Friday, January 21, 2011

Cape Able Gallery

Feathers Boa sent an invitation to her opening at the Cape Able Gallery and I arrived a little late but made it. To my surprise there was my friend Gentle Heron of Virtual Ability. Little did I know that this is a sim related to promoting the disabled in SL.

I found out that the Cape Able sim is owned by Virtual Ability. The Gallery is lovely and the exhibit hosting four SL artists is definitely worth a visit. On the lower floor, you will find vibrant fractals by Piaget Hax in one hall. His note card explains it all! In the next hall is an exhibit of John Brewster’s 19th century portraits
of the early American citizens, brought into SL. There are note cards about the gentlemen and ladies in the portraits and numerous children’s portraits with some history of the child.

Moving in to the next hall you will find the haunting SL photos of Kirk Smythe, photojournalist. Each of these artists is disabled in RL, but oh so able. You can pick up a note card in each hall about the artist and their SL and RL. Above on the second floor you will be able to view and interact with the enchanting works of Feathers Boa. They are very intricate and in some cases as I have learned, have deep, intense personal meaning.

After touring all the exhibits I was introduced to Treasure Ballinger, the estate manager. She told me she is always seeking disabled SL artists to display their works in the Art Gallery and if you know of a deaf or disabled artist they are asked to contact her. The present exhibit will be there until the end of February so you have time to get there.

If you would like to learn more about Virtual ability you an visit the website Before you enter the Gallery pick up a note card that gives a wonderful explanation of what Cape Able is all about and a thought provoking statement about who is the disabled.

To visit the gallery you can use this entry point: Cape Able (103, 147, 23).

Gemma Cleanslate

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Tron Legacy Adventure

My friend Erin Fensen, who loves everything that moves fast, suggested I check out “Tron”. She and her friends have been playing there recently. The role play is a tribute to the movie and is huge, covering the sims of Vixens Isle, Pattern, Rebma, and Amber. Start the adventure at Tron Legacy Adventures-Medie, Vixens Isle (167, 233, 2454).

You will arrive at the Rez Restore Point at the End of Line Club. This area has the traditional grid of Tron, a dance ball, couches for socializing, and information about the RP sim. Notecards were easy to find and give you a quick update on the area and lingo used in Tron. This makes it easy for a novice to get into the game quickly. Membership in their group "Amber Racing Association” is free.

Walk up the ramp to the right to go into a HUGE play area. This is a place for some serious fun. Free Tron clothes and a demo Light Cycle are available here so you can get into the mood immediately. The area is decorated with set pieces from the movie that are so big they wouldn’t fit into a photo.

While I was looking at the clothes and light cycle, resident AmyLee Rexen arrived and rezzed her Legacy BETA 7 cycle. Rexen offered to let me ride it, and she assured me it was easy to shift and control. But when she warned me that it will blow up if it hits a wall, I decided to watch her ride. Rexen said she is in training for combat. She tied in her first attempt when she and her opponent both hit their own light trails. “But it was still fun,” she said.

The sim is very active, and three or four residents arrived while we were chatting. Resident Spooko Zauberman came by to ask about the cycles and the RP. Group member Rhaiyu Ninetails, who had joined us, was friendly and explained many of Tron’s amenities. “We have the club located here, of course, which serves as the entry point,” she said. “Most of us enjoy being here, close to the entry point, and socializing. Vendors are located to the northeast of the sim. The south contains the Lightcycle battle grid, and further south includes a tank battle region, plus Kevin Flynn's home while in exile.” Ninetails told Zauberman that the light cycles can be bought in the mall and also in the Marketplace online.

When I heard the word “mall” I knew where I wanted to go. The first shop I came to, Sugar Shack, was having a Grand Opening special---free Tron clothes. Even if I don’t return for combat, I knew I couldn’t pass up that bargain. The suit looks like a snowmobile outfit, and I can definitely use one of those. The mall area has a number of Tron-related stores and room to expand to a second floor that is reachable by escalator. Flynn's Arcade is nearby, but I didn’t have time to check it out.

The Amber region is already used by many residents for drag racing, and the Light Cycle racing arena will be found here. Superbikes and Gee Bee Aerial Racing is also done here.

In addition to the playing in “The Games”, other RP opportunities exist, such as being refugees on foot or bike racing to get past the tanks, rescuing friends, making secret contacts, uncovering plots, or reaching the Safe House for the next part of the quest. The only thing better than watching the 3d Tron movie is living it in SL.

Grey Lupindo

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Starbase 11 - Classic Star Trek Sim

I recently heard about a Star Trek sim made in the style of the original series produced in the 1960’s. The announcement read, “... our friends from NERD CULTURE celebrate the opening of their dorktastically detailed realizations of the classic Star Trek's Starbase 11, the U.S.S. Enterprise, Deep Space K-7, Zefram Cochrane Homestead, and more!”

Beaming over, once out of the small welcome center, I was greeted by the sight of several unearthly buildings on the rocky surface of an alien world with a purplish sky. The only signs of native life were the odd plants that occasionally could be seen next to the sidewalk, which Trek fans might remember from an episode or two. And looking around, Trekkies would easily recognize the style of the desks and computers as that of the original series (TOS as it’s sometimes called). The area had a small shop named “Cyrano’s” after the con artist in the “Trouble with Tribbles” episode, and an art gallery at the top of one of the buildings.

Through the transporter (teleport) pads, one could go to other places. Deep Space K-7 was a space station of which one could look out the window and see ships drifting by. Then there was the USS Enterprise. Going down the halls of the ship, not all of the doors opened, but some did. There were individual living quarters, plus sickbay.

While at the sim, I ran into one of the people there, Alexander Chronowire. He explained that this “newest incarnation” was being finished after work over a few months, “although we've built other Trek sims over the past couple years, this is the culmination of all the ideas - not just a ship, but a starbase, space station, residential areas, and a second sim dropping any day for more stuff we've been building. ... It's been a lot of fun. All the other Trek sims are ‘ modern ‘ Trek. We're just all huge fans of the The Original Series style - that retro 60's look. (smile) ... The sim was built more as a work of art.”

Alexander mentioned some roleplayers were already making use of the sim, “it's not really set up as an roleplay sim, although people are already dropping by and taking over the Bridge for fun. ... There's a group that comes in during the morning a few days a week now. They run around the ship and do their thing - it's great. None of us who built this place are roleplayers, so it’s fun to watch people ‘play.’ “

Of the residential areas, “if you beam aboard the Enterprise, and head for a turbolift to Deck 6, there's about 18 cabins on the deck that are rentable. If demand dictates we'll add another residential deck. But for now, people are just learning about us and slowly moving in. (smile)”

Of the second sim due soon, “there will be another ship, styled in the Pike era of design, and we'll be moving K-7 over there as well. This will give us more room for rentals or other projects on this sim, which is a full, the 2nd is only a homestead.” I asked for more on the “Pike era,” which was the time of the pilot episode about fifteen years before the time of the classic series, “the first pilot of Star Trek had several design variations from the show we all know. So, we're building a ship we hear about and finally saw in the remastered version of The Original Series in Charlie X, the USS Antares - so we're using the visual look of Pike’s ship, the captain from the first pilot of Trek inside the Antares.”

Starbase 11 is owned by Jon Indianawood. Lora Chadbourne is the primary builder of the landscape. It is at the Cruzoria sim at (201, 190, 26)

Bixyl Shuftan

Monday, January 3, 2011

A Visit to Ocean View Medical Center

When a RL flu bug spoiled my plans for a great SL New Year’s Eve, I had plenty of time to think about SL medicine. I knew a lot of hospitals exist here, but I had never gone to one. I usually try to visit more fun and exotic places. But on Sunday morning, while I was still coughing and sniffling but feeling good enough to visit in-world, I decided to look at the health care options available here.

Some SL hospitals specialize in maternity or a specific time period while others, like Ann Meyers Medical Center, are affiliated with RL hospitals. I chose to visit Ocean View Medical Center, located at Tender Heart (160, 204, 22), because it sounded pleasant. I didn’t know anything else about it, which isn’t too different from RL where the choice (if there is one) is usually based on location.

Ocean View Medical Center is approximately 3 months old, modern, and currently has a staff of about 10 people. Sunday morning was very quiet, not unlike a RL ER room. I was the only patient, and Dr. Geena Inglewood was the physician on duty.

Ocean View’s lobby has a number of informative signs about the services they provide. Many of the notecards emphasize that they are a RP hospital and not really a medical facility. The notecards advise residents who are experiencing a RL illness to contact a RL professional. I had to wonder how many people might try to get medical advice here in SL either due to RL costs or other issues like privacy or time constraints.

One of the interesting services provided at Ocean View is medical insurance, including family coverage for up to 4 residents. For those of us who are uninsured, however, payment for services is due upfront. At Ocean View an ER/urgent care visit is $200L.

While I was reading the information, Dr. Inglewood came to see if I needed assistance. A resident since 2008, she is very professional and knowledgeable. In RL she has worked as a nurse assistant and midwife. Although RL medical experience isn’t necessary to work here, the ability to empathize and communicate with residents is essential. Inglewood said working at Ocean View is very much like working at a RL hospital. Ocean View treats a lot of SL children, who need everything from school shots to broken bones mended. The maternity ward is also very busy.

This SL hospital is staffed like any other hospital. There are positions for receptionists, nurses, physicians, dentists, orderlies, lab techs, and medical director. Each position has different duties and requirements. Applications and information are available in the lobby or by contacting the hospital Chief of Staff, Caramel Luminos

After the formalities of paying the fee were completed, I followed Dr. Inglewood into a treatment room. She washed her hands thoroughly. Then she took my medical history, temperature and blood pressure, and asked about my symptoms. Even when faced with the challenges of treating a foxette, Dr. Inglewood was professional and never broke out of her role as the treating physician. The lab work, which was included in the ER charge, showed that I had strep throat. But I am happy to report that after receiving treatment and medicine at Ocean View, I have totally recovered.