Friday, March 28, 2014

and my throat closes off when I see your face

(Note: this took me some time to pull together, due to RL intrusions, so...the Comcast thing is rather dated.)

So more news on the whole Comcast/Netflix debate--unsurprisingly, everyone's denying everything. But the evidence is mounting; we'll see how Comcast reacts in another week or so.

In the meantime, a note on Second Life as an antidepressant. (Pro tip: it doesn't work that well):
[19:08] jxxxxxxxxxxx Rxxxxxxx: now after the anxiety hits I am starting to get Depressed
[19:08] Pxxxxxxxxx Exxxxxx: I get the same kind of cycle
[19:09] Kxxxxx Rxxxxxxx: Me too.
[19:09] cxxxxxxxxxxxx Rxxxxxxx: What normally helps with your depression?
[19:09] jxxxxxxxxxxx Rxxxxxxx): the depression comes from me not able to get Lindens when I need them the most
Now, that sounds like a really superficial statement, but when we break that down, the same truth that's part and parcel of Second Life appears: human emotion. And human emotion can be a very tricky thing, especially when bundled over cable or fiber-optic lines with data and interaction.

Life, on SL, is amplified; it always has been, and it always will be. So what might be a little unease, a little melancholy in RL, becomes crippling self-doubt, anxiety attacks, and major depression. It's not a little thing anymore. And shopping for virtual goods is one way that many, many of us use to stay emotionally afloat--whether we realize that or not.

When--for whatever reason--we can't do that...or if we're emotionally unstable to begin with...things veer off the rails.
[19:10] jxxxxxxxxxxx Rxxxxxxx: and thats where the anxiety comes from
[19:10] Kxxxxx Rxxxxxxx: That can be stressful. What do you need them for?
[19:11] jxxxxxxxxxxx Rxxxxxxx: well
[19:11] jxxxxxxxxxxx Rxxxxxxx): to be truthful I am trying to get some things i had in the past
[19:11] jxxxxxxxxxxx Rxxxxxxx: when I was able to upload
[19:11] jxxxxxxxxxxx Rxxxxxxx: L
[19:11] jxxxxxxxxxxx Rxxxxxxx: but now I am so having to work for everyhting
[19:12] jxxxxxxxxxxx Rxxxxxxx: and I dont know if I cant keep it up on djing
That's something else to consider, too. Maybe the jobs we hold don't do for us what they used to. Maybe, in this economy, our employers need to downsize. Or we're in some facet of the entertainment industry on SL, something that many people are no longer investing in, due to personal (even RL) cutbacks.

For whatever reason, the Lindens no longer flow like they used to. What do we do then?
[19:12] Jxxxxxx Bxxx: there is a lot of wonderful free things in SL
[19:12] Jxxxxxx Bxxx: the amazing part of this world
It's true. And, contrary to what many believe, it's a lot harder to tell these days if someone's outfitted completely in free gear, or paid hard Lindens for it. Between some really excellent items turned out in hunts, store group gifts and freebs, and Marketplace freebs in both traditional styles and mesh, people are slowly upgrading their games. (While there's still a 'sameness' to mesh I don't favor--in that everyone using similar silhouettes combined with specifically tailored body shapes means the grid, and those in it, are starting to look remarkably alike--overall, texturing, contouring, shading and ageing are looking much better in 2014 than they did in 2009.)
[19:13] ixxxxxxxxxxx Sxxxxxxx: alot to see in sl
[19:13] ixxxxxxxxxxx Sxxxxxxx: grand canyon?
[19:13] ixxxxxxxxxxx Sxxxxxxx: u guys see that yet?
I didn't even know there was a Grand Canyon on the grid! And yeah, you should go check it out, they did a really good job recreating it.
[19:13] cxxxxxxxxxxxx Rxxxxxxx nods. "Especially in hunts or events."
[19:13] fxxxxxx Fxxxxxxx: oh yeah group gifts are the best
[19:13] cxxxxxxxxxxxx Rxxxxxxx: Even ways to earn Lindens.
[19:14] Pxxxxxxxxx Exxxxxx: So many free things on Marketplace. Also, if you only need a few lindens, you can earn them playing the Linden Realms game.
[19:15] Emilly Orr: Linden Realms is only for Premium accounts, though, isn't it?

[19:15] Pxxxxxxxxx Exxxxxx: I don't think so. I think it was made to get newbies comfortable with the user interface
I did not know this. Doing some initial research, I found an old report from Inara Pey mentioning that it's for Premium account holders only; still, there were indications that it was planned to spread to the masses, so who knows? I've never actually checked out the game myself, so I can't say.
[19:17] cxxxxxxxxxxxx Rxxxxxxx: I used to use this thing called the Travel Money HUD, you wore it and traveled to sims and looked around, and then after a certain amount of time, they paid you a small amount of L.
[19:17] Emilly Orr: There's a couple other groups like that. I belong to two of them.
[19:18] mxxxxxxxx Rxxxxxxx: regular work in sl can suck the fun out of it... it shouldnt be and doesnt need to be, a relentless struggle for money in here
[19:18] Emilly Orr: That can get stressful on its own, though one of them, Rise Star Gaming, they have a lot of pretty sims in their chain. Sometimes it's just fun to wander and see new things.
There's also--or at least, there used to be--a similar enterprise to Travel Money called Earn2Life, and the Bletaverse group has a 'cone jumping' game where you do much the same thing--port to various sims, wait, collect a small amount of Lindens in exchange.
[19:23] Pxxxxxxxxx Exxxxxx: I have a friend who joined SL a couple years ago & promised her husband she wouldn't spend any money on it. She made all her initial money in Linden Realm, then learned how to make textures, which sells on Marketplace. She now has enough money to be comfortable in SL, without spending any real world money.
[19:23] cxxxxxxxxxxxx Rxxxxxxx: That's awesome!

[19:25] Pxxxxxxxxx Exxxxxx: It's very rare to make much money in SL, so you have to live frugally too.
[19:25] cxxxxxxxxxxxx Rxxxxxxx: People win contests with art pieces and such.
It's true. If you have a talent for texturing, clothing creation, 3D graphics, Second Life can still be a good space to create. And--even in the current economy--at least mildly profitable. (However, with the downturn in financing grid-wide, as many makers are finding, they can no longer count on SL to provide their sole income. People who do are pretty much walking tightropes without safety nets. It can get scary.)
[19:25] Kxxxxx Rxxxxxxx: You should look at Builder's Brewery. They have a lot of building freebies and they even teach free classes.
While I eternally struggle with group space, if you have group space and an interest in content creation, you cannot go wrong being a member of Builder's Brewery. They have almost constant classes on various aspects of building and scripting, free texture packs, genuinely helpful people, and a members-only sandbox. It's really cool.
[19:25] cxxxxxxxxxxxx Rxxxxxxx: I had a friend who made neat builds and entered contests and art shows with them, made lots of L with it.
[19:26] Pxxxxxxxxx Exxxxxx: Some people make their avatar look really hot, so they can win club contests
[19:26] cxxxxxxxxxxxx Rxxxxxxx: Oh yeah, that too.
[19:26] Jxxxxxx Bxxx: contest were huge for me when I first started and won many of them lol
[19:26] Pxxxxxxxxx Exxxxxx: Whatever you do though, you have to work at it before it pays off
[19:26] Emilly Orr: I used to do that a lot, years back. Find a contest, find a costume, dance for an hour. Thing is, you have to be pretty social.
[19:27] Pxxxxxxxxx Exxxxxx: yeah, it;s mostly people who like you who vote for you.
True fact: Whenever I have the time, I still attend the EGL dances that Bare Rose throws. While they are costume contests--and I've even occasionally won--the point is not to try to go to win. You'll only be disappointed. Just dress in what you want to match the theme, and go to have fun. Talk, be social, listen to what others are saying, and enjoy yourself. Because costume contests aren't always who you know; sometimes it's how much your personality impressed people at the event, whether they knew you before or not.
[19:28] gxxxxxxxxxxx Rxxxxxxx: Well, when ppl shaft me or tick me off, it's hard to be social. I wanna be the opposite and life, be it real or sl, is enough to make you antisocial.
[19:28] Emilly Orr: Pretty much. So, one of two things--either you like going to random clubs and hanging out (which sucks if you have social anxiety), or you go to pick up costume tips from other people.
[19:28] Emilly Orr: If you go expecting to win, you'll just be depressed after if/when you don't.
[19:29] gxxxxxxxxxxx Rxxxxxxx: and I've been in several contests and didn't always win when I wanted SO BADLY to win.
Yeah. It's kind of the name of the game. It helps if you have a diverse wardrobe, but if you have social anxiety, costume contests are not your best bet for Lindens.
[19:28] Pxxxxxxxxx Exxxxxx: Happy Hippo & Builders Brewery are good place to learn
[19:29] Emilly Orr: And if you have group space, Mari, join the Builder's Brewery group. They offer building classes on EVERYTHING.
[19:29] Kxxxxx Rxxxxxxx: And she means everything.
[19:29] Kxxxxx Rxxxxxxx: They had one on cupcakes not too long ago.
I've seen class notices for cupcakes, pies, all manner of furniture, clothing, basic and advanced scripting, particle theory, mesh texturing, beginning animation...if there's an instructor, there's a class. During holidays, they have giveaways, and as I said before, the main store has--in addition to some very lovely door and stained glass window textures--several packages of free items for beginning builders. And of course, there's the sandbox (though, for reasons as incomprehensible to me as seeing the Caledon states assailed, it's frequently griefed by trolls).

All in all, it's an active group full of helpful voices, for the beginning builder to the advanced. Never a bad thing to have help when you need it, after all.
[19:29] cxxxxxxxxxxxx Rxxxxxxx: Hey, speaking of group space, how many groups can you join? Lol.
[19:30] Kxxxxx Rxxxxxxx: I think it's 42, which is not nearly enough. D:
[19:31] Pxxxxxxxxx Exxxxxx: I'd rather have more Profile Picks than more groups
[19:34] Emilly Orr: The problem with groups, unfort, is that every time someone logs on, the system scans everything in sequence and assumes it's all active. So all your calling cards are scanned and set to active, then said to on or offline ONCE that's done; all your groups are set to active, then only the ones actually communicating are set to open; and all of that happens before the asset server pulls in your inventory.
[19:34] Emilly Orr: I'd love more groups, but we're kind of hurting the server as it is.
Unfortunately. It's likely going to be a consistent problem, too. Will we ever see another leap in groups, as we did from fifteen to forty-two? No idea. I'd love it, several others would love it; many who run businesses, especially more than one active business, truly, honestly, need more groups than they have; but will it ever happen? Severely doubtful, in my opinion.
[19:34] Jxxxxxx Bxxx: the wonderful thing about sl though is there are many free things to live great. I can make a brand new avi look like he spend so much money just from group gifts. Many designers in SL know that not everyone has money to spend in this game and they provide very detailed work for free from time to time.
[19:36] Jxxxxxx Bxxx: as far as places, there are free housing or 1l housing in SL as well
[19:36] Jxxxxxx Bxxx: meaning you rent a house for like a week for 1l
Pushing aside outright squatting--while it likely still can be done, it's still not a stable way to live--there are a lot of apartments and smaller places scattered around for free or low-cost. Most of these are reserved for players under two months old, but not all of them.

[19:36] Emilly Orr: Something to keep in mind: every now and again, run searches on Marketplace. "free 2014" f'rinstance, pulls in everything marked free from this year. Holidays are good--"free Halloween" or "freebie holiday". "Free dresses" or "free hoodie" can work, too.
[19:37] Kxxxxx Rxxxxxxx: There are also blogs that showcase freebies. Fabfree is a good one.
[19:37] Emilly Orr: FabFree has both men and women bloggers, too. So it's not just a parade of womenswear.


At this point, they don't have any male bloggers on staff, but watch the blog anyway--they still cover menswear from time to time.
[19:37] Jxxxxxx Bxxx: to be honest it amazes me that there are designers that give things out for free. They spend hours and hours on their creations and yet give it to us. LL is not making this. Is real people, who spend their time and energy for us and for that I am grateful
Me too. Now, I have complained about the quality of certain freebies before--especially when I think the designer could do (and has done) better--and I accept responsibility for any emotional harm I've caused (and the commensurate banning from at least one sim, which has been problematic on more than one hunt).

But I've never complained about the actual making of freebies (and highly discounted items) themselves. That a designer takes time out of their busy schedules to make things for free, for cheap; to make group gifts, many times the equivalent of items they could actually put on the market to sell; no, I'm honored and humbled by the gift of their time, by seeing their devotion to their customers, and to life on the grid.
[19:38] Kxxxxx Rxxxxxxx: There are sometimes really nice prizes in scavenger hunts too.
[19:38] Jxxxxxx Bxxx: lets do this lol If you guys know of groups or LM of amazing free things, send them in and Ill put them all in one notecard and send it out =]
[19:39] Jxxxxxx Bxxx: no reason anyone should be depressed becaus they don't know their resources
[19:40] Kxxxxx Rxxxxxxx: I'll help with that, Josh. I know a bunch of places with freebies.
So I did a bit of research, and found links to track down to help.
[19:42] Emilly Orr: http://fabfree.wordpress.com/
[19:43] Emilly Orr: http://slfreestyle.blogspot.com/
[19:43] Emilly Orr: http://freebietelegraph.wordpress.com/
[19:43] Emilly Orr: http://slfreebiehunters.blogspot.com/
[19:43] Emilly Orr: All of these have recent (this month or this week) posts.
[19:43] Emilly Orr: And there's two congregate feeds I know of--where they're not actually blogs, themselves, but they're lists of links that are hosted ON a blog site.
[19:43] Emilly Orr: http://slfreebdollarbluckychairhunts.blogspot.com/
[19:43] Emilly Orr: and
[19:44] Emilly Orr: http://elizawrigglesworthlinks.blogspot.com/
[19:44] Jxxxxxx Bxxx: thank you dearly Emily. Im copying and pasting them into a notecard
[19:44] cxxxxxxxxxxxx Rxxxxxxx: Virtual vagabonds, too.
[19:44] Emilly Orr: Wouldn't be a bad idea.
[19:44] Jxxxxxx Bxxx: I think its great resources for people who don't have money. People should know they have resources and there are a lot of great possibilities without the needs of lindens.
[19:45] Jxxxxxx Bxxx: thanks Luna
[19:45] Emilly Orr: http://www.virtualvagabond.com/
There are more than just these, after all--there's at least twenty grid-wide hunts every month, plus store hunts, theme hunts, and freebie blogs galore, plus store blogs that occasionally do posts on freebies and cheapies their designers have put out. Which is leaving out the plethora of goods that can be gotten simply by wandering around stores, or joining store groups that draw your interest.
[19:45] cxxxxxxxxxxxx Rxxxxxxx: There's also something like 55l Fridays and 60L weekends, isn't there?
[19:45] cxxxxxxxxxxxx Rxxxxxxx: That stores do? Sorry I'm throwing our random, had meds half an hour ago, so sleepies.
[19:45] Emilly Orr: The lady behind Virtual Vagabond is interesting--she used to be an SL Hobo, back when that group owned their own sim. She still believes in the ethos of the hobo, though--live where you can, own only what you need or what amuses, give away what you can to help others.
[19:46] cxxxxxxxxxxxx Rxxxxxxx: Aw, that's really cool.
[19:46] Emilly Orr: Let's see...there's 55L Fridays, 30L Saturdays, 60L weekends--those are all pretty general, kind of catch-all, any designer can apply deals.
[19:47] Emilly Orr: 25 Linden Tuesday started specifically for Gorean merchants, now it's branched out to Gor outfits, medieval outfits, with the occasional musical instrument or BDSM collar.
[19:47] cxxxxxxxxxxxx Rxxxxxxx chuckles. "I didn't know that."
[19:47] Emilly Orr: There's a few others. Most are searchable on Google or in-world to find locations.
[19:48] Kxxxxx Rxxxxxxx: http://seraphimsl.com/ shows discount events that are going on, and usually has pictures.
[19:50] Emilly Orr: True, I forgot about them!
[19:51] Jxxxxxx Bxxx: I love seraphim but not everything there is free
This is something that bugs me a great deal about the SL-Schnaeppchen blog, as well--the main blogger was amazingly good, and devoted to finding the best hunts and freebies on the grid, and then she ran afoul of a particular designer (I'd love to name her, but I'm trying to be better these days). It wasn't the blogger's fault, it was wholly the fault of the hunt designer, who misliked with intensity the fact that she gave out SLUrls to each store.

Now, this is commonplace, but back then, it was usually something only bloggers did. That controversy killed her interest in maintaining the blog, though, and now it's pretty much just dead air, broadcasting distant visions from 2012.

I used to follow SL Freebie Hunters more closely, as well, but at this point they're no longer purely hunt freebies. And while they pick good things to blog about, if I'm wanting to read on hunt items or general store freebies, I don't want to read that that luscious cream leather couch is on sale this month for "only" L$199. I'm sure that's a good deal, but...that's far from a freebie, or a hunt item, so why is it there?

(As I mentioned at the start, this is old, but I still wanted to get this out there, because I still believe there are some good resources that were discussed. If you don't have tons of Lindens, and your addiction is shopping; if acquiring virtual items helps stave off depression; well, here you go. Be safe out there, and have fun on SL.)

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