Sunday, June 26, 2011

With A Little Help From My Friends

"What would you do if I sang out a tune?
Would you stand up and walk out on me?

Lend me your ears and I'll sing you a song,

And I'll try not to sing out of key"

- The Beatles, "With A Little Help From My Friends"

Today I was ambushed. Nazz Lane asked me to be inworld to talk about a project we have been discussing about Twitter. Luckily, I was able to wake up in time and get inworld, although it was close. He asked me to go see something of Trill Zapatero's and he TPed me there.

What I found was a party; a party for me. Nazz, Trill and millay Freschi had plotted together. So many good friends were there. I had trouble keeping up with IMs, gifts and chat because I was crying and it was hard to see the screen or keyboard; I was overwhelmed with emotion.


Because of my recent health problems, I've been kind of crabby and depressed lately, and not inworld much. I also was trying to get over my admittedly-childish post about the logo and... just falling back into my old shell again.

The friends who came also know that the whole time I have been in SL, the last 3 years, my life has been tumbled and upset and ripped apart and I have not been at what I think of as my best as a person. I have not lived up to my own idea of my "best ability" and it is also a constant source of worry to me, letting my friends down by not being able to give them the "best of me."


So this party was just overwhelming to me. I don't have much of a family in RL; this community is what I think of as my family. I believe in this medium and in these worlds for the betterment of humankind; that people can find family and community and work and play and love together despite differences in age, location, gender, race, creed or lifestyles; that this medium of communication is the most important invention in my lifetime. It is why I have spent over 20 years on the nets and why I think that's worth putting life-energy into.

Today, these friends showed me such beliefs are not in vain. They gave me a gift more precious than anything: to know that they care about me irregardless of my status, my station or my mistakes; to know I had friends and family. I haven't had much of that in my life and it is a treasure to me worth more than any material thing. I know that a few stayed up past their bedtimes to be there, or came especially when they aren't usually in SL (like White Lebed).


For once, I won't go on and on (i know huh? Rare moment; appreciate it while you can!) I can't; there aren't enough words to say how much meaning this had for me. 200 lbs just fell off my heart :) My love to my friends who came to MisoDay:

Nazz Lane, Trill Zapatero, millay Freschi, briawinde Magic, Mommaluv Skytower, Jayjay Zifanwe, Maiko Yheng, Wizard Gynoid, Isabella Alphaville, Alizarin Goldflake, White Lebed, Coyote Longfall, talkwithmarie Resident, Vaneeesa Blaylock, orb Thursday, Ormand Lionheart, TeuffelHunde Mandelkorn, Inae Indigo, soror Nishi, Casondrenee Whybrow, FreeWee Ling, brinda Allen, Reezy Frequency, Mik Frequency, Indigo Lucerne, Skylar Smythe, shellina Winkler, Petey Karfield, Zayra Ametza, Taralyn Gravois, Razzap Snookums, Scottius Polke, Fuschia Nightfire, Scarp Godenot, Aletheia Lyre and Zayra Ametza; pls forgive me if I forgot anyone, I was crying (happy) half the time and missed a lot :)

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Racism in a virtual world

Well, since I am the poster-child for fuming posts this week, I might as well make good use of that for something that has offended me deeply and to the core.

A friend in a VW (not SL) and I have just had a conversation in that world. This person is a person of color; I wouldn't have known this except that I met them in RL. And to me, in RL, such things are minor artistic details as far as I am concerned; as relevant to me personally as hair or eye color, height or weight, age or sex or gender. A detail of a surface shape that is mere wrapping over a human soul.

Now I am not blind to the political repercussions of these things. Such things affect how people are treated, which affects their outlook and their beliefs; they are part of their political reality I will never be able to encompass.

Like the following, as told to me:

My friend had a partner inworld (The Builder) who she has generously given free land, workspace and tier to for months and months. She has supported his business. She has supported him at her own cost through her generous spirit. And they were personally involved.

The Builder was in contact with someone who is supposedly "a big name" in sim owners inworld. This Big Name had for weeks been expressing nasty racism to the Builder about his partner, my friend. He let that go on for weeks without telling my friend about it because he was courting the business opportunities that Big Name could give.

This Builder packed up his stuff from my friend's sims in the middle of the night and went with the business opportunity after informing my friend of all these previous conversations and IMs to him littered with these racist comments. He's stupid too, because now Big Name wants him to pay 50% of the tier fee monthly. Good. My concern is not with Mr Builder but Big Name.

Pixels have no color (or all colors)

Big Name was reportedly making racist statements for weeks, cultivating Builder for her own purpose; to snatch him away from my friend as a moneymaker. Big Name actually had one of the Big Cheeses of the World move her sims so they wouldn't be next to my friend's.

As if that matters in a virtual world. Physical locality. Does Big Name realize that they may still be on the same server? Probably not; this Name is such a low mind that a complex realization like that may be beyond her.

I cannot express my outrage, distaste, horror and fury at such an attitude or conduct from a pesron supposedly intelligent enough to use a computer to access virtual worlds better than I did in a notecard sent to Big Name inworld:


I am a friend of [my friend]. What she has told me regarding your conduct, your words to her and your blatant racism is an affront to any person with intelligence. It is also insanity to believe that gender, sex, color or orientation mean anything in a world made of pixels.

I do not believe people like you belong in these new worlds. I don't care who you are, what pitiful power you think you wield in a virtual world or what you think of me; your opinion would be less than useless to me given your own narrowminded and provincial views.

I've never encountered you inworld and I thank God for that.

Don't bother to respond; you are blocked and muted as suitable to one of your low mentality and ugly personal views on race.

Miso Susanowa

I will never rent a shop on her sims or allow her to purchase a single piece of my own work no matter what incentives are offered. I will never buy a product from any merchant on those sims. Yes, it is unfair to the merchants who may have no idea of this type of behaviour and outlook. But I will in no way give or funnel a single penny to such a person nor take a single spacebuck from such a person. I do not care what such a person will say about me, my work or anything else. My reputation will not be built on tacit aggreement or approval of such bigotry and ugliness, no matter what it might cost me in sales, talk or anything else tangible. If I sell my soul for such material gain I am nothing.

What is more insane to me is that Big Name is in a world made of pixels. There are no colors here. There's no height, weight, age, skin color, racial background or any of the other surface shapes of life. All that is here is your mind and what you bring with you.

And narrowminded bigotry has no place here.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

One Last Reply

... and I am done with this issue.

The only reason I am posting again is Hamlet Au's editing of an email I sent to him, against my better judgement. If you have read my blog you are aware of how I feel about the stance he takes against Second Life residents. I answered his email in my exhaustive, hell-filled day trying to clean up my own mess, even though I had second thoughts about responding to him. You'll see why if you read his "followup post." I sent the email to him in good faith and as my responsibility to respond to as much of this crapfest I touched off as I humanly could.

FIRST READ THIS PLEASE - I was in contact with Amanda Linden. She was very nice. I apologized for my idiocy and explained to her how I was trying my best, with a 15-hr day of typing, to get some leveling on this whole firestorm. She was nice in return. Ok? I don't "hate Lindens," I don't really know any/many. Amanda is a person, and that person is a Linden, and that Linden was nice to me in a crapstorm, ok? I'm pointing this out because my original post was about one Linden in this process and another that commented on my blog. Two people.

I can't publish this conversation because it was in IM and that is against TOS; please accept that it was a civil conversation.


Ok. So someone sends me to Hamlet's site and I read his "followup" post. I should have known better. Here is my comment to that post:

[comment on NWN, 2nd post]

Can everyone please just read my posts and my comments between other comments? I sat for 15 hours typing on over a dozen blogs and my own comments section and Twitter explaining every single twist, turn and car crash that ensued.

Hamlet, I responded to you against my best judgement, and you cherry-picked my exhaustive email, which I will now publish in self-defense, to support your antagonistic view.

It is THIS PROBLEM that your posts typify; this arrogant "Linden Lab can do no wrong" stance that is the problem, not residents. There is a bad disconnect and failure on both sides. And you fan it.

I typed mea culpa over and over and over again, as I said in my email to you.

"but failed due to Second Life technical failure" - not accepted. First, as you say, I have the notice that messages are capped, because sometimes I work in Inworldz for a few days; this did not stop anyone from messaging me for 7 weeks. I did receive ONE notecard, from Amanda Linden, yesterday and I responded as soon as I was able with a notecard of my own giving her my email address.

Anyone looking up my profile to add me (as Courtney did) would see this message, and given a situation where I was supposed to be working on something for LL, you'd think they'd send a notecard if it was important.

My views have not changed on my distaste for your combative stance against the consumers who pay Linden Lab the money that makes them profit and your one-way view and position that it would be better if we all went away and played Facebook.

Please don't ask me for "my side of the story" again when you are going to selectively edit to support such a stance.


Here is the email (actually two emails) sent to Hamlet that he edited for his "followup" post. BTW... here's the request sent to me in SL by Hamlet, on a notecard:

Hi Miso, I'm writing about the logo you created, can you email me a copy for comparison? Mahalo!

[this is the second email]

At 12:47 AM 6/14/2011, you wrote:
OK thanks! I'll quote from this/summarize it if that's OK with you...

Yes; it is my mess and I will contribute to cleaning it up.

I know that my reaction to seeing that posted logo by Jillian Linden was not as mild as "oh, she got the same idea that I did" but a "hey, that's my design!" reaction based on many points of similarity and treatment of elements.

I have explained the problem with my admittedly nonprofessional work process and that I most probably tossed them back in the bit mucket as a failed or unwanted project. I have looked extensively today on my hard drive; I will attempt to look in SL tomorrow, but I know my OCD habits and the possibility that I kept the elements and photos for something that I believed was not wanted and that caused me frustration over the process and lack of contact are slim. I'm not trying to hide anything; I really wish I had the photos, Hamlet. They wouldn't worry me to produce; I am confident that the similarities would be many and obvious or I wouldn't have been so shocked and irritated enough to blog. There's nothing but my word on that and I know that will not satisfy people.

I know I mentioned the single IM I got from Courtney Linden 8 days later about Legal's issue with incorporating the Hand as an additional element to several friends at the time because it seemed counter-priductive to LL's own branding and interest...I further discussed with my friends what I thought was plain laziness when someone pointed me to the wiki page a couple of weeks after that meeting when I thought the whole concept was rejected/abandoned and did not understand why I was listed in two places, one of them definitely not anything I volunteered to do (Estates/Buildouts) and one of them as designer of a logo I thought was rejected and trashed.

Someone in SL says they have a chat log of that meeting where I presented my logo/design idea/concept and talked about it and went through a group discussion of the concept and the color problem people were concerned with, as I'd expect in a working-notes kind of way; I am sure I had my own transcript that got tossed with the other stuff when I thought it was a no-go.

[here I inserted a copy of the long Last Comment I duplicated to both blog posts; you can read it there]

[this is the first email]

At 10:05 PM 6/13/2011, you wrote:

sorry, i sent this to the gmail account; it's been a long day

I created a small elements mockup in Photoshop from the design I did in prims, which is the way I have designed the last 3 logos, as a process that gives me nice 3D effects (see my LOGOS section on my Flickr). I then shoot photos of the logo and show both the photos and the 3D mockup primset to ask them if they like the ELEMENTS; the overall concept and design. It makes it easier to move elements around quickly for a rough concept presentation, kinda like a 3D Powerpoint thing. If they do, and it's a go, then I begin rendering graphics and experimenting with placement, matching the fonts to the prim lettering image-and-feel and coloring. I am also hoping that they may like the 3D version (as they did for Spring Fling) beause, it's a 3D world yes? So this has been my design process for the last several logos for both BurningLife, Burn2, Spring Fling and this time, as well as the logo for M Linden's "Doodle Art" show (btw, the only reason I got credit for that logo was due to the insistence of White Lebed and Jayjay Zifanwe because they were unhappy I did that work for them and was initially left off the credits when everyone else including set designers and hairdressers (metaphorically) was credited).

When nothing happened for 6 weeks I dumped the files in my UPLOAD TO SL directory as I habitually do for one-shot photos, graphic jokes and other non-archival material. I didn't keep the layered Photoshop file because I wasn't about to put a lot of work into graphic design, drawing, shading, coloring, adjusting backgrounds or anything until they gave me some agreed-on color palette to work with that I wouldn't have put all that work into only to be told (as I was at that meeting when the original 3D lettering was done in 'Linden Green'- "Oh god we did green LAST year if i see green one more time I will puke" and whatever) that it would entail even MORE work. And as it was a rather-specific design it incorprated elements I really wouldn't be recycling or using again, so yes, I dumped the files *shrug* It's an old habit from having very small hard drives. Basically UPLOAD TO SL is a huge Temp directory.

The request I made after Courtney IMed me about the Legal "no" on the Hand auxiliary design as to whether or not they'd decided on a color(s) theme for SL8B was never answered; I never heard back from anyone as I have written in many places now, contrary to what Amanda/Pete has stated.

I probably dumped the primset also for the same reason: no one contacted me to show interest in my design so I wrote it off as wasted. I know I sent it to the other person as well as Courtney Linden, because I needed to have it shown to those people at the meeting and I wasn't able to rez there. But I repeat: the other person is OUT OF TOWN taking care of their father who has pancreatic cancer and I don't give a damn enough about this insane escalation of some bullshit Second Life storm to intrude upon someone in such a state; that would seriously be taking Second Life way way too out of proportion to real life.

I'm sorry but I cannot comply with your request. At this point, seeing this monstrous thing this has become, I really don't care what anyone thinks of me; I will not intrude on someone's RL nightmare and grief to cover my own ass for something that's been blown hugely out of proportion. If I had the photos or mockup right now it would be my responsibility to post/show them. I am being as open as I can be about everything involved in this.
Thanks again for taking the trouble to contact me.

At 09:30 PM 6/13/2011, you wrote:
Thanks, but I don't understand - don't you have a copy in Photoshop or wherever you created the logo mockup? What's the SL name of the other person? I'll send then an IM and be very polite when I ask them.


I feel that Hamlet's post is a good example of the problem I have with his stance and is, in its way, just as much "drama" as he accuses others of making. Oh yes, it's much colder, analytical and "professional" but it is still combative, inflammatory and typical of the arrogance of some Lindens and ex-Lindens that is at the heart of this whole controversy. Hamlet doesn't fool me and he doesn't seem to fool many of the users of Linden Lab's product Second Life. And since he has a voice which is much wider than mine, I feel it hypocritical of him in the extreme to accuse only residents of "making drama" when his slanted and arrogant posts regarding residents as some kind of evil stumbling-block to be at least as irresponsible as my own first post on this issue if not more so; I never claim to be a professional blogger; he does.

My original post was emotional, childish and wrong; I have admitted this over and over. But Hamlet's portrayal illustrates the real problem that this controversy erupted into; an arrogant, "we can do no wrong and our way is the only way to see things" stance that is at the dark heart of this ugly problem that some good people, like Rod and Amanda and others are attempting to defuse between the users of Second Life and the management because they realize that a combative and kneejerk attitude on anyone's part is not good for Linden Lab, Second life or its users/residents.

I haven't changed my mind except to think of how to de-emotionalize my posts and make my critique sharper and colder, in the style of Mr Au. I have been confirmed in my opinion that Hamlet Au is a poster-child for the kind of Linden that is not good for Linden Lab and I am happy he is not on staff anymore because his kind of Linden is the kind that evokes fury in so many users. Since Hamlet is trying to appear "fair and balanced" I'd like to ask, where are his emails to LL demanding copies of these supposed attempts at communication with me? There should be logs of those, yes? Where is his "investigative reporting" as to the chat transcript of this meeting (which as I have mentioned I know exists)? That's fair, yes?

I've seen nothing from Hamlet Au even approaching my efforts to admit I was an emotional idiot and shouldn't have posted. All I've seen is the same drama on his part, repeatedly and on more controversies than this one, that he accuses all residents across the board of making. In fact I charge Hamlet with instigating the very drama issues he complains about over the last couple months for blog hits.

I am trying my best to be reasonable in the style of Mr Au. Linden Lab is made up of people. In my experience now of interacting with people, the score looks like this:

Lindens Met: 4 (Rod, Courtney, Amanda, Pete )

Lindens Who Have Been Nice and Reasonable: 2 (Rod, Amanda)

Lindens I Didn't Like: 2 (Pete, Courtney)

See how that balances?

I'm done.

ps: if you want a copy of the Hamster Dance gesture, IM me inworld. More relevant than evar!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Addendum: The Magic Hat

ADDENDUM 6.13.11

Due to all the chatter that has happened over my last post, please read the following addendum:

The person who originally asked me for a design did so in good faith (not a Linden). I said yes in good faith because they were a friend and also the one to ask me for the Burn2 logo (flaming hoops) and that turned out ok. It was not design-by-committee. So I said sure, despite the BurningLife experience...

I admit that art can be influenced from a variety of sources. The logo is just different enough; I suppose also you might argue that the Hat would be a natural pairing with a theme of "magic" (as it was to me). I do remember the pitch and that Courtney Linden brought up the issue after my pitch with "I like this idea of the Hat" and then the discussion after that was about color schema as I mentioned (and my question that had to be "fed to Legal" about using The Hand).

I, not being paranoid, did not keep chat logs of course. I kept one photo of the session as a silly joke for friends ("look! I was with Lindens!"). I've been looking for the jpgs of the design but can't find them; I sent them to both Courtney and to the person who asked me to go for the design initially. I'm not sure if I have the prim mockup either; I am OCD/prim-thrifty and probably just deleted it; it was only a rough (to me) and not a sculpture I'd want to keep, especially when I heard nothing back for so long. I don't remember any "Jillian Linden" at that meeting (and I was keeping tabs because it seemed funny to me that I'd be in a meeting with Lindens!!!! lolz)

I have no intention of getting a lawyer on it because... that's just nuts. That's something a corporation would do, not me. I am neither mercenary enough nor greedy enough nor do I think that would really make a difference. I certainly did not copyright a rough design. It was an obvious lift and I had my little hissy about it. I'm not going to run to my friend who originally asked me to do the logo (who has been absent during this, engaged with a family emergency). I'm not going to go to my friends I sent the "Linden Meeting" photo to and ask them to dig through Trash for something they probably viewed as a quick joke and then tossed (and probably cleared their Trash folder like I do obsessively). I'm not going to get crazy going through my horribly-unorganized and uncategorized "SLUploads" folder looking to "prove" anything.

There was no "contract"; there were several hours of work involved in the 3D mockup, the photographing of the primset and the back-and-forth with my friend. There was one meeting I was at where I pitched the idea and an additional IM from Legal via Courtney about a week later about not using The Hand. After weeks of silence I just... blew it off. I figured they were cherrypicking for ideas and changed their minds or didn't like the proposal. I also have the experience with good professional people who actually want something done (other logo design work I have done through SL) and figured this was just another "mess by committee." If I knew in the first place I'd end up in a meeting with a couple Lindens and a bunch of other people I never would have agreed to the friend's request for a design.

I am certainly not going to go Full Metal Legal on anyone. That's a corporation thing; it is not my thing. I have ideas, and I will have more ideas. To me it was just more graphic practice. Certainly no one's going to make money off that logo (like if it was licensed for use as a cereal box or television logo) so the whole discussion about "legal copyright" and "lawyers" just hits me the wrong way and I do not plan to pursue such a course; it's ridiculous. It's in the modern area of "copyrighting concepts not executions" which I am opposed to as ruining the creative and common culture of us all. I was peeved and I had my little hissy. I'm just sorry I had it in public.

Maybe I am just lame. I never viewed such work (esp solicited by a friend, who remains a friend) as a moneymaking opportunity. I never expected to be paid. I don't plan to be a golddigger; that is not a "business model" to me. I just thought it would be a nice thing to include in my portfolio.

With the first BL logo, at least my name was included (although after the redesign I asked it not be included lol). The Burn2 logo, as far as I know, is still being used (maybe it won't be after this) which is nice, because that one didn't go through committee revision; I can point to it on my resume as a nice piece of design that I was happy with.

I was up late and in physical pain when I blogged and probably should have kept my grouse for the few friends who'd listen instead of blogging my bitchy. I was miffed about the whole business of not being able to using The Hand in a design for the Lab (which I thought would be a great thing for the Lab), the inclusion of my name under Estates/Buildouts when I had no intention of being involved in SL8B and the switch on credits for the logo but no revision of Estates/Buildouts list... but had blown it all off until someone sent me the New Logo.

At this point, it is more a caution to me about "new media" and how a minor blog like mine can repercuss and end up to be a whole bunch of trouble and that I sometimes I should keep my mouth shut and not throw a fit in public. For better or worse I had my say, and like the deleted prims I'm done with it. That doesn't mean I am unthankful for all the nice things people have been saying to me about that post and the situation.


I'd also like to clearly state that I know Linden Lab is people, not some monolith. Some of them make stupid decisions and others do nice things. As Saffia says in the comments to the previous post, some things are just cockups. My particular complaint is for a couple particular people (and Legal for just being so dense). The only Lindens I have ever met in three years were the two at that meeting and M when I did the design for his Doodle Art show (although it was only a handshake-nice-to-meetcha thing; the design was solicited by White Lebed, who did her best along with Jayjay Zifanwe to make sure my name showed on the credits, which is all I really cared about). I still like Rod ^_^

Saturday, June 11, 2011

A Tale of Two IPs

About 7 weeks ago I was contacted to design a logo for the Second Life Birthday 8 Celebration. I was contacted by a friend because of the work I had done on two other logos for LL - one for Burning Life and another for Burn2. I said yes, despite my experience of the last time working with Lindens.

Did some mockups of design; main elements, approach, focus. Tried to ask questions about the parameters, because I was being told "needs to look good at 64x64" but then also about "the maaaaagic of SL" and etc, so I wanted to know if they wanted a LOGO or a GRAPHIC so I could design for a poster (denser, busy) and also a logo (spare; recognition at a glance).

Went to a meeting with all kinds of Important People and some Lindens. Pitched my idea about the Magician's Top Hat as a main element/metaphor of "magic" and the particles/stars & letters coming from it and showed them both the physical mockup (it was made in prims for shooting photos) and the photo of the 3D mockup. A lot of stuff came up about the colors and people not liking this one, that one, whatever one ("we had green last year, I don't ever wanna see green again!"). I told them basically please come up with a color set/theme so I could work without having to redo the whole thing if people decided the "theme colors" were going to be different somewhere down the road; I suggested purple because of the obvious "magicness" associated with it, but there was no consensus so I said I needed to know the color schema in order to redesign the logo in the colors picked...

Then a few people IMed me about a week later, "congratulations!!!" - this is how I found out I was listed on this page as Logo/Graphic Designer AND under Estate/Buildouts/Exhibits, although I had not requested a plot and had no intention of building at SL8B.

I heard nothing from anyone associated with this for 6 weeks (except for the Legal Dept.'s "no!" on use of the Hand) and figured they got pissy after my little quiz on what they wanted and blew me off.

Well, today someone tweeted this logo - which is pretty much the graphic design idea I showed to that Committee. Oh yes; they tilted the letters and the Hat about 38 degrees... they used little paint tube stars (mine were multi-colored with particles also); they used a flat-style lettering instead of my beveled chrome letters... but this is my design. And who is this logo attributed to now on that Linden Lab Official: SL8B page? Jillian Linden.


Now, you need to know a few other things: when I was asked to design the logo for Burning Life (you remember, the one that looked like a cheap western KOA/motel sign) I went through this same process; spent a good amount of time going back and forth with it.... and ended up in the same position: I got my design lifted, rearranged and attributed to other people. I thought the redesign so tacky that I demanded my name be taken off the credits (they had stuck my name on it with two other names).

I also had the Linden Hand incorporated into this design, backing up or holding the Hat; I mean, SL8B is an Official Linden Thing, right? Brand awareness and all that? Well, it took 8 days for a Linden to get back to me with this message from Legal: no, you can't use our logo in our own logo.

So Linden Lab has a big bunch of wind to say about Intellectual Property, but when it comes right down to it, they are happy to lift design work from other people. Did I mention there was no pay ever involved for graphic design? Of course not. No, I am not being bitchy because I wasn't getting paid, but it's interesting that Lindens who get paid to do stuff are ok with asking someone to spend a couple hours design and graphic time for free so they can use it... like I should be so happy to be asked to work with Lindens.

Well, I'm not. This is the second time I've been worked for ideas that are then appropriated and redesigned and attributed to someone else. Hey, Photoshopping is all kewl 'n stuff (I mean, check out the lovely ersatz metallic sheen on those flat tin letters!) but design is 80% ideas and 20% execution.

To add insult to injury, someone changed the Logo/Graphic Design credits to Jillian Linden on that official wiki page but still left my name in Estate/Buildout/Exhibits (which I had never volunteered for, and specifically chose to ignore SL8B this year).

So am I such a big name they need to leave my name on this page? When the real work I did was appropriated, sucked up and regurgitated with someone else's name on it? If I was a meaner person, I would have copyrighted that logo design and be in the process of jamming some DMCA takedown notices up LL's butt. I mean, that's what they do, isn't it?

So here's a little note to any Linden who'd think I'd be thrilled to be used again:
Talk to the hand

DISCLOSURE: hand turkey credit to plmiller@

Friday, June 10, 2011

Thy Rod On Staff

Entered in the UWA 3D Challenge for June :D

Monday, June 6, 2011

Cooking With Meeroos

Thanks to Mera for inspiring me to update my renowned-on-the-early-internet "Endangered Species Cookbook" for Meeroos. I admit they had escaped my attention at first. However, scientific rigor requires us to ask the two fundamental questions into the nature of any newly-discovered species:

1. Are they tasty?

2. Will they blend?

One thing must be said at the beginning: since Meeroos have so many genetic variants available, there are bound to be subtleties of flavor and texture that will be impossible to codify, so any recipies followed here must be tempered with that ultimate chef's tool, the educated palete. Please keep this in mind while experimenting with these recipies.

Early reports indicate Meeroo "tastes like chicken" so general rules may be followed: make sure the Meeroo is well-scrubbed, checking for any spoilage or discoloration and assume an average baking temperature of 350° for 25-35 minutes until reaching the USDA recommended safe internal temperature of 165° (use a meat thermometer).

Grilled Meeroo with Arugula Pesto

  • 1/4 cup sliced or slivered almonds or shelled pistachios
  • 1 cup packed fresh arugula leaves
  • 1/2 cup packed fresh basil leaves
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • 1 clove garlic, grated or minced
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 small pieces boneless, skinless Meeroo (tenders removed)

Heat a grill pan to high.

Toast the nuts lightly in small skillet over low heat, then add them to a food processor.

Add the arugula, basil, lemon juice, garlic, and salt and pepper, to taste, and pulse to combine.

With the processor on, stream in the extra-virgin olive oil to form thick pesto.

Lightly pound out the Meeroo, then rub all sides with the pesto. Spray the grill pan with cooking spray or rub with a little oil and grill the Meeroo 2 to 4 minutes on each side.

Cook's Note: Serve sliced on top of Caesar Spaghetti or, pile it onto ciabatta bread with sliced tomatoes and mozzarella for a lovely summer sandwich.

Meeroo Mocha Frappe

A great early-morning pick-me-up.

Place ingredients in blender compartment in order listed:

  • 1 cup crescent-shaped ice cubes (7 to 8 each)
  • 1 1/2 cups (about 3 scoops) vanilla ice cream
  • 1/2 medium cocoa Meeroo, peeled and sliced
  • 1 tablespoon hot fudge topping
  • 1/4 cup milk

Pulse the mix or liquify setting until all the ingredients are well-blended. Older Meeroos are a bit tough and may require extra time to blend smoothly.

Once the initial ingredients are well-blended, add 1/2 cup of water and 3 tablespoons ground espresso or other dark roast coffee. Serve chilled with nutmeg or shaved chocolate garnish.

Finally, for the ambitious among you:

Pâté de foie gras la Meeroo

Pâté de foie gras la Meeroo is considered an ultimate culinary delight, the king of pâtés. Along with its pedigree comes a hefty price tag. Foie gras is French for "fat liver," and this pâté is made from the livers of specially fattened Meeroos. If done well, this dish will impress your high-society friends with your cooking sangfroid and get you onto the Best Lists. But practice first! You wouldn't want to serve Wolfgang Puck a bad pâté!

Meeroos are combined with onion, orange juice, peppercorns, and cloves in the food processor for a delectable spread served with crusty peasant bread. May be made up to three days in advance.


  • 5 pounds Meeroo, cooked
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3/4 stick (6 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/3 cup fresh orange juice
  • 2 teaspoons drained bottled green peppercorns
  • 2 tablespoons Meeroo bouillon or broth
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Crusty peasant bread as an accompaniment

Discard the fat and bones from the Meeroo and transfer the meat to a food processor.

In a skillet, cook the onion in 2 tablespoons of the butter over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until it is golden. Add it to the Meeroo with the remaining 4 tablespoons butter, the orange juice, the peppercorns, the bouillon or broth, the cloves, and the salt, and pulse the motor until the pâté is minced but not puréed. Pack the pâté into a crock. The pâté may be made 3 days in advance and kept covered and chilled. Serve the pâté at room temperature with the bread.

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 20 minutes

Yield: 2 to 2-1/2 cups


I hope you will have fun and enjoy gustatory experimentation with Meeroo, as this exciting new meat is wide-open for cooks of any skill level. You too can be the Julia Child of Meeroo cooking!

Next week: selecting the proper wine to serve with Meeroo.

As you see, Meeroos do blend!

Friday, June 3, 2011

Some Cheerleading

Lately I've been doing a lot of research for a series of articles I want to write as an extension of the work I did in State of Mind - one of my largest influences/themes, the politics of information. Things are very dark out there... I wanted to make a post as a followup to my Reply posts to acknowledge some nice things that have been happening:


1. Billing Issues at LL: the activity in this area is encouraging. There seems to be a new push to at least understand that billing issues cannot be automatically resolved nor can mere form letters sent out by a program in a demand format really address the snarls and tangles that result in a complex series of interactions. The 24/7 number is a huge positive step in acknowledging the needs of LL's customers, especially the ones who wish to pay LL money.

One of my friends, a Canadian, had some problems with exchanging money for Lindens and because of her hours, was frustrated trying to contact LL. I said, why not give this number a shot? even though it wasn't really a billing problem. She did... and surprisingly to both of us, the staff was helpful, courteous and took over an hour to help her get things straightened out. I guess they didn't have to - it wasn't strictly their area - but it does show an effort and an awareness that we are customers and that we are not something to fight. Hats off to the Billing Team.

2. Group chat tests - another very-encouraging announcement. Group Chat is a critical part of a social network and one of the oldest endemic problems in SL (and other VWs). You cannot foster community bonds when the channels don't work. Since this is a longstanding problem and is in the architecture I don't expect fairies to magically fix it overnight. But that it has some serious attention is a very positive sign to me.

3. The Twinkle story - I hope you didnt miss this event. If you did, you must read Jayjay at UWA's post "The Most Important Thing I Have Done In Second Life."

This has everything positive I see in both virtual community and the arts. Through the creator (Bay Sweetwater)'s suggestion of donating her (non-machinima) prize "100 Treasures from UWA" to a primary school, many things happened. The machinima she submitted to the competition, "Twinkle's Journey," had some attention refocused on it and revealed itself as a deeply-moving, personal work of art that shared the pain but also the hope of a very sad situation. In fact, it was good art.

In the rush of galleries, competitions and the like, we can lose track of the meaning and reason of art. We can become jaded and narrow ourselves down by seeking the trendy, the technically-interesting and surface entrancement of the flash-bang world. We can succumb to the judgement of the market. This is initially what happened to "Twinkle's Journey."

The story continued; because of Bay's generous offer, a cultural exchange took place between a woman in the US and a classroom full of children in Australia; a group of children (and their teacher) learned about virtual worlds in a very positive light, and through Jayjay's beautiful letter and announcement of this gift, many people reviewed 'Twinkle's Journey' and understood what they had missed the first time (Jayjay's posting of this story was awesome).

This is about as close as I can get to defining art - the sharing of a personal experience through artwork to other people, communicating the human condition. The whole story is an example of the power of this medium for communicating on more than a surface level and one of the fundamental beliefs I hold about the importance of these worlds we are making.

4. Inworldz' Phlox - very, very encouraging; the Phlox rollout fixed many problems with script handling and I can see the results instantly. Particles are finally looking right, functions are working properly and it's very fast and clean. Congratulations to the IWz team!


I have written about problems in Second Life; problems I see not only as complaint areas but areas that actually concern Linden Lab's goal of profitability; in the long run, helping LL to have a good program that I want to bring someone else to assures me of keeping the home and friends I have now. The suggestions I have made are based on many other people's observations and ideas, but most of those people are also motivated out of frustration only because they want Second Life to be a good place to go. They want SL to succeed.

So in fair balance I wished to write about some of the small but crucial changes in stance and attitude I have noticed in the past 4 weeks. This is actually pretty rapid deployment considering the size of a company like LL. Yes, they are beginnings, but "beginnings are a delicate time" as my Celt ancestors say. You don't pluck and pluck at the first shoot leaves that emerge from the soil if you want to have a nice garden.

These developments, as well as the thawing of some of the ice between LL and its customers, give me a nice little hope that perhaps this barrier between us, which evolved in a haphazard way and solidified, might be bridged with a little patience, understanding and communication between parties. The customers are not "hippie fantasy dreamers" doing nothing for the Company, and the Company has a vested interest in making a product that the consumers want, will promote and support financially as well as communally. Really, we are all in this together.

I know that these are beginnings. But that is more effort in that area than I saw in 2 years with M at the helm. I'm sure there will be glitches and disconnects; it's inevitable. But I am willing to extend my props for effort.

Gooooo Team! *waves pompoms*
*tries to do a split*
*reaches for Tiger Balm*

ps: a short post! I know! Don't faint :D