Am I back?

I don’t know. But I found an interesting set of blog memes.

A weekly meme from Strawberry Singh.

  1. Google your Second Life name in “quotations” and share your results. 5,910
  2. What is the first link that comes up? To this blog.
  3. Which link were you surprised to see? A Google books link to me cited in a footnote.
  4. Click on the “Image” tab and tell us where the first 5 pictures listed are from. Twitter (ugh, a terrible little anime avatar),,, flickr, and
  5. Click on the “more” tab and then click “news” and share your results. None

And another, similar meme that Strawberry recommends, from Emily at sltimewellwasted, which compares the search results for my RL and SL names.

  1. How did the two digital footprints compare, and did that surprise you? My RL name isn’t common, but it’s not all that uncommon either. The first two links are to LinkedIn and Facebook search pages (“everyone named Kenneth Sutton” things). Then three results that aren’t me, and finally at number 6 a link to my profile at work. My personal blog comes in at number 9. (For images, I don’t show up until the 9th image, from Twitter, and then again at 12 in a wedding photo on someone else’s website.)
  2. Does anyone interesting share your name? Apparently not.
  3. Are you happy with the size of your digital footprint, or do you wish either one was larger/smaller? I’m gratified that the care I took in choosing my Second Life name (which I have claimed in several other virtual worlds, as well as using in web venues like this blog) is reflected in my ownership of the search results. When Google introduced Google+ I killed my Otenth Paderborn account, although it was the “real” one that reflected a thriving social life. There were too many things linked to it to risk getting involuntarily canned in the nymwars.
  4. If you woke up/ logged in one morning to discover over night you had suddenly gained rock-star status, and everybody knew who you were and wanted to know what you were doing, what would you do? Reconsider every single social media outlet and select only one or two to use. Also, I would develop a new set of alts.

In honor of Ada Lovelace

In honor of Ada Lovelace Day, I want to highlight the generosity and good spirit of Her Grace, CoyoteAngel Dimsum, Duchess of Primverness, the Baroness Lovelace, Defender of the Faith(less), Keeper of the Light (Beer), Speaker to Machines. CoyoteAngel is to me the epitome of a “geek duchess”: creative, experimental, savvy, patient yet no pushover, and extremely generous. Not only are CoyoteAngel’s lands open to all for recreation, she also hosts the long-term site of the First Unitarian Universalist Church of Second Life, with all its prims, scripts, avatars and their attendant lag. Anyone who needs a megaprim can find them in her domains, along with sculpty stairs and arches, girders, a variety of flying machines, and sculpty maps of parts of Caledon.

And all this while carrying on a career and building a business as a programmer in “real life.”

Brava, Your Grace!


The Typealyzer got my actual MBTI type for both my blogs.

INTP – The Thinkers

The logical and analytical type. They are especialy attuned to difficult creative and intellectual challenges and always look for something more complex to dig into. They are great at finding subtle connections between things and imagine far-reaching implications.

They enjoy working with complex things using a lot of concepts and imaginative models of reality. Since they are not very good at seeing and understanding the needs of other people, they might come across as arrogant, impatient and insensitive to people that need some time to understand what they are talking about.

Fashion in Second Life

Fashion in Second Life: Can We Run Out of Ideas
A Mix & Match Blog Post
by Dusan Writer

There are a few things I know nothing about. I can never find the Big Dipper. I can’t get my dog to bring the ball back. And my entire wardrobe consists of blue shirts.

Beautiful blue shirts, mind you. Expensive blue shirts, blue shirts with dark blue buttons and others with white ivory ones, and blue shirts made of cotton and blue shirts made of some kind of semi-stretchy thing that’s obviously intended for someone who doesn’t weigh next to nothing, just call it toned, sounds better than skinny, but that’s not the point: the point is that even though I can look OK, spruce up all right for a business meeting say or a night out for dinner with friends, whatever, I’m still blue, that’s still the extent of my sense of fashion. I didn’t realize there was an Hommes Vogues (or is it Vogues Hommes) until I was asked to camp out on Tenth Life here and ponder whether, in Second Life, fashion will run out of ideas. Or more specifically:

“Can fashion run out of ideas in Second Life? Fashion in Real Life seems to have gone off on tangents in order to find new ideas. This may not work in SL. What are your thoughts on this?”

For me, fashion ran out of ideas for me when I hit, hmmm, 14 probably – that horrible experiment with parachute pants is what did me in, from that moment on it was jeans and blue shirts.

So I knew I would have trouble from the start: not knowing anything about fashion in real life, I’d hardly be able to comment on it in a virtual one. The only thing I knew for sure was my unwavering belief in the power of prim hair, from which I could extrapolate that how we look, and how we feel about how we look in a virtual world is, in some ways, even more important than how we look in the real one, because in the real world we might think we look like a movie star but that doesn’t mean we do, it just means we’re prone to wishful thinking maybe. But in the virtual world, we all really DO look like movie stars, even if it’s a period thing with feathered fans and languid glances.

And it’s in this range of possibilities that I got stumped: not so much about the problem of where the next fashion trend will come from, how to keep it fresh and alive for all the movie stars and Glamor Queens of the Grid – but rather, in a world of endless possibility, where our identity is an extension or a separation of us, where our environments can create a symbiosis between how we project ourselves and how the world responds….how can you POSSIBLY run out of ideas?

The Endless Tangent of the Self and Strange Loops
One of the strange and disconcerting powers of virtual worlds is what I call the strange loop, the odd interplay between the real and the virtual, each embedded in the other, like Escher’s painting of hands:

And the strange loop is important, because I believe it arrives, in part, from boundless possibility. Virtual worlds give us options: to be ourselves or to be someone completely different. To live in a beach house, or in a Victorian steampunk village. This exploration of possibilities is, at first, a way to stretch our imaginations. To explore what we might never be, or to act in ways we’d otherwise fear being seen.

But the strange loop also says that no matter how far from ourselves we travel, eventually we arrive right where we started, and need to reconcile this odd character with the rest of us: our avatars are not, we discover, separate from us, they ARE us, and as such need to be brought home. There are theories of recursiveness that touch on this, and as Tom Boellstorff pointed out, virtual worlds are recursive by nature: they are techne within techne, the tools of our production are contained WITHIN a tool of production, and thus of sociality and culture.

And so with fashion, I suppose, because if fashion is anything like the other strange dislocations that people experience in virtual worlds, we discover eventually that we’re back where we started: we try to escape “real life fashion”. We’re faced with nearly limitless possibilities. We don’t only have the tools to create a dress, we can also create the shoes, the hair, the skin, and while we’re at it the whole city in which it will fit right in.

But eventually we face that strange loop: the need to reconcile what we’ve discovered in the virtual world with our actual ones: identity, fashion, social hierarchies, love, or the creative muse.

A New Renaissance

An earlier me in, um, a blue shirt

I’ve written that virtual worlds might herald a new renaissance, or at least be early indicators. What we learn in Second Life about collaboration, say, or the nature of work. What we learn about new forms of sociality – the emergence of a tribal morality, for example, have implications beyond virtuality into the actual.

If this is true, then virtual worlds presage the emergence of craft and art again, in counterpoint to mass production:

“On the one hand, technology enables rapid, low-cost, and mass production. And anyone who’s ever rezzed a prim just for the pure love of it stands on the other.

What stands between them is mastery of craft versus mastery of production. Ten years ago you needed specialized equipment to mash up music. To alter images. To make your own movie. Heirloom vegetables were almost extinct but now they sit beside their organic “100 mile” cousins at a chain grocery store. Value is being created by smaller and smaller producers – right down to the unit of one. And in virtual worlds, this movement is writ large in almost every sim and build.”

A crisis in fashion may not be a crisis of ideas: but rather the awareness that all bets are off anyways, that the way that ideas are created, and shared, and sold, and spread doesn’t follow the old models. All bets are off, and in the pursuit of markets and competition over freebies and the latest designs, we’re also aware that none of that matters really – it’s not the lack of ideas that’s the problem, it’s that in virtual worlds we’re discovering that our notions of work and craft were built on loose foundations, and what we’re looking for isn’t a new skirt design, but a new way instead of integrating our creative spirits into the wider world.

The Courage to Create

Eshi’s Rez Day, Photo by Jean-Ricard Broek, clothes her own

Rollo May says that the courage to create is the greatest courage of them all. It is the wellspring of new forms, and new forms are what nurtures society, gives it a view of itself, lets it craft a new way forward.

And he distinguishes two types of creativity: escapist and genuine. Escapist creativity “lacks encounter” he says. It’s not that the creativity isn’t “real”, it’s that the process of creation isn’t engaged:

“The essential point is not the presence or absence of voluntary effort, but the degree of absorption, the degree of intensity,” he says. “There must be a specific quality of engagement….It is not irrational, it is, rather, suprarational. It brings intellectual, volitional, and emotional functions into play all together.”

I’d propose that if Rollo May were around to see Second Life, he’d discover the supreme site for creativity in the world today. In a virtual world, the experience creates a cross-over between emotion and mind, between our sense of self and sense of engagement with others…the ideal melting pot for creative courage.

Your World, Your Imagination
Creative courage is, in the end, both a challenge to orthodox and a reaching out to spirit. Fashion – a visual language, is not about being trendy, or even about being fashionable. It is a visual form derived purely from imagination.

The French philosopher Gaston Bachelard wrote that “man lives by images, for only images can set verbs in motion again….Images challenge us. Indeed, images are more challenging than ideas.”

It is through images, through the imagination, that we can feed hope, for there is “an innate optimism in all works of imagination.” Through the imagination we become transported:

“…outside the immediate world to a world that bears the mark of infinity. Isn’t imagination alone able to enlarge indefinitely the images of immensity? It takes us to the space of elsewhere.”

Ideas will never run out, because ideas, the imagination, is not constrained by either reality or virtuality, it is held instead in the cupped hand of possibility, in the endless space of elsewhere which is both our own spirit and another.

“There is a river of creativity running through all things, all relationships, all beings, all corners and centers of the universe. We are here to join it, to get wet, to jump in, to ride these rapids, wild and sacred as they be.” (M. Fox)

Meme in the making?

Dandellion at Living in the Metaverse has a great idea: » Let’s Make The Grid Performing A Bit Better, Please

Shall we? Stop whining about things are not smooth as we wish. We all know they are not. Let’s do something about that. Consider that an ecology action. If each of us spend ten minutes and delete all the trash that clutters our inventories…

The basic idea is that cleaning up our inventories will help ease the load on asset servers and improve our client performance. She suggests starting with

  • freebies
  • old landmarks
  • notecards
  • “floating text” scripts
  • earlier versions of your own builds
  • lost and found items
  • demos

She is encouraging people to comment on her post with the number of items they’ve deleted.

Tag, I’m it! I’m it! I’m it!

First, it was the Defender of Murdann; then my web-friend Marion Rickenbacker, whose photography I love; and now I’ve discovered that Lady Edwina Heron has joined the fray. (And I suppose I should also count Miss Achariya Maktoum, who tagged “all of Caledon”).

The rules of tagging are simple, and as follows.

  1. Each player starts with eight random facts/habits about themselves.
  2. People who are tagged need to write a post on their own blog (about their eight things) and post these rules.
  3. At the end of your blog, you need to choose eight people to get tagged and list their names.
  4. Don’t forget to leave them a comment telling them they’re tagged, and to read your blog
  1. I was in a modern dance collective that performed The Shakers (1931) by Doris Humphrey by being coached with Labanotation. The collective also performed a dance I choreographed.
  2. I worked on a dairy farm in Blokzijl, Netherlands, for three months in 1976 through a program of the Future Farmers of America.
  3. I’m descended on my mother’s side from Anne Hutchinson, one of the founders of Rhode Island; John and Priscilla Alden, Pilgrims made famous by a poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow; John Middleton Hester, who served in the army of the Confederate States of America; and Preston Tinsley Henderson, whose 1854 will includes specific mention of “a negro boy at five hundred dollars” and “a negro girl at three hundred dollars”. Such is the stuff of American ancestry.
  4. I have a Bacon number of two, in two different ways: I have a friend who was at a dinner party with him, and one of the members of my clearness committee when I became a Quaker is his cousin.
  5. I prefer strong black tea with milk and sugar.
  6. I’ve broken bones in both my feet, on three different occasions.
  7. I have been thrown by a horse.
  8. I own eight Hoya species: H. australis, H. carnosa, H. caudata, H. curtisii, H. lanceolata bella, H. longifolia, H. multiflora, H. serpens.

Now, really, who’s left to tag? This thing has spread faster than any noxious blog meme I’ve ever seen, so I refuse to check to see if I’m repeating people: nox Pinion, and via Twitter, cala, Kirakitty, Lactose, rikomatic, Gloire, SinTrenton, ZoeConnolly.