23 September 2009


This is driving me crazy!

22 September 2009

Old Second Life: The Great Second Life Railway

Second Life was very different a few years ago ... I recall when I arrived in early 2007 (or my predecessor did (*coughs*)) textures were much less refined (just look at the wheels on the traincar above!), flexi prim hair was a new thing ... you'll know what I mean if you were there. Remnants of that Old Second Life are still around, and sometimes it's great to revisit them. The other day I happened to TP somewhere, and there, right there, was a stretch of the old Great Second Life Railway. Built by a team of residents beginning in 2004 (and the brainchild of Athos Murphy), it remains largely unchanged, and must have been a remarkable achievement in its heyday. The railway snakes through several old continent sims (the ones named for colors and hues in Sansara). More than one train rides on the tracks ... I was actually involved in a collision!

The main terminal of the GSLR is above, at Slate. (I would go inside, but I can't fit through the doorway! I guess avatars were shorter back then.) From here you can go east or west, although the western journey is quite short, only traveling through the sims of Olive and Mocha. So take the train east, and watch out the window as you see some old old land ... the train cuts through a corner of Magenta, then in the sim of Maroon travels on a long bridge across a bay, and crosses into Periwinkle. Hop off the train for a minute at the little station here in Periwinkle, and click on the notecard giver for some great SL history ... The notecards (mostly from 2005 and 2006) were intended to help new residents, and their titles are amazing (one by John Linden is called "09. What Does 'Add Friend' Mean" ... or there's "21. How To: Change Your Appearance").

Get back on the train and then head to the end of this section of line at the next sim, in Purple. Here you climb off the train, and wait for a ferry! The ferry boards right here -- there's a cute little interactive map showing you where the ferry is on its current journey. The ferry (leaving now ... the gangplank just went up) takes you through several water sims (Cyclops, ANWR, Sudoffco and Sandra) one of which features a huge Linden-built rig. And there's some interesting history about ANWR ... click here for the Wiki.

You disembark at Cecropia, and get on board this new modern looking train (hmmmm, what DO these controls do?). Here there are two more stops -- first at ZZ Land and the second at Hobotown (getting to be a little gritty looking) as you enter the sim of Calleta.

And here's the end of the line for the Great Second Life Railway, at the huge train yard in Calleta. Some Linden-built tracks extend away from here, but I don't think any trains run on them. So tramp over to Slate sometime and spend a relaxing hour or so exploring old SL sims. There are some interesting spots along the way, too ... jump off and see!

Addendum 1: I would be remiss in not mentioning that at the terminal in Slate you can grab a balloon ride, courtesy of Jopsy Pendragon, to some of his areas in Slate, Hina and Teal, and they're a delight as well ... I'll write about them another time. In case I don't, make sure you visit the Cloud Chateau! :)

Addendum 2: The outfit I'm wearing is a creation by Jamie Holmer of INDI Designs -- this outfit is called Tracy.

16 September 2009

Where's Ziki?

As my partner Barbie can tell you, I love to transform myself into a variety of crazy avatars (weird shapes, demented people, animals (no furry blood in me though)) -- I have one, the Bigly by Yoa Ogee, that's 50 meters tall!).

A long time ago a dear friend of mine, Jade Steinhoff (where are you, Jade?), told me she had found a tree avatar but couldn't remember where. I looked and looked, but alas couldn't find one I liked. Until today, in Random Person's shop. Can you spot me in the photo above? (Click to zoom in.) I'm the little tree (8.5 m tall on the ground) with light colored leaves toward the bottom center. My leaves flow with the breeze, and if i fly ... all my roots are exposed! A plum tree is also available. Photo taken at Walkaloosa (and more about that place some other time!).

15 September 2009

Dirty Cute

Can you think neon? Or maybe think neon + sewers + go-go club + cool shopping + hidden passageways + awesome build ... then maybe the answer will be Dirty Cute, an ultra-mod hangout and one of my favorite spots in Second Life. Sadly the land is now for sale, but Dirty Cute's creator, Fade Lei, assures me that she'll build again if this place disappears -- so you should hurry to see it before it become another piece of lost SL ephemera. I've seen some wild parties here, rocking out to Bikini Kill and Le Tigre, but now you're more likely to see a quiet person or two exploring and shopping in the galleries. Make sure when you visit to set the world to midnight so the place can really come alive. And if you think you've found every nook and cranny in Dirty Cute after exploring for a few minutes, you probably haven't, because there are hidden doors in the walls and lots of little spaces. You can see a few more pics on my flickr stream.

13 September 2009

Hey, wasn't one of my stores here?

Hmmmm ... so on September 9th all my items (meaning my entire store!) located at a sim were returned without notice by the owner, Bessie, to whom I had paid rent only two days earlier, on September 7th. This store hadn't been doing much business, just breaking even, but had been at this establishment (for voice escorts) since August 6th. Now, it's bad enough when mall owners move their mall or shop areas on short notice (really, folks, it's time consuming to put in a store!), but ... simply sending back all my items without any comment, and just after I had paid rent? (This, by the way, was just after I had to move my store on August 26 because they had redesigned the mall there ... on one day's notice.)

So I stopped by to see what was up. As you can see from the photo above, the club had been replaced with these kind of ugly houses -- intended to be rentals, apparently -- and I could see on the mini-map that Bessie was way overhead on a platform. So I IM'd her (this was my alt Tessa's shop): "[2009/09/09 14:54] Tessa Derryth: hi bessie ... i notice my items from nice tropic have been returned, but not the rental fee of $400 i paid just 2 days ago, on 9/7 ... i do hope you are planning to compensate renters for their time ... thank you." Alas, no reply after several minutes, although I could cam up to see Bessie actively working, and "fly" had been turned off. So I used the map to set her coordinates and TP'd up there, to this exchange:
[2009/09/09 15:00] Tessa Derryth: hi there
[2009/09/09 15:00] Bessie: hey tessa
[2009/09/09 15:00] Bessie: sorry i was in middle of this
[2009/09/09 15:00] Bessie: so couldnt reply
[2009/09/09 15:01] Tessa Derryth: really, i don't mind a change of business plans :)
[2009/09/09 15:01] Tessa Derryth: ok
[2009/09/09 15:01] Bessie: there isn any change
[2009/09/09 15:01] Bessie: we r just trying a new things
[2009/09/09 15:01] Tessa Derryth: hmmm but of course your rental area is gone
[2009/09/09 15:01] Bessie: they will be back by tomorrow..
[2009/09/09 15:02] Tessa Derryth: back how?
[2009/09/09 15:02] Bessie: we will put it back
[2009/09/09 15:03] Tessa Derryth: hmmm, ok ... then let me know ... i'll let you continue on your build
[2009/09/09 15:03] Bessie: it will be back by tomorrow
[2009/09/09 15:03] Bessie : and dont worry

Of course, the day after, no shops were there, nor the day after that. There are now (on 9/13) some shop spaces for rent, all empty, in the middle of a bunch of empty rental houses, and still no communication.

I don't write this to single out Bessie in particular. I suppose she's having a hard time making ends meet. But please, mall owners, get this through your skulls: those of us who are merchants rent specific locations after careful consideration. Sometimes, as in the case with this place, there was some risk, because not many shops were rented. But, honestly, who in their right mind would rent a shop in the middle of a bunch of rental homes? We merchants aren't renting stores just to help other people fulfill their SL fantasies -- we're renting store spaces to make money, to earn a profit! You have to work with your merchants. And those of us who are merchants do talk to one another ... we do keep informal tabs on places and people. :)

OK, rant over. (Ziki steps down off the soapbox and tries to regain her composure.) And there are lots of great mall and shop space owners out there ... I have the pleasure of knowing many. I guess to make up for this diatribe I should write something nice about someone next time! :)

P.S. On a more positive note, I would like to encourage merchants to join the Second Life Commerce Merchants group, which is run by Pink Linden, Colossus Linden and other Lindens ... It's turning into a great place to share ideas for the betterment of SL commerce, with conversations in group chat and meetings in person (virtually, of course!).

Addendum on 9/21/09: Just stopped by the old place, and it's now a vacant lot ... obviously those cheesy looking rental homes weren't raking in the dough. Never did hear from Bessie, of course, so I'll end up eating that loss ... I find it somewhat humorous that she started a SL group designed to help escorts know which clients are dishonest and don't pay. ;-)

08 September 2009


It seems as if I don't visit nearly as often as I used to (or should!), but Flashmans, run by the eminent proprietor Martin Ren (pictured here on the left), is hands down one of my favorite places in Second Life. Here one might find some of the great minds of the metaverse cavorting and conversing, either at the bar or on the dance floor ... or in the downstairs opium den! But this isn't your high end dance club ... no swanky attire is necessary here, only an odd sense of humor and the ability to converse, both sensically and nonsensically. Rats scurry across the floor, and once in a while a grand event or celebration (the science fairs are my personal favorites) takes over the establishment for a day. Here I have made many dear friends, some of whom I rarely see anymore (a few have departed for regions unknown) ... If I ever were to find myself homeless, this is where I'd turn up!

My lovely dress in this shot is by Thera Taurog, whose store, filled with sumptuous works of fashion art, can be found here.

Here's my Flashmans set on flickr!

05 September 2009

Grim Bros.

I don't know what Cutea Benelli drinks, but I want some of it... By way of introduction to her work, about a year ago, I was hanging out at Flashmans, one of the great old haunts of SL, when proprietor extraordinaire Martin Ren set out an enormous eyeball behind the bar that blinked and watched us as we moved about. Its creator was Blotto Epsilon, a friend of Cutea's, and that huge, fabulous fascinating eye is one of the items for sale at Cutea's store, Grim Bros.

Everything here is almost unreal ... shoes with moving gears, dresses made of scrap metal and beams of light, avatars of every shape and size, all swashed with a bit of dark humor ... as Martin put it, the creativity here is almost endless. It's the kind of store that makes your head spin as you look about in bemused wonder. (The outfit I'm wearing here is one of hers, and the neon-esqe textures move constantly while I wear it ... a total trip.)

Bryn Oh's Store

I absolutely love Bryn Oh's work ... her creations never fail to amaze, and her Immersiva installation is breathtaking. But I never knew she had a store where one could buy some of these things! I was delighted to discover it. There aren't many items here, and they're not inexpensive, but I'd buy them all in a second if I had a space to put them! Above is the Particle Stream Clock, priced at $4,000.

Here's the Time Machine, a huge creation that sells for $2,000. All the gears and circular parts slowly and beautifully turn.

And this one is called 7 Backspaces, retailing for $4,000. Even if you don't plan to make a purchase, this place is well worth a visit ... and there are other cool things on the sim too! And don't miss a visit to Bryn's blog, too. http://slurl.com/secondlife/Oxymoron/229/195/29

03 September 2009

Leap of Faith

Hey, this place looks really busy ... NOT! ... but I just rented a shop here. Having now 33 Babele Fashion stores of my own, I've come to realize that sometimes I need to make a leap of faith, and something told me that this place might take off. I did the same thing back when I rented a space at Enslaved (now located at Novazeit) when it was largely empty, and Enslaved became a big hit. I can hardly say I have an infallible track record when it comes to plunking down a store in a mostly empty mall, but this place -- called RLV Bondage Paradise, run by subgirl Magic -- has the right vibes. My friend Sassy Romano (of Sassy's, maker of very cool RLV things) agreed and put in a shop too, so now we have to wait and see.

This place isn't a relocation because of the adult land shift; it's a new build. I've found that some places that have moved to Zindra or elsewhere aren't doing as well as they had previously -- maybe people can't find them? ... maybe the move is making people look at new places? -- so now I'm always on the hunt, but most builds don't inspire. We'll see how this one does, but I know I'll have to give it a few weeks at least!

Addendum on 9/18: Well, so much for that! Unfortunately the sim closed, but the owner, subgirl Magic, fully refunded my outstanding balance, and I wish her the best of luck with her future endeavors.

01 September 2009

The Making of Tessa

It started when I opened so many stores that I ran up to my 25 group limit (grrrr ... can't we fix that?). I decided to create an alt, but one that could be fun -- after wrestling with names (what a process!) she came inworld as Tessa Derryth. I, Ziki, never really change my appearance -- I have the same skin and hair I did a year and a half ago -- but I thought with an alt I could have a little fun. And although almost everyone has alts (usually to hide behind, which wasn't my interest!), I wanted to create someone who could be a sort of a sandbox for me, a chameleon (but beautiful of course!). Creating an alt isn't inexpensive, really: shape, skin, hair, AO, eyes, clothes, on and on. My first inclination was to create someone who looked completely different, and so, above, you see Tessa #1! (Taken at the incredible sim of Miriel Enfield, sadly now closed to the public.) The skin and hair are both from Laqroki, and I lived happily with this combo for a few weeks -- I love the face especially. The clothes pictured are from League, and worked great. But as striking as the face on this skin is, I was a little disappointed in the rest of it (read: nude!), and so I went shopping again.

I headed back to my trusted skin designer, Naela Carter, and her shop, Allure, for Tessa version #2 (above) ... and this is the same hair from Laqroki in a darker hue. Compared to the skinny as a stick Tessa #1, now I had a more formidable build, but somehow this avatar reminded me too much of Ziki! (You wouldn't think of us as sisters if you saw us, but it was too close for me.) This playful outfit is also from League -- I look like I jumped off a St. Pauli Girl bottle, don't I?

And then while I was out shopping around for clothes I wandered into Jamie Holmer's INDI Designs store (great place) and was really struck by the beauty of her avatar depicted on several of her vendors, which gave me the the inspiration for Tessa #3 (above), who seems to be sticking with me. (No, Tessa doesn't look anything like Jamie Holmer!) The skin is from Dutch Touch, hair from Truth, and clothes from INDI. Now the question is: Is Tessa going to develop her own personality? Hmmm.