Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Cap Estel Natural Lake Park

Recently I visited Cap Estel Natural Lake Park, one of the most beautiful places I have found in SL. If you haven't been there yet, treat yourself to a visit. Cap Estel - natural lake park, Cap Estel (64, 85, 22).

The park is the creation of resident Maurice Messmer, a RL resident of northern Germany. Messmer told me that he initially came into SL in 2007, but he left after a short time due to technical issues. About six months later, on a rainy Sunday afternoon, he decided to return. Second Life should be very grateful for that rainy day! Messmer’s first creation was a small home for himself, and he has progressed from there. In addition to Cap Estel, he has created other wonderful places, including a tropical rain forest at Geko Stoops Memorial Forest, located at Costa Rica. Geko Stoop's Memori, Puntarenas 1 (15, 21, 31).

Messmer specializes in creating scenic locations of places he would like to live. Cap Estel is his creative imagination at work, not a reproduction of a RL park. It was created in July, 2009, and he frequently changes the scenery. Some residents may have visited it during the summer when Messmer turned it into a dune park. Currently Cap Estel is an autumn mountain lake park, complete with walking trails and wildlife. Messmer said it makes him very happy when residents compare his park to their RL homes in Norway, Canada, and the northern Rocky Mountain region in the U.S.

I visited here twice, and I am sure I haven’t seen everything. There are miles of hiking trails that go around the lake as well as up into the mountains. Before starting such a rigorous adventure, I knew I would need a snack. At the landing spot, I crossed over the bridge to begin at the Park Cafe. The deli has pancakes, donuts, and Blueberry Crumb Muffins. And of course there’s espresso to go with them. All of the items are affordable (free), and you can take them to go or dine in. There’s a cozy front room with a fireplace and small tables, but I went out on the back deck. There are tables for larger groups here. The day I chatted with Messmer, I sat here and enjoyed the amazing view.

After your refreshments you can hike the Park. Along the lake front you will hear birds chirping, watch eagles soar, and enjoy the relaxing sounds of the water. Wildlife is scattered along the trail, too. The most amazing part of the sim, however, is the detailed foliage and terrain. I felt I was hiking in the RL Rockies. There are private areas, too, where you can sit to enjoy the scenery or chat with a friend. I especially liked the Adirondack-style chairs at one spot by the lake.

If you take the mountain trail, be sure to wear your mittens. At the higher elevations you’ll find snow has already arrived. But if you make it up to the top you’ll find a snack wagon! Yummy!

Messmer told me that winter will be arriving at the lake within the next few weeks. The lake will freeze over, and ice skating will be available. He also plans to have a Christmas village with little shops and festive decorations. I’m going to sharpen my skates and return soon.

Grey Lupindo

Friday, November 19, 2010

The Afghanistan Museum

The Afghan Museum sits high on a mountain in ROF Coalition. As you enter, there is a map with which to interact and begin to learn more about the country of Afghanistan. You will learn about the geography, and turning you see a display of some of the wildlife of this rugged mountainous terrain. If you “pet “ each animal, you will be introduced to the species and the role it plays in the country . Some are very exotic and native only to this area of the world. Another map shows the provinces whose names we hear so often in the news.

From there you can move on into the museum. "Honor the guest, O son. Even though he be an infidel, open the door." I heard, as I touched the tea container and then received a cup of green tea from the samovar. As I sat on the lovely cushions to enjoy my tea, I learned about the many peoples of Afghanistan using the interactive wall in that room. Every step of the way in the museum you will find interactive buttons to bring up examples of life, dwellings, and floors are covered with examples of the carpets of the country. A closet holds lovely clothing and hats and explains to you the background of the item and who might wear it.

Listen to the music as you go .It enhances the whole experience. Musical instruments and a description of them occupy another area. For more indepth information about the arts of the country you can link to a webpage. Be sure to climb the steps to the courtyard and up to the top where you can order up examples of the various food specialties in the Shisha Café. On the way down, I joined in a dance with the tribal dancers. Be sure to try it.

All in all, I enjoyed the whole experience of the Museum. Trill Zapatero, a famous SL artist, has done a wonderful job of letting you learn of the peoples of this country and their cultures, of which there are many, and displaying items of common life. I hope you will take the time to visit and discover all the secrets of the museum and learn about this far away country of which all we seem to hear now is reports of the war, but has so much to offer in its arts and cultural heritage. I have been to the museum three times now and every time I go I discover another secret that I missed before. Out in the entry courtyard you can learn about RAWR, Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan, and their work. This is a particular passion of Trill’s. And you can learn about Rumi at his shrine there. I know I will be going back for more.

You can enter here and enjoy!! The ROF C
oalition 2 sim at (52, 76, 74).

Gemma Cleanslate

Monday, November 15, 2010

The Roaring 20's Chicago RP Sim

The phrase "the roaring twenties" was meant to emphasize a great period of social and artistic culture, from jazz, flappers to the crash of 1929 and in between inventions, political changes, industrialism and new technology such as cars was all part of this era. But one issue made this era unforgettable, the prohibition. Under the eighteenth amendment, alcohol was prohibited to be sold because the government wanted to fix "social problems" happening at the time. The prohibition led to many things including the rise of organized crime and gangsters such as the well known Al Capone.

So what does this history lesson have to do with our Second Life world? Well, it has a lot to do with it! As you may know, everything found in our real life can be found or created in SL. Shepham Moorlord, the now owner took over the sim of SL Chicago Roaring 20's after Fay and Lance, the creators, had to leave due to personal reasons. Here is an excerpt of the interview I had with one of the old owners and Moorlord, as he gave me a tour around the sim.

Q: The sim takes place in the 1920's, is there a reason why this period was chosen?
A: We selected this time period mainly because it had not been done in SL. You see many medieval and western theme sim's but none that have been for Chicago 1920's: The gangsters, gun molls, corruption

Q: What is the purpose of this sim?
A: To bring people together from various walks of lifeand all over SL that have the same interests like history, good role play and a quality sim to be in. And build strong friendships giving us a place to live and play where we share common interests. I believe rp should be fun. I think we have to always try to help new people join in, so many sims becomes clickish and make it hard for new people. I also believe that those who run the roleplay need to entertain others and not worry about winning. We dont have anyone in leadership positions with large egos or power hungry. This sim is all about good people, good stories and fun.

Q: What are the most important rules members MUST obey at all times?
A: 1.) That this is a role play sim first...not a combat sim....combat is some of it..yes, but you need to have good role play and character development.
2.) That everyone needs to wear the proper clothes and meters even if coming to observe and look around.
3.) Respect to all people on the or old alike.

Q: How long has this seem existed?
A: June 2010. However we have over 600 people in our group and have been a SL showcase role play sim. And being renovated since a week ago.

Q: What are the meters used for?
A: For the combat portion of the role play. They are basically health meters, so when your shot, they go down in health until your dead.

Q:So since this is a roleplay area, what happens to a person that had been gunned down? Can they still come back or do they have to come back with a different character?

A: Well they have to go to the hospital and role play out the injuries with one of our medical staff. Our doctors determine how long they are out for based on injuries, could be a few hours or a few days, then they can come back into gun play. Until then they are wounded.

Q: Can you tell us some "in character" slang that players have to use?
A: The 1920's were a fun time to speak the English language. We actually give people a slang dictionary. Here are a few of my favorites:
Bull - (1) a policeman or law-enforcement officer including FBI (2) nonsense (3) to chat idly, to exaggerate
Cat's Meow - Something splendid or stylish; similar to bee's knees; The best or greatest, wonderful
Daddy - a young woman's boyfriend or lover, especially if he's rich
Piker - (1) a cheapskate (2) a coward
Pill - (1) a teacher (2) an unlikable person

Q: Tell us about the clothing used in you sim? Why is that so important ?
A: Well back in those days people dressed up. There weren't jeans and T-shirts and shorts. Most men in suits and most women in dresses. The flapper dresses were the rage and dapper looking men in suits. So its very important to have and get the right looks in clothes to make the sim look historical. We have some of the top designers in SL that have made us some very real clothes for the time period. For the open area, we like the ladies and gents to wear semi formal gowns or gowns and the gents to wear suits and ties.

Q: During this period in RL it is known that there were "families" that would take over neighborhoods, what does this sim have in similarity to that?
A:Yes that is part of it. The criminal element was a huge part of those days...Prohibition and illegal wrong doings were part of everyday life. We do have 2-3 "Organizations" and welcome people that want to join those that exist or start their own.

Q: Is there anything you would like our readers to know about your sim?
A: I want everyone to know that all people are welcome in our sim. Its a fun time period to role play in and even if you have no experience we have role play classes and can help you. We made the sim for people, not to make money or personal gain..its for fun :)
We try to have a scheduled RP twice a week

Q: What is you role in this sim?
A: Well really, I'm just a guy who was lucky enough to be in a posititon to save it. Other than that, I try to keep things organized and run it like a business. My role here is to RP like everyone else, I'm just a minor player. The sim was going through some problems because of personal issues and the old owners decided to leave, I caught them in time, so we saved it. I felt their vision needed to carry on, they were both true people of vision. There are challanges in sl, you have to do it because you love it. I'm in business in RL so i have a good background for it.
The tour given by Moorlord was fantastic! He really takes pride in his new sim. If you like to visit here are the links to the sim's blog and landmark to this amazing sim! Have fun role playing and enjoy every single corner!

To get to the Roaring 20's RP, go to the Rich Island sim at (210, 236, 312).

To check out the online newsletter of the RP, The Chicagoan: Click Here.

Lizzy Arriaga

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Some Veterans' Day/Rememberance Day Places in Second Life

At The Tangled Arbor (200, 160, 2000) was this memorial to Canadian veterans, which had a service at 11 AM SL time by Tigerkitti Eberdene.

On one wall was a link to some music:
The Canadian Afghanistan Memorial Garden at Lichtenberg (80, 25, 45)

Patriot Island is more than just a memorial, it has an active military community, the US Military Veterans' Center, with regular events: Patriot Island (165, 125, 28)

The Virtual Vietnam Veterans Memorial at The Wall (39, 32, 25).

One can read more about "The Wall" at it's website:
At the London area, near the welcome area was this memorial area at Knightbridge (95, 230, 21)
Clicking on the fighter plane over the memorial led to this website:

By all means, these were not the only memorial areas. Just those I was able to find today.

Bixyl Shuftan

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Winter Sports at Chamonix City

Now that the winter season is approaching, I set off to find some fun sims for you to visit. My first stop was Chamonix City. This is a sports sim named for the location of the first Winter Olympics held in Chamonix , France in 1924. The town in real-life remains a winter sport destination, and here you have your chance to visit in SL. It looks like the GOHA, the Global Online Hockey Association, has been in SL for a long time. This is my first introduction to it.

When I arrived at the Town center, my first visit was to the Hall of Fame. A history of GOHA is there for your viewing, and tributes to those that have made their mark in the League since they started in 2006. Plaques and trophies are displayed honoring the players and their teams on three floors. The town itself is delightful, with the Community Center, and shops filled with freebies. You can pick up hockey shirts, skates, hats and scarves for the winter and more. I stopped in at the church where I found several hockey players prostrate before the altar praying, “We will be strong and play as a team.”

Next I took a tour of the area landing first at the Pond Hockey where I read, “ Pond Hockey is a special tradition for the Global Online Hockey Association since 2006. Enjoy a laid back game with no walls, relaxed rules, and a beautiful setting tuned specifically for Hockey! “ The pond is open the public for practice any time a game is not in progress.”

I flew over to the Breakaway Rookie Training area where all the information you need to learn how to skate and play hockey is located. There is an automated training tools map . There are explicit directions and hints at all the locations on the map to help you become a hockey player if you are interested. I think I will skip it ! LOL. But I did try the tips on skating! Very Helpful.

I located the arena where the games are played. While I was there, some players were practicing for a game. Sure enough at 1:00 SL time, a game started between the Foxes and the Blades. Just like real life , play was fierce. There was a penalty right away! The entire schedule is at . I saw that games are also televised on Treet Tv on Sunday. Take a look at the website for more information and news.

I found a down hill sky jump that was closed at the time. I located the public skating pond where I found more skates for the taking. There is a couples and a solo skating animation for you to use. I tried the downhill skiing and sledding. I also found an Events Center for performances . You can find those on the Calendar as well.

There is also snow boarding and you will find boots and board . The building is not far from the arena and is on the main road. This sim is definitely worth a visit. Lots to see and do . Take a trip over to the sims starting here at the Community Center . Wear your woolies!!!

Gemma Cleanslate

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Explore It!

On Saturday, November 6th EXPLORE IT! launched at SBCC Explore It - La Playa, Sbcc Explore It (113, 46, 21). Explore It! is a site where Second Life residents can learn about career options in a variety of technical and service industries. The project is funded by a state grant from California, and is a project of Santa Barbara City College.

A lot of SL residents are working on the project, many of whom are combining this SL exhibit with their RL positions. The creative SL people behind Explore It! are: DB Bailey (David Denton in RL) - Architecture/Building, Keystone Bouchard (Jon Brouchard)- Building and model construction, Desdemona Enfield – Scripting, Douglas Story (Dennis Schaefer) - Writing, interactive gadget concepts, and voice-over, Hilda Diavlo (Nina Jensen) – website development, Zil Jewell (Liz Russotti) – Grant Director, LeaLea Llewellyn (Leana Bowman) Grant writer, Chrome Underwood- Cast avatar design, and Persia Bravin-Press and Promotion.

Although I’m happily employed here at SL Newser, I took advantage of a chance to get a sneak preview of the site a few days ago, and I liked what I saw. At the Welcome Station there’s an easy-to-read sim map. The site contains a multimedia studio, a hotel, an automotive showroom, a radio broadcasting platform, greenhouse, culinary arts building, and a Freebie store. The buildings are sleek and modern and surround a courtyard filled with lovely palm trees and fountains. In every station there are friendly greeters, too.

I didn’t have time to explore all of the options so I had to narrow my choices. Since I avoid all kitchens, virtual or real, I skipped the culinary arts. But I fancy myself a pretty good gardener so I put greenhouse on my list. I love traveling and staying at hotels so I decided to check out the options there, too.

At the greenhouse, the greeter told me to click on the teleporter to go to the sky box where I could learn about ways to earn some "green" from my greenthumb. A second later, I arrived at a location that had a nice variety of careers in this field. Each station has a set of slides that give a brief description of the job, the basic educational and skill requirements, and typical salary range. A "Day in the Life" video features RL people telling about what they actually do in their job. The stations I checked out had a couple of videos and links to get additional information. An interactive display is set up for each job, and some of them were a lot of fun.

The choices at the greenhouse were Nurseryman, Landscape Architect, and Agricultural Scientist. The interactive display at the Landscape Architect rezzed a plot of land when touched. Soon there was a stream running through the plot, a bulldozer creating dust bunnies, and trees growing on the hillside. Clearly I have what it takes to be a Landscape Architect!

Next I decided to check out the hotel. The Greeter invited me to go directly to their hotel career stations. I was immediately transported to a replica of the posh Double Tree Resort Lobby in Santa Barbara. There were 3 career choices here: Event Planner, Front Desk Clerk, and General Manager.

I like events, so I started there. The informational slides are set up the same as at the greenhouse, which makes it easy to compare careers. The salary for Event Planner wasn't as high as some of the landscape positions, but it sounded like a lot more fun. Travel to luxurious hotels and interesting places. Meet people from all over the world. This sounded a lot like SL to me. I may have found a new career!

Explore It! is a great way to use SL to educate, inform and entertain. The information was easy to find, up-to-date and accurate. The RL videos were especially useful. For anyone considering a new career, it’s a site worth visiting.

Grey Lupindo

Monday, November 8, 2010

Netera’s Coffee Lounge

I recently checked out a small coffeehouse in Second Life, a little corner of the grid in which people can go to chat, and every Saturday two people are invited by the owner for an interview in front of an audience. This place is Netera’s Coffee Lounge.

Netera Landar is the owner of the Coffee Lounge, “I’ve met so many talented people, its unbelievable. We’ve been doing this for months.” A writer, she had gotten in Second Life at a writers’ guild. She tries to get other writers as guests for her show, but does not always find them receptive, “we get a couple poets sometimes.” She then got the idea of allowing musicians to talk to their fans, about nine out of ten saying yes, “Two a week, back to back, they can share the audience.”

On the Saturday I dropped by, the guests were two David Csiszer and KatRose Serendipity. David sings live on the Grid, guitar and vocals. His entry into virtual worlds was through reading about them off a cereal box. He first checked out a place aimed at children, but looked for others, eventually finding Second Life. He appears at Nantucket, and gave a song for the audience, “I wish I was Superman, I wish I was Peter Pan ...” With someone showing up in a Batman avatar, the song seemed appropriate.

KatRose Serendipity described herself as a “veteran of the music scene” known for “sultry themes.” She had been touring for past ten years, but recently slowing down, appearing mostly in Second Life. She heard about SL through Yahoo chat, where her friends there encouraged her to get on. She was hesitant at first, eventually did, but found it so laggy she put it aside, telling her friends she needed a better computer. A few months later, she returned, a friend helping her set up in the Grid and soon did a performance. The friend also helped her with her appearance, before the help, “I looked like an 8 foot elf.”

The audience close to a dozen to a dozen and a half present. Netera explained “this was a medium-sized audience ... its been much bigger.” She told me she had up to 50 residents with some popular singers. Of the coffeehouse, she explained she put some effort into the the interior decorating “to bring life into the place.” Among the touches were some virtual snacks, such as coffee and donuts to help lighten the mood. The coffee vendor, snacks, and other drinks are to the right of the door going in. To the left is a small reading area, with a few books on the table. in the center is the seating area for the event audience, and in the back of the place is where Netera holds her interviews.

Netera told me long before Second Life, she had been a community leader on AOL for several years, holding a chat for writers. She had also written for a local paper in one of Chicago’s papers for about 20 years, currently the society editor. She had been scared of going on Second Life at first, going to message boards then IMVU looking for friends, her real-life friends always being busy.

Eventually a couple told her about Second Life. She downloaded the program one day, and learned things such as “how to stay dressed.” She had to figure things out on her own, eventually ending up at places like Book World and MilkWood. She spent more time at Book Island, talking to people, listening to Mystery and Native American Writers. It was here she came up with the idea for the coffeehouse.

Following the interviews and the majority of the audience leaving, Netera and I chatted a little about various places in Second Life, Philip Linden’s speech, and other subjects. We talked about the roleplay areas in Second Life, such as Versailles, the roleplayers, “they create their own worlds .... fantasy, historical, ... Western, Gor.” Someone in the audience who stuck around to chat was Janeel Kharg, whom was with Ankh-Morpork, a place in Second Life inspired by Terry Pratchett’s Discworld novels.

Netera's Coffee Lounge offers both interesting guests, and after the interviews are over some interesting people in the audience one can chat with. It is located in the Terric sim at (40, 140, 29).

Bixyl Shuftan

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Pictures of Nemo

Before the Nemo sim closed last Friday October 29th, I went there to get a few pictures while this magnificent build was still up. Here's some of what I took.

Thanks for your artistic work, Sextant Shepard.

Bixyl Shuftan