Just Frigging Cold With Dainty Frills of Snow

What a Friday – 33 degrees, cold and gray. It never went above 33 degrees on this blustery November 14th, and to add injury to insult, there was a fairly brisk West wind plus occasional scattering ultra fine snow flakes. Very pretty (the snow flakes) but no fun to be out in.  I passed an older couple out doing their morning constitutional and I said “We are insane, don’t you think.” and she gasped out, “We just walk faster.”

I took that advice to heart and stepped faster myself.

The wetlands are totally brown now, except for the deep rich ruby of the Sumac berries.  This time of year you can really see why it is also called Staghorn, because the base stems are so thick and soft with velvety hair, not unlike a buck’s horns in velvet. Of course, by now the bucks have beaten the velvet off their horns and are ready to do battle with one another for the favors of all the lady deer out there.  Hunting season (with guns) starts tomorrow (the 15th), so the deer are nervier than usual.

My Coursera courses are all really great resources. What Plants Know is pretty intense although this week was easier because it delved more into the biochemistry of how plants exchange information. Which for me is always good. I also managed to sneak in under the wire for the ‘effect of chemicals on our bodies’ course, even tho technically it’s done, I made the registration so I still have access to the class. It is also quite good.

Today I worked more on the JERF/Hippocratean aspect of Herbalism and made some things with of course, real foods.  I made some Fig/Olive tapenade using a recipe from epicurious, a reasonably ok gluten-free Walnut cracker from  Elana’s Pantry, and a roasted Fall vegetable salad from myfitness.  I wouldn’t remake the salad – it sounds awesome (what’s not to like about roasted Fall vegetables?) but it rather failed in the end for the amount of prep and time it takes to make.  I’d rather have just roasted the beets, sprinkled some chevre on it and called it a day.  The crackers used oil to bring it together and I think I might opt for butter or Coconut oil next time and add some other seeds such as sesame. I would also make it with black walnuts and grind them finer, into more of a flour.  The tapenade was unfortunately very good. I say unfortunately because it was decidedly not a low cal option. I’ll be adding some mileage to make up for the unfortunate consequences to my D&E.

Three more weeks of Gardener class to go. I have four additional sections I need to read. I also need to identify a garden where I can find a plot to practice what I preach.  I like the class but of course, it’s that annoying homestretch of the class – I think everyone is glad there will be a break for Thanksgiving. I’m starting to design a couple of garden plots. One for the Herbal Studies Course and one for my soon-to-be plot.

I’ve been knitting whilst listening to the Digestion Series. I have the back of a sweater completed and half of the front.  It’s a great way to multi-task I find.  By the time the series is done, I’ll have acquired a ton of new knowledge, AND I’ll have an awesome new sweater.

ScienceSim Land Grant Program Presentation November 4, 2 pm ET

Please join us Thursday November 4, from 2-2:30 pm ET (11-11:30 am PT)  for a 1/2 hour presentation about the land grant program in ScienceSim providing free  100,000 object regions for six months in ScienceSim.  Details about participation in this program will be presented and information about applying for a region will be provided.

Thursday, November 4th, 2-2:30 PM ET/11-11:30 AM PT in the 21C region in Second Life.  Please note we are punctual and start promptly at the hour.


If you cannot make these events, please send a request through your organizational email to admin at fashionresearchinstitute dot com.  Please note we cannot respond to requests from noninstitutional addresses (e.g., yahoo, aol, hotmail, etc).

Applications Open for Summer 2010 Internship Program

Once again the Fashion Research Institute is pleased to announce 5 avatar apparel design internships to be conducted wholly in the immersive workspaces it maintains in OpenSim and Second Life.

The focus of the internship is to develop skills for virtual goods development, specifically apparel with a lesser focus on accessories and footwear.  The intent of the internship is to assist interns to develop private design practices where they can create and sell their virtual goods. Interns are provided with classroom space and creation space in FRI’s OpenSim regions, and store front space on the heavily trafficked Shengri La regions in Second Life.  Interns are taught using the patent-pending design methodology created by Fashion Research Institute, which is applicable to both avatar apparel and to their work developing physical apparel.

This course follows a collection-oriented design sequence, in which the class is expected to develop a mood board, color story, and concept boards for 6 outfits which will be developed for inclusion in a virtual fashion show, which will be designed as a group project. The course includes class work and home work and follows an aggressive schedule successfully piloted with real life fashion design students.  Students have full creation privileges in the online classroom as well as an assigned space for use for the duration of the class.  Students receive virtual tool kit resources as part of their internship.

All texture work is expected to be accomplished off line as part of the homework assignments.  Extensive resources and documentation are provided in the classroom, and students have full access to the classroom during their course.  All work is graded and receives feedback from the instructor. Students will complete 3 outfits, develop an initial label concept, and complete an initial showroom/store design. They will show their work on a runway at the final class, using their avatars as models.

Students must provide their own computer, internet connection, scanner, and image editing program(s) as well as have Second Life and Skype accounts.

Recommended text book: Designing Dreams, Shenlei E. Winkler, available on Amazon.com

At the end of their internships, Interns’ work will be presented in a virtual fashion runway show, with avatar models which the interns will style from hair to shoes.  All interns will complete their internship with Fashion Research Institute with a completed collection of avatar apparel including concept boards to product ads, which may be added to their portfolio. A final presentation of their work will be created.  Our Summer 2009  interns’ runway show can be viewed here.


Interns must provide their own Internet access and computer hardware and software sufficient to allow them access to the Institute’s classroom and facilities in the immersive OpenSim and Second Life regions of Shengri La.  Interns must have experience with and access to Photoshop (not provided). Interns must have a Second Life avatar account (available free), and are solely responsible for any fees related to their Second Life account.  Interns must also have a Skype account (free) with access to it during training periods.

Interns who successfully complete the 12-week long program will receive a certificate of completion and may be eligible for admission into the Fashion Research Institute incubation program.

Applicants may be currently enrolled in design school or recent graduates. Some design experience and background is required; these internships are not suitable for freshmen.

To apply, send your resume with 1-2 fashion images you have sketched or illustrated along with contact information to admin @ fashionresearchinstitute.com.

Our Accredited Course Through Buffalo State: FTT495 VIRTUAL FASHING

Our Avatar Apparel Design 101 course has been approved by Buffalo State University and will be offered for university credit the first time in June 2010 as FTT495 VIRTUAL FASHING.  The course is a 3 credit course taught during the Summer 2010 term and starts June 1 and runs till June 26.  Students register as non-matriculated students through Buffalo State University.  The credit they receive for this course may be transferred to other universities.

We will use our text book, Designing Dreams Ed. 2, which will be available on Amazon in April. We will meet virtually in our regions in ScienceSim. This is an accelerated course which meets daily for the full three week period.  Students are responsible for their own hardware and Internet access.  Students must also have a Skype account.

This is a fast-paced course which will take a beginning student through the process of avatar apparel design and merchandising.  Students should have good working Photoshop skills and know how to work with layers, brushes, styles, and effects.  Students will complete the course with a runway show of their work.  Students will be taught to develop avatar apparel using the patent-pending Black Dress Design development methodology.

Buffalo State University was founded in 1871 and has been part of the State University of New York educational system since 1948.  It is accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools as well as various other accrediting institutions for selected programs.

For more information about registration, including a list of fees and tuition charges, please visit the Registrar’s page at the Buffalo State University web site.   For more specific information about FTT495, please visit the Summer 2010 schedule listing.

ScienceSim Land Program Usage Covenant

Through our research collaboration with Intel Labs, Fashion Research Institute is overseeing the ScienceSim land grant program, as announced in this blog post.  We’ve been provided with 18 regions, which have been divided into 1/4 region parcels.  Each parcel can contain about 8,000 prims.  The regions will be awarded for a six-month period to educators, scientists, and researchers who wish to explore using OpenSim for their work, but who have not yet managed to have a presence in OpenSim.  These regions will be provided for six months, with the program scheduled to end June 30, 2010. Users will sign a formal agreement with Fashion Research Institute for use of this land.

The following covenant has been developed from our experiences working with new users through our official Community Gateway in our Second life islands of Shengri La.  Over the last year, we have had more than 60,000 new users enter through our region.  In addition to those new users, we also host thousands of more experienced users who visit our regions for various events and shopping.  Handling this level of traffic has presented us with an opportunity to develop functional best practices for educational and professional use for virtual land management and users of our programs.

We have drawn from this body of work to develop the covenant that will govern the land grant program.  This covenant is based on facts and data. In our Second Life islands, we enforce our covenant stringently, which minimizes antisocial and unprofessional behavior.  Our data shows that enabling users to engage in antisocial behavior slows the immersion process because it creates a hostile  environment.  The intent of the land program covenant is to clarify what our expectations are for users of this program so that all users may experience a working environment free of unprofessional behavior.

Land Use Covenant

Thank you for your interest in the ScienceSim land grant program.  The virtual land provided through the land grant program is intended to help educators, scientists, and researchers evaluate the OpenSim platform for use in their extended programs.

This land is provided through June 30, 2010.

Land is assigned in 1/4 region parcels with up to 8,000 objects per parcel.  Land assignees have building privileges.  Terrain textures are applied which remain in common to all parcels in the land program.  Common access features such as paths and parks are included to enable visitors to freely move between parcels.

Assigned land must be built on within three weeks of assignment.  Land which is not improved within four weeks of assignment will be reclaimed, and any objects placed in the region will be returned to the land assignee.

Selected content is provided for the use of land grant recipients, including premium avatar content, default avatars, textures, office equipment, and buildings.  This content is provided only for the use of residents of ScienceSim under various licenses, and may not be removed from Sciencesim or otherwise used to develop derivative works anywhere except in ScienceSim.  Users are encouraged to create their own content as well.  Pirated content will be removed immediately.

A complete orientation gateway which has been successfully used with more than 50,000 new users is provided for the use of  land grant recipients and their program users.

Expected Code of Behavior:

ScienceSim serves a population of educators, researchers and scientists.  Land grant recipients are expected to register with their real names and to manage their programs appropriately.

All users are expected to behave with decorum and respect to others to support this collaborative, interdisciplinary working environment.  Services are provided in English only.  All users who enter and use this grid are expected to behave and dress in a manner appropriate to a corporate or academic setting.  All users are expected to respect others’ beliefs; no solicitation, proselytization, foul language or harassment of any sort is allowed here.  Clothing is mandatory – this means at minimum, shirt and trousers that meets typical community decency standards.

Land grants are provided with an expectation that users will have sufficient expertise to develop their own regions.  There are weekly user meetings at which user experiences can and should be reported, as well as a mailing list where feedback is encouraged.  Lastly, there is a weekly governance meeting at which any conflicts will be arbitrated.


To participate in this land grant program, please send e-mail with your name, your organization, and 2-3 sentence description of the project you’d like to explore in this collaborative environment.  If you have further questions about the program, we have several overview presentations scheduled as follows:

Tuesday, January 5th, 11 am PT/2 pm ET, Shengri La Hope 216, 37, 2001

Wednesday, January 6th, 3 pm PT/6 pm ET, Shengri La Hope 216, 37, 2001

On Thursday, January 7th, 10 am PT/ 1 am ET, we’ll be touring the land grant regions.  Please meet in the Newton welcome area in ScienceSim.

Jewels of Winter: Missy’s Solo Fashion Show

Please join Fashion Research Institute student intern Missy Lavecchia at her first solo fashion installation for her fashion label, Bella Fantasique. Missy is a senior at Buffalo State University who is working on her internship in avatar apparel with Fashion Research Institute. Missy has been working hard at developing her most recent collection of romantic gowns, which will be featured on Monday, December 7th at 7 pm ET in the Fashion Research Institute Second Life Shengri La Hope region. To attend this event, please follow this link.

FRI’s Open Classroom in ScienceSim


As part of our regular office hours on ScienceSim, Fashion Research Institute will be presenting a series of regular content creation events in the Shengri La Rosemary region located in ScienceSim.  Please join us from 1-2 pm ET ( 10-11 am PT) every Thursday to participate in our open classroom sessions.  ScienceSim residents are encouraged to attend.  The sessions are open to the public.

Today’s topic will include the creation of small showrooms which may be used for display space for projects, store fronts, or offices.  Our expert content creators will teach  attendees to develop a simple space with windows and signage space.  We will showcase five different styles developed from a basic template which may be further customized for the user’s specific needs.

The instructor’s completed models will be donated to the ScienceSim library for the use of new users to ScienceSim, and new users learn valuable development skills to apply to other creation challenges.  Please join us today or any Thursday from 1-2 pm ET.