Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Second Life Geography

By Becky "Sha" Shamen

When we began writing for SL Newser, in 2013, our first article was about the major continents, or mainlands, of Second Life. In that article, it was calculated that one could undertake the longest possible journey, without use of teleportation, by traveling from the Southern tip of Satori all the way to the Eastern end of Gaeta. Readers were challenged to attempt to verify this, by making the journey themselves. On the above map, this journey is shown by the red line. Seven months later, one of our alts, a dragon named Katzu made the journey, which covered 25 miles and took three days to complete.

If you have been following my articles in the Newser, many of them are about adventures to places, scattered all around the virtual world, called "The Grid". As each article is being prepared, we open a "world map", which can be found in the viewer and at the website. From this map, we can pinpoint the location of the planned adventure, on the grid, and make local maps, to show greater details. The map, shown above, is a composite and shows the main part of the grid. There is more to the grid than shown here, but these fringe sims are, for the most part, used for premium account homes and land developments by LL. We have surveyed some "fringe" sims, but found little in the way of adventures to write about there. All of my articles for Newser took place at locations on the above world map. In preparation for new articles, I ask myself where have I not been and what have I not done. This time, I found myself asking, how big is the virtual world and how many people live in it. The search for the answers to those questions proved to be enlightening for me and I felt would also be of interest to readers of the Newser. An online search took me to a web page called, "Second Life Grid Survey". This page is updated every day and the world map is also adjusted daily. Let's have a look at what I found, on the Grid Survey, Christmas day.

The total number of residents is given as 44,357,627 Keep in mind that a large number of these could be alts or even bots, so that brings it down a bit. Fortunately, there are closer to 30-50 thousand online, at any given time. How much space do all these avatars have, to move about in?  The current number of sims is 24,909, with 13% of them rated for [G], 67% for [M] and 30% for [A]. The total area of all sims, sea sims included is 1632.44 square kilometers. That means, if you packed all the sims into one, giant square continent, it would measure 25 miles on each side, 625 Sq.Mi. (green square on map), or slightly larger than the city of London, England. If all of the 44+ million came on at the same time, and spread out evenly, there would be 1700 avatars on each sim. The entire grid would shut down, long before they could all get on. With the typical number of people on line, spread out evenly, the number would be a more comfortable 1.5 avs per sim. This is more like the numbers I see, when I visit sims to write about. When avs gather for events, lag increases, because they are being rendered by the computer that you are viewing them on. Most of us can handle a party of about two dozen avs, but there are some clubs and events that attract such large crowds, low end computers get stopped in their tracks, literally.

Some final words on the grid map:

You can use the world map in your viewer or at the site. and zoom and pan to see all of the grid. I found the composite maps online, added details and reduced the size to fit here.
The gold diamond, just below center, is the location of the Sunweaver Estates, home to the SL Newser and this reporter. Download a copy and find your home sim. I'm going to hang the map in my castle. The sims are on a blue base, giving the impression of islands on a vast ocean. In fact, most of the blue area is really space which has no sims or servers at all. If you could go there, which I recently did, you would experience being a singularity. There is nothing to see in any direction. You cannot move and even your [HOME] button won't work. You are point A. There is no point B.

The base map would also make an incredible movie, with each frame advancing one month since the beginning of Second Life. Another animation could use overlays to show population densities, over a day or week. How about an animation that shows everybody that's on with a dot of different color,depending on the time zone the player is in real life. I don't know if the data needed to make such animations exists. It would be a major project, any way you look at it.

We hope you have enjoyed the little map-hopping adventure. Hopefully, you'll be inspired to get out and blaze your own trails, in our vast virtual world. There are endless adventures for all of us.

Happy Trails,


Thursday, December 24, 2015

The Sunweaver Estates

By Becky "Sha" Shamen

When one contemplates the workings of the universe, adjusting our perceptions of scale and time, to view it in it's entirety, down to the tiniest sub-atomic particle, we discover it is all controled by a single fractal formula. This formula is the matrix of life. Everything is connected and part of the whole. The universe is a living thing. It and all of it's parts, for optimum health, act as one. Small lives gather to form greater lives, with greater powers, from clod to god, as the saying goes.

The Sunweaver group is founded by Rita Mariner and is about nine years old, with 660 current members. The group's roots go back to a gathering on the MUD sim, that came to be known as MUD's Women. As they grew in size, the gathering moved to Pockwock and filled half the sim. The first full sim was named Sunweaver Isle. I wasn't around, when they decided on the name, but have always felt it inspires faith and hope in a greater life. Over time, new sims were added around the isle. They were all connected, up to 9-10 at one point. The included map shows an up to date view of the cluster of sims, Sunweaver Estates. The six sims are connected face to face, permitting ground and air traffic, from end to end. Boating will involve a short portage on HV Community. A new roadway allows ground traffic and has a single rail trolly to all the Sunny neighborwoods. I'm a Sunweaver Highway Junkie. I'll walk, ride or fly the length and back, several times a week, discovering new points of interest and making new friends. We'll take that journey, checking out some of the points of interest in a moment.

There are other sims which are tied to Sunweaver, but not "physically" connected. A few sims distance to the East, we find Sunweaver Isle, Rita's home. There are isles between her and the main group, but they parlez vous Francais and little else is known about them. A few miles west of the cluster, you'll find plenty of Sunweavers on the Purrfection Estates, especially at theme parties, Tuesday and Thursday nights, at the Happy Vixen Beach club. To the South, there are MLP themed sims,which, at one time were connected to the Sunweaver sims. I should mention that, although Sunweavers are predominately Furries, they are open, friendly and helpful to all other avforms.

Hop on my jet hover bike and we'll take a quick tour of the six connected Sunweaver sims. We'll point out some of the better known points of interest. We could name many more, but a) after all this time, I am finding new interesting areas and b) you should come and explore them for yourself. We'll begin at the Southern end, my home in Second Life. My life long involvement with family, friends and community carries into Second Life. As I explore the grid, for new adventures, I always keep an eye out for signs of evolved communities. I've found quite a few fine communities and, for most of my years in SL, have lived in the one I love the best, Sunweavers.

Sunweaver Bay

 When I am not out exploring the SL world or dancing at the many local theme parties, you'll find me keeping watch on the sim and teaching new members how to build, make clothing and be good citizens. My two castles are always open to the public and often have house guests,staying until they get a place of their own. The bay has two large nightclubs. Cutlass VI hovers above the bay and, as the name suggests, has a long, successful history. It's open on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday nights, for theme parties. You'll find plenty of friendly folks there. Bring your funny bone and try to out-pun Bix.

On the N.E. corner of the sim, we find a dark castle, Primal Passions club. This club is owned by Rayven Tentigo. The atmosphere is "Noir" and attracts a different clientele than Cutlass, but also hosts Sunweaver events, like the Kiss concert for RFL. There are also two smaller, less known clubs, to gather with friends; the Drunken Parrot Pub, located at the trolley stop and the Rainbow Club, hidden behind the Fire Station, for those that like Reggae music to chill by. Two more stops, before we leave the sim. To the East of the fire station there is a large structure with a landing strip on top. The interior houses our Sunbeamer RFL team meetings and a museum of Sunweaver history in pictures and 3D models of sims. East of the air strip, be sure to visit the Fimi Memorial Tree house. As we take a last look around, the Castle towers, tree houses, air strip and Sunbeamer's HQ and flying night club give us the impression, the inhabitants of Sunweaver Bay have their sights set to the heavens.
Sunny Beach

This sim is still trying to decide what to be, when it grows up. For a long time, it featured surfing and a beach club. After that, Club Fur made it's home there, for about a year. Currently, it is available for rent and wears a winter coat of snow. I call it the over the river and through the woods sim. Although in reality I avoid cold climates, this sim has always been a favorite place to chill. Those wishing to make this homestead sim their home can contact Rita Mariner or Nydia Tungsten, for details.

HV Community
As we head East, to this sim, we are greeted by businesses on both sides of the highway, including Angel Creations, Alien Wise Enterprises, Hidden Valley, Brandi's, Angel Beach Land Rentals and SL Newser's office. There is far more to this sim than just the 9 to 5. As we pass the Newser office, we thumb our nose at Bix and head for higher elevations.

As we climb, we note that a good portion of the Northern part of the sim is owned by RECoyote and his partner, Perri Prinz. At ground level, it's a wonderful playground, for kids of any age. At the higher altitudes, they have skyboxes and platforms for their lofty pursuits. Perri's Spectral Shadows Art Gallery is a showcase of her story telling talents. Higher still, we find the Vinyl Museum, a night club featuring Perri and other master DJs. The club is currently dormant, but still in the same location. I caught up with REC, in the club and was told it would always be there. I noted that it had a new name over the door. We look forward to when events will be held there again.

While we are thousands of meters up, notice there are many sky objects to navigate around. Passing through this sim, the radar shows that most of the residents are in the sky. Ahead, you will see a large, man made moon. Within it's phantom shell, you might find Ranchan, building her next generation star craft. Dropping altitude to navigate, we again head East, to the next sim.
Sunlight Bay
This sim is mostly water, with the highway and trolly passing through it. On the East side, there is a large castle, the home of Nydia and Brandi Tungsten and friends. I understand the castle is open to the public and, if your timing is right, they might even show you around. I have written about it before, so we will move on with our tour of Sunweaver. We are now heading North.
Sunweaver Space
This is one of the older sims in the group and has a large and varied population. Space was the previous home of club Cutlass and right below it is the Sunweaver Mall. There are also some cool venders on the S.W corner of the sim. This reporter loves going shopping. You'll also find me here, every Sunday night, at the Feral Fury, watching movies, provided free by Shockwave Yareach, with my friends. There's even free popcorn. From Feral, we head down and find ourselves lining up for a landing on the final sim.
Pacific Waters
We come in for a landing at Farshore Field and taxi off the runway. There are some vintage aircraft, lining the tarmack. At the Far end, check out The Puddle jumper Mall. On the S.E. corner of the sim, there is a seaport for ships and sea planes. Around the perimeter of the isle, a race track allows you to test your latest hot wheels. In the hilly woods, in the N.E. quadrant, there is an underground bunker/clubhouse. There's no guard posted, so walk right in and take the elevator down.
This sim is the work of the well respected Cynthia Farshore. She and Shockwave built Cutlass VI, together.
In this article, I have given the names of a handfull of Sunweavers out of the 660 total membership. Dividing the few by the many, I have introduced my readers to the most notable one percent of Sunweavers. For closing comments, I asked what people liked about Sunweaver. I'll end with a few of my favorites.
Shockwave, "I like it here. That's why I stay here."
RECoyote, "Y'all are my kind of crazies"
Bixyl, "I've lived at a few places before the 'weavers. Most didn't last very long. I've probably called it a "prac-topia" at times. Not an utopia, but as close as one can practically get. Little drama and level headed discussions on how to handle what issues we have."
The saying is true, "When you live in Sunweaver, you get more than land. You get a community."

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Winter Wonderland

By Gemma Cleanslate

Finally, now that the Christmas Expo is over I was able to get to the Winter Wonderland that the Lindens put up for lots of winter fun. To get there, you must start at the Portal Park which is in its wintery Christmas décor. Walk down the path leading to the portal itself and just jump on in. You will be transported to the lovely whimsical village. 
A big red gift box awaits you in the gazebo in the village square. In the box is a cute snow globe with snowflakes and a howling wind when you click it created by Garden Mole. Take a look at the signage in the village to guide you to the various sites you will want to visit. The snowball arena is sometimes busy with avatars hiding among the rocks and waiting for unsuspecting newcomers or having a full blown snowball fight with the weapons you will find there. At the ice skate arena you will find several pairs of skates of different sizes from which to choose. The Ferris Wheel is very popular with couples and gives a terrific view of the entire land, and the huge snowman that watches over all. 
Another favorite area is the Winter snow track that winds in and out and around the hills and arenas and offer a great track for those who love speeding over the snow on a snowboard that you rezz.  It looks like something left over from construction).  The region windlight offers a glow to everything around and a pleasant environment for your visit. I wonder if the Lindens will be in for a snowball fight? I have to check into that! I did! There will be a gigantic snow ball fight on December 21, Monday, between 10am slt and noon!! Oh I hope I can make it!!!
Before you leave the portal park look around at the other offerings ther . This is where you can start many adventures. Each path from the center leads to some different activity: The Linden Realms, Paleoquest, a social place and more. There are free gifts by several of the paths so look for the boxes. 

Gemma Cleanslate

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Dark Dharma's Haunted Manor

By Becky "Sha" Shamen

At  our last Newser staff meeting, I was asked to prepare an article about a sim, designed by a big name Second Life artist. After visiting the exhibit however, I was more than disappointed. So I looked for somewhere else to explore. As I looked through the Destination Guide, one quickly gained my attention, "Dark Dharma's Haunted Manor and Haunted Forest." Dark Dharma was the creator of the North Pole Village & Santa's Workshop, which I had just published an article on. I was impressed with Dark Dharma's work, because it goes beyond mere technical abilities and effected my heart and mind. I felt sure that this artist was well qualified to scare the socks off us and just had to go see for myself. Yes, we are well past Halloween, but for two reasons, I'm offering it here and now. For one, this artist had impressed me and two, when my daughter was young, she talked me into playing a video game, called "Alone in the Dark." I stayed up late, many nights, playing ahead so I could coach her through the scary parts. I learned a good trick on that game. Each time I got to a door, where I knew there was a big challenge awaiting, I would save the game, so I didn't have to start from scratch if the ghost killed me.

The first thing I do, at any new sim, as things begin to rez, is take a look around, check the map to see where I am on the grid and check radar to see how many avs are there. I noticed, across the street from the haunted house, a shop that sold scary props, used in the haunted house. In a small graveyard to the right of the shop, there were about a dozen complete avatars for sale. When I saw the Elvira (Cassandra Peterson), I knew I had to buy and wear it for this adventure.

Dressed for the role and approaching the entry to the manor, we are informed that music should be turned off and sounds turned up. Personally, this theme is one that has always given me the creeps, so I was already on the edge of my seat. I will not spoil this adventures for my readers, by scouting ahead and warning you of any dangers, the way I did for my daughter. However, I will tell you there are indeed dangers and, like in "Alone in the Dark", they will send you back to your home sim. One misshap sent me to a location between sims, a Limbo I didn't think was possible in SL. The only way out of this Limbo was to restart the viewer and begin from scratch.

In all, I was very impressed by what Dark Dharma created here and I am pleased to share this adventure with my readers. Don't be surprised if you find a tombstone with my name on it there.

Benten (87, 220, 28)


Monday, December 14, 2015

Calas Christmas Sim

By Gemma Cleanslate

One of the most beautiful regions to visit during this season is the special separate Christmas sim put together by Ty Tenk and Truck Meridith of Calas Galadhon sims.   It is always so spectacular in all its effects from the entrance to the North Pole. When you arrive enter a sleigh for a ride through the sparkling snow laden woods that will eventually arrive at the Pavilion.
After you admire all the wonderful foliage around the Pavilion and the skating lake, enter the open doors to the great hall and turn to the right to see the package filled Christmas tree room with its cozy tea setting. (Before you reach the room there is a table of gifts for group members) The magnificent Tree room is just jam-packed with boxes large and small. Far across the great hall is another charming room with cakes set out for company and a roaring fire to warm the skaters. I always find friends sitting and chatting about the wonders of the region. Couples dance in the great hall guarded by large toy soldiers standing at the doorways. 
Outside again, the snow is blue in the windlight and skaters fly by on the ice solo or in couples. I took the hot air balloon ride with Daniel who was filming a video. It travels above the ground all around the entire sim so you can view all the decor.  Then it begins to rise slowly and passes into a “wormhole” as Daniel called it and on up past the glowing Aurora Borealis and finally arrives at the North Pole. 
A charming village of buildings line the street there with Santa’s reindeer resting in their stable and in front of houses. I visited the several toy factories just filled with toys and musical instruments ready for delivery  I stopped inside a home to view the decorations, and sat on Santa’s bed (I think). The elf house was very neat with all the beds made. They were nowhere to be found in the village or were wearing a cloak of invisibility. There are two ways to get up here to the north pole. The balloon ride which gives you time to relax and enjoy the trip, or if you are short on time there is a teleport by the balloon.  
The This sim is here until after Christmas but don’t wait too long to visit or attend the parties in the Pavilion. Dress warmly! Thanks again to Truck and Ty for their gift to the residents of Second Life.

Gemma Cleanslate

Friday, December 11, 2015

Santa's Workshop

By Becky "Sha" Shamen

When searching for the next great adventure to take my readers on, there is one thing we can all count on. If you can name it, there is probably already a sim for it. With that in mind, we are pleased to find that a search for "Santa's Workshop" provides us with a whole list of sims to explore. In theory, the search will list places with the highest traffic (popularity?) at the top, so we head to "North Pole Village and Santa's Workshop" at the Winter Porvoo sim (208,136,127)

Porvoo sim is located in the part of the SL mainland which is perpetual winter, so we were prepared for a snowy landing. As our suroundings came into focus, we spot some signs. The first sign informs us that we must follow the path, to get to Santa's Workshop. A larger sign calls attention to the fact that there is a Santa's Elves Hunt in progress. There are 12 gifts, well hidden in the workshop and North Pole Village. We are advised to click everything, if we want to find the hidden gifts. As we walk along the path, we keep our eyes open and our radar on and notice there are many other avs on the sim, enjoying the adventure. A message comes in local chat,for maximum effect, turn of Music and turn up Sounds. Wearing headphones makes it even better. As we negotiate the path, the wind in our ears, snow crunching under foot and the tintinnabulation of ice crystals bring up the thought that it's beginning to look a lot like Christmas. At the end of the path, we find a signpost, showing the direction to the various local attractions.

   In the search for Elf gifts, I wanted to leave no snowflake unturned and began by exploring the near-by Crystal Cave. Seen one crystal cave, you've seen 'em all, is our first impression, as we enter, but the soothing sounds and colorful lights weave their way into the mind.  It wasn't until I began writing about it that I thought something strange had happened there. I returned to the scene to revive my memories and yes, there was indeed an abominable surprise within.

Across from the cave entry, we climb the stairs to the workshop area. Here, you will find, in addition to the toyshop, the launch ramp for Santa's sleigh, the reindeer barn and a garage for sleigh mechanics to work in. You can even buy a full size animated reindeer here. Moving on, we find the toyshop. This area is full of wrapped presents and goodies to buy, to decorate your home, for the holidays. You'll be here a while, clicking on everything, to see if any provide free gifts.

Leaving the workshop area, we enter the North Pole Village, to see what it has to offer. Here, you'll find the Bakeshop, the North Pole Post office, the North Pole Newspaper press room, Elf Comm Central and the Elfamentary School, all around a central skating pond.

   At Elf Comm Central, they have a high tech, computer communication system, to keep tabs on who's being naughty or nice, so you better watch out. On the hill, behind the center, they even have their own coal mine.

Santa keeps his elves well educated, thanks to the Elfamentary School. We stopped in for a lecture on toymaking, that kept getting interrupted by the new elf, behind me, Alfred Elf.

Seems that at least one elf prefers learning on his own. At his vacant desk, I spotted a big yellow book, called "Toymaking for Dummies". Perhaps it can be ordered from Amazon and arrive before Christmas.

After a fun adventure at this Santa's Workshop, I made a quick stop at another destination, where a "Santa's Workshop Photo Contest" is in progress. It turned out to be a promotion by the near-by mall and only open to their group. I snooped around a bit, to see if they had any seasonal backgrounds, for my Christmas card photo and noticed an oddly familiar old building. There was a gathering of people and animals, so this reporter inched closer, to see if there was a story here. What a great joy to find, after traveling to the four corners of SL and even to the moon, for a story, your humble informant is given a photo-op with the King of Kings.

Peace on earth, y'all,


Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Winter Holiday Village and Calas Galadhon Park

By Gemma Cleanslate

One of my favorite  skating places every year is Winter Holiday Village  that belongs to  Mairead Fitzgerald and Karra Babii. This is their 8th year of preparing a sim for everyone’s enjoyment.  Mairead is also known as Mrs Santa Claus and you will find her and Santa in the sims often at the many parties until Christmas or sitting at the ‘North Pole’ taking requests. I found elves waiting there by the throne for Santa’s arrival. 

It is always good to see the old familiar build but every year there is something new and lovely. This year there is a beautiful glass skating and dancing palace. I also saw a cozy camp with a fire where you can hang out while skating and there is a Grinch’s Greedy Parlor is you like that game. This sim has a really extensive skate way through a tunnel and under bridges and there are always people skating there.  Join the group so you know when the performances are held. Be sure to visit the Magic of Christmas shop which is always filled with winter décor and outfits. Cross country skis are available or take a tour in the carriage. Don’t miss this region :

Calas Galadhon Park as you already know is another of my favorites so I will mention it here now but will be doing another article about the  Christmas sim . The winter sims at Calas offer a wonderful area for skating over two sims . Cross country skiing is enjoyable and you will find cross country skis.    Near the bridge there is a rezzable carriage ride, or bring your horse for a trot on the snow laden roads and through the fields. It is always a great place to hang out. This is the entrance to the parks and from here you can walk to the huge lake or stop in town for a cup of coffee before you start:

Gemma Cleanslate

Friday, December 4, 2015

Telrunya and Christmas at the House of Avro

By Gemma Cleanslate

Nessa Zamora (Noralie78 ) has a marvelous seasonal sim called Telrunya which she calls “my expression, my passion, my greatest hobby in SL! It's also a home to me, my family, friends and whomever feels at home here.” In its winter glory with lightly falling drifting snow it is beautiful and welcome to visitors. It is a most relaxing setting with quaint small buildings to visit, a vast glass walled hall for eating and dancing. At the skating pond you will find free skates and some more elegant with a color changing hud for sale.  Grab a hot chocolate and hang out by the fire. As you wander there are other places to dance with your honey or relax by the fire in the lodge. Don’t miss the magical Ice Palace if you are looking for a quiet place to dance. The setting itself is very relaxing and charming  and Nessa suggests trying the region windlight for the best effect. but also suggests trying others. This is a great region for photographers.

Another great place to visit for shopping for any possible item you might need to decorate your region is Christmas at the House of Avro in Christmas Decorations sim. Two regions full of Christmas! It has “ 21 Top Christmas Creators selling festive wares including  Clothing, decorations, furniture and Christmas trees etc, Free gifts Downhill skiing, Ice Skating.” While I was there I took a tour on trolley car number 5. Try it!  I checked out the ice skating rink which has skating balls for singles and couples. Even if you don’t shop you will still have fun in the sims. 

Grab the notecard with easy tp points on it here. -

Gemma Cleanslate

Monday, November 30, 2015

Winter Scenes 2015

By Gemma Cleanslate

The rest of November and all of December there are so many wonderful places in Second Life to go skating, skiing, sleigh riding and so much more! I thought I had better get going on checking them out for you. My first visit was to the region called “Winter Scenes 2015," and I loved it! 

I found so many fun things to do there: Skating, rezz a horse and ride, cuddle with your honey, or try something new. I have never before bungee jumped in Second Life and found myself dangling on a rope plunging toward earth, and it was great fun! Many avatars were in the sim enjoying the fun. I got into a really good snowball fight by the igloo with a quick little avatar, SanderCohen1 Aeon. I'm not sure who won. It was a good start to my winter tours. The sim is the work of  Incendia Outdoors group owned by ĹυςĨё™ (Lucie Scorbal). I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

I thought for my second tour I would take a look at Mrs Santa's Christmas Market in Kikai. It is a delightful fair with lovely shops and  kiosks full of goodies, decorations and clothing and more. If you want to roam the town square and shop here is your place. Santa sits patiently waiting for visitors with wishes he will try to fulfill. 

I  took a sleigh ride which gave me a tour of the sim pointing out points of interest, a living manger , a chapel to stop by and light a candle or leave a prayer intention. There is a skating rink with free skates and a sweet carousel to ride. There are so many different creators here with such great outfits for the season. I succumbed to the temptation of some good bargains!! 

I found a few freebies around and discovered that there will be a hunt beginning in December.” In EVERY stall you will find a CHRISTMAS BAUBLE WITH A DATE ON IT. These baubles are part of the Hunt. Starting on Friday November 27. From this date until December 8  there will be TWO GIFTS available each day from December 8 until December 24 there will be even THREE GIFTS per day. Find the bauble(s) with today's date, click it and unpack your gift!”

In one large corner of the marketplace any designer will be interested in the shop called Trendy Templates for all kinds of outfits- amazing things I have no idea how to use . Before I left I took a turn on the skating rink and found Santa there skating around too.
Gemma Cleanslate

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Nirvana Island

By Becky Shamen

This writer is well known, to friends, as an old hippy. I have always strived to spread peace and goodwill to all living things. At a recent "Video games" theme party, I came in a Tomb Raider costume. With music from various games and talk of playing at war and shooting other players proceeded, I began to feel agitated. Instead of complaining or preaching, I decided to go find a more rewarding adventure and write about that. I opened the Destination Guide and immediately lit on a place that sounded peaceful and uplifting.

Nervana Island: Spiritually based... diverse traditions and systems are harmoniously connected. Lovely starter homes free in your first 30 days of SL  residence up at Spirit Path, Nirvana Island, New Paris . Notecard please to Sky Wildmist.

This sounded like a couple of other personal favorites, so off I went. Arriving and waiting for everything to rez, the first thing you notice is the peaceful music. As your eyes adjust, you find yourself in a beautiful garden sim. Many tame creatures walk about you, peacefully. Straight ahead, we see the Spirit Park Welcome Center. It contains a large map of the sim and TP buttons to each area. From above, the island looks like an eye. In the center are some large rocks, where you can meditate, surrounded by special effects. This is surrounded by a circular pond with a circle path that leads to odd shaped side paths, to other areas. Seen from the air, the paths look like letters in some Eastern alphabet. There could be a message, written in the landscape. See if you agree.

 The various areas each have their own flavor and purpose. They even have a nightclub, called The Lunar Lounge. In one building, I found their weekly event schedule. There is something for every day of the week. For those that want to take a piece of the peace home, there is a small shop, for incense burners, chimes and gongs, Buddha statues and wall art. All proceeds go to maintaining the sim. I snapped a few photos of wood carvings and a useful poster about types of feelings, for my own use.  I also got the URL for their music stream;

Just off the circle path, there's a beach with a memorial poster for Michal de Fuego, the island's beloved gardener, who passed into spirit, 11,11,2015.
I found Nirvana Island to be uplifting to the soul and added it to my favorite places. If you feel stress, from SL or real life, that's making your light grow dim, come to Nirvana and let it do it's magic. You'll be walkin' on air in no time.
New Paris, (177, 127, 1111

Monday, November 23, 2015

Torley Island

By Bloodykitty Rresident

This colorful place is called TORLEY ISLAND, if you did not know. Basically it's just a place to explore around or relax when you want time away from other people or friends, and trust me the times I been here there isn't anyone around really. Sadly there isn't a lot of information in the tp besides a description and name, so from what I assume it must be one of the linden locations around in Second Life. Even though there's barely any life in this sim it's still a interesting and colorful place to look around and chill in.

Like I  said previously I recommend hitting it up whether or not there's activity here because of the colorful scenery of greens and pinks, Torley's favorite color, especially because he likes watermelons. This place basically has a futuristic and modern vibe to it as well as a bit of techno to on the side. The great thing about this place is that he has up a sign called, 'What is Torley?' It is sort of a built in browser but for me it doesn't seem to load anything. I assume if it does work it basically tells you, well Torley tells you who he is. Of course there's always the way of Youtube and looking up the official SL Youtube channel or his private one where he does music and tutorials. I recommend you checking those out!
Overall I have no real problem with this kind of sim despite it being dead as dust. Sometimes places that are dead and not filled with so much life are places worth going to to relax, or even being there to be idle when your doing something in real life. Even though it's rare, sometimes I come and sit in the sim just to chill because I can't find many places to head to that aren't the same that's saved in my landmarks folder. I hope you enjoy your visit to TORLEY ISLAND!

Torley, (173, 151, 57)

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

"Watercolors In The Rain"

By Gemma Cleanslate

When I arrived back at the LEA Welcome Center from "The Bridge," one poster really intrigued me so I went over to Lea29 to check out the installation there. It is "Watercolors in the Rain," and I am so glad I did. This is a wonderful demonstration of real-life work rebuilt in such a successful way in Second Life. "In the real life novel, 'Watercolors in the Rain' (which this sim is based on), a tale of suspense, intrigue, fantasy and mystery unfolds.  As they say, "Art imitates life" and why would it be any different in Second Life? In the book, Watercolors in the Rain, Sorsha, is a very special, mysterious, and rare, white raven from Russia. She and her twin brother, Sasha, are an inseparable team that may not always get along, but come together to help their friends, Moxxie and Crud, solve the mysteries put before them,” is the back story of the sim. 

When you arrive you will be in an outer courtyard where you can just walk across a bridge into a part of the story, or you are offered a tp to various venues all of which you will want to visit. A story tree in each area will help you understand the theme going on there. One big plus to your visit will be a hunt going on. You look for a white raven and by clicking on it will get not only a gift but also a clue to where the the next white raven is found. I came home with a cartload of stuff even though I am not good at hunts.  I will let you follow the story boards as you go along. I went first up and down Main Street checking out the quaint shops, bookstores, kiosks along the street and looking for the raven. I took a carriage ride that offers you tours in that area, to the farm, the top of the hill where a  raven also await you. There is a balloon ride that will take you to another venue. Each has a story tree and its own charm. 

At the last venue I was lucky enough to run into the real-life author who goes by the Second Life name of Surreal Skytower. His name is David J. Lavigne in real-life and he wrote the novel "Watercolors in the Rain." He told me a team put up the installation : 5aba1 Resident ,55aaa Danick, Mollie Tison,  Gearboxclock and himself.  Of his real life book he says, “My novel was published earlier this year. If you are into vampires, werewolves, shapeshifters, Victorian London and Jack the Ripper, this may be the read for you. If not, thanks for checking me out anyway! “ You can find it on Amazon and it looks like it is not his last! I hope you enjoy your visit as much as I did mine. 

The courtyard:

Gemma Cleanslate

Monday, November 16, 2015

The Mayflower Exhibit

By Becky "Sha" Shamen

Last November, our Editor, Bixyl Shuftan, wrote an article about the Mayflower and Plymouth Colony Exhibit. ( ). Recently, Bixyl told me they had taken the exhibit down after Thanksgiving, but might have restored it, for this season. He suggested that I go and see if I could do an update on the story. When I visited the site, the exhibit was indeed restored and was exactly as his article had described. To add to the story, I would need to write about my own impressions about what it would be like to be one of those early American pioneers. There are numerous signs, around the exhibit, that give information, but, to fuel my imagination, I search the Internet for additional details.

  The first thing discovered was how small the Mayflower was. Excluding the bowsprit, the ship was only 80-90 feet long. Today, that might be a good size for a personal yacht, but how many passengers could endure spending months packed together, like sardines in a can. The exact number of passengers is unknown, but is estimated to be, counting Pilgrims and other adventurers, crew and Captain, 135. Of that number, only about 30% of them were actually pilgrims. 

  The cargo hold offered no additional space for passengers. It was filled with all the things needed to build and feed the new community, at least until their first harvest.

  Due to a late start, bad weather and rough seas, that nearly wrecked the ship, they could not build houses in time for winter. The ship served as a winter home, for everybody, until the following March.

    These pilgrims were committed to dropping out of conventional society, to live in a hostile wilderness, to better tune into a higher calling. Tune in, drop out? They remind me of the hippies, living in communes, that we knew so well, in the late 60's. Makes one wonder what else they planted, besides corn, beans and pumpkins. Having lived in hippy communes and spent much time helping develop communities, one gains respect for these Pilgrim hippies. Crazy as they might seem, they helped improve the goodness of life, for the whole world.

  When we visit historic re-enactment sims and imagine being a part of it, we form an eternal link with it. Becoming eternal is a joyful experience. If you want to be a joyful part of history, I invite you to come explore the Plymouth Colony.
  As I sit down to the thanksgiving feast, I imagine myself giving thanks, for finally getting off that crowded boat. Next time, I'll travel by VW bus.
Zundra (230/69/21 )

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Creations Park Revisit

By Gemma Cleanslate
I have not been over to Creations Park in a long time, though I had it in mind to get there soon  to include the Winter Wonderland  in my winter sports articles. I saw that there was a reopening of the Art Gallery so I made my way there to see it. Bryn Oh had some pieces for auction for the benefit of Team Fox  in the Gallery. Creations Park is here for the purpose of raising money for Parkinson’s Disease Research through Team Fox. The gallery is lovely and is filled with many Second Life artists’ pieces.  
I had not gone through this delightful sim in a long time so decided to hang out there for a while. There are TP boards through out the ground area where you click and end up in a cute taxi that carries you to the location you choose. I used it several times just for the fun of sitting in the taxi. I did walk and fly because there is so much to enjoy in the decor of the sim itself. The views are lovely with many trees, flowers, shrubs everywhere. The  quaint boutique area has many of your favorite merchants shops (a portion of the sales go to Team Fox). I succumbed to buying several outfits but also found some lovely gifts in several shops. 
I took the taxi over to the cafe and spent a few minutes sitting in the comfortable setting there with a cup of coffee. Next I went over to the beach and wandered around where there are places to relax and enjoy the sand and sun. I spied the hot air balloon so took off in that to gaze down at the whole town and surrounding venues. On one side there is a Castle and on the other a Palace. So my next trip was to climb the steps of  each and get a different view of the region. There is a Stable where you can get a demo horse and ride the lanes. I saw someone sitting in the lovely gardens for a long time, meditating I assumed . It is a soothing place.  
There is a TP center where you will be able to reach the other wonderful areas . Down under the waters there is a magnificent merfolk place where parties are held sometimes, so dive in to see it. The Ethereal place is well named as it is ethereal. Paths lead to different ‘temples’ where you can enjoy dancing, hanging out, waters and more surrounded by magical color . Peace Place is an outdoor venue with tepees , totems, homesteads and buildings remeniscent or the Old West. Waterfalls and ponds make it another place to relax and meditate .  The Winter Wonderland area  is a favorite of mine and it is always there regardless of the season . So if in July you want to ice skate you can. 
I was able to visit on Sunday when ‘The Drum’ was performing for the benefit of Team Fox. This amazing group performs rhythms on various drums and setups in great costumes . There are always activities and events going on in this wonderful region. I recommend you get over there to visit if you have not been before. I wrote about this lovely sim several years ago but am happy to revisit and discover anew. Bixyl interviewed the owner , Barbie Alchemi  several years ago too. I am so glad to see the project remains in Second Life.  will put you at the TP center where you can choose your next destination. 
Gemma Cleanslate

Wednesday, November 4, 2015


By Becky "Sha" Shamen

As I began to plan on which adventure to entice my readers with next, I remembered buying an outfit and making props for my previous article, "Once Upon a Cure". I had intended to show that whether or not a thing is true, it can still lead one to finding truth. I included a picture of a white rabbit, wearing an Alice costume, pondering which way to go, to get to the real Wonderland. Alas, I did not write that into the article.

We all know, from reading Alice in Wonderland, she wakes up from a dream, so no amount of scientific evidence will ever convince us that Wonderland can be located in real life. But, what about in Second Life? Sure enough, using search, inworld, brings up "Dysphoria Wonderland", located in the Oxygen Island sim. It was described as "The Best" version of Wonderland, that Second Life had to offer. If that's true, I needed to go there and write about it. I changed my av and costume and clicked to TP to Wonderland.
As the scene rezzed, at the landing, we see a large tree, with a white rabbit and a hole at the base. A message, in local chat, tells us to walk to the hole. Doing so, we fall down a deep hole. About half way down, we land on a platform, with objects floating about it. Somehow, the place feels familiar. Have I been here before? I knew I needed to step off the platform and continue falling. At the bottom of the hole, we find ourself in a large round room. On one side, there is a small door. In the center of the room is a large glass top table, with a key. At the base of the table, we see a box, labled "Eat Me" and a bottle, labeled "Drink Me". Flying is not allowed here, so clicking the box puts you on top of the table. I took the short-cut and just panned my cam to the table top, to get the key. Now I know why this place seemed so familiar. To get the key, you have to join a group and it costs L$200. I had been this far before, but, at that time wasn't interested enough to pay the fee.
This time, I had a story to write, so I joined. Any future visits will be free. Key in hand, I click the small door. The door opens to a blank texture which, when clicked, puts you in a crawling animation and switches to a view of crawling out the other side, in Wonderland. A note, in chat, tells you to stay on the path, continue to the end and then stop. In places, the path is a bit hard to see, but as long as you proceed around the sim in a counter-clockwise direction, you will see everything, even if a few water hazzards slow you down. We are reassured of having gone the right direction, as we spot the Cheshire cat, sitting on a tree branch ahead. As we approach, he slowly fades from view, leaving only his familiar grin.
Before we proceed, I should tell you, try clicking on any interesting objects and furniture you spot. Many of them contain gifts or surprises.
Our next landmark is a house, the home of the white rabbit. Be sure to go up to all the floors, to see what little tricks he has placed there, for your entertainment.
Proceeding down the path, we next find it blocked by a large black widow spider and her web. Clicking the web will get you stuck in it, with the spider inching it's way closer. After getting free, try going around and getting back on the path, on the other side.
Next up, we come to a windmill. In the front yard, there are tables and chairs. We, instantly, recognize this as the Mad Hatter's Tea Party. The other guests seem to have left, leaving a mess behind. As we sit, for a bit of tea, we discover one of the guests is still there. A sleepy doormouse sticks his head out of the sugar bowl. You may decide to drink your tea, unsweetened. We get up and go inside the windmill. Click everything, as there are many free prizes to be had here.
Moving along on the path, we notice a forest of giant mushrooms and think we know what will be found here. I start looking for a giant caterpillar. He wasn't there, but a butterfly was flying around a large mushroom and there was smoke coming from the top. Clicking it put me seated on top, next to a hooka. Knowing there was still adventure to be explored, I decided against trying to inhale any smoke, (laughter). While there, I took one of the best snapshots ever, as seen at the top of this article.
After panning the camera around, to get the best shot, I found myself lost, when I got down. I could see, on the top of a nearby hill, a castle with red trim. I knew what that was for, but just couldn't find the path to it. Fortunate for me, I spotted a balloon. Guessing that it might be the only way up, I clicked on it and began floating off in the wrong direction. In the chat window, I was instructed to use the left and right arrow keys, for direction and the page up and down, for elevation. I quickly mastered piloting the slow moving balloon and steered my way to the castle's courtyard. Before entering the castle, I walked around it and posed for a picture with a couple of aces, from the queens army. This place is called Dysphoria, for good reasons. I felt an abnormal feeling of anxiety, as I entered the castle. I was glad to see that the Red Queen was not at home. I went right up to the throne and sat on it.
Having satisfied that royal fantasy, I got up to search the rest of the castle. I found a side chamber, where a queen might entertain guests. I sat down, at the pipe organ and played a bit of Bach, before exploring farther. Pulling a curtain open, I found a stone wall, where a window or door should be. I thought it might be a secret passage and clicked to see if it would open. When that didn't work, I looked at the wall on both sides and found the button. The wall slid open, revealing an external stairway. At the top of the stairs, there was no door, but it had the same button, so I clicked it. Now I was in the queen's bedroom. Naturally, I went straight to her bed....and danced on it. From there, I found her private balcony at sat down to enjoy the view and sip some champagne. I had gone as far as one can go here, so I stopped. A word of advice, if you're going and get all the way to the balcony, you'll see a pidgeon that says "Don't click me". DON"T click on the pidgeon.
Overall, Wonderland is a great adventure. The graphics are great and the sounds and scenery did produce some anxiety, like what you feel when getting on a roller coaster. It was worth the L$200 fee.
I took 10 pictures at Wonderland. The full set can be seen at .

Friday, October 16, 2015

Halloween Haunts: "Rock and Shock" and "Deadman's Island"

By Bixyl Shuftan

Halloween is here, and time to search for some "spooktacular" places to explore around in. Recently, I took a look at two. They were "Halloween Rock and Shock" at Rebel Yell Concerts and "Deadman's Island Haunted Sim" at Mystical Island.

The main entrance is right in a Pentagram. Nearby is what at first looks like a fairly attractive woman. But get a little close, and she shows a different side, "Happy Halloween!" There are a few spooky displays close by, such as the skeleton music band in the building behind you.

More scares await you as you look around. A road from the entrance area leads to what looks like a small town. Some places you can walk into. Others you're limited to just doing some action at the door. At the later, clicking on the door has random results. Sometimes your avatar will try to peek through a keyhole, then hear a scream. Other times, the door buckles, knocking down  your character. And sometimes there's a ticking noise, followed by a boom that sends your avatar hurtling backward. But you dust yourself off and get back up, shaken by unharmed.

Going down one trail, I came across a spooky dark carriage, fit for a vampire lord. But there was no sign of a fanged bloodsucker. Maybe he went out for a bite. Nearby was a haunted house. Going inside, there were scares just around every corner it seemed. Panning around would help only so much. Some appeared just as you walked by. Definitely something thrillseekers would enjoy.

I wasn't the only one looking around. There were several others looking over the place. Perhaps word had gotten around of the sim's tricks and treats.

Rebel Yell Concerts (56, 202, 21)

Another place I stopped by was "Deadman's Island Haunted Sim," at Mystical Island. The place had a scare from the start, with an eyeball that tracked your every step when you were nearby. Not too far away is a lighthouse, with a few bodies inside. And where there are lighthouses, there's usually a ship. But what's around is a ghost ship on the shore, a lone ghost pirate standing at eternal guard with a bottle of rum.

Elsewhere in the sim, is an abandoned building some kind. It's lone live inhabitant one sees, a witch busy brewing some potion. But the chopped up body parts suggest it might not be a good idea to linger long. The sponsor of the sim is also having a photo contest, so maybe some of the screenshots here will come in handy.

Mystical Island (46, 152, 24)