Saturday, 30 October 2010


Well we have Tom living with us now. He is another rescue dog, an adolescent male, very puppyish still but rather large! He has a huge head and feet but is still quite skinny having suffered a lot from stress in the kennel.

He loves running and runs like the wind, he has chased the turkey and hens, not to hurt them, just because it is fun. He loves chasing a ball. He loves people, dogs and children and will make a lovely pet as we get him a little better mannered, at the moment he is rather too boisterous and would love to be a lapdog taking advantage of cuddling up to and trying to get onto people’s laps when they are seated. He thinks all day is playtime and that everyone is going to play with him! He loves men and as soon as my husband or sons come in the house it is instant play!

I have got through so many clothes this week (working at home as it is half term) as he rushes in from the garden and throws himself at me – when standing on his back legs his paws reach my shoulders so he leaves muddy paw prints all down me :-)

At the moment he is totally bemused when I talk to people on Skype or in Second Life, he thinks that I can only be talking to him as no-one else is around, then tries to get on my lap!

We have one smallish problem – he is afraid of small spaces! I can’t get him to use the dog flaps in the back door and conservatory to get in and out of the garden! As he wants to run all day I have had the doors open all week and it is getting cold here. I have tried all sorts so far – even as far as putting a pork pie on one side to encourage him through – after half an hour of trying to coax, persuade etc., I went and started work leaving him outside hoping he may pluck up courage but Dexy dog went and ate the pork pie - #fail!
So every time he goes in and out and I am with him I open the flaps and get him to go through but for how long  I have to do this is anyone’s guess ;-) It could be a long cold winter in this house!

Happy Rezzday Gizmo and Karelia

Well what a party! It was a complete and happy coincidence that these two wonderful friends joined Second Life on the same day which three years on led to a party and a half! We started by looking at some of the amazing art of Solkide Auer and moved around some of Karelia and Gizmo’s favourite places in Second Life including Lynto Land at the Cross Worlds gallery, Arcachon, Aeonia , Costa Rica, Santiago, Tall Trees and quite possibly more :-)

We met on Learn 4 Life with champagne and merry making along the wonderful reproduction by Solkide of an Escher art work. When the group had gathered we moved on to Aeonia and progressed gradually down the list of places to visit, staying rather than longer at some than intended so by the time the group got back to Edunation for the disco I was not there to take photos.

One of the funniest episodes that I have ever seen in Second Life took place on the Costa Rica sand where after everyone wearing the Baywatch gesture and running in sync across the sand one of the wonderful men in the party, Div, a rather cuddly individual, changed into a Pamela type of bathing suit. That started the laughing…
Next he wrapped himself around Claudio with a huge hug before leaping into his arms. It was just so funny, we had only just finished wiping the tears away and Div had dressed as himself again when Claudio turned into a stereotypical Russian doll type of figure and returned all of the compliments…

For more of the fun photos see the set at

As it was close to Halloween there was a lot of festivity already happening around Second Life and the group were made welcome in the fun everywhere. What a great way to spend an evening!

Flickr set

Saturday, 23 October 2010

Burning Life 2010

Burn 2

Second Life’s Burning Life has always been a favourite few days of mine in-world and I thought it was over, finished, not happening again. Earlier this week  ( have been trying to write this paragraph for four days or more) out of the blue a friend TP’s me over to the new Burn 2 islands and I was instantly captivated again!

From the Burning Man website -
“In 1999, Philip Linden went to Burning Man, and came back with new ideas for the virtual world he was planning. Among them was the idea that humans abhor a blank canvas and will compulsively create form to fill void. They will provide their own content and entertainment and create a whole city (or world) when they are given permission and tools to do so.”

Phillip built Second Life and gave the resident the tools to create. Since then they have created a wonderful, artistic world. It is akin to what happens every year at Burning Man in the Nevada Desert when the real-world city of 50,000, is built by its citizens, who transport everything into the desert to build the community. Similar to Burning Man in Burning Life or the newly named Burn 2 there is a vast virtual desert covering six sims and made available to the residents of Second Life where they can go and build works of art, theme camps, art cars, music, performance, and there are usually several copies of the "Man." They have their work on display and being shared by the crowds for a few days but then cleared away with  the “land” being restored to its original condition.
From the website:

"This year's theme is "Metropolis - Civilization in the Desert." Exploration and expression of the urban reality in the style of Burning Man, where materials are trucked into the desert to build a temporary city that then disappears, leaving no trace."

The promo video is at and is well worth watching - it gives an overview of the whole thing.

I had not realized that a new event, BURN 2, was being run by a private community and is designed to be completely self supporting. I have been ignoring notecards, I realize that now ;-( There are simply not enough hours in the day to do all that I want to do and reading notecards that I did not realize the significance of went on the backburner :-)

My first visit, teleported by an avatar friend, Graham Mills, landed me in a circus area and The Stilts Bitches build with free costumes, stilts, unicycles etc.  It was wonderful and the result of very clever scripting, costume making and building work. Very enjoyable and quite mad :-) I can’t wait to go back. I really admire people who can create these wonderful artistic builds and write the scripts to make things happen, it is very clever!

There are so many very clever builds it is hard to choose photos to put on the blog. There are many more on Flickr and I will be adding to them through the next few days.

See the two of us there enjoying the circus facilities:

Friday, 22 October 2010

Nemo 11

It is very sad to hear that another build is leaving Second Life. Apparently Nemo 11, the stunning steampunk village and more is on its way out leaving on October 30th.

Nemo’s profile description is: "Nemo is one of the most beautiful  and detailed SIM in SL featuring  the Steampunk submarine city (Nemo's workshop, the tesla room), Northelia the steampunk Village, Alnitak the flying City ( the house of mirrors, the Air Museum) and much more!"

According to Wikipedia Steampunk is:
“Steampunk is a sub-genre of science fiction, alternate history, and speculative fiction that came into prominence during the 1980s and early 1990s.[1] Specifically, steampunk involves an era or world where steam power is still widely used—usually the 19th century and often Victorian era Britain—that incorporates prominent elements of either science fiction or fantasy. Works of steampunk often feature anachronistic technology or futuristic innovations as Victorians may have envisioned them; in other words, based on a Victorian perspective on fashion, culture, architectural style, art, etc.”

For a video clip explaining the layout and more of the whole site visit, again it is well worth watching! Another video clip can be seen at I guess it is just so successful people like it and can use it for machinima and story telling.  I don't know why he is leaving but is seems very sad to me, there are hours and hours of building involved in the sim.

It is easy to see from the photographs that this build is exactly that and very good quality, absolutely fascinating in all that it has to offer. It is so detailed, every bit of metal has a texture including rust spots, there is grass growing up through the road, the steam is dirty grey – it is so clever!

There is a small selection of pictures on Flickr, go to:

Sunday, 17 October 2010

SLanguages 2010

 SLanguages 2010 is over, I have had a few hours sleep and cleaned the house so in a good place to be :-) I have uploaded my conference photos to Flickr and decided that I can at least start to write before family arrive, though I may not finish it this morning.

It was a very enjoyable conference and even though I am not a part of the language teaching world many sessions about teaching in-world are pertinent to my role so there is lots of useful stuff to listen to, particularly the endless debates about if /whether / why teaching in a virtual world is good, bad or just plain ugly. There is lots of interesting discussion between people who have tried it in various ways and have differing opinions whereas often instigating such a conversation outside of such a conference will meet utter disbelief and often non-interest.

 Particularly impressive were the couple of sessions that I saw that focused on real teaching in SL. One, about making machinima so that students practiced the target language repetitively whilst writing and refining, the practicing and filming a script looked hugely successful but Anna Begonia and Gizmo Latte also highlighted problems of non-attendance, people joining and dropping out frequently and un-developed relationships. It was clearly not all plain sailing.

I loved Baal, the Brecht play performed by German Students, it was quite brilliant and clearly showed how the focus brought the dispersed group of language students together working toward a common purpose and created an impetus which kept them going. I just wonder, now, if the anticlimax could work against the learning experience. It will be interesting to follow up. I wish I had understood it a bit more, but everyone knows that I struggle with English never mind German but I got the gist I think :-) 

My favourite tour was the Macbeth visit. I have been there lots of times alone and had a good look around most of it but the explanation from someone who knows the layout made it very much better. Thanks go to Barbara Sakamoto or avi Lynn Carlucci for the tour. I have been in the blood room, or red room or whatever they call it loads of times, but never wearing the hud before. This time when I arrived with the tour I was fighting ghosts – great scripting! I must visit the wiki and read more about it and visit again trying to work out the maze for myself this time  I have been stuck there so many times before and teleported out thus missing the last room where one loses their head! An interesting thing now though, is that every time I visit the Mega Temple I am missing my head! Something there triggers the script that must be in my cache!

As usual I did a short sound workshop. I really enjoyed it and the people managed to achieve far more than I expected in the hour. I think I must have dramatically improved my teaching technique in Second Life since I did my first one a couple of years ago. I can imagine a whole host of avis saying 'Well thank goodness for that.' :-)

Fun Moments

The holodecks that were built by Randall Salder avi Randall Renoir, the forest scene and Mega Temple were lovely, but on one rather momentous occasion in the opening plenary just as we had about 80 people on the sim with all of the stresses and strain that puts on the server, someone from the floor asked if we could all hear and an audience avatar replied in text “loud and clear,” clear being the operational word to end the holodeck simulation so we were all thrown out of our seats as the temple disappeared. Usually rezzing it again is a few seconds task, but with the crowd it was a few very hopeful minutes :-)

Everyone involved will know that Gavin Dudeney started the SLanguages conference but it is a huge task and the workload rather too much for one or two people so this year a committee was formed to take it forward and run it in the future.  Gavin was the founder, so in the style of that wonderful British institution The Proms – where a bust of the founder Henry Wood is honoured each year with a laurel wreath – well you can see where this is going…

Heike Philps  avi Gwen Gwasi  decided that a bust should be presented to Gavin so the search for a good, sculpty bust-maker started. We toured classical sims with IMs “Come and see this one”… poor sim owners must have wondered what on earth was going on as stray avatars flew in examined their architecture for busts then moved out never to be seen again, but the search paid off and a maker was found. Gwen e-mailed me saying send any photos of Dudeney, Gavin’s avatar, and another search began.  I went through years of SL photos to find his little avatar, they all seemed to be stuck on or in a beanbag,  hidden by leaves, other people, instant messages, text chat and more. Between us Heike and myself gathered what we had but the artist needed more.  Gwen decided a video board needed moving so I said “Okay I will come and do that” but was met with a “Don’t you dare! I will ask Gavin if he will come in world and do it so that we can get photographs.” So dozens of photos were taken from every angle, the bust was created and a presentation was made. The instant guffaw from Gavin as he saw it said far more than words ever could have done and he was very nearly speechless, though of course that is never going to happen! Good fun!

Slanguages is the only virtual conference where I do actually stay the course and do the 24 hours, often I can’t be bothered and choose just a few sessions so missing out on the whole conference-like immersion which is a pity because that is the magic of a conference wherever it is.

Many thanks from me to the organizing committee – I think I may be on it, but never did anything (sorry folks) they did an amazing job, Heike, Gary (Motteram), Graham (Stanley), Randall and many more totaling 43 people apparently, thanks to their planning it ran very smoothly and worked brilliantly. I was quite pleased to be involved in the last four days though – think I have won a new title – PA to Gwen Gwasi – an SL job - yay!!

For photographs of the event visit these links and I will add more as I spot them:
My Flickr SLanguages set
Graham Stanley’s Flickr SLanguages set
The post event party

I am sure that later today there will be an address where we can all see any sessions that we missed on video, as soon as I know that I will add it here.

SLang10 - The Summary

Wednesday, 6 October 2010


The loveliest most faithful friend of the last eleven years, Ben, died in my arms this afternoon so I am feeling a bit sad! Ben is the creamy coloured dog, rescued at 11 months old and a beautiful family pet ever since. As with all dogs when he first arrived and we didn't know him we were not sure how he would be with children. I phoned a neice who was coming to stay and told her we had a new dog, she arrived and we could see it was instant love. Ben adored children - right until the day he died, which was rather sudden certainly unexpected up until the end of last week even yesterday we were not prepared for this outcome.

 Playing with Dexter, another rescue dog and rather elderly gent!

Playing with Dexter again - most of our lives seems to be playing with dogs :-)

In the snow - playing again!

Favourite pastime - Ben would get into anyone's car! There are three of them in here setting off for a walk in the woods!
Such lovely memories from a lovely dog - the house seems empty at the moment, Dexter is still looking for him :-(

Friday, 1 October 2010


I love this little tool but it is only for over 13s! That is very sad. I can imagine all sorts of use of it for pupils from Foundation Stage upwards. To try it out visit - leave a message to try to persuade them to open up an Educational version for schools :-)

Post Script - Yay I have just heard form Fotobabble :-)

Quote: You can absolutely allow students to log in from multiple computers with your log-in information while they're supervised at school.  You can also be sure to go into your profile and change your default setting to "private" Fotobabbles.  This way nothing your students create is searchable or appears on the main FB site.  Does any of this help?  If students want to use Fotobabble at home, all they need is a parent to create a log in and agree to supervise their child's use of the site.  They'll never encounter anything extremely profane on Fotobabble, but nevertheless, parents can keep an eye on what their children are viewing online. 

So - teachers can now log in, allow students to create Fotobabbles and the embed code makes it easy to embed the finished work in the Learning Platform, on a blog etc. I am going to write embedding instuctions for KLP users later today - drop me a message if you want a copy... guess you will know where to find me :-)