Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Cartoonimals Sim to Close

Daniel Voyager had some unhappy news on his blog the other day. The Cartoonimals sim would be closing in about a month. Owner Duggy Bing had put the region up for sale, saying “real life projects” were taking up too much of his time to keep the place.

Cartoonimals was a store, but its creations are so funny and whimsical the place is well worth a stroll through just to chuckle at the goods. There’s a wide variety of items from virtual pets, wearable and grounded, tip jars, novelty items, and more. The place is arranged in a circle so the sections are fairly easily accessible. There's also a roller rink in one corner, presumably designed for social events at one time.

Duggy will still be selling his items on SL Marketlace, plus his vendors will still be up in various places. He stated some details in a notecard:

I’m dropping you a note to let you know that I’ll be closing Cartoonimals in about a month. Real life projects have been taking increasing chunks of my attention and I simply haven’t had time to devote to creating new products and attending to marketing (never was too good at that). It was a terrific couple of years and a very rewarding experience. Not a single customer issue that could not be easily resolved….in SL that’s saying something! I want to especially thank those of you who helped with ideas, scripting, building and support.

I’ll continue to offer my stuff on Marketplace, as well as through affiliates. I will be inworld at least once a week to assist customers and replace missing items. As always satisfaction guaranteed.

So again, thanks so much. If I ever find a Third Life I hope you are all there!!!!—Duggy

Treet TV took a look at the place in 2009, and the video is still in the archives. But it’s no substitute for visiting the island yourself. Head to Cartoonimals (162, 157, 24).

Bixyl Shuftan

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Forgotten City

The city hovered on rocks high above me as I made my way in on cobble stone roads, passing a a marker, like a gravestone , on the way that said “Forgotten City.” It was a long walk over several bridges until I came to a sign that said elevator. I pressed a button and down came an ancient box. I had no idea where I was so after pressing a few buttons a cage closed and I went up to level 2. The cage opened and I almost stepped into an abyss until I realized it was a two way cage and stepped out the back door carefully.

This is a silent empty sim with magnificent buildings to explore. The doors are impressive and the wall paper in one of the lavish buildings spoke of older times as did the parquet floors. No furniture remained and no portraits on the walls. I passed a neglected sign that said "Rent a House." I came across the first automaton in the square stationed in a kiosk that said "News Tobacco and Souvenir Stand." I glimpsed a lamp lighter in the distance but as he approached I saw it was another automaton. I was to see many more as I walked along . They are the workers who keep the City going.

I came across a fantastic steampunk water wheel behind the houses and stopped to watch it work for a while wondering what purpose it served. I saw a zeppelin take off and vowed to take a ride in it next time it came down. In the meantime I set off to visit the Capitolorium. There some wonderful eclectic pieces of art on the walls inside the building . The centerpiece in the entrance way is an old fashioned train set with locomotives and cars rounding the tracks of a miniature village with miniature people waiting to board the cars outside a the station. The tiny towns have familiar names to me: Chesterfield, Bellows Falls, Brattleboro ... all in the state of Vermont in the USA and I have been to all of them. It is a sight not to be missed.

I stopped in the saloon to watch the dancers on platforms move around and around. Out back in the courtyard I found a map of the city recommending rentals of the abandoned buildings. As I roamed I did find that indeed some people have returned to take up residence in the city in various corners . So perhaps in the future perhaps it will come to life again. I finally caught the Zeppelin and took a ride over the city. It is a great overview of all there is to see there. There is an intricate system of pipes running through the entire area carrying power from the waterwheel I assume in the form of steam. I found the port with a schedule of vessels that come by at various times and you can hop aboard or you can take a row boat and explore the canals.

I was lucky enough to meet the owners and creators of this spectacular sim. The newest addition to the city is a Winter Park (you will need a mesh viewer at the Winter Park) with ski jumping and other fun activities, and I went there and sat down to talk to them. I was interested in why and how the sim became. Jenne Dibou and Mandy Marseille are the creators of the City. Mandy explained “we had a different island here, called SOL Solution Island, owned by a good friend, and built too mostly by Jenne ... but that friend left SL and so we had to decide to go homeless or try to build something that's more than a playground for us. Something 19th centurish thing, but more Central European than British, so the build style is really a mix of 'fantasy' and secession/jugendstil, a kind of branch of Art Nouveau that was common in the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy and the story is basically that our dear renters (who we love very much!! *smile* ) or explorers arrived here around 1885ish ... they have discovered this city in the middle of nowhere really. And they realized that people are gone, even though you can see Lincoln or Napoleon had once visited this place.”

After I left I paid a visit to the JD Mechanical Toy Factory. That is a must and you can find teleports around the Capitolorium and in the streets to take you up to it. Outside you will be able to try some of the games available. Horse racing was great fun! Choose your horse and watch it win or lose. Play poker with a friend. I lost! I tried the shooting gallery and did not do too badly there. Inside the factory itself you can purchase lots of fun steampunk items including creepy avatars, automatons, flying machines, motor vehicles of past ages, and entire buildings. It is a steampunk aficionado’s delight!

In the meantime plan on a long visit to the Forgotten City. As I look at the last view of my visit I know there is more to discover. It has been a while since I have found such an amazing sim to visit over and over. Perhaps I will see you there. It will be not so much "forgotten" but unforgettable.

Forgotten City (175, 210, 35)

Gemma Cleanslate

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Pure Land: Exploring Buddhism

There are so many lovely, quiet places in Second Life where one can go for contemplation, either religious or meditative. I have written about some of them. A friend passed on a land mark to Pure Land Buddhist Practice in Takeuti.

It is very easy to see that the owner has arranged a place where one is able to move around to all the individual shrines in a peaceful setting. As you explore there is a mandala where you can sit and sip from a choice of drinks while you read the notecards and learn about the practices of Buddhism in this sim.

You are invited to join the group which in its mission statement says, “If you join us, the only thing we ask is that you are a respectful seeker. We are open to, and welcome everybody. Current beliefs or lifestyle do not matter. What matters is the practice. What we practice, and what we teach – through that practice – is the Dharma as taught by the Buddha. Truth is One, the sages speak of it by many names. Anybody can discover that One Truth. All of us have different experiences, all of us can contribute.“

You are invited to visit the various shrines and you will find a teleport board with all of them listed there. One TP you must take is to the Space Egg where you may float in meditation or try Reiki. The principles or Reiki are listed on the board. There are many thought provoking elements to be found in the Egg. You will also find a tarot reading area in the Space Egg. It is a sublimely quiet place to spend some time.

When you TP back to the Information Center you will see a schedule of all the Buddhist Meditations that are available in Second Life with the days and times and will be able to pick up the landmarks for each of them. The information Center is here: .

Gemma Cleanslate

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

The Mitt Romney Information Center and Meeting Area

Last month in December, I heard about something that seemed a little off to me, a Mitt Romney dance club. Actually, the name listed was “Mitt Romney for President.” Curious, I decided to investigate, and teleported over.

For those not in the know, presumably mostly outside the North America, Mitt Romney is one of the leading contenders to be the Republican Party’s candidate for the Presidency of the United States. In 2008, there were several places on the Grid that were either the locations or planned locations for builds to publicize both Democratic and Republican candidates for their respective party nominations. And now, one had arrived for 2012.

Arriving at the club, attendance was light. But the enthusiasm of the people seemed to show in their “Believing in America” tags. The partiers whooped and “Yaaaaay”ed and gestured much like other clubs I went to. Stacey Zirgar was the lady DJing for the club. Noticing the club listed her as the owner, I spoke to her when the event was done.

“I didn’t plan this,” Stacey spoke of the party, “I just kinda got it there. I figured the best way to get the word out was for me to DJ.” I asked how a club with a political candidate’s name on it came to be, “It’s not really a club. I am a DJ in SL, and I DJ at a lot of clubs, but I created this for a couple reasons.” She wanted to educate others about Mitt Romney, as well as make a place like-minded supporters. She found no one around when she dropped by the GOP Cafe, “so I decided to make this place today. There is nothing for Mitt in Second Life, so I rented this parcel, set up the office in the back, got the group, and all the rest of the stuff I had in inventory.”

Noticing a larger building in the back, I asked if that was the information center. “It will be,” Stacey answered, “and a meeting area.” She invited to show me around, though told me she had yet to put in much detail. In the land description, she put, “This office is for supporters of US Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney. Weekly meetings and events will be announced through this group. If you want to volunteer, please contact Stacey Zirgar: .” She told me she had a fundraising page on his website, “I don’t take fundraising money in Second Life.” I asked if the place would remain open until Election Day should Romney win the nomination. She told me it would.

Stacey didn’t have anyone else helping out at the moment, “I just started this today, so I have to get the word out.” She did have a classified ad somewhere, and had a donation jar if anyone wanted to help pay for the cost of the land. She had a $500 US dollar fundraising goal, “but mostly this will just be for information and meeting others who also support him.”

Stacey told me she’s also a DJ in real life. On the Grid, “I have tons of stores in Second Life, so I am really a business-oriented person." It wasn’t long before she had to be elsewhere, and we parted ways.

I dropped by again this week. Although the land was still in Stacey’s name, the stage and info canter were gone. Perhaps she is in the middle of rebuilding. The group "Mitt Romney for President" and her fundraising page are still active.

"Mitt Romney for President" was at Mastic Beach (103, 133, 22).

Bixyl Shuftan