A brief bit of RL in your SL coverage, but I guarantee you, if you like chocolate, you will love LuLu's.
They are boutique chocolate, they are decision chocolate--for their prices, you can buy a new book, or get a bar of their batch-crafted chocolate. You can go see a movie, or get a jar of chocolate. You can get a sample vial, plus shipping, of Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab's Candy Butcher (if they ever decide to make another batch), or get a vial of LuLu's Pure Cacao Essence (to use as a perfume, or to flavor food--how cool is that?).
But. Consider: for what they charge, you get:
* organic chocolate bought only from fair trade farms
* wrapped in origami paper, can be used for art projects or wrapping other gifts
* wrapped then in paper made in ecologically sustainable ways, infused with wildflower seeds--to encourage people to plant the wrapper, over simply tossing it away in the trash.
A lot of thought went into this, and most of the chocolate bars hearken back to the original flavor of dark, hand-harvested, hand-crushed xocolātl, with a little added low-glycemic coconut sugar.
(In case that doesn't set your brain on fire? Coconut sugar--in moderation--can be consumed by diabetics because it won't spike their sugar levels. Yes, that means what you think it does.)
They are dedicated to being rarities, even in an industry surfeit with the rare and distinctive, using flavors as distant from each other as holy basil, waterlily and red cedar. They are, so far, only on the West Coast, but more than worth ordering to see if you'll become a fan.
MMORPG ponders virtual goods in the UK and the US. Interesting comparison.
A few days back, Miss Muse Carmona tipped me to what was put as an ongoing court case involving BMEzine.com and Greg Ricks, who apparently has a history of doing this kind of thing.
Now, at this date, they've finally gotten BME.com as a domain under their control, pursuant to this legal decision with the specifics of the case. And while this case proves out good uses of IP rights to guarantee consistency, I'm wondering why it's coming up now.
Something else that started out in Twitter, ended up on the blog: Data vs. Every Other Android. Fun article, and I'm amused by Data's sole loss--to Gort, because Gort could "destroy everything on a whim" and Data can't. Hee!
The Information Age blog covers Life 2.0, with a special emphasis on why Second Life is ideal for thinking outside the box. And I believe that; at the end of the day, that's my sole singular truth about SL.
Pity M Linden doesn't see it that way.
(If you haven't heard of the film, try their website--you can see teasers of the film's content, learn more about the production behind it, and read reviews. It is not, at least yet, available on DVD.)
There's an SL Register of Historic Places? Not officially; but this is a pretty comprehensive list of all major RL-themed historical builds, with emphasis on accuracy and history. Well worth the wandering time it will take to explore them all.
It's now February. Gear down and brace yourselves--SLRFL is coming. The trick to surviving RFL is remembering it could be worse. (Seriously: your dance had low attendance? The Regatta across the Kingdom of Sand fizzled? Your event didn't go quite as planned? Keep in mind we could always be at war again.) Things go live on the grid closer to March, but start saving your ha'pennies now, and decide what you want to support. (And yes, yes, rah rah rah to Caledonians, but it all goes to a good cause, and there's nothing wrong with supporting more international causes. Fighting any disease that takes so many lives is worth your time. Just don't go overboard and do everything.)
Sort of in the same vein--only not--are you tiring of your local Mad Scientist in Babbage, Caledon or Steelhead? It could be worse. To date I don't think anyone on the grid has experimented with sewing two avatars together, but I do note there has been a groundswell of studies all over on the causes of genetic mutation, as well as using avatars for live test fires of weapons.
I suppose it's a good thing that, by and large, avatars don't die, unless their guiding spirit does.
Focusing (no pun intended) again on RL manifestations, I present an unordered list of wild contact lenses. I remain amused that two of the creepiest contacts on that list feature Mickey Mouse and Hello Kitty. (Though, can I track down where to buy either set of contacts? No, I could tell you where to buy a Hello Kitty vibrator faster. It's annoying.)
I will say that if bling eyes catch on in SL? I'm figuring out how to mute bling once and for all.
I ran across a mention of Dina Goldstein's Fallen Princesses series again, and I have to admit, the original criticism of the series still applies. Some of the photos--Jasmine and Ariel are the two that come to mind immediately--are startlingly relevant, now as they were when they were initially exhibited. But some of them just tragically fail. Why is Cinderella in a bar? Why is Belle under the knife? Snow White only makes sense if you take into account that she was a young girl living with seven dwarven men, but even so....It remains a compelling, but flawed photographic effort.
Finally, someone else addresses M Linden's social issue, regarding the acquisition of Avatars United, and Second Life in general. This is a point that cannot be emphasized enough, and it should penetrate with startling clarity: if SL is to make money--serious money--then SL needs to concentrate on things that people want to do.
And in Second Life? That is, in large part, look at cool things, listen to good music. Live music is a godsend that M Linden should celebrate, and I'm not the first, I'm not even the thousand and first, to say that. And digital art is so relevant, year after year--Second Life should be showcasing art, music, educational efforts, and why aren't they doing this?
What will save SL is not big corporate contracts, unless they're endorsing sims that people will like. What will save SL is not sequestering all the "naughty" people--who spent an amazing amount of money on naughty things--to a big empty wasteland separate from the rest of the grid. What will save SL, in the end, is art. Is music. Is making wonderful, beautiful spaces for people to gather--to listen, to learn, to appreciate all the creative potential that we have as avatars, as individuals.
Anything less will sink the company. Anything less is a goddamned waste of effort. Anything less is "Oh, yeah, whatever happened to Second Life, anyway?"
And no one wants that.