Wednesday, April 26, 2023

Bellessarian Embassy Opens at The CDS

By Gemma Cleanslate 

Sunday BBB ( The Bellessaria Bureau of Bureaucracy) opened a new Embassy at the C.D.S.
The event took place in the town square at Neufreistadt with a packed audience.

Moon Adament , Chancellor of the CDS greeted all with “welcome all to the CDS, SL's oldest democracy! And welcome too to our celebration of our cooperation with the BBB. thanks to Brooke for this great decor of the Neufreistadt 'Platz and thanks to DJ Mandry, we're sure of a great set! So please enjoy the party, here's to a great time to all to all the newcomers: welcome to the CDS! we're the oldest democratic community in SL “.

Bel (Jezebel Bailey):of the BBB said ”I want to officially ring in the new Embassy and Ambassadorship of CDS!” Congratulations to both CDS and Bellisseria for a new friendship and comradrieship in Second Life~”

The new Ambassador, Sandy Burgess, was installed and accepted her new position. Dj Mandry ( Mandry Demonia)provided the music and the party went on! There were many Bellisserians there as well as many Officers and citizen land owners of CDS, the oldest democracy in SL.

This Embassy is a bit different from the others on each continent. Here there is an office in the Rathaus, not a free standing building. It is open for visitors and fits the building d├ęcor of the town. This town is very lovely.The CDS is very interesting and has a long history that you can read at The lands are extensive and I plan to explore all the six regions.

Gemma Cleanslate

Wednesday, April 12, 2023

Caledon Downsizing A Few Sims

 By Bixyl Shuftan
On Tuesday April 4, the Caledon community got a little sad news from it's leader, Governor Desmond Shang. Four of the estate's sims, three regular and one homestead, would be closing soon.

Now that I've got notices out to everyone in Kittiwick, Tanglewood, and Cay, this is a general announcement that we are cutting back 3 standard regions and one homestead (tbd due to possible swaps).

Caledon is one of the largest, and oldest, steampunk-themed communities and estates in Second Life. It began in 2007, quickly growing to almost thirty sims, and would gain some more over the next few years. But the place hasn't been immune to the real-life troubles of it's residents, and has cut back some sims over time. At the start of the month, it had 22 sims.

I would get in contact with Desmond with a few questions, and he had some answers.

    Of the sims closing down, I assume the population in each of them is fairly small?

Desmond: In most cases.  One region had just three people left and far too much vacant land.  The one that had the most had nine people, but on small parcels. It boils down to economics; basically the overall budget has to be balanced.  Some regions can be subsidized for a good while, but eventually, only so many can be carried by the rest.

    Over time, Linden Lab has been lowering the price of sim tier. Could that have allowed these sims to last longer, or would they have closed earlier if it wasn't for the tier reduction?

Desmond: Lowering costs is a good thing overall.  Had my costs lowered too, of course that would have helped.  But only to a point.

When Caledon started, most people lived on the mainland.  It was more difficult on the mainland back then: griefing, and things like 16 meter parcels for sale at high prices with 'irritant' builds used to extort residents.  We were a very attractive alternative, for some.

Also, most people sold though inworld shops back then; now the commercial real estate market is far less significant.  And now it's entirely possible to get a lovely Victorian home in a beautiful area, with a rail system across hundreds of regions, direct from our platform provider.
    Of the upcoming rearrangement of sims, what if someone has an issue with a new neighbor, such as if a sim has thunder noise from constant storms that can be heard in adjacent sims?

Desmond:  As much as disputes sound awful, it's impressive the amount that gets worked out, without anyone even contacting me.  99% of the time there is a solution, either technically, or by just talking.  Sounds can be limited easily, for example.  But yes, I help sort things out now and then if necessary.
    Do residents of Caledon have to worry about more sims closing down later on?

Desmond: The residents of Caledon are largely in control of this themselves ~ they do the spending, not me.  Naturally though, for various reasons, people move on.  Often due to things taking precedence in their personal lives, that took their time away.  The most relevant factor however, is that we aren't getting a lot of new people like we used to.  We have been cutting back regions since 2010, when we had 51 regions; this is not a new thing.

The bigger 'worry' is not really the size of the country.  Sure, I could grow the estate if I slashed prices, let anyone come in and do nearly anything (the present residents would probably flee in that case).  The bigger concern, to my mind, is the quality not the size.  We could grow to be 200 private, unconnected tropical islands, for instance.  But it wouldn't be recognisable as Caledon at that point.  This was never about making the most money or the biggest estate.  Anyone can copy the big estates to do just that.  Clearly that was never the plan.  No matter what size we are, we have history, a sense of fun and an unmistakeable character.

    Was there anything else about the issue you wished to say?

Desmond: Yes.   Seventeen years ago, my 'real life' business wasn't as busy, but it really took off around 2013 or so.  What that has meant, is that time spent on Caledon is competing, if you will, with billable hours.  From experience, it would take at least an additional 40 to 80 hours a month of involvement to do significantly more for Caledon.  I'm already working 55-65 hour weeks as it is.  So that is a limiting factor.  I would love to have more time, but this is the situation.

Sending an alt to Caledon's Tuesday night party on April 11, there was some talk about the sims about to fade away. One person wondered if the Lab had raised operating cost. Someone joked, "So long as there isn't a toll booth at region boundaries." One resident who lives in New York in real life commented, "Don't give my Governor any ideas." It was felt by one that the trains in the estate would temporarily stop running until they were rescripted to follow new patterns. 
Eventually, someone looked at the map and noticed, "Caledon Cay just *poofed*."  "The guhnah was just warning that." "Just a big flat underwater place now." "What would have happened to them if they had stayed in Cay when it poofed?" "Well there's still green dots there." "I think the map hasn't fully caught up yet." Then DJ Cynthia started playing, "The Final Countdown." Someone mused, "What a timely song for Cay."
Only a fraction of the talk was about the upcoming sim closures. Someone joked about making her place it's own island, then, "I'm going to experiment on turning animals into human like minded creatures." One anthro fox mused maybe instead, "turning unsuspecting hoomans into furries."
Near the end, someone thought, "I'll drop by the Moors border on the way out and watch Cay sink into the sea." One resident wasn't too worried about the situation, "Caledon actually has quite a few regions, so even if there is some downsizing, while it's sad, I think there's still enough left." 

On a personal note, a number of the residents of my own home area, the Sunweavers, have friends in Caledon. A couple have second homes there. And the one who talked yours truly into coming to SL was a Caledonian. So what goes on there is of some concern to me, and other "Sunnies." But while it is a little sad to see the sims go, the rest of the land, of a fine community, goes on. And it should continue for many years to come.

Bixyl Shuftan

Monday, April 3, 2023

Steeliehook Public Forest & Zen Centre

By Gemma Cleanslate 

I often get an idea for an article in an announcement from The Nature Collective. This site is one I loved as soon as I arrived at the entrance. The description says “This forest was built with love and calm. It is a place for self-reflection and centering." The music and lighting add to the experience. The first thing I saw was a 7seas fishing vendor so I knew there was fishing somewhere.

The light shafts shining on the trees and foliage enchanted me. This is a place to take a deep breath and relax. I walked down the stairs and into the forest to explore. There is a trail through the woods for walking. There are so many little spots for those who would like to linger. It is a place to walk slowly and enjoy the plantings and the little animals. Photographers will love it. The creeks have lovely waters flowing by. There is 7Seas fishing is to the right at the first creek and comfortable seating , a picnic basket with a sandwich and drinks.

I stopped at a picnic area below a waterfall that reminded me so much of a place I used to go in real
life. Farther along I found a place to paint a picture of the surroundings.

There is a lovely statue of Buddha where one can meditate, or practice yoga for beginners and advanced practitioners. Meditating is easy in this environment.

Jennifer Steele-Lilliehook (JenniferSteele Wilder), a well known artist in Second Life created it with her wife, Dempsey Lilliehook, and friend , HecateWic of Wic Foods. “

After my walk I noticed that Jennifer was nearby so went looking for her. I climbed up stairs and along a walkway past some shops and found a large restaurant called The Wine Cellar. Inside cooks were busy preparing food and Jennifer was there rearranging furniture. She invited me to lunch and we sat down and ordered. It is a delightful luncheon. 

She told me that soon she will be having events there such as Jazz singers, live sax, and other attractions. “ We will be doing announcements through TNC for drum circles and I AM sessions”. She told me it is to give back for all her support in second life. “ I just do what I love to do and it all seems to fall into place.

I will wait to see what they are. It was an enjoyable lunch. I have not seen Jennifer for a while so it was nice. She is still doing a bit of renovations around the whole area.Take a trip over to wander through the forest and explore the area. Stop in the restaurant and on the other side of the forest I learned there is an airport with a rezz zone so you fly in or out. This is your entrance to the forest. 

Gemma Cleanslate