OK, so. Emerald Wynn questioned me about this blog. Let’s just say I have a hard time doing anything that takes commitment online and that explains why I am not employed in Second Life.  Sure, go ahead, call me a slacker, I deserve it. So to update you all, here’s what has been happening in the FABULOUS SLIFE OF GAHUM RIPTIDE:

– I moved from my original parcel in Costa Rica to a new one next door to Palo Verde national Park. I have water on THREE sizes of my property, and a gorgeous view of the park. I took a financial hit to do it, but it was worth it.

– Along with the new parcel came a new garden, because the old one wouldn’t fit  in the new land configuration. The courtyard was expanded, but overall the look there is the same. Same house too, and I am currently resisting the temptation to re-build.

– I’m kind of falling back into my lone wolf ways. I haven’t been partying much, except big planned events. I’m hoping the Summer brings a different vibe, but even with my home estate’s new club, I just haven’t felt like going out in SL and partying.

– Belleza released a new line of male skins and holy fuck are they awesome. I bought the “Miguel” skin and subsequently tweaked my av to look more Asian, but with a bit of a multi-ethnic feel. I was going for something more South East Asian, but the limits of SL’s eye controls make it difficult to get the right shape. I’ve also been running around without hair because the hair on the skin is done so well.

At times I wish there was more going on, but then I see how crazy some of my friends get with work and I am fine with being a digital slacker. They say they love what they do and I am sure, but SL is an escape from work for me and I’d rather keep it that way. That’s not to say I don’t do a few jobs here and there, but it’s not a full time gig for me. So, Gahum’s got a very quiet, but good second life going on and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

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The KMADD winter party was a success. Kirk at least was well pleased, and everyone was looking SMASHING in their kimono. A few wore Chinese imperial, or totally not in costume, but otherwise it went off without a hitch. We danced to the tunes DJ’s Azu Catteneo and Lennyy Beck spun.

The buildings were all made by me (save the Shinto shrine), with accessories either bought, or built by others such as Maddox Dupont, Eve Petlyakov, Kirk Claymore, and Aldero Akami.  Maddox did the terraforming, and Kirk decided the theme and look he wanted. It was a lot of fun and the end result was worth the hard work we all put into it. Everyone seemed really impressed and people came back to it to take pictures.  It’s something we all really got into especially Kirk, Eve, Aldero and I since we all really like traditional Japan. Sadly it’s one of the shortest lived builds in KMADD’s history (I think), it will be gone by the evening.  

I’ve been encouraged to sell the buildings I’d made, which I think I will do since they got such positive reviews. However, I’ll be making bigger versions suitable for housing.

Yes, yes… YES, I know. I am terrible at regular postings. Odd because I can post incessantly to Plurk and to Live Journal, although I haven’t posted much to Live Journal since getting into SL heavily. I guess it’s because a proper blog feels like it needs to be well written and I either get busy at work, or at home I’d rather be on my precious SL.

A Party in Winter

The big event for me is the KMADD winter party. Me, Kirk, Maddox, Eve, and Aldero are busily putting together the entire sim (a FULL sim, no OS sim here!) for it, with a little assistance by Vitrail of New Trails. The theme in detail is going to be something I don’t think anyone will expect for a winter party. We’ve got limited time to get it together and I’ve been creating some buildings for it. They were done well enough that Kirk and Maddox have encouraged me to sell them (they wouldn’t say that if they didn’t think they were well made). A saleable version will need to be built because the ones I’ve made are too small for a comfortable living space (I didn’t want people hanging out in them). I also need to get the textures at full perm from the place I bought the textures on the current houses. I think I will pursue that, and sell them in both copy and non copy versions, as well as a no copy but transferable version for gifting people.

The winter party should be beautiful. We’re making something very wintry, and we hope everyone enjoys it. I’m hoping to get heavy into it when my brother and nephew depart. It’s difficult getting building in because I feel an obligation to be out in the living room, rather than say eating dinner and immediately hopping onto SL when I finish. The event will last about 4 hours, as KMADD parties usually do. Expect to see DJ Azu spin at least.

Two Years…

I passed my two year mark as a resident of Second Life back on the 29th of October. I did miss almost a year because my laptop couldn’t hack one of the newer clients, but for anyone to stay longer than a year is pretty amazing since it seems most residents anymore are a year or less old. It’s hard to remember how things were back in 2006, but here are a few things I can recall:

  • Residents could get their first 512 ms plot for free, paying just the basic $9.95 (I think) fee for tier rather than buying the land AND paying tier.
  • There was still a lot of land and space available on the mainland
  • Casinos were EVERYWHERE. Even the shittiest of crap stores had one gambling machine. I always lost, just as I do in RL. Ha ha.
  • Stripping was THE job of choice for most of the laydeeze and strip clubs were on almost every sim I visited.
  • I didn’t really know about private islands.
  • Skins were far less sophisticated
  • Clothing for men was mostly non-existent save for a few stores I can’t recall.
  • Banks started appearing (I missed the fiasco when they failed).
  • Buildings were very flatly textured. No edge shading and I’m not sure why that was.
  • No windlight

It’s likely I’ve gotten the details wrong, as I am admittedly foggy on a lot of it, but things are so different these days that I have to go to the mainland to really get a feel for what it felt like back then.

As for the mainland, I can’t really say I miss it there. I like living in an estate, and a lot of my friends live there as well. The best thing is, builds are kept to a pretty high standard (that’s not to say that there aren’t some umm… interesting builds there), but there are no ugly box stores selling shitty low end merchandise as what happened at my old plot (I really should have gotten my virtual hands on some mega prims and made the outside look like a building but kept the inside beautiful).

On Being a Socialite… 

 

I’ve apparently cultivated an image of being a socialite in Second Life. Well, at least among a small section of the Fashionista community. Anyway to take Wikipedia’s definition:

A socialite is a person who is known to be a part of fashionable high society because of his or her regular participation in social activities and fondness for spending a significant amount of time entertaining and being entertained. ]

So, I don’t work in SL, I attend social events all the time, and I am a part of what could be considered fashionable high SL society (as far as that goes. Hey, we pretend in SL all the time, so why not?) I’m rather fine with being a socialite. I don’t have an inclination to work at the moment, although I’m probably going to get into selling a few houses I’ve made.

One of the most amusing things to me was when someone said I worked for KMADD. I suppose I’m heavily associated with them since I attend almost all of their events, and am friends with a lot of the people who work there. So, call me Mr. Socialite and invite me to your parties.

Alright, so this isn’t necessarily a fashion blog (I’ve got one that I need to get cracking on, though), and I’m not really a punk either, BUT, when I’m not wearing my usual urban/trendy threads in black black black, I like to wear things I wouldn’t typically wear in RL or in SL. Which means things like bold patterns or bright colors (although tempered a bit. I would not wear a whole outfit by Meriken unless it’s for a certain themed event). That leads me to the following photo:

Punk? I think not, but I can pretend!

Punk? I think not, but I can pretend!

It’s something I call “Oi Punk”. It’s not specifically punk, although the shirt by Mechanism is titled “Oi!”. Plaid or in this case, tartan trousers are something you will see on real life punks, but the lack of braces, doc martens, various scars and tattoos refines the look a bit. I’d call this “acceptable to meet your lover’s mother if you happen to believe in anarchy and giving the finger to authority”. Incidentally, it’s not that I purposefully chose not to wear tattoos, I just had forgotten to put them back on. My bad. Something that softens the look a bit here is the Chucks by Akeyo. They are fantastic, and while not shoes I’d usually wear in RL or in SL, are something that  brings more of a skater feel to the outfit. No stomping on heads here, but I can at least kick them in the neck.


Hair:
Uncleweb Studios Dan2-Hair type-A size-LL blond
Eyes:
MADesigns EYES TRUTH (unreleased, Maddox had me test them)
Shirt: ::MECHANISM:: Oi! #blue
Trousers: *Muism* [Tartan check pants]_Kennedy pants with belt
Shoes:
AKEYO_shoes_CHUCKS_HiTop

So, one of my favorite things to do is to wander around to the weird sims. The Japanese by far have that market cornered. It seems like they have lots of money to blow on weird sims with little point, and a side purpose for selling clothes or items (and usually WEIRD items, no less). My most recent trip took me to the snowy sim of Croquis. It’s a private sim, and I had just found out about it through Jonah Short’s flickr stream. I decided to take a look. I was NOT dissapointed. In order to illustrate, here’s a picture:

Yeahhhhhhhhh, so let’s see what we’ve got here: an enormous rabbit surfacing out of the sea. A floating apple.  A massive banana (mind out of the gutter, you!). A rusty barge with a Christmas tree. A giant toadstool behind the rabbit, and a broken down mecha. Oh and some buildings too. No, the skies and water there don’t look like that, that’s just my settings in windlight. So, WHAT does all of that have to do with anything? Nothing, and that’s what makes the sim fabulous! There’s a small shopping area among the buildings, but most of the storefronts are empty and what IS there sells weird products best reserved as freebies. There’s also a weird little cafe, and the oddest image I’ve seen in any building in Second Life:

Ahhhhhhhhhh! Crazy!

Ahhhhhhhhhh! Crazy!

I didn’t want to show too many photos, partly because I’m a lazy bastard and I think you should GO and experience Croquis yourself. Go, have fun. Now. NOW NOWWWWWW!

Croquis

Wow, a blog devoted primarily to Second Life, and I’m already throwing RL in? Because my avatar is not some character, but rather an representation of me in a pretty, pixelated form, I don’t think this is out of place here.

First, it’s a bit misleading to imply that California is one homogeneous cultural pudding, so to speak. California is huge, about as long as Japan is from it’s northern to southern mainland tips. So, we have lots of different areas, and the people are different in all of them. I haven’t taken a close look at them so I can’t give an exhaustive description, but I usually break it down like this: northern California, the bay area, Sacramento, Sierras, central valley, high desert, central coast, coastal southern California, and inland southern California. It’s neither extensive nor entirely accurate. I can tell you that there is very strong regional affinity especially when you look at general northern versus general southern California.

I come from the northern central coast. That includes places like Big Sur, Monterey, and Santa Cruz.  I’d heard that one economist actually considers the area in which I grew up to be economically a part of the greater San Francisco bay area area.  What’s amusing to me are some of the notions people have about California based upon a few people or what Hollywood presents. Now, it’s true, the most obvious people get seen while everyone else do not, hence the idea that NYers are rude, obnoxious, excessively loud, impatient, and uptight. On the other hand you get the idea from the other side that Californians are pot smoking hippies who care little about personal appearance, can’t handle reality, dislike criticism, speak kindly to you but then talk shit, have weird beliefs and eat strange foods. Of course, all stereotypes have a grain of truth to them, but it’s a bad thing to fall into believing that they are true (though you are all smart people and don’t fall into that stuff, right?)

I can’t really speak about east coast, particularly New York stereotypes, although I do know New Yorkers for instance are very upfront with you (which I appreciate), and New Englanders are sort of grounded “old salts”. As for California stereotypes,  for me, it’s untrue that I wear bright, obnoxious colors. I may not dress up every time I go out, but I do believe in looking presentable and wearing the right clothes for the right situation (it appalls me when people wear flip flops or sandals to weddings that aren’t at a beach).  I don’t eat “strange” foods, I eat the foods of the cultures that have settled here. I get and frequently use sarcasm, enough my mother wondered how I got to be that way. I’m an optimist in a cynic’s body, not some fluffy hippie who thinks everything can be solved with crystals and an aura cleansing. I walk fast and I will push through a crowd. I can be agressive if I need to be. I’d rather people be straight with me than beat around the bush. If I don’t like someone I don’t pretend we’re friends, but I know my manners (I’ll greet them, but I’m not going to go out of my way to talk to them). I curse a lot, and I can handle a “fuck you” if the intonation is right. I’m not fake or superficial and I despise that in people around me. It also amazes me how self centered people can be.

Granted, the stereotypes I’m thinking of apply primarily to the people along the coasts. You’ll find people in the mountains and the far northern parts are not at all like people in San Francisco or Los Angeles (and get very offended if you even imply it). Despite the negative stereotypes by people who should know better, I enjoy the more positive ones. We tend to be more laid back (what’s wrong with that?). Our climate means we don’t have to squeeze activities outdoors into the space of a few months, and our harvests are year round.  We don’t have strict four seasons in an East Coast sense, but there’s nothing like seeing the hills and valleys turn emerald in Spring, or seeing the hills carpeted in wildflowers. Our foods are not strange and avocado isn’t in everything, but we have some of the best foods and wines in the country, and even barely above poverty line people regularly enjoy foods that seem frou-frou. Plus, I can find Korean and Japanese products in just about any decently sized town along the coast. Many of us speak similar to surfers, but that’s what I enjoy, I love the accent with its laid back tone.  I also enjoy our informality, which may also be why I also like Aussies a lot since I see many affinities between them and us in coastal California.

In a thread on Metafilter about the differences between the east coast and the west coast (primarily California) summed up well the cultural differences:

I like to tie it into the area’s history. New England was settled by ambitious workers who wanted to create a new society free of excess, of showiness, of religious metaphor. Straightforward people, heavy on the work ethic, who tend to believe that excessive individuality was suspect. Reinforced by the weather — you can’t goof off for too long, because winter’s coming and you need to be a good ant and prepare. Now there’s a mix of that old Puritan work-ethic America combined with the immigrant American dream of Ellis Island — with hard work, you can make money and have a good life.

California, at least in American history, came in during the Gold Rush, populated quickly by people trying to escape the class system of the East (and other countries). Rough and tumble miners, women who wanted to make their own lives rather than succumb to society’s rules. Happens again during the 1960s with a generation of society’s drop-outs. Happens again during the 1990s with the dot-com boom — tons of money for people pouring on people for just a few years’ work followed by IPO. With luck and the right connections, you can stop working and have a good life. Again reinforced by the weather — sunshine rains down most of the year, grasshoppers can play as much as they want. San Francisco, at least, becomes a place where people drop out of the rat race and live “authentic lives” free of traditional rules or judgment, and disdain those still trapped by old-fashioned Puritan work-ethic values.

– occhiblu

I don’t think I could’ve summed it up any better.

I decided to move my blogging over to WordPress because I find it’s far more functional than blogger. Not that blogger is bad, mind you but I really like the options WordPress provides. That said, I’ll start off with a re-introduction, though I suppose most of you reading this will already know me from Second Life.

Gahum Riptide is the avatar I use in Second Life™. I came to SL just days before Halloween in 2006. I’d heard about it back in 2005 from a friend who mentioned he found an online virtual world where you didn’t have to battle orcs, cast spells, or join in traditional gamer geekery if you didn’t want to. Intrigued, I took a look. I thought it was amazing, but was dismayed that upon downloading the client, it told me my hardware couldn’t hack it. When I purchased my laptop, I found out that it could run Second Life, and immediately joined.

Fast forward to about January 2007, the client changed and suddenly my laptop couldn’t handle it, and would crash within seconds of logging in. My property (at Great Pubnico) sat empty for about a year, like so many of the builds you see on the mainland. By early 2008, I grew bored of my usual online routine and wanted to get back in world. I looked for an inexpensive computer, focusing on the graphics card and memory. I was back in world, it was joy.

Despite a lot of stupidity that happens on the part of the Lindens, I still enjoy logging in every day and enjoy the friends I’ve made, the beautiful parcel in Costa Rica on which I live, and exploring the grid, which has become more beautiful (well maybe not most of the mainland, but you know…).

This blog really won’t have a specific purpose. It will be mostly for my musings about Second Life, but you’ll also see liberal helpings of Real Life thrown in as well. I can’t guarantee that you’ll actually enjoythis blog, but maybe you’ll find bits of interest thrown into the carnage?

Welcome to WordPress.com. This is your first post. Edit or delete it and start blogging!