I had the absolute pleasure of being teleported over to the ranch style home of Caitlin Tobias earlier this week, and as impressive as the home is, she is more so. I have known Caitlin for a long time, but it is only through the Second Life Mentoring project that we have been able to spend more face time with each other, and that has been a lovely experience for me personally.
Caitlin wears many titles in Second Life, she is a Blogger, Photographer, Videographer, Store Marketing and Blogger Manager for Dutchie, and Second Life Mentor…there are probably some I have missed, but you get the point. She has been a Second Life resident for 16 years, she just this past week celebrated her Rezday, and she has truly encompassed what it is to be one.
When I first landed I was excited to see on arrival, that many of the questions I had planned to ask her, were already answered visually, which made it even more exciting to sit down and have that chat. Caitlin took me around the back of the house to show off her orchard and then we sat down on the back balcony and got down to it. I have to say that the view from her back porch was fantastic, not only did she have the orchard, the chickens, and fields of wheat, but she also has a whole ocean view in her backyard, talk about a winning location.
Sasy: You have recently become a Second Life Mentor, what is it that drew you to taking up that opportunity, as you are definitely not lacking for things to do in Second Life already?
Caitlin: I was in the earlier mentor program, 2009 (?) and really enjoyed helping new residents. After that stopped, I never really stopped helping people – though not in any helper group of sorts, but just when I ran into people with questions. Also, because of my blog and social media, people seem to find me and think I know a lot? LOL. Anyway, when I saw the application for the new program, I didn’t think for long and applied 🙂
Sasy: What has been your experience with Mentoring so far? any particular stand out moments?
Caitlin: I enjoy it mostly! The Welcome HUB is great, with so many tutorials, it’s so much better than before. I tend to focus on getting people to follow the tutorials first and help them with that. When it comes to avatar appearance there are lots of mentors who know all about bodies etc. I admit that is not my strong point. On the other hand I help with technical issues (as far as possible) and questions about exploring, how to edit their profile, why they can’t teleport to certain regions etc. And because I can do free uploads: I love taking profile pics for those who want (including some photoshopping), I think I’ve made some ladies happy with nice pics lately.
That answer had me so excited because while everyone talks about using the Premium Plus included free uploads as a business tool, Caitlin has used it to make a new resident’s experience more exciting. That is a huge think outside of the box moment.
We got down to talking about her Linden Home and her experiences so far, she recently did a video of her move to the ranch style, you can find that here.
Sasy: How many Linden homes do you own, and if money was no object, would you own more?
Caitlin: I only have one. Hmm, no I don’t think so. I like the Linden Homes as my ‘holiday homes’, so I change per season, but my main home is on my mainland parcel (since 2009).
Sasy: Did you have a Linden home before Bellisseria, and if so which one did you have of the older style?
Caitlin: Yes, I have had all the Linden Homes, from the moment they arrived! I have tried all of them.
Sasy: Have you always been a premium account holder? did you upgrade to premium plus for the ranch homes or for another reason?
Caitlin: I went Premium Plus the day that it was available, I am a Premium member since 2009. The upgrade to plus had nothing to do with these ranches, but with the extra square meters and also, because I could…and I love to support Second Life.
Sasy: What is it that you most like about the ranch homes?
Caitlin: Well I like the space of the garden! I always start outside, also on my mainland, I love SL gardening the home itself is huge, a bit too big for me, but the smaller one was a bit too small. I choose this type because it is all one floor, yeah I can’t with stairs in sl. I have only one floor homes, and am preferable to have no indoor doors. In my other homes I make the insides phantom.
This made me laugh, as many older residents of Second Life suffer from trauma due to the evil circular staircases of the past. If you are new to Second Life, you are lucky to have missed out on that experience. The reason they were everywhere was of course because of prim limits on land, and everything being made with prims. It was easier to manipulate a few prims to create a circular staircase than to rez hundreds of cubes for steps. However, trying to navigate or walk up them was a challenge.
Sasy: If you were starting out in Second Life today with an empty inventory but unlimited funds, what would be your first purchase for your Linden Home and why?
Caitlin: So my first purchase would be plants, trees, flowers…
Sasy: Plants, trees and flowers. The outdoors really are the most important to you. What do you think of the landscaping the moles provide?
Caitlin: it looks nice! I love the fences and plants they used. I do not particularly like how the road ends right before my parcel. I can’t make a path that connects, it stops a meter before my land…
I cammed outside to check and sure enough the path goes past the letterbox and fence and then just stops, and then it is grass to the front of the home. This may have something to do with all the different styles of homes you can rez, so I suggested she contact a Mole and ask them to fix it for her on their prim allowance not hers.
Sasy: Do you consider add-ons when decorating your Linden homes, and if so, what is it you like about them? (add-on elements to the builds themselves, have become a thriving business model for the Linden Homes by third party content creators).
Caitlin: I do! for this ranch I have gotten the fence around the porch and the blinds for the windows.
Sasy: I noticed your solar panels 🙂
Caitlin: Yes, I was disappointed I had to get those myself…they were not included in the pack 🙁 I mean…don’t we all just need solar panels???
Sasy: We do. So what kind of items would you like to see them include?
Caitlin: I know the camper had a solar panel included, maybe a well of sorts, or a simple shed.
Sasy: I think the idea that Bellisseria goes green with solar panels for all homes is a great idea.
Sasy: Did you feel that the prim allowance for the home was enough or were you pushing against it. What are some of the stores you use to decorate your home and the surrounding land?
Caitlin: I am pushing against it…but I will always do that, no matter how many I have :P, it’s certainly enough to decorate properly. I do use a lot of Dutchie stuff in my homes, of course! for my camper, I used the awnings Dutchie made for her café building and they fitted perfectly. I have lots of things from Jian in here, the apple trees, the chickens. I have a lot of items from Heart Gardens, and lately I discovered Two Moon Garden, they have lovely things. Mithral is my favourite for indoor plants, and dust bunny.
Sasy: Of the other Linden Homes you have had, what were your favourites, and what kind of themes would you like to see in the future?
Caitlin: That depends on the when and why. I loved the houseboats in Summer, the chalet in December and the fantasy home during the Fantasy Faire :). Those three are my favourites. As far as new themes, something science fiction, space and Cyberpunk. I would love that so much, and there are lots of people that would really get into that theme. Something like caves or medieval (not fantasy). Living on Mars, a red desert kind of concept, the land becomes the planet, not in the sky. Mars would be nice challenge for gardening, and I would like to also see Treehouses.
Sasy: What kind of things do you wish they would do with the community spaces overall, do you think that they should add commercial areas…not big stores. Perhaps build village style spaces that people can rent for small amounts of time, to keep things flowing?
Caitlin: I am not very active in a community to be honest, so I really can’t think of anything for those spaces but perhaps a farmers market in here would be nice with plants. Just walk to the market to get new plants and trees, and chickens.
We went on to discuss this as a concept more in-depth, going back and forth, because I truly believe something like that would be an amazing idea. Individual items laid out in a market style, not vendor boards, but actual mesh plants, and food, decor items, that would be a mix of content creators all in one location so that you can really live your best village/community life.
Sasy: What are three tips you would give to someone setting up a Linden Home for the first time?
1. take your time to look at what theme and home you like best, go check the Demo’s near the Welcome Hub.
2. Don’t be afraid to change home if you find you don’t like it after all.
3. Do not forget the outside, the garden…..so many homes here on this region have NOTHING planted…but a home filled with furniture. I find that so disappointing when walking around…all those ’empty’ gardens.
We went on to talk a bit more about what she does in Second Life, which of course lead us to talk of her movie projects that she does with Huckleberry Hax. One of the ones that people recognise her from is the movie Waarheid, which is actually showing at the Cinema located at the Second Life Welcome HUB regions.
Sasy: In your feature films, have you ever incorporated a Linden Home ? and if not, would you in future. Also, what was it like to see your film being shown in the Second Life Cinema, now that it is connected to the Welcome HUB?
Caitlin: I don’t think we filmed in a Linden Home…but I think we might in future. (We being Huckleberry Hax and me for his movies). For my own videos I use my home indeed. I am working on something, and that involves a Linden Home :). With the movie, that is so awesome to see! Of course we saw it before the opening of the hub and…wow! Makes us feel so proud. And funny enough, I have been recognized in the Welcome Hub a few times (not by new residents, but oldies..hah), a weird feeling!
It was and always is an absolute pleasure chatting to Caitlin and if you want to follow her endeavors you can follow her social media, and follow her blog. You can also catch her at the Welcome HUB at various times, say hi if you venture over to see her movie.