The Process of Learning, In & Out of Second Life

Illumination Island and Bibliotheque (moderate)

I don’t have children, but I can’t avoid the news that it is the beginning of a new school year for those who do. This has made me ponder the various learning methods and opportunities afforded to us all.

Inworld I explored three sister islands this morning. On the first is a library offering “collections of literary classics, religious works, philosophy and history”, which is very cool. They have a group and events which, if literature is your thing, you should check out.

The second island, gives you a chance to experience the Wilanow Royal Palace↑ in Warsaw. You could spend a long time wandering these halls and grounds. The third region, Museum Island, is crammed with ancient monuments and structures from a variety of cultures. They provide historical data/explanatory texts and give you a chance to see important works you may only have heard of (or, in many cases, have never heard of).

I love sites like this, because I’m never going to get to these places any other way.

Illumination Island and Bibliotheque (moderate)

My encounters with learning in the physical world are varied and unending. Who knew, for example, that you’re supposed to replace a furnace filter more than once every 6 years?

Or, how could I know that the designers of a modern computer tower wouldn’t take into consideration that water can be spilled when they decided that some USB ports should face the sky? My mouse now acts like it ate bad sushi and is experiencing uncontrolled stomach spasms. sigh

The newest addition to the household is also being educated. I’m using flash cards – “Yes, this is a squirrel, the enemy, you can chase them. These are the cats, the good guys, you cannot chase them!” I get the feeling this is going to take a while.

Wilanow Royal Palace (moderate)

One of my favourite “learning” past-times involves those television series where an historian travels in the footsteps of some explorer, or wanders around the ruins of a lost city.

One of the first shows I remember being captivated by involved a man in the traditional khaki fighting his way through the Central American jungle. I can’t remember his name. It wasn’t Michael Wood, I don’t think, but a very similar type.

The British are superb at this type of television. There is often an understated acknowledgement of post-colonial guilt, and a history of under-estimating the intelligence of other cultures. Mostly, it’s just great visuals and fascinating bits of information.

Museum Island (moderate)

I bring this up because I encountered a new series yesterday. Treasures of the Indus, is a 3 part exploration of the history of the Indian sub-continent and it’s very different from anything I’ve watched before. Oh it has the beautiful images, and the first episode taught me many things.

The big difference though is the guide. Sona Datta is smart and well educated and well spoken, which so far doesn’t make her much different from the men I’ve watched. However, she is also quite snarky (in an understated way) and funny.

I can’t imagine Michael Wood (or the others I’ve seen) introducing the greek influence on Buddhist art by referring to Alexander’s “testosterone-fueled mission to outdo Darius the Great”. I didn’t know about the impact the Greeks had on Buddhism, but that line about Alexander means I won’t forget it.

If you get a chance, do watch this series. I may have to see them multiple times – partly because her throw-away digs at other historians mean I spend a lot of time googling the names of these people. Sona’s opinions on everything shine through – but, I feel like I’ve learned something. That’s what counts right?

Now, where are those flashcards?

Museum Island (moderate)
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Make the World Go Away in Second Life

Babys Ear (adult)

Sometimes you want the real world to go away for a while, it can be very ugly. These thoughts, of course, reminded me of the song. For those who remember it, I haven’t linked to the Eddy Arnold version. Instead I went back to the original by the fabulous Timi Yuro. :)

Babys Ear (adult)

My escape route is inworld – a chance to play with the camera. I got lucky today and discovered that Neva Crystall’s new home sim is open to us (I thought I’d missed it after seeing Inara’s post, but something obviously changed).

Babys Ear (adult)

Neva has a welcoming message for us: Welcome to Neva’s Baby’s Ear, my home away from home. There are no fences nor ban lines throughout the sim, so let free your wanderlust and enjoy your stay.

Also, for those convinced that everything labelled adult somehow means there will be sex and violence … nope not a whit of either here.

Babys Ear (adult)

One of the reasons taking pics tends to let me escape other thoughts is that there are a lot of details to keep in mind. I have to focus.

For example, I hate the typical horizon we often get in shots. The next image is a good illustration of what happens when I forget one of the details and don’t derender the water. It would have been a much better image. sigh

Babys Ear (adult)

Anger & Depression Result in Second Life Art

Failure to Thrive (The Gray Child) by Storm Septimus (moderate)

” The Gray child is here, my emptiness, my nothing, my death. She is the one who says nothing at all. She is everything and nothing all at once. She looks just like me though she is hollow inside. The Gray Child surrounds me. She has no name, her shape and form are mine. With her I forget everything as we watch the world fall away. “

At first glance Failure to Thrive (The Gray Child) is not the typically dark creation we might expect from Storm Septimus. The landscape looks other-worldly, but beautiful, and the colours are attractive.

At first glance.

A closer inspection reveals content in many ways much darker than anything I’ve seen from her before.

Failure to Thrive (The Gray Child) by Storm Septimus (moderate)

When asked about the build Storm replied: If I were to use one word to sum it all up, well that’s easy, its simply about depression. I have been fighting with depression for almost as long as I can remember. Though I think it would take an idiot not to see that with the style of builds I install within SL. I find it very easy to indulge that side of me, and the results are usually bleak yet rather beautiful.

Originally the sim was to be just called The Gray Child as that was the title of my self indulgent mini ramble on a particularly woeful day. However when piecing it together I had some really bad days where I was almost screaming at people “I simply cannot do this”. I had my hand held and I was told to put my big girl pants on and to take a step back and maybe try to broaden my view and consider a different direction to what I had at that point built. (the sim has changed about 5 times before it finally found itself). I’ll be honest I was not happy with said person so the failure to thrive came into as a bit of a fuck you because I said I would fail because I had no idea what I supposed to do anymore, so I saw the whole thing as a big waste of time as I couldnt see it progressing to anything. In later thoughts I realised that’s what depression is … it is a failure to thrive .. emotionally.

Failure to Thrive (The Gray Child) by Storm Septimus (moderate)

Discussing the design she explained: It’s cluttered and abstract just like the thoughts in my head when the gray child is winning. Alot of it looks perfectly acceptable from a distance… then when you get closer less desirable things come into focus. Agin a classic thing with people who suffer depression , on the outside we can quite easily appear like we are doing okay , get closer you see the cracks. So I tried to get this across in the design with things like the dolls’ tea party, looks legit from a distance till you notice they are eating their own. The birds swooping down in the rotunda a sign of hope until you move closer and discover someone pierced them with scissors…

I find it to be a peaceful and beautiful thing to look at. I know the message gets across as people tell me I have made another masterpiece in depressing lol. So I guess I am winning? even if I don’t see it that way myself. I adore walking through the thousands of shimmering stars and losing myself, and you know what? I don’t feel so sad anymore, instead I smile.

Failure to Thrive (The Gray Child) by Storm Septimus (moderate)

One of the many intriguing aspects of this build is Storm’s notecard concerning the Windlight. Using the region’s default is important, but she gives you two options – low and high rez. She prefers the low and, if you check out the reflections in the final image, you’ll see it does make the landscape even more dramatic.

I’m not a supporter of the theory that artists (whether painters, writers, sculptors, musicians, etc.,) have to suffer for their art. It is often true, however, that out of suffering can come art which touches us and allows us a glimpse inside the artist’s psyche.

Being a determined (albeit often cranky) optimist – I consoled myself at Failure to Thrive with the image of Storm wandering through the stars and smiling. Hold on to thought as you look closely at this grim beauty created from anger and depression.

Failure to Thrive (The Gray Child) by Storm Septimus (moderate)
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