26 April 2010


Back in December, 2008, I took a series of photos at the incredible installation Wanderstill, and I'm using them here—not because I'm lazy—there's hardly a more photogenic location in Second Life!—but because I still look back on them and think about them from time to time. Wanderstill is certainly one of the most cherished romantic spots I've ever come across, and I know others share my passion for it. An immersive art installation created by Random Calliope and owned by Elizabeth Tinsley, it is, in the words of Elizabeth, "An eruption of color. A cascade of blossoms. Where by day the sun sparkles off the wings of bejeweled butterflies and by night the light of the moon guides wish filled falling stars to earth."

Yes. And it's breathtaking, a place where you can wander through flowers, practically getting lost in them (some might be taller than you are!), and find hidden and surprising places amidst the blossoms to cuddle, dance or more. There must be tens of thousands of flowers here—it's really quite staggering—fields and fields of them—blue, white, red, amber, turquoise... It is wonderful, inspiring, and cannot help but bring a smile to your face. On the eastern edge of Wanderstill stands a horse barn, where you can add your photographic memories to the large bulletin board. Thank you, Random and Elizabeth, for creating and maintaining this treasure. More photos from my flickr set here.

21 April 2010

Atrum Votum

I can't think of many places in Second Life that are parks ... I mean, just plain old parks ... rolling landscapes filled with trees and vegetation, places you can just stroll around in, where the landscape itself is the object of beauty. Atrum Votum is one such place—I visited it yesterday after not having ventured there for maybe a year or so, and was surprised and delighted to discover it intact (as many places disappear, you know!). If you come with a friend, there are dances and cuddles (and a few more risqué opportunities) throughout the island, including a modest little dance floor tucked into the landscape. (As always, click on the photos to enlarge them ... they're so tiny on the blog page!)

The trees are a mix of oak, birch, pine, olive and other species. Toward the center of the island are mountains (topping out at 66 meters) that you can reach partway by traversing rope bridges and climbing ladders through rock-strewn hillsides covered with ferns. Be prepared to do some walking, as flying is turned off in this sim (appropriately, I might add). On the southeast corner of the island lies an old cemetery (containing a memorial to avatar Teri LaFollette), and near the campfire on the beach, on the eastern edge of the land, a hidden tunnel runs out toward north toward the next corner edge. Whether you choose to just roam, or to dance, or sit by the sea and listen to the waves crash against the shoreline while watching the sunset, this sim is a hidden gem and a photographer's dream.

Atrum Votum is owned by Silkn Stormwood and Chavo Raven, and contains many design contributions by Anthea Thereian. To the north lies the sim Chavo, home to—naturally enough—Chavo's, an animation shop that probably thrived in years past. Much of Atrum Votum seems to been built in late 2006, with some additions in 2008—the About Land info says this romantic hideaway was claimed way back in June 2004.

P.S. After posting this, I received a nice note from Silkn Stormwind saying that she will be updating the isle soon (no changes, just additions!).

20 April 2010

Babele Fashion's Ultra Sexy Beach Set Pois Brown

Very minimal, extremely sexy, and I keep wearing it over and over ... three good things to say! The "Ultra Sexy Beach Set Pois Brown" by Babele Fashion's Pinco Janus was released in January—part of her "pois brown" series, which uses the same texture on a variety of outfits—and as summertime approaches it seems even more appropriate. I like to wear it without the included miniskirt—just the top, the "perizoma" bottom and the leg wrappings, flashing a not inconsiderable amount of my ass. ;) ... It certainly tends to elicit comments! If you're looking for something similar but not quite as skimpy, Babele's Summer Set Pois Brown is probably your best bet.

These photos were taken at the picturesque sim Atrum Votum, about which I'll have more to say soon!

18 April 2010

Imagine Nest

Imagine Nest, an installation in the sim Four Bridges North, is filled with swirling shapes, zooming particles and ... love. Its creator, AuraKyo Insoo, says, "Imagine is Life, is Change, is Revolution. Imagine is Love," and throughout the installation, with acknowledged inspiration from Mahatma Gandhi to Victor Hugo to The Beatles and others, are expressions of love and the opportunity for you to express your own, through messages you can leave: "Come and drop your messages inside the universe!"

There are places here to dance (solo or with friends), to jump into one of the twisting, whirling eddies and become one with the space, or simply to lie down and look up. The environment is dynamic, always changing, and so these still photos hardly do it justice. It appears as if there's also a "Light Theatre" where performances are occasionally held. My avatar is these photos has donned the Monsieur Rousseau's Panther design from alpha.tribe, with hair—the incredibly inexpensive Thunderdome mohawk—from The Stringer Mausoleum.

14 April 2010

Linden Lab (or, how I tried to restrain myself)

I've tried to steer my blog clear of comments concerning Linden Lab's "business plan" (at least from what is visible to me) for Second Life, and from LL's marketing. (I've posted plenty on SL's own blogs, and there are many other cogent opinions out there in the blogosphere.) As a marketing professional in real life, Linden Lab's strategies often strike me as bizarre and more than a little absurd. (I mean, really, how can a company with the potential that LL has be so f'ing stupid sometimes? Pardon me.)

First of all, there is this absolute disaster of a viewer shown above. The unrelenting wave of criticism concerning this Viewer 2 — **un-re-lent-ing** — you would think would give LL would take some hint as to its complete and dismal failure as an interface. But nooooo... 'Nuff said, there's plenty posted elsewhere on the debacle that Viewer 2 is.

Then ... today I was browsing around the web and saw this post on Virtual World Notes, a quote from John Lester (aka formerly as Pathfinder Linden), in which he said in part: "I think the challenge Linden Lab faces is the challenge that any online platform faces at this point, which is how to integrate with the constellation of social networking environments that are out there — things like Facebook and Twitter" .... no no no no NOOOO! He continues: "Linden Lab has been and is continuing to work on that right now. People use more than one platform. I think the path to success is figuring out how to get everything to work together — not be an island." Aaaaaaaaaugggh!

The great potential in Second Life is **that it IS an island**! It's a place where we can all escape, we can create alternate realities, we can create alternate possibilities, we can create ourselves anew! It is NOT Facebook, is NOT Twitter, is NOT real life! The most breathtaking creations in Second Life show us, indeed, what is not possible in real life, to borrow Bettina Tizzy's old blog title.

All right, enough ... Time for me to step down off my soapbox, log back in with Emerald, and enjoy blogging again.

12 April 2010

The Destruction of The Abbey

Today marked the end of The Abbey—or should I say this incarnation of The Abbey—a beautiful sim created and owned by Darmin Darkes and BaileyMarie Princess (left and center in the photo above—click to zoom in on any photo). Earlier this morning large portions of the structures on the island were already gone, and by the time I returned this afternoon the demolition of the castle, situated on a hilltop overlooking the island, was well underway. Most of the roof had collapsed, and as the small group of us inside ducked and jumped out of the way, huge stones—the remainders of the walls and roof—occasionally crashed down around us. Some pieces tumbled dozens of meters down to litter the beaches surrounding the island.

I managed to snap a few photos in a sort of time-elapse sequence as things went flying in every direction, and I hope get them up on my flickr stream later today. It was quite a spectacle, although with a mix of emotions—it's never easy to say good-bye to something as exquisite as this place.

But it's not entirely a sad story: Darmin and BaileyMarie plan to rebuild the entire sim within a few days' time, and I'll certainly be writing more for the grand re-opening. They're two of the most creative designers working in Second Life, and I look forward to seeing their latest.

10 April 2010


If you've spent much time in Second Life, you've probably visited Kowloon, a spectacular Japanese sim owned by kowllon Yoshikawa. I hadn't been to Kowloon in a few months and revisted it today, spending some time wandering through its crowded streets. It's a massive jumble of dark and dirty stairways, corridors, ledges, rooftops, neon lights and even a subterranean shop with shark-infested waters. (Hmmm, isn't Kowloon in Hong Kong in real life?)

The splendor of the textures make Kowloon one of the most photographed of sims, and it's a fantastic place to explore. There are hidden rooms here, and mysteries—for example, see the photo at the very bottom of this post (as always, click to zoom in)—have you found that curious place? The cameraman, who emerges from behind some David Lynch-like red curtains, was created by magnum Yoshikawa, but if he has a purpose it's unclear to me.

Throughout Kowloon are scattered many small shops, almost all Japanese, filled with clothing, gadgets, textures, avatars, food, and all sorts of tiny items, many at very low prices. And if you speak Japanese, you're eligible to rent a room here, too. Far off in one corner of the sim is Panda Park, a contrastingly peaceful and clean area where you can take a ride on a little panda.

The more time you spend in Kowloon, the more you realize there's more to see, as if you could spend days here and not quite be sure you've seen everything.

My outfit in these photos is the "Kate" ensemble by Jamie Holmer, the brilliant designer and owner of INDI Designs. Her work is always a delight, and she recently moved her main store to its own sim—go take a look!

02 April 2010

The Cellar and Cellar Proper

I love places imbued with an atmosphere of decay, and Outy Banjo's paired sims, Cellar and Cellar Proper, are among the best. Arriving at the latter (teleport here), you find yourself inside a hallway at the Von Cellar Public School, which clearly hasn't seen students or teachers in a number of years. Its classrooms are a jumble of desks, broken windows, graffiti and dust. Venture around and you'll find a gymnasium that's literally falling apart, some really filthy bathrooms, long corridors, and lots of mysterious closed doorways to enter and exit. Outy's textures (which are for sale at his shop in the neighboring sim, Cellar) are superb.

Exit the school and walk down the road to find Aunt Mrytle's Halfway House, and, as you enter Cellar to the south, some other cottages and bungalows (in one of which you might encounter Outy himself). Be aware that many of these are private homes, as Outy offers rental space. The major landmark in Cellar Township (which is essentially the sim of Cellar) is the enormous wood waste incinerator, shown in the background below. In the northwest corner you'll discover an delightful roadsign graveyard (watch your step!), and southwest a few shops, including Outy's. I love the vista on the hill to the east. The entire area is very much fun for playing with windlight settings.

This dress is the Fontana Green Silk designed by Pinco Janus of Babele Fashion.