Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Pending article--Introductory DJ'ing, or "Play That Funky Music, Elf-Boy"

As noted before, I'm both an SL Mentor and a SL DJ. One of the more common questions I get are requests from folks who've decided they really want to learn how to do that. So, fair warning, I'm gonna offer in this blog some general guidelines for how I got started, what equipment I use, and pointers for working the crowd and the mic. There are probably as many styles as there are DJ's, so feel free to adapt as you need to.

I learned my lesson from the last posting I did, which got completed several weeks after I started it due to a RL interruption, so I'm gonna split this into pieces small enough to be written in one setting. The last post also kinda turned into less a post than a freakin' essay, so hopefully, the short & sweet daily bits may actually also help keep me from lecturing too much or drafting a dissertation. Not gonna try to start it tonight, as it's waaay too late at night for me to launch into that now. But, keep your eyes peeled for upcoming posts.

Monday, October 27, 2008

On the rise and fall of clubs...

Yup, the trees are turning, and I FINALLY have some RL time to blog again! Lessee, what all have I been up to...? DJ'ing my hiney off, that's what. I'm now at GlamShack rockin' the sim between the live music Open Mic Night at the GOAT (Glamshack Outdoor Arts Theatre) and Jocelyn Sands's show, Club Amor, and now multiple gigs at Nocturne, plus I"m doing LOTS more private prn gigs. In fact, this week I'm honored to be doing a 4 hr in-character gig Wednesday night 10/29/08 for the wedding and coronation of Nax Sautereau, King of one of the biggest and most prosperous elven/fantasy multi-sim RP environments.

I've had some long-time favorites die out, though as the overall attendance of clubs in SL has declined somewhat, and the economy has lead to folks having to pull out of the club business. At long last, REDS is no longer with us. Wayne ran a GREAT club, but he just couldn't pull off the expenses of the club & land, even with the mall. Also, Blue Noise went on extended hiatus after Rhiannon had RL stuff blow up that pulled her out of world.

I've seen piles of new residents come in intent to become the next club empresario. I figured I should post a bit about clubs as a lucrative business in SL. In short, they ain't. NEVER go into opening a club thinking you're gonna make a pile off of it. Few, if any, do. In fact, few even break even.

Think about it. In RL, clubs make their money off of drink sales and cover charges. Employee Neither of these apply in the SL environment. I know of no club in SL that does cover charges. If there is such a beast, good luck competing w/ all the free ones. Further, you have to actually PAY to keep tier up on the place, plus any fees you gotta pay staff. So, in this equation, if it's only a club, you WILL have expenses coming out, but no money required to come in. Most clubs take donations, but those are voluntary.

I maintain that looking at the club business in RL as the business model to use in SL is a disastrous proposition for those reasons. A far better model to use is FM radio. You don't pay a fee to turn on your radio, or dial into a particular station. You, the listener, is NOT where the radio makes the money it has to have to pay its building lease, or the multiple millions of dollars worth of sensitive equipment even a small station has to have, or the fees to subscribe to the music services that provide them with a music library, or the staff to run the thing.

Regular commercial radio stations make their money from one source: advertisements. The music is there to draw listeners, and those annoying damn commercials that play a few times per hour are what fund it. Local merchants (and nationals as well) buy time, usually in 30 second increments, for the opportunity to announce their goods & services at points during the different dayparts. Generally, the most lucrative are, in order of price, morning drive time (usually 6-10 AM) and afternoon drive time (2-6 PM) b/c that's when you have the most listeners--getting ready for & driving to work, and getting out of work & driving home. That means, the most ears getting to hear how wonderful the sponsor's stuff is. Radio stations don't compete for listeners b/c it means more instant dollars from folks tuning in; they compete for listeners b/c it makes them more desirable as advertising venues, which is ultimately what keeps the station afloat.

SL clubs are like radio stations. Lots of overhead to entertain folks, but those being entertained don't themselves pay any fee for that entertainment. Some clubs figure this out. They have a mall attached, so as folks enter the club, they pass through a vendor area which might generate a sale right there. At the very least, it will probably get more eyeballs seeing their wares so at some point in the future, if you're looking for a new outfit, you'll remember that cool new suit that RFyre had in the mall as you were boppin' into Nocturne for the Vampire Formal, or whatever. Plus, the club MIGHT get some additional traffic from folks actually coming JUST to shop. But that's a bonus.

Downside--malls = lag, which can actually work against the club. If it's too much, folks might decide against going there. I know of several lagtastic clubs I avoid like the plague for that very reason. Embarrassingly, many don't have a mall. Rather, they have a misguided owner who doesn't get that a zillion particle poofers and special effects generate more of the lagfest effect than they do any kind of wow factor. You have to balance looking cool and having income against folks actually being able to move, let alone have fun there. It IS possible to get it right. The clubs I work all do it well; if they didn't, I wouldn't be working there.

So, why on earth would anyone want to do this thing? One simple reason: love of having fun and hanging out w/ folks. If it's worth it to you to do that, that's reason enough. That's the rationale we take on Club Amor. We take donations, but that's about it. No mall, no ad space, no nada. Fortunately, our patrons love us and what we do there enough to keep the donations streaming in enough to almost meet expenses. We don't do it at Amor for the money. Neither does Nocturne or the GlamShack. They do it purely for the full-tilt fun of having a place for folks to get together regularly and have a great time. Livvie, Lan and I make up the difference via buying L$ or earning it through our other enterprises, like my DJ work, or Livvie's building skills.

Hell, even then, I don't really do the DJ'ing for the money, nor does Livvie build (or, increasingly, DJ--she's become pretty darn good, I admit) for the money, really. We do what we do, DJ'ing AND running a club, simply for the fun of it. We do it because we really, genuinely love what we do, and we love the folks who come out and join in the fun. And that, ultimately, is the best reason I can think of for doing ANYTHING in SL.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Checkin' in

Wow, where has the time gone to? Seems like June just rocketed past. Was an extremely busy month, though. I'm proud to announce several milestones rolled past in that month. My long-time girlfriend (of about a year, which is forever in SL) and I formalized our relationship by partnering up officially in a glorious ceremony hosted by old friends at Emerald Island. Also, Bid4aCure wrapped up its campaign with a bang in a pair of auctions at The Escape Club on Journey Island. Kudos to Jocelyn for pulling off another brilliant campaign! We blasted past last year's amount raised, hit this year's goal and kept running significantly past that! Thanks again, everyone who contributed in any way! 100% of the income generated is donated to the American Diabetes Association/Diabetes UK to fund further research in eliminating this growing scourge.
While I SHOULD have exact final tallies, umm, I kinda don't have it at this writing (blushes at his lack of preparation for writing his blog). However, I'll have it shortly, and I'll update this posting accordingly.

Friday, May 16, 2008

The bad blogger updates again!

So, what's new w/ me in the past few wks? Well, the plans for Bid4aCure keep rolling right along. We're still signing up designers who are donating goods for the auction--big YAY for the legendary SL spirit of pitching in for a good cause! I'll know a bit more about progress after we all get together tomorrow for our next planning meeting tomorrow.

In other news, Club Amor has been landscaped and beta tested and is READY TO ROLLLLLLL! I still gotta say, even though she's my sis, she's designed the prettiest club I've ever seen. Fantastic build.

And that's pretty much the extent of my SL involvements of late, LOL. Between helping get the club rolling and getting folks involved w/ Bid4aCure, that's been the lion's share of my SL involvements. No cool site touring, no sparring (although I DID build a pretty damn decent battleground so Entropy has a better space to stomp me in). However, I'm extremely proud of my activities w/ both of these events. If anyone out there wants to get involved in this stuff, please please please IM me in-world, or reply to me here. There's never too many folks in worthy projects like these.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Club Amor

OK, so I've been a bad blogger. RL's been screwing w/ me significantly. However, I DO have big news to report! My sis, who is one of the best club host/managers I've ever know (and in my line of work, I know a LOT) has decided to take the plunge and go forth into club ownership! We're all waaaaay excited by this, as she's a lady of warmth, style and class who really knows how to make everyone feel at home and yet have a complete BLAST (she's also a major goofball, so that kinda helps :-) ). The land's been bought, the club's been built (again, by her, cuz she's just that damn good); it's just down to the finishing touches on Club Amor and planning the opening.

Note that the goal of Club Amor has never been, nor will ever be, to be the hottest, biggest lagfest in SL. Really, we just got started talking about the times we missed when we were all at another long lost & lamented club. We missed having a place that was kinda like home; a place dedicated to the sheer joy of just hanging out w/ beloved friends who've become really more like family. And that, my friends, is the best part of SL anyway. Soooo, if you ever get the urge to check out a great place blending elegance w/o pretentiousness, where you can just come in, relax and hang out, check out Club Amor! http://slurl.com/secondlife/Ocean%20Estate%203/235/241/23

Tuesday, April 15, 2008


Big news!!! The always amazing DJ Jocelyn Sands is again spearheading the annual Bid 4 a Cure event! Further, she's honored yours truly to become a part of this worthy endeavor to bring relief and raise money for research to tackle and hopefully some day eliminate diabetes.

Diabetes, especially Type II, is experiencing a massive upsurge globally. I can remember as a kid, it was "oh, that thing that Mary Tyler Moore has, along w/ that girl in my school who had to take shots after lunch." These days, few of us are untouched by it, either by having it directly, or by having someone--or more commonly, several someones--close to us who have been stricken by it out of the blue.

InType II, the body still produces insulin (unlike Type I), but for some reason, the insulin the body makes has become ineffective, with net results nigh-identical to Type I. Thing is, most folks who develop Type II usually don't know they have it until they've already risked or even done major damage to their bodies. While the primary effects of the illness themselves can lead to shutdowns of the body (coma and eventually death), there are other more pernicious effects as the sugar-saturated blood clogs the fine blood vessels of the body to cause organ failures, major system disruptions, and all manner of serious complications.

I (Arc's player) am in the healthcare profession, and we're suddenly seeing PILES of newly diagnosed diabetics who've suddenly had to relearn how to live their lives. Diet becomes no longer a question of vanity or self-improvement; it can quite literally be daily life-or-death decisions. Further, it triggers an onslaught of overall massive metabolic changes that impact cardiovascular, renal, endocrine, and even neurological and cognitive functioning. It is, quite simply, life-altering.

There is hope, however. Ongoing research is making great strides in offering new treatments to both monitor and control blood sugar effectively to close the life expectancy gap between diabetics and the unafflicted population. Thing is, research takes money, and every drop in the bucket adds up.

To that end, Jocelyn is hosting a massive series of charity auctions of fine virtual goods and services from some of the best designers in the Second Life virtual world. The auctions are set up for the 15th and the 29th of June; additionally, there will be "insulin syringe" donation kiosks set up all around the virtual world. All proceeds will be donated to ongoing research to limit the effects of this illness, with the long-range goal to eventually find a cure to make the dreaded daily insulin shots a thing of the past.

Let's all support Jocelyn in this noble endeavor!!! While I can't build much more than a plywood box, I (Arc) WILL be among the celebrities offered up in the "Win a date with..." auctions. Many of SL's top designers have also committed to donate dresses, houses, furniture, etc. to the cause.

There'll be 2 separate auctions, planned for 6/15 and 6/29. The venue has yet to be decided, although I'll have a SLURL for you as soon as that gets firmed up (based on prior turnouts, we're gonna need a pretty big space for the auction & associated parties, and there are a few sites in the running). Hope to see you there!

Monday, April 7, 2008

Licensing woes

If you've somehow missed the high drama in the blogosphere related to the Second Life virtual world, well, there's been a LOT of drama stirred up by their recent odd about-face on licensing issues. Where they once freely allowed use of their logo and reference to them by name, things are now more...complicated.

Just to clarify, I DO NOT OWN OR OPERATE SL. My views are my own warped musings; Linden Lab deserves neither credit nor blame for them. There. I'm not sure that lets me off the legal hook, but this is a non-commercial blog anyway, so nyah. The infringement laws were designed with the intent of preventing Person A's creation from being co-opted for a profit by Persons B-Z. I'm not co-opting, and I'm darn sure not profiting or looking for profit.

Personally, the idea of using SL as a source of RL income in any way is kinda icky for me; it would cease to be my escape and rather would become just one more damn job, LOL. I go there to get AWAY from the pressures of a RL profession. It's my mini-Vegas. And remember the word "Amateur" means one who does it just for love of doing it. I think that concept doesn't get nearly enough respect...

Gotta dash for now, but I'll revisit this in a more detailed post when I have more time.

Monday, March 24, 2008

New Stuff Added

Still tinkerin', still learning! Along the left you'll see my regular schedule, but watch this space for special events; I DO get contracted for special appearances fairly regularly besides my regularly scheduled shows. I'll eventually get SLURLS added to those (as soon as I get those addresses, hehehe) so you can teleport directly into world to check those awesome clubs (I'm kinda picky about where I play--these are all GREAT places to check out). Note: in the (admittedly, kinda unlikely) event a non-SL'er has stumbled across this blog, teleporting in requires an SL account, but it's easy to create and absolutely free. The SLurl will prompt you to do so if you don't have one and walk you through it.

Additionally, I've made a LINKS section w/ several sites of interest, including the main Second Life website where you can get more info on my favorite metaverse (also including generation of your very own account & persona).

Debated putting in a "Hot Rotations" section to feature tracks that I'm playing pretty heavily via requests and/or just cuz I like 'em and they go over well, but that changes pretty much daily and per the venue and/or event I'm playing at that moment. Besides, while I DO have favorites, I try (with varying degrees of success) to resist the temptation to overplay them.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Upcoming Schedule

Hey, all! Been a rough week in RL, but fortunately, I have a GREAT virtual getaway. LJ and I've been terraforming our parcel into a nice slice of Jimmy Buffet-esque paradise this past week. If you're gonna get away from reality, ya might as well do it right!

Figured I'd set up a quick note on my current engagements as a professional DJ. Here's my upcoming DJ events for the weekend...

03/22/08 Saturday
12-2 PM SLT Feature DJ for Jocelyn's Hangout (DJ group's weekly showcase)
4-6 PM SLT GlamShack--Spinning classic & contemporary rock (requests always welcome)
6:30-8: 30 Blue Noise--Dance, techno, contemporary rock (plus wherever the requests go)

03/23/08 Sunday
1-3 PM SLT REDS--Classic thru contemporary rock, AC rock, alternative, etc. (requests, too)
6-8 PM SLT Nocturne--Hard rock, industrial, goth, darkwave w/ themed event & requests.

I"m gonna figure out how to link SLURLS into this blog in the near future. Shouldn't be all that hard; I just have to take the time to figure it out.

Inventory Management 1301

OK, we've all got 'em. You know what I mean...the random clothing/gadget/hair/skin items sitting in your inventory rarely (if ever) used, but it sure seemed like a cool idea at the time of purchase...

I've probably got more of those than most folks. At last count, even after purges and storage prim packing, I'm still standing at around 10.5 k in my inventory, and I don't even have the "But it's mostly textures I need for building" excuse. Thing is, I'm a DJ who works several different clubs which each have different styles, and they mostly all do themed events. I like to support the themes when I'm working a club, but that means in any given week, I may be called to appear as an angel/devil, pirate, cyborg, neko, etc. I kinda have to be prepared for all sorts of stuff. At least, that's what I tell myself. :D

Inventory management becomes, therefore, a vital skill. Even if you're a new resident, you would be well-served by starting early, before you ever hit the 2k level. It may be easy to scan your inventory quickly for that Wet T-Shirt now, but wait till you get a few thousand items you gotta sift through... The search bar IS helpful for looking for something immediately (IF you remember the name), but it gets really slow as your inventory grows, and good luck accessing ANYTHING for a while via the search bar if you've had to clear cache. Fortunately, you have a few weapons at your disposal in your battles against the Asset Server Monster.

Subfolders are your friend! When you buy a new set of clothes (for example), you'll usually have a brand new folder dumped randomly into your inventory's "Clothing" section (for example). Make it easier on yourself, your PC, and the asset server to track stuff down. I've made a pile of folders for different types of clothes--Formalwear, Elvenwear, Goth/Victorian, Footwear, Jeans, etc. In some cases, I have folders just for a particular designer--DE, Bare Rose, etc, just b/c they have their own style that's hard to categorize neatly. Organize it by however you'll remember that item when you're looking for it. Doesn't matter. The only wrong way is not to do it at all.

NIFTY TRICK: Make a 2nd inventory window. The inventory seems to scroll unpredictably when trying to move folders around, so it's kinda like trying to run an obstacle course while riding a drunk elephant. Go to File/New Window on your Inventory menu to pop up a duplicate window of your inventory. Will make file transfers much easier, I promise. Also tends to make inventory juggling, cleanup, etc in general a LOT easier. You can make as many inventory windows as ya like. Two usually does it for me, although I HAVE had more when doing some serious inventory shuffling.

Now, in one, do Create/New Folder; you should see your spiffy new folder appear, waiting to be named. I name mine starting w/ a couple of slashes to keep them even easier to locate (b/c they stay at or near the top of that category folder--"//Jeans" will be right near the top of the "Clothing" folder instead of buried further down among miscellanea I've not categorized yet. Yeah, I know; if you subfile EVERYTHING immediately, those subfolders would be the only things immediately under "Clothing," but I'm not always that virtuous. Name it whatever you like. Name it Ethel if you want. Ya just don't see that name anymore...**Arc debates new blog topic--Does the world need more Ethels? Why? Why not? Discuss..."**

Now, go to your inventory window and search for the new folder. This will keep our inebriated pachyderm of an inventory system targeting that folder instead of scrolling gleefully away when you try to drop something into it. Hate that. Nail the sucker down, I say.

Find the new item you want to drop into its new home in your other inventory window (probably under the Recent Items tab if you're wise enough to file it immediately after obtaining it) and drag it over to your waiting subfolder in the other window. Ta-daaaaa!

If you do a few minutes of it every day (or at least, after every shopping trip), you'll avoid my fate--I've had to blow HOURS on cleaning up my inventory when I've neglected it for a while. You'd think I'd know better by now *shrugs*.

I also highly recommend storage prims for stuff you don't use much. Personally, I like the Bright Inventory Box organizers, but you can load stuff into any old prim you can make.

Anyway, hope this little discourse helps!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

First post!

OK, this is my first foray into that glorious exercise in self-importance--the blog. I'll tell ya right up front that I have no clue what I'm doing, but that's never stopped me before, so what the heck? I've seen some really great blogs w/ advice on building in SL. I've seen great blogs loaded w/ scripting tutorials. This will be none of those.

I can barely manage a plywood cube (and if you know SL, you know what I'm talkin' about). I run in terror at the first mention of scripting (even bought the book, and I came out of the scripting section with significant neurological trauma, I think). I AM, however, a veteran power-shopper. I find that knowing all the answers is optional as long as you know where to FIND them, and I take a similar attitude to SL; I resort to building only when I absolutely can't find anything that works for a particular use. Fortunately, I can find a LOTTA stuff :D

I'll probably hold forth on various other topics from time to time. Don't expect a massive amount of politics; I have a strong and equal distrust for ALL the political parties and I still think the best person for the job would probably be some schmuck somewhere with too much sense and integrity to get involved in American politics. My player DOES have an embarrassing stack of letters after his name and a big mouth, so he probably WILL get his 2 cents' worth in on some stuff like social phenomena, etc, but I'll try to keep him in check.

I also have the good fortune of knowing much cooler and more interesting folks than myself. I'm hoping my much more talented builder/scripter SL sis Olivia Cascabel, my much wittier buddy Entropy Pau, more fashion-conscious fae friend Bobo Rosselsprung, and my chief Idea Girl, the uber-sexy LauraJill Silverstar will guest column from time to time, just to keep the place from getting too incoherent.

So, strap yourself in and join us on our journey into the further misadventures of Arcadian Vanalten, goofball emertus! I may not agree with every opinion in here, but I agree wholeheartedly that folks should have and defend them, even if they disagree with me. I DO ask that we keep any debates civil, and I reserve the right to remove any posts that even my loose standards find offensive.