Monday, December 31, 2012

Roadside Attractions: The Diners of Second Life, Part One


By DrFran Babcock

Why do we love diners? Well, it’s three o’clock in the morning and I want breakfast, my friend wants spaghetti, and my other friend wants a roast beef sandwich and French fries. There is only one place where we can all be satisfied, and that’s the diner. It seems that lot of people agree with me, and must love diners, because they abound in Second Life.

The original diners were old railroad dining cars with their wheels removed so they could stay in place and serve meals. The diners in Second Life come in all shapes and sizes, but they share some common themes. Most of the diners reviewed here stick to the tradition of being done in an Art Deco style. The color red dominates, and shares the bill with chrome, 1950s, rock and roll and roller-skating. Almost all of them have freebie food or gifts. They all embody the spirit of America, and in my biased view, the joys of living in New York or New Jersey where the best First Life diners can be found.

 Come with me on a grid wide tour of some of the diners of Second Life. Please let me know of any I have missed, because there must be a lot of them.

The Silver King Diner – This classic spot shows up first on a Second Life search for diners. I love the location on the very north of the Heterocera Atoll Continent. What’s great is that it’s bordered by roads where rezzing is allowed. You can pull out a ride and zip into the parking spot in front of this chrome and red deco building. Outside there are a few cars you can sit in, and inside, take a seat at the counter and point to a picture of food on the wall, and it will be delivered to you. If eating is not your thing, there are dance machines and dance pads (they may or may not be paying Lindens).  The music stream is old fifties rock and roll, that matches well with the old movie posters on the walls. This is a really nice place to come for a Second Life date, especially when you realize that you can get a free pair of roller skates outside, and roll off into the sunset with your sweetie.

The Silver King Diner is located at: http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Ranunculus/126/238/32 and was built by Bubba Biberman (Bubba B.)

The Starship Diner – I know the owner and creator of this diner. It is none other than Holocluck Henly whose skill as a DJ is well known in Second Life. He has a reputation for taking care to tailor his playlist to suit the theme and attendees at events at which he spins tunes. He also bears a striking resemblance to a well known British doctor. So, it is no surprise that the diner is a cool one. Of course, this being Second Life, there are some surprises. But, I won’t mention the chickens wandering around inside until later.

The Starship is built with Fifties sensibilities, and sports a huge sign outside that often lists upcoming events open to all. Once inside a vast, carpeted floor welcomes you to dance. The diner counter is chrome and sports the New York special—a souvlaki meat slab. And yes, chickens…Holo has always liked chickens, many folks still call him Clucky, so there are chickens wandering the inside of the diner. Go out the back door of the diner and you can pick up some freebies made by Holocluck himself.

The best time to come to The Starship Diner is when there’s a party. Stop by to see what’s upcoming on the big sign out front.

The Starship Diner is located at: http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Hydrangea/74/193/72 and is the work of Holocluck Henly.


Olivia's Creepy Diner – The next diner served up on our plate is a bit different from the first two offerings. Sure, there is the checked floor and old advertising signs, and art deco curved architecture, but that’s where the similarities end. The proprietor of this swanky spot, Olivia Scarmon lets you know in her profile picks that: The service sucks... Thats because I am usually on a smoke break. Feel free to make yourself a sandwich or something. Cold pizza is on the table if you prefer. Don’t step on my pet roaches.

I was lucky enough to run into the aforementioned Olivia when I teleported into the diner to make my report. She told me that she was a fan of horror, and this diner was her way to express this love. We spoke for a bit more, and then she promptly offered me an eyeball highball. Yum. The diner is a showplace, complete with dirty booths, spiders dropping from the ceiling, pet roaches in parade formation on the floor, and plenty of activities for hungry visitors.

Come to Olivia’s and you can engage in a horror trivia (with small Linden prizes), 7Seas fishing, dancing, eating (if you dare), and not least of all, drink in an environment that just might help with that New Years resolution to lose weight.

I highly recommend this place for its sense of humor, horror, and high level of things to do. I encountered residents at the place the few times I visited, and if I was not busy with reported for the venerated Newser, I might have stuck around and made some friends.

Olivia’s Creepy Diner is located at: http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Seokcheon/76/112/50  and is the work of Olivia Scarmon

Dear reader, join me next time as we continue our tour of the grid’s finest dining options, as we explore The Diners of Second Life.

DrFran Babcock

Friday, December 21, 2012

New Bastogne: WW2 in Second Life

By Grease Coakes
 
Second Life has endless ways to make use of a sim. You can have a rocking dance club, or others use a sim to hold prayers and build an ashram or church. Native Americans use a sim just to hang out at and express their culture and heritage. Another way to use a sim is for fun filled combat. Had a bad day at work? Blast your friend’s head off with a submachine gun, or even better use a bazooka.
 
Vickster Khun created a combat area in a sim owned by her, New Bastogne, which recreates a World War II environment based in France during German occupation in 1944. Nydia Tungsten and JessicaBelle Dayafter gave me a tour of the sim in a 1940’s armored car. When I first warped into the sim I saw a realistic room like a 1940’s office. Walking out, I was in an underground bunker. Jessica was a Lt. Colonel and Nydia was an under officer as a 1st Sergeant. Nydia played as her attaché being the driver while Jessica explained everything.
 
As I was in the back seat I saw destroyed buildings and old posters and cafes in giving the player or myself a historically accurate and terrible war like environment. The builders behind the sim did a great job in creating a realistic World War II recreation. In fact Nydia ran into an old style lamppost on purpose and it actually fell over and the same with chairs and table on an outside café.
 
 There are also sewers to go underground if you wanted to be sneaky and not be in direct combat. The goal of the sim, or rather the combat, was to capture flags and change them to your faction or nation. But of course as a combat sim you need firepower to overwhelm those nasty Germans, or you could be playing as the Germans trying to take control of Europe.
 
Nydia and JessicaBelle showed me where to pick up weaponry and a uniform so I’d be ready for battle. When I got the hang of it, I shot Nydia "killing" her by surprise. Sadly for me she came back and killed me several times going around the sim in fun filled combat. The combat scripts you put on only give you 25 hit points and allow you to put a flag above your head to show you’re an American or another allied nation. The low hit points add realism to the combat sim. Instead of taking 20 bullets before you die you can only take a shot or two before you die and respawn. To not be offensive the German sign is a red field with a cross, not the infamous Swastika used in Nazi propaganda.
 
A SMG isn’t for you? Well good news, there’s more. Unlike the first person shooter "Team Fortress 2" where you can pick a class to use certain weapons you stick with the basic rifle, however you can still use bazookas you just don’t start with full ammo like the solider in TF2. You have to pick up ammo crates to load your bazooka. That way not everyone is going around German occupied France with a bazooka you have to earn it by grabbing the ammo crates.
 
There are also vehicles to use as well to blast other players. You can grab a tank or even a fighter plane to blast away with. The tank gun made holes in the ground with a fiery after-effect and a sound effect of voices yelling German commands to fire. The plane itself was tricky to fly and I crashed into the sim next door. I had to laugh at myself in good fun.
 
JessicaBelle Dayafter wanted to show off the sim she likes roleplaying in and she wanted to vent some frustration at a group of people abusing the sim by bending the rules and not playing fair. Like Blizzard’s game "World of Warcraft," lots of players picked one side overwhelming the other faction. The game loses fun when this happens, in Jessica’s words. In fact when I brought up WoW she mentioned a lot of these unfair players may be also WoW players.
 
JessicaBelle Dayafter: “And all too often people would not use common sense of fairness. Like if you are fighting 3 enemies, coming over with 12 soldiers and 2 tanks is wayyy overkill, and totally unfair.”
 
Also people can become abusive getting too seriously involved in the sim. JessicaBelle Dayafter told me,  “Going back to the topic at hand of insults (sort of), another thing that drove many people off, is certain people take their RP waayy too serious, and bordering on being down right offensive/breaking rules of conduct set in place by LL.” 
 
As an officer, a Lt. Colonel, JessicaBelle tries giving orders, however her orders are often ignored by the other players. So by those upset by the cheating players she suggests going to LL to complain. Part of the problem is however is the managers and owner of the sim aren’t always sure what to do and her suggestions fall on deaf ears. I used the analogy of the NFL how when refs make bad calls against the home team you’ll hear boos resounding from the stands.
 
JessicaBelle Dayafter, "Some examples of shenanigans: spawn camping gathering large a large amount of troops, and waiting within line of sight or right outside the spawn areas, so anyone trying to re-enter battle gets massacred. A lot of it too was slinging insults to each other in combat, and not in a playful/meaningless way."
 
Sounds like some people want to ruin the game for others and bend the game to their will beyond reason and cheat. Which is sad when instead of enjoying the WW II sim in a fair way, they made the sim not fun anymore. This is just common sense or something you learn as a kid that other people do not like it if someone else cheats or plays a game whether a video game or a board game in an unfair way. Or if someone is winning by roll of the dice or just good shooting not to take offense and be a sore loser. That’s something to be reminded of in the holiday season when fairness and kindness show good holiday spirit. 
 
Check out the WW II sim when you get the chance readers of the Second Life Newser I had a fun time goofing off with Nydia and JessicaBelle.  That’s certainly part of the Christmas season just having fun.
 
Grease Coakes

Friday, December 14, 2012

Christmas Town


By DrFran Babcock

In my opinion, there are people in Second Life who get it. Laura Liberty is one of those residents who is able to use this virtual miracle to create environments that provide an immersive experience. Christmas Town is one of those places that is a must-see for anyone who wants the best that Second Life can offer.

 Christmas Town (http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Elizabeth%20Town/111/114/63 ) was created almost entirely by Laura Liberty, and it was designed to be an old-time Main Street with shops, parades, a castle, and so much more. The main street is a dreamy, idealized depiction of an innocent time that is lost in the First Life world of big-box stores and on-line shopping. The snow particles on this street are heavy and realistic. I felt underdressed in my skating outfit. However, I was dressed for skating, because that’s a big part of this glorious sim.

At the end of Main Street sits a huge, blue ice castle that is the site for an ice-skating ride that takes you through dreamy passages to scenes from beloved Christmas movies. Hop on a single or couple (if you are with someone) poseball, and you are transported effortlessly through the castle.  Sit back and enjoy the ride, because your avatar’s camera will be set to allow you to see the best of the scenes. It’s a Wonderful Life, Christmas Story, and National Lampoon’s Christmas are the source of the scenes, and the experience is sights and sounds and you—twirling and flying through the air as you skate past the scenes. I was completely entranced by this ride, because it just worked. The textures rezzed well, and there were fun surprises towards the end. I don’t want to spoil if for you, but if you ever wanted to be a star, this is the ride for you. At the end of the article I have provided a link to a very short video I made of the ice skating through Bedford Falls, because words are not enough in this case.

But wait, there’s more. Jump off the poseball and wander down Main Street to feed your need to shop. There are many little shops selling all kinds of holiday items, even things to get the jump on New Year decorating. The shadows and lighting have all been created to be cozy and warm..

At the other end of Main Street Santa awaits your marching pleasure. Jump on board his “float,” and you can high-step through the town. Santa actually speaks to you at times, so he’s either a well-scripted bot, or a real resident.

I could go on and on, but Christmas Town is really a place to see. I suggest you get there now, and skate, shop, march, and experience the best that Second Life has for us. Happy Holidays, and much love to you.

DrFran Babcock

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Winter Fun at Areo Pines and Wolf Mountain

 By Gemma Cleanslate

The Sixth Annual Winter Festival, which runs from December 1 through January 31, at Aero Pines is now open.  I am happy to tell you that the skating rink is busy and the winter decorations are all in place. This is a great region to visit and you can pick up some really nice free skating outfits or shop for some before you venture out on the ice. I kept mine from last year, but picked up a chinchilla coat to add to my collection.  http://slurl.com/secondlife/Equus/42/188/23  It is right next to the skating pond. 
 
Cindy Bolero has so many events prepared for the two months that you can find on the festival brochure you will get. While you skate, you can watch the Nutcracker Ballet on the super screen and join in on the pose balls. One of the free outfits is a white ballet dress with tutu.  It is delightful. Here you may also take a cross country ski tour on eight sims, take a ride in the sleigh, and more. All directions to help you are on the brochure. It is always such fun to visit these sims any time of year, but winter is special. Anyone is always welcome here. The whistling snowman will greet you.
 
 I guess I have a lot of favorite places to ski and skate. My next favorite I have been visiting for 5 years, not only in the winter. Wolf Mountain Ski Resort has everything you want or need for winter activities. Here you can pick up a guide to activities and landmarks to help you get around. The lodge is so inviting that you will want to spend some time in there where you can sit by the fire, or take a dip in the indoor pool. I love the trip up the mountain on the ski lift and then coming down on skis or sled. 
 
You will find free skies at the top, or rezz a sled for you and your friends.  http://slurl.com/secondlife/WolfMountainResort/54/44/33 . There are so many wonderful spots at both these recreation regions you can spend all winter visiting and finding new activities to try. I never tire of visiting either place. Enjoy. Look for more soon. 
 
Gemma Cleanslate

Friday, December 7, 2012

More Winter Fun at the Park Sims

By Gemma Cleanslate

Thanks to a landmark from a friend recommending a visit, I went to another spectacular region that is set for winter activities. Since it was new to me, I spent a long time exploring. There are actually 11  sims associated as the ‘Park Sims.’  At the time of this writing, four of the sims have  been turned into a winter wonderland. I ice skated through 4 sims on the ponds and rivers passing under covered bridges. As I glided along I saw farm lands with animals and buildings and large birds flew overhead. 
 
I stopped off at a “conservatory” style building that is serving meals. You have a great choice of breakfast, lunch , beverages depending on the time of day. If you see it be sure to go in for the full experience. All along the way I found sweet little places to stop and investigate or hang out. Since there are no rentals here, you may open any doors. I read that area is based on the early 20th century American coastal area and it is very true. I took a cross country ski tour and found a lovely stained glass church reminiscent of the the churches you see all around the villages of the New England States, even now, that date back to that era. You can enter the homes to see the furnishings that are also typical of that time. 
 
When you enter the sims you will find a set of rules to make your stay more enjoyable and tips for what to look for. The owners, Tymus Tenk and Truck Merideth  have brought these sims to SL just for the enjoyment of nature. I am amazed I have not found them before. They have also build an elaborate and elegant Christmas Pavilion at the Bay of Balfala where events will take place for the holiday season. It actually streches across the whole sim and is lovely! You can find that at
 http://slurl.com/secondlife/BAY%20OF%20BALFALAS/86/132/2601 Enjoy the events by joining the group for notices.
 
To begin the tour of the winter sims when  you land you will see pose balls for skating that will take you along the route with no effort. Pick up the notecards before you take off. I plan to take the tour again to see all that I passed by on my first tour and then venture into the other sims to take a look.   http://slurl.com/secondlife/Calas%20Galadhon/141/223/23
 
Gemma Cleanslate

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Christmas Around the World


by DrFran Babcock

What’s better than Christmas decorations, holiday traditions, food, and freebies? Probably, you can add to this list, but this pretty much covers it for me. All you need is a few good friends or a will to explore to go explore Christmas Around the World (http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Irish%20Tropical%20Escapes/11/168/26 ).  This is such a good idea, because Second Life is the place where you can learn about people all over the world, and cultural diversity is celebrated and encouraged.

The best part about Christmas Around the World is that it’s not just a place to learn about how 30 other countries celebrate Christmas. It is also a place to see some of the best animated figures in Second Life, photo opportunity spots for your holiday snapshots, a place to shop for holiday items, a place to go ice skating, and a place to find some great freebies.

However, the real purpose of the sim is to give the visitor an idea of the variety of holiday celebrations. The different continents or areas are housed in charming cottages that encircle the ice skating rink. If you go inside any of these you can collect notecards with detailed explanations of the customs of different areas, and a whole collection of recipes from all over the world. There are houses for Africa, Europe, the United States, Slovakia, South America, and more. Chanukah customs and recipes are in the United States cottage. In addition there is a Santa’s Workshop, and the home of the sim owners to explore. The quality of the animated bots alone makes a visit worthwhile. Every direction in which I turned I thought: Oooh, what a great picture this would make. You will have no trouble finding a great place for a pose, if you send out Second Life Holiday cards,

Christmas Around the World is the work of Brendan Macarthur and Raegis Arrowmint, who open their home to you for this occasion, and with the help from many other people.

So, how is Christmas celebrated in Ethiopia? According to some of the information on the notecard I received at the African Cottage, Christmas is celebrated on January 7th, and is called: Ye Ganna Bal (The Birth of Christ). Families go to church, play games, get practical gifts like clothing, and eat a stew called: Doro Wat and flatbreads. Another celebrations take place after this, on January 19th, called Timkat, which involves a procession, drums, and honoring of the baptism of Christ.  My summary here is only a small portion of the information on the notecard.  Each notecard ends with more notecards filled with recipes from different cultures. For example, the Slovak notecard has a recipe for Deep-Fried Carp. Maybe not one I would try, but interesting anyway.

Don’t miss this great build, and chance to learn and play. Come to Christmas Around the World and get multi-cultural.

Veselé Vianoce, or Merry Christmas in Slovak!

NOTE: The white dress I am wearing in the photo (left) is available FREE on the Marketplace: https://marketplace.secondlife.com/p/2012-GIFT-MOTHER-CHRISTMAS-2012-CHRISTMAS-GIFT/4206698 .

DrFran Babcock

Friday, November 30, 2012

Two Women of Edo Japan

By Grey Lupindo

Last week I time-traveled to historic Japan at Japan Chubu (57, 253, 23).   It is a perfect place to learn about Japanese history and have fun, too.    The sim is set in the Edo era, approximately 1600 to 1800 A.D., when shoguns and samurai flourished.     Japan Chubu is a role play sim, but residents who aren’t into RP can visit to simply relax in a beautiful, tranquil setting.   The area includes a Japanese castle, temple, village, and other structures, many of which are replicas of real-life Japanese architecture.  
 
      Upon arrival I found a box of free items, including traditional clothes for both men and women.   In order to keep the authentic feel of the sim, everyone is asked to dress in traditional outfits.  I quickly changed clothes and returned.
       At the landing point is the Edo Bridge.  Festive Japanese lanterns float in the river and made me feel calm and serene.   I decided to walk into the village and explore it first.  As in real-life, geisha houses (Okiya), rickshaws, and samurai can be found here.   There are sampans available, too, so that the sim can be explored by water. 
         In the village there are lots of walkways and alleys to explore.   Many of the shops were empty, but the sim is actively recruiting merchants who can offer items that will fit in with the time and history of this era. 
      I walked into what I thought was a traditional tea house and had a cup of Tao red tea.   Later I found that I had wandered into the in Shiraito-no-Taki Hanamachi Geisha district.   The group is named for a real life waterfall, White Treads Waterfalls, located near Mount Fuji in one of Japan’s national parks.
         There are two Geisha houses which both perform and teach classes relating to Japan.  The Otonashi Okiya is set in the Edo period, while the Otodome Okiya is located on a different sim and set in modern time.     Some of the classes offered are Japanese history, Kitsuke (kimonos), Hogaku (Japanese music), Shodō (calligraphy), Ikebana (flower arrangement), and many others.   One can also learn to be a Geisha, and information is available at the sim.
         As with many Japanese sites, much of the attention is focused on the Samurai.  At one point I received a notecard asking if I was interested in joining the Keibatsu Samurai Clan.   According to their notecard, the Keibatsu Samurai practice Bushidō, "Way of the Warrior".    Although Samurai are interesting, they are only part of the culture of the era.   During my visits I met two women who are representative different classes that existed within Edo Japan.  
       I met 真由美 (mayumi.juriya), who is a maid in a Samurai’s house.    Mayumi was very polite and bowed humbly when we met.    I was very interested in her life, and she graciously answered my questions.  She described the Samurai that she works for as “a kind, honorable man” who has “high standards”.   She said the work was hard, but she has a place to live and is grateful for that.  I asked her whether she planned to stay as a maid or move into a different position.   真由美 (mayumi.juriya) said, “Well, I'm not sure at the moment. Of course, I'd like to be independent someday.   Maybe work in a shop or a tea house.  Have my own machiya.”     A machiya, I learned, is a traditional townhouse.  Unfortunately  we were interrupted by another visitor before I could ask her any more questions.          
        The other woman I met was Misaki  (princesschaos.xenno).  Misaki is the head Oiran at Yukaku Utsukushi Hana.    Unlike the shy maid, Misaki was very outgoing.  She wears beautiful gowns, her hair and make-up look perfect, and she lives and works in a beautiful home, located at Yukaku Utsukushi Hana, Aosagi (96, 77, 22).    We met in one of the shops.  Although she doesn’t live at Chubu Japan, she visits it often.   
       Misaki invited me to her home where we could talk.   Her lands are public, and she invites residents to visit and enjoy her garden and surroundings.     She graciously invited me to have tea or sake, but since I was working, I politely refused.   Below are some of the highlights of our discussion.   
 Misaki  (princesschaos.xenno):   Welcome to Yukaku Utsukushi Hana.
Grey Lupindo:   This is lovely.
Misaki  (princesschaos.xenno):   Arigatou/ Thank you
Misaki  (princesschaos.xenno):   Please take off shoes if you have any on.
Grey Lupindo:   I have sandals that I got at Edo.  Should those come off?
Misaki  (princesschaos.xenno):   Hai/Yes.  Yes, if you can.
Grey Lupindo:   Can you tell me a little about what you do here in SL? How you got involved?
Misaki  (princesschaos.xenno): Hai/yes.   Well, here in SL, I am the head Oiran at Yukaku Utsukushi Hana.  As head Oiran I go out and tell people about my Yukaku.   I also try to find girls who would like to train here, and I entertain patrons. 
Grey Lupindo:   How is this connected to Edo?
 Misaki  (princesschaos.xenno):    Oiran are from the Edo period and were around way before geisha even existed.   People would come from far and wide to get pleasured by an Oiran and to see their arts, such as playing music and doing traditional  Japanese dancing.  ... Oiran were trained in how to dance, talk, and play Japanese instruments.  They wore the finest clothing from the time.   Oiran lived in big, beautifully designed houses called Yukaku.
Grey Lupindo:   Ah, like this one.
Misaki  (princesschaos.xenno):   The Yukaku were inside of places called Pleasure Quarters.   The Oiran could not leave these places unless brought out by a client.    Because this is SL, we do not make you stay here 24/7.
Grey Lupindo: That's good. (smile)
Misaki  (princesschaos.xenno):   Geisha lived in houses called Okiya.   They were allowed to leave and come back to live.  The Okiya also were not in places of pleasure.
Grey Lupindo: Were they both during the same time period?
Misaki  (princesschaos.xenno):  No and Yes.   When Geisha first emerged, the main thing that they did was perform for the Oiran's clients.   But... (later)... the Oiran learned the arts as well.
Grey Lupindo:   Oh, I see.    Do you have clients here in SL?
Misaki  (princesschaos.xenno):   Hai/yes.   Yes, but they are called patrons.
 Grey Lupindo:   Do Oiran have only one patron or more than that?
Misaki  (princesschaos.xenno):   Well, patrons are just people who come to the yukaku for services or they come for events and to support the yukaku.  So I have something like 30 patrons, I think.
Grey Lupindo:  It sounds like you are very popular.  (smile)
Misaki  (princesschaos.xenno):  This Yukaku has 27 patrons.
Grey Lupindo: How many Oiran live here?
Misaki  (princesschaos.xenno):  Right now I am the only Oiran, and I have 1 kamuro named Chieko Chan.
Grey Lupindo:  What does kamuro mean?
Misaki  (princesschaos.xenno):   Kamuro are child attendants here at the Yukaku.    They learn the arts and other things that they need to know. 
Grey Lupindo:   I see. Do you play musical instruments here or sing? You mentioned the arts.
 Misaki  (princesschaos.xenno):   I play musical instruments and talk to patrons.  I pour them sake and tea.   I dance for them, and if they want sexual services I do that as well.
Grey Lupindo: How long have you been an Oiran here in SL?
 Misaki  (princesschaos.xenno):   A  couple of months.   I trained at 2 Yukaku before I opened my own.   
Grey Lupindo: What do you like best about being an Oiran?
 Misaki  (princesschaos.xenno):   Hmmm.  That is a hard question.   I would have to say entertaining patrons and, of course, the fashions.
Grey Lupindo: Can you tell me a little about your beautiful outfit?
Misaki  (princesschaos.xenno):  Hai/yes.   My hair style is the traditional Japanese hairstyle called Yokohyogo.   Yokohyogo is mainly only worn by oiran.  My skin is the Ukiyo Nightingale Oiran skin.
Grey Lupindo: Very nice.
 Misaki  (princesschaos.xenno):   My kimono is from a dear friend.   She owns a store called Sugary Burikko.   The kimono is called Oiran Shirotsuki kimono.
Grey Lupindo: It is lovely.
Misaki  (princesschaos.xenno):   The shoes I always wear are called Koma geta or Taka geta.  They are 5 inches high.   Geta are worn by oiran and never worn with tabi.  Oiran do not wear tabi.
       At this point I looked to see if the socks I had received at Edo were Tabi, the traditional Japanese socks that are ankle-high, with a separation between the big toe and other toes.   Tabi are worn by both men and women, but I’m not sure they fit foxettes.  I couldn’t see my toes, but I nevertheless tucked them further under my kimono.     
       While I was checking my clothing, Misaki was looking in her inventory.
 Misaki  (princesschaos.xenno):   I gave you a picture of a RL Oiran.
Grey Lupindo: Thank you.   Reminds me of Shogun.
Misaki  (princesschaos.xenno): Hai/yes.  You’re welcome.
Grey Lupindo: Do you go to Edo a lot?
Misaki  (princesschaos.xenno):  Yes, I do go to Hosai Mura a lot.   I like it there, and the people are very nice.
Grey Lupindo:   Are you part of the RP there?
Misaki  (princesschaos.xenno):   No, I am not part of RP there.
Grey Lupindo:   Would you train other Oiran?
Misaki  (princesschaos.xenno):   Hai/yes.  I do now.  I have a kamuro.    The ranks go kamuro, shinzo, oiran.
Grey Lupindo:   How long will it take your kamuro to move to shinzo?
Misaki  (princesschaos.xenno):   It is all about the girls.   The sooner they train and catch on and learn, the sooner they move up.
Grey Lupindo:   Does she live here?
Misaki  (princesschaos.xenno):   Well, she comes here to train so she kind of lives here.   I am not here a lot myself.
Grey Lupindo: Have you ever had any problem with a patron getting mean or abusive?
Misaki  (princesschaos.xenno):   No, not patrons.  But I have had issues with people calling me a whore, telling me oiran means whore.   But Oiran-- the word itself means first flower.   And this is SL so I do not know where people get these things from.
Grey Lupindo: Yes, most people are nice, but there are a few...
Misaki  (princesschaos.xenno):  Hai/yes.
         Unfortunately I soon had to leave SL and the historic Edo period.    I found both Misaki and Mayumi to be interesting women who represent different lifestyles within historic Japanese culture.        

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Off the Beaten Track – Two Places to Go to Talk or Meditate


By DrFran Babcock

We all know that being in Second Life is like pouring "Miracle-Gro" ® on your emotions. Things can get intense very quickly. Where do you go when you need to be alone, or to talk it out with someone?

I am going to share two less known places with you. Everyone knows the top romance spots, such as those listed in the Destination Guide (http://secondlife.com/destinations/). There are 59 listings in the Romantic Places section, and if you go to most of them, you will not be alone. If you want an environment that supports dialogue or solitude, come with me. My bias for original mainland will be apparent in this article, but I write so that I can share my bias.

Solitude Bluff (http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Kama/88/96/39 ) – an ideal place for two to talk.

One of my oldest friends in Second Life introduced me to Solitude Bluff in 2007. This is not a place with the bells and whistles most of us expect in a virtual world. Instead, you will find two deck chairs, a deck, views of the water in front and in back (it is a bluff), and remarkably not a sculpt or mesh in sight. A few Library plants dot the horizon. This is not a very promising set-up until you need to use it. If you have to have a heart-to-heart, or you want to sit with a friend and console him or her, this is the place to go. Take a deck chair, have your companion take the other, and let the conversation begin. Slowly, subtly, as the sun rises or sets, and you begin to notice the sound of the waves crashing on the shore and the birds chirping, your heartbeat will slow. You will be free to concentrate on typing or talking, and your problems will start to be sorted out.

Solitude Bluff is the work of Lazarus Marat, a resident who joined SL on October 8th, 2005. I have never seen him around in world, nor have I ever gone to Solitude Bluff and found that there were others about. It is where I go when I need to think, to talk to a friend, or just to let the sound of the waves calm me down. Check it out when you need a place where the words you are saying are more important than anything else.

The Caves on Ethereal Teal (http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Teal/106/249/21 )

The Second Life color sims came online in 2003, on the original continent of Sansara. Over the past nine years, they have experienced a lot of change. The sim of Teal was originally the site of a large amphitheater where Philip Linden would hold crash-inducing Town Hall meetings that were starting to be phased out when I was rezzed. A resident who has been around since 2004 now administers most of Teal: Jopsy Pendragon. Jopsy oversees the famous Particle Laboratory, and breathtaking Cloud Chateau—a stunning demonstration of what the particle system can do.

In my opinion, the best part about Jopsy is his continued enthusiasm for Second Life demonstrated by his response to my query about the caves on Teal: “…I keep thinking of all the things I still want to do with them.”


I use the caves when I have deep thinking to do. Generally, I go to a portion of the huge caverns from which I can see the waterfall, and sit along the edge of the underground stream. The caves are quite extensive, with lots of glowing crystal-like surprises, and hidden nooks. Of course, exploring with a companion is a great idea as well, but I love the dark and comforting feeling of the caves, the knowledge that I am sitting in the earliest parts of Second Life, and the safety that comes with my belief that they will be around for the years to come.

I realize that there are at least hundreds of thousands of hidden-away spots in Second Life, but I have shared with you two that I know and use. The SL Newser is always interested in your input. If you know of a hidden place (especially on the Mainland) that deserves a mention, please contact me: DrFran Babcock.

Happy exploring, and may you find peace of mind. Visit the Cloud Chateau: A demonstration of the things that particles can do: (http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Hina/25/37/748) .

DrFran Babcock

Monday, November 26, 2012

Palestinian Propaganda Sim

By Bixyl Shuftan


 This month, events took a turn for the worst in the Middle East when rockets were launched from the Gaza Strip into Israel. Israel soon responded with air strikes, taking out military targets and a noted leader of the Hamas terrorist organization that effectively rules Gaza, while relying on the "Iron Dome" missile defense system to take out rockets headed to population centers. Eventually, a cease-fired was declared, with Hamas declaring victory despite Gaza taking most of the damage and casualties.
 
As it turns out, there's a sim in Second Life built to support the cause of militant Palestinians. Jordan River, named for the water that flows next to Israel, hosts a mosque, and a number of Palestinian flags and propaganda exhibits. Among the first things I saw after I ported in was over the wall was a prim fist in the air, black, white, green, and red, with wire around it and with the words "Third Palestinian Intifada." Much of the language was in Arabic script, but there was no shortage of English.

 The exhibitions offered a near-constant berating of the Israelis, or the "Zionists" as they called them. There were pictures showing scenes of Palestinians protesting, and some exhibits accusing the Israelis of brutality, calling them gangsters and terrorists, and one openly comparing them to Nazis. One exhibit showed and Israeli solder captive in a cage (Gilad Shalit), next to another showing various Western personalities making anti-Israeli statements, including White House Press Corp reporter Helen Thomas who was once caught on film saying that the Israelis should "get the hell out of Palestine and go back to Germany, Poland,"Another showed several bodies shrouded in Palestinian flags. One exhibit appeared to be of the first Gaza comflict, in which case the Israelis quickly responded to rocket attacks by sending in ground troops. The goal listed by the place was shown on maps: the end of the Israeli state by 2025.

Jordan River is not a new sim. "New World Notes" and "In a Strange Land" wrote on the place in July 2010. In the later, writer Iggy O had a few words with one of the men behind the sim, Lord Ansar. Ansar defended his actions, "I like Mojaideen, I support them even with my look." He stated then "if Lindens ask me to remove a specific thing, I will do." Hamlet called it a sim with "most extreme forms of expression."

Next to Jordan River is another Arabic sim, but this one didn't seem to have any propaganda on it. What it did have was a few games, a dance floor, and a number of pet breedable fennecs.

Bixyl Shuftan

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Thanksgiving at Areo Pines Park

By Bixyl Shuftan

Areo Pines Park and Recreation Area has been holding special events every month this fall. September had a somber event, a Stairclimb tribute to the New York firefighters of Sept. 11th. For October, it was Halloween, with a number of spooky happenings across the several sims. And this November, it's Thanksgiving's turn, with the Areo Pines Sixth Annual Thanksgiving Pow Wow.

"All Nations and Tribes Welcome!" proclaimed a notecard passed around before the event, "Suggested Attire: Colonial, Pilgrim, Native American, North American Wildlife Avatar, etc. Turkeys and other fowl attend at their own risk! Warning:   This party has been too much fun in the past, so please celebrate and party responsibly!"

The Pow Wow began with a big party on Friday November 16th. Arriving on the scene, most everyone was dressed up either in Indian or Pilgrim outfits, and dancing around a large bonfire. People were having a good time, cracking "paleface" jokes, with the DJ in a chief's headdress. All around, a number of teepees and Indian lodges had been set up. There were also vendors nearby where one could get an Indian or Pilgrim outfit. And of course a table set up with a huge Thanksgiving feast for anyone seated.

Besides the dancing around, there were birchbark canoes at the riverbank. One could board one and take it around the rivers of the park. The part itself has been given an autumn look, with trees leaves having yellowed and reddened, patches of grass and stretches of trails covered with the leaves, and of course the sign of the leaves fluttering down to the ground. The natural scenery was quite beautiful.

For covering the trails, one could do it on foot, or on horseback. Not too far away was a horse rezzer. By mounting it, one received a HUD and a horse. To ride, one detaches one's AO, then wears (or adds) the HUD and steed. After pressing the synchronize button, you're ready to trot. But if you already have your own mount, such as an Amaretto, that's fine too.

The Pow Wow itself is scheduled to go on until the 25th, with Areo Pine's Annual Turkey Shoot sometime during the event. Cindy Bolero, the park's director, told me that it would be a good idea for people to come by and enjoy the autumn colors while they can. After the Pow Wow, a cold front's scheduled to arrive, and bringing snow just in time for the Christmas season.


Equus (18, 241, 22)

Bixyl Shuftan

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Racers Island Raceways

By Grease Coakes

Chances are you may have seen one of the Fast and Furious movies starring Vin Diesel with those sports cars going hundreds of miles per hour in those breath taking races and car chase scenes. Well in Second Life you may not be able to physically touch one of those epic sports cars. However you can come close by checking out Racers Island and drive around one of their 15 raceways. When I bought my retro car from the Bay City car show, I found Racers Island through a Second Life search under raceways.  One of the first things they struck me when I teleported to the sim for the first time was the radio stream was a drum and bass station always playing drum and bass. It certainly pumps your blood to get your mind and body in a racing mood. The website bassdrive.com plays a variety of all genres of drum and bass from jazz to scary.

15 raceways? That’s a lot! Eddie Mathieson the creator and owner of Racers Island might agree with you. But his passion for cars and racing inspired him to over time buy and rent a sim totally dedicated to racing. Not just for stock cars, but motorcycles and even a human race too! The 15 raceways are skyline, Sunset short and long, Stock car Oval, Nitro, Streamline, Oasis, Garage, Timberline, a demolition Derby area. The other tracks are Yuni wacky world which looks a lot like a Mario kart raceway. Yuni Battle Royal, Sunrise, and my favorite track the Tokyo Drift. Each of the racing tracks are built very well and crafted after real life racing tracks.
 
Eddie who has experience in real life with 3d graphics on computers came to Second Life and created Racers Island in the spring of 2007 a little before my newbie self was born in SL. His Racers Island has been around a long time. Over time he has developed new cars and new raceways. As part of the raceways, he has professional stock car races on his sim. Anyone can enter so long as they have the right stock car costing 1,500L. There’s also a demolition derby if you want to destroy instead of drive around. The scripted junk car is all of a mere 100L. The demolition derby is held 6pm SL every Saturday and hosted by Racers Island’s manager Nella Boccara.  There’s a pot where everyone who wants to participate chips in 20L. Then as she announces over voice chat 3…2…1! Smash 'em Bash 'em! Do as she exclaims and destroy the other cars by driving and ramming the other cars.
 
Thinking like a fox I thought it would be best to avoid damage if possible and let the other cars kill each other. This backfired against me however. When I don’t take damage or hit another car in a set period of time, my car will overheat and then I take double damage when I get hit. I then realized it’s better to seek and destroy and quickly as possible instead. Racers Island added that script to the demolition derby cars after realizing someone was always winning by avoiding damage.  I played 10 or more times and won twice winning the pot. Being competitive I grumbled when I lost but I still had good natured fun playing over and over again. It was fun to see my fox avatar jump out from a wrecked car. At and towards the end of each demo derby car parts were strewn all over the area. They slowed down your car getting in your way adding realism to the mayhem. 
 
When I talked to Eddie himself he said that Nella was his favorite manager. Using the TV show “Star Trek the Next Generation” I said Nella was Commander Riker and Eddie was Captain Picard. In fact Nella was voted “Best Race Manager of the Year: Nella Boccarra” as posted on the Racers Island website. Eddie laughed and agreed that I said a good analogy to the management relationship between himself and Nella.
 
I asked what stood out about the stock created for their races. David Wetherby named Rookie of the year suggested I try out one of the demo stock cars. I found one on the sunset track. The Maximum speed was higher and the demo stock car was much easier to control. Instead of crashing into the walls I was making smooth turns. The car I purchased is an excellent car make no mistake. But the stock car demo I tried out is much better suited for a professional race.
 
One of the things Eddie mentioned was that his racing sim was welcoming to lady drivers. He didn’t point a finger at any racing sim in particular, but he mentioned other racing Sims didn’t give lady drivers a warm welcome. In fact he mentioned a lot of the people who hang out at Racers Island were women.
 
On Monday evening I was invited to come practice with David Wetherby and Wildrose Bijuox. David was very skilled indeed as Eddie said next year he might be champ. Using the demo car David was way ahead of me and same with Wildrose as they were veteran drivers. I got a good feel of what a race would be like. It seemed like a real life race like you would see on TV or live at a race track.
 
It’s always fun to experience something new in Second Life land. The Racers Island raceway that I stumbled on a couple months ago was certainly a fun place. It’s filled with lively people and great tracks just let loose and drive around. One thing about this sim is that it costs zero gas. Anytime I bump into a wall by accident I don’t risk a life threatening injury. Just using the demo car or any vehicle you may have bought from their mall or elsewhere I highly recommend cruising around on one their raceways.
 
If you want a new place to explore and experience check out Racers Island Raceways. Who knows you could become the new champ or rookie of the year.
 
Racers Island Raceways is located at Racers Island (24, 41, 811). There's also a Racers Island Raceway blog at http://racers-island-raceway.blogspot.ca/
 
Grease Coakes

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Burn2 Thoughts and Pictures

By Gemma Cleanslate


 Well it is over.

 The builds were great.


 The performers and parties were terrific.

 The builds will remain until 11:59 the 8th of November so you can still visit. 

 Some parcels will be hosting parties also.


Gemma Cleanslate 

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Virtual Museum of Architecture Closing It's Sim

 By Grey Lupindo

On October 31, 2012 the Virtual Museum of Architecture plans to close its sim, located at Purdue University (69, 55, 35).   The VMA will still remain in Second Life, however.  Djinn Dasmijn, Co-Director  of the Museum, said the group plans to focus on the educational aspects of architecture through lectures and Build-offs.   
 
     The VMA celebrated its achievements and allowed its friends and supporters a final party on Saturday, October 27.   Bluemonk Rau served as DJ.   The plaza area was decorated for Halloween, with ghosts, spider webs and a revolving pumpkin dance floor.   Most partiers came in costume, and many participated in the best costume contest.   A lot of residents attended, including my former neighbors and friends, Erin Fensen and Asana Trudeau.   Asana had initially worked with the Frank Lloyd Wright Virtual Museum.     
      Like many organizations in Second Life, the VMA has been struggling with the high cost of maintaining a sim.   The reorganization will allow it to continue with its prime objective of education.   Rosalie Oldrich, who is the other Co-Director, stated that Builder’s Brewery is providing space for the lecture series that will accompany future Build-Offs.   
      During the party, Djinn Dasmijn and Katsii Tennan invited supporters to take a final tour of the sim. The next day I decided to do that.  I went back to the Museum to take a closer look at the offices and snap a few photos.   The offices are in a three floor structure that is a model for what real-life offices should be.  There are skylights and large windows to let in light, fountains to provide soothing water sounds, and even a small urban garden.    The interiors were modern, yet warm and inviting.    
      While I was there I ran into Sandi Glas, who has been a long-time supporter and builder.   She had also been associated with the Frank Lloyd Wright Virtual Museum.   Sandi has participated with the VMA since its beginning.  She told me she competed in their first Build-off and has continued to compete in all of them except the “green” build-off.   But she jokingly said that everything she builds has a 0 carbon footprint.
        The next Build-off is scheduled for March 1, 2013.   Djinn Dasmijn will be announcing the theme soon.

Grey Lupindo

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Pets Sanctuary


I recently was contacted by Restless Roizman. For those who remember SL Newser's predecessor paper SL Newspaper, Restless had worked with them very early on (link). More recently, he's been running a place called Pets Sanctuary.

The Pets Sanctuary is at the southeast corner of the Atlantis World sim, a storefront shopping mall of pet shops, with many of the critters you can get in the stores free and moving about. "More like a menagerie here than a pet shop," Restless joked. Looking around, there were rabbits, prairie dogs, even pet rocks that were rolling around. "They talk to you to," Restless told me, then directed my attention to one prairie dog, "I am a Prairie Dog, not a Prairie Cat."

When asked how he got started, Restless answered, "Originally it was just Precious dragons. Then we expanded with other pets. The dragons decreased to one small shop, and the running bunnies and rocks and other things expanded." Restless says new pets come in frequently, "There are new pets all the time. We try to keep a stock of older ones too. People search everywhere for turtle food or bat food." He showed me a store which had vendors for both breakable bats and spiders, as well as food and related items, "all the supplies. We try to stock most (of the items for the pets we sell). if we don't have it, we will try to find vendors."

He then rezzed a dragon, "That's a Bregon. We have loads of eggs.  If it isn't out, it's in my inventory." He mentioned the creator of the Precious dragons had been keeping track of sales, and told him he had over 1500 eggs of his dragons alone. Restless had most of the dragons in his own inventory while his partner Sudidi Surya had others, "she owns the rabbits, and has several other pets." She had about 27, "not including ducks and Poneexz." He then drew my attention to one shop with greenery, "And then there's the plantpets." Being plants, they don't move, But they do grow, "and produce seeds. They do need to be watered. If the water level is kept above 20% and below 90% they will produce a seed every 51 days"

Restless' favorite pets were those from Ranio Tenk, "They're the funniest we have seen, so we leave them out. Most say 'I'm hungry' or 'I want a cuddle' or 'I'm starving.'  These say stuff like …" He directed my attention to one of the prairie dogs, "A french fry walks into the bar and says to the bartender 'Hey, could I get a beer please?' The bartener looks at him shaking his head and says 'No, we don't serve food here'." After a few chuckles, Restless added they only needed food if you wanted to breed them.

Another pet Restless liked were the Zwickies, "They're apparently aliens. They fly, and have a great light show when they breed. … We seem to have the most niche pets here." They had a few horses in their inventory, but none running about. Some shops he and his partner own. Others are rented out to others. If a renter is selling a pet Restless or Sudidi have, it's their policy to remove it from their own stores.

As for what's selling the best right now? Restless told me on this one particular day, plantpets sold more than anything else. But over the past week the big sellers were breedable spiders and vampire bats. He reasoned people were getting them because of Halloween. "One thing I never had was meeroos," he told me, though explained one could get them in a friend's sim.


The remaining three quarters of the sim is a mix of private homes and public spots, "The rest of the sim is rented out to all sorts. (It) is a mixed commercial (and) residential." A little space is for some garden pergolas  and trees he makes. A group has meetings there, the "Respect Yourself" group. There's also a club, SpiritValley Studios owned by Timber Wolfenhaut. The club at one time resided in the Sunweaver Estates before it temporarily closed it's doors. The club is a couple thousand meters in the air, but it has a smaller building on a ground with a teleport that takes you up to the club.  There's also a number of private residencies on the sim. Most are considered private property.

Restless Roizman manages a number of other sims. But Pet Sanctuary is his own.

The Pets Sanctuary is at Atlantis World (215, 28, 22)

Bixyl Shuftan