THE LAST DITCH An Englishman returned after twenty years abroad blogs about liberty in Britain
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July 2007

June 2007

Introducing more of our Bloggers...

PoolpartyToday was the busiest day of all at Last Ditch House in Second Life. Some old friends were back, such as Ruthie, Delicolor (Ian Grey) and Devil's Kitchen. But there were lots of new ones too. Just look at this assembly of guests by my pool!

I am beginning to lose track of names vs avatars now, particularly as new inhabitants of Second Life tend to stop every few minutes to change their appearance!

New visitors today included Imah Gynoid (Imagined Community), FreeJersey, CrushedbyIngsoc, Jocko Cioc (Colin Campbell), Bag of Bag's Rants and Lizbet Waydelich (Liz). All were very welcome. As I am away on a business trip, I was at leisure from my lonely hotel room to give them a couple of hours tour and training. There are now 16 registered members of the Blogpower Group in Second Life. Their SL names are:

LastDitch Writer
Delicolor Furse
RogerThornhill Loon
Bag Writer
DevilsKitchen Writer
Imah Gynoid
TheoSpark Allen
RuthieZ Dagostino
CrushedbyIngSoc Merlin
Chipendale Dagger
LordNazh Martinek
ThunderDragon Writer
FreeJersey Writer
Lizbet Waydelich
NotSaussure Writer
Jocko Cioc

If you are venturing into SL for the first time in preparation for the Blogpower Awards, I suggest that you search for each of these members and add them as a Friend. Then you should search for the "Blogpower" group in SL and join it. Enrolment is open to anyone for the time being.

Are you reading this, Welshcakes? The talk of the evening was your promised arrival.  When you are ready, if you have joined the Blogpower group, it is easy to announce your arrival. Just send an Instant Message (IM) to Blogpower, and we will all know you are there.We are waiting for you.

The Devil's Kitchen: A Second Life

Link: The Devil's Kitchen: A Second Life.

Pub1DK over at Devil's Kitchen was kind enough to give the Blogpower Awards ceremony a write-up. He makes a very fair point about virtual alcohol. I find it's best to have a beer myself in RL (Real Life, in SL-speak) while signalling what I am doing by having my avatar drink one too. Only when doing something impossible in RL (like flying or teleporting) do I permit my avatar to have more fun than me!

Thanks for the plug, DK.

A visit from the Devil we know

Today we were honoured with a visit in Second Life from DK of the Devil's Kitchen. Despite claiming to have teleported directly to us on first arrival, he had - as you can see - done a pretty good job of setting up a suitably demonic avatar. What a stark contrast to the "boy next door" looks chosen by the ThunderDragon.

Dkatvenue2ThunderdragonDk_atvenueHe spent some time with Theo Spark, ThunderDragonIan Grey (Delicolor) and myself. After taking the tour of my estate, visiting the Awards Ceremony venue and crashing one of my airships (note my captain's hat in the picture with DK), we adjourned to the local pub in SL to pass some time with my neighbours.

Today, I got the good news that Welshcakes is coming, my psychological ploy having paid off. Now we await the news about Ellee (you have to see the airship named after you, surely Ellee?) and, of course, Liz.

My nervousness that too many would see this as a silly idea is now abating. I am wondering whether to build a bigger venue - or just park an airship next door to serve as the bar...

Out of this world

RuthieangelNotsaussureNotSaussure is getting the hang of Second Life. It doesn't do there to hang on too tightly to reality; or even to verisimilitude. Still, the angels' wings he found for Ruthie do look rather fetching. And (in Second Life) they work.

The man himself is working steadily on his appearance, with what intent one can only guess. Here's today's manifestaton.

Ian Grey has been reporting on our adventures over at his blog. I spent some time with him helping him find a suitable outfit for the awards. I also amused his son David with my trick of materialising from a teleport in a Tardis, complete with lights and sound effects. Speak it softly, but in Second Life Tom Paine is a Time Lord. I am happy to demonstrate if you look me up before July 1st, but I am hoping the venue will be too crowded for my Tardis.

In our quest to make sure those who are interested in attending are fully practised and ready to play their part in the awards ceremony on July 1st, we have today flown Zeppelins and gone shopping for ladies' shoes.

This last idea was a cunning ploy of mine to make Second Life attractive to Ellee Seymour and Welshcakes Limoncello. The awards party will make no sense without two of our favourite Blogpower bloggers. I hear they need encouragement to give Second Life a try.  Ruthie's shoes should do it. Problem solved.

Come and join in the fun. Download the software and have a go. It's free, it's amusing and it's a surprisingly effective way to meet friends and chat. For the awards ceremony to be a success, we need as many friends as possible to be there.

More visitors from Blogpower in Second Life

Blogpower_meetingRuthie_hoversNotsaussure Another late night meeting and greeting friends from Blogpower at my virtual home. Ruthie Zaftig was there, practising transcendental meditation, as were Theo Spark, NotSaussure and Delicolor. After a long chat in my office (see pictures of us around my meeting table), Jeremy Jacobs finally arrived - providing a real psychological insight by his choice of avatar, a dark and brooding youth. Ruthie seemd to have modelled her avatar closely on her blog photo (and who wouldn't if it were like hers). NotSaussure however, is pictured in his continuing quest for the perfect, beard-free, look.

Unfortunately, James Higham has video card trouble and may not be able to make it. That would be very disappointing as he is the life and soul of Blogpower.

Awards Ceremony Preparations continue...

The Blogpower Awards Ceremony is attracting some interest. I had three visitors at Last Ditch House in Second Life last night; Delicolor (Ian Grey), NotSaussure and Chip Dale. Alarmingly, Mr. Dale was clad only in a thong. (Now there’s a sentence no respectable political blogger ever expected to write).

I forgot to take a photo of Ian/Delicolor, but as his appearance was evolving before my eyes, perhaps that’s as well. I shall take one when he's settled. For the curious, however, here are pictures of the Second Life avatars of the other two gentlemen.
Notsaussure_2 Chipendale
No sign yet of James. If I know him, he’s in secret training somewhere so as to be as slick as possible in his role as presenter.

I wonder if he's shopping for a costume so he can appear as the Blogpower Knight?

Mark your calendar! Blogpower Awards Ceremony 2007: 1st July 2007

Screen_shot_3 Blogpower_2 Tom_paine_2Where in the world, we asked ourselves, could we hold the awards ceremony for the Blogpower Awards 2007?

Our nominees are from all over the world. There is simply no convenient place for them all to meet. So I suggested to James Higham, founder of both the awards and of Blogpower itself, that we hold the ceremony in another world entirely; in Second Life.

For those of you who don't know it, Second Life or "SL" is a virtual world hosted on the servers of Linden Labs in California. Linden Labs provide the landscape. All the buildings and objects to be found there were built by SL "residents." Anyone can get an account and wander about for free - you only have to pay if you want to own "land". For this purpose that's entirely unecessary as you will be my guests. I invite you to join me for the ceremony in my "sky box", 500 metres above my SL "home", "Last Ditch House".

The award ceremony will be on Sunday 1st July and will begin at 0900 New York time (1400 in Britain, 1500 Central Europe Time, 1700 in Moscow and 2200 in Australia). Please put it in your diary and come along. The drinks are free and you will be most welcome. Please tell all your friends.

If you don't have a Second Life account, please register and set one up entirely free of charge. You must select a surname from SL's standard list, but you can choose a meaningful first name. My SL name is "LastDitch Writer" and that's my "avatar" you can see in the pictures (click to enlarge). If you can also choose a first name that corresponds to yours, or to that of your blog, it would make things easier in a crowded room at the ceremony (avatars' names appear above their heads when you first meet them.

Between now and the ceremony there is plenty of time for you to set up your account, change the appearance of your avatar to suit your taste and work out how to get around. Don't worry though. On the day, you won't need to navigate to find us. There will be links like this one here and on other Blogpower blogs which will launch the software and connect you directly to the venue. You will materialise on the welcome mat you can see in the picture, so step quickly away before the next guest arrives!

You are welcome to visit in the meantime and take a look around. The right hand teleport on the balcony leads to my home on the ground. The left one takes you to my office in another sky box nearby. Make yourself at home, but watch out for the security robots!

The drinks robot will provide  whatever you like so ask away. It's free but also virtual and (sadly) tasteless. I look forward to meeting you - at least virtually - at the awards.