Authors Beware: Recipe for Disaster

This is why it happened.
I was on autopilot--
my head writing a story,
the rest of me in the kitchen.

Always a recipe for disaster.
Virtual world FLAMES crawled
into the Real world.
The smoke detector SCREAMED
Two pots got welded together.


Forget dinner.
Stick to the story:
Writers cook best outside a kitchen.

Can you tell I've been working on a book trailer for Snatch Me all week? The story has nothing to do with cooking, but some of the pictures are from my work on the story trailer. A story that's apparently hot enough to scorch my kitchen. Hope you enjoyed my Friday 55. Drop by G-Mans site to see what others wrote or to join the fun yourself.

Many thanks to Hard Rust for letting me use Hard Alley sim in Second Life as a setting for the trailer.


Blogging for dVerse Poets Open Link night at Therianverse.com today. Drop by to Read: Other Skin?


How Not to Get Outwitted by a Virtual Hunt

It's easy to feel witless when you first tackle a virtual world, and Second Life has a reputation for a brain-twisting learning curve. I'd like to say that wasn't my experience, but I have done my share of smacking into doors that close before I can get through them, getting stuck on low hanging objects when I fly, and getting dumped bald and naked into the center of a crowd of people because my viewer crashed while I was changing and delivered me to someplace not my home when I logged back in. Second Life has been working harder at making itself more accessible, and while some of these things (naked in a crowd happened to me today), it is better than it used to be.

 I like how they've added Linden Realms as a fun way for new users to learn the basics while playing a game. I logged in with the new SL viewer specifically to take a crack at Linden Realms, but was distracted by an ad for the Bookworm Hunt. Intrigued, and being something of a bookworm, I grabbed a landmark to hunt's start, joined the hunt user group, and set off in search of free gifts related to books and reading. Yes, I'm that easy to distract.

I had visions of book goodies dancing in my head as I set out. Show me a book lover who could resist the promise of their own reading sanctuary in the sky, or a reading rainbow, or a book lover's picnic? Unfortunately, my wits just weren't up to the task. I searched every inch of the first three places in the hunt list and hadn't found a thing.

Admitting defeat, I logged into the group chat and asked the other hunters for advice. Within a few minutes two group members, BB and Summerly, offered to join me and show me how it's done. Once I understood my mistakes, they promised, I'd be finding prizes like a pro.

First mistake, I was looking for a prize that looked like the prize, but prizes were all packed in a tiny package that symbolized the hunt: for the bookworm hunt a tiny stack of books, for the Shattered Heart Hunt, a heart broken down the center. It's part of the magic of Second Life that you can pack something as big as a house in a thimble.

 Second mistake, I thought it would be pretty obvious, hidden in plain site, but an object could be up under a sofa, in a vase, in a bird feeder, an object in a picture on a wall. The hunt hints can be devious too.

 Third mistake, using tools to change my view of the room, rather than running back and forth or up and down stairs helped me see into places that were difficult to go. By the time we had viewed half dozen sites together, I was getting the hang of it and we were all ready to quit for the day. Hunts usually run for about two weeks to a month and can be spread across more than 60 sites.They are a good way to stock your inventory, see new places in Second Life, and make new friends.

After my initial lessons from BB and Summerly, I went out solo a few times. I didn't get to every location before the hunt ended, but I did pretty well. Everything you see in the picture above, including the cute house, my outfit, and the tire swing you see through the window, are prizes I found in the Bookworm Hunt. Originally I'd planned to do one hunt. Try it. Blog it. Move on to something new. Then I saw the ad for the Writer's Block Hunt that started this week. It's like a hunt with my name on it. How could I resist?

This post was written in response to the Sunday Scribblings prompt: wit.


Flipping Out

It’s not the grown up thing to wish.
I should be worrying about traffic.
Long lines at the grocery store.
How long it takes to clear
a mile of country road.
But  I’m thinking of how the stars will wink,
when I turn my first flip of the season.
Please let it really snow Sunday.

This post is a contribution to G-Man's Friday Flash 55. Drop by his blog to see what others have written or to join the fun yourself.


Braoadband Blessing Spray? I'll buy It!

Physical bandwidth meter

This is what I need:


I need an angelic provider to beam high speed into my little house in the woods.

 I need capless data usage, or an alternative to the 10 buck per gigabyte swindles the modern day carpetbaggers sell on roadside towers.

 The internet is a way to make a living, a job portal in rural regions with few jobs and none of them hi-tech.

Give me something better than this hiccuping creeping connection that leaves my work and my concentration in ruins.

Are there shrines to bandwidth gods? Can I pay gold? Light a special candle? Cast a spell? Is there a bandwidth blessing spray I can douse my house in to foster an attractive energy for higher speed?

 Is there anyone to bribe?

 I will try anything! Do anything!

And, yeah I will pay.

That's what this lack of bandwidth a few hours from D.C. is about,  after all. This pocket of high tech workers living outside the city will pay massively more for an incremental improvement.

To the south and west, more rural, more remote. They have real broadband.

 I could climb the telephone pole (might as well use it for something now the land line is gone)with MiFi and netbook, hoping to catch a signal. I opt to drive an hour to town in search of a hotspot--gas being slightly less expensive than data delivery at the moment.

This post is my contribution to Three Word Wednesday. Click the link to see what others have written and join in yourself. Image: Physical bandwidth meter by Todd Barnard, on Flickr.


Friday 55: Throw Me In The Water

Standin' at the edge
Lost what it takes
All the surfers watchin’
Gonna laugh at my mistakes

Cold promo desert
Dried me right up
I wanna stick a toe in
But that surf looks rough

Throw me in the water, baby
Get me all wet
Been telling stories all my life
And I can't quit yet

Inspired by John Cruz's video and G-Man's Friday Flash 55.