Monday, February 28, 2011

Space Destiny Island Sim Closing Down March 1

Checking out Daniel Voyager’s Blog, I read about a science sim that I hadn’t heard from in a while: Space Destiny Island. One of the “Sci-Lands” sims, it is a great sim with places that both inform and entertain. Unfortunately, it is about to vanish from Second Life.

Porting in at the LM given for Space Destiny (85, 94, 24), a short distance to the south is the Liyana Hall, which offers a sign and notecard explaining about the sim, and has a small picture gallery with a few exhibits. Also hear the entrance is a display explaining about the Sci-Lands in general, along with flags of the countries of people whom sent donations to help pay for the sim. Down a trail to the west is the Solar Hazard Research Center, which explains sun-related dangers such as solar flares. Over looking it on a hill is a planetarium.

Going east of the entry point across a bridge, one will find Sustainable Communities, which explains a little about how certain skills familiar to 19th century pioneers and the Amish will prove useful again to planetary colonists, notably the need to be self-reliant with just the resources at hand. The Midrivers Project Space Center discussed health and well-being in space, mentioning of the “vibrating dumbbell” on TV commercials, saying its origins were in the space program. It also mentioned Tuna Oddfellow’s Odd Ball, saying the psychological effects the show has on some people could prove useful for researchers looking for drug-free ways to relive stress and homesickness on astronauts. North of that on the coast were displays of aquaculture (farming in the ocean), and “Sea-steading” - structures for living and research built over the ocean like oil rigs.

The northeast part of the sim is Skylon, it’s huge rocket plane visible on the map. Here one will find exhibits on aircraft and ariel science, as well as a flying carpet to take you around. Down the east coast are exhibits on space stations and rockets. In the southeast corner of the sim is the Study Centre for Food Production in Controlled Environments. There, one will find exhibits on agriculture in space, notably a centrifugal force chamber to simulate gravity in a space station (plants don’t get dizzy). There was also a link to a Youtube of the University of Arizona’s CEAC Lunar Greenhouse (

Just down a path west from the Food Production Center is a recreational area with lounge chairs and dance floor. Looking around, I found a notecard with a LM to a Trek roleplay area over the sim (157, 207, 2048). Going there, I found a Trek space station: Outpost 17. Looking around, I found a dispenser that could manufacture phasers, datapads, and Starfleet uniforms: gold, blue, and of course red. While there, I ran into two members of the RP, Flea Habilis and Yoiko Hax. “We've about two days left,” Yoiko explained, “Still not sure exactly what's gonna happen to our station here. ... At least everything's backed up. Even a lower prim version -just- in case. ... I feel worse for everyone on ground level. As many times as Space Destiny seemed to change direction, they all preserved.” Their RP was also known as Space Station Hideki.

Exactly why the sim is closing was not explained, though they did say everything was being set up on Opensim, with people invited to contact Silviana Jenvieve (Dr. Jenny Oliver in RL). So those able to go to Opensim will still be able to see it. For those who can’t, Monday February 28 is the last chance to see this educational sim.

Once again, the entrance is at:

Source: Daniel Voyager's Blog

Bixyl Shuftan

Thursday, February 24, 2011

SL New England

SL New England is located on the united sailing (open waters) sims. This group of sims is in danger of being scrapped seemingly due to bad management. In an effort to save the location, a handful of residents are attempting to generate some public awareness and interest in the area.

Various areas are located on the estate, including Mystic, the Village, Dove Cottage, Fenimore Art Museum and Mystic Beach. In addition to shopping, multiple events are held regularly, including art exhibits in the square, music concerts, marina parties, fashion shows, weddings, scavenger hunts, fishing derbies, just to name a few.

Arriving at the LM, I was presented with two boards: one was a group joiner and the other was an opportunity to take a walking tour of the estate. I clicked on the tour ball, jumped on and began the tour.

SL New England is a series of 35 sims designed with a New England theme. One of the regions is Mystic and one is Nantucket. This is where you will find the SLNE village. Beautiful waterways and beaches are everywhere.

On Nantucket is the outdoor theater. This can be accessed by swimming or sailing up if you like. Musical performances are usually hosted daily. A recent concert featured Simon Voix in the town of Mystic. Hailing from Argentina, Simon plays an ecclectic mix of rock, soul Brazilian funk and Latin rythms on electric, classical style guitar with percussion backing tracks, He is inspired by the American rock & roll music of Jimi Hendrix, Living Colour and 70's music, soul music of artists like Stevie Wonder , Ray Charles, Marvin Gaye and the Latin rthyms of Carlos Santana & the Afro Cuban Musicians. This is just a sampling of the many musical performances that take place in New England.

Also located in Nantucket is the Nantucket Barn. Not your typical barn with horses and cows, it boasts 2 floors of New England Merchants. At the Barn, you can purchase anything from a ship to a blouse. Definitely worth exploring for all you shoppers! At The Nautical Shop, you can find items from maps of NE, boat oars and other boating items and sealife artwork.

At the marina, the largest, three-masted schooner belongs to the harbor master. A visit there will inform you about available slips. Beware of the brig though, there is zero tolerance for piracy. Boat prices range from $L250-$L4000.

Slipping off the pier and into the water, much to my surprise, I landed straight into the underwater world of the Mermaids! All types of merfolk avatars and attire can be found in these depths. There's truth in the saying "you never know what you will 'fall' into."

In the heart of Nantucket is Nantucket Square where art exhibits often take place. A simple click on the Art in New England signs will allow you to join the group and be kept aware of exhibits planned. Many of the shops are historically built and much of the other builds are based on actual buildings throughout the RL New England. Outdoor cafe tables are scattered throughout the square.

A virtual New England port town would not be complete without its share of pubs. The pubs also have swim-up entrances which aid the Merfolk but are utilized by all. Relax in a pub with a view to the water and watch the ships sail by and come into port.

Please help support this gem of sims. Have a visit, take a boat ride, make a purchase and donate if you are able. Inquire about renting a home or shop. Your patronage of this charming, quaint area may save it from taking its place in the SL landfill!

Shellie Sands

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

A Visit to the Criss MCA

I am always happy to get a notice of new artists being displayed at the Criss Museum of Contemporary Art . It is a pleasure to visit the Alajuela sim and the Museum building itself is intriguing. Go inside and you will find three floors of exhibits, each dedicated to one artist. They are usually very varied in their works and that is true of this exhibit.

On the first level you will find the the fascinating art of Sedge Roffo. His pieces are all created in SL and not in real-life. I recall some of his builds from the SL birthdays and Burning Life 09. He has created a process called primagery. Some of his “sculpts” are in the exhibit for you to enjoy. Climb the stairs to the second floor and there you will find a very different atmosphere in the midst of the works of JadeYu Fhang. JadeYu’s pieces are ethereal in my eyes. She says,” There is no split between the "virtual " universe, and the "real" one, as they are commonly named.” And that is the feeling I get when I gaze at her works.

Archibald Sideshow had his pieces on the third floor so don’t miss the stairs. His art is stunning and each takes some time to absorb. As you move from floor to floor you can pick up a note card about each artist and their philosophies of art as well as their backgrounds. I see that Scotj Criss the CEO is opening some galleries in the rear of the museum building for rent by artists to display their works so take a walk out to check the new area. A good starting point.

The gallery is located at Alajuela (184, 76, 22).

Gemma Cleanslate

Monday, February 21, 2011

Cap Estel Goes Safari

Maurice Messmer’s latest SL work is wild. Really wild. He has turned Cap Estel into the Serengeti. Start your adventure at Cap Estel Goes Safari, Cap Estel (229, 223, 53).

You can tour this Serengeti by giraffe or by horse. Hop on the giraffe or use the saddle rez station to get your pick of one of the four horses. They’re temporary, but they will last as long as you ride them. I picked the giraffe tour since I have horses at home, but I’d never ridden a giraffe. Their gait is surprisingly smooth.

As you ride into the Serengeti, you hear its sounds: beating drums, roaring waterfalls, and snarling wild animals. Cap Estel Safari is teeming with giraffe, zebra, Oryx, hyena, sable antelope, and even a rhino. Messmer is known for his realistic scenery, and he has outdone himself here. I felt like I was in Africa as I walked on the cracked, dry earth, crept past the animals, and peered over steep gorges filled with rushing water.

Near an old VW bus I met resident Melanie774 Kidd. She had just finished making a video of her giraffe ride around the site. The video is posted on YouTube at

We chatted about how much we both enjoyed Messmer’s work. Kidd said this was the first time she had seen one of his sims. She learned about it from another SL resident, Shoji Kumaki, who displays photos of Messmer’s work in his gallery. “I love his photos,” she said, “so I had to come see for myself.”

After our chat I continued my tour of the Serengeti. I walked across the rickety rope bridge that spans one of the gorges. On the other side I found a tall observation tower and complimentary sweat towels and water. After that hike, I needed them. In keeping with making his places special, Messmer has even made the water bottles special here. All of the SL bottles and cups that I’ve seen are scripted to automatically give you a drink, whether you want a sip or not. But with this water bottle, you are in control. You only sip when you touch the bottle.

After you hydrate, climb up the tower. It’s a tall one. But you’ll be aptly rewarded by a great view and a cold bottle of Beck’s Beer at the top. Rest up in one of the Adirondack chairs to enjoy the brew and catch your breath. If you’re in the mood for some authentic African music, touch the drum.

When you go down the tower, walk toward the middle of the area, away from the rocks, to find a zebra herd. But be careful. Danger lurks in this jungle! I saw a number of slithering creatures.

As interesting as the Serengeti is, it’s only half of the Cap Estel Safari experience. A tropical jungle waits below, and you can reach it by grabbing onto a rope swing that is near the trail. Hold on tight to descend into the heart of the jungle. You’ll land at a platform that has security screening around it for your safety. Immediately you’ll see and hear the richness of the jungle -parrots, hummingbirds, moneys, and insects of all kinds live here.

Follow the torch lit path around the lake. Here the landscape is lush and beautiful, a treat for the senses. Take your time and linger. There is much to see. Colorful butterflies flutter from flower to flower, and a baby chimp plays on a swing. Hippos lumber in the shimmering water, but a small pile of bones reminds you to keep alert.

When you reach the cafe, you can pick up one of their yummy blueberry crumb muffins. Take a moment to sign the guest book, too, and drop a few Lindens in the tip jar if you can. All those hippos probably eat a lot. Then relax in one of the chairs on the deck. The pesky dragonfly will hover around you, but he won’t bite. Look for shadows on the water while you’re resting. Messmer has thought of everything.

When you’re finished feasting your eyes and your sweet tooth, you can find a quick TP behind the fan. It will zip you back up to the Serengeti. I’ve already been to Cap Estel Safari three times, but I’ll be back again soon. I always see something new each trip.

Grey Lupindo

Friday, February 11, 2011

Arctic Greenhouse

My friend, Kulta Hannu, knows I love freebies and flowers. So when she sent me a note about Arctic Greenhouse, a new site where you can win free flowers by playing puzzle and memory games, I couldn’t resist.

The games are located at the Arctic Greenhouse at the Alternate Reality sim (148, 161, 25).

You will rez onto a game platform that is surrounded by sofas, a table of coffee and cupcakes, and the games. The game level is underground, below the arctic ice. Surrounding the platform are plants, steam vents and volcanic activity.

The memory game has 5 levels, each one progressively harder and more complex. The goal is to match the flowers hidden under squares. After an easy first level, bombs appear. Touch the same bomb 3 times and you lose. Just when you think you have the hang of it, tornado squares begin to appear. Touch one of them and the board gets scrambled. It‘s a fun and addictive game!

There are five tables of this game so there shouldn’t be a wait to play. The prizes change daily, too, so you can return and play again. The night I played, I won a beautiful potted aloe.

The two puzzle games are harder. Picture pieces of the plant prize are scrambled in a frame. The goal is to move the pieces around to form the correct picture. The first night, they defeated me. But I returned in the morning with a fresh cup of coffee and triumphed over the first puzzle. I’ll tackle the second puzzle another day.

At the end of the platform is a transport bubble that takes you to the main greenhouse above ground. Or you can go there directly at Alternate Reality (143, 139, 54). The greenhouse is filled with beautiful plants at very reasonable prices. There are Valentine Day specials, too.

The Arctic Greenhouse is the latest creation of Logan Bauer, a SL resident since 2004. At the Greenhouse he has created plants that are low-prim but don’t look low-prim. He has used sculpts and other magic to make them detailed and beautiful. Walk around outside the greenhouse, too. There are a few trees and plants for sale outside. But watch out for the baby dinosaur!

Grey Lupindo

Friday, February 4, 2011

Casablanca Hotel

Recently I visited The Casablanca Suites & Hotel Beach Resort, located at Casablanca Hotel (207, 51, 32). The Hotel was built by Patch Thibaud, and Frolic Mills is CEO. In addition to the Hotel, the Resort includes a residential community, convention center, country club, chapel, shopping, theatres, and more.

The Hotel Manager, BlackBarbie Bravin, has been the manager for 6 months, and she has one of the most glamorous work sites in SL. She gave me a VIP tour of the hotel, including a luxury suite and penthouse. We met in the lobby, which is a bold mix of red, leopard, and black. A subtropical floral centerpiece, created by Lilith Heart of Heart Nursery, accentuates the exotic luxury of the Casablanca Hotel. The red and black couches are perfect for meeting friends before an evening out.

Two small shops are located on the left side of the lobby. Casablanca Boulevard has unique sandals, and KPD (Kathrin Pearl Designs) has upscale ladies fashions. My favorite KPD is the Autumn Winds ensemble. It’s an entire outfit in a box: mini skirt, sweater, belt, bangles, brown leather boots, and a sculpted fur jacket (fake fur, I hope). In addition to the lobby stores, Bravin told me there are over 80 shops located here.

Rich, gold paneling carries the exotic theme from the lobby into an area that serves as a meeting room or a space for small parties. Deep red carpet gives this room a quiet, plush feel. Five small couches, each with a table big enough to hold a pair of wine glasses and a cheese tray, are located along one curved wall. A hallway gleaming with polished black marble leads to the formal ballroom. Bravin said the ballrooms are available for guests at no additional charge, and non-guests can rent the space for special events. They have had weddings and dinners in the formal ballroom. Glass doors open out to the lake side of the Hotel. There are water fountains, a nearby mall, and even a white sandy beach where you can catch some rays.

On the opposite side of the Hotel hallway is a spectacular infinity pool. You can sit at one of the umbrella tables, sip a tropical drink, and gaze at a stunning view of the ocean. For a more romantic evening, there are four private dining tents on the far side of the pool.

The most fantastic part of the Hotel—the suites and penthouses—are not public. There are eight regular suites and two penthouse suites. Bravin explained that for privacy and security reasons the rooms are accessed by landmark only. The rooms are available, however, for residential or limited rental. Approximately 4 to 6 SL residents live here full time. Contact her for rates and details.

First Bravin showed me the suite, and I was amazed at how spacious and beautiful it was. The living room had a fireplace and lots of room to entertain. Beautiful art and floral arrangements are found in every room, too. Bravin explained that Frolic Mills, along with Editorial Clarity, did the interior decorating. There was also a large bedroom with an adjacent bath.

On our way to the penthouse, Bravin told me that the Casablanca Hotel is home to a SL celebrity. Miss Virtual World 2011, Serene Faith, has a Master suite here. It was part of the prize package she won in the pageant.

The Penthouse was also lavishly decorated. The first floor was spacious, and it also had a fireplace and romantic balconies. A small staircase led to a hot tub that was tucked discretely in one corner. Another staircase led to a second floor and additional rooms. Bravin explained that any of the furnishings could be changed or removed at the guest’s request. “The goal,” Ms. Bravin said, “is to make you never want to leave.”

The Casablanca Hotel reached its goal with me. I would have loved to stay longer. When I mentioned to Bravin that the Hotel would make a lovely Valentine get-away, she smiled and said they already have a Valentine’s Hunt planned. The dates for the Hunt are February 14 – 28. I’ve already marked my calendar.

Grey Lupindo