Dec 30, 2009

virtual skiing

x-country skiing seems to have caught on in Second Life this year!  yesterday was 5 degrees Farenheit with high winds in real life, but i could still ski! click the picture to see it BIG. and if you want to try it yourself, go to the place called HORSE in Second Life.

Dec 29, 2009

what else can you do?

play the cards you're dealt
serious play, what is that?
make up your own rules

Dec 27, 2009

what did you do for christmas?

A second life story:

last year after christmas i was walking around in some of the winter builds...they are gorgeous, cities, forests, mountains, all snowly with ice skating places and warm fires and sparkly ice. I thot it would be fun to have x country skis, so I went to a ski resort -- Austria -- to find some, and had this conversation:

Stranger: are you here for the discussion?
me: who me? I am just looking around. what is the discussion?
S: On what did you do for christmas and new years.
me: (thinking this is the lamest discussion topic i have EVER heard of in Second Life, and feeling a little sorry for her) Well, i have to leave soon, but how was your christmas?
(i sit down on the bench with her)
S: Oh it was fun!  We had carolling and everything. Where are you from?
Me: vermont
(this led to a discussion of where that was, how much snow we had, the temperature, etc.)
Me: where are you?
S: India

we explored christmas customs in India and in the US for a bit. I said when i went carolling people were watching TV and dint even know we were there. She said "We make them come to the door, and we give presents to the children and tell them stories of Jesus."
(I sensed from pauses in her typing that she might be translating)

S: And everyone makes a big crib for their house.

after some confusion i realize this means what we call a creche or manger scene. I told her we did not put them in parks or schools because not everyone was christian.

me: and actually I am buddhist.
S: I am Hindu, but i love jesus.
me: i love jesus too!

Dec 26, 2009

turkey dreams

5:45 am xmas morning.
the alarm flashes; plays a jaunty tune.
3/4 asleep i hold it over his face so the tune and the light pour down on him.
his eyes open.
"put the turkey in the oven"  i mumble.
"already did" he replies.
i wake up a little more, suspicious even in my sleep.
"you did?"
"i woke up thinking about it, so i just got up and did it."
"you sure you dint dream it?"
"i'm sure"
"did you turn on the oven?"
"should i go down and check"
worried, suspicious, he probably dreamt it, 10 people no turkey...but too late i am asleep.
later i wake up smelling turkey...he really did it!
all is well.

Dec 23, 2009

sing noel!

what was that?
out of the dark pre-solstice evening a snowball hits the front porch storm door.
oh i forgot --'tis the night for town carrollers.
we shivered for them in the open storm door making breath clouds.
hope they sing a short one!

out on the main road, all were crammed in warm and - comfortable?- in a big wooden cart pulled by 2 ginormous shaggy horned oxen beasties.
the ox-driver and a few others walking beside with lanterns, adults and kids.
we got a spirited rendition of Rudolph, and funny asides shouted out by the kids.

did they think how sweet, these 'old folks' (me and hubby LOL) maybe remembering caroling in the "old days"
well, yes, we do!
we carolled these streets for few years, with a group of all adults, while baby-sitters watched our flocks by night.
we walked and sang real Christmas carols, about Jesus and angels, and stuff like that...and we knew the words!
our singing improved with each block... we had a few bottles of jack daniels buried in the snow at strategic corners.
'in goes my hand into that wool-white bell-tongued ball of holidays' and out comes Jack Daniels!

Dec 18, 2009

how to get a dog

what if you were walking along, minding your own business, and saw a man hitting a young dog that was barfing in an alley?
what would you do?
if you were nancy, you couldn't just walk by -- you'd start a conversation with the guy about his dog.
and it would end like this: "lady, you want this dog? here, it's yours."
sick puppy!!

i've often wondered what happened when he got home.
"where's the dog honey?"
dog gone!!

nancy and sara do get their dogs in unusual ways.
once, driving, they saw a dog running in the median.
they pulled over, opened the door, and in it jumped.
new dog!!

currently they have two. one's a big, typically bumbly black lab that used to belong to a neighbor.
week after week the poor critter was tied out in the heat, ignored, unwatered, not quite bad enough for officialdom to intervene.
one morning he got off his chain, and ended up at their door.
they opened the door, let him in, and he's been theirs since...shhhhhhhh!
secret dog!!

all the other neighbors conspired in this; no one told where the dog had gone.
after a week or or so in hiding, it just became their dog...another of those ubiquitous black labs, and eventually, the previous owner moved away.

this reminds me ... my hairdresser once stole a horse from a neighboring farm! the horse was not being fed and was skin and bones.
beth was unable to get the authorities involved fast enough, and fearing it would die, she drove her trailer up one day, and took it!
she actually ended up in jail, mostly for punching the policeman who came to get the horse back.

funny how compassion can make you daring.

Dec 16, 2009


we wait for years to use some jokes.
i'm always trying to work Kipling into the conversation, hoping someone will ask me if i like Kipling.
but only once in my lifetime, or maybe twice, has it happened!
and i was ready!
i replied in an off-handed manner, "I don't know. I've never kippled."
life is good sometimes!

Dec 14, 2009


All families have their running gags.
(indian boy - "Mrs Gag, can little Running come out to play?")

One of ours is a kind of tourette's joke. It results in involuntary shouting.
Based on a truly stupid joke, it just sticks in your brain and never goes away.
Here's a version of the joke:

A kid is watching a drummaker and asks what the tops of the drums are made of.
The drummaker replies "Hide."
The kid looks around nervously "WHAT?"
The drummaker says impatiently "Hide! Hide! The cow's outside"
The kid says "I'm not afraid of a cow!"

OK. dumb joke. but the ongoing effect is...
whenever you hear the word HIDE
you have an overwhelming urge to shout "HIDE HIDE THE COW'S OUTSIDE!"

This has happened to me, and to my son (not a child) and perhaps others in the family.

People mostly ignore it
and try to pretend you didn't actually shout anything
or at least not at them.

Dec 13, 2009

cat meets xmas tree

got this email from 5 the other day...

 Cricket's new bass player, KC, recently acquired an 8-month-old cat. The cat, a girl-type, has been friendly and sociable and well-behaved and he (KC) is very happy with her.
KC also loves Christmas. He used to play bass in a band that only played Christmas songs. So, naturally, KC brought home a Christmas tree early this week.
The cat went under the bed, dug a hole up into the box spring and went in there and didn't come out to eat or to pee or anything for days. I told KC about some of the remedies we know to help calm down our freaked out little beings, and I offered to come over and talk to her for him.
He was very grateful for the advice, and after careful consideration of the various products available to deal with cats, cat pee, and so on, he went home and got rid of his Christmas tree. The cat came out from under the bed, began eating and being sociable and peeing in her box again. Problem solved.
Except that KC loves Christmas and he wants a tree! I told him to get a Norfolk pine and raise it and the cat together.

Dec 11, 2009

get up and dance!

instant messages fly back and forth "Komuso is playing at XYZ"!
blues to dance to, gruff voice, electrifying harmonica -- quick! change out of your 18th century ball gown and butterfly wings and into fave jeans and halter, change updo to ponytail, no shoes needed -- and teleport to the venue!
i've been to Komuso gigs where i had to tp next door and try to walk or fly in, because the place filled up so fast!
once there, search your inventory for your favorite dance animations, click on your music and out wails Komuso's live music...where is he anyway? his bedroom somewhere? Japan or Australia? who knows!
the gravely voice and unique style of his St James Infirmary has everyone up and dancing!
more avatars arrive, dragons, tinies, furries, nekos, elves, winged people, bedside tables (LOL that's Barney), nearly naked people, people draped in bling, all moving to the beat, w00ting and howling.
linden dollars drop into the tip jar...always a good night for Komuso!
and then...and then...AND THEN...when no more avatars, no more bling, no more music, no more dance animations can possibly be stuffed into one sim...BANG !!!
we crash!

Komuso Tokugawa is one of my favorite musicians to see 'live' in Second Life. If you go to this link you can listen or download some of his blues cuts - play them and don't just sit there tapping your foot -- GET UP AND DANCE!

Free! Poor Boy (Extended Bluestronica Cut) now available @ Live SL cut, 10 min 18.6mb 256kbps
From the cotton fields to the asteroid belts, a raw improvisational elektrik koolaid space bluestronica enhanced version of poor boy, recorded live in sl on the12th Dec 2009 at "Up The Creek" club.
Pay what you like in L$ or paypal to
Cu in the bitstream,

Dec 10, 2009

whiter and brighter

out of the drizzle and gloom
i asked the universe
please don't leave us here
in november darkness -
fourteen inches of snow fell
and the world is bright!

Dec 8, 2009

a tale of two weddings

this is the first wedding i went to in Second Life. a couple of years ago.
the groom, Squiddy, was one of the first friends i made in SL, and the first avatar to hug me.
i was so surprised to find that when someone hugs you in SL you actually feel like you are being hugged! 
the wedding vows were beautiful, as was the ceremony. it didn't last a year, but he did eventually find his true (SL) love. 
last time i heard from them, he was professor of dark arts at Hogwarts (in SL).

this weekend i went to another wedding. also one of my early SL friends.
we first met when we showed up at the wrong time for a peace protest march, and had a long discussion about Yosemite's decision to use a wheelchair in SL, as she does in real life.
we spent a hilarious noobie afternoon trying to get a boat to work on what turned out to be the wrong kind of water. 
Yosemite has gone on to work with designers fashioning better wheelchairs in SL and to push for SL venues to be wheelchair accessible. 
she and her partner have a lovely house that Yose keeps remodeling -- one of her partner's vows was to put up with all the remodeling! -- and they are expecting a baby soon (in SL). they've never met in real life and don't plan to!

Dec 7, 2009

working within the law

Liz does not allow her cats to put their feet on the table. yes, this raises many questions, but i'm thinking cats don't have that much imagination. 
in fact, cats believe that if a tree falls in the forest and no one is there to hear it, it's because at that moment no one actually exists.
one morning last week, Liz spilled a bit of milk on the table while having breakfast. 

she has way more imagination than a cat, and was able to pick up her floppy cat, not her stiff cat --  that never would have worked -- and holding it like a football, or maybe a bagpipe, use it as a sort of vacuum cleaner. 
she held all its feet under it, not touching the table, but tipped it's head down to the milk so it could lap it all up.
worked great she said!

Dec 6, 2009

Gift Giving - the New Health Craze?

The final word on gifts may be this New York Times article on giving. We know gifts may be a mixed or a mis-communication to the receiver, but for the GIVER -- it turns out it's GOOD FOR YOU!


the perfect gift?

once upon a time, before EVERYTHING was made in China, back when Amazon meant a one-breasted woman warrior, i gave a friend a gift of a wind-up painted metal duck with a propeller on his head, riding on a tricycle. just for the absurdity of the thing!
it came in a funky chinese box. this may have been common on the west coast, but around here it was totally insane.
we loved our duck-on-a-bikes and we actually played with them sometimes! such an object was not to be had in the city she lived in. so each time i visited i'd bring her one and it became her ritual gift.
new house? duck-on-bike.
birthday? duck-on-bike.
retirement party? duck-on-bike.
xmas yankee swap? duck-on-bike.
once she called me in desperation. "LUCY i need a duck for this weekend!" luckily someone i knew was traveling to that city, and left a brown paper wrapped package at their hotel desk FOR VICKI.  an emergency duck-on-bike! by now everyone she knows has one. but if she meets some new people i may get the call again. 

the store that sold them no longer sells them, but i've seen them in the store across the street.

Dec 4, 2009

may we reach enlightenment at the same time

waiting to use the narrow bridge
are 2 huge horses with a wood wagon.
the driver, tall handsome grey haired
stands in the wagon reins in hand
as our group of cars goes by.

some physics law makes cars go in clumps
on these 2 lane country highways.
no cars pass our house for an hour
then 7 in a row.
we joke that 25 minutes ago the light changed in Springfield.

the same law makes bottlenecks behind tractors,
makes walking meditators
circumambulate at the pace of the slowest walker,
makes families start and stop to the rhythms
of the sickest or the craziest.

Dec 3, 2009

more more on gifts!

a friend and i have exchanged many gifts over the years.
a few years ago she said "how about if we give each other back gifts we didn't really like?"
she said "the person who got it for the other, REALLY liked it, thought it was special, and would probably appreciate it!"

this seemed quite sensible at the time.
i was fascinated by my reaction when she returned one of my gifts!
i thought "this? she didn't like THIS? this is so wonderful!" and i felt a little hurt.
then i thought "i REALLY like this! i'm glad she gave it back to me instead of giving it to the thrift shop."
and i treasure it still.

Dec 2, 2009

read my mind!

give me a gift of
just what i always wanted
but never told you.

Dec 1, 2009

continuing thoughts on gifts

gifts are personal, and/or gifts are ritual.
there used to be rules for when to give, what to give, how much to spend, based on the kind and degree of relationship.
i think that's gone, for most of us modern folks.

now gifts are personal. what does this say about me, what does this say about you.

the two get mixed up.
i know how to make soap.
so i make you some special soap to give you on a ritual occasion.
i am giving you my time and my talent.
you take it as a personal gift, not a ritual gift.
you think maybe i think you don't wash enough.
you think i didn't care enough to buy you something.
i think you will think i am cool because i can make soap.