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Monday, June 22, 2015

ISTE2015 VEN Maker Space WELCOME!

Hello, all,

Heading up to good olde Philly on Saturday morning and I'll hit the ground running with Hack Education at the Pennsylvania Convention Center. The ISTE Virtual Environments Network, my primary peeps, have already created a space for us to gather whether we're physically at ISTE 2015 or are home in our pajamas at our laptops, in Sydney or Kyoto, it matters not.

Watch this one minute intro, then meet us in Second Life at for the fun, and, yes, the games!

Visit for my best guesses about whereabouts at any given time.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

For my father on Father's Day

 For my father, whom I remember with fondness and complete love, and whose passing I celebrated with this constructed artifice written in the early '90's. Reading this poem aloud in a college poetry class brought on performance panic attacks that haunted me for over two decades. Nothing is simple. 


FOR EDWIN A. MERRICK III, 10/1/14- 4/9/85

I saw you to auditions,
steering a rented wheelchair past

many things we daily take for granted,
onto an antiseptic stage
where your veins were infused
with some hack director's concept

of the substance of the play;
to no good end, for in the
end there is no stifling this playwright's primal theme.
Of necessity, father mine, no doubt, the play will out.
You could not choose a role to play
but one was chosen for you
whose costume fit you badly
as if made for another actor. You
had to wear it anyway: After all, you
were the star.
The play progressed by agonizing stages,
its scenes redundant,
its audiences losing patience, stalking out in anger, only to
return, drawn by the perverse lure of its potent message. I
became your own reluctant understudy, awake whole nights
attendant to your every breath, attentive to impending change, alert for the cue to your final scene,
prompting you the lines you dropped. I
turned you on your side for exercise. I
bathed your static wounds. I
fed you false encouragement,
laughing at the jokes and clapping, quietly.
One night,
when dramatic momentum stalled, I
quit the room for air. You
took advantage of my brief absence
to demonstrate artistic independence.
On that pitch-black stage, to that empty house,

you performed the denouement
No applause.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Bad Ladies EP is OUT!

Edgie, original and intense psych-rockers Bad Ladies have hit the streets with their EP and as a purely self/son-serving exercise I share it here. Proud as punch of my son Colin and his buddies Graeme and Zan, who laid down most of this recording in a purely analog studio on Charlotte Avenue and did so with flair, musicianship, and such creativity as burns the braincells in a good way. Pick it up and play it loud and often, and see if you can get some if its hooks and riffs out of your mind after a few listens. Please buy and share:

Friday, June 05, 2015

Moving toward ISTE 2015

Just a note to note we're getting into some pretty darned interesting stuff for the Virtual Environments Playground at ISTE 2015 in Philadelphia.

New this year, we're giving up half our playground so that the Games and Simulations Network, a group of friends we care about, can have their own playground. So essentially the two presentation areas and six ongoing presentation tables that constitute an ISTE Playground will be reduced to one of the former and 3 of the latter for each network.
Andy networks whilst Kae presents at ISTE 2012 Virtual Environments Network

We don't mind. We're focused on bringing the best of the best to bear for our ISTE colleagues, all of them. Our Second Life Playground was one of the very first ever at NECC, oh these many years ago, and it's looked rather different every year since morphing into the SIGVE Playground and now the Virtual Environments Playground. The fact that the conference organizers this year did not have space to offer G&S their own full playground attests to the popularity of the format: Open ongoing themed sharing stations for the duration of the event, with one-to-many scheduled more traditional presentations.

So, all that said, here's what we'll look like on Tuesday, June 30, from 2:00pm until we meet for our annual Birds-of-a-Feather meeting at the Pennsylvania Conference Center in downtown Philadelphia:

Virtual Environments Network Playground 
Presentations at ISTE 2015

2:00 - 2:45 -- Islands of Enlightenment in OpenSimulator!
Andy Wheelock & Mary Howard

2:45 - 3:30 -- Dream Realizations: SubQuan Math in Second Life!
R & C Patterson, moderated by Scott Merrick

3:30 - 4:15 -- AW3DU: Quest Atlantis LIVES AGAIN!
Rick Noll, with special guests!

4:15 - 5:00 -- Minecraft Learning: The Best of the Best!
Marianne Malmstrom--aka Knowclue Kidd

5:00 - 5:30 pm VEN Birds of a Feather

How about the ongoing presentation tables? Got that for you, too:

At one table we'll have Laura Briggs sharing Google Cardboard and the Virtual Reality platform "Biome for Kids." At another our stellar Rosie and Bob Vojtek will be sharing their fine work at the hot-off-the-virtual-presses Virtual Education Journal; and at the third (or is it the first?), our Marianne Malmstrom and crew will be sharing the best of the best in Minecraft. All will be network and internet connected for guest appearances and virtual fly-throughs and these folks know their stuff. Come learn from them. Or come teach them: IT'S A DIALOGUE!

One last plug here, and it's for those educators who cannot, for whatever reason, attend in person this year. We're planning to connect as fully as we can in Second Life. Throughout the week, beginning Sunday, June 28, as many of us who are there as can will be sharing on-site happenings in SL, at the ISTE VEN Maker Space. Visit as often as you like, and learn from the immensely sharing, deeply caring, learning opportunities that comprise The Virtual Environments Network at ISTE 2015.

Want to keep up with both Playgrounds and have access to scheduling and presentation details for both in a LIVE document that at any given time will reflect adjustments? Check out the Google Doc that does just that! 

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