Sunday, December 27, 2009

Adventures on Mars

This being the holidays, the Duchess of Kintyre has been traveling, leaving yours truly the Duke with very little to occupy his time except with thoughts of her. So the duke did what his typist does, and decided this was the time to try some new technology to absorb him!

The first night of the duchess's departure, the Duke read with great interest about how the Guvnah of Caledon was now holding title in Caledonia, an entirely new virtual land in an entirely new virtual world, Blue Mars. Blue Mars is very very very different than Second Life. Moving is different, there are only about 1.5 avatars and three shirts to wear, but .... one gets the sense of being a pioneer. The fact the the Guvnah, clearly a smart man in virtual worlds, appreciates Blue Mars for its potential intrigues me much.

Rather than risk my own personage, I dispatched Giordano, the Disgrace to Caledon Kintyre. Gio is the fellow who is creating that very odd alchemical library in the summer cottage basement that he doesn't think anyone knows about. I thought, well, if he gets swallowed up in Blue Mars, no great loss.

He has found it fascinating, and in fact, without authorization, approached the Govnah in hopes of obtaining title to some sort of embassy of Kintyre in this new land. Gio sends these pictures to give some hint of just how different the place, and he, looks.

One thing I like about Blue Mars is the idea of building things in a program and then importing them into the virtual world. So I taught myself some basic Google Sketchup over the last few days, and thanks to a couple blogs including one from the same smart folks who built Caledon, some tutorials and kind advice from Governor Shang himself, I did get a bookcase in ... though a trifle large. Ah well.

So Kintyre will follow the progress of Caledonia and Blue Mars with great interest. The one thing the Duke awaits breathlessly is whether the Duchess' computer is able to access Blue Mars. If it's not, you may see backstepping worth of a professional dancer!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

A Christmas Prayer

One who roleplays a minister in a history sim has a couple choices for prayer. 

Option 1 is to compose prayers oneself. This allows for the maximum creativity.

Option 2 is to copy over prayers that one finds in the Book of Common Prayer and other sources (Thank you, Lord, for Google Books!)

In general in roleplay, I prefer the maximum creativity. But I've found myself more and more often picking option 2 as Methodist minister Rev. Baird.

The reason for that is authenticity. We have a bit of an advantage with prayer. A roleplayer of today can't really know if the words they speak are anything like what someone said 100 or 200 years ago. Newspapers will have reports of dialogue, but they are newspapers and especially 100 years ago reporters made up words for speakers all the time.

However, we do know that many of the prayers the Rev. Baird speaks or the hymns he commissions have been said or sung by worshippers for hundreds of years. His typist gets chills at a funeral when at the "ashes to ashes" portion of the burial rite, because you know that liturgy has been used in real-life Deadwood thousands of times, and one speaks words someone in Deadwood (and English-speaking Christian communities *anywhere*) has actually said.

For today's Christmas Party in Deadwood, assuming the typist is not waylaid by that pesky RL life, Rev. Baird has found a prayer in the 1875 book Prayer and Thanksgiving, Forms of Family Devotion for Six Weeks by T. Cotterill and W. Jowett

Here's the prayer, with a few thoughts in italics:

Almighty God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, we humbly beseech Thee to accept our hearty thanks for the manifold mercies which Thou hast poured upon us.

We bless Thee especially for sending, as on this day (which I will amend since the prayer is not said on Christmas Day to 'on Christmas Day'), thy well-beloved Son to take our nature upon Him, and to be made in the likeness of sinful flesh.

(anytime you get references to phrases like sinful flesh, which truly were used at the time, it's always fun to watch the other roleplayers react!)

We rejoice that unto us a Child is born ; that unto us a Son is given. And we would join the multitude of the heavenly host in praising Thee and saying, Glory to Thee in the highest; peace on earth ; good-will toward men.

And as, when Thou didst bring thy First begotten into the world, Thou didst command all the heavenly host to worship Him; so may we also give unto Him the glory which is due unto his name.

(now, I am omitting this paragraph, because, well, it's too hulking long ... O Thou great and glorious Redeemer, who art Wonderful Counsellor, the mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace, we praise Thee, we bless Thee, we worship Thee, we glorify Thee, we give thanks to Thee for thy great glory, O Lord God, Lamb of God, the only-begotten Son, Jesu Christ, God of God, Light of Light, very God of very God, King of kings, and Lord of lords, Emmanuel, God with us. For Thou only art holy : Thou only art the Lord ; Thou only, O Christ, with the Holy Ghost, art most High in the glory of God the Father.

But chiefly, at this time, we adore Thee for leaving the glory which Thou hadst with the Father before the world began. We know thy grace, O Lord Jesus Christ, that though Thou wast rich, yet for our sakes Thou didst become poor, that we, through thy poverty, might be made rich. 

We beseech Thee, by the mystery of thy holy incarnation and nativity, Good Lord, deliver us. O Son of David, have mercy upon us. Thou, who didst come that we might have life, and might have it more abundantly, be gracious unto us. Thou who wast called Jesus, that Thou mightest save thy people from their sins, save us, and help us, we humbly beseech Thee, O Lord.

And yes, that's a prayer read throughout the English-speaking nation for a long darn time. And it will, hopefully, be read tonight in our little piece of the Second World.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Deadwood Free Press

Just when you least expected it ... a roleplay newspaper from the 1878 Deadwood roleplay in Second Life. We really enjoy working on these issues and bringing 19th century journalism ... filled with manipulation and both intentional and unintentional deceit ... to life!

What I like in this issue is not just the silly stuff, like the part in the council story about the goat, but the bits of true life: Dio's story about gunfighters, my editorial about relations between the Indian Bureau and the Army, and the stories told during story night.

To me, part of good immersive roleplay is storing up bits of real details and then being able to call them forth at will. I'd love it if someone read the editorial about treatment of the Indians and used the numbers in a discussion at a saloon. Those true life details ... make the roleplay more true.

Busy, busy, busy

My typist is sitting here at a desk, listening to people sign in on a conference call. This is the week when corporate America and others schedule what seems like half of their meetings of the year. Everyone is trying to get something done - or discussed - before the holiday season kicks in. So this means I've got meetings all week.

Not everyone of course is lucky enough to have a First Life job in this economy. It's horrible out there. That said, there are plenty of other reasons for people to be busy. There are lots of people desperately job-hunting, engaged in family holiday activities around the season, and/or working with nonprofit groups and the needy.

And that's just First Life.

The thing I'm chuckling about is the book next to me where I write down my short- and long-term 'to do's,' I've also got a full list of activities in Second Life!

There's Caledon Kintyre, which I've only rented for a few months; got a half dozen ideas for that. We've got small libraries about Shakespeare, 19th Century America and Alchemy whose collections are very incomplete, a shooting gallery, ice skating rink, clay pigeon shooting, and a pub, the TimeLock. But there are sooo many more ideas ...

There's roleplay activities, including a newspaper I've been volunteering for 22 months, as well as a new book project. That doesn't include the actual roleplay of course, which I try to do a token amount of in order to stay in the community!

There's helping someone with a project to help orient people to a history sim. Signed onto Google Wave for that.

Then there's things I'm going with pals, but that's enough. Oh wait ... yeah, also helping to start a blog! Welcome to Second Journey.

So here's my question.

How the hell did this happen?

I went into Second Life two years ago to have fun and relax. Doing great on Number 1 but ... man, I'm failing at Number 2. So what's the deal? If someone crazy busy in First Life always going to be crazy busy in Second Life? Makes sense, it's the same typist. Or ... is anyone busy in First Life and NOT busy in Second Life? If so .... HOW !?!