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

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”

Closing In On The End Of 2020…

Hey everyone, sorry for being so quiet here. Truth be told, I had to step back from Second Life and DJing for most of November to focus on my real-world health, both physical and mental.

I’ve made some changes to old ingrained habits, and as a result I’m feeling rested and more energized for the first time in ages! That has taken some getting used to.

Continue reading “Closing In On The End Of 2020…”

Opening Ceremony @ SL Sci-Fi Expo

That was a blast, literally! 🙂 Not only one of the biggest audiences I’ve had for one of my Gorean Whip Radio shows, but also one of the biggest audiences I’ve had in-world too. Of course, the flip-side of that was lag, and lots of it, to the point where I had to switch away from Firestorm to get my streamer controls to respond! But I soldiered through, and had a load of fun riffing off the crowd in front of me.

Benjamin Brougham, the organizer and lead for the Sci-Fi Expo, provided me with a list of songs he wanted to be played during the ceremony, plus a prepared speech to broadcast. (We’d discussed the possibility of doing that live over Discord, but given that I knew it would be laggy I suggested that he pre-record instead.) I filled around that playlist with my selection of themes from TV shows and films. 🙂

I wasn’t expecting to have such a nice DJ booth, nor have a light-show to accompany it. Thanks to the Sci-Fi Expo team for arranging that. 🙂

And this evening they dropped a new promo video for the event, which features the audio of the audio promo I created earlier this week for Gorean Whip Radio. 😀

Yes, that’s my voice! 😀

Tracklisting:

  • The Clangers – Intro — Smallfilms
  • Extended Intro (from ‘The Day The Earth Stood Still’) — DJ Spitfire
  • Also sprach Zarathustra, Op. 30: I. Prelude (Sonnenaufgang) — Berlin Philharmonic & Herbert von Karajan
  • Star Wars Main Theme — John Williams
  • Space Walk — Silent Partner
  • Fun — Selena Gomez
  • Wonder — Shawn Mendes
  • Soon You’ll Get Better (feat. Dixie Chicks) — Taylor Swift
  • The Final Countdown — Europe
  • 2020 SL SciFi Expo – Opening Speech — Benjamin Brougham
  • JUST STAND UP! — Artists Stand Up to Cancer
  • Buck Rogers In the 25th Century — The Daniel Caine Orchestra
  • Battlestar Galactica Theme — Stu Phillips & Royal Scottish National Orchestra
  • I Am the Doctor — Murray Gold
  • Doctor Who – Clean Tom Baker Opening (1974) — BBC Radiophonic Workshop
  • End Credits (from ‘Star Trek’) — Jay Chattaway
  • Outro music (from ‘The Day The Earth Stood Still’) — DJ Spitfire

2020 SL Sci-Fi Expo Starts Today :)

I’ve been a very busy alien the last few days! The 2020 Sci-Fi Expo is happening from the 14th to the 28th October, and Gorean Whip Radio is the official station for the event. In previous years it has been help around November / December time, so I was caught off-guard when Irish Breen informed me that it was happening this month! 😮

This year they’re raising money for Making Strides Against Breast Cancer and the American Cancer Society.

Continue reading “2020 SL Sci-Fi Expo Starts Today :)”