Monday, September 10, 2012


When I get busy building in Second Life, I don't think about much else. Like blogging. Sometimes eating. I've been known to dream about building. If you've been following my SL microblog (here) you've probably seen that I've been building a gasoline station. Well, its done and here's the back story.

My brother, CC Columbo (in SL), tried to convince me to start a garden shop when we moved into Bay City. He bought a lovely shop structure and even helped with the landscaping. It didn't take. For some reason the idea was met with apathy so he came up with something he wanted, a good Irish pub. However, while I was mucking about with avoidance, someone built a neighborhood pub not a block away (SLurl). Plan B was required.

And Plan B was a hotel! CC worked on this himself, actually, and had a rather clever one going. He then started working on several variations and was generally having a good time. In the meantime, he pushed Plan C, a filling station/convenience store. He asked me to make the garage for him and often hovered over my Real Life shoulder to point out features he wanted.

Really, I think that Plan B was a ruse since he's wanted a filling station for at least a month (see here). Afterall, our eldest RL brother owns a repair garage, our middle brother used to manage a filling station, and about once a month I don my personalized coveralls (Name tag: Juggs) or garage shirt and earn a bit of extra cash cleaning up the eldest brother's garage (not ashamed to admit I get paid more if I loosen up a couple buttons during hot weather so the boys kick in a few extra bucks).

CC gave this picture to me to use as inspiration, but with the shape of the lot we had, swapping the design end-for-end was required. He also gave me several pictures of other Sinclair Stations from the period on which Bay City is based (roughly, the 50s-60s).

Come to CC's Pouloco Station in Bay City - Dennis (SLurl).

And this is what I came up with ... a bit more modern and with a different brand. I pegged the design as a rehabilitated structure in the mid-1960s so I could mix in some of the newer-appearing convenience store machines I found in-world and on the SL Marketplace. Until the day the whole thing was installed it was still going to be a Sinclair station, with my partner Angela Seale working on some retro-chic gas pumps based on some Sinclair units I found on the Web. It always nagged me, however, about using a prominent brand name so with that and on the advice of others, I came up with a new brand, Pouloco (Nothing Runs Like A Chicken, Cross the Road with Pouloco, and Put a Chicken in Your Tank), for the Poultry Oil Company, and changed all the Sinclair graphics I had already uploaded. Then I had to shift the whole build several meters in two directions because I had totally mismeasured and hadn't noticed for several weeks.

The pumps you see are temporary as Angela is still finalizing the permanent ones. She'll sell non-branded versions to help cover her expenses and to pay for all the rent CC has to be charging her for to leave her car at the pumps since Day One. By they way, Marianne McCann found some nice garage coveralls (and has a great pic of the garage here) so Ange, me, and CC can all dress alike now. I might work on little name patches sometime.

I created a number of custom pieces and graphics, mostly signs, and will sell some of them inside the convenience store portion of the build. Mostly, though, this build was a labor or love. I balked at the job at first as it seemed like I was back in school. CC was an RL teacher and I had his classes for years (pretty much grades 8 through 12) so it was almost like he was giving me homework. But I enjoyed the challenge as it had been a while since I had built something on this scale. And if it is true that "the devil is in the details" then this build is sin-on-a-prim because I had a great time tweaking and sweating and tweaking some more on almost ever detail, even after the garage opened.

Sure the soda and Slurpee machines are a bit modern, but they are fabulously detailed and I make L$1 from each sale. Hot dogs from the more retro unit are also L$1 each, but you get a custom-made, animated frankfurter in a bun. Popcorn is free despite the L$5 sign. Either I have to find a way to erase that sign or find a way to charge for the stuff. CC bought the L$300 cash register but the decorations and machines in this room set me back about L$1000 ... hopefully I sell a lot of sodas and dogs. CC also bought a really, really nice set of fixtures for the restroom. Much better than the stuff I made and adapted.

I had also made some sculpted garage bay equipment such as a lift, tool boxes, shelves, and more. Then I found everything I had made but in mesh from a shop that that wasn't charging much at all. Fewer prims and much, much better looking? I had to drop the bucks on that stuff. Now I need to get up some girly pictures, slop down some oil and dirt, and take pix to my eldest brother for a critique.

CC made a lovely headstone honoring his real life daughter and Angela left some beautiful lilies.
Saving prims is always a good idea, especially as Angela and I still have our home on the lot, right behind the privacy wall (like there is any real privacy in SL). And CC had me build a cemetery (Web) in the roadside corner.

Of course, I still want more prims. Sometime I'll look at the house and the garage to see what can be trimmed. I found an animated mole in a hole I'd like to put in the yard and the shop needs more signs. Still, though, the Pouloco property really has a great feel. I'm as pleased with it as anything I've built in Second Life to date.

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