Michael Linden Isn’t Gone, Really.

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Michael Linden’s slippers, a gift from me a number of years ago. I was once told that Lab employees aren’t allowed to accept gifts, but he not only accepted these, he even put them out in his home (SLurl), now renamed Hotel Adriano since he has left The Lab’s employ. It was in this mansion in March 2015 that I met with Michael to interview him for the Bay City Post about his involvement with the development of Bay City (with the former Blue Linden, whom I interviewed in August 2015; see both here).

ml2b03Adorable as Michael was in his Mole avatar, I’ve seen him in several forms, including human. I asked him about this during the interview:

UP-S: Do you consider your Second Life persona a “character” or a representation of who you are in Real Life?
ML: More of a representation. I haven’t really been involved in role-playing in SL.

In any incarnation he was always approachable and fun-spirited. Once when encountering my Zyx Flux alt while she was dressed as Wednesday Addams, he rewarded her for finding a flaw in a Mole build: [11:09] Michael Linden: ‘+1 Mole Point for Wenesday’

So far, everything I’ve written here makes it sound like Michael has passed away. Far from it, as my friend Marianne McCann wrote in a guest post on Inara Pey’s blog, Living in a Modem World. In talking with Marianne last night, though, we both felt like it was a death in the family when it was confirmed he was hanging up his crown as King of the Moles.

If Our World really has celebrities (SLebrities?), many would list any Linden as one. Look at the excitement that happens whenever you meet one in-world. Even with Michael on my Friends list and the way he readily answered my IMs without fuss, I still had a bit of that awe one feels around celebrities. Consider that in his 13 years with The Lab, Michael had his paw in just about everything: Bay City, the railroads, various attractions, even janitor work when a prim or two got out of line. That earns the little Talpidae some awe. I hope to meet Michael in his civilian avatar so I can give him a well-deserved hug.

Strategy Revealed

Whats yellow, has four wheels, and sleeps six? An LDPW pickup truck!
That joke usually applies to the highway departments of any American state, but it really can’t be said about the Linden Department of Public Works. These folks work very hard so we can have lots of wonderful places to visit.

Last September, I wrote about The Lab’s Land Use Strategy noting that there is quite a bit of land owned by The Lab that serve little or no purpose. In particular, the regions of Atroth (SLurl), Nysray (SLurl), Unttan (SLurl), and Saminekim (SLurl) seemed to be merely well-landscaped regions whose sole purpose was to host four Premium Member gifts sites. Since then, I’ve visited a few times and once found Governor Linden hanging about and another time the regions hosted the portals for the beta release of Linden Realms. Today I visited and found that the regions have been turned into a giant train layout, much like most of us played with as children.

Clockwise from bottom left is Unttan, Atroth, Nysray, Saminekim, the latter one being the home of a train rez zone and a build area near the four corners area. A non-functional zip line extends from the Premium Gift plinth in Nysray to near the open build area. One such gift area is marked with the SL hand in the pic above.

A classic oval with siding stubs, a passing section, and an inner loop has been laid out across the four regions. If you take the inner loop spur in Unttan, though, it gets to be a bit more fun than your average home model train set.

Be careful on the little used inner loop tracks in Unttan … the bridge is out!! Build up lots of speed and you should be able to shoot right over to the other side. That’s something everyone tries with their model trains but you can only do in SL.

Eventually you get back to where you started, a peaceful little shack which has a free copy of the Premium Gift Railroad Hand Car released May 8th if you don’t get one at the gift kiosks. Hopefully it will still be there when the next gift is available for future Premium account Residents. And it would be very nice if some of the small ponds in these regions are stocked with fish (like the rivers in the Wilderness areas). Maybe more plans are afoot. Near the hand car shack are some ball field bleachers and some Drzdok Goal Posts, whatever they are (can you tell us, Michael Linden? You made them!).

Not a Premium Resident? Click Here to join up and if they ask who referred you, my name is Uccello Poultry!

Announcing Correspondent Mole

My 30-day Non-Discolosure Agreement (NDA) period is up so I can now let everyone know why I’ve been posting a lot about the Mainland but otherwise being quiet on this blog … I’m  a Linden Mole!!!!

That’s me in my new Mole avie made by Wynx Whiplash and given to all the LDPW Moles. I’m at the ceremonial prim on Mole Island 1, part of a “secret” group of regions you can actually see on the map by searching for Mole.

Some time ago Michael Linden took notice of me, even giving my Zyx Flux alt a “Mole Point” for being extra observant and helping making a seasonal Linden attraction a bit better for everyone (you can see in the About section of her profile here). Since then I’ve been keeping in touch and pushing my idea that a regular blogger is needed to promote the Mainland and the fine works of the Linden Department of Public Works (LDPW) in general.

I wish everyone could visit the Mole Islands to see the exciting things coming up, but they are sekret!

But all Moles are builders, too, so I had to prove my chops by showing items that I’ve made and working on a “surprise” build, to boot. Early one morning Michael and a group of moles showed up at the Isle of Lesbos for a personal tour of the University building, the Bath House, and the Undersea Habitat — all “from scratch” builds of mine — as well as checking out a selection of the custom clubs that I made for our “rezzer” system. ChooChoo Mole dropped a folder on me afterward and asked that I show what I could do to update one of the train locomotives inside. I wasn’t too far along having merely adding a couple new textures and changing some colors when I added a custom-made logo (see below) and they stopped me. “You have a flair for graphics and textures,” Michael told me, “so let’s put that in your bailiwick.” I was thrilled, but I asked if I could also have power over Linden plants. You may have noticed it takes special land rights to rez Linden greenery and that a lot of it on the mainland now “floats” above the land, either due to prim drift or the terrascaping on private plots near by. Garden Mole said she could use the help so I have that super power now, too.

My custom graphic for the H&T RR engine. I also made the driver wheel texture but really had no idea what do do with the rest of the locomotive. This is the pretty current 2010 model and was at the maximum number of prims for a vehicle. I sensed that they wanted to see if I would respect the best of the status quo or go nuts and try to rebuild just to show off.

So that’s my big news. I might not be blogging an awful lot in the next couple weeks as I settle into my duties (official as of tomorrow, the first day of the work week after my NDA expired), but soon you’ll see regular posts from me — especially about the Mainland and all sorts of Mole goodness. I’ll be customizing my avatar, too. I’m thinking of a mohawk and a mole-sized iPad. Or going retro with a backpack manual typewriter. Lots of moles don’t use the critter avie lately but I’ve wanted one for so long I don’t think I’ll take it off for a while.