Friday, January 30, 2015

The Chamber

By Fritter Enzyme

The Chamber is one of the real treasures to find in Second Life.  It is wonderful to see, and give literature a place in a virtual world to live.  What a hallucinogenic thing reading is. You stare at paper for hours and you see worlds that don’t exist and beings you get to know firsthand.  At the Chamber you get notecards with the emphasis on poetry and short stories.  This includes works by residents in Second Life.

There are many great places to hang out and read.  Three levels, including the Green House, which the owner may have the teleporter shut off for sometimes. The other two levels house some beautiful magical places to read your short stories.  Different authors have bookshelves you click on to get a menu and pick your story.  The landing point is an "Alice in Wonderland" setting, complete with tea cup chandelier and toadstools to sit on.  Click the table to sit and change your chairs and animations.

Four reading rooms radiate off a creative central hub.  Going counter clockwise you will find one with a constant thunderstorm.  Umbrella holder is to your right as you enter.  Be sure to move close to the bookshelves, as the rain will be between you and them causing you not to get notecards.  Pick a card and have a seat in the boat.  Fifteen positions for singles.  Couples animations too.  The rooms are themed to the literature offered in them.  Even a creepy one for Edgar Allen Poe, Superstitions, Horror and Demonology.  Water does seem to be most everywhere.  Click on things to find what they do, many are scripted for you.

Leo Tolstoy’s works have a room all to themselves of urban decay, and a head on a pole.  Each of the lower rooms house only one writers works, save the ones done my Second Life residents.  There is a Mahjong game you can really play, so bring a friend to spend some great time with.  The furniture has many animations for couples or singles, and props for your avatar to use while you hang out and meet other book lovers.  It is quite a wonderfully made place to which photography is natural.  It is as magical as reading it self surely is.

Storm Septimus is its creator and owner.  You are welcome to all floors most of the time.  If you are homeless and join the group, this could be your home sweet home.  Join and set home here.  So read some poems and short stories, better yet, write your own works and bring them into the Chamber to submit them for others to see.  The tip jar is the white cat under the desk, remember to support the places you love in Second Life.  Someone is always paying for what you see and enjoy.  Every little bit adds up.

Fritter Enzyme

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Club Transation

By Wesley Regenbogen

About a month ago, Fin Silversmith & Hardrain Tigerpaw created a club called “Club Transation." This club plays Trance, Electro, Dance and Techno music and they have DJs that play in the club most of the day.
Sometimes they have an event, like for example Christmas or Valentine’s Day or another event in real life and they decorate the club accordingly. Hardrain Tigerpaw created the decorations in the club, and this person did quite a nice job, in fact. Fin Silversmith runs the club.
What makes this club special is that it’s located below a clothes shop, which offers male and female clothes for every occasion. It specializes in bridal clothing, but on demand, the tailor makes clothes for anyone. This is quite unique, because I haven’t found a club and a shop in one place. The Quest Qlub had shops and rental areas too, but not above or below each other. It's an interesting concept to see that both places are merged together, creating a unique place. Hardrain Tigerpaw owns and runs the shop.
The shop is nicely decorated and you can walk around and buy from within the shop, but they also have Second Life Marketplace site where you can buy clothing from too. So, this means that you can visit the club and when you are done partying, you can visit the shop and buy some new clothes, if you want to.
The club holds a photo contest where residents can win a L$ 2500 gift voucher and also L$ 500 for the best club photo of themselves and their friends.
The Club Transation group has 58 staff members and 57 VIPs at the moment of writing. They don’t have a website nor a Facebook page, but it’s “under construction” the owner told me. You can find the club through Second Life Search and their events are listed on the Linden Lab Events page and they have a group as well. But you can also just visit the club and ask the staff for more information about the club.
I hope you enjoy your stay in Club Transation and we can meet there sometime, another nice club that I can add to my list of clubs to visit, it’s a large list if you check my previous articles. Since it’s a new club which has been opened since begin of January, it deserves a visit.
You can find Club Transation at this location :

Wesley Regenbogen

Monday, January 19, 2015

Antiochia: A Sim and a Scholarship Trust

By Bixyl Shuftan

Earlier this month, the Antiochia sim officially opened. The sim is named after the ancient city of the same name, founded as a Greek colony, and thrived during Hellenistic, Roman, and Byzantine times despite being hit with earthquakes. There are a number of builds representing structures of the historic city around, which one can walk about and explore.

The sim is backed by the Antiochia Scholarships Trust, of which the staff of it's group there arranges events for students coming to Second Life through them.The landmark I was given led to the Porta Aurea, or "Golden Gate," of which a couple prim guards stood by. There were people nearby, so I headed over to the info center to the east. It was there I ran into the one who had invited me over, Alex Olteanu (alexolteanu.unplugged). His display name is the same as his real-life name. He welcomed me to the sim and offered to show me around. Alex explained that Antiochia was founded by Seleucus, one of Alexander's generals. It would become the capital of his empire, which was the easternmost and largest of the post-Alexander Hellenic kingdoms.

We headed back to the Porta Aurea. Looking around, I found a level that when pressed opened a door to a secret stairway leading down. In the room underneath, there were three maps on the wall, representing the Eastern Mediterranean and Middle East during the Alexander the Great's campaigns, the Hellenic kingdoms that followed, and the Roman Empire around the fourth century, split into Western and Eastern halves, of which Antiochia would be part of the Eastern, which would later become the Byzantine Empire (the name would be given to them by scholars as they continued to call themselves Romans). On another wall was a painting of the city, "That's how it looked at it's height." On a third wall was a door to a tomb.

Opening it led to a build of Alexander's Tomb, "reproduced exactly in accordance with the old historians accounts." The place was a mixture of Greek and Ancient Egyptian influences, with both hieroglyphics and Greek murals. Alexander's body was still in his Greek armor, "He declared himself to be the son of Ra, and was buried in Alexandria Egypt, but he remained Greek (laughter)."

Olteanu explained, "What we tried to do here, contrary to most other historical sims, is not to have a monoculture like Roma. I love Roma, but its not reality. Each place has layers of history, multiple waves, one after theo ther. So here, we have Phoenician ruins, a Greek port, a Roman center, and a Byzantine fortress wiith Arab influences. The time of this build is 600 AD, Justinian's time, just before the Arab conquests. So we have some Arabic mosaics, but no Islamic theme. Because there was no Islam yet (laughter)."

We then headed to the Byzantine fortress, the main part of the sim, "the bridge is an exact replica of the Alcantara bridge in Spain." Around the place are occasional white circles with the letter "i" surrounded by blue. Clicking them will get you a notecard with some information about an object it's on or near. Getting inside the citadel walls, Olteanu told me, "this is the heart of the sim, the Acropolis." He pointed to the cathedral. Unlike those made later in Western Europe, this was a structure topped with golden domes, "the Cathedral is a take on Hagia Sophia in Constantinople. ... The coupola is really special." Inside, the "Redemption Cathedral," as it was called in the notecard, was decorated with a number of early Christian murals. The notecard explained the cathedral "attempts to re-create the feel and atmosphere of the Haga Sophia Cathedral in Constantinople," only one of them having been done there. The rest were from various buildings in Ravenna, Rome, Sinai, Grad, and another church in Constantinople. It is listed as "the most surviving work of Byzantine architecture" there. It was finished in 537 AD.

Olteanu told me, "below we have a cistern than still exists today." He pressed a door-shaped mural, and a secret passage was revealed. It led to stairs that went down to where the fresh water was stored, "the water from the aqueduct comes here." Going back up, he made a turn in a different direction, "and here is a secret passage back to the entrance." Going through a false wall led to a secret door that led back outside. "The other major building is the Magnaura," Olteanu pointed to a domed brick-colored building next to a park area, "the political center. It is also from Constaniople. It no longer exists today, but this is what it would have looked like. This is where we meet and govern the sim. *chuckle* "

Nearby was the Antiochia School and Trust Square, which had a mosaic pattern floor, a display screen on the higher wall, and seats on the side opposite it. In the middle of the floor was a water fountain.  There, Olteanu asked, "Lets go sit and chat a bit so i can tell you why this (the sim) is here." So we sat down, and he explained, "So I am a lawyer and a Business Management teacher by profession. Two years ago, I spent a year in Erbil Iraq teaching, and met a huge diversity of students, ethnically and religious, especially a lot of Christians. They all were eager to learn English and study abroad, especially in Canada where I am from. When I returned to Vancouver, I set up the Antiochia Scholarships trust. I named it after Antochia because it was such a multicultural diverse and cultured city. AST helps students from the Greater Middle East to realize their dream to study at universities in Canada. We pair students with universities and donors so they can come to study.

"I had experienced Second Life before. I created Al Andalus in 2008 with Rose Springvale, and I knew the potential of the platform. So we are using Second Life and this sim to create a virtual community of students before they arrive, help them improve their English and leadership skills and get ready for Canada. So this is fully integrated into our real life project and provides a unique platform that other media cannot do in a historical environment, which makes it both fun and educational. We have other partner institutions with their own projects, like Kelmen College across the river. So we are not in the business of renting land, but finding the right partners to develop synergies to promote Education - Creativity Citizenship and Diversity. That's the short version of it." He then chuckled a bit.

I asked, "How much experience with computers do your students usually have?" Alex answered,

"Quite a bit," Olteanu answered, "We have IT majors for example. But it is a steep learning curve to join Second Life. So we are training a few students to be a welcoming committee,  to provide support for those who will join later, and make is as easy as possible."

"The place looks very interesting and detailed," I told him and asked, "How long did it take to design and build it?

"Two months," he answered, "The Main architect is Alexia Carnell. She owns the Time Machine Studio in Second Life and is specialist in antiquity. The landscaper is Butterfly Summers, and the Terraformer is Bagheera Kristan. We starred on Oct 22 and finished on Jan 4. (There are) still some details and content to do, but its essentially done."

"The two main ideas I'd like you to remember if possible.  1. We use Second Life as an integral part of a real-life project to help real-life students pursue their education from the Middle East in Canada.  2. We have here a multi-layered cultural landscape trying to represent the reality of cultural diversity and hybridization that exists in the Middle East from Phoenician ruins to Greek ports to Roman aqueducts to Byzantine cathedrals and Arabic baths and squares. And water is the theme that brings it all together from the sources in the mountains and rivers and cistern to the aqueduct and ports and sea. It gives it a unity and coherence across time and space."

I then asked, "Are recent events complicating getting the students over?"

"Yes and no," Olteanu responded, "Yes because there are careful checks. But Canada is welcoming students from abroad, including the Middle East. So its much easier than in other countries, and they are already admitted by universities. So they are clearly students qualified to study here. A lot are Christian, not just Muslim."

My next question was, "So they already have the attention of universities and colleges?"

"Yes, "he answered, "We are partnering up with a number of Canadian universities. You can find out more information on the website of the real-life Antiochia School and Trust." He then displayed it as . The website includes a page about it's location in Second Life. The main webpage has a youtube of Alex Olteanu speaking about his vision for his organization. In the recent past, Alex has also been a news announcer for Rompost, a Romanian language television show in Vancouver.

Antiochia officially opened on Sunday January 12. For over twelve hours from 10AM to after 10PM, there were various events, from singers such as Maximillion Kleene, speakers such as the noted Gwyneth Llewelyn, who talked about developing governmental participation in Second Life, and Alex Olteanu himself talked about his vision of helping Middle Eastern students. The SL Enquirer wrote about the event in an article (here).

There was more on the sim to explore. Later on I found a rideable horse that one could mount and go about on. I still have yet to visit the lighthouse, Posiden's Temple, the port and harbor, and a number of other places here.

Website: .

Location: Antiochia (136, 249, 31)

Bixyl Shuftan

Monday, January 5, 2015

More Winter Areas

By Gemma Cleanslate

I was headed over to take a final look at Noel region of the Calas regions yesterday, but was distracted and never got there! Too bad because all the Calas sims will be closed for the month of January for rebuilding. So I will miss that and all the skating and cross country skiing. But there is a good reason so will look forward to a February reopening.

In the meantime while checking out the skating areas, I have been doing some down hill skiing. I have visited a couple of places that I have not had time to get to in the very busy month of December. There are several I would recommend to you where you are able to pick up free skiis if you need them.

Lake Tahoe has a wonderful winter region with a small skating pond but a wonderful skiing area. You can buy skiing outfits, skiboards , or just use the free ones provided. Next to the comfy lodge there is a snow mobile rezzer that allows you to zoom around the area and up and down the hills, or, crash as I did. The ski lift takes you up to the top of the mountain and here you have a choice of sledding, snow tubing, snow boarding, or skiing down the slopes. Good luck on completing the slalom without missing any gates. If you join the group, there is a cute cabin up there can use. Or use the lodge where you can meet with friends.  It is a lovely area that is always open for visitors all year round in case you feel the need for snow and winter sights in July.
Another area that can be depended on for winter all the time is the Wengen ski lift area. If you look at the big map when you get there, you will see the nearby sim that are winter all the time. Across the road is the Linden Lodge infohub. This ski lift is one of the longest or highest I have see in Second Life. It takes you into several sims before dropping you at the top of the mountain. The view is lovely from here if you extend your draw line.  Free skis are available and you have choices of how to descend these very steep slopes, on a guided route, or on your own. Back near the other side of the Linden Lodge there is another ski lift that will route you through several other sims to another high alpine slope. I opted for sledding down this one. 
At the bottom I found myself at the wonderful, very large Lake Zermatt where I exchanged my skis for skates to roam around and then make my way back to the Linden Lodge where I found champagne waiting for me. There is a small frozen pond in front of the lodge too. Hold this landmark because when you feel like visiting a snowy area you will have it. This is one of the first areas I visited in Second Life almost 8 years ago. It is still here because it is all owned by the Linden department of Public Works and various parts.  You can also take one of the ONSR rail cars and explore the abutting roadways of the area. There is a map at the station between the chair lift and the lodge. Cars come and go at various times.  
Have a great time!!  Both Regions are spectacular skiing opportunities! Dress warmly.