Wednesday, December 10, 2008

SL Human Rights Festival (and a small gripe)


I received this card a couple days ago out of the blue:

"The 60th Anniversay of the Declaration of Universal Rights is being celebrated by a huge festival in Second Life. More than 60 concerts mark the 60 years and the talents of 100 artists and musicians are part of the celebration. More than 30 sims reflect the 30 articles of the UN Convention.

The festival is the first time a themed programme of events on this scale in Second Life has aimed at raising real life issues. It draws on the talents of artists, musicians and campaigners from many different countries including Argentina, Cyprus, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, South Africa, Sweden, the Netherlands, the UK and the USA. Some well know SL musicians are headlining the festival including:

AYDEN KRUH - CYLINDRIAN RUTABAGA - JAYNINE SCARBOROUGH - ZAPHOD THEAS - JUNIVERS STOCKHOLM - LONNIE NIGHTFIRE - RUSSELL EPONYM - NAPHTALI HAWKS - AYDEN KRUH - MAXIMILLION KLEENE - FREESTAR TAMMAS - LOUIS VOLARE LANDON - KOMUSO TOKUGAWA - THUMPER BOUCHER - RARA DESTINY - JANO RUNO - BLAIR BONDE - TJ OANONOUCHI - OHMY KIDD - MIA MAXSTED - VIENNA JAMES - KITZIE LANE - PILLOWFISH - VIRTUAL LIVE BAND etc etc

Artists whose work will be displayed include:

AURAKYO INSOO - ARTISTIDE DESPRES - AM RADIO - EERCHECK HICKS - ELFOD NEMETH - VELAZQUEZ BONETTO - UB YUFI - CHEEN PITNEY - FILTHY FLUNO- TOOTER CLAXTON - IZIKAEL NOVI - JOSINA BURGESS - THOTH JANTZEN - SALIANT INFINITY - NONNY WRITER - VALJEAN ANSAR etc etc

There will also be talks from Ghana, Switzerland, Poland and the UK, poetry slams and stand up comedy.

The UN Convention sets out the universal rights of all humanity. However as well as a celebration, the festival is also designed to raise rights that are breached - the right to free speech, a fair trial, shelter, rights of women and children to be free from violence etc.

The opening of the Festival includes a live interview from Paris with Draxtor Despres (Bernard Drax). He has just been awarded a Every Human has Rights Award for his machinima on the Guantanemo Bay build Gone Gitmo by Nonny Writer and Ping Rau explained " Virtual Gitmo is the prime example how an immersive environment, which has the power to collapse geographies and enable communcation in real time across cultural boundaries, can help people engage in important issues concerning human rights." He will be speaking about the award and plans to bring other awardees to the discussion at Angel's Nest at 8am SLT on 10 December. Then a concert by Jaynine Scarborough will launch the full programme of music with 12 concerts in the festival (including 3 at the Amnesty International sim) and other events around SL.

One of the leaders of the festival, musician Junivers Stockholm, has been appointed one of the musicians for the Amnesty International Small Places Tour (http://www.smallplacestour.info/site/). This is inspired by Eleanor Roosevelt's words "Where, after all, do universal human rights begin? In small places, close to home - so close and so small that they cannot be seen on any maps of the world. Yet they are the world of the individual person... Such are the places where every man, woman, and child seeks equal justice, equal opportunity, equal dignity without discrimination. Unless these rights have meaning there, they have little meaning anywhere. Without concerted citizen action to uphold them close to home, we shall look in vain for progress in the larger world." This is the first time Second Life has been the venue for concerted citizen action to highlight human rights across the world.

Junivers and activists Any1 Gynoid and Medora Chevalier explained that they are really excited about the growth and power of the festival plans.

Junivers Stockholm said: "Wow, this is growing! Person to person, network to network - the connections grow and we'll build on them to back actions for humanity now and in the future."

Any1 Gynoid said: " We have an awesome array of SL's finest talents backing the festival. Everyone says yes, they want to stand up for human rights. This is going to be a festival to remember! Woot!"

Medora Chevalier said: "There is a new mood of optimism spreading around the world. We no longer need to be divided. We can act and campaign together, as humans caring about humans, sharing solutions, making change happen. The connections made in this world make ripples spread across the world to strengthen human rights."

There are a range of good causes in Second Life associated with the festival. These include Amnesty (featured on 10th), Uthango™ a social enterprise based in South Africa (featured on 11th), Keep Kids Safe/DrivebyAgony (featured on 13th), Peace Train/Twilight's Peace (featured 14th). Many others are featured in the sims visited for concerts or exhibitions during the festival.

The Festival started with an idea at discussions following Carp's the Rings Rock Opera, which raises social justice issues using music and drama. The performance of the Rings on 14th December at NMC Labs will be the last for some time as a break is planned. It has been featured on the popular SLTV programme Tonight Live with Paisley Beebe http://www.slcn.tv/tonight-live-paisley-beebe-3

Festival details are shown in the notecards below; on http://slhumanrightfestival.wordpress.com, on the Festival Travel HUD available at Angel's Nest http://slurl.com/secondlife/Angels%20Nest/128/103/23 and at many many other supporting sims throughout SL.

For more information contact by IM in Second Life Junivers Stockholm, Medora Chevalier or Any1 Gynoid"

Please check out this worthy and important set of events.

That being said, I want to make a small gripe. Had I not heard about this from my friend Jaynine, who is a center of a very large and interesting universe in Second Life, I would not have heard about this at all.

Announced at the opening event I attended today with 36 others (five or so of whom were being interviewed in voice in a rather disorganized chatter and another 10 of whom were organizers) was that there are 60 sims devoted to this event (as opposed to the 30 listed in the card). Holy cow! SIXTY sims!

Did someone not ask the Lindens to take note of this? Where is the promotion for this? I looked on the Second Life blogs, on the New World Notes, on SLNN, on the Herald--nothing. Looked at plurk. Checked twitter. Nothing. Facebook? Nada.

I am sorry to say, but the announcement poster leaves a lot to be desired, which is a shame since there are thousands of worthy graphic artists in SL. And the notecard? It desperately needed an editor.

I can guarantee you, more people know who Miss Virtual World 2009 is than know about this very worthy and ground-breaking event because there were people doing graphics, writing concisely, and promoting Mimmi Boa's ascendancy. Take a lesson from these silly fashionistas, all ye high-minded people. The world of commerce has a lot to teach you.

What irks me is that there was a lot of work put into this. I can only imagine how much time and effort went into creating content for 60 sims. I know some were already done and linked in, but a HUD was made to travel them. That alone is a lot of time. I am sick to think that all this time was spent for only a few hundred or thousand to view it when we are seeing concurrencies of 70,000 now. If no one is there to hear the tree fall, has it fallen?

This points out a huge gap, a difficult gap, in our Second Lives--getting the word out. It's not easy. But it also points out that half of what you need to do in Second Life is not just content production but also getting the word out. Keep it in mind.

Do I have a solution? Nope. This is what I struggle with every day for RFyre. However, I think the organizers could have done a lot more than they have.

So I am doing my small part. My five dear readers, please check it out. Poorly-syntaxed slurl listed above or in the blog you can kind of read about in the graphic (and which is misspelled in the notecard).

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

This just in. Eshi got her Green Card!

[14:15] Eshi Otawara: guess what i am holding in my hand?
[14:15] Eshi Otawara: :)
[14:16] Harper Beresford: !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
[14:16] Eshi Otawara: mhm
[14:16] Harper Beresford: Happy Thanksgiving!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

[14:17] Harper Beresford: john's singing, "Eshi got her green card, Eshi got her green card.."

Eshi wanted me to add this:
[14:33] Eshi Otawara: i am really greatful to SL community for supportive words and for getting involved
[14:35] Eshi Otawara: i wish they'd still remain involved because this cause affects not just me but many other families. It is important and I hope that my struggle will teach a few how important it is that we all be involved in out government, no matter how we might sometimes feel that our voice doesn't make a difference- it DOES.

I blow up a nightclub owner and game maker

I was busy today carefully patching up the big hole I made at RFyre when I got a call from my friend Jackson Vantelli. I put down the duct tape and prims I was using to try to patch it up and answered his IM. FYI, Jackson is the owner of Quarters nightclub, a rather fun place for dancing and gaming (though not my personal taste in music as I tend towards the less mainstream). He is also a supermodel, builder, publisher, and general SL extraordinaire. Jackson wanted to show me his new Blackjack table. I needed to get the hole fixed before Raven saw it, but I guessed I had time to see his new toy.

I tp'd in and Jackson offered me a seat at the table. When I went to take another, he said, "Oh no, sit here, Harper. Right next to me." He patted the seat. I was a little suspicious and narrowed my eyes. "Just want to look at those pretty green eyes, darlin'." Jackson is a notorious flirt. Somehow he gets away with it (and finds time to do it on top of all the other stuff he has going on in SL). I can't believe with all that he can survive in SL--women can be pretty vicious here. But he slides through.

I sat down and proceeded to get myself beat handily at Blackjack. Now, I know a lot of this is the luck of the draw, but the luck seemed to be falling on the side of the "dealer" and Jackson. I am glad the thing didn't take bets or I would have lost a bundle.

Then Jackson proceeded to explain to me that HE made the table, building, textures, and scripting. Now it all came clear. Jackson had to have coded that thing so he could win.

Well, all I could do was take out my own weapon--a sweet piece of candy. (You know what's coming next.)

"Candy, Jackson? Got an early batch of holiday humbugs." Jackson happily (and obliviously) took one.


I winced when, on the third crunch, Jackson blew. I guess this will be the last time you ask me to "hit you," hm, Jack?

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

An appeal regarding the Widow Penalty (do it for Eshi!)

As you know, Eshi Otawara is still pending notification about her status in the US. While recent news has been positive for her, things are not as good for all widows of American citizens.

Brent Renison is a lawyer fighting the Widow Penalty in the US. Eshi contacted Brent a few months ago after listening to a podcast both Crap Mariner and I told her about, and he agreed to help her with her case. At the same time, Eshi met my friend Mike in SL. Mike also contacted Brent, and they put together a case for Eshi. Mike forwarded this letter to me and asked me to forward it on behalf of Eshi and the other widows who have been unfairly penalized because their American spouses died before they were able to get a fair hearing.

Please join us in assisting Brent and Eshi in this cause. Click through to the website, read about, consider if it is something you support, and contact your legislator.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

From: Brent Renison
Sent: Wednesday, November 19, 2008 3:30 PM
To: brent@ssad.org
Subject: 60 Minutes Exposes Widow Penalty - from Brent Renison

Hello,

I promised to let everyone know when I would appear on CBS 60 Minutes. The time has come. Barring unforeseen circumstances, Bob Simon, the most honored journalist in international reporting, will expose the “Widow Penalty” to the nation this Sunday night , November 23rd on CBS 60 Minutes.

America is deporting widows of American citizens automatically and without appeal when their spouse dies during bureaucratic processing of the green card application.

My sincerest desire is that, after watching the broadcast, Monday morning you will do something about this terrible practice. There are a number of ways you can help to end the widow penalty. The most important is to tell your elected officials that a change must occur in the abysmal way that we treat widows of American citizens. Whether you effect a change in the way the current or future Administration handles the cases, or push through a legislative amendment signed by the President, this practice must stop. Click on the box to find out how you can help.



Please be a part of that change on Monday morning, and please forward this email to just one person whom you trust to do the right thing. Forward to more than one person at a time, and accountability is lost – people will delete the email, just as you might delete mine.

Brent Renison

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

How Real is SL?

This is a linkback to Zoe Connolly's blog, on which I was privileged to be a guest blogger :)

Zoe Connolly's blog

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Second Life as an Exploration of Culture and Diversity

I have the honor and privilege of having Young Geoffrion as the guest blogger for my blog, so kindly offered to me through Arminasx's and Vint Falken's Mix and Match challenge. So without further ado, I give you Young Geoffrion....

An explorer learns to tread carefully around marshy ground, and there is no landscape so littered with quagmires and fraught with hidden dangers as those of Culture and Diversity. Where does Culture begin and Personality end? Is Culture received by the individual or created? How is Diversity to be measured and characterised? And is Diversity a Good Thing?

Melting pot and multicultural communities have always struggled with such questions because the personal self-identity of its members is built on these shifting quicksands. We no longer have the luxury of living unquestioningly in the stone farmsteads built by our grandfathers, where most of our day is spent in the company of those who look and think and act like us. We live instead in busy cities teeming with strangers, foreigners, mixed classes and races, where personal roles and social ambitions jostle. A wilderness of diversity and culture sits at our doorstep and waits at our fingertips.

Second Life was created in such a community, sprung up in one the most culturally diverse cities in the world. Diversity is implicit in the promise of a world imagined and created by its residents, and promoted in its advertising. We are born to this Life as Ruth but immediately begin a search for our own identity.

However, the Second Life pursuit of personal self-identity reflects a Western preoccupation. Other cultures emphasize the relation between the self and others, by defining the interdependent self, often employing extended kinship terms. Such cultures tend to view conformity as a virtue and diversity as a selfish unwillingness to accept a role in the community, an indication of moral immaturity, or even a dangerous untrustworthiness. East Asian traditions, military and regimental cultures and religious communities generally eschew diversity as disruptive and dangerous. They offer clear roles for individuals who want them and find them useful; I have lived a large part of my life in such a culture, and my sense is that they are barely represented in Second Life.

Why explore diversity in the first place? Is Diversity beneficial for the individual and the social collective at large? It seems to me the answer depends on how individuals manage and integrate multiple social identities across culture, gender, class, or race, profession and ideology. In the United States, assimilation of immigrant cultures to the dominant American mainstream is encouraged, while in Canada and Europe one tends to see a public effort to maintain a separate identity or integrate multiple cultural identities. In other societies we see ethnic cultures marginalized. In Second Life, at least among English-speaking residents, no single dominant culture has emerged and identities are generally designed to be as distinct as possible.

Second Life celebrates play as a social dynamic. Though some come to work, the majority of residents are here to entertain themselves and their friends, and this too is a typically Western preoccupation. It could be argued that diversity is an advantage in a social environment designed for entertainment, but not in situations designed to accomplish other goals. Communication problems and relationship conflict hamper information exchange in diverse teams, and one way to reduce conflict is to emphasize the common identity of the team. On the other hand, homogenous teams may suffer from reduced group creativity and smaller skill sets by marginalizing or assimilating diversity.

Some avatars enjoy frequently changing appearances; I think most settle on a single appearance and experiment with a variety of roles within different groups. As Second Life permits us to participate in behaviors typical of identities other than our own, we learn to identify with multiple social groups and discover compatibilities between different cultures. This process unlocks knowledge and unleashes creativity. But whether it helps or hinders the pursuit of social goals is still unclear.

Second Life turns this morass into a playground, where diversity is a given and managing personal identity is a valued skill.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Business blunders in SL (or a treatise on requests for Raven's free time)

I am not sure if you all are aware, but I am Business Manager for RFyre. For over a year, I have worked for Raven Pennyfeather and her small business on a part-time basis for a real life wage.

Over the year, Raven will tell you one of the things I have firmly impressed upon her is the value of her time in SL and out of it. For Raven, who derives her sole income from her business here, using her work time wisely is incredibly important.

As a relatively well-known content provider, Raven gets a slew of offers and solicitations from people in world. They can be anything from charity events to fashion shows to magazines to freebies wanted. She passes these on to me because, frankly, she's a nice lady. She would like us to at least acknowledge these solicitations. I am not so nice. I have no problem saying no.

Let me give you the bottom line on this one. Raven's time is money. She doesn't give it out for free nor should she. Nevertheless, countless people ask her on a daily basis to do so. And they do it unprofessionally, rudely, and rather foolishly. (I call all of this stuff "foolishness." Raven finds that hilarious.)

That being said, let me share some correspondence that I received today for our involvement in a magazine... or something... not sure what it is because the corresponder was not very articulate (and let say, at least this person bothered to notecard, which is more than most do):

Hello Raven, I am the Business Relations Manager of a new SL publication called XXX that showcases all SL talent/creators from SIM makers, fashion designers, prefab and furniture makers, photographers, and etc. We are currently reaching further and making the publication international being published in 6 different langauges amongst other projects to further showcase SL talent. Currently we are looking for sponsors/partners and the support from (name of comapny) would be wonderful. I have sent you a folder containing the current issue and information on the publication. hope to hear from you soon. :-)

Many thanks for you time

XXX

I am sure you can see I bolded "(name of comapny)." I did this because I laughed when I read it. I responded thus:

XXX:

Thank you for your interest in RFyre. At this time we don't have time budgeted to contribute to your magazine.

Please contact us in three months to fill us in on what you have been able to do with the magazine and we can then reconsider participation.

Thanks for asking for our participation.

Raven Pennyfeather
Empress of RFyre
CEO (name of comapny)

Harper Beresford
Duchess of RFyre
CMO (name of comapny)

She IM'd me back and thanked me. I don't think she read below the first "no." I took the time to read her thing!

Regarding charities, I think it is time we all start asking about the charities asking donations of us. I know Relay for Life has been extremely successful and I fully trust that monies made in Second Life go to the American Cancer Society, which is a fine organization. However, there are many other "charities" and fund-raising things that go on in SL which have no documentation.

Therefore, I have written a policy for RFyre which I am sharing on this blog. You are all welcome to cut and paste and put (name of comapny) in it.

RFyre's Policy Regarding Charities

We are frequently asked to donate time, content, and/or money to charities in Second Life from various people. While we are sympathetic to many causes, in most cases, we feel that money is better given directly to these causes rather than solicited on Second Life.

However, we are always willing to consider any unique possibility for supporting charities in SL if they are viable and if our efforts will be effective.

To best persuade us to participate or donate to any charity event in SL, we need the following information:

1. Avatar name who will be handling the funds
2. Real life name of that avatar
3. Charity name, website and address
4. Means of contacting the charity to insure that the avatar's representation in SL for their charity has been cleared

Thanks for asking for our participation.

Raven Pennyfeather
Empress of RFyre
CEO House of RFyre

Harper Beresford
Duchess of RFyre
CMO House of RFyre

We also get requests for freebies to be offered in hunts on sims where we have satellite stores, for charity hunts, etc. When I was a newbie, freebies were a valuable way for me to learn how to shop, how to dress myself, and what a broad variety of looks can be achieved in SL. They were great--when I got them from Free Dove.

However, there are people who actively seek freebies on SL and blog about this. We have offered freebies. Hundreds of avatars stream in, jam up our store, and stream out. We found no spike in sales. In fact, Raven has packaged a 250L GC in some freebies and never had takers.

There has been a lot of discussion among content providers about this. I spoke to one content person who had a treasure hunt at her sim on Halloween weekend and marked everything 10L to 140L. She convinced me that this was fair and would still draw traffic--but the kind of traffic she wants--people who bring money into the economy and spend it. She had a terrific idea.

So again, feel free to cut and paste, putting your (name of comapny) in it.

RFyre's Policy Regarding "Freebies"

Our policy regarding freebies or "gifts" is that we are very reluctant to provide them. Therefore, if you are receiving this notecard, our answer to you is no, we are sorry--we can not participate.

While we appreciate the traffic that "freebies" can build, our metrics show us that they do not generate sales for us or for our associates. When we have given out freebies on our sim or at other sims, we have never seen an appreciable increase in sales during the giveaway or after. We see a spike in traffic but not in sales.

We can only conclude that the audience that typically looks for freebies is not the demographic that brings money into Second Life. If we are looking for a promotion for getting money-spending customers to see our products, this is not it.

Additionally, our philosophy is that time spent producing content of the level that RFyre provides is worth some compensation. We are RL people spending substantial RL time on this content. Second Life has given us the opportunity to be compensated for our time and skills. Offering freebies devalues those skills and time for us and other creators. It sets into the economy a belief that this work should be free. In other words, it's devalued if we devalue it by offering it freely.

That being said, we have adopted a policy of offering deeply discounted items to potential customers. If an avatar can come up with 50L, that is more than enough to purchase our promotional item. We will gladly set out a promotional item at 50L to supplement your promotions.

Thanks for asking for our participation.

Raven Pennyfeather
Empress of RFyre
CEO House of RFyre

Harper Beresford
Duchess of RFyre
CMO House of RFyre

Let it be said, finally, that we love our customers. We want to be good to them. There is nothing more gratifying to Raven than to hear a customer express their love of her art or tell her a story about how much her creations mean to them. We do offer special promotions, and Raven passes out free outfits rather freely (I know this because she gave me one the day we first met, more than a year ago, for no other reason than she was just a very nice woman.)

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

OpenSpaces has been addressed

So it's true. The truth is as simple as expected. Linden Labs rushed a product to market, found out it didn't work, and lost money on it, which had to end. They have heard complaints and HAVE reacted.

Occam's Razor, Hanlon's Razor. Whatever you want to call it. M Linden has responded.

"We wanted to get this product to market quickly. Openspaces was wildly popular.... Since land-owners co-habitate on CPUs, if one owner adds an ocean and one builds a carnival, the shared CPU gets overloaded. The ocean-loving Resident who followed the original intent suffers and we are called in to resolve the conflict. Second Life is much too large to do that."

In other words, Joe rented to sploder-lovers, got his residents on his butt, called Concierge OR filed a lot of tickets and cost Linden Labs a lot of money, just as I suspected. Unfortunately, the ocean-lovers who never filed a ticket and sailed along peacefully got smacked for Joe's or Joe's resident's ignorance and Linden's not-so-great product offering.

Linden Labs' mistake forced them to do something that NO BUSINESS wants to do--raise prices. Linden makes more money if everyone is happy--why would they intentionally piss off their customers? There is no conspiracy.

Linden Labs has come up with a compromise--a week and a day after their announcement. I can bet there were a LOT of meetings about this one but it appears they read the blogs. People will still complain, but M Linden says, "We believe this is fair." I agree.

On another note, "Go Obama Go!"

Monday, November 3, 2008

The First Hour

Well, Linden Labs giveth and Linden Labs taketh away. I think Linden Labs has taken a right step in the direction of new user experience by deciding to hook up with Big Spaceship to tweak that new user experience. Does this mean we will have newbies who hook into this space, bring in Linden$ and content and make this a better place to be? I am hoping so. We need some good news.

As a Second Life Mentor, I have been frustrated with the questions people ask--not just "how do I fly," but also "where do I get my free land?" (Apparently that little offer is still out there...) Perhaps Big Spaceship is up to this task. It remains to be seen. Prolly just a few guys out of Brooklyn with a slick webpage. Hope they can pull it off.

Good luck!

I encourage all of you to throw your comments about that First Hour on my blog or on LL's blog. Hopefully those guys are reading this and learning something....

Saturday, November 1, 2008

The Openspaces Debacle... my take

I have listened in Concierge chat, read a lot of blogs and comments to the original blog from Jack Linden, and discussed this whole debacle about the Openspaces with several people. I have my take on it.

I am not sure about these statements about conspiracy regarding the manipulation of "land" prices, the naysayers predicting financial peril of Linden Labs (they have to make $50 more per person quick), or the doomsayers saying Philip is dying so they need to devote processor capacity to his life-sustaining machinery (OK, I didn't hear that last one but I am sure it's out there). If the folks at Linden Labs were clever enough to start a conspiracy, we would have more stability, more groups, and fewer bugs because they would be smart enough to fix those too.

Consider this to be a sort of Occam's Razor--all other things being equal, the simplest answer is the best. I believe that Jack Linden is entirely telling the truth about their problems with Openspaces. The description of their resource allocations (4 open sims per core in a quad core PC) is true, and I believe that people have "misused" the openspaces--simply because they can.

I put "misused" in quotes because I believe Linden Labs poorly managed customer expectations about these sims' performance. They should have driven into their Concierge customers' heads that these were the Yugo of sims and never allowed them to believe they were still going to be driving Tauruses when they moved to them. I also believe they should have limited the opening of these sims with clear instructions to the comsumers about what they should expect and been CLEAR and detailed about what "light residential" meant, over and over and over and then some more.

I believe, as a result, that they bought themselves a customer service nightmare with these Openspaces, and that is what this price increase is all about. I am envisioning this scenario: sim owner Joe is accustomed to access to personal Concierge phone service and calls whenever his regular sims are not working. Now he has Openspaces. He has just lost his butt on the land prices because of the change in regular sim entry costs, so he thinks this is another means of making money. He rents an Openspace to every Ruth and Philip who has $100 a month and a dream of having their own sim. They move in, put down butterfly rezzers and sparkly things and sploders and have parties every night at peak hours with 40 avatars. They have never owned a whole sim and now they can! They don't get fps, physics, any of that. They just know they wanted to have fun on their own little sim, maybe run a little business or start up a club. So they get a ton of lag and unreliability and the other three poor saps also sharing that core get stuck too.

Joe's residents IM him constantly about performance. In Joe's mind, he doesn't delineate between the sims he pays $295 a month for and the sims he pays $75 a month for. All he cares is that LL's sims aren't performing to his expectations. He calls up Concierge. The Linden on the other end goes patiently through a set of diagnostics and then explains for the 10th time that day the truth about Openspaces, which is they are not meant to hold 80 avatars or 120 scripts or whatever. The call takes 30 minutes and Linden Labs uses up half the tier the made on that sim right there in that phone call. The customer hangs up, mad that Linden's idea of "light residential" and his idea don't coincide. The Linden hangs up, and they are down half the tier they got on that sim this month.

What it amounts to is that Linden Labs put out a product that is unprofitable and not working for them. They are raising the price. That's business. It was bad business and now they are righting it--the best way they can. They are giving two months notice. They were honest about their error. They are saying they are reading people's suggestions, struggling for some compromise (and I really think they are because they can see people are unhappy). And they will suffer for this when some customers flee and find alternative virtual spaces.

That's my take on this. Linden Labs screwed up. Occam's Razor. That simple.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Eshi's Second Rez Day


Well, it's that time. My sweet baby Eshi is two years old!*

Please help celebrate this auspicious occasion in a build Eshi created on my sim, Avant Garde, Saturday, November 1, 2-4 pm slt. We will be soothed by the techno tunes of Azrael Hax, and there will also be a special surprise for Eshi.

In honor of her creativity, we are asking you all to dress up in your best Halloween costumes to suit the spooky environment she built. (Recycle the ones from the night before--we don't care.)

Allow me to mention that this party is being sponsored in party by Straylight/Botanical and the very generous Kriss Lehmann, who put the trees into Eshi's hands so she could make the beautiful build you will see. Thank you, Kriss! (Hug a tree--buy one from Kriss and wrap your arms around it.)

If you had not received this invite, blame me. I flipped this one out and probably missed scads of people. It's an open invite. Come celebrate with us and come crash my sim. (I wanna see what happens when that happens.. I am so excited!)

*Everyone is asking me what the invite says. Eshi made it but I can read it: "Some day I am going to grow up and spend endless hours in front of a super advanced Commodore 64 and I will make all kinds of otherwise non existing stuff, and I will also be a boy sometimes, and I will be Asian and I will have robot friends."

Monday, October 27, 2008

I fly in space with Asterix

My old pal Asterix called tonight. When Asterix calls, I know I am in for an adventure. He is my one friend who owns every plane, boat, and it so happens, rocket ship on SL.

[20:53] Asterix Whiteberry: i have this theory
[20:53] Asterix Whiteberry: that sl is round
[20:53] Asterix Whiteberry: everybody tells me its flat
[20:53] Asterix Whiteberry: but i say thats just because we're used to seeing it on maps
[20:54] Asterix Whiteberry: so, i thought i'd try for orbit tonight
[20:54] Asterix Whiteberry: but i need a witness
[20:54] Asterix Whiteberry: wanna come along?
[20:54] Asterix Whiteberry: another personal first?
[20:54] You: sure ~Smiles~
[20:54] Harper Beresford gulps
[20:54] Asterix Whiteberry: you know what it is to do this kind of thing with me
[20:54] Asterix Whiteberry: and how it coiuld end
[20:55] Asterix Whiteberry: i wouldn't ask just anybody to go along on this trip

He rezzed it. It was not pretty.


I had to gulp down my fear (and vanity) and climb in....


[20:59] You: do we get astronaut food in here?
[20:59] You: i heard it sucks
[20:59] Asterix Whiteberry: yeah
[20:59] Asterix Whiteberry: it does
[20:59] Asterix Whiteberry: gotta take it thru a straw
[20:59] You: do i have to pee in a bucket?
[20:59] Asterix Whiteberry: or it gets all over the place
[20:59] You: i mean
[20:59] You: a bottle?
[20:59] Asterix Whiteberry: thru a tube
[20:59] Asterix Whiteberry: in a bottle
[20:59] You: ack
[20:59] Asterix Whiteberry: you need to pee?
[20:59] Asterix Whiteberry: gads
[20:59] You: well
[21:00] Asterix Whiteberry: we shoulda taken care of that before
[21:00] You: come to think of it...

You can see where this is going....

OK, yeah.. space! The final frontier!

[21:01] Asterix Whiteberry: see
[21:01] Asterix Whiteberry: sl is round
[21:01] Asterix Whiteberry: what'd i tell you
[21:01] You: it IS!
[21:01] You: dayum
[21:01] Asterix Whiteberry: thats how they get so much packed in

(I prefer to differ. There are simply not enough prims for me.)


Being that Asterix knows me well, he interrupted the flight to comment on my outfit.

[21:03] Asterix Whiteberry: that's a great spacesuit you're wearing
[21:03] Asterix Whiteberry: just perfect for orbiting
[21:03] You: you like it, hm?
[21:03] You: bax coen boots.. only the essentials
[21:03] Asterix Whiteberry: i have on my topsiders
[21:03] You: as always
[21:03] Asterix Whiteberry: never go sailing without them


[21:06] Object whispers: 5 minutes before the end of the power.
[21:06] Asterix Whiteberry: uh oh
[21:06] You: OMG
[21:06] You: what?
[21:06] Asterix Whiteberry: power only good for five more minutes
[21:06] You: oh shit, i didn't want to die like this
[21:06] Asterix Whiteberry: yeah
[21:06] Asterix Whiteberry: they'd never find us up here
[21:06] You: having to pee up in outer space
[21:07] Asterix Whiteberry: lemme tell you we're way out
[21:07] Asterix Whiteberry: i have a space station
[21:07] Asterix Whiteberry: up here
[21:07] Asterix Whiteberry: somewhere
[21:07] Asterix Whiteberry: you can pee there
[21:07] You: thanks
[21:07] Asterix Whiteberry: if i can find it
[21:07] You: i hope we make it
[21:07] Asterix Whiteberry: in the next five minutes
[21:07] Asterix Whiteberry: geez
[21:07] You: feel any pressure?
[21:07] You: i sure do
[21:07] Asterix Whiteberry: why does this always happen to us

(Cuz I always agree to go on these cockamamie trips with you when everyone else is sane enough not to do it?)


Asterix, being Asterix, decided to take the quick way out. Sometimes that's a quick tp. Sometimes it's a nose dive. This time...

[21:08] Asterix Whiteberry: if we give out of power we'll take the fast trip down
[21:09] Asterix Whiteberry: hell
[21:09] Asterix Whiteberry: lets just go for an emergency landing
[21:09] Asterix Whiteberry: game?
[21:09] Asterix Whiteberry: hang on
[21:09] Object whispers: LANDING PROCEDURE ACTIVATED!
[21:09] Object whispers: LEAVING ORBIT!
[21:09] You: eeee!
[21:09] Asterix Whiteberry: whoooooaaaa
[21:09] Asterix Whiteberry: hell
[21:09] Asterix Whiteberry: fire
[21:09] Asterix Whiteberry: damn
[21:10] Asterix Whiteberry: you hanging in?
[21:10] You: yes
[21:10] You: eeeee!

(Howzat for blowing someone's head off. Didn't think I would get that in here, didya?)

[21:11] Asterix Whiteberry: i think i peed my pants
[21:11] Asterix Whiteberry: how bout you
[21:11] You: no i held it
[21:11] You: you said i had to
[21:11] Asterix Whiteberry: yeah i guess i did, didn't i

We landed in the ocean in a ball of smoke. I made it and my Bax Coens made it!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

5 X Real 55 X SL

Shameless Plug right up front: PLEASE come to the opening of the art show at TowerVisions Bethanienturm TODAY, October 3 at 3 p.m., featuring the smooth sounds of DJ Todd Action and the photography of Harper Beresford (SL), the painting of Vindi Vindaloo (SL)/Vinya Cameron (RL), the RL photography of Parker Noriega (SL), the paintings of Mario Dalpra (RL), and the photography of Gundrun Senger (RL). Meet Harper (me), Vindi and Gundrun in SL. Vision will be giving tours of his "vision" (see below). End of Shameless Plug.

For those of you who did not read the last post in my blog, I was in Berlin. I was there for a party for DU Diedrichs--an architecture firm in Berlin--in which I was one of the featured artists for their firm's celebration. Over 200 architects, clients, and artists from Berlin came to see the renovation of the Berlin Economic Ministry building, which DU Diedrichs had orchestrated, enjoy hors d'oeuvres and see one of my pieces as well as the painting of Vindi Vindaloo (SL)/Vinya Cameron (RL) (yes, Vindi Vindaloo, the famed fashion designer!), the RL photography of Parker Noriega (SL), the paintings of Mario Dalpra (RL), and the photography of Gundrun Senger (RL). We had a wonderful time.

I have to say, when I visited Berlin, Vision was an excellent host--he took me to some fabulous restaurants, drove me to see some great places in Berlin, and even invited me to his personal home to meet his family. He also, as I said before, took me to see the real Bethanienturm.

This is the story about Bethanienturm: Vision Planer is a noted architect in Berlin in RL. He purchased the church as seen in photos at Plush Avenue South and also seen on his website. Vision had the idea of turning this grand church into a living or office space in the heart of Berlin. After reading an article about Second Life, he saw the perfect opportunity to "envision" his idea.

So I saw the church and I saw the sights and I ate well in Berlin. The chocolate in Germany is, by the way, delicious, as are the Haribo gummy bears (as Vision's daughter will confirm).


I needed to return the favor. Well, you know what's coming.... I felt it was my DUTY to offer Vision a piece of MY candy. He is such a nice (and gullible) man. He has done nothing wrong--he bought the shoes I suggested, got an AO, let me build him a fireplace. He just.. you know.. needs a little Harper treatment.

So I offered him a humbug...


He said it tasted "fine." (He always says "fine"--it's a German thing.) He is a kind and gentle man.

So come meet Vision today, at the show. (Another Shameless Plug.)

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Blog 2 About Why Second Life People Are Wonderful

I am in Berlin. For any of you that hadn't heard about this, I was invited by Vision Planer and his architecture firm to show a piece of art at one of their firm's parties.

Here is the piece, at the Berlin Economic Ministry, which was a renovation that Vision's firm did for the German government. I have to say, the building is amazing--but many things are in Berlin. The cool part is, I know the architect! (Vision)



The most amazing thing are the SL friends I now have in Berlin. They have been accomodating, generous (!), kind and wonderful. I was in Tampa all over, among "my people."

There I was again, among "strangers," but they weren't. Goldie LeSueur--what a doll. He "saved" me from sitting in my room, took me out for a great lunch, sped me through the Berlin streets (he likes speed like I do--heehee), and made me feel really welcome.

I met Vindi Vindaloo in real life (and oh gosh, what a beautiful and amazing presence she has). Yes, the one who does the amazing clothes--her! She is a great painter, and she has an incredible personal story about SL in her life. I met Parker Noriega, a very talented photographer.

I met Jaynine Scaborough and Lunata Lupino, two of the friendliest and loveliest ladies one could ever meet. They became friends on SL but found out they lived very close to each other and became RL friends. And now they are MY friends. (And let me say, Jaynine is so generous and friendly and down-to-earth and Lunata has the BEST laugh--this sort of snorting giggle that is infectious--we laughed so much!) They took me to this tiny little intimate bar behind a little gallery in West Berlin--I mean, completely hidden away. It was marvelous.

So we were all at this party--lots of dark suits, architects, government people. And then a table of us SL people, giggling and talking about rezzing and textures and gestures. Vindi told me a great personal story about how SL has changed her life. Goldie showed the head minister how SL works (one of those dark suits). And Vision went from group to group, beaming.

Vision--his name suits him perfectly. Look at the photos of the TowerVisions Bethanienturm from SL I took. Now check THIS out:

This is a story about SL that needs to be told. I will not say much about it as it is Vision's story. But Vision took me into this church and we went up several flights of winding stairs (one of which was cracked from the bombing, which he showed me AFTER we came down). He wanted to open the door to let us into the bell tower, but it was stuck. You have never seen a man so bummed when he could not get it open.


Vision and I met and fell into friendship instantly and easily. We spent today visiting the Crematorium and the nearby grave yard. Then we went to the Jewish Museum from Libeskind. I am a museum officianado--I studied some of it in college. This was an exceptional museum. And Vision and I spent many hours together very easily--it was comfortable and engaging. We talked about many things as friends, and I am just sad he lives on the other side of the world because I could see our families enjoying a lot of time together.

I can't tell you what a wonderful experience it is meeting people you have spoken to in SL. It's amazing to see what is in their heads online but also to meet them in person, face to face.

All of us geeks are enthusiasts about Second Life--we love our pose balls and dances and clothes and builds and gestures. But there is something so much more nuanced about it--something much more transformative and social and connective for many of us.
OK, I am off to breakfast now. In Berlin!!!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

The Tale of Stroker's Travelling Pants

Stroker, the wonderful host of the Strokerz Ball, hosted the party wearing a leather harness, leather chaps and black horns through the entire party. He was a sight to behold.

Notice has been given to me that he had somehow misplaced his leather chaps and horns at the Marriott, and no one could find him to return them to him. So the leather chaps are going on a trip--hopefully a trip around the world.

The first photo will be posted showing none other than Ms. Raven Pennyfeather showing the pertinent evidence (the chaps) before they "walked." When I receive a copy of the photo or a link, I will post it here.

A gentleman from the Netherlands has packed them in his luggage and will be taking them with him overseas. It is hoped they will make it to Australia before they find their way back home and snuggly on Stroker's bottom.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Things I learned at SLCC 2008--it's all about the Love

Let me note first, this is written under the influence of narcotics. That being said....

I went to SLCC this weekend. To any "normal" person, that means nothing. To many SL residents, it means that I rallied myself and got on a plane to face a large group of people I have only known as idealized cartoons. The very obvious things I learned in no particular order:

1. There is a wide variety of people who engage in Second Life, across ages, genders (and I mean more than two), races, economic status, and country of origin. I was truly amazed by the variety pf people at the conference--from nice soccer moms to young geeks, from serious businessmen to wild and crazy girls who want to have fun. Our one shared identifier is a deep abiding love for our virtual worlds, our virtual selves, and our virtual communities.

And boy oh boy, we're talking Love with a capital L. I have been accused of being "addicted." There were people at the conference who had their laptops open 24/7. There were people whose speech was riddled with "rez" and "tp" and "crash." There were people who wore tails to reflect their furriness (you know who you are, Hydra).

It was amazing to see a nice middle-aged mother in her practical shoes talking animatedly to a thin short young man with a streak of pink in his hair and piercings along his ear. Or to see two straight-looking businessmen talking very animatedly with a short woman wearing faux wings and glittery eye makeup. Or in my case, a very ordinary middle-aged woman in the company of three handsome gentlemen, being treated like a queen (thank you, Xavier, Blaze and Gellan).

2. A corollary to that is that the people who organized this convention were incredible: Crucial Armitage, Nexeus Fatale, Rhiannon Chatnoir, Fleep Tuque, Misty Rhodes, and I know others I missed. They worked their butts off, no compensation, little glory. That includes the many volunteers

Which brings me back to this Love thing. These folks Love SL and the people in it. They were unremittingly enthusiastic, hard working, resourceful, cheerful, fun--amazing people who did it for the Love of SL and its residents. (Obviously nuts, all of them!)

3. None of us look like our avatars. I was not expecting that--I am not that naive and God knows I don't look like my avatar. Some people looked *better* (Eshi, Nexeus, Bevan, Filthy, Arminasx, Xavier among them--am I violating a confidentiality rule by disclosing that these people are RL hawt?). It was wonderful seeing the RL people who dwell in the avatars. I will never see their names and think about them the same way.

4. We all have two names. I spent the entire weekend responding to "Harper." My family would have thought that was weird. But Raven is only Raven to me. I wonder what it means to name oneself. In doing so, are we taking control of our lives, both in SL and in RL, and remaking our lives in something we can envision? I think so. I think it empowers us to place our lives in this fantasy world and then let some of it bleed over into our real lives.

By the way, one can pronounce Arminasx's name, somehow. I would say, "Arminaa..." and mumble the ending.

5. The Lindens are people too. Up until now, I never really associated with Lindens in world, despite the FIC label that was thrown at me. This is due, in part, to the fact that I figured they are busy people who don't have time to chat with residents. I came to understand, however, part of their job is chatting with residents. They are recipients of our energy, ideas, enthusiasm and they channel that into their work. They are also very smart and thoughtful people who have discussed what we discuss ad nauseum and are thinking of beyond a lot of what we address.

And let me note that they are just as frustrated with the problems SL has as the residents are. They are working hard on fixing this stuff and work on it tirelessly. (All I can think of is Prospero Linden, who just did a play on SL in his off time, telling me he interrupted his day and missed a number of presentations to go in a conference room and log on to help them fix problems this weekend--it's not his job but he did it anyway.)

They are as much in Love with SL as we are. Think--the vast majority of them have alts wherein they "play" online--building, performing (in Prospero's case), dancing, creating. They spend all day working in SL and then playing at night. They are bigger freaks than we are! ;)

They are also really nice folks, as diverse and funky as the population they serve. The Internet was once the domain of white geek boys--no more!

6. The friendships we made in SL are REAL. I think we all suspect it when we are in world, but it never becomes tangibly clear until we are face to face with the human who operates our friend's avatar. I have spent each and every day since Raven and I met talking to her. We talk in voice, in type, in email. Few people get as much contact with me as she does. And when we met, we fell right into place. I stayed at her beautiful home, and it was like being with family. I was completely comfortable.

Meeting Eshi was also a huge event for me. She is also like a sister to me. In fact, someone commented that we looked like sisters. She is the beautiful, vibrant, intelligent woman I knew she was. I wanted to take her home with me.

Meeting Xavier, Blaze, and Gellan was also huge. I cried when Xavier left the night he went back to his hotel. I wanted to take them all home with me. I wanted to wrap them up, take them home, and feed them waffles.

And meeting people like Teagan Linden, Arminasx, Tuna Oddfellow, Mia Linden, Georgianna Blackburn, Beyers Sellers and Bevan Whitfield, Hydra Shaftoe... it was amazing!

7. Having a toothache during SLCC sucks. Well this is a caveat. I didn't get to post about such a rich experience as Arminasx had as I was in dire pain from a toothache. I got off the plane from Tampa and within an hour and a half, I was in my dentist's chair, being poked and drilled as he started a root canal on me. I was miserable most of the weekend because of it, and yet I am still glad I went and I did have a lot of fun!

Please note this entire blog was written under the influence of heavy pain killers so I am not as eloquent as usual. I could riff about having two (or more) names for a whole blog if not drugged up. In fact, I could write a whole paper. Of course, I may simply be tripping right now. Who knows?

Thursday, August 28, 2008

I blow up a supermodel!

As you all know, I work for RFyre. I am generally NOT in the business of shameless plugs for RFyre, but today, I am going to.

Two reasons: first, we are having our first ever Treasure Hunt on the Isle this weekend, starting Friday at 1 p.m. slt and ending Sunday at 6 p.m. slt. PLEASE come. Raven is offering Mastrius and Twisted Swiss for FREE (in pieces scattered throughout the Isle) and several other goodies. We're having a party too. Aw, just show up because I am working hard on this!

Second, we have had the most gorgeous man on SL join our team: Jonny Tobias. (I think all the men I know in SL are gorgeous, but Jonny was voted Best of SL Top Male Model by Best of SL Magazine, so it's a much more "objective" statement.)


This is Jonny. Now, we ALL look pretty in SL. However, Jonny earned his title for more than having a pretty avatar. He's the real deal. He's a sweetheart both outside and inside and very good at what he does. He's a really valuable addition to our family.

That being said, I had to treat Jonny to a little candy cuz I think he's so sweet. (*wink*wink*) I dressed up like an angel, of course.


And I offered Jonny a sweet humbug (suckah!)


Blew his top hat right off. Poor guy. He is having to learn about life the Harper way.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Me for President!

My dear friend Tab Scott brought his candidacy to my attention today (courtesy of Bill Daul of NextNOW). He suggested this could be an "Open systems approach to politics":

Tab Scott for President

Well, I guess I am going to vote for him.

If I don't vote for myself first.







Wednesday, August 20, 2008

I blow up another artist.... almost

I met Chrome Underwood a while ago. He was at an exhibit for Stella Costello. He had a sort of newbie freshness about him: the dirty biker hair that I swear originated on Dirk Talamasca's head, the gray shiny newbie system shoes, the cute little waddle. We had a pleasant discussion--he had fine newbie manners--we friended, and then we didn't talk much after that. Who knows why? I think I crashed at some point, which put a wrench in the whole discussion. (I vaguely remember being bumped by someone's overly large avatar while we followed Stella around Tayzia Abattoir's wonderful museum.)

Either way, Chrome was not someone I spoke to often, if at all--until I received a scrawl on my Wall in Facebook today: "Hey Harper, Just posted on my presentation on the ever-so-touchy subject of fine art in Second Life at SIGGRAPH last week." Hrm.

So I looked at Chrome's blog, and darn if he wasn't a presenter with a bunch of high-tech guys about art in Second Life (a subject near and dear to my heart). So I invited Chrome over for a chat about art.

He showed up and he had changed a bit. He no longer had the waddle. He was wearing prims and he had chrome hair. (Still the dark Dirty Biker hair, but he had shined it up and given it a touch of glow--very ingenious.)

I gave Chrome a tour of my villa and gardens. Those of you have seen it know I am a "primcess" (nothing like Shenlei, of course--I can only dream of that), but he continued to insist I was a Princess as he looked around. He stomped around my villa with that *very* he-man Animazoo male walk and ruined some flowers. Then he plopped himself on my sofa with his dirty boots on!


Well that was the final straw!

I offered him a candy.


And he took not one but two.. and... didn't blow up!

WTF?

So I threw candies at him. They poofed in a green glow but didn't smoke. I tried one of the candies myself and blew up.

The man is some sort of superhuman avatar, imperious to Ordinal Malaprop's VERY STRONG CANDIES.

I can only conclude it's the chrome hair.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Massive blow up near Rustica

This just in: several people, who will NOT remain unnamed, have been blown up eating the delicious candies I proffered near the Rustica sim (please shop there).

Maxwell Graf, Pierre Roelefs (Pie), Angelica Zuma, Terra Volitant, the Muse Sereine Bard, and none other than her Ladyship Gwen Carillon partook of the incendiary bonbons and paid a dear price.

[0:11] Pierre Roelofs: Well that's cast rather a gloom over the evening, hasn't it?

Indeed.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Fleet is bored at work, Part 2

As if that wasn't enough, here is more (and he stole Bono from me!):


August 5, 2007: Fleet meets Bono at the UN. He was not stoned--he was just blinking. Fleet, that is. I can't remark on Bono.


October 10, 2006: Fleet is invited to become the "Fifth Wiggle." He declines but not before waking Jeff up.


November 14, 2007: Fleet enjoys the company of several playmates and Paris Hilton at Hugh Hefner's mansion. He licks champagne out of Hilton's belly button later that evening.


February 22, 1980: Fleet sees the final score during the "Miracle on Ice" game at Lake Placid. (Now, Fleet, this is like "Where's Waldo?" Sheesh!)

Send in your historical moments!

Fleet is bored at work

All his Facebook friends got to see this, but I insisted I get to put this on my blog because I laughed so hard. And now he has challenged me (and I challenge you, Gentle Reader) to top him in his historical exploits.

And so we find....

Fleetwood's Place in History

March 12, 1930: Fleetwood marches with Ghandi to Dandi in the Salt March.


March 12, 1865: Fleetwood meets with some guy and President Lincoln soon before the end of the Civil War.



February 11, 1990: Fleetwood gathers with Nelson and Winnie Mandela upon Mandela's release from prison.



May 14, 2006: Fleetwood shoots the shit with George Clooney about hair gel.



October 17, 1962: Fleetwood consults with Jack Kennedy about the Cubans. Suggests they stock up on cigars.



November 17, 2005: Fleetwood talks to Woody about kids, careers and marrying one's adopted daughter.



June 13, 2008: Fleetwood runs off with Kate Middleton, leaving Prince William in the dust.



July 9, 2007: Fleetwood gives the Pitt-Jolie family a ride on his boat.



Uh, I don't know how this is, but wow, what a babe! And Fleet knows her!



June 6, 1944: Fleet consults with Eisenhower about D-Day. (His head was too large for a helmet, apparently.)


February 13, 1997: Fleet passes Bill Clinton a cigar.



April 5, 2003: Fleet shows Bill Gates a map of the "Information Superhighway."

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

I blow up John

I had the fine pleasure of meeting John Zhaoying, who is an advisor to virtual event agency, World2Worlds. He interrupted me while I was shopping to ask me to be in a photo. Now, I am of the vain variety, so I went to be photographed, but I arrived to find that I was to be photographed in front of a photo of rather ordinary Real Life people, standing on a very ugly carpet. For a guy who throws a lot of French around and says he once lived in Paris, he certainly has crap taste in interior design.

However, he's a nice guy, so I offered him a humbug. (Ha!)


I asked him how it tasted:

[21:51] John Zhaoying: Delicious. A little star-anise, rosewater and coriander.

Hm, maybe he did live in Paris....

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

I blow up a lawyer and make you ALL happy

Haven't you ever wanted to do that? Blow up a lawyer? And a British one--a barrister? Well, I have done it to more than one, but this one is special. I had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Ashcroft Burnham at one of Codebastard's parties (even though she wasn't there). We exchanged pleasantries and then went for each other's throats.

Turns out Mr. Burnham is the Chair of the Constitutional Team of the Metaverse Republic, and he convinced me to attend a meeting. After a lot of notecard shuffling (at one point I could not see my screen for all the notecards I was passed), I decided that it was an interesting undertaking--the idea of providing a means of arbitration over virtual issues through a third party--and I let them group me.

Mr. Burnham, however, saw fit to insult my nation, the one that freed itself from the tyranny of HIS nation.

[14:13] Ashcroft Burnham: Of course, you Americans don't have Christmas puddings, do you? ;-)
[14:14] You: no
[14:14] You: you people are weird
[14:14] Ashcroft Burnham: *We're* weird?! And this coming from a nation that spells "colour" without a "u" and calls trousers "pants"!
[14:15] You: A nation that drives on the correct side of the road and calls the back end of a car a "trunk," not a "boot," which is something one wears on one's feet...
[14:16] Ashcroft Burnham: A nation that calls lifts "elevators" and doesn't even have a queen can't be a proper nation at all :-p
[14:17] You: A queen
[14:17] Ashcroft Burnham: A king would do.
[14:17] You: We have plenty of queens. They live in Boys Town, where they belong.
[14:17] Ashcroft Burnham: LOL!
[14:17] Ashcroft Burnham: Anyway, we have public buildings older than your entire country, so there :-p
[14:17] You: and fruitcakes too
[14:17] Ashcroft Burnham: Yes!
[14:18] Ashcroft Burnham: Can't be a proper nation without fruitcakes.

Mr. Burnham is not exempt from the laws of Harper's world. Nay. He is more beholden to them. And so in all due process, I offered him a humbug:


Ah, what sweet victory!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

And still another

I had the fortune of spending time with Sabein Streeter and Toko Voom of Vain Magazine this evening. And Kermit Rutkowski. Lovely quiet Kermit in his freebie tux.

Put a Caption on This Photo

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Another one...

This is a photo of the adorable Douglas Story and me when he was completing the Dynafleur and I was modeling the new-at-the-time RFyre Wanderer for women. We were quite the pair.

Put a Caption on This Photo

Monday, July 21, 2008

New Feature on the Bizarre

I was sitting with Fleet tonight, discussing Berlin and stuff, and I was in one of Maxwell Graf's wonderful Cafe du Blonde lounges from Rustica, (shameless plug here) while Fleet was sitting in another chair, and he said, "I look like your therapist."

Well, I couldn't resist. So I decided that I needed a new feature on the Bizarre, similar to the one on the back page of the New Yorker. This is called:

Put a Caption on This Photo

I think it's kind of self-explanatory. Tell me in comments what your caption would be.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Provocation in Art

Time to be serious here. Again about art. And gosh, the image has nothing to do with blowing people up. It is totally coincidental.

Well, I have been provoked by art--most amazingly, I might add. I saw this piece at the new Hotel Dare & Muschi Lounge build by Gattina Dumpling and Kasabian Beck with some work from Four Yip. Kasabian had this piece up on one of the buildings:


I have a sneaking hunch this isn't art generated by an SL artist. Can anyone tell me? And if it is, please accept my apologies.

That being said, Wow!

This art provoked, but in a manner that was most delicious and amazing. There is an amazing juxtaposition of the corporate logo (which I have blurred, but you know who it is) and that incredible Pulitzer prize-winning photograph of one man executing another.

And it resonates with me on several levels. First, there is the level of the corporation-executing-someone thing. Then there is the actual REAL fear I felt for the creator and for myself in using this corporate logo (this is why I have blurred it myself--I am scared).

Then there is the wonder I feel about people of different ages and nationalities viewing this on SL. Everyone certainly knows the logo, but do they know the historical importance and resonance of this photo? Do they know the origin? For my generation, it has huge resonance, but someone younger than me.. does it?

I get really bent about the reference to "provocation," as I have written in another blog. When people use tired, used, cliched images in tired and cliched ways, I am not provoked--I just feel manipulated. Don't offer me another crucifix, pile of TVs, casket, swastika, or puddle of blood. I have seen it. And I am too young for it to mean something to me.

I haven't seen this one before. I won't get the same frisson when I see something like this again. But it provoked--the way Braques meant "provocation."

Friday, July 4, 2008

Stephen Venkman accepts candy from strangers

I met Stephen at the press conference for the opening of Codebastard Redgrave's new sim, Rouge. He seemed a nice enough guy, so I said hi and offered him a piece of candy, right under the big uh.. cigarette.. that comes out of Codie's mouth on her new sim.


Stephen, Stephen, Stephen.. hasn't anyone ever told you not to accept candy from strangers?


I am not sure if what I smelled burning came off that cigarette or off Stephen... hmm...

Anyway, come to the Grand Opening tomorrow, starting at 2 p.m. Best to IM Codebastard Redgrave for addition to the group--they say it will be packed.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Support Ability Commons!

My friend Pecos Kidd, who endured being blown up, sent me a little note and asked me to publish it. I asked him who I could blow up in exchange.


Something wonderful is happening and with one small action you can be part of it. Our friends in the Health Support Coalition have a chance to win 300,000 Lindens from the Annenberg School to create a SL home for a wide range of peer support groups.

"Ability Commons" is the work of Gentle Heron, Carolina Keats and many of the 41 members of the Health Support Coalition, including MDSLA, Crohn's and Colitis Support, Open Gates Peer Support, and Agoraphobia Support Group.

We need your help, right now. Please take 20 seconds to go to this website and vote for "Ability Commons." Rank them "1) Favored" and do your part to help us create an incubator for small and emerging groups.

Your vote will allow more people with disabilities and health issues to share our pleasure and purposefulness in Second Life.

Will you do more? Please forward this note to your friends - voting is open until June 30, and your help will make all the difference.

Thank you!

Find out all about their proposal and Annenberg/USC.

That being said, Pecos worked on another project that is being assessed for this same program. It's kind of cool: you click a big red button and it alternates between two kitchen scenes: one is a normal home with high countertops, etc.--the other is an accessible kitchen for disabled people. To toggle them you click a BIG RED BUTTON.

I complimented Pecos.

[11:42] Pecos Kidd: I think it demos the concept fairly well
[11:42] Harper Beresford: yes
[11:42] Harper Beresford: very well
[11:42] Pecos Kidd: And everyone likes to push big red buttons :)


This is what he wrote:

Please consider voting for "Independence House", which will create an interactive SL house to demonstrate various modifications that can be made to RL houses to improve access or usability for people with disabilities. Being able to visualize the impact of lowering the height of countertops, using ramps instead of stairs, adding handrails around bathroom fixtures, or even just rearranging a kitchen will help people with RL impairments understand what is possible, as well as better plan these types of modifications prior to construction.

Please take just a minute of your time and vote for "Independence House."

Your vote for "Independence House" by June 30 will help us win the 300,000 Linden prize, and create this important tool to help people with RL disabilities take practial steps to improve the quality of their lives.

Thank you - and please contact Kathee Gibbs in SL if you have any questions!