Derp

Okay, I’m making a note — always double-check when applying for performance slots at events in Second Life.

I realised yesterday that my DJ-ing slot at BURN2 wasn’t going to be at 12pm SLT today, but at 12am, or 8am UK time. That would have been tough for me to do even on a weekday, but doubly so on a Sunday!

I let the performance organiser know yesterday, but I woke up to some offline messages from the on-duty stage hosts early this morning asking if I was going to be performing. It was several hours before I was awake enough to log into Second Life to answer them.

I’ll most likely try and perform at BURN2 later in the year, but next time I’ll pay more attention!


In other news, I had my second Covid-19 vaccination shot last Tuesday. The side-effects weren’t as severe this time around, but I still felt rough for most of the week.

April Already?

I thought I’d better post something to let the world know I’m still alive!

I ended up taking time out for most of March, both from broadcasting duties on Gorean Whip Radio and activity in Second Life generally, while I took care of my physical and mental health. A combination of sinus infection plus poor sleep had left me pretty frazzled, so I decided that sorting that out took priority over everything else. The time off ended up doing me a power of good, not only because my health has improved, but because I now have a lot more clarity on where I’m going and what my priorities are.

One side-effect of that is that I won’t be chasing after DJ-ing opportunities at big events like the SL Sci-Fi Con or SL18B. I will do coverage of events for Gorean Whip Radio when I’m able, and the good news is that the station is once again part of Sci-Fi Con 2021, meaning I’ll be doing a live walkabout around the event sims. 🙂

I do have one special event coming up soon — on Sunday 11th April I’ll be at BURN2 once again for their Burnal Equinox event, and that’ll be dual-streamed to Gorean Whip Radio. I’ll post the show recording plus a photo gallery afterwards.

In other news, I managed to snag myself a Catwa HDPRO Queen mesh head, which was briefly on sale for just L$1! It took me a while to get it setup to my liking, in part because my custom avatar shape caused it to break in a few places, but I’m pretty pleased with it. The best part is that the ears move by themselves, and unlike the old mesh ears from Stargazer Creations that I’ve worn in the past, they support Bakes on Mesh. 🙂

I’m also looking to reduce my monthly expenditure in Second Life, so I’m going to drop my Premium account in the autumn when it comes up for renewal. I’m now down to about 30 groups, and focussing on roleplay and events over shopping, so that won’t be a handicap for me. It does mean I’ve given up the houseboat Premium Home, which is a shame, but I can go elsewhere for sailing.

New Year, New Look! (Plus Skin-Making Tutorial)

This past week, I finally ticked off one of the tasks I’d set myself for this year: designing myself a custom skin for my avatar. 🙂

The roadblock that had thwarted my plans was that while I had some guidelines for laying out the textures, I had no real clue how to do it. So I did some research online which led me to this resource page with templates for some simple skins. Exactly what I needed!

I downloaded the Photoshop files for the most recent example, the Starlight skin, but they have versions that’ll work in Illustrator or GIMP.

Continue reading “New Year, New Look! (Plus Skin-Making Tutorial)”

Six Years in Second Life

It has been a while since I updated here. Part of that has been due to recent health issues brought on by the sub-zero temperatures we experience the week before last, which greatly reduced the time I’ve been able to spend in Second Life.

Yesterday was the sixth anniversary (or ‘Rez-Day’ as it’s called by some folks) of my joining Second Life. Sadly, I wasn’t feeling up to celebrating, so it was pretty low-key this year.

I also had to contend with an extended loss of broadband access last Friday, thanks to a cock-up on the part of Virgin Media. That came at the end of a stressful few days as we worked, and waited on the phone, to haggle down the price Virgin are charging. Thankfully, the broadband returned last Saturday, but by that point I’d had to cancel my DJ set at Second Pride, which I was gutted about as I’d been looking forward to it.

But I’ve had some success, at least with my job as Advertising Production Manager for Gorean Whip Radio. With help from a few others (hi to Shaina and Volund!) several new adverts got put together and are now in rotation, making for very happy sponsors. 🙂

And I have a new home in Second Life! I’m renting a small apartment in MetroSomnia, the place where I role-play now, as well as the garage underneath. That has given me an excuse to rez and use the two hover-bikes I have in my inventory, one of which is a two-seater. As the sim is cyberpunk-themed they fit in perfectly, and I’ve taken them for a spin around the city. 🙂 I do need to work on my driving skills a bit more, so I doubt I’ll be persuading anyone to ride with me any time soon. 😛

Hopefully more posts soon!

Spiffy @ BURN2 Winter Burn 31/01/2021

For a change, I was able to get plenty of photos taken for this visit to BURN2, which is great because words along cannot fully describe the creativity (and craziness) on display on the Playa! 🙂

The theme of this year’s event was ‘Bubblegum & Duct-tape”, so there was much pink gooeyness and tape replacing the roads.

I took these photos on the day before I was due to perform, so it was marginally less laggy walking around the region and I could get unobstructed views of the various builds.

Suffice to say, there were a lot of Bernie Sanders meme pictures dotted around! I guess the Burners decided that he was perfect for a winter festival. 🙂

Incidentally, that last picture is the installation of Patrick Moya, who has an entire region of his own full of his wonderfully surreal creations. He’s in the bottom right of the photo, by the way. 🙂


I caught the end of one of the Saturday DJ shows, which was followed by a live performance by the Changhigh Sisters. They are regulars at just about every BURN2 event I’ve been to, and for once I was able to both watch the show and take some photos. These stills don’t really do them full justice, their performance combines dance, acrobatics and a lot of pyrotechnics!


My show was on the Sunday from 12pm to 2pm SLT, and once again I simulcast it on Gorean Whip Radio. There was a small technical hitch at the start where the radio didn’t get switched to my DJ stream right away, but everything went smoothly at my end. I say ‘smoothly’, but that was because for the most part I had my Firestorm Viewer setting cranked down so that I could still type and control my broadcast setup!

There was a large crowd during my show, and they enjoyed the mix of soul, funk and disco. 🙂 Later on, I was able to bring up my viewer settings enough to snap some photos of the partygoers — lots of sexy pixels on display!


I had a great time, and will definitely be back for the next BURN2 event!

Tracklisting:

Move On Up — Curtis Mayfield
Soul Man — Sam & Dave
I Say a Little Prayer — Aretha Franklin
Sir Duke — Stevie Wonder
(Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay — Otis Redding
Try a Little Tenderness — Percy Sledge
War — Edwin Starr
Walk On By — Dionne Warwick
Let’s Stay Together — Al Green
Ain’t Nobody — Rufus & Chaka Khan
Sweet Love — Anita Baker

It’s My Thing (You Can’t Tell Me Who To Sock It To) — Marva Whitney
The Message From The Soul Sisters (Pt. 1 & 2) — Myra Barnes
Think (About It) — Lyn Collins
Super Bad, Pt. 1 & 2 — James Brown & The J.B.’s
Never Too Much — Luther Vandross
Le Freak — Chic
We Are Family (Single Version) — Sister Sledge
Boogie Wonderland — Earth, Wind & Fire, The Emotions

Give Me Just a Little More Time — Chairmen of the Board
Play That Funky Music — Wild Cherry
Disco Inferno (Single Edit) — The Trammps
Proud Mary — Tina Turner
Inner City Blues (Make Me Wanna Holler) — Marvin Gaye
We Have All the Time In the World — Louis Armstrong

A Change Is Gonna Come — Sam Cooke

Blog Updates

Hi there, a couple of changes have happened over the last few weeks.

  1. This blog is no longer attached to WordPress.com as I warned in my last post. If you want to follow updates here, the best option is to use the RSS feed in your feed reader of choice.
  2. Audio recordings are not working at present — this appears to be a security setting change at the site where I host the audio files, the files are still there. I’m working to get those links accessible again, apologies for the interruption. (Update: Derp, turns out that was a problem at my end, a DNS firewall was stopping me accessing the site where the audio files live.)

Hope you’re all taking care of yourselves out there.

—Spiffy

Advance Notice: I’ll Be Disconnecting This Blog from WordPress.com on 1st February

I’ve been mulling this over for a while now, since before the New Year, but now I’m ready to go through with it.

This blog has always been self-hosted, but was subsequently linked to WordPress.com via the Jetpack plugin as a means to make my blogging life somewhat easier.

However, it turns out that WordPress.com is a Pain In The Posterior when used in this manner, both to get the integration fully working on my blog and to manage at WordPress’s end. I’m singularly unimpressed with their apps for Mac and iOS, and ended up going back to writing posts directly in my browser. And while I could use the WordPress apps to read other folk’s blogs, I already use Inoreader for that, which has the advantage of not being limited to just WordPress sites.

I am aware that I have quite a few folks who do use WordPress to subscribe to updates from my blog, and I don’t want to leave you guys behind. One option you have is to use the RSS feed for my site to stay updated — there are lots of apps and services you can use to do that, I personally use Inoreader but there’s also Feedly which is probably the best-known service. The alternative would a newsletter, but that would require some extra work to set up at my end.

So tell me, dear readers — which option do you prefer? If there’s enough interest, I’ll set up the newsletter and invite you to sign up for that.

Cutting the cord with WordPress.com will mean several fewer things for me to deal with here, and right now I’m all about simplifying my online life as much as possible.

Spiffy’s New Year’s Day 2021 show on Gorean Whip Radio

This show was broadcast from 12pm SLT on the 1st January 2021, at the WHIP Club House in Second Life. I’d considered doing this show in the early AM, but logistics plus a likely lower listening audience ruled that out.

Part of the playlist was recycled from the one I did for New Year’s Day 2020 because I feel they’re good songs that symbolize a new beginning. 🙂

The first track is a poem that I first discovered several decades ago, and have kept as a text file across multiple computers since then. It was originally written by Mike Agranoff, and I found the audio version on SoundCloud. It is very much a New Year’s Eve song, but works just as well on the following day in my opinion.

The final song, ‘Imagine‘ by John Lennon, is my go-to song for optimism, and one I’ve played whenever I want to convey hope for the future.

And yes, I sneaked in some classical music. 😀 I find ‘The Blue Danube‘ both uplifting and relaxing.

Tracklisting

Ballad Of The Sandman — Dan Teigen
Morning Has Broken — Cat Stevens
Feeling Good — Nina Simone
Here Comes the Sun — The Beatles

Mr. Blue Sky — ELO
Rip It Up — Orange Juice
Pick Yourself Up — Debbie Reynolds
Start Me Up — The Rolling Stones
Adventures In Success — Will Powers

Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’ — Michael Jackson
Things Can Only Get Better — D:Ream
Love Train — The O’Jays
As (Duet with Mary J. Blige) — George Michael & Mary J. Blige
Higher Ground — Stevie Wonder

Happy New Year — ABBA
Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You) — Kelly Clarkson
Fight Song — Rachel Platten
The Power of Love — Frankie Goes to Hollywood
Rainbow — Sia

The Blue Danube — The Philadelphia Orchestra & Eugene Ormandy
Imagine — John Lennon

#SecondLifeChallenge — My Seven Second Life Facts

I bookmarked this post by Strawberry Singh from 2017 — before her joining Linden Lab and becoming Strawberry Linden — ages ago, but never got around to doing anything about it due to… does the ‘all this’ gesture with their hands.

So, as part of my promise to myself to actually blog here regularly in 2021, here are my seven SL facts about myself:

  1. I have always had a female, or slightly female, avatar ever since I joined Second Life nearly six years ago. The thought of changing to a male appearance has never crossed my mind, and frankly I think I’d be very uncomfortable if I did, even more so than if I ever changed back to a more human appearance.
  2. I’ve owned three different types of Linden Home at various points over the years. The first two were the old style, 512 square metre homes — I forget the names, I’d need to look them up on the Second Life website. I do have a soft spot for my current Linden Houseboat in Belissaria, as it has given me the opportunity to try sailing. (With mixed results, but I’m hoping that the completion of Linden Lab’s moving of all SL regions to the Cloud might improve my sailing record.) I’ve not looked at any of the newer Linden Homes, and am not tempted to switch locations.
  3. Music, both played by DJs and performed by musicians and singers in Second Life, is one of the reasons I’ve stayed in Second Life. As someone who is intensely introverted in real life, being able to listen to and enjoy music together with others in a virtual space is incredible!
  4. Related to the point above, becoming a DJ in Second Life, and then a radio DJ on Gorean Whip Radio, allowed me to overcome more of my introversion, while also giving me a chance to share myself through the music that I love. 🙂
  5. I am constantly tweaking my appearance in Second Life, though often in ways that might not be immediately obvious. Part of that has been driven by the evolution of my persona in-world, but I’m also analysing other aspects like the number and weight of scripts I’m carrying on me and the complexity and load times for my avatar. Any opportunity I can find to reduce my script count and complexity is grabbed with both hands!
  6. The colour pink plays a big part in my Second Life. My hair, my clothes, even my furniture! The exact tone varies, and I have been known to turn up in multiple shades. 😀 But there is a method to my apparent madness — it has probably saved me a lot of money by deterring me from buying stuff that either isn’t pink or can’t be coloured pink. (Oh, and my Firestorm viewer is pink too.)
  7. My biggest peeves in Second Life? Definitely gachas, particularly when they contain an outfit I like. Followed by performance lag, and anyone whose avatar is so ridiculously complex that my Firestorm viewer refuses to render them at all.

So, that’s my seven — if you want to have a go, be sure to link to Strawberry’s original post, so she knows about it, and use the #SecondLifeChallenge tag if you’re doing this on the socials. 🙂

2020 State Of The Alien

I’ve already posted a review of my real-world situation over the past year, so I won’t repeat myself here. This is going to focus on what I’ve been up to in Second Life and on Gorean Whip Radio.

Overall, this year has been… okay. While I did achieve a lot in terms of DJ sets and broadcasting, I’m acutely aware that my output has been reduced due to anxiety and depression, which resulted in my skipping shows and not applying for some events.

Continue reading “2020 State Of The Alien”