Thanksgiving is family time

I haven't been in-world much this week.  We traveled about an hour-and-a-half to Thanksgiving dinner with my in-laws and a total of 21 assorted family members.  Very assorted.  There was more food than we could hope to consume, but nothing was going to waste.  Leftovers were distributed far and wide.

When we returned that evening, our daughter and her 14-year-old son came with us.  They just left for home, 3 1/2 hours north, so I'm getting to the blog at last. 

One nice thing about their extended visits when they come is playing games.  This time I kept a list of what got played by the four of us . . .

  • Alhambra, Aquarius, Cosmic Encounter, Dune, Fluxx en EspaƱol, Fourword, Girl Genius: the Works, Heroscape, Huggermugger, Lost Cities, Magic: the Gathering, Message to the Czar, Niagara, On the Underground, Princes of Florence, San Juan, Shadows Over Camelot, Six Generations Card Game, Tribond, and Trivia for Dummies.

We had a wonderful time.  The world of board and card games is an RL activity that will probably show up here regularly.  I like to play!

My old RL friend Myfi Lundquist (that's her SL name not RL) tells me that one scripter has licensed a version of the old Reiner Knizia card game En Garde! and is offering it in-world in a form where your avatars move up and down the piste with épées in hand.  It sounds like I'll have to try it.

I also shot my first round of SL golf.  The Holly Kai Golf Club is one of the must-see places in SL, even if you are not a golfer.  It is simply a very cool attempt to do RL golf in SL, and a lovely place to look around.  A golf fan will also be pleased to recognise reproductions of famous holes like #18 at Pebble Beach and #17 at Sawgrass.  Trust me, it's a thrill when you just manage to stay dry on those!

I tried to play in the golf tournament on Saturday, but there was only one time I could have played that was compatible with visiting family and I couldn't line up a playing partner.  But I will be back, and I'll get pictures next time.



Of a Regrettable Accident and Fortunate Consequences

Before I continue the tale of the life-changing characteristics of Second Life minigolf, I would first like to skip forward to the story of how I wound up in Caledon--where I would make a second home.

It all began with a train and a quest.

The quest technically came first . . . an eternal quest to find modest clothing for women in Second Life. This is a matter of special importance when home is an island founded by Latter-day Saints. Let's just say that mini-skirts, belly buttons, and tops cut down to there don't work. (Note to clothiers: Many potential female customers do not desire to look like characters in an adolescent male fantasy. Broaden your horizons, and increase your market.)

Tascha Klees and I were out shopping on this quest, and had just landed at the telehub of Port Caledon sim following some Victorian leads. We stepped away from the hub and paused for a minute to decide where to go next. One of the locals spotted us and asked if she could be of service.

This was our introduction to the great lady Serra Anansi, an old-time Caledon resident and the owner of the Winterfell sims. We explained our object, and she suggested that she had a landmark that might help. (It turned out to be for Prim and Proper.) Miss Anansi then undertook the not-insignificant task of searching her inventory.

Dear readers, any of you who know Port Caledon also know that it boasts one of the early trams in Caledon and SL. It runs through the center of the sim, right past the telehub. Just steps from the hub. About as many steps, in fact, as dear visiting Valentine had chosen to take.

Did I mention that my sound was off?

So Miss Anansi is searching, Tascha suddenly types in chat "Look out Val!", and POW! But I don't understand any of it immediately, as my system chose the exact moment of POW to crash itself. Talk about timing.

Well, I re-logged, had the circumstance explained to my more-than-slightly-chagrined self, received the landmark, assured Miss Anansi that I was quite well although a bit startled by the affair, and we set off on our separate ways. The landmark, by the way, turned out to be out of date. But with a business name to work from other locations were found, and we eventually shopped downtown Victoria City with much pleasure.

After this memorable introduction to a clearly civilized locale, how could I not return?


What's a Nice Girl Like You Doing In a Place Like This?

It all began with a book.

Specifically, it started with professor Lawrence Lessig's book Code 2.0, which explores the relationship between cyberspace, society, and the law.  It's a thoughtful and provocative book, designed to set people thinking about how the rules we live by are--and will continue to be--increasingly determined by code.

Professor Lessig referred to Second Life on several occasions.  It piqued my curiosity.  So after upgrading the household computer I created an account one night.  (The pic was my very first profile picture, created before I left Help Island.)

It was clear in the first couple of visits that your options were greatly increased by owning your own land.  So within a week I had a mainland 512 and a treehouse, and figured I'd be content to wander around every so often for $9.95 a month and no land fees.

As a Latter-day Saint, I went searching for other Mormons in this brave new world.  I didn't get to Adam ondi Ahman right away.  It came up in searches but the words island and islanders initially warned me away.  Those people have a lot more money than I do for this, I thought.

Eventually I visited Adam ondi Ahman, which I learned much later was only one week older than I was.  (AoA rezzed on 9 March 2007; my rez-day is 16 March.)  It was half full then, and an avatar in a boy's form was building something that looked like the famous Mormon Tabernacle.

It was indeed a replica of the Tabernacle, the "boy" was island owner Skyler Goode, and by the time we chatted for close to an hour I knew I needed to be in AoA.  On the 30th, two weeks after coming to Second Life, I took possession of 2016 m2 on the south coast of Adam ondi Ahman.  I had discovered things like miniature golf and bowling in-world, and figured that some family-style activities near the educational sites already built would be true to our values and make this new place a better place to live.

Val's Minigolf Club was about to appear, and my worlds would not be the same.


Let's see if this works

The newbie in me shows through; I posted this here so I could turn it into a profile pic.

I'm standing on one of the two proposed sites for a Caledon embassy on AoA.  A search is also in progress for a counterpart site for AoA's embassy in Caledon.


Welcome to my blog!

This is a whole new world for me; I've never written a blog before.  So for my first efforts in this new world, I'll be writing about a virtual world.

Or maybe it's two or three virtual worlds.

My first SL home of Adam ondi Ahman (I'll use AoA a lot, as the islanders do) was founded by faithful Mormons who enjoyed Second Life but wanted a place where they could avoid some of the excesses that are out there.  I arrived there less than ten days after it opened, and when I bought my first land the sim was about half-full.

My second SL home of Caledon has a couple of affinities with AoA.  Both are places with ties to the 19th century--Victoriana for Caledon, the Mormon pioneers for AoA.  And both are places where public decency is expected.  But in other ways the steampunkers and the Saints couldn't be more different.

They're alike in one more crucial respect.  Both are growing like wildfire.  Caledon was founded in February of 2006, and now has 30 sims.  Adam ondi Ahman was founded in March of 2007, and now has 8 sims.  In each case a community has adopted a common set of ideals, and the results attract others.

And there's a whole lot more in SL beyond my two homes, although unless I am shopping I seem to spend less and less time outside AoA and Caledon.

So I see Worlds and Lives Abound as the intersection of four worlds:
  • My own first life.
  • Adam ondi Ahman, and life within a community of the faithful in virtuality.
  • Caledon, and life in a realm of marvels rooted in our history, fiction, and myths.
  • Second Life as a whole.
I expect most of my observations to be pretty random, as is the case with most SL blogs.  But I look forward to meeting and interacting with a lot of you as lives go on.