Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Blue Lagoon

By Bixyl Shuftan

A friend recently told me about a place in Second Life she thought was worth mentioning, Blue Lagoon. "It is a gorgeous sim." she told me. The place was at the Isle of Blessings sim, so I headed over.

Arriving and looking around, I was under a thatch roof with a few signs of the sim owner, Bolera Rau, and moderators, some pictures of activities and a parachute giver. Looking around, I saw a number of small tropical islands. Going about, I saw a boat dock with a rezzer for a hang glider which could be flown about. There was another craft there that I would later hear was a kind of hovercopter that was available for anyone to fly (I never asked about the red and white helicopter).

One small island had a teepee and some drums. Another had a lighthouse with a small building and a dock with a sailboat. In the distance from that was what looked like castle ruins. In the middle of the sim was a small island with two hot-tubs, the smaller on a structure over the larger one with some stairs leading to it. There I would find the sim owner Bolera. She and I had a few words. I asked her where she got the idea for the place, and she answered, "Overnight in my mind. ... ideas come in my head."

Bolera offered to show me around. She took me to a small boathouse in a place far above the sim that looked like it was for a couple to relax for a while. Next was her "Winterland" area, also far above the sim, "For ice skating. Also, club here." This area had five islands, one circlular central one, one with an ice club on it with laser lights, a third with a cabin with a cozy bed and fireplace. She would remind me one could ice skate across the surface, and say she would hold private parties at the club. A third skybox had a small cave. A fourth had a beachhouse and a smaller building, also for couples to relax for a while, the house having a sauna.

Back on the surface, she showed me a submarine under the water, one with a bedroom. She would also show me the castle ruins. She pointed out the sim next door, Blue Marine (Awesome Land), saying it was hers as well. There were a number of boats and docks, and boat races were held there. Bolera would say the white building on ground level at Blue Lagoon was off limits as people were residing there, "Private villa." The rest of the place was open to the public, including the smaller heli-craft and glider.

She would say that the sim took a "very long" time to build, "I rebuilt (a) couple times. Now I like it, and leave it as is. ... I did build all alone, had no help. ... I never leave to go in other sims. Not wanna build my sim like others, so I not look, just from my own mind. ... I stay only here in lagoon. I only leave it when I must, or check things out." Bolero would also say she has her own Flickr account where she has a few pictures:

A picturesque sim with plenty to see, and some fun things to do.

Bixyl Shuftan

Friday, September 25, 2020

Some Sunweaver Houses

By Bixyl Shuftan

Yours truly has written about many places in Second Life. But for many residents, probably most, one place counts more than others: their home. In the community the Newser office makes it's home in, there are a lot. Some are large, some are small. Here are some examples.

One of the larger houses on ground level belongs to Nydia Tungsten and Brandi Streusel, Mouse Hole Manor in Pacific Waters.

The large house has been the scene of a few of her music videos, as well as some parties.

Kiyomi Xekri is one of the more recent Sunweaver residents. Her home is on a skybox high above the sim it's in.

She asked that I take a few pictures. So I did. Looks like this pup is having fun in the laundry room.

There was some good detail in places. This dining room scene has food that certainly looks edible.

Kiyomi's place  had a memorial for someone close to her whom died last June.

Felina Fermi is someone we've written about before in regards to her home and designing. Her home is in a semi-private area, though she was happy for me to take pictures, within reason.

Her rooms have a lot of detail, such as this kitchen.

These hens don't see too nervous about a fox near the henhouse.

Felina has two memorials for longtime friends of hers, Rhypanthian Abilene and Tigerclaw Apps.

Just outside Felina's house but on her grounds was a place that looked less like a home and more like a club and hangout with a few rooms for people wanting to stay overnight.

Near Felina's house was that of the Sunweaver chief herself, Rita Mariner's.

The place was large, with a dance party area and pool at the top, along with a helicopter pad.

And a big room for she and guests to relax in.

Perri Prinz and ReCoyote Mindes "Magic Garden" area in HV Community. On the left is the "Cuddle Cave" which they left open for couples to use.

Their own house is a two story brick building, with a teleporter to the Xanadu classic rock club.

Becky Shamen's tower in Sunweaver Bay.

The place has an airship that flies, a pirate ship, and other details.

Liska Fuchs' house, resembling a small castle.

The place has a lighthouse in the corner, lighting the way at sea.

Penny's (Deaflegacy) house. She keeps a number of horses.

The house of the late Artistic Fimicloud, which has been left standing as a memorial to her.

The "little pink fox" is still well-remembered.

The Sunnies always have room for one more resident. There are houses ready for someone to move in.

And there are empty plots for those whom prefer to get their own homes.

And finally, there's where yours truly lives. For years, I've had my house in a treehouse in the style of a previous place I lived: Woodlin (not to be confused with Woodland). I guess that spoke something about how I missed the fun times there.

But after ten years, I figured it was time to see what else was available. I came across this treehouse with a set of stairs. Nice to be able to get up without needing to press the "fly" button.

And so, my new humble home in Second Life. It's not very big, but it's a place to hang my virtual hat.

So there's a glance at the places where my virtual neighbors call their happy homes, all in the corner of Second Life that's our neighborhood and home.

Bixyl Shuftan

Wednesday, September 9, 2020

Some Political Locations In Second Life

By Bixyl Shuftan

Although many Second Life residents come to the virtual world to escape real-life matters, what goes on in reality is often reflected here in some way. And that includes politics. With Labor Day being the traditional start of the final stretch of the campaign season, this is when political stories and events in real life happen more often. And here in Second Life, there are some political-themed locations. Four years ago, places like the Trump Manor and Trump Wall made the news quite a bit. This year, there hasn't been a place that made headlines yet. But a search did turn up some locations.

Although there is a Republican group in Second Life, the location listed in it's profile was closed. But there was a Trump Pub. It was a two-story brick building with red white and blue lights forming a flag over the entrance. There was a huge sign next to the place. On the inside were banners both mocking the opposition and displays of bravado, "Caution: Armed and Deplorable." The second floor was more about fun with various games.

The radio stream on the land was that of Alex Jones' "Info Wars," which has been discredited by both liberals and conservatives alike. On the outside were statues of George Washington and Pepe the Frog. Some of the neighboring land has been bought by people opposed to Trump, whom as of the writing of this article have posted signs and builds mocking the candidate.

Although avatars of all kinds were welcome in the 2016 Trump Pub, when looking over the new place with an alt, someone at the front door yelled furs were unwelcome and threw me out. While it's probable this was someone in the staff with opinions contrary to the owner, this one incident suggests nonhuman avatars might get an unwelcome surprise.

For the Democrats, there were two locations. One was the longtime Cafe Wellstone, which has been around at least since the days of the 2008 election. Although it was an open-air location four years ago, today it's a simple brick building, with a simple entrance next to the road leading inside. On the main floor were a couple campaign signs and various cartoons mocking their opposition, and one of Captain America punching the Nazi cartoon villain the Red Skull.

The newer location for the Dems was the Blue Revolution HQ. Their logo over the front door was a raised blue first, over that being "Resist, Rise, Revolt." Out front was a picture depicting candidate Biden as a Rambo-esque figure, as well as signs praising Black Lives Matter. On the inside, on the floor was an electoral map of the United States. Considering this was a pro-Democrat location, it was showing quite a bit of red. There were photographs of various protests, and information explaining their positions, as well as a Media Bias Chart (one that while it was no surprise positioned the far-right Breitbart as useless, it positioned the conservative National Review as being a more serious source of news than CNN). And there were cartoons and pictures poking fun at their opposition.

It should be noted that Blue Revolution was between two other locations. To it's right was a pro-Trump location, one with dancing figures. To it's left was a Communist Party HQ, calling for revolution. It wasn't lost on me that this is not unlike how the center-left sees itself, between reckless Trump supporters on the right, and Marxists wanting real revolution on the left.

Bixyl Shuftan

Wednesday, September 2, 2020

Mount Campion Park

By Bixyl Shuftan

Second Life has a number of parks. But not many have you going through a system of caves or up a mountat. At Mount Campion Caves National Forest, you can do both.

WELCOME to Mount Campion Caves National Forest!  This place is open to the polite public, come and explore the caves, forests, canyons, and trails.  Mount Campion is the highest point in mainland second life, the National Forest property occupies the southeast slope of Mount Campion.  

The landmark I was given took me to a spot a few hundred meters high. There were trails going a few different ways. One was to a cave entrance, where a sign told me "there are numerous chambers and tunnels ... they are not all easy to see."

I saw a few paintings on the rock inside that looked as if they were done by cavemen.

The cavern led downward, and like the paths on the outside, the tunnels led a few different ways, sometimes passing waterfells and stalactite and stalagmite formations.

 I did come across one room that appeared man-made with a wheelbarrow that led to the outside. Another exit led to a fountain and garden area.

A third would lead to a bridge high above the ground below. A friend with me at the time remarked she felt dizzy looking down.

Going about the trails, there was quite a bit of detail in places. The water rippled and bubbled as it flowed. The trees, flowers, and other plants were quite detailed.

In one place, a fox moved about.

There were a few cuddle spots and campfires here and there.

There was also a party area complete with a couples dance ball, and a fountain and statue in the middle.

It had quite a few over the side.

One needed to be careful in places on the trail as it was easy to stumble and fall down the side of the mountain.

One branch of the trails would lead down one side of the mountain down to a mainland road, Route Six, where there was an official-looking National Forest sign.

At various places, there were rental cabins one could pay for the use of. Most I saw along the trails were rented out. They were of various sizes from small to medium.

At the very top of the mountain, around 350 meters, were a number of other cabins. Unlike others, these were not accessible to others not in the group, and there were few spots there I could go without running into yellow ban lines or warning signs to leave or be booted. No one sticking to the trails has to worry about them as I didn't see one that goes to the mountain top.

It's unknown if Mount Campion really is the highest spot on the mainland. But few mountains in Second Life come close to it in size, and I can't recall any with this kind of detail and cavern network.

Most times I visited, there were others looking around, occasionally talking to one another in voice chat. For those whom find it inconvenient to go to a real mountain park, this place in Second Life offers a lot to see.

Bixyl Shuftan