Wednesday, April 30, 2008

La Reve, the 'mystery spot'

While combing through my landmarks to see what can be removed so I can reduce my inventory load came across one I had made for La Reve (SLurl) so I double-clicked and :::swoosh::: I was in another world. Don't ask how I found La Reve because I don't remember. But I do recall telling myself "you gotta come back and poke around. So today I spent about 30 minutes flying around and looking and wondering many things. Like why.

Most sims in the Second Life™ world have a readily discernible focus. This place is different. My first thought was it's an art installation and the owner has a sales gallery somewhere. I didn't find one. But everything I saw was just to fantastic to keep thinking. I merely absorbed. In the first picture I'm standing in some sort of arch admiring the glowing and flowing text on the pillars while watched from above by something.

More pillars with glowing text and another giant statue. 'Glow' is everywhere in Le Reve, on the many statues, on pillars, in little blocks. And tons of particles. Each time I've been here the Estate Time was set to night so I'm guessing the owner has that as the default.

This picture was taken with the default Estate Time. The warm fire creates an oasis in the sea of blue that engulfs the whole sim. Patches of color like the gypsy wagon are placed here and there but they don't seem to be placed for effect, rather just randomly.

For fun I used the Environment Editor to what the sim looks like at other times of day and this shot of me by the fire is the only decent view. Once again I think that the owner has forced nighttime for effect. La Reve looses some of it's magic with other day settings. No need to adjust things to optimal here.

Probably good as this picture shows. Lights in a forest canopy are nicely used. Rather reminicient of the famous Straylight Botanical light shafts, but I didn't check to see how the effect was made or by whom.

Which was odd. Normally I click on everything when I explore. I love to see how things were made or, if it is something I'd like to add to my land, who made it so I can buy a copy. My impression is that nearly everything was custom made, particularly the fabulous statuary. I love the leafy effect and the organic shapes.

Many elements like these fairy dancers seem to be out of theme or I'm missing it completely. Likely the latter. La Reve is one of those places that will take many visits over the course of time to fully appreciate. More people should visit and I was please that on this visit three other folks were present. Two of them were having sex, but at least they were visiting.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Grendel's Children

There is no way on Earth or anywhere that I can cover Grendel's Children in a single post. Like the Isle of Lesbos, you will probably see me writing often about this amazing place. Despite covering four sims, Grendel's can be though of as three places: The airborne store, with it's amazing array of affordably-priced, high-quality avatars; the community structure, not to be confused with the loyal following called "Grendel's Wanderers," I refer to the wonderful places to explore around the store, such as the library, the greenhouse, and the art gallery; and the desert eco-system at ground level and below.

When I was dashing around looking for Shansu (more later) I ran across this, er, wall, for lack of a better term. Flea Bussy and crew have created an amazing space to hold the store and then gone beyond that in several ways. First of which is the highly-detailed and unique style. To me it is tribal, tech, and inspiring. You will find examples of these -- I guess they are horns -- everywhere, but this is the largest collection. These folks build for effect, not just utility. The rock walls you see extend down and are the base for the hovering collection of buildings that make up the store and community environment. And all around you will find places to sit but likely you will want to keep moving to see it all. Don't. Take it slow and see everything. You can -- and will -- come back.

In the center of what I call the greenhouse is this great statue. Seeing it I know in my heart that someone sat down and wrote a mythology to explain everything. This is no rez-and-texture build. Inside the greenhouse is a nice pond you should explore. Just remember to bring a dive buddy. Safety first and sharing the fun is always good. You may also find a hatching spot for the fabled Drakelet Hatching activity that crosses all four sims and leads you to great places like this.

While I was outside, setting up my next picture, I crashed, but I took a screenshot to preserve at least a little of the view. I was setting my draw distance to show all the "boats" when I went boom, but as you can see here some wonderful builds are outside the buildings, too. If you go in only to buy avatars or accessories and don't explore you will miss many great things. Click the picture for a larger view and you will see me floating some 250 meters above the ground. That means these sailing ships ride the air! Well, I'm guessing they never leave port, but it is almost as much fun to climb around them as real life boats. When you first enter Grendel's you will receive a rules card and inside it is a "flight feather" to help you fly at this altitude.

But I went to see Shansu the dragon. I think that is her name. It is a complete guess based on a bottle of barbecue sauce I bought in the store there. This is a picture of me with her from last year. It was pure luck that led me to her then and I was awestruck. Sadly I didn't find her today, but I'll keep looking. The Second Life™ environment means that change can come swiftly and drastically so she might be gone. That would be a shame, really, and if so I certainly hope she is locked safely in someones inventory.

Future posts will have more pictures from inside and around the store, but I will also post some of ground level. The desert and caverns below are magnificent, so whenever you are inside Grendel's, look for a window or a ledge and jump.


Tateru Nino has yet another great post at Massively and it is about one of my pet semi-peeves in Second Life™ - 'bots. Automated avatars. Virtual robots. Well worth a read, if only for my comments :::giggle::: Anyway, she examines the issue from a unique perspective: the impact of 'bots on grid performance. Check it out :)

Sunday, April 27, 2008

My Home

"Silly Poultry," a friend often says to me. That certainly applies here as I should have started my posts with my own home! I live on a fairly large plot of land in my sister Threshin's sim (SLurl to her shop). It has been expanded since I first started renting and has been remodeled several times, but here is what it looked like when I first built. I love my treehouse home. The brownish "deck" you see near mid-picture makes it's appearance in my current home as an ocean dock (see below). Shortly after this I made a waterfall and sloped stream to the bay. No pictures of that, darn it. With as much and as often as I change things I really need to better document my builds.

Here is the same view (more or less) but shot today. The beach encroached upon the land so I could add an oceanscape (shown in my first post here) and extended inland as a pretty little stream but not at a loss for land. I rented the "back 40" since I first established a home so I still have quite a bit of ground space.

Since I love water, though, I flooded the place for a peaceful forest pond. Look out for hungry fishies, though, if you fall off the raft! I have piranha! At night mystical lights come out and my butterflies glow. The tire swing is from PillowTalk as are some of the cushions in the gazebo so this is a very relaxing setting. I put some snuggles in the gazebo and on the raft. Well, some of the raft ones are a bit "intimate."

Zooming in some you'll see another great place to relax ... my tiny waterfall cave and mini-pond. I love the Wynx (SLurl) frog and unicorn. Along with the kitty head boulder they help the setting take on a whimsical feel. Often I'll lay on the back of the unicorn to just watch the stars and the forest lights. I also like to fish here using my 7Seas rod or sitting in my fishing chair from Splash Aquatics (SLurl). There are cuddles and snuggles in the cave and floating in the mini-pond is a joy.

The sunset from my dock is gorgeous. Thanks to recent viewer updates the sky and the water are perfect and I'll often hang out just watching the sky. This is an example of how I continually change things. This dock started as a sky platform when I rented elsewhere. And it was the basis for a tiered platform I used as a deck to showcase a beautiful piano I have from Sue Stonebender and Serendipity Studios (SLurl). From here or the shoreline anyone with a 7Seas rod can fish and a vendor is nearby for bait or other goodies.

A recent addition is a skybox. Well, a steampunk airship that is also a skybox. I often wonder why people have homes in Second Life™ but I suppose that building a mansion when your real life home is just a flat somewhere is just as much fantasy as living in an airship. Eventually I'd like to have a home under the sea, too. I might have to rent the empty parcel next to mine and expand the oceanscape.

Who knows what changes will come next to my home. I certainly don't. Like me, it is a work in progress, but for now I'm very happy with it and I hope you enjoyed your tour.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Information Center (I guess they have info there)

Pachinko, the Sport of Kings! Okies, it's not a sport and I have no idea if kings play it, but the few times I've played have been fun. I can see how it can become addictive. For those who might agree, you can now visit the Informtion Center (SLurl) to play. The island is made to resemble a pachinko machine, as you can see, but you don't play on the sim.

You play in a giant pachinko machine at the northern edge. Essentially, you become the ball that is thrown to the top of the board and then you bounce downward. If luck (and a little skill) falls in your favor then you will win one of several prizes, including an avatar. Most signs in the sim can be changed to English if you don't read Japanese.

Explore around and you'll find some free shirts and a place to "camp" for other goodies. As you go around, at some altitude in the south-west corner is a cool sculpture and a shopping cart that zooms around a platform. Don't ask me why. Just be amused.

On a side note, some the pictures were taken with the Advanced Sky Editor on "other than normal" settings. I like to play.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

The Isle of Lesbos: Part I

In Second Life, I work at a wonderful place called the Isle of Lesbos (SLurl). Well, work is not entirely correct. Really I play there and the results usually appear that I had actually worked.

This first picture, for example, shows me working. I'm fine-tuning the 7Seas fishing setup for the mall. It took over an hour of hard relaxing to make sure everything was just right.

In the next picture, Janeforyou Barbara, the sim owner (and Miss Jane to all us who love her) is reviewing my work right around sunrise. She, too, was tireless in her quest for perfection.

Sunrise is the key to the Isle's dance club, hence the name Sunrise Dock and Club. Events are held here almost every day, often a couple times each day, and everyone has a chance to walk away with at least L$500. On Saturdays the prize is L$3000!

Another view of The Dock with the sun position changed. That is me on the left. I'm not hosting this event, but I do host the Saturday events. This is the only "job" I have at the Isle that has regular pay. Bouncing in the air there is DJ Kuthola Homewood. She rawks!

Another 7Seas fishin' spot has been put on the beach. If you look in the water you'll see some fishies! I hope to hold tournaments here and build the traffic to the Isle. Well, that and build traffic to other parts of the Isle, too. Many girls (yes, it's an all-female resort) visit The Dock and nowhere else. Yet there is so much more to see.

Like the Jungle! When the Isle was remodeled last year I was honored to be asked to help. This waterfall and the basic landscaping for the Jungle was one of my first projects. Recently I was asked by "Chief Architect" Threshin Barnett to enhance the waterfall. If you get a chance to visit, try walking through the falls. Near the Jungle is a bath house with some nice animations for those inclined to be intimate. Mostly, though, this area is designed to be romantic and relaxing. And you can even fish here.

Above the falls is my pride and joy. Really, it isn't much if you are looking for spectacular, jaw-dropping, or an engineering marvel. But it is (IMHO) a really nice Winter skating pond. I was given free reign to terraform (so long as I added the waterfall to the Jungle) and even encouraged to expand. What I really love is the ice. Again, not a difficult build but so few people make seamless semi-transparent ice when they make frozen water. Look around for the hidden wolf's head. And the sunken boat for a tribute to an Isle friend. Eventually I'm going to upgrade the trees, if I'm permitted, but I rather like the look right now as I skate around or make snow angels.

The beach (Sappho's Point, but I'm the only one that calls it that) was not my creation but I hold a monthly "Nakie Beach Party" there. At other times it is simply a great place to relax. A steam house and a spa are nearby and it is just a short climb to the forest or castle.

On part of the beach is Tikachu's! This is a little bar I made for a previous remodeling of the Isle. It is fully stocked and has a great sunrise view. In the pic here you can see one of the many signs/posters I make for the Isle.

The forest above the beach is filled with wondrous things and leads you to the dark castle. Like the rest of the Isle of Lesbos, if you explore the forest you will find places to cuddle and "play" with someone special. Heck, if you wander the skies you'll find similar places ... we have airborne gazebos!

Miss Jane would have my buns on a grill if I forgot to mention the mall. It is one of the largest and certainly one of the best in all of Second Life. Threshin is the chief architect here, too, though I was asked to make all the domes (the one in the back is complete, but it doesn't show in this pic), the center hub, the teleportation system (for both sims), landscaping, the fashion show area, and little things. I'm really proud of the work I did on the mall.

You will probably read more about the Isle of Lesbos (provided you come back) as I spend a lot of time there and things are always changing.

Another Attempt

I've had many blogs prior to this one. In fact, I just finished deleting one so I could start afresh. What i would like to do with this blog is report on things i do in what seems to be my primary life, the Second Life™ world (*SL). So this won't be so much about me as about who I am through what I do and where I go.

One of the things I do is to build things in SL. The picture above is an example. I made a throne set for a friend. That is me lying on the couch to picture-left of the king's throne.

Landscaping in SL is also fun. Here is a seascape I created for my home. That is me in the middle. Yes! I'm a nautilus! Second Life gives one the opportunity to be ... well, not more than one is, but other than what usually shows. So I frequently change my avatar to suit my mood or surroundings.

Of course, anyone can be creative in SL and one of my joys is finding fun and interesting things in the world. This picture is a beautiful view of the Lost Gardens of Apollo (thanks, Torley), one of the many, many wonderful places I like to visit (click here for an SLurl to visit).

So check back if you wish and I'll post when I can. Here's to hoping this will be something we can all enjoy.

*All references to Second Life (sometimes abbreviated as SL), Linden Labs (sometimes abbreviated as LL), and trademarked terms of same such as SLurl should be considered trademarks used in compliance with the instructions given by the trademark holder. All pictures posted belong to the copyright holders and will be properly credited. My original pictures are © per Creative Commons and rights will vary. Mostly, no derivative works and attribution must be given. Gawd I hate this legal crap.