Monday, February 6, 2017

Townies Presents Valentine and Mardi Gras Towns

By Gemma Cleanslate

Chocolate! Chocolate! Chocolate ! .. greets you when you land at the entrance of Valentine Town by Laura Liberty. Candy and hearts are all around and this is a great place to shop for your valentine teddybears, gifts, balloons galore, other  decorations, and outfits. The quaint shops offer everything you can think of and more. There are a large groups of shops to explore . I saw some great greeting cards in one and in another, make your own musical card. 

There is a lovely little heart boat that lets you float along the river and under the town in a tunnel .( Would be fun with your honey.) Look for that. At the end of the ride is  a gumball machine that takes you for a harrowing ride bouncing above and below into the chocolate river and I survived. As I walked around I admired the shops and candy decor. 

And then ...

I found myself entering Mardi Gras Town!

The band was already playing the familiar tunes you hear all over New Orleans before Mardi Gras and actually all year round. I grabbed a free  hula hoop and had a great time!

Over here one can find anything they would like to have for the celebration of Mardi Gras at home or in a club.  Wonderful decor and outfits for everyone. I found some great masks in one shop. I  picked up a free Mardi Gras shirt  so look for that on a cart near the band.!

I also got a great free face animator and tried out the looks.

 I had a strong desire for a bowl of Gumbo! This is a drop in , bring friends and make a great party place. This band is here 24/7 and keeps up the music.Have a wonderful time and don’t miss it before the end of the season.    Here is the beginning of your adventure.

Gemma Cleanslate

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

The Time Portal Community Hub

By Gemma Cleanslate

Frau Jo Yardley, creator of the famous Berlin Project has a new location for lovers of time travel. I visited the hub and was thrilled to experience several of her new sites that are completed and open to the public. There are more to come and under construction. France is next I believe.  The name of the ‘hub’ is “Time Portal Community for time travelers and virtual history”. Landing there for the first time is a an experience in itself. There are three spinning portals now to walk through in this scientific looking center. Three more portals have a sign saying Opening soon. 

Also on the wall there are some tiny spinning portals that will take you to destinations off site to other historical builds owned by other creators. It makes it so convenient while on exploration of the grid to just click and go. The era portrayed in these sims is also indicated in case you want to go looking like a citizen of that time and perhaps find a new role play community. On another wall is the Information board so you can keep in touch with information about the Portals and events. This region is right next to Berlin so you may wonder over there from one of the streets.  

My first trip was through the portal of the Victorian era where I stepped into the years around 1890‘s. I went through the seedy part of town to the town square.  I found horses and carriages along the streets outside the shops as I wandered along peering into the buildings . I stopped into a shop called “The Curious Seamstress" featuring clothing of the period for ladies of fashion and farther down the street I found a gentlemens shop. I stopped in at the London Hall where I found a magic lantern show set up and waiting for customers. This area is certainly a delightful reminder of historical setting the stories of Marley and Scrooge, whose shop I passed.

Walking through the next portal I entered the years of the 20-30‘s 40‘s. Here along the street I found elegant autos lined up in front of “The Calendar Club”. Numerous shows were advertised on posters in the windows and on the walls of buildings. The change of the style of the art deco buildings and furnishings showed how much  modernization had taken place between these years and the Victorian age. Shops with vintage clothing for this era. In one shop I found furniture and decor from the 1920s and next to that a vintage hat shop with stylish cloches for sale. I came across “The Curious Seamstress” again but up to date fashions in this shop.I almost bought an antique auto but controlled myself! I stopped in at the old well known Delmonico’s Restaurant known here a Clarrington’s Delmonico, bar, restaurant and shopping. Across the street I found some great gotchas. Just stepping into all the buildings is a study of history . 

Stepping into the next portal was more familiar since many remnants of the 50-60‘s still remain as part of the environment to this day in many cities.The Pink Flamingo Diner in its pastel colors ,with long cabriolets in front, is the first building your eyes are drawn to . Another eye catching build is the Cinema with posters of Jimmy Dean on the front. Again I was so tempted to buy the era car. I did stop at the pizza shop! How interesting to see the changes in the offerings of food and vendors over the decades from the Victorian era.  

There is much to see and experience in these three open portals. I would take a look now so you will be ready to visit the portals under construction when they open. It is a fun region to visit and offers opportunities for getting a look at sims off site too. I used to enjoy visiting the ports of call from the ship Galaxy. This is a similar opportunity I hope you like!  So far I have taken an out trip to Rocco Sorrentina 1784 Italy, in the baby portals on the wall. There are five more! My next trip is to Ancient Rome.   Here is your entrance.

Gemma Cleanslate

Friday, January 6, 2017

Commentary: Three Sims That Deserve Being Brought Back

By Kain Scalia (Maus Merryjest)

As the ashes of yet another year crumble to dust, we can take a moment to reflect on everything that has passed us by and derive both wisdom and pleasure from the last 365 days. This is a tradition of mine, where I will sit down in a comfy chair with a little wine and a little music and look back in an attempt to derive a useful maxim for the future based upon these fading experiences. After giving it some thought and not a little consideration, I offer my maxim for 2016:
Let us not do that again.
Now with that particular hurdle out of the way, we can take stock of all the possibilities that the New Year ahead might bring- and as far as Second Life is included, that means the possibility of seeing some flashes from the past.
Now, of course, at this time we don't know if there is much momentum behind the preservation and restoration of historical sims, but surely most of you can name at least one location of your past that you would like to see returned to its former primmy glory. Therefore, to salute the beginning of a new year, I would like to propose my top three picks for my wish list:

Linden light, linden bright
First Linden that rezzed tonight
I wish I may, I wish I might
Relive this sim I envision tonight...

3.- Prados Azules
This stunning sim was around in 2010, and setting foot on its shores was like getting a technicolor pie to the face, thrown by the Cheshire Cat.
I admit I never really knew much about this enchanting place, making it one of my go-to places to relax and visit the 1980s- for surely this was where the decade retired. Wherever you looked you would find evidence of your childhood (if you grew up in the 80s, that is) bridges made of legos, the towering shapes of Mazinger Z and Pacman staring at you, Atari monitors, giant synthesizer keyboards (alas, no keytars) and the ever-present palette of the era raging between neon brights and the cobalt/cerulean combination that was ubiquitous during the era.
After the passing of a year that seemed obsessed with taking away a large chunk of icons from the ‘80s, maybe we could get some of it back in digital format.
2.- 109 Prim Circus
Perhaps one of the most beautiful places in Second Life when it was around, this sidereal carousel rewarded visitors with a cosmic vista the likes of which one was likely to see in dreams only.
While it had merchandise for sale, it was tastefully presented in such a way as to not shatter the atmosphere of the delicate plateau suspended in the inky, starry void.
 The main attraction consisted of a chariot ride that was exquisitely planned through a literal ‘field’ of stars and constellation dolphins. Finally, if you needed a break from the phosphrescent spectacle, you could stroll and dance on stardust with your partner.
1.- DePaul University
Roughly seven years ago, you could throw a stone and have a fifty percent change of hitting a university sim in Second Life. A large number of institutions great and small felt their interests piqued over our little virtual experiment and decided to run their own experiments: extending their curriculum online.
One of the more adventurous sims belonged to DePaul University’s School of Computing and Digital Media. Managed by second life denized Andres Kleene, whose secret identity was that of a professor of Game Development for te University, the sim giddily embraced most of the Second Life culture. Professor Kleene saw an explosion in the number of tinies visiting the sim, and he obligingly made them a whole village on the west side of the sim’s mountain. The Silly Goose and the Cup Of Goodness were intricately-detailed gathering spots where one could often find students or other curious visitors with whom to converse.
Professor Kleene was very interested in the possibilities of Second Life as an educational tool, but he was also very conscious of the obstacles such places faced. In a conversation back in 2010, he said to me:
The real stumbling block is the learning curve (...) A professor in English literature studies doesn't think twice about posting a lecture on the web or giving web references, that's because he/she knows that those are accepted technologies: people are comfortable with that. Until 3D worlds are as natural to people as opening a PowerPoint presentation, we won't have the liberty to really explore this tool. We're still trailblazers, I'm afraid.”
Back in 2010, Professor Kleene felt that the dean of the college was fully behind the university’s experiment and felt no pressure from funding. Sadly, the experiment came to an end, and all that is left of the University’s sim is this user’s flythrough ( ), which does a good job of recording the cozy and charming atmosphere cultivated by its builder.
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Of course, of the sims in my list, it is unlikely that the Lindens might resurrect this one- after all, it was created and belonged to an existing institution... but for its sheer atmosphere, hospitality, and spirit of experimentation, the DePaul sim will always be number one on my list.
 Kain Scalia

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Christmas at Devon Dream

By Bixyl Shuftan

Safra Nitely, a friend of the Second Life Newser, likes to give her sim of Devon Dream a Christmas look every year for her friends and Second Life family. So I decided to drop over to take a look.

When I first teleported to, I saw a walkway. And going down, it soon led to an elven workshop, where Rudolph was being less then cooperative as the little guys were loading Santa's sleigh. Perhaps out of eyesight, the elves expressed a mischievous streak and the bright-nosed buck got tired of their "reindeer games."

Inside the workshop, some of the elves were busy making toys. One was a lady sewing a doll together. Another of the little guys was working on a train. No sign of any computer games though. Perhaps they were in a place not open to visitors.

The elves had a "to-do" list, and had a "breakfast in bed" tray for Santa, complete with a letter from a kid. St. Nick might have trouble with one of the rascal's wishes, though.

 Outside the workshop, there were some animals and snowmen frolicking, including penguins diving into a swimming hole.

 Going further down the path, there were some amusement park rides and attractions.

 Among them was this "Moon Cannon" that looked like it was straight from a Jules Verne novel.

Getting in would cause it to fire a second later. You might not get to the moon, but you'll certainly end up sky-high.

The walkway went through a forested area, the trees laden with snow.

Next to a party area was this manger area. Notice the Baby Jesus is levitating a bit.

The path would continue on past a few more sights, such as this ice carousel.

I was interrupted at once point, but came back later. I didn't see much more, of the Christmas counds that I hadn't before. But there was an evening scene which seemed a good time to show off my Rudolph avatar, or rather what his red nose could do to the vicinity at night.

That's all for now from Safra's corner of Second Life.

Bixyl Shuftan

Friday, December 23, 2016

Calas at Christmas

By Gemma Cleanslate

This year the entrance to the Calas winter sim is very different and made us all look for the portal . It is a craggy stark icy place at the start. I skated across across the ice to the cave entrance, passing dropped toys on the way and down the crystal adorned path into the room with the portal that takes you to the glorious ‘A Christmas Poem’.  The sound of joyous giggling elves  fills the air along with the lovely music. I made my way up the stairs and through the portal where  you will enter into a magnificent land of wonder. 

The Pavilion is there on the hill above the skating pond in all its regal glory, guarded by the giant Nutcrackers.In the great hall there are gifts on the tables for Calas members. Parties take place often in this great hall 

The tree room to the right is packed with wrapped presents under the tree and all around the walls. Santa is in his chair ready to take requests.  .Across from the tree room is the sitting room with a crackling fire where friends gather for food and drinks and talk. I often find at least one of my friends there. Outside the pond usually has skaters gliding around or hanging out by the fires  . 

 I saw Chatty Kathy, A long time member of Calas Galadhon group hanging out by the refreshment stand having coffee. There is a wonderful balloon tour up the hill that gives you an overview of the entire region. A sleigh ride will take you  down the snowy lanes  through the snow laden trees.

 OR ....“Comet: Comfy now? Welcome to this years Flying Reindeer Tour! Santa doesn't call me 'Comet' for nothing.  I've hit 5 balloons so far and counting. Oh, I forgot  .. Now Dasher! Now Dancer! Now, Prancer .... um Now Cupid, no Blitzen. Oh Now dash away!Dash away! Dash away all!  Hold on” . ...Take the Reindeer ride! I learned that Comet and the others got their names in 1823. 

 There are wonderful photo opportunities for couples and singles and you can pick up a notecard near the sleigh rides that will guide you to all of them. The owners of Calas Galadhon Ty Tenk and Truck Meredith make this special Christmas region every year for our enjoyment so if you pass a donations box try to put a few lindens in. The events list is on the website

Begin your travels to the wonderous site here . Head for the caves. The music will keep you company on your way and the windlight will  aid you and enhance your experience.( I cheated a bit to get pictures for you )

Gemma Cleanslate 

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Rebel Yell Concerts And The Linden Chalet

By Gemma Cleanslate

You must know by now I have more than a few winter season regions ! I love the skating , skiing, sledding , horse back riding in the snow and other fun in these sims. Another favorite region where I like to hang out in this season is Rebel Yell Concerts. It is jam packed with beautiful scenery, activities, and venues to check out. I even found a pizza restaurant this year. At the pond there are couples and single skating balls that will make it easy for you to perform stunts while you skate. You can use your own of course if you prefer. 

  I had pizza and beer with a friend at the pizza restaurant. This is at the top of the mountain and to get there you take a ski tram up and get a wonderful view of the whole place. It is just glistening with ice and snow laden trees all the way down to the skating pond which is generous in size . I took the pink flame skis and went down hill quickly. I switched to cross country skiing at the bottom. 

 The lodge is a comfortable place to sit and warm up after skiing and skating . I wandered up to enjoy the comfort for a while and found that the reindeer had taken over.Then I backtracked up the hill to stop in at the toy workshop and the reindeer barn. The Magi were making their way by ... first time I have seen them leading their camels. Back at the skating pond I checked out the lovely gazebo  on the hill to look over the skaters passing by . Don’t miss this beautiful winter sim.

Later I visited the winter sims where you can find snow all year .Some of the highest peaks in sl are here for your skiing pleasure. Placed by Michael Linden I think with some help with decor from some other Lindens.

The Linden Chalet lies in between two of the longest delightful chairlift rides you can take anywhere in Second Life. One lift I  began in Voss and landed at the top of the mountain in Kamin passing over Bydalin. It is a long steep mountain on the way down also and I landed back by the skilift in Voss. Fortunately I was wearing my skiis from Rebel Yell so I switched over to cross country skiing and made my way back to the lodge for a warming up rest by the fire. There are still some pumpkins around and I hope they don’t freeze. This is a hub so you may meet some interesting people here according to my friend  who has a home nearby.    

Then it was time to go across the road into Wengen and tackle the other mountain riding up that long chairlift. The view is amazing if you put your drawline out to the limit. There are free skis at the top of the mountain and also a great sled ride you can do with friends. After you don the skis you have a choice of going down on your own or taking the ski ball ride which gives you a chance to look around as you go. This marvelous mountain area is here all year long so if you get get really hot during the summer keep an outfit out of your winter clothes and go over to the chalet area and get warmed up.  

Gemma Cleanslate

Friday, December 16, 2016

Winter Comes to Aero Pines And Creations Park

By Gemma Cleanslate

One of my favorite regions to visit during the holidays. or actually at any time of year has always been Aero Park .... It has always been a wonderful place for horse back riding. The roads and hills are now covered snow and there is more falling all the time. The skating pond is roomy with skate balls for partners or singles. Of course you can skate on your own or buy some skates there and I did see a free skate box. The park ranger is around helping you find sites to visit by announcing the venues.  

The brochure will direct you to your favorite sport area. The hills are wonderful for skiing on brightly colored skis that you can pick up for free. I grabbed a saucer to try on the hills too. Down below there is a lovely horse and carriage ride to take along the roads. Just sit in the carriage and your own personal horse will arrive to wear. This year there is a lovely venue where you can have a group or family party.It is a lovely dining room with a dance floor in front of a crackling fireplace. It is behind Santa’s workshop. 

I stopped in there also and he has his elves over here too making toys . Lots of reindeer waiting around for their big night. Take a tour and enjoy the fun in the snow . This will drop you next to the skating pond infront of the Lodge. 

Another place you can depend on having one of the best skating experiences in Second Life all year long is Creations Park. Team Fox has a wonderful winter venue in the season decor that does not disappear after the holidays . It is always open for hanging out. Right now there are gifts in small shops around the lake. 

As you know the region is set up for donations to the Team Fox for Parkinson research. The group has numerous events in all of its venues going on during the year. You can get some very delightful skates there and the payment goes to Team Fox. Nearby you are able to rezz a snowmobile . I whizzed over to the lovely Church and stopped by for a moment to recall the reason for the season. Farther on along the edge of the lake I visited an igloo and warm up by the fire. 

There was a ski lift to the top of the mountain that I hopped on . At the top you have your choice of saucer , skis , or a wonderful sled you can rezz . I tried that! It was quite a ride down the slope and onto the ice and you can control the speed too. It is a wonderful site to visit with friends with so much room to zoom around the lake without accidents. Do not pass the geode that looms on the lake. It is filled with beautiful purple crystals. This will put you in the gazebo on the ice.
Gemma Cleanslate

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Furillen's Battle of Hoth

By Bixyl Shuftan

With the film "Rouge One" set to appear this month, there's been more of an interest in "Star Wars" lately. So it was no real surprise that I heard of a sim getting a makeover by it's owner to replicate the Battle of Hoth in "The Empire Strikes Back." The place is Furillen located at the Love of Life sim. Serene Footman, the owner, described what he did in the sim's blog.

The sim just had its biggest ever make-over for an event – over the weekend I started completely from scratch in order to replicate Hoth, the ice planet that features in one of the strongest movies of the entire franchise, The Empire Strikes Back. It’s Furillen’s way of celebrating this week’s release of Rogue One, which looks like being a classic.

For those of you not Familiar with "Star Wars," Hoth in the stories is a frigid ice planet, in which anyone outside shelter without protective clothing would quickly freeze to death. The two native life forms that could handle the intense cold were tauntans, which could be tamed and ridden around for transportation, and wampas, which were like abominable snowmen and the planet's apex predators. The movie never showed what the tauntans ate, though the wampas probably considered anything they could catch dinner. In "The Empire Strikes Back," Luke Skywalker and the Rebel Alliance have a base on the planet, which is discovered by an Imperial Task Force personally led by Darth vader. The Imperials send an attack force on the base consisting of five massive All-Terrain Armored Transports, or AT-ATs, sometimes called Imperial "walkers," which resembled huge beasts as they plodded across the landscape. The Rebels put up a heroic defense, taking out three of the five Imperial walkers. But the Imperial forces prove too strong, and the Rebels have to evacuate the base.

Dropping in on (, I appeared in an icy cave. Fortunately there were no signs of wampas. But there was an automated message by Serene, "Welcome to Furillen. I hope you like this tribute to Star Wars - the Assault on Hoth! To enjoy the sim to the full, switch on your music, turn up draw distance as high as you can manage, and don't get crushed by an At-At!" The music wasn't from the movies, but it did help set the mood of the place. There were a couple signs pointing out what was ahead.

Stepping out, the rebel base wasn't far away. There was a line of defense consisting of laser turrets and smaller laser guns, with one of the turrets having been blasted open. Across the icy plain was the Imperial attack force, consisting of six imperial walkers and a few scoutwalkers or AT-STs (All-Terrain Scouting Transport), as well as a few speeder bikes. The walkers were well detailed, and built to scale. Standing next to them, they were just as big as in the films. High above the walkers were a couple TIE fighters.

Behind the rebel's guns was the rebel base, built into the side of the mountain. Rebels tending to be short on supplies, the base was a bit spartan with cold steel floors and pipes going around in a few places. There were a few stations with screens, possibly radar and communications, where one could sit at. In one corner were a few bunks one could rest at. Scattered around the base were Chewbacca, Princess Leia Organa, Han Solo (in a dramatic pose with his blaster drawn), the robots C3PO and R2D2. Luke Skywalker was nowhere to be found, possibly out in his snowspeeder fighting the AT-ATs. Curiously, Yoda was there in the display. Perhaps the Jedi Master was using his powers to somehow keep tabs on events.

But at least the Rebels weren't hungry. Near the image of Yoda was a pizza machine with the name "Pizza Butt." Perhaps given the reputation of Jabba the Hutt, anything named "Hut" around here would be avoided. There was also a coffee machine, but the parody of "Starbucks" was a name unmentionable in a family-friendly publication. In one corner there was what looked like a laptop computer with the screen on "Hitchhikers' Guide to the Galaxy."

The display is not all that's going on. In the sim blog, Serene stated he was planning a "gathering of the geeks" for a "Furillen-Hoth Christmas party" on Sunday December 18, 1PM SL time, "Star Wars costume is essential, of course. But given that there are so many great mesh Star Wars avatars and costumes around on marketplace, and that they are so inexpensive, this is as easy as it gets. We’ll stream some party music – good bits from the movies, of course (who can resist Cantina?) – but with a bit of inventiveness we can add some space-themed music from more familiar Furillen names, like Bowie and Radiohead."

Normally Furillen looks like an abandoned industrial island off the coast of northeast Sweden. Serene didn't give a date yet when the place will go back to being a "remote, bleak and beautiful ... photographers haven." But no doubt Star Wars fans will keep on dropping by while it lasts.

Sources: Wookipedia, Furillen 

Bixyl Shuftan

Monday, December 12, 2016

To the North Pole

By Gemma Cleanslate

I made a fun visit to to the North Pole, population, 2 humans, 56 elves and 8 reindeer.  You will know you are in the middle of an ice mountain at arrival. Follow the path that leads down and out. Enable sound to hear the song of the crystals and the crunch of snow as you make your way through the mountain, on the path that leads to the massive doors of the North Pole. Once inside  you find a lively group of elves around the Christmas tree .

Turning to the right I followed a path to Santa’s runway where he was testing the Reindeer readiness for his long trip. Inside the nearby barn more reindeer watched
, with envy I think.
Entering the doorway to the workshop where all the gifts are being prepared was almost overwhelming. It was full of boxes of all sizes and shapes ready to load into the sleigh when the time is right. Elves were scurrying around the area feverishly. Some elves in that workshop are using computers to check weather conditions and other information they can glean to help with distribution I guess.

I next entered Mrs. Claus’ bakery, also filled with elves preparing cookies , gingerbread houses , and other goodies. Yum. I was invited to visit the Elf dorm so I headed out to look for it

On the way I passed the Elementary school and stopped in to find it packed with more elves learning  how to be a Christmas elf, with “elfy ways”  while others had lunch. The next stop was at the local paper, The North Pole Times, very actively printing papers . It was a courtesy call to a fellow newspaper. The post office was so busy I could not get in.

.I stopped into Santa’s bedroom and did some jumping on the bed which is a trampoline! As I made my way out to the village square again I thought that my visit to the North Pole this year had been a great deal of fun. The Clauses have done a lot of redecorating this year and it was easier to move from place to place without getting lost. Outside the gates there is a crystal cave you might like to explore but be careful . Hidden way inside there is a monster waiting for you! 

On my way down the path, when I entered I glimpsed a sign that says “Believe" and by the time you leave you will. Have a wonderful visit.  (don’t try to double click tp)  Pick up the notecard guide at the entrance so you will not miss any of the sites.
Gemma Cleanslate