Burning Life 2008

For almost an year I have been thinking about various builds for Burning Life 2008. The theme, borrowed from Burning Man 2008, is “The American Dream”. I kept focusing in on one aspect of this: given all the diversity of American culture, what is that makes us all Americans?

I had lots of ideas, all of which were too vague to be built, or too complex for Second Life to support, or just silly. When I claimed my plot for this year’s festival, I still didn’t know what I was going to build.

So, I went looking through my inventory for anything to make my bare rectangle of playa unique and I came across a “thought balloon” attachment I had made a few months ago.

Mind Share - Eye Ree - Peace

After a few days of tinkering I ended up with this:

Completely Different 1

That’s some 60 randomly colored heads each with a thought balloon. The pictures shown in a thought balloon is picked randomly every few seconds from a set of some 20 or so pictures. I selected those pictures because they represent things I tend to think about and, I believe, are things that most of us think about.

If a visitor touches a head, it changes color. If a visitor touches a thought balloon, the picture shown in that thought balloon is briefly flashed on all the nearby thought balloons.

Completely Different 2

I also finished up the attachment and have been giving copies away to visitors. It is also listed on SL Exchange. The attachment comes with over 200 pictures and can easily be customized to display any picture. Since I made the entire thing full permission and put it under a Creative Commons license, anyone can customize it in any way they want.


Well, Anshe Chung Studios decided to recycle the Unreal Woods sim I was on. They gave me other land and some bonus tier. But I got very little notice and wasn't too happy with the land that was available. 

In the end I took three different plots of commercial land because I thought I could turn them over pretty quick. So far two have sold. The last is here. I doubt that they would recycle a commercial sim. Maybe.

For now, I guess I'm living on my Burning Life plot. GavinLeigh Wake happened to catch a picture of me as I was claiming this plot. See his great blog post for deatils on how to claim your own plot for Burning Life.

I'm not sure where I'm going after that. An OpenSim grid has some appeal, but would Eye Ree be Eye Ree anywhere else?


I've been exploring and creating in Second Life since early 2006. I've decided to post some of my discoveries and observations here.

In real life I'm a software engineer. I've been building distributed systems since before there was a World Wide Web, and pretty much as long as there has been an Internet (but ARPANET predates me by a bit).

Virtual Words interest me from a technical perspective. However, it is the emergent social and artistic aspects of Second Life that make it a very special thing.

The moment I first logged on and started shaping Eye Ree, my avatar, Second Life became a tool for my personal artistic expression. It is a medium as pliable as software, while aspiring to be as tangible as the physical.