some stalkers... er... I mean gentle readers... than a box of chocolates (thank you for all the emails of encouragement, whining, criticism, love and that one about the laundry detergent and the cat...).

What I found of particular interest is that apparently, I've been missing a lot of advances. Here I am thinking, "oh hey! What a great guy!" and what they're thinking is, "Oh heyyyyyy baby!"

The word oblivious comes to mind, as demonstrated by an excerpt from the following email.

Him: "Are you out of your mind? I've hit on your for weeks and all you ever do is kiss me on the cheek and go afk."

So here was my thought during those dozen or so conversations we had over the last few weeks: What a nice guy! Wonder who he is in RL?

The concept of virtual dating was lost on me sometime around 1989 (yes, I actually wore those jeans and even a similar top in the pic above). I had learned the art of virtual flirting through a lovely little BBS and a guy named BearTender at a virtual bar, where he virtually bartended. There were a lot of us back then - all kids, all hanging out in adult 18+ virtual communities, all with adult names (or at least, college like ones). No one had any idea I wasn't even old enough to drive a car let alone drink. And of course, a lot of adult content was shared between the members. We discovered each other accidentally - much like when cops walk into a conference and all sit in one corner, not knowing their table mates are cops too.

Thing was, BearTender was just a flirt, no more. I learned very early that flirting does not necessarily mean attraction. The more time I spent in VW, the more folks I met who were flirts. And the more I came to consider them more "friendly" than "flirtatious".

I quickly learned that just because you were being friendly did not mean you were interested. And just because you were interested did not mean you wanted to pursue anything. And just because you wanted to pursue something did not mean that you were interested in RL which, frankly, was the only thing of interest to me because I like(ed) to keep it real.

Which of course brings me to this question: if I were invited out on a virtual date today, 18 years after my patterns had been set, and I was interested, do I accept?

PS: Wrath, darling, you know I am a jeans and a T kind of girl. Love me for me or don't love me at all. ;)

A Little Pillow Talk

After a hard dance workout I had an opportunity to reconnect with a SL friend and designer Kallyfaith of K.O. Designs. She brought me by, dance gear and all, to check out a new buildout with which she was toying. When I wandered downstairs to a cozy little hideaway, I fell into the sea having missed a pillow pose ball, one she purchased from Pillow Talk.

Having never been there (Pillow Talk, not the ocean), she TPed me over to this little airy cloud place, packed with pillows and pose balls and little white kittens. Over the scent of fresh popped popcorn, we shopped.

Given that I had been falling into things a lot that day, it should not surprise you that I fell off the cloud.

Kally found me in front of a picnic pavilion, dazed and confused. She picked me up, handed me a pillow and plopped me down at the pavilion. After a rest, I was able to stand, and take in the beauty of the place. The perfect summer breeze on a cold winter snowy day!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Monumental Occasion

Almost a year in SL and it finally happened.

HIM: Ribbs I am gonna IM you. Let's go out, ok?
Ribbons Whitfield: I'm sorry, did you just ask me out?
HIM: Just say yes
Ribbons Whitfield: Wow.
/HIM is a socially stigmatized concept freed by virtual worlds
Ribbons Whitfield: Almost a year in SL and I have never been asked out.
Ribbons Whitfield sits, stunned
Ribbons Whitfield: Let's discuss that later... give me some time to digest that.
HIM: It a long story and I gtg
HIM: ...but yes i did

Just goes to show that even I can get a date in SL... even if it took eight months.

Twinkle Toes

It's an odd day when your RL and your SL converge... of course, that's kind of how I entered SL (but that's a conversation for another day).

I skedaddled over to Spirit to check out what cheer and dance supplies look like in SL and took a turn in their dance studio to stretch my wings. Scary thing is, my moves in RL look better than my moves in SL. BUT, it's still pretty impressive, at least as far as I am concerned!

I suppose I could consider auditioning for the SL ballet. Something tells me I'm just not quite up on my game.... lol

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Anyone Hungry?

Look what I found floating around Ohana Island...

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Harmony, Parking and Bad Habits

Several folks know that when I fall in love with a place in SL, I tend to nest there. It's a bad habit - one for which I pray the locals don't come to hate me (uhem, Nex...).

One of my most recent nesting spots is Cetus Gallery District. A historical, urban, smart growth, redevelopment SIM, Cetus boasts art galleries from around the world - contemporary, traditional, and tribal art not to mention photography, sculpture and mixed media - totaling about 70 artists in all. In 2007, The District was chosen as "Best Cultural Place in Second Life." Not that it took me much convincing. The place is fabulous. And I get to feed my gallery lust virtually instead of putting up with the parking problems and art snobs in RL.

Obviously I am in love with it. So you can imagine how excited I am to be spinning there with Tars on Friday at the Harmony Cafe- so much so I'm tickled pink, doing a happy dance, and grabbing my finger paints in hope I may be discovered.

These are the Days of our Second Lives

Alright, the drama hit the fan yesterday with the Linden ruling that the banks are to close. This set off a flurry of conversations about how to save your money, how to protect your money and how to not trust strangers with your Lindens since, technically, those Lindens are money. One such conversation went something like this:

Buddy: Here's what worries me... those people who have money currently in those accounts... will they get it back? Or do these service shut down and run?
Buddy: This might end up being uglier than Linden Labs anticipates
Me: I was just wondering that -- ~~friends~~ invested a decent amount
Buddy: in RL dollars
Me: Yup. I mean look... "Please read this if you operate, or have transferred L$ to, an in-world “bank” or financial company." Financial company to me means exchange. That's going to mess a lot of things up.
Buddy: It's tempting when you get a 90% plus interest return, but hello people, there is no such thing as a FDIC in Second Life -- no can run with your money and you're screwed
Me: Exactly why I never invested in it.
Buddy: And as I suspected....word is now filtering through that SL banks have started to lock out accounts so people don't withdraw their money all at once, creating a one day collapse of the entire system
Me: Fascinating really.
Buddy: Truth is, Linden Lab is in no position to function as a Securities Exchange Commission, either from a functional standpoint or a legal one
Buddy: Wow....the value of $L has dropped 5 Lindens today...

Don't panic if this is the first you've heard of this - you have until the 22nd to get your money out of your reputable bank. For those of you who invested in one that isn't so nice, I'd get really comfortable with the idea that your "bank account" is now probably set at zero.

What's always interesting to me is all of the other things that come out when major dramas hit. For instance - you're visiting your sister in the hospital with her husband, kids and your parents as she is very ill. All of a sudden you discover her secret life with a lesbian lover of 18 years (which means that all those slumber parties as kids take on a whole new meaning).

Crisis situations bring out the best and worst of us. And this banking crisis revealed to me a lot of interesting currents that never were really there before. It's like when the Loch Ness monster makes an appearance - all of a sudden you have a monster on your hands.

So these noted currents happened to involve the following: corporate scandal, romance, break ups, allegiances, poaching, lies, photographs, and one very lonely
sculptie high heel. The players include one beautiful model, a smart and chic business owner, a very cute consultant, a clever writer, a businessman turned media, a cut-throat venture capitalist (and her ex), a banker turned reporter, me, and a few lawyers... maybe a lot of lawyers (remember when I mentioned monsters earlier?).

To sum it up, one player uses a lot of people to get what they wanted, and also pulls some pretty unethical stunts. Some folks saw through it. Others didn't. Lines in the sand were drawn. And the sculptie heel remained lonely.

What we didn't know was 1. Why, 2. How, and 3, What really happened.

What we now know about the above is 1. To win, 2. wait... Like I'm giving up the details. Pft

What we feel about the above is 1. "How sad," 2. "Who would waste so much time being destructive when they could be creative and constructive" and 3. "...clever, but not THAT clever."

Meanwhile, what I feel about all of this is 1. betrayed, 2. Just desserts for those who lied, 3. Why can't we all just get along? and 4. I'm sadly missing one shoe...

What everyone can learn from this vague story:
1. SL isn't RL - your reasons to trust people are even fewer here than in RL.
2. Check your sources. If someone tells you something they heard someone else say, go to the source and confirm it. When determining truth in it, first consider motivations (and be honest about it), and next, watch actions, not words - they tell you a lot more what people are up to.
3. If you are going to pick on the skinny kid, make sure he doesn't have a black belt in karate.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Six Degrees of SL

So a SL friend, Flux, creates a new blog entitled All Things Phreeq. I go poke around, enjoying the content etc. His first entry points readers to Vint Falken - SL photographer extraordinare. Being one who is always interested in the talent of others, I go poke around her website too. And on her blog is a note to check out Are we not men? - Putting the Y back in Guy (AWNM).

So I wandered over to AWNM and enjoyed the humor, the observations, and get a little riled up about some of the thoughts, but put them in the category of "guy" (me not being in guy category, I can do this). I enjoy the blog so much that I click over to "About these Guys" and bam! It hits me exactly how small SL is as a world.

One of these three is Wrath Paine (along with HawksRock Gunawan and Alexander Burgess). You know, of Wrath Paine vs. Second Life -- a pal of the Alternative Classix (although we haven't seen him around lately uh hem WRATH). Wrath is known for his dry humour among other things. But what I enjoy about him is how plugged in he is to SL as a whole - and this is just one example.

Such a small world! And once again, all roads lead to home. Wrath hails from my part of the country - the PNW.

(Nice work baby!)

It was only a matter of time...

Everybody is doing it.

Never one to follow the leader, and always one to make my own path, creating a blog was the LAST thing I intended to do. It's also the LAST thing I have time to do - just like everyone else in the world with busy schedules.

Of course, it's exactly what I've done... There is a contradiction there somewhere... I'm just too inspired to find it at the moment.

Welcome to Ribbons Learns to Swim - Adventures in Second Life. :)