Thursday, 22 November 2007


Interviews given: 1 (good); People dropping by: 3 (good); Offices created: 1 (good); No. of cool offers of unpaid work: 1 (good); Strangers observed editing appearance on skating rink: 1 (curious).

Have not mentioned that although island scarcely Picadilly Circus have been a few more people turning up. Was on island last Saturday being interviewed by Marilena whilst lounging by the pool and having nice chat generally. A business lecturer who has come along to a couple of meeting suddenly joined us which felt v. nice as like to feel that island is place where people might like to hang out.

Also Swiss librarian who came to discussion with report from Konstanz meeting dropped in beforehand to take balloon ride and say hello.

Realise haven't blogged that discussion here, but have done so on the Information Literacy blog. The pic here shows Tulle and Marky, after the discussion finished and is basically included so can see rather fine flower arrangement that is now a feature of the office.

Have finally made cubicle space for Ishbel in departmental building, since she is part of team with undergrads in SL. A couple of nights ago she visited it and fortunately liked the way had kitted it out (though as she has SL Skills, she may choose to personalise with her own stuff).

Lastly, after previous Babylon5 entry, was contacted by one of people who run the sim and asked if would like to help with marketing effort of the B5 Experience. Was v. surprised and flattered but also torn as
a) would be v. cool thing to do but

b) am already hiding behind vast piles of Unfinished Work in office and gazing glassy eyed at oodles of emails in inbox with all other zillion things I'm supposed to be doing.

In end said that would like to be part of Team but have to be realistic about time committed. This seemed to be OK so will have to see how it goes.

Is now taking me some time each day just to visit all places where have land/quarters. with personal land will note that number of office blocks have risen which is bit of shame. Also think only person to have bought a photo from shop is Ishbel.

Bought a v. nice Christmas tree though, so can contemplate that when feel stressed.

Wednesday, 21 November 2007

Snow falling on island

Entries written in reflective learning diary: 3 (good); No. of snow covered trees planted: 3 (good); Amount of snow covering island hills: just right (good)

As part of action research element of the CILASS island project am now creating Personal Learning Portfolio as Evidence for final whatever of action research cycle. Only started it a few days ago, but already find that small amount of time that wasn't already spending in SL or blogging is now spent writing about it all in learning diary.

Anyway, realised that was writing about something that could go on this blog and repurposing is name of game. Topic was snow cover on island. As already mentioned on blog, intended to change Texture of top of mountains from scrubby green/brown to sparkling white and the L$10 snow textures purchased yesterday seemed right for job. However found on investigation that hadn't got actual texture (graphic) of scrubby brown/green in inventory. Various other scrubby brown or green textures but not that one. Most puzzling. Must have got it from somewhere. Problem was that if switched texture without having original in inventory, could never get back to that SPECIFIC scrubby brown/green and would have go hunting through texture shops to find replacement. Personally think texture shops v. dull not to mention hell to find way round with zillions of little texture squares rezzing v.v. slowly.

Should be said that all powerful owners like self determine 4 different textures to cover 4 different levels of terrain: in the island's case - 1) Rippling sand; 2) Slightly scrubby green; 3) Lush green; 4) Scrubby green/brown. Then owner sets lowest point for texture 2 to start and highest for texture 3 - or is it 4?? At any rate realised that solution was to set top level higher than actual land, so that texture 3 (which knew could get back to as snug in inventory, plus I even remember where I got it from) was on top of mountain, then turn THAT to snow.

Result! Pleasing wintery landscape with top of mountains enfolded in snow and slopes just dusted. Patted self on back and planted a few wintery trees. Heart Garden Centre had snow-covered but sadly lacking in bare-branched tree department, but hopefully will come up with something since otherwise will be winter on top of mountain and perpetual autumn below.

Tuesday, 20 November 2007

I am a sad nerd

Quarters rented in Babylon 5: 1 (good, bad) ; Favourite character in B5: Londo (bad, good, tragic)
So far in blog have not revealed that am fan of sci fi series Babylon 5, have DVDs of all episodes (seasons 1-5) plus am collecting script books. Enough said, as sad nerdiness is evident when say that have even sat through a couple of episodes comparing what is in scriptbook to what reached final cut.

When started in SL immediately signed up with B5 group but zero happened for many months except odd desultry IMs from people asking each other if anything was happening. However, now great leap forward, since B5 ("a port of call, a home away from home for diplomats, hustlers, entrepreneurs and wanderers ... two million, five hundred thousand tons of spinning metal, all alone in the night ...") being recreated and what is more today was announced that could rent quarters! in B5 itself!
Teleported in (achievement in itself since today SL seems about to tip over) scuttled through the Zocalo* and down to Blue Sector, where found indeed 4 rooms, one already rented. One remaining was fitted out with rudimentary furniture and non-operational-Babcom** (see pic). Doors made dinging noise just like in series! Went and out several times to hear it. Whee! Became very over-excited and could not but click RENT thus committing L$400 to 2 weeks stay.

Installed laptop, glowing crystal (rather large for data crystal***, but still) and sake bottle since am intending to channel Londo Mollari****. Fear this does not fit with image of cool fashionista Yoshikawa, although Group owner also seemed well turned out. However, some things are more important than fashion. Perhaps could host B5 party in skating rink*****.

* The central meeting and trading area

**The system used to communicate in B5

***The memory sticks of B5

****Centauri Ambassador

*****Though I don't remember anyone in B5 ever skating


No. of skating poseball pairs bought: 2 (good); No. of skating poseball pairs disappeared without trace: 1 (bad); No of fairytale skating wonderlands created: 1 (good); No. of hours spent creating same: erm ... mumble (bad)

Scarcely had last pumpkin been deleted and last witch broom been packed into the Halloween folder than SL is filled with revolving Christmas trees and malformed luminous snowmen. Was sim-hopping for possibly sensible reason that now can't remember when was swept away on wave of wintertide sparkle and in particular discovered joys of skating. You go round and round! and round! and that's about it but somehow satisfying.

Had already been building up stock of fairylights as these are things which every prudent island owner should have in inventory for use in impromtu celebration. Had also picked up snowglobes and slightly bizarre santa-bears and santa-cats for amusing Christmas gifts. However was now inspired to shop around for snowflake emitters, skates and snow textures.

Also saw complete weather system which allows build up of snow on ground when switched on, as well as cloud effects etc. Interesting but L$1500 so will consider further before purchase. Of course can change texture of ground on island at click of mouse and think will have mountaintops snowy at least for a while.

Decided must have skating rink. Could purchase complete rink for price of weather system but look rather utilitarian. Instead can purchase skating pose balls, still not cheap, but so cute! Played around with icesheets in Build area on island (was at this point that first set of poseballs disappeared, together with first set of snow textures though latter only cost L$10) SL seemed to be having bad day since twice had found self zipping of into ether without being able to stop and had to crash out.

In end realised that conference platform ideal setting for rink as platform already looks like ice. Had had cypress trees lying round in inventory for some time, as whenever had brought them out they made landscape look v. mournful so immediately put them back, but decorated with strings of lights they are just the thing. Also placed snow emitter strategically over platform, dashed to Divivity to buy some festive foods, adapted the Basic Chair as supplied to all avatars including stretching chair legs to make base for festive table. Eh voila. Still needs some extra titivating but think can already advertise as island feature.

The pics show my skating rink plus at the bottom a rather spooky Christmas display encountered on travels.

Saturday, 17 November 2007


Meetings with colleague at 1am: 2 (good); Tiki homes created on spur of moment: 1 (bad and good)

Have been reasonably unsuccessful in luring colleagues onto island, although several have now avatars. Was therefore v. pleased when Nigl (Prof.) turned up on island when was tidying up in office. Nigl had changed appearance since last seen, now sporting admirable level of bling, v. eye catching.
Showed him possible spaces on top floor of building and displayed some furniture option. However, when Nigl expressed interest in palm trees and I was able to produce same out of inventory, together with assorted flowering bushes and saplings, he was v. enthusiastic.

Was carried away by this to suggest creating special tiki office next to main building and so was soon putting in tiki hut, palm trees, wicker sofa and inevitable coffee pot.

In honour of new office, Nigl changed to academic robes. Was still wearing them next day when encountered him at similar hour near haunted swimming pool. Spent some happy minutes on seesaw and agreed this preferable e.g. to acdamic committee meetings. Had made improvements to tiki (vis. gong, walkway, photo board, bead curtain, inflatable ring and more coffee) and finished it with sign giving name and status.

Will now have to find excuse why other people can't have same.

Fat, creepy

Talks given about Second Life: 1 (good); Number of expensive multicoloured shawls bought in RL because of all this talk in SL about "cosy woollens" and "fall colours": 1 (bad); Pounds added to weight when viewed on wide screen: 20 (v.v. bad).

Last week travelled in RL to Germany to give talk at info literacy conference. V. nice conference in Konstanz, lake views, fine chocolate, twisty old-fashioned streets, hearty stews etc. also could show off German language skills (though conf actually in English). Was mainly talking about activity in postgrad class but also spent 10 mins on SL with demo. ppt is here

In fact had not thought would have access so got v.v. excited when saw could go inworld. However excitement turned to horror as saw how enormous bum and all other portions of anatomy look on wide screen computer. Even stick-thin avatars must look plump. Not sure what is to be done except to start campaign against wide screens on grounds that will cause emotional stress to avatars.

Discussion after talk took emotional turn. Someone said that she found SL creepy and she did not seem to be only one. Not sure whether she realised that implied that *I* was creepy but at any event was somewhat unsettling. One question was how students could tell was my avatar and not some raging pervert out to lure innocents into debauched activities (I paraphrase). This has simple answer since had stood in class with students and said "Look, that's my avatar".

Sure that can't be creepy since:

1) Do healthy things like landscape gardening and shopping;
2) Do not wear skimpy clothing;
3) Am not creepy person.

Hmmmmmmm not sure that would convince jury.

Have included pics showing avatar looking slim and, I hope, not creepy, at the Baden-Baden-Wuerttemberg sim which includes a Universitity of Konstanz buidling and the appealing Literatur Cafe.

Tuesday, 13 November 2007

The horror

No. of minutes unable to log into SL: 30 (v.v.bad); No. of people who nevertheless show up for discussion: 4 (good)

Last week (before dashing to RL conference) had scheduled discussion in SL about the possible uses of the Infolit iSchool island, with me leading it. As usual prepared notecards, arranged seating and so forth, then logged out and rebooted computer to avoid crashing later on.

V. big mistake. Turns out that LL have problem with logging in so spend 30 minutes staring repeatedly at screen (see pic) which warns that Second Life may appear Frozen YES IT WAS FROZEN I COULDN'T GET IN. As hour of discussion approaches feel increasing panic but when has passed time by 10 mins find that strange calm descends, though still have urge to beat forehead against PC screen. Only consolation is that others have same problem, since obviously would be v. bad for hoards of people clamouring for discussion to be assembled in Regent Plaza wondering where I am.

When eventually get in, find no-one there, which could mean anything, really. People gradually arrive and in end there are 5 of us plus anotther person who flits in and out as happens in SL as flitting is so much easier.

Have discussion which is logged at Seems that idea of conference is popular, only question being - what on? Lorelle also promises to propose solution to the Notecard Overload which am starting to suffer from in the Centre. She later drops notecard with ideas on SL ebooks, which is useful and will have to ponder.

Person naked but for boots and hat walks in whilst meeting draws to close. As we are all v. polite librarians, Brits etc. do not draw attention to this and indeed, when do gently indicate that clothes might be the done thing, said person is mortified having thought that clothes were Worn. Is moral there always to check that clothing is on body before leaving house.

Tuesday, 6 November 2007


Discussions held: 1 (good); No of places where posting about discussion transcript: 7 (getting ridiculous)

Last Thursday held first discussion session (Inquiry Based Learning and Second Life) on Infolit iSchool. As usual difficult decision as to how much to publicise . Wish to avoid the "office cat is only delegate" scenario experienced on one occasion, on other hand if too many people becomes unmanageable. In end advertise on UK educators lists in addition to usual library one, also Art Fossett v. helpfully sets up Facebook group as promised and v. embarrassingly only stumble across it after event takes place.

Prepare Sakura House with extra chairs in inventory should hoards descend. Wear scripted prim skirt so can sit down without revealing underwear. Prepare notecards on "What is IBL" and "This discussion in IBL and SL", create posters and place in Sakura House. Put redirect teleporter in old CILR office and at Regent Plaza on the island. Decide to remove part of back window of House so easier to get in and out. Reboot computer to minimize risk of crashing. Switch on chat log.

Then sit and contemplate sunrise until first people arise. Soon evident that will not just be me and cat, hurrah. Turns out to be largest meeting so far. Transcript of chat is at

V. interesting IMHO, but also shows that have to refine SL listening/reading skills still further as seem numerous points where indulge in parallel stream of consciousness. Is definitely useful to have 2 people involved in discussions to pick up on different threads and keep on track. Also perhaps need sign in centre of circle which says TAKE A NOTECARD since otherwise start sounding like broken record at start. But venue seems to work, so great relief. Also one participant has video-ed and will be using in presentation in USA, which I think v. cool.

After meeting zoom round and photograph someone talking balloon ride. No. of rides has shot to 28 but does not compare well with over 1000 rides taken on Info International tour vehicle.

Then spend some hours: editing transcript for typos (mostly mine) and taking out XXX IS ONLINE parts of chat, mounting chat using excellent Leeds thingy, updating notecards, updating textures to put on posters with notecards in, rearranging posters in CILR (have now grouped them by broad topic rather than by date) , uploading to Flickr, writing blog entries, posting info on where transcript is to Groups (etc etc). And I've got another discussion this evening. Seem to be making work for self.

Monday, 5 November 2007


Fireworks parties attended: 1 (good) Attempts to explain Guy Fawkes to foreigners: several (bad)

Attended jolly fireworks party on Info International organised by Pam Ribble to celebrate November 5th.

This of course is traditional time in Britain to incinerate guys, let off rockets, burn fingers on poorly cooked sausages, wait for 3 hours in casualty with cinder in eye etc.

SL Fireworks followed usual pattern:
1) Turn light to Midnight
2) Observe lights swooshing around in impressive fashion
3) Find self unable to move and crash out
4) Log back in and enjoy further colourful swooshings
5) Congratulate organiser
6) Spend hours in Photoshop selecting and tweaking photographs

but with additonal feature, namely

4a) Attempt to explain Bonfire Night concisely whilst avoiding insulting people of various faiths and in awareness of fact that cannot remember when Guy Fawkes actually made explosion attempt, so hurrah for Wikipedia.

Am determined to have firework display on Island at some point, so will note down here that firework makers are Allen Park, Sweet Surface and Cubeos.

Whilst SL fireworks were going on, so were RL ones outside so had pleasing RL/SL synergy. Only remembered afterwards that had brought own SL sparkler to add to fun but perhaps this would have been last straw to bring down entire sim.

Clearing up

Vehicles abandoned: 4 (bad); Bottles of Jack Daniels abandoned: 1 (bad)

Island no longer my own as now populated by students in addition to odd colleague or two. This is v. good, but does mean that certain amount of clearing up to do. Had put vehicles in freebie pack for students which seemed to go down well, but is no v. good surface for bike trails on island so inevitably riders end up tangled in water garden or at bottom of river.

This illistrated by various sad pics in this entry. As am now all-powerful Island Owner could in fact delete all items belonging to others with one scornful click of the mouse. However take lesser route of Returning items to people's Lost and Found inventories. After months of having assorted cats, antelopes etc. returned to mine, is quite satisfying to be returning stuff to someone else's.

Also stumble across abandoned Jack Daniels bottle. Had installed Jack Daniels vendor near student residences but without tasting more than one drink. Now emerges that after a few sips, Daniels animation takes avatar over and slumps him on ground in stupor. Do have pic illustrating this but will withold to spare embarrassment, mainly mine in having supplied vendor in first place.

Should I remove it? Think not, in that stupor-effect could be seen as moral warning against perils of drink.

The blog of Sheila Yoshikawa on her adventures in Second Life. This may be very thrilling. Or possibly not.