Sunday, October 31, 2010

The Terror of Mulberry Horror

Near Halloween, I was invited to tour the Mulberry Horror sim by its owner Lou Mannock, who is also a live Musician on Second Life and real life singer/musician Louie Mann. I've been to a few of his shows and became a fast fan due to his passion filled, smooth rock voice but Louie has other passions and one of them is horror. Second Life gave him the opportunity in creating his version of the Mulberry Horror theme park , which host the Mulberry Orphanage, School, Church and Hospital.

"The town is cursed and so are its inhabitants as you are taken through a series of bloodcurdling horrific sites that are so terrifying you'll wish you'd brought a barf bag. Forget the usual "Boo!" kiddy stuff. As you desperately make your way through the dark, you'll have that sickening feeling that the child murderers, torturers and demons really are after you. You'll face your darkest nightmares. One question remains... will you make it out alive?"

Mulberry screams Horror with a capital H. It took me three tries to actually get through and experience all if has to offer due to my aversion to anything horror but Lou intrigued me into exploring this Halloween treat.

I made sure I read all about Mulberry Horror off its web site before I took my tour. I may fear horror and it's not my thing but I felt this was a challenge I had to get through. I attempted the experience a few times but twice chickened out after seeing blood on the walls of the cabin I entered. I then asked a friend if I could borrow his big, strong male alt so-as to convince myself I could handle anything thrown at me. So on my third attempt, I was a huge male avi that had no fears (a lil RP helped). Make sure you activate sounds before you enter.

I teleported into a narrow wood cabin, the first thing to rez were blood dripping words that said "Abandon all hope ye who enter here ". On my first two attempts, this is what made me leave. There were also roaches crawling on the floor that I tried to avoid but the cabin was so small, it made it almost impossible. Convinced, I was strong in my male avi body, I stood my ground, then noticed there were crates barrels strewn about, taking up much of the small space, adding to my anxiety. Keeping calm, I saw a blue poster on the wall that if clicked offered a note card of information on Mulberry. Figuring, the more informed I am the less fearful I will be, I grabbed a note card.

Laid out on the table are tools for your protection or are they?. I looked for an exit and finally found it at the end, opposite of what appears to be a ghost watching me. I walked, well almost ran through door into a back alley (took time to rez) lined with chain link fences. Trash was strewn everywhere and it was raining. (I panned my camera around in mouse look every few minutes to get the full scene) To one side was a dense dead forest and behind an old abandoned house and to my left was what looked like a ghost town with a billboard welcoming me to Mulberry.

As I continued on, I had to walk around a natural gas tank which was in the middle of the alley-way. And just when I thought it was safe, I stumbled upon the blood, then the body of a man cut in half, spread all over the road. Staring at it intensely, I didn't notice the zombie until his third bite snapped me out of it. Thank goodness for my strong male avatar because I fought that zombie till he ran away in the forest beyond the tall grass (a lil RP here) .

I ran past the burning car because now more zombies are after me. I scream, "Omg! there are at least fifty of them". At the end there are so many chain links fences, I have no idea where to go, so I tried to fly and well, there is no flying here, so I was trapped but at least I lost the zombies. I looked around and saw what looks like an old school gym and more chain link fence but some parts of broken, so I hurried towards them. Oh no!, others are trying to climb too but we are all trapped!!! Desperate to get out, I pan my camera out and see a graveyard in front of me, a hospital to my left with a circus tent and a Ferris wheel on the other side. 'Maybe I can get there and be safe', I think...

I was extremely impressed with my Mulberry Horror experience - you have to go and see for yourself and share it here in comments.

Louie Mann, real life singer musician:

SamanthaS Nightfire

Friday, October 29, 2010

Raisin Ranch

A few weeks ago I discovered the world of Ameretto horses. I don’t want to buy one of them (at least not yet), but it did get me interested in riding horses again. I wondered if there were any places in SL where residents could ride without investing their Lindens in livestock. Luckily I have found a few, and Raisin Ranch, owned by residents Denis Lagan and Equinox Pinion, is one of the most beautiful.

If you want a great trail ride or simply a beautiful spot to explore on foot, start at Raisin Ranch at Fruit Islands, Raisin (113, 48, 25). There’s a kiosk where you can pick up a free horse if you don’t have one of your own. The land is surrounded by tall waterfalls on one side and a sandy beach on the other. Palm trees provide shade, and there are lots of places on the beach where you can have a quiet talk or a picnic. Lush vegetation complements the area, and you can enjoy the sound of ocean waves or country music, whichever you prefer.

A series of wooden bridges connect the islands and make for an interesting ride or stroll. Pelicans, sea turtles, toucans and other wildlife can be found here. Continue up a steep mountain trail that is next to the ocean. What a view! Look around and you might find an eagle nest, too. But watch out for the cougars!

If you survive, continue on up the mountain. You’ll soon cross a stone bridge that leads around a volcanic lava flow. Beyond the volcano you’ll find ancient ruins and a beautiful waterfall hidden in a lovely tropical forest. If you’re with your special someone, you might want to tie up your horses and climb the steps on foot. You’ll be rewarded with a special treat at the top of the ruin.

The colors and sounds are amazing at this part of the sim, and the trail ride was fun. But if you want more excitement, you can find that here, too. Ranch residents, Valky Bigbear and Harald Zimer, have organized Italian Country Ranch, which features barrel racing and more. It is located at Fruit Islands, Raisin (202, 164, 451). Here, too, you can get a free horse and try your skill at racing around the barrels. Competitions are held regularly, and the rules are posted. If you’re fast enough, you might even win a cash prize.

If all that racing makes you thirsty, walk next door to the saloon for a free cold one. Or avoid getting dusty and sweaty in the first place and come here to watch the others race. You can pick up a schedule of events, then sit and relax in front of a roaring fire. You can even do a little line dancing, too.

Grey Lupindo

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Some Haunted Places in Second Life

Second Life can be a lot of fun around Halloween. Besides the creativity in avatars being worn by residents, landowners are showing their own talents by showing off some Halloween haunts. A few are up year round, getting more attention this time of year. Others are seasonal, appearing in October to provide some scary fun.

Sinatra’s Spook House calls itself the first haunted ride in Second Life. It is one of the oldest, with yours truly having seen ads of it in sandboxes when he was a newcomer in early 2007. Unlike most later rides, a ten Linden fee is required before you can sit in the card and enter the tunnel. Although a little scary, it’s not very long. It’s main attraction would seem to be it’s status as the oldest haunt. Spook House is located at the Noyo sim at (102, 149, 25).

The DarkDharma Haunted Manor is a fairly popular haunt. Walking up, one sign will tell you to set your viewer to Midnight and particles to 2048. Another panel just outside the house asks you to look for nine “tarot bags” around the house, though warns you may encounter objects with powerful spells while looking.

Going through the house, I didn’t see many of these “tarot bags,” but there were a number of interesting features. The living room has a seance table. The hall has a trap that will draw blood if you don’t watch it. The attic has a nursery of horror full of demon toys and possessed kids. The kitchen has a witches cauldron with a shelf of ingredients, and a list of recipes which all can be used to make potions. And everywhere are ghosts and spooky images flickering by, with haunting noises in the background.

The DarkDharma Haunted Manor is located in the Benten sim at (87, 224, 28).

The Heaven's Halloween Haunted House is a hallway of scares that one has to pass through. Some of the images stare at you. Others suddenly appear as if to say “boo!” The path occasionally comes to an end with a magic doorway, which one must open and enter. One room offers magical tarot cards, which may give you a blessing or a curse. There's also a deathtrap to avoid.

At the very end is a rocket sled ride, which will launch and send the riders on a high speed tour of an area, then will climb high in the air, seemingly into space, and then plummets down back to earth, eventually landing near the entrance of the sim.

The Heaven's Halloween Haunted House is at the Anara sim at (174, 74, 25).

Bentham Manor is in two sections, Bentham Manor and Bentham Woods. The woods are best viewed at Midnight, in which the forrest appears as its creepiest, full of evil trees, dim spooky lights, and everything in the distance shrouded by mist. One could walk around back to the manor grounds, or take a magic door shortcut. The manor itself was full of spooky scenes, such as books in the attic flying around. And the manor grounds had a few things, such as dark tunnels to pass through.

One thing that I noticed were a few people on the grounds with the “Bentham Manor” group. Some just watched. Others were more vocal, talking about how they were going to get the visitors, “They came here for a scare. *I’ll* give ‘em a scare!” No word on whether they were just fans having fun, or connected with the owners of the place.

Bentham Manor is in the Sevenfold sim at (173, 173, 169)

Bixyl Shuftan

Friday, October 22, 2010

Chat at the GOP Cafe

With the upcoming US Congressional elections in the news, I decided to give one of the political sims a visit. So I hopped over to the GOP Cafe, and stumbled upon a meeting just as people were arriving. It was a somewhat small meeting with just several people showing up, but no shortage of opinion.

Among the first subjects was the Republican candidate for governor of New York state, Carl Paladino, talking about his TV commercial campaign, and the incident with a newspaper columnist. Someone brought up that the election was even more important because with the recent census, the voting districts would be redrawn, and “redistricting is influenced by governors.” Although catching up, Paladino was still behind in the polls.

A few felt the Republicans were being a little soft on the Democrat Party, “In peewee football there is a running-up-the-score sort of rule. Don't hurt the losers feelings too much. This isn't peewee football. We need to be hungry until it's over.” “The R's have often played by Marquis of Queensbury rules (strict set of boxing rules).” “Well said ....., we are dumb that way. ... better to stay a gentleman and lose than get down and win. American Politics is a one-sided bar fight. Repubs don't get it.”

They talked some about discussing politics with others, “For the average person, the best thing you can do is expose people to other views, and just help people understand that not everybody's a big lefty. It's amazing how many people hold contrary views but are afraid to share them.”

The “Tea Party” movement got it’s share of discussion, “Frankly we are already slacking off. Except the Tea Party folks.” “The main thing is, (we) need to keep the Tea Party alive past the election. This needs to be not just about getting people elected, but steering the culture.” “That's because for once, it's a big group that's not a political party, but a semi-philosophical party. They're finally treating the gross activities on the left as a moral problem, not a tactical election problem.”

Former President Bush got quite a few swipes, “ ... I sort of gave up on Bush.” “Bush went all squishy, but then he always was a 'progressive' Repub.” “Bush ran on a pretty far left social agenda. He was never going to be a Reagan.” “Look at the increased medical spending. Or the push for the ‘ ownership society,’ or yeah - the refusal to cut back on any kind of social program.” “Bush never vetoed anything for years.”

Bush’s handling of military affairs was also attacked, “A big one, he thought war was a moral issue. ‘ If you choose to make war, you must do it with everything you have’ : Sun Tsu.” “We need to cut our losses and get out.” “Should have canned Rumsfeld after six months, same mistakes MacNamarra made.” “I think war is a moral issue, but you also need moral certainty. You need to be willing to name the enemy - militant theocracy. Instead, he tried to fight a war against a tactic. The War on Terror was like A War on Bullets.” “The essential book, to understand how a war should be fought, is Nothing Less Than Victory, by John Lewis. He's a historian, shows the consistent historic outcomes of wars that have been fought partially, and wars that have been fought relentlessly. In each case, where a war was fought as a half effort, the war lasted longer, more lives were lost, and less change was effected.” “We lost the war.” “Time to pull out. We had our chance but without total war, you can’t win." “ You can, but it's damn difficult and damned expensive.”

But as much heat Bush was given, Clinton was hit harder, “He sold missiles tech to China, and reactors to North Korea.” “We keep forgetting the oath of Office. To protect and defend to Constitution... Clinton and Obama both have violated their oath.”

“Question: Impressions of Christine O'Donnel?” “I can't get excited about Christine.” “I am against anyone who thinks they should run my bedroom.” “Do you really think she'd invade your bedroom?” “No, but she has opinions about my bedroom that she would enforce if she could.” “Nobody gets it right 100% of the time. Tea Party messed up with her.” “She's one of a handful that gives people a useful handle for casting Tea Partiers as crazies or religious zealots.”

Someone thought, “Did everyone hear the Fed is going to undermine the dollar?” “They've already been monetizing the debt for a while. Bernanke said he'd absolutely never do it - and not a month after that, the first run of it.” “Actually, my business is 100% export so I really like the weak dollar.” “When we're so far screwed that we need a million dollar bill, I hope they put Greenspan and Bernanke on it so we can use it for darts.“ “Right now, companies are just doing stock buybacks instead of growing because they're scared pantless about inflation, but have nowhere to put the money.” “Even gold's a worsening bet. Too many buyers, and don't be at all surprised if we see special gold sale taxes start to appear, if not outright controlling ownership as happened under FDR.”

Of adversary countries, “It’s time to realize our enemy isn’t in Afghanistan, it’s China.” “Funny how China is literally colonizing the world, and the Third World applauds.” There was also tough talk about Hugo Chavez, “Chavez is playing out ‘Atlas Shrugged’ in slow motion. They actually had legislation preventing people from changing jobs a few years back!” “And all the middle class has already fled - the don't even have people left who know how to run the oil wells, which are that country's only resource. That's how Iran got involved in the first place. They had to bring in Iranian engineers, under Iranian government control, to run the wells.”

Of Iran’s nuclear plants, someone suggested infecting their computers, “infiltrators can be bribed to deliver comp viruses.” Of North Korea, “The big problem has been all these missiles they have along the southern border, buried in the line of mountains. It's not practical to bomb those out all at once. And they're pretty much all aimed at the South Korean population centers. So any attack starts with the destruction of South Korea.”

The chat lasted a little more than an hour. After that, everyone bid each other well and went their separate ways.

The GOP Cafe is in the Grand Old Party sim, north of the main entrance at Grand Old Party (166, 130, 23). The Cafe chats are every Thursday at 5PM SL time.

Bixyl Shuftan

Monday, October 4, 2010

The Frank Lloyd Wright Virtual Museum

Frank Lloyd Wright was an architect and designer of not only exquisite buildings, but also furniture, silverware, glass and pieces of art and also items for daily use. His work includes original and innovative examples of many different building types, including offices, churches, schools, skyscrapers, hotels, museums and homes. It is wonderful to find a virtual museum that educates the world about his life and displays his work.

The sim in which the museum is located is called Usonia. This is a word he used to describe his vision of shaping the landscape of America by the use of forms of architecture and planning of cities . The Frank Lloyd Wright museum of Virtual Art, FLWVM, in Second Life is a pleasure to visit. The first and second floors have exhibits depicting his life with photographs of his houses and other structures with note cards telling the history of each. You will find many of his most important works on display.

Outside the building you can walk along and read more. You should not miss the wonderful examples of his buildings to explore outside and in. Some of his works have been painstakingly replicated in SL. One fascinating home you must visit is Falling Water. There is a TP right outside the museum door. There is a Museum Store where you can purchase furniture and glass of his design as well as many other textures and items. Great freebie building assist items are also available.

When I went there it was on the advice of a friend who was viewing a display of prairie homes that were created by both professional and novice builders in SL for a contest. The structures must be completed with specific rules regarding timeframe, and prims on a plot assigned to them. One of these rules is that they could be easily lived in by a SL resident. It is a semi-annual event. One of the designers of an entry , Poetry Sorbet, told me the winners of the contest will have their homes on display for a period of time and received a trophy and a gift card to the Builders Brewery.

Those interested in building will enjoy visiting the museum, but is also an enjoyable trip for those who do not build, to see the creativity and designs of others. There are events that take place there . Educators from RL are invited to bring their classes for tours, lectures , and there are lectures open to the public. The FLWVM is recognized as a licensed representative of the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation in Arizona. It is a wonderful example of collaboration for education.

I was pleased to read that the Pathfinder Lester (formerly Pathfinder Linden) has joined the Board of Directors. There are memberships available at several levels. You can learn more about it by visiting the website . To visit the museum you can enter at .

Gemma Cleanslate