Friday, December 30, 2011

Skiing! More Winter Fun!

It has been such a busy season getting lovely Christmas items in the advent calendar and all the hunts I have been negligent finding the winter sports for you! But, winter is just beginning and there will be lots of time to participate. You already have a list of slurls to visit for skating.

How about skiing? There are some great places where you can go skiing, sledding, skateboarding and the sports gear is provided for you. One of my very favorites is at Wolf Mountain. That is on the skating list but you walk over to the tram and take it to the top of the mountain and there you will find everything you need. A spectacular view and a wonderful ski run. You can bring your own and not use the pose balls to flash down the mountain. You will love it! You can warm up in the Lodge after your last downhill trek.

Now, if you love cross country skiing, one of my other favorites is the place to go. Aero Pines has 8 sims open for you with skis, poles, and auto cross country poses all set up! That makes it easy to view the sims too. There is so much to do in both these sims. We have been going to both places for 4 years now.

Another place we have frequented for a couple of years is Chamonix City where you will find so many winter activities to either participate in or watch.They have a terrific ski jump! If you want to learn to play hockey this is the place to go. Freebies and information are available at

In Wengen there are great ski runs off the ONSR Railway, one of the private rails off of the SL Railway. . There is a ski lift right across the tracks from the station. This will take you on a memorable ride up the mountain to the runs. Enjoy the view! .

One more for you to take a look at is the French Ski Resort in Jura .It has a nice steep downhill and for a change, try the Snowmobile ! Wow! That is a good start for skiing.

I will be looking for more fun places for you and I know they are there!

Gemma Cleanslate

Friday, December 23, 2011

The Curious Prim Main Store

I'm in the mood for something out of the ordinary, something historically captured and exceptional in detail.

My selection is made in Second Life’s destination guide. I arrive in a unique architecturally designed island with steampunk, fairy, antique and Roman influences. It is whimsical and stunning as the guide states. The textures are elegant and its main store is called The Curious Prim.

Walking up to the first exhibit on a marble floored display is Uncle Irvin Chatbot. The 41 prim stationary bot is so clever in his appearance. Grey Kurka needs to be recognized for his steampunk creativity. Uncle Irvin 's brain is encased in a covered tank floating in water, electrical-like pulses generating. His blinking eyes on each side of the square tank appear to look right at you. His body is formed from a steampunk typewriter with scrolled paper. It appears an adjustment knob is on the side of his propped up body. His legs are a three-legged tripod with wood grain. To the right is an old canvas bag and matching fedora. Nothing less than enchanting.

Off to the next exhibit I find "The Night Palace," a 230 prim, copy-modify build. You can teleport to the building to explore its multi-use structure. Grey's notecard informs me that it can be used as a residence, store or exhibition space. Its footprint is 50x50. All unique textures and sculpties are used throughout. It can be used for a role-play environment or an attention getter. Across from it is a Luxury Store which is designed as an elegant space to be used as a store or exhibition hall. It includes ceiling lights, urns with acanthus plants and a sculpty Venus statue. Only 138 prims with a 40x40 footprint. Front and center is a magnificent reproduction, the image of elegance, perfect for a musical recital. The white Harpsichord Princess has a French look to it. It is exhibited with a smaller model. Propped up in the center, you'll find the sheet music. Casting light to read the sheet music is a tall candelabrum. Love it.

I could not resist the lure of an air ship close by. A short flight and I touched down on its deck to cast my gaze across the sim.

Returning a day later I found more wonderful creations. A Green upholstered Regency couch and chair set, a dark wood gothic table with lighter wood top and benches, an ornate gilt mirror and portraits, a leather covered trunk. Everything is rich in textures, unique and beautiful. The content creator deserves an award in creativity.

I had to touch base with this man who has somehow reached into my dreams and created the fantasy world I desire. Grey Kurka is The Curious Prim's creator. The first incarnation of his store was at a charming corner lot in the Rue Dantibes shopping district. It was nestled next to Barnesworth Anubis and Cory Edo, two talented early Second Life creators. The store opened early in 2008 and after a year or two it was expanded to a larger parcel in the Otherland Continent which is now gone.

"I settled here in Mythopoeia in July of 2010, so all told I have been in business with the Curious Prim for nearly four years. I also started using the SL Marketplace from the beginning and that has been a great help," he told me.

Kurka didn't choose to work on any specific genre. He merely let his inspiration and sense of whimsy be his guide. His love of fantasy illustration led to his creation of "Fairypunk."

"That term sums up my love of fantasy and Techno-Baroque funk," Kurka explains. "Because Second Life tends to be composed of different role play communities it is easier for them to identify work that fits an intended environment. However as a designer, I feel free to let my imagination roam at will."

Kurka's ideas are generated from real life objects. He tries to avoid looking at how other 3D artists have solved a certain design question and prefers to study as many actual artifacts as possible. Then he lets his imagination and ability with technology work to their best advantage.

“My Manor House, for example, was inspired by a boathouse designed by an architect named Julia Morgan, but it was greatly modified,” he explained. “Most of my stuff has some antecedent in real life to give it a context, but is then made personal through reinterpretation.”

In terms of how long does it take from prim to texture to fine tuning, Kurka said that if his drawings are sound, and he has gathered decent reference photos, the actual construction phase moves along fairly quickly. For example, a chair takes two three hour sessions. He’ll make three prototypes for every final.

“However, the research, design, and animation creation can easily take three times as long, not to mention scripting and all the preparation for sales in world and on the web,” he mentioned. “So, from idea to actual display, a week or more.”

Kurka does not enter contests. He finds it’s a difficult fit for designers that create for commercial venues. He said the designers that role-play as fine artists in Second Life tend to have a culture of “monastic abstinence when it comes to selling their work, perhaps perceiving that it compromises the purity of intention.” However, real life galleries work on the assumption that the artist expects remuneration, and the average income of any designer in Second Life is basically on a token level as far real economies are concerned.

“To be fair, we are all illustrators in here, creating visual equivalents for our own fantasies and dreams,” he said. “When I first started working in Second Life, I used to visit a sim called Dreams. They have speed-builds and building contests. I had a lot of fun working with a talented group of creators and teachers, a great way to learn. I would suggest everybody should visit and get creating or just support their wonderful efforts.”

What does he find most rewarding?

“For me the true reward of finishing a new design is knowing that it enhances the immersive experience for someone and adds some visual interest into their play. It is the use of an object in a role that completes the intention and gives context to the work.”

Asked what he would love to create, he replied that he would like to see a feature where the hand of the artist could be used directly in Second Life. Having a simple set of "paint" tools, a brush, pencil, paintbucket, etc. would bring the studio into the grid in real time. Surface textures could be added to objects or artists could work directly creating 2D work on a virtual easel.

“For me the experience of doing a landscape painting from within Second Life would be so much fun.”

Netera Landar

Friday, December 2, 2011

Tis the Season

Yes, it is the winter sport season. Second Life has many wonderful places to participate in more than one sport. My favorite has always been ice skating. Skiing is fun too, and sledding.

I took a tour of the quite a few sims that already have skating ponds and rinks set up for you. At most you will find free skates, male, female and unisex available. At some you will also find some couples skating poses, and also snowball throwing prims to pick up. I sat on a reindeer at one.

Some of these slurls will take you directly to the skating area, but there are a few that you will have to search around a bit. That is ok too since the sims have other interesting things going on besides skating.

I will have some more for you as we get further into the season. It will be a long winter in Second Life so take advantage of it, (with apologies to our Aussie friends). I will also keep an eye out for some cheap vacations to tropical islands.

Snowflake Island - Oopsy!!! Watch out, snowball thrower also and place for snowball fights set up

Christmas at Winter Holiday village

Snow falls Island- have to tp from entrance, look on the board

Aero Pines - (free winter outfits here too).

Have a great time! See you somewhere!

Gemma Cleanslate

Monday, November 28, 2011

The “Happy Vixen’s” Grand Re-Opening

On November 26th, the “Happy Vixen” beach club had its “Grand Re-Opening” party. For several days, it had been closed, undergoing reconstruction. And when the job was done, owner Nydia Tungsten ordered a special party to celebrate.

Before she was entrusted with her position at Club Zero Gravity, Nydia Tungsten once owned another beach club: Angel’s Beach. Some time after becoming the space club's owner, Nydia placed a small shopping mall on the surface of the Purrfection sim, one that looked like a beachside shop with it’s thatched roof and wooden supports instead of walls. Next to the water, the decision was made to place a small beach club, built by Treminari Huet. It had all the basics of a club, plus a couple dancing poles plus tip jars for dancers and the DJ. The little beach club came to be known as “The Happy Vixen.”

Zero Gravity continued to be the main club in the sim, and indeed the little beach club was often seen as an extension of the larger space club, it’s “planetside beach getaway.” But it remained in regular use, and had it’s own group separate from Club Zero, as well as being counted among the clubs at the FCA club alliance. Parties were held at the “Vixen” usually once a week, often with beach music and the residents dancing around in bathing suits. Between parties, residents could always scoot around in the water in a couple jet skis in a nearby pier.

For months, the weekly parties of fun in the sun continued with few changes, an extra dance pole put up, a piece of artwork put up. A larger beach club, “Raised Tail Resort,” joined the FCA, but it didn’t seem to affect numbers at the “Vixen.” Recently came news from owner Kryxia Silverfall that “Raised Tail” would be closing it’s doors indefinitely due to events beyond her control.

It is with tears in my eyes that I announce that Raised Tail Resort is now closed, you will see a few more notices in the future about where you can find your favorite staff member. We are not gone for good, but like any fur, there is hibernation. Here's to hoping for an early spring.

Although there was still the “Happy Vixen,” both for the patrons and the DJs and hosts, some people had come to love the structure and beach of the larger club. Nydia Tungsten decided that perhaps after all this time, the Happy Vixen could use an expansion.

Jasmine Dawn (OraSine Resident) was given the job of rebuilding the Happy Vixen. She used the design of “Raised Tail” as an inspiration, Kryxia contributing a few items as well. The club itself was larger, with another room next to the dance floor, a future mall area with spaces for rent. The new structure has a little less open space on the sides, with a gap between lower and upper walls. The gap itself is partly covered by vines, though still allows sunlight in. The club has a wide entrance to and from the beach. in a hall between the dance floor and the second room, one can get information about renting a place in Purrfection.

Jasmine’s design included a beach. The wide beach has a number of palm trees, at least one of which drops coconuts, so careful where you step. There are a few beach towels to lie on, a hammock, a couple lounges with overhead sheeting, a few floats to rest on, a partly hidden cuddle spot or two, a couple games people can pass the time playing, plus the two jet skis from the previous build. And of course the waves lapping at the shore, and the terrific view at sunset/sunrise.

It should be noted that the beach at the Happy Vixen is a nude beach, where human, furred, and neko avies are free to go about in the buff. This was a decision Nydia made after taking to several friends whom complained about a certain development around the Grid: Second Life’s nude beaches are closing. Nydia had been told a number of “clothing optional” beaches were shutting down, and those that remained were often “perv beaches” which were the scenes of riskee behavior out in the open that would get one banned from ordinary nude beaches. The result was girls finding it harder and harder to find a place where they could enjoy full exposure without being pestered for sex.

“This nude beach is for those that have put a lot of time and effort into their skins and want to show it off, not for those looking for a quick lay,” Nydia Tungsten explained,”those will be banned immediately. It is a place to come hang out, ... um, no pun intended .... just to enjoy Second Life.”

With the refurbishing completed Saturday November 26th, Nydia threw a special party in the late afternoon to celebrate. Announcements were made in several groups, by both Nydia and Kryxia. On the board was a special prize of 2000 Lindens! Playing the tunes was one of the DJs from Raised Tail, DJ Artimay, whose metallic form got him the nickname of “DJ Furbot” by some. From 4 to 6 PM, a couple dozen residents, furred, neko, and human, danced around. Among those celebrating was a friend of longtime regulars and staff. Lsai Aeon, the beloved “Purple Puppy” DJ of Zero Gravity and elsewhere, had ended a period of hiatus and returned.

The DJ spun the tunes and the partiers danced until a bit after Six. Some went on to Club Cutlass, which had it’s Saturday party just afterwards. Others continued to dance a little to the KVXN music stream, or went to the beach to relax.

It was a good start to the new Happy Vixen.

Bixyl Shuftan

Friday, November 11, 2011

Veterans Day Themed Places and Events in Second Life

This week, and before, a number of events are taking place for the benefit of veterans in Second Life. Some of these are yearly events. Others are places which are always active and have special events. And then there are locations active throughout the year, and are simply more visible now.

For the fifth year in a row, the Second Life Veterans Tribute will be taking place. Hosted by the Flying Tigers, the location is high over the WW2 Pacific sim. One reason it hasn’t been mentioned earlier by the Newser is the team hasn’t quite had as much time to get the word out. “The SLVT is a ‘ lil scaled back this year as real-life constraints did not afford the necessary time to dedicate it truely,” explained Wellhung Bagley, “We were fortunate that the Flying Tigers agreed to host it.”

The Tribute has a number of displays up, from airplane exhibits, to the Second Life Coast Guard, to the National Native American Veterans Association and more. But the biggest one of all is the Second Life World War II Memorial, “permanently housed on the sim. This Memorial is a scaled replica of the original memorial located in Washington D.C. The SL version was commissioned by the SL Flying Tigers and built by RL architect, Deusen Marx. The purpose of this Memorial is to honor the sacrifices of a generation and commemorate the Allied victory in World War II. “

The continuing feature from previous Tributes is the Memorial Wall, each block a contribution by a resident to honor a Veteran alive or deceased. Wildroses Pevensey informed, “We have some new blocks that are in the newer section of the wall this year, a drummer boy from the Union Army (he lied about his age and enlisted when he was 14). We also have a block of veterans, submitted by one of their brothers, he comes every year to honor them.”

On Friday Veterans Day, the Flying Tigers are scheduled to perform several flyovers.

5:00 PM - Golden Tigers
5:30 PM - WW2 Flyover
6:00 PM - Second Life Coast Guard (SLCG)
6:30 PM - 23rd Flyover
7:00 PM - Historical Flyover
7:30 PM - Golden Tigers

For Saturday, the last day of the Tribute, the emphasis will be music, “this will be a combination of Live Singers and Live DJ's starting at 12 PM SLT. We are still working on the schedule but it is going to start at noon and go till it stops.”

The Veterans Tribute is at World War II Memorial Park, WW2 Pacific (128, 9, 2517). One can read more at . Funds raised go to “Operation Uplink, to provide free phone calls for veterans overseas.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Another big event is the “Fearless Festival,” also known as the “Be Fearless PTSD Awareness Event.” Organized by the Fearless Nation Group, the thrid annual “Be Fearless” event offers “ten days of live music, art exhiits, sims hunt, sponsor showcase, and more.”

Fearless Nation welcome(s) all PTSD sufferers, their families, friends, and clinicians, war veterans, law enforcement personnel, emergency response workers, those traumatized by sexual abuse, child abuse, torture, human trafficking, hostage events and crime, man-made and natural disasters, and physical, psychological, and verbal trauma.

Honour McMillian wrote, “They provide information, access to resources, classes, workshops, support groups and more. They also hold an annual festival to heighten awareness of this debilitating problem and the help that is available as well as education to address the widespread issue of stigma associated with any mental illness.“ Anya Ibor is the founder of the group.

“I don't know anybody, including myself, whose life has not been touched or altered by mental illness whether their own or that of a loved one. One of the most heartbreaking aspects of this burden is the feeling of being "alone." Second Life and Fearless Nation help begin recovery by first addressing this issue and then providing the support and assistance necessary to ensure that the appropriate treatment for PTSD is received.”

For the month, two sims have been set up for an art exhibition. One can find displays from artists such as Trill Zapetero, Scottius Polke, and Bryn Oh.

The Fearless Festival is at Oak Beach (96, 156, 22). For more information, go to .

Source: Honour McMillian

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The London sims have an event to honor veterans in Hyde Park on November 11th. Residents are invited to visit the Tower Hill War Memorial at Knightsbridge (82, 234, 21). From 10AM to 12 Noon SL time, there will be a party at Hyde Park with a 2000L prize. On Saturday and Sunday are additional parties near the War Memorial at London England UK (104, 46, 22), starting at Noon and 10 AM respectively.

Other places include the Garden of Rememberance, “The ‘Garden of Remembrance’ is there for all to visit in memory of and tribute to the armed forces from the UK, British Commonwealth, the USA and NATO, as well as for all the reserves and volunteers.” The place is a memorial with poppy flowers slowly drifting down, with pictures and poetry on the walls, the ground having fields of more poppies. The place is at RoBeck Land (211, 104, 33).

Finally, there is Patriot Island. This location is more than the location of a memorial, but also hosts an active military community with regular events. They frequenly hold fundraisers for the Wounded Warrior Project. They are located at the US Military Veterans' Center, Patriot Island (165, 125, 28)

There are of course many more locations, and much went on while exploring these featured ones which will have to wait for further articles. By all means drop by to experience for yourself, and search for more.

Bixyl Shuftan

Sunday, October 30, 2011

More Halloween Haunts on the Grid

There is just so much Halloween fun going on the Grid, there just isn’t enough time to see it all, let alone write on it.

Although haunts are fun to see alone, sometimes the best trips are taken with friends. And one my friend Jasmine Dawn found out about and invited me (and blogger Treminari Huet) to see was “The Art Door Nightmares, at Rendervisions Isle. Near the entrance is a HUD, which the main effect was to distort your vision to make the place spookier, but was probably also needed to hear messages and get prizes.

"Nightmares" was not simply hallways and rooms, but a series of closed rooms accessible by a portal one had to find, which was not always easy. One room had dozens of doors, all alike. Another was an abandoned sanatorium one had to navigate blocked passages and holes in the walls. while looking for the portal door out, there were also a few prizes to find, including a spooky typing animation that went well with my friend’s zombie avatar.The final scene was a graveyard with the names of some of the last people to go through the haunt. The exit led back to the beginning. "Art Door Nightmares" is at Rendervisions Isle (180, 75, 601)

One haunt I kept hearing about was “The Flesh Game.” Taking place in the Pulse sim, one enters the set of a reality TV show, but things are not quite right. To play this interactive horror game, one needs a HUD. If you’re having trouble with attachments due to SL bugs, like I did when I had a chance to see it, the game is incomplete.But for those able to play it, there are chances to get prizes. Several people I talked too had good things to say about this particularly scary game. Plus there was also a thread in the Linden blog about it, with a machinina trailer and several positive reviews by residents.

“The Flesh Game” has a resume of builders behind it, “Developed by the Pulse/Snatch City/Nomine Team,” with the story & plot by Toxic Candy Games (Formerly Vixen Games).To play, go to Pulse (215, 55, 29)

Another haunt I heard of was the Mulberry Horror. It’s not a new place, but was around last year, Sam Nightfire calling it a truly scary fright. It’s back again, “just as dark and gory.” But there are some changes to the “series of bloodcurdling, horrific sites that are so terrifying, you wish you brought a flashlight.” The place has it's own website as well, describing the haunted orphanage with the spirits of "unwanted" children, the abandoned penitentiary with it's ghosts of the most twisted and deranged of inmates, and other places. To visit, head to Club Holland (10, 182, 31).

A fairly new haunt I heard about the weekend is the Rackingham State Hospital. “Circa 1852, Theodore Racking opened the Rackingham State Hospital as a beacon of hope for families who had to deal with a mental illness in their family. In the early 1900's, the Racking family, latching on the trend of the times, promoted the hospital as a "restful retreat." It is now 2011 and the abandoned Rackingham State Hospital is far from restful.” Rackingham is at Somnolenta Sea (90, 134, 28).

For more haunts, check out the Destination Guide on the for more. You can also check the Linden Blog for “The Best in Second Life Halloween.”

Happy Halloween everyone,

Bixyl Shuftan

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Halloween Sites and other Dark Sims

Only on Second Life can you pick your level of Halloween fun. Rez on a costume and brave the SL traffic. Visit a haunted house, go on a scary ride or explore a sim with a few twists, turns and screams around every corner. Or choose something simply because of the detailed setting. Here's a few to consider:

Octoberville 2011
PixelTrix (24, 200, 27)

At the helm of this creative sim is Master Kaos and his partners at PixelTrix. When Kaos was learning to build, he was interested in creating a fall forest with a campfire. The memories of his childhood in a small farm town in Kentucky surfaced seven years ago. Once a year, his friends recreate Octoberville. They want to incorporate into the build the fall experience.

"I set out to create an atmosphere for people to enjoy and feel a bond with," explained Kaos in a recent interview on the sim Octoberville. "Not everyone gets the chance to see beautiful fall foliage or go trick or treating."

Kaos stated that Octoberville isn't just a fall photo opportunity. It's also an interactive mystery game that is realized through a scavenger hunt type of gameplay. Cherub Spectre and Nathan Oddfellow are his partners in pixeltrix and they do the programming, scripting, website and some building and design. Kaos is the designer, artist and DJ at the night club.

"This is a private sim that we have our main business on and open up every year as Octoberville, free to everyone in SL," he said.
"We have created helpful business solutions and other useful products for SL residents to purchase. Such things as calendars, bulletin boards, mailboxes, furniture that you can store your inventory, clothing, etc. in."

As for the major attractions of the sim, that would be a custom haunted house, which features numerous clues to the story of Octoberville and the mad Professor Dalton and his family. The place to hang out and party there is called the "Crowbar." Check out Rashburn's trailer, the Witch hut in the swamp, the farm house and hop on the tractor driven by a ghost.

"Yes, Octoberville is shrouded in mystery! The Dalton family moved in and the crazed professor has tortured and murdered the people of the quiet farm town to fulfill his desires to bring his parents back to life," said Kaos.

Check out the wall of fame at the entrance where visitors finish the game/hunt and their names go up in the order they finish. They also gain new ranks/achievements each year for finishing.

Another friend of his assisting in writing stories for Octoberville is Wordsworth Scribe. Kaos stated that Octoberville is a labor of love and he wishes to thank his fans who have been amazing over the years.

Alice in Wonderland Dark Ride
Black Pearl Beach, (103, 186, 23)

Rez the gondolla and click the club to start the ride. You travel through a bottle, then a kitchen that seems warped, through a waterfall and past various Alice in Wonderland scenes. A lot of creativity and it moves throughout the building, but at times is difficult to see. Falling down you go to another level of darkness, huge cards, colorful and creative. But I wish I could have seen more.

Hell House - Haunted House
(Adult) Bad Romance (10, 243, 21)

From the creators:
This dark and dreaded place is not called Hell House for nothing. It is, indeed, a very disturbing and twisted "Palace of Perversions" filled with nightmarish and sometimes sexually explicit imagery. So if you are likely to be offended by such an environment, please don't subject yourself to the many sensual and not-so-sensual sights and numerous frightful occurrences which abound within the walls of Hell House. This experience is NOT for the faint of heart and is very much FOR ADULTS ONLY.

You have been WARNED.

Now, having gotten that out of the way...

Welcome to the infamous Belasco House in Maine's fog-shrouded Matawaskie Valley.

Built in 1919 by the illegitimate multi-millionaire son of an American munitions manufacturer -- the notorious Emeric Belasco, known as "The Roaring Giant" -- this ornate, five-story New England mansion has come to be better known as "Hell House" because of the private hell which Belasco deliberately created there in the years following its construction.

Hell House is an immersive, fully interactive, 3D experience, so be sure to take your time as you explore its many rooms and myriad terrors. There are many small clues in drawers, on table-tops, and in cabinets, so be sure to "zoom in" on small objects and Click on anything you can if you want to find out more about Belasco and his horrific legacy. And allow plenty of time. Keep in mind -- to see ALL that Hell House has to offer will take between 2 to 3 HOURS, so you may need to make more than one visit to experience each of the myriad apparitions and numerous paranormal events.

Also, for best effect, set your world to Midnight and make sure your Sounds are enabled.

Halloween at Old Europe Village
Old Europe (8, 206, 22)

Love the very detailed old world setting. Take the bat tour set up by the owners and creators of this sim: Up4 Dawes and Rux Anatra. Built in 2008, it changes with the seasons. Sites include the gypsy camps in the forest, where numerous events have been held. There's a park and ponds, Gemma Melunes Halloween parcel, a haunted house, houses to rent and the village square with a ferris wheel and a cargo ride.

Netera Landar

Monday, October 17, 2011

Luskwood Turns Eight

From Friday October 14th, to Sunday October 16th, Luskwood, one of the oldest communities in Second Life, celebrated it’s eighth anniversary. At the Lusk Tree and nearby Perry Amphitheater, the residents celebrated with music events, and a couple gifts.

At eight years old, Luskwood is the oldest "Furry" community in Second Life, and among the oldest across Second Life reguardless of genere. Besides being the location of a social area that always seem to have at least a few people over even in odd hours, it's also the location of the first company of avatar makers, Luskwood Creatures. Because of it's longevity and strictly enforced rules against lewd behavior, Luskwood is often the first place in Second Life science fiction and fantasy fans head to after being told about it by friends. Due to it's close proximity to a newcomer entry area, it's also the unintentional first social area of many others as well. Although a few newcomers are a bit intimidated by the residents' non human appearances, all are welcomed except griefers.

Luskwood's celebrations began with what was likely their most noted event, an hour of the musical duo Jaycatt Nico and Frogg Marlowe, better known as “Jaycatt and Frogg” or just “F & J, “ playing on the stage near the big tree at 7PM SL time. From the stage, they played several songs, Jaycatt on the piano and Frogg on the guitar. From the seats, both their mostly human-looking regular crowd and the furred Luskwood locals cheered them on. Afterwards, they talked a little with the audience, Jaycatt jumping down from the stage. Founder Michi Lumin had a little something for him: a “LW8B” (Luskwood 8th Birthday) baseball hat and T-shirt.

Jaycatt Nico: Okies, love the hat. (smile)

Michi Lumin: We'll likely have stuff on and off all weekend, most of it tomorrow, but thanks as usual F & J. for. doing this for so long. (smile)

Jaycatt Nico: It's been a pleasure.

Reignick Deakins: Glad to hear you every time.

Ranlei Random (ranlei.jewell): F&J are part of what makes Luskwood family.

Maurice (maurice.mistwallow): Frogg and Jaycatt should make a sing along blog.

Jaycatt Nico: We love playing here, it's kind of an honor for me. Hehe. ... I normally don't look good in a hat, but this one does better than expected.

Ranlei Random (ranlei.jewell): It's a cool cat hat, so it looks cool on a cat.

Michi Lumin: We kinda made it at the last minute, (grin) people wanted something to wear, heh.

Following Jaycatt and Frogg, Burr Lehane DJed for a time at the Big Tree. On Saturday, live singer Keeba Tammas performed at the auditorium at Noon SL time followed by guitarist Shannon Oherlihy at 1PM. at 3PM, it was constant DJ music by local residents, such as Luskwood member Chippingham Millions. There would be one more music event on Sunday.

In the past, anniversary events at Luskwood would sometimes remain crowded to very late at night. Although late, the Friday and Saturday celebrations did not quite go as late as some. This was anticipated by founder Michi, “This year's birthday probably wont be as eye-exploding as the other years just because, well ... when we hit 10 years, *that'll* be a big one. (grin)”

Luskwood got some praise at the event, a Ranlei Jewell sayin, “I love Luskwood and everything about it. I rarely feel welcome in any one spot for long. So Luskwood’s a haven.” Michi responded, “We do appreciate it guys. We know Second Life is big and, people come through, come and go and stuff, I just hope we have helped some around the grid. And we'll keep doing this as long as we can. ... I think Second Life is growing again a bit; maybe not in population but I think the communities that are here are becoming more solid and meaningful. ... It goes in circles, communities are organisms, they consist of people, people come and go, it takes time for new people find their place in community, so it ‘breathes.’ ... Body count isn't everything though. And, time and place for different things. Sometimes folks are in the mood for head pounding action, sometimes not.” DJ Burr joked, “Sometimes they’re just in the mood for ... (pause) nevermind. (grin)” Ranlei added, “Fads come and fads go. Clubs grow and fade. But communities thrive.”

With the anniversary celebrations over, things at the Big Tree return more or less to normal, as a social area that can be a little quiet, but one is sure to find at least a small group even at odd hours.

“Even if you've got another place that's your home now, you’re always welcome to come back.” - Michi

Bixyl Shuftan

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

ZZ Studios Opens Sim-Wide Venue: “The Hideout”

On Friday, September 30th, The adult media company ZZ Studios officially opened their new place: “The Hideout.” The region consists of an entire sim of a coastal urban environment. The grid map shows the name Static Nightclub.

“The Hideout” is really the nicknames of the nightclub there, the sim also being called “ZZ Studios Zin City.” But it has a number of locations. Next to the landmark I was given at Static Nightclub (113, 119, 25). to the north was a zombie maze. To the west of that was a "Strip Mall" with some goods for sale, none at the time I visited were adults-only items. Next to that was the movie theater. Further west of that at the edge was the nude beach, with a fishing pier to the southwest. to the east was a city park full of trees, with a number of cuddle spots here and there.

Around the north, south, and west edges are urban buildings, with both cuddle spots and secret hideaways where couples can do more than just cuddle. On the south was one noticeably tall building, the new Club Stripes, where one could dance to music, or watch the poledancers. The tallest of the buildings is the ZZ Studios office building at Static Nightclub (224, 92, 25). It was there ZZ Studios owner Cindy Babii invited me over to talk.

Cindy commented she couldn’t help but notice the new office building was larger than the entire grounds of her company’s first location in Second Life. She told me that she had been offered the sim about a month before. Since then, she had been busy setting up the place, “working on a 17 hour day,” with help from her team, “Kehf, Rhin, Kris and Kaebora, couldn’t of done it without them.”

There were a few pranks going on, “You missed the battle I had with a tank from my rooftop.” Cindy told me about a German WW2 tank that was rezzed, and began moving about creating mischief, “tank drove up to my front door.” She then whipped out a huge anti-tank gun shown in the interview from months earlier, “he drove to the beach trying to get a shot on me after I bounced his tank all over the place.” The huge gun was never used after that, “just me snipping people with my nerf gun.”

Although Cindy was willing to play around with the tank driver, one thing she takes seriously is the issue of photography. No photographs of avatars within Studio grounds are permitted without the permission of the subject (or by Cindy). The penalty is being banned from sim grounds.

Cindy also brought up the zombie maze. I had given it a try earlier, with a couple others. Free shotguns are provided upon entry, though a variety of weapons can be used. We made our way in, battling numerous zombies and an overgrown spider. Finally we made our way to a manor. Going inside, there was an arcane symbol drawn on the floor, and after some moments there was a flash of light over it, and several demons emarged and attack. Fortunetly, 2 shotguns plus an automatic were enough. Then the spirit announced it had been freed, and offered the players a gift. I got one good only for girls. Cindy told me there were over twenty prizes available, some “custom made by the studios builders,” including “a huggable Thundertank.”

And what of the old ZZ Studios place at Falcon Valley? Cindy told me it was not going to be renewed, “I’m going to miss Falcon Valley.” And recently, the quarter sim it once took up was wiped clean of all objects.

Cindy had plans for the sim’s future, near and in the coming months, “We are working together to make the best furry place in SL. ... We wanted to get some things set, and now that were here we can change things.” She planned to build a bathhouse, “I remember the one a lot of furries hung out at,” thinking it might have been at Furnation, “I think this one closed down.” The zombie maze wasn’t just a one time thing, but there would continue to be holiday-themed and other special events throughout the year. For instance in November, she planned a turkey shoot.

The main entry port to ZZ Studios “The Hideaway” is Static Nightclub (121, 139, 25)

“You ready to be blown away?”

Bixyl Shuftan

*Addition* The ZZ Studios zombie maze is now listed on the Destination Guide, under the name "Z Mayhem."

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Rendezvous – The World of Mermaids

If you’re looking for a romantic setting, far from the crowds, explore the undersea mermaid domain of Rendezvous. Benoit Lednev established five French gay sims and two Wild West, before he incorporated some of his own interests into Rendezvous with help from his friends.

“This is the mermaid domain and above is the world of sirens. I wanted to do a marine park,” said Lednev, as I and musician Lars Mistwalker received a personal tour of this colorful corner of Second Life. “I was in the Navy and I love animals. This park is the one sim most like me.”

Those interested in morphing into merfolk need only click on the outfits provided free of charge. The park consists of a welcome area with a Roman tavern, the Ulysses Neptune statue and a mosaic theme that depicts a scene of Ulysses, where the hero is chained to resist the songs of the sirens. The classic Neptune comes from Pompeii art. The sounds of whales communicating and the motion of the waves surround you.

“Next you can ride the octopus or seahorses. There’s also a cave with romantic places to cuddle, areas where you can dance and homes for lovers,” said Lednev through his translator. “My greatest challenge was locating different types of fish to the area.” There’s also a Roman arena where the spectators are fish. He considered adding Roman animations of fighting but knew it would take away from the romantic qualities of the sim. He would love for both straight and gay couples to explore the depths of his and his friends’ creation.

The tour of the sim ends at the statue of a mermaid. Above Lars and I get a preview of a town inspired by Halloween. We are teleported to Salem Village and immediately get goose bumps on the arms of our real life avis. The eerie atmosphere is expertly captured as one enters a haunted house. Hollywood directors would love this virtual representation that you’d never want to live in. First of all, you’re greeted by a zombie that thinks you’re dinner. Inside there’s a talking Ouija board, a séance table, an empty rocking cradle and ghosts singing patty cake. When the girls ask why don’t you play with me, you’re ready to run out the door.

Rendezvous, (40, 188, 1)

Netera Landar

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Inspire Space Park

The Inspire Space Park has been around in Second Life for at least a few years. But it’s a location that continues to draw crowds every day. The park doesn’t represent a real place in space or in science fiction, but is more of a place of the imagination.

Upon getting there, change your environment settings to Midnight to get the best view of the space surroundings. The place may take a while to rez, as there are always many people here. Sometimes you may need to try twice or three times to enter. Even at odd hours, there are still a number of people around. But once everything comes into focus, visitors are rewarded with a visual treat.

Those arriving at the entry point will find themselves on a large asteroid’s flat surface. Smaller asteroids float nearby. Further away, planets and stars can be seen in spectacular views. A haze conceals the ground view, and from where you are it might as well be a nebula cloud. The easy music in the background adds to the atmosphere of the place.There are a few seats nearby one can relax on, including a circle with meditation poses. There is also a bridge of stones to another large asteroid.

One of the fun things about the place, you can hop to some wandering poseballs via green teleporter across the asteroid. Getting on one, you float around, slowly tumbling in orbit. One can do it alone, or with a friend. The park makes for a great place to take a date and quite literally sweep her off her feet, and slowly drift among the planets and stars in each others arms.

In the past, there were also teleporters to nearby locations. They’re probably still around, but I didn’t see them in more recent visits. One is a drive-in theater, the “Inspire Beach and Drive-in” at Shinda (105, 189, 26), near the highway. It used to have a 1950’s look, but more recently the tailfinned classic cars were replaced by space-age skycars. There is also a space-club, the “Inspire Dance Planet” in the Butsu sim at (217, 214, 1546). When I dropped by some time ago, it was a space-age club with bright neon colors. From outside, it looked like a star. Someone told me other larger planets and stars had hidden surprises inside.

There are occasional events held at the space park. Cypress Rosewood has on his website a film of him performing there. On a more recent visit, there was a particle show. The place was so full of particles, a friend had to leave due to an overheating graphics card.

The Inspire Space Park is a beautiful work of art, a stellar dreamland.

The entry point is at Shinda at (34, 211, 1559). The okace is owned by the Virtual Life Media group, and was made by Earth Primbee, Grafx Newbold, and Raphael Cremorne.

Bixyl Shuftan

Monday, September 19, 2011

Morgan Straits

"Aye, There Be Pirates Among Us"

No you haven't fallen through a time portal and landed in the age of the rebellious, but you're darn close.

On Morgan Straits you'll find role players from the United States, France, Spain, Canada, Brazil, Ireland, Scotland and England. The original five sims were created January 2010, by owners/founders Dizz Darkstone and Migizi North, who according to Julia had an idea to create a place, with few rules, but common sense.

"It's a place where logistics disappear. You can see what's over the horizon and obtain it," explained JuliaThePirate Buccaneer, a role player member who is deep into the magic of what the 19 sims offer. "Anything you can imagine you can execute. The only thing we require is that you dress pirate, navy, native or mer."

"The people here are friendly and fun. They take care of their own and are open to anyone who wants to visit," said Leessens Mistwalker, a pirate, merman and owl, who "sails fer the pirates, fights fer the pirates and swims in the seas with the mer." He runs two of the sims in the NE and just rebuilt them.

"We wanted to have an estate that was built for sailing. There were more than two of us in the beginning, five or six, each bought a homestead, and Dizz bought the full sim for the estate," Migizi explained. "Now there are 19 sims which are owned individually. We sell to people and they pay tier to Diz. Morgan Straits is the main sim.”

Roni Foxdale added that it’s a pirate infested region, but the New Brunswick Navy does its part to keep the waters safe.

“And if you stumble upon people sitting down and having a drink they'll scoot over and find a crate for you to sit on, pour you a drink and have you join in. I like it here because there is always room for one more,” said Renate Marchionne.

Here you'll find the marketplace, which has a collection of vendors where you can get everything from clothing, weaponry, TSS, SCS and SSS ships, furniture and there's even home rentals.

Roleplay is everywhere, but isn't forced 24/7 in this estate which follows the Golden Age of Piracy 1650-1750. Dizz does most of the historical research in this pre-steam ship era. There are two Harbor Masters, who are battle coordinators: Kayseer Voss and Peeble Oh. A special note of recognition is that Chandra Pelazzi of Shack N Chateau Designs, has worked for a year rebuilding nine sims in the estate, and welcomes custom build requests.

The following is Morgan Straits Event Schedule


Alternate Monday 11 AM Events
Ship Wreck Battle Race 11 AM SLT
Rum Race 11 AM SLT

Navy vs Pirate 8 PM SLT

Blood Bath Tuesday 3:30 PM SLT
Cargo Shipment from NB 7 PM SLT

Alternate Thursday 2:30 Battles
Defend Yer Arses Ye Bastids! Melee/Sea Battle
2:30 PM SLT
FFA Sea Battle 2:30 PM SLT

PE - Defend the Tower Melee 4:30 PM SLT

Weekly Events:
Tilted Kilt - Open 12 PM SLT Mon - Friday, closing times are determined by battles.

Sea Shanty Tuesdays! 5-7pm SLT -Nobody's Inn
New Brunswick with DJ Alleykat

Morgans Market - Wednesdays 12-3 PM SLT

Special Events:
Men In Kilts - Saturday, September 24th 3 PM SLT @ Salty Crab -Morgan Straits
DJ - Flamia

Halloween Costume Party - Saturday, October 1st 2 PM SLT @ Morgan's Docks

Mer Ballet Performance Sunday, October 16th 1 PM SLT @ Morgan's

Formal Ball - Saturday, November 5th 2 PM SLT
@ Pirates Keep
Bosun DJ

Here's Morgan Straits Points of Interest!

There are beautiful sims and caves for you to explore freely.

The Tilted Kilt - Saber Point:
A pirate tavern with a Scottish theme. Live dancers to entertain you, with a feisty
bartender to keep yer mugs filled.

Hours of Operation

12-4 PM SLT
12-3:00 PM SLT
Wednesday 12-3 PM SLT in the Morgan Straits Market
12-2:15 PM SLT
12-4 PM SLT
Hours reflect Morgan's Battle Schedule. The Titled Kilt often stays open longer, if yer there, we are!

Morgan's Market Day Wed 12-3 PM SLT:
Wednesday's 12-3 PM SLT. There are free stalls for your items, come in before 12 to set up, 50 prims, remove all items at 3, and remain on site during market hours. Dance with the Tilted Kilt gals, 'ave a pastry from the baker, get a free hat from the hat maker, or a bath if ye smell a bit off! All welcome! Cheers!

The Salty Crab - Morgan Straits:
A pirate pub located on Morgan Straits Docks
Without regular hours of operation, but used for parties and gatherings by anyone in the estate. See Migizi to book dates.

Dead Man's Tales - Skeleton Reef:
Thursday Nights 8 PM SLT
An evening around a Rebel campfire, listening to pirate stores that will tingle your senses and tantalize your mind.

Teagues Tavern - Dead Man's Reach:
A feisty tavern where the Rebel Pirates and friends dance the hours away. No set hours of operation.

The Tatr'd Sail - Pirates Keep:
A open air venue for live music located on Pirates Keep Docks. Event notices sent out for events.

Morgan Straits Battles:
Most battles start in Morgan Straits Sim. Battles are announced through group notices.

Sacred Lake - La Dominique:
The heart of Dominica is a little lake called "Sacred Lake" by the Kalinagos the last Caribbean native tribe! Take care and be respectful, in character you'll be savagely hunted! Never a pale face that has seen the Sacred Lake has sailed away alive!

Smilla Fredriksson, Artist - La Dominique
Visit our island and keep your eyes open, you will find some of the more than 1,000 pictures she’s done so far in SL.

Native Area - Shanshara
Shanshara offers a message of peace and tolerance! For the Sanatos tribe, even if Kalinagos allied, the Shanshara (mother earth) is open to everyone who come in peace!

Aztex Palace:
You are also welcome to visit a realistic Aztec palace!

Mer Art Gallery - Ashlands
A beautiful underwater tour through tunnels, which feature artwork. It leads to ancient ruins and private hideaways. A must see.

Blood Red Flamia - Pirates Keep
In a remote little house in the swamp, the owner has a den and artistic studio.

Netera Landar

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Noah’s Ark

I was recently told about a Noah’s Ark build in Second Life. Handed an LM, I later used it to head to the Necros sim. Arriving there, near me was a huge ship on a hill, both taking up much of the length of the sim. Getting inside is via a long ramp, walking past the title “Noah’s Ark” on the side. Three decks high, one enters the ship on the third.

Written on the wall is a brief overview of the story of Noah and the ark. On the table is a list of instructions Noah was given about the construction of the ark, including it’s dimensions of 300 cubits long, fifty cubits wide, and thirty cubits in height. There are a number of tables full of tools around, as well as some gardens. There’s a potters’ wheel here which you can sit on to use, and receive a pot after a few minutes. You can also use a plane on a board or scrub the deck.

Deck two is where the animals are. In the middle are cages with birds and insects. on the edges of the room are stalls with various animals. There’s also a picture of extinct animals, and a pen with dinosaurs in it, a rainbow on the pen when clicked revealing a notecard, the writer feeling there were probably dinosaurs on the ark, referring to the “behemoth” descrbed in God’s conversation with Job (Job 40:15-24). Only a small area of deck three is accessible, the builder of the sim feeling it was used tor storage of food, water, other supplies, and ballast.

Outside of the ark, the path leading down a hill leads under a rainbow. Further away is a picturesque scene with various trees, waterfalls, ponds, and more. A number of these items were up for sale. There’s also a small church, named the “Greenwood Chapel,” next to a cross and a number of bells. People can go into the church and sit on the pews. On the church was a notecard dispenser. The card revealed the creator of the place as a Dragomir Greenwood.

Here I am known as Dragomir Greenwood, on the Internet at large I am BountifulKnight, but at home and church, I am simply George. So why am I in Second Life? When I saw a preview about it on a television show, I had a very strong feeling that if people were coming to this place, then Christians needed to be here too. I determinied that I would come, learn about it and build a prayer chapel here... and so I did. Secondly, I saw some potential here to earn some income to support my family. As of the moment, I'm still in the beginning stages of that venture having learned some lessons the hard way, but it is beginning to show some promise. As the apostle Paul made tents to earn his own keep, so I make things here in SL.

An interesting Biblical build on the Grid.

To get to Noah’s Ark, head to Necros (191, 175, 68)

“May God bless and keep you and draw you close to Himself that you may live in His abundant Love.” - George (Dragomir/BountifulKnight)

Bixyl Shuftan

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Railway Stopover at Jopsy's

As I was tooting along the GSLR railway I saw a familiar sight in the distance. A hot air balloon I visited probably about 4 years ago. I decided to go back to renew my acquaintance with Jopsy's Pendragon's delightful particle places. There is a chair placed before a choice of TPs that will take you off into the sky in the balloon.

I took the ride, first, to the Cloud Chateau in the sky. After debarking I sat and enjoyed a spectacular particle display. This is listed as one of the oldest particle shows in Second Life. You are offered ”peace and welcome to all,” and can enjoy the music while you watch the show. It is a kalidiscope of exploding motion and ever changing color as it evolves before your eyes. It looks even better than I remembered. I think it is a relaxing place even though it is vibrant.

On my next balloon ride I took off to visit the Particle Lab in the sky. The last time I wast here I had no clue of what was going on . Now, I could never use the information but I at least understand now that Jopsy has made a “university” for those who want to major in particles . I can see that all the information here guides those who are fascinated with making particles and using them properly. There is a sandbox for practicing also. Green arrows will direct you on your way around the lab. I made my way back to the hot air balloon after my walk around.

My next flight brought me to the Vehicle Lab. A sign there told me that it is ”unfinished and opening soon," but that I was welcome to visit. It is another section of the university I see, with information for building all sorts of vehicles for a variety of movement around Second Life. I might be able to try building one of these from following the processes laid out here. After looking at the dates on the notecards, I wonder if this part of the university will ever be finished. But there is plenty here to keep one busy learning. The building is massive.

My next destination took me to “The Whale.” As I entered I was invited to join the Cycle of Life experience and enter into the grotto of lost souls. It is an introspective experience that I enjoyed. The next part of my voyage I had to work. I was handed an oar at the entrance of the caverns and had to guide myself through the maze while admiring the sights. It was a more extensive and interesting trip than I thought! As I took any easy way out by mistake I found myself in Jopsy's secret sandbox where there is work going on. There I found a lovely map of the entire balloon rides. There are many.

Again, this is a place that I will have to leave before I finish the tour or you may never read about it! I think you will enjoy a visit to Jopsy's place. If you like some of the articles you see don't miss the store you can shop for them before you leave. Jopsy describes himself as "a mix of Puck, Pan, Puff, Kringle, Elric, & Giger. He lives to tinker, create, teach, and flirt." I have to agree, though I have never met him.
I recommend starting here to catch the hot air balloon and then you can choose your own route to adventure. It is right next to the railway in Slate (20, 183, 41)

This is not my last stop! Off on the rails to future fun!

Gemma Cleanslate

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

NOAA Island - Virtual Weather

I first reported on NOAA Island in March 2008 for Second Life Newspaper, set up by the The National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration, the government agency in charge of research of the oceans and weather. The Meteroa sim, about a year old at the time, was interesting then, and three years later still has much to offer those wanting to know a little more about meteorology and oceanography.

To get there, just type "Meteora" on your map and teleport over. The sim will automatically place you in the entry point. Just north of the entrance is the Real-Time Weather map. A map of the United States (save Alaska and Hawaii) shows the temperature and cloud cover & rain over the country. The map is not static, but updated as conditions change about every eight minutes, the data recieved by NOAA.

South of the Weather Map is Science on a Sphere, which contains a hologrpahic display sphere viewed from inside. To the east is the Tsunami simulator. Activating it, a siren goes off, and under the surface the ocean floor shakes. This is followed by the water drawing away from the beach, then a massive wave crashing down and wrecking the nearby buildings. This is probably one of the more entertaining places on the island, and I've seen at least one youtube poking fun at it.

To the south is the Sea Life area, where one can take a sub to observe plant and animal life, a hydrothermic vent, and a cave. To see inside the cave though, you need to either exit the sub or pan around in. The southwest corner of the island has the glacier simulator. Activating it, the hillside (and anyone standing on it) get encased in ice, and the water level nearby drops.

The northwest part of the map has the Hurricane Plane Ride and the Weather Balloons. By grabbing a balloon, or getting on the Orion hurricane hunter plane and taking off, one can fly up to see the hurricane high up in the air near the island (or you could just fly up their on your own).

Both the submarine and hurricane plane can be quirky. The first time I used the plane, somehow it got it’s tail caught in the hangar and would not move further. When I tried it more recently, it took off normally, then in mid-flight near the hurricane, it vanished, leaving yours truly to free-fall into the water below. The sub was stuck in the docks when I got there, so couldn’t use those either.

What has changed since March 2008 is the sim now has some neighbors. North of Weather Island, one can take a look at an Alaskan port and go on a virtual crab fishing trip. To the west is Okeanos, or NOAA Second Island. There, one can go on a survey vessel, clean on oil spill, study algae blooms, and look at coral. There was also an archeology dig. Curiously, there were some purple "streamers" nearby, but I didn't find out what they were for. South of Okeanos is the Second Earth sim, which offers a gigantic globe.

To the east of Meteora is Energy Island, which had what looked like a supercollider wraped around the place. Strangely, the Island was blocked from entry. There was, however, a smaller floating island overhead with a few exhibits. Why the main island would be blocked to most if the purpose of the place is education is unclear (though probably one can work in a joke about government agencies).

Despite those small flaws, the NOAA region can only be considered first class, even after a few years. It is a must-see for any Second Life resident even remotely interested in science.

To get there, head to Meteora (176, 160, 27). You can also find it in the Destination Guide.

Bixyl Shuftan