Saturday, June 4, 2011

Musings Around the Grid

Sometimes, I get these wild little urges to wander the grid and see what is going on with it. Mostly it gets inspired by something I read in the blogorum or something gets tweeted and I have to follow up on it. I'm easily intrigued by what our residents do, and so when I get a chance to visit someplace without having to fix it, I'm happy lady.

The other night I got a chance to check out Isle of Alchemy, and see Johnny's Fair and Maze, although I need to pop by again and see what more there is. What's really great about this sim is it's tied to Virtual Helping Hands and helping to donate to Japan. Here's a quick link you can check out: Virtual Helping Hands, and yes, I can assure everyone it is on the up and up. So if you get a chance,  please pop by, or donate, or schedule an event with them so they can help those families in need in Japan. Here's a couple of quick of pics of things I amused myself with (ps, the rides are rideable!):

Then, I got this tweeted across today, and I rarely bring up other blogs or what not to avoid the "favoritism" stigma we hit, but I thought it was really very cool. And my favorite line (if I steal this Tormie, you won't mind will ya?): "The Prim gives every resident the potential of a god to shape his or her world." I think that sums up InWorldz in more ways than one!

Til we meet InWorldz!

Quick note: I had it listed as Virtual Ability but Cryptic was kind enough to correct me, thanks!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Fun in Da Sun!

The other night we had some fun on IDI, big party which Allan Jeffries had volunteered himself for. We referred to it as the "Pre-Rapture" party, but I have no idea what we'll call it in October when it's supposed to "really" happen. Maybe we'll call it the "Pre-Rapture Non Event"... hmm I may have to work on that title a bit  *wink*.

So here's some pictures, we had 53 people online at one point... Tiggs thought it would be nice to climb into poor Allan's shirt, Victoria tried to get him on her couch... reasons for which I shall leave to your imaginations!

I hope everyone had a great time, thanks for coming out and what was the coolest was to see the new residents showing up and Jewel taking care of them and no one complained of ANY lag. Phlox Rox, but we knew this already  ;)

On other news, as many of you know, I was out, as was Tranq from Sunday through this afternoon. We had the pleasure of heading down to Orlando, FL to meet up with ReactionGrid Owners Robin and Kyle Gomboy. What absolutely fabulous people! We got to meet up with them at breakfast, then we headed over their place for dinner later on.

Besides being trained by their Sonic of how best to throw his ball for him, repeatedly (which made me homesick for my puppy), we had a great time chatting, talking and getting to know each others goals for the Metaverse. Their passion is no less than our own in what they love doing, and while they are redirecting some of their goals into Jibe, which is very cool what they've accomplished so far, they have the same reasons we do. Control of our own destiny is vastly important to both companies and reaching a hand out in this frontier, can be very important.

I will say I was very happy to be greeted again by my lovely 59 degree temps back here in Chicago, as I was positive I was going to melt from the heat there, but we had alot of fun. We got to wander down to Downtown Disney, and I lost some of my pics because we went over to Ghirardelli's for ice cream with Tranq's wife, and her cousin, and could NOT resist having the guy who delivered our order to take a pic. Tranq sent me them, but they are on the laptop, and tonight, I'm just too darned lazy to upload them :)

A huge thanks to MaiTai, Leggie (poor guy gets left out of all the fun trips...) and everyone else for holding down the fort, as we know some things went kaboom while we were gone. And our residents for being ever patient while we catch up support issues tomorrow. For now, we're all eager for the Phlox rollout that's coming tonight, and remember, some stuff is going to break, we'll be on hand over the next few days to work everyone through it all!

Thursday, May 19, 2011


Been a while since I blogged. Ok, so it's been 3 months since I blogged (I almost wrote blobbed there, really? My brain is in blob form, it's telling me something I bet!), and a lot has gone on since then. Done a ton of reading of blogs, forums, and various other fun or not so fun things out there. Good, bad, ugly, it's all something to take into consideration for us and we do so.

One thing that seems to be creeping into our world ever more so than before, and I'm not sure if it's because of Friday the 13th, the Full Moon, the biblical ending coming Saturday or all three being so close... drama. I have to wonder if humanity has lost it's ever loving mind. I wandered around PetCo today with my puppy to go buy him some toys while I was clearing my head from all the spinning of the last few weeks... and this guy was telling the cashiers we were going to have a Zombie Apocalypse. Seriously?! I sighed heavily and waited until he had left and the air had been cleared of any non obvious contagions.

I know, what does Zombie Apocalypse have to do with Drama right? It's a highlight of how things can get warped out of hand, whether intentionally inflamed to just misinformed. This seems to be happening quite a bit lately, partially on our end, but I won't go so far as to say totally our end. It seems sometimes people have this need, desire, burning urge to stir things without being fully informed and leaping to conclusions of conspiracies or favoritism suddenly being flagrant within the Founders.

What I don't get, is why things get blown out of proportion without trying to calmly, rationally ask why, when, where or how first. I get emotions, really I do, but is there anything that says someone can't ask something of any one of us Founders and not expect an answer? I am not going to shine a light on anyone or any particular thing in this, as that's not what this is really about. It is however, about how incredibly draining it is on the Founders as a whole. Let me explain more  :)

I spend hours a day on IDI every day, it's the 4th thing I do in the morning when I'm up and hitting things. I'm typically there for hours, til 1am last night as a case in point. I may go for a couple hours here or there as I did today to rain toys on my dog. Typical day, non drama starts off with forum postings over coffee, runs to the support tickets, handling restarts, answering I'z problems, then transfers, moves, rename and such. Then I log into IDI. And that's where the day goes flying out of the window. IM's start, answering questions, having fun with the residents on IDI, mentors needing help, and things being told to us that we may or may not need to know. Issues being sorted and so on. All of this is more than enough all on it's own, but now toss in the idea that we get bombarded with emails, ideas being presented to us. Ideas that we ourselves, have no time to deal with or oversee. So things get presented to us, such as handling the wiki, and who can say NO to free labor? I mean really? But, the drainer, the big drainer is the drama. All drama is not created equally, and nor does it have the same effects.

Really great drama gets everyone riled up and I know I've done my fair share of that, usually without intention in regards to the grid. And typically the best drama is the unintentional. But the good part of that type of drama is it's usually educational as well, you learn something from it about dealing with things and how to do so. So there's a plus side to that. Especially when dealing with as many people as we do on a day to day basis.

The worst drama is the one that isn't supported by a wide majority, and has no purpose other than to stir the pot and usually has something in it with personal insults as gravy I suppose. This is not something I'm keen on personally as personal insults lead to one thing with most people, they don't want to know you, unless they themselves enjoy the same type of drama. This type of drama does one thing to us as Founders... drains our energy. We spend hours on this type of drama resolving it and / or correcting it. Why? Because we care. If we didn't care about our community, our residents, then we can't ask them to do the same.

We have never led by a "do as we say, not as we do" mentality, but by a "do as we do" mentality. We encourage discussion, debate, and criticism. These energize us, they do not drain us. Our mentors don't do anything different today than they did when I used to do the mentoring in practice. We do not flame or belittle anyone on our forums, and we don't expect anyone else to do that. You'd be surprised at our own debates within our chats when we don't always agree. They are civil and respectful of each others points and we will hash them all out until we reach a decision or a compromise, whichever works best from the discussion. Do they become heated? Sure, all three of us are passionate about what we do. But never do we lose that tone of respect for one another. Because each of us is integral to this team, and to making sure our world works. From the day to day administration, to the coding, to the venting sometimes needing to be done by our residents, to the answers being given for help and support, we all have our strengths and we all rely on them with each other. And because of that symbiosis between us as Founders, and our passion, we carry that to our residents, to our Mentors. It keeps it alive, and growing, and nurturing this grid that we've all worked so hard for. That's not just us as Founders. That's all of us, from Resident to Mentor to Sr. Mentor, to Founder. It's all symbiotic. If one portion quits caring, the rest will fall to the side as well. And this is the crux of drama.

It takes our focus away from our passion. It forces us to deal with the issue at hand, and deal with it we will. Not always to everyone's satisfaction, but we will deal with it. When the IM's start pouring in, and the messages start flying, what are we focusing on? Not what we need to be doing, that is for sure. Now, sometimes, it's needed because we need to clarify something. That isn't a drain. That's pure questioning whatever has happened, and that's good. It's usually a very simple matter, and doesn't explode into drama, nor drain us from what we need to be doing, because answering questions, hey that's what we do every day.

I think what I'm really trying to stress here, is we're all human, even us Founders. We're not perfect. But we're not in league to take over the world, start making the human populace wear pink thongs all over (sorry Shawn, had to), or become a corporate greed machine. Do we make mistakes? Yes. Do we recognize when brought to our attention that something may have been mistakenly handled? Sure do. And we'll be the first to say so. Because we expect that as well from our residents and our Mentors. If we expect it from you, you have a right to expect it from us. Do us a favor though, don't throw the baby out with the bathwater whenever something comes up you aren't happy with. Contact us, each of us as Founders has an open door policy. We also each have our own distinct way of how we deal with things. But we do not shut down our residents or their complaints, that's not in our nature. We are far more prone to say "hey could we have done this better?" than to say it's their fault they took it wrong.

When Tranq says the grid is his life, take him at his word for that. It's all of our lives. It consumes us, probably in a kind of unhealthy way, but so be it. We live, eat, drink, breathe, sleep and dream (sometimes not so pleasantly) of this world, our residents, their visions and dreams. We listen to your complaints, we discuss them, we make a decision. We listen to your ideas, we discuss them, we make a decision. We watch your banter and lively discussion on the forums, we see your civility when dealing with the not so pleasant aspects, and we go outside of our world to keep a pulse on our residents. If that's wrong on our part, to be in touch with you, let us know. If it's wrong of us to try and know that while we have rules in place on our forums, we will try to keep a monitor on what goes on outside so we can deal with things, then let us know. If you feel we've slighted you or your group, let us know. If you feel we're showing favoritism or anything that would not keep the playing field level, let us know. And remember, when you let us know, we're open to hearing it. We love all of our residents, because the grid is nothing without you. And that means that you do have a say with us, each and every single one of you. When you feel you need to say something or critique something, ask yourself, do I need to stir drama up over this or can I get a really simple answer by just asking one of the Founders directly?

Til we meet InWorldz  :)

Monday, February 7, 2011

Phallic Roles?!?

The last couple of weeks have been pretty drama filled, but informative I will admit. There have been some going ons for a while with particular people, and Tranq posted some of that information today on our forums. My goal is to simply shed a bit more light on what we know, and we'll let you draw your own conclusions. There will be various points where I will note as to what was done when.

If you haven't read the post by Tranq, you should: Forum Post

Now some background information.

Last summer, we had someone put themselves in the InWorldz Founders group, Tom Grimshaw, if you don't know that name you can look it up, but he's the technical admin for Meta7, still part of MMR, and helping Avination. His mentality was to create a role named "Penis" and put himself in it. Needless to say, Tranq fixed the exploit when pointed out by Ratchet Xevion and we banned Mister Grimshaw with an email. We've always worked pretty well with those who find exploits and want to work with us to eliminate them. Finding exploits, it happens in every code, and we're pretty serious about finding them and closing them.

Couple of weeks ago, we had an exploit reported us by Casper Warden, and I immediately cleaned it up. This is where things get interesting. The conversations I have, have been passed over to me and as such, I will not release their names. But you can come to your own conclusions:

[11:06:30 PM] ****: Do you feel that you're better then everyone or something?
[11:07:03 PM] Tom: not at all
[11:08:41 PM] ****: Its just seeming that way. You said Elenia is not very smart, that Avination is secure because it uses your code, and that you end up fixing Melaine's code most of the time. And I don't know much about OpenSim servers, so I can't really defend what you say to me when you tell me things like you know how to get into databases etc.. I'm just left to believe you.
[1/26/2011 9:57:25 PM] ****: [11:10:53 PM] Tom: Look, OpenSim is basically in my blood, i've worked with it so extensively for so long I know it inside and out.  I fix a lot of melanie's bugs, yes, she fixes a lot of mine
[11:11:07 PM] Tom: that's what happens when you work together
[11:12:01 PM] ****: Right, it just seems you have been taking a lot of credit, and making me look like an idiot in some ways.. I know you may not be meaning that though
[10:27:18 PM] ****: I'm not telling Elenia, but there has to be some reason why you care so much. No one tests for vurnabilitys on grids and keep access on their grids without caring..
[10:28:25 PM] Tom: I have been asessing the possibility of porting my vendor system to inworldz, but i will not do it until it's secure
[10:29:34 PM] ****: Thats the only reason? I mean, you got access to their staff groups and their backend. Think about it for a second, had she had such access in Meta7, do you think you'd be okay with that?
[10:30:10 PM]  ****: I understand what you're saying, but I think you're just going the wrong way about it. That too not even telling them, they wont be able to fix these holes..
[10:30:20 PM] Tom: people have exploited meta7 before, I fixed it and thanked them
[10:30:38 PM] Tom: the last time I reported an issue to elenia she bitched me out
[10:30:59 PM]  ****: Do it from a different account?
[10:31:10 PM] Tom: no! I don't want to help someone with that kind of attitude
[10:31:38 PM]  ****: I really don't mean to be harsh at all, I'm on your side, understand that
[10:31:41 PM] Tom: If there's anything that's going to affect the users themselves i would tell her
[10:32:11 PM]  ****: Well, I suppose she considers you as a threat, because she obviously cares why you care so much.
[10:32:46 PM]  ****: It can't just be because of your vendor system. You want to have access on that grid, and I am just trying to understand why.
[10:33:08 PM]  ****: You spent time creating scripts, to get the access you have now, as you stated.
[10:33:36 PM]  ****: So, you know, don't get me wrong, I trust you, and I hope you trust me
[10:33:48 PM] Tom: It's really none of your business
[10:34:57 PM]  ****: No its not. But I'd like to help you, and I just want to be careful. If you get into a legal hassle with them, I don't want to be having something like that on my mind.
[10:35:41 PM] Tom: i'm not going to be in any legal trouble.

Fortunately, our friend was able to point something out to Tom:

Support Response
Elenia Llewellyn
01/24/11 07:28AM
Thanks Casper, was an oversight from our early days when the site was more rushed. We have since fixed it, and if you find other exploits, by all means let us know, and we'll plug those up.

[10:38:06 PM] ****: She didn't bitch out the last time you told her one of her holes
[10:38:14 PM] ****: You copied and pasted the ticket to me
[10:39:35 PM] Tom: that's apparently because she didn't know it was me
True, I didn't know it was him, but nor did I ban him when I was told the following night. It wasn't until this conversation where I banned him, again with his alts. This is the only time he has ever reported an issue to us that we are aware of.

So, how do we tie these two together? With this:

[7:00:07 PM] Tom: I don't deny it at all, but I used THEIR viewer, and an option which is exposed to all users
[7:00:12 PM] Tom: hardly a hack
[7:00:18 PM] Tom: and i'm not banned at all
[7:00:24 PM] ****: What other flaws do you know about their site?
[7:00:32 PM] Tom: many
[7:00:39 PM] Tom: but i'm going to keep some to myself
[1/26/2011 8:39:29 PM] ****: [7:03:40 PM] Tom: i wish you hadn't told her i was casper
[7:03:45 PM] Tom: now i have to make a new account
[7:04:05 PM] ****: I wish you hadn't reported me.. Now I have to call LL lol
[7:04:07 PM] Tom: oh, actually, never mind, i set myself to unbanned

Interesting side note here... the "i set myself to unbanned". We don't ban via the database. At least not with any flags to say the person is banned. His account, Tom Grimshaw, hasn't logged in since Aug. 13, 2010. His Casper Warden account was Jan. 26, which is the night we banned him.

In our endeavor to be transparent, I detest doing things like this, but on the other hand it's good to expose. I think the biggest issue we have with this sort of stuff, is if you have this much time on your hands to worry about us, maybe you need to find something else to do. Have we been to other grids? Sure. Do we do anything to potentially harm their systems? No. And if we found some sort of exploit, we'd report it. Rather than blaring it all over or using it for our own devious ends. Maybe we're a bit higher on the moral grounds and have a tad better understanding of responsibility.... but seriously? Penis? As a role?

Til we meet again InWorldz!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Competition in the Marketplace

Lots of crap flying through the metaverse as of late. Accusations, conspiracy theories, paranoia, and flat out lies being throw about like stale jelly beans being spit out of a kid's mouth. Those hurt btw, I strongly advise never hang out around kids when they are checking their Halloween candy for whatever might still be good!

Something emerged from my brain though through all this mudslinging the last week or two: Competition. That's a double-edged sword, for anyone who tries to make a buck. No matter what business you're in, it revolves around that almighty dollar (or equivalent for whichever country you reside in). Even charities have to have money to continue functioning on a day to day basis. And even charities compete for it. So what am I rambling about competition for?

Well, there are two thoughts on competition. You can either fear it, or embrace it. There's no real middle ground there. You can't embrace and fear something at the same time when it comes to competition. Which direction you choose to go, will make all the difference in how you behave in the marketplace. Now, while I don't stand for anyone outright lying about InWorldz, for the most part, we happen to embrace competition. Look at our largest competitor... we don't fear it. We embrace it.

Competition is not just a one way street where corporations get to make all sorts of moolah. Although, in today's world, you see most corporations trying to clear the field of any competition, which usually signals something bad to me. For example: I recently left my ISP. They  had a stranglehold here in the Chicago area on internet. For years we had been with them. And every year, they hiked our prices up. It got to a point where I had to call every 6 months to get them to discount it, til one day they told me "I'm sorry, but you'll need to move to our "Blah" package" which was buying all three of their services. I didn't go through dismantling them over 5 years from all their services cause I wanted all their services. I did so, because other companies did the same job, or better, for less. So finally, another provider offered the SAME service, much cheaper, without a "discount deal for new customer". Let me state, this company has already been through the mill and at one time was so huge that the government forced them to break up to start competition. This is what Americans can do when they get really irritated... but that's another blog, for another day.

It is by far, one of the most solid principals that we are founded on: Competition is good. It's good for consumers, it's good for companies, it's good for innovation. It's all around a win for everyone... with one caveat: You gotta embrace it! The minute you start to fear it, you're doing something wrong.

We are starting to see some of this in the Metaverse itself now. Changes being made by grids to offer up something new to their residents. Which is excellent. Why do I say this? Well, we stated long ago who our target market is, that has not changed. We're not looking to be the end all be all of grids, we have seen where that leads to. This technology has amazing potential, and it needs to be fostered and developed. This is starting to happen. There are entire groups, we'd much rather send to other grids, because we simply can not try to handle all the varying issues they will bring with them and detract us from our main big picture. And we have done this, without a qualm inside us whatsoever based on those companies track records. Are they competing with us? I suppose, it really depends on your viewpoint really.

What we're seeing is rather interesting developments though. I wouldn't say this is because of InWorldz by any means btw, but because of the entire Metaverse itself. Each grid doing their utmost to offer unique solutions to their residents. We're seeing changes in the Legacy grid, to changes through out the other grids in how they compete. This is a good thing. It offers Metaverse hoppers the opportunity to really explore out there and find what's right for them. And it promotes grids to get on the ball and really do things their residents want. Which should be unique to them. Not every grid can offer everything. It's simply not feasible. And it drives the grids to rise to those challenges and develop that technology they need to better fit their marketbase.

Even in software, competition drives the technology. You can look back to MicroSoft for a primer in that, with Linux. That brings us to another point though in competition. And it's one that utopians hate hearing  ;) Commercialism drives competition. Anyone remember the government looking at MicroSoft for too large a marketshare? Well there was little Linux, plodding along, opensource, and free. Now, it's a $1billion dollar company... RedHat that is. They were competing with a commercial product, a giant in the industry, because they felt they could do it differently and more in tune to their needs. And they did. They laid down solid groundwork, set up policies for commits and worked it right up.

I'm not saying VW techology is on the same par as the above paragraph, but it IS vital to have a commercial product or two in there to compete against. Or else, there's no end goal... no "drive" to finish it. Unless you're just independently wealthy and have this burning obsession to create competition. Which has been done as well.

So, this is like one of those moments where you sort of have to say "gimme some love" or well.. "give em some love", cause in the end, the competition is good. I suspect we'll see quite a bit of it emerge in the Metaverse over the next year.

Til we see ya InWorldz!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Ya Know You're Doing Something Right When...

Happy New Year everyone! I didn't blog last week as didn't really think anyone would care! And now that we're in a New Year, of course all the new stuff starts. Fresh year, gotta have fresh rumors after all! And I'm feeling pretty spunky today so I figured I'd address these cause they really are funny!

Over the recent months we've heard all sorts of fun stuff. So let me start knocking them out for your consumption and hopefully humor!

#1. We're closing our doors in February. Now, I heard this a while ago, I found it immensely funny. Really? Predicting our doom as early as February? Tranq's gonna be bummed out, I better tell him that dev we're working on hiring isn't gonna happen...

#2. Our concurrency numbers are fudged:  This is really funny too, and Tranq posted once about it. Why on earth would we NEED to fudge our numbers? To make ourselves look good?!?  I could be way off base here, but I'm fairly certain if we had a number issue, such as they were way off, we'd be hearing about it from our residents. To date, the only thing we've heard complaints about is the fact their friends don't show online when they are or vice versa in the friends list.

#3.  We use what others fix to make our grid look superior:  This is one of the nastier ones, I've heard about, and I won't lie, it bothers me. To those who seem to think we're merely taking OS diffs and running them into our code, you might want to step back, take a look at where we've said our code can not be merged to OS at this point. You might also want to read some of the posts in our forums which outline exactly we've done, without giving out too much information.

#4.  We have strong marketing people:  Yeah ok, we do no marketing, so every one of our residents has to stop talking about InWorldz NOW! That's right, you heard me guys and gals, you're too good at marketing, so stop that! Oh and we'll have to stop paying you I guess too... what does zero from zero equal again?

#5.  We use our currency funds to fund our grid:  Wow, this one really is humorous. We use our currency funds to fund our grid?!?! Is that the LAMEST idea you could come up with? This shows how little these people know about a grid (and to think they actually "run" one) or the actual costs involved. Newsflash: while currency is profitable for us, it's not enough to fund 760 regions on almost 40 servers. Get a clue... please?

#6.  We are a "technical nightmare": Another one of my favorites has been this one. Really... compared to what? Compared to an empty grid that has no useage going on with it, where there's no uploading, no building, no storing of assets, no events going on? If comparing to the other world, then I guess it's 6 in one hand, half a dozen in another as to what users consider a technical nightmare, but as they have not called us that... I'm gonna dump this one in the recycle bin where it belongs.

#7.  We were the original creators of Legend City Online (LCO):  False, false and again false. We had nothing to do with the grid, not when it started, was running, nor when it was shutdown. There is some interesting facts to be found out there however for people to dig up in regards to it. Even more interesting is knowing which of our "competitors" started that rumor.

#8.  InWorldz will be part of a "multi-grid empire":  I hate to burst these people's bubble... wait no I don't... but no, we're not. We're not for sale, and I highly doubt the perpetrator of this bit could pay our price if we were.

Now, while most of this is tongue in cheek, it does prove something: We're doing something right. So to our detractors, those who are upset with us, those who have started these rumors: Thanks! Let me also point out, we know exactly where each and every one of those rumors originated from... which grid operators said what, and when. So with that said, let me offer my bit of New Year's advice to you...

Stop trying to figure out how to put us down, or make us look bad. Don't you have code to write, or a grid to run? Or is it more fun to fight like a pack of dogs over every bit of resident you can? Well, newsflash, it's a free Virtual World (well, for most of the grids out there it is anyways), and people will go where they want. They'll live in whatever grid they want, they'll visit their friends where they want, and they'll spend their money where they want. It's called competition. Deal with it. If you're too busy bemoaning that we won't give up our code, do you think whining is going to endear us to release it? Instead of whining, how about you figure out what we're doing, and fix the stuff (cause contrary to the above, we really do actually CARE about stability before shinies, which I know is anathema to everyone else), and maybe work on how best to get your grid to do what you want it to do and stop worrying about InWorldz.

To our residents... you guys rock. If it weren't for you all, they wouldn't be doing all this. Til we see you InWorldz!  :)

Monday, December 20, 2010

Season for Giving

'Tis the season for giving! And with only 5 days left before that Merry day (and I think my kids are close to counting down hours now), I thought it would be nice to spread some really good cheer!

The Holidays always seem to somehow show our best side as humans. We give more to charities, we try to be a little nicer (unless we are aiming for the last SOMETHING in the store that we simply MUST have) to both our elders and our fellow  humans. We are more friendly in general, to anyone than we normally are. I was giving directions to some poor soul in Toys R Us today, trying to find Barbie stuff.

The above goes the same for VW's, at least in InWorldz the last couple of weeks. Raglan Shire has their Tiny's Holidays Tree (which I hear tell they are referring to it as WootMas now), and are preparing to go caroling all over the grid. If you get a chance, please do not miss the caroling! I've had a preview and it will absolutely put you in the season mood.... or make you laugh like crazy, either of which is a good thing  ;)

We have the Yule Tree over on Isle of Anu started by Marie Ravencrow, and I hear presents are piling up and people are sharing their best for it.

We had a great event all weekend: InWorldz Winterland Event. I didn't get to spend much time at it, but that's ok, I heard a good time was had by all who attended it. I do know, it was well attended all weekend with an avg count of about 25 people at all times, and held up beyond well all weekend.

What was very cool, is we hope a new tradition has been born in InWorldz. Over the last week, our residents pulled together more than $500 to donate to Toys for Tots, which InWorldz will match to make it over $1000 to be donated to Toys for Tots this season. It's wonderful to see our community growing and wanting to give to those less fortunate. And hopefully, we'll see this number grow immensely next year.

I both hate and love this season personally. I love to see people be so good to one another, because barring some major catastrophe, we seem to have lost our way a bit, and this time of the year brings us back to our roots. The parades, the window shopping, the snow (ok, for us in the colder northern part of the world), the Christmas Carols, and can NOT forget "A Christmas Story" ("he looks like a deranged Easter Bunny!"), the Salvation Army volunteers outside the stores with their bells, the smell of cookies in the oven, or pumpkin nut bread in my case hehe. I hate it because it also can bring out the absolute worst in people. I despise the traffic during this time of the year. I hate going physically shopping, and yeah I did part of my shopping online (someday ask me how that worked out for me!) this year, but I do like going out and picking things out and seeing what's new. And no, silly bands were NOT a part of presents this year!

But, the best part of the season, is the day itself. Yes, it's a big day of cooking, presents, family and laughter. For me, that means my girls waking me up at the ungodly hour of 6 am (and it took years to get them to that point! It used to be 5am!), rambling downstairs and telling them to be patient, let mom get some coffee first, and finally settling down in one of the chairs and to watch them open their presents. What took me hours if not a couple of days to get all wrapped, is destroyed in mere minutes between howls of happiness, thank you's galore, ooooohhhh's and aaaaahhhhh's.

At the end of this huge day, we're exhausted, probably stuffed from eating way too much food, happily sated in our beverage of choice, and we've added another wonderful memory to the book.

To our residents, this our 2nd Christmas, although many of you are new. But thank you for sharing your lives with us, on the forums, your blogs, in the world... for sharing your kindness, your thoughts and your hopes. For being patient, having humor, and most of all, for just being you. May the Holiday Season bring you many blessings, laughter and joy.

Now... let me see if I can work on getting up at 7am this year... Til we meet InWorldz!