29 January 2012

Tyrehl Byk

If you ever hear that the brilliant artist Tyrehl Byk (pictured below) is presenting one of his particle shows, go. You're guaranteed to be mesmerized and amazed for the better part of an hour as a dazzling parade of particles move around and over you in a stream-of-consciousness sort of performance. Usually in partnership with a musician, Tyrehl's events are presented in something of an amphitheatre—it's essential that you take a seat as you watch the performance, because your camera control is relinquished, allowing Tyrehl to zoom your view around in space to see the animations from various perspectives, including way overhead. (You can see the audience in the image above—click to zoom in.)

This evening I had a chance to catch an event at MadPea, presented in collaboration with the musician Ultraviolet Alter. While for this performance Ultra was composing on the fly, Tyrehl by necessity pre-planned the elements of his presentation and then engaged in a live interplay with the music. "We did an hour jam friday night—just the two of us so she could see the new effects I created," he remarked. "She has more ability to improvise than I do—I can't create the particles on the moment. I have to use what I've set out and use the camera angles to make them look interesting." He has a wide assortment of options from which to pick: "I have two computers, one with a HUD with over 200 buttons, and this one with a HUD with about 50." Tyrehl was quick to credit Najure Ibor with lending a hand for some of the trickier aspects of this evening's show.

Tyrehl is an artist in real life, with a body of conventional photography and another of pure non-commissioned digital art. He's planning to have "a more conventional gallery exhibit of some particle sculptures" in the near future—stay tuned. If I hear of upcoming performances, I'll tweet them, but you can also contact Tyrehl inworld to get on his listserv.

(And—at risk of sounding like a broken record!—I'll mention once again that it's always essential to tip these great artists when you can.)

24 January 2012

The Thing

I decided to stop by Boudoir tonight—I love the originality of Precious Restless's creations, always so striking and unique—and immediately picked up "The Thing," a walking hand avatar for only L$250. I love this thing (no pun intended!)—it fits like hand in glove. *coughs* It's fun to try with different AOs, and I had a crazy time this evening at Flashmans dancing with the lovely Phideaux Mayo (below). I just loved how she wrapped her hands around my fingers. (Guys take note: the nails on this hand look pretty feminine to me, just sayin'.)

23 January 2012

Treptower Park

If you love urban decay, then Squonk Levenque has built just the thing for you: Treptower Park, inspired by an existing abandoned amusement park in the former East Berlin. It's a dark waterly world (use the suggested Windlight settings for best effect, although personally I like Glassy for the water better than Murky) featuring not only the broken down park, but also abandoned industrial areas. (It can be hard to see these photos at this size, so click on them to zoom in.)

Click on stuff as you explore the amusement park area—you can ride the still-functioning carousel, enter the jack-in-the-box and jump on the trampoline. There's a tombstone near the landing point that will drag you underground. Peppered here and there are a few freebies, and also some helmets for sale by Squonk's partner, Miuccia Klaar, around the northeast corner.

P.S. Thanks once again to my friend M for finding cool places like this! And please do make a contribution to help support Treptower Park if you can—there's a donation thing somewhere around the middle of the sim.

19 January 2012


When I saw a couple photos of Crommhold in the Blogging Elf's blog, I thought it looked promising, and I wasn't disappointed when I visited. It's a lush land of flowers, ferns and forests, open to the public but especially welcoming to non-humans—as its co-owner Cromm Slade says, "from mystics to elves and the fae in the woods, all the forrest kinn are welcome."

He emphasized to me that it's a non-roleplaying sim, although roleplayers are welcome. And he said he's always tweaking it—he toured me around, showing me many hidden spaces, but when I returned today one of them, the grotto, seems to have disappeared (and lovely it was, too!). There's a place for magic creation known as the Rune Keep (you'll have to move the disguised rock door to enter), and a place for mermaids under the waterfall (including a hidden bed chamber below) with an elven cove nearby.

Cromm's partner, Ava Verino-Slade, has created a companion sim, and to get there you'll have to find the teleporter hidden on the main Crommhold island. "Another realm even more beautiful—and my wife built it all from scratch," says Cromm. "I cheat a lot—buy and mould is my style," he quipped. If you find the teleporter, you'll arrive at her land, which is pictured below, also enchanting. (The unicorns you'll discover have fun poses.) Both sims are perfect for photos and provide lots of fun exploration.

17 January 2012

North Yard

When you arrive in a sim and the land description says, "Reaver Land. We Hate Everyone" and "No commercial photography/activity, EVAR."—well, you might have second thoughts about hanging around. But North Yard is worth the stay.

It's part of a group of sims known as The Wastelands, which were founded almost exactly five years ago, on January 19, 2007. (I guess I should have waited a couple days to post this!) The largest and oldest post apocalyptic community in Second Life, the larger Wastelands comprise the sims of The Wastelands, The Junkyard, The Great Fissure, Fort Stygian, Malady Bog, Hambone Slash, Ashvasta, Cormac, Kronbelt, The Rot, Burnt Oak and North Yard. Each is distinct in style, and I really love North Yard for its utter desolation. The Wastelands are more than a bunch of picturesque sims, however—they're a small gaming platform with complex rules, about which you can read here. (As far as I can tell, visitors are quite welcome.)

If you're not using a viewer that follows sim windlight settings, the suggested one is [TOR] SUNRISE - Defenderz 1, which produces the effect shown here. One of the larger structures in North Yard is the First Church of Gid (picture immediately above), where you can leave a donation on the offering plate. You'll also find little encampments such as Hannibal's Camp and the Crone's Shack. (And don't worry about coming across a Reaver—a resident manimal told me they're quite rare: "havent seen a reaver in. well ever" he remarked.)

P.S.: Thanks to M (a.k.a. MissMoe Requiem) for the suggestion!

15 January 2012

The Avatar Machine

Ready for a good laugh? Then head to the sim known as LOL and check out The Avatar Machine, a fun creation by pallina60 Loon. Here, just in case your legs are tired from walking and your arms are sore from flying, The Avatar Machine takes you on a silly little journey—your avatar will be bumped, whisked and jostled about until you complete the end of the fun ride. There are some free items you can pick up here too.

Down below on the main part of the sim, called Circo Loon - Meshtriciattolandia Editions, are installations by Gebedia Yoshikawa, Opensource Obscure, Miru Lane and Lila Iwish, in addition to some by pallina60 Loon. I'm not sure everything was functioning on my last visit, but it's an enjoyable place to explore and to pick up a few freebie items. (As always, I'll urge to you donate if you can.) :)

Thanks to Rose Borchovski for a heads up about The Avatar Machine.

14 January 2012


It's a delight that the Chouchou sims have returned to Second Life. Long a favorite of residents, the sims reopened on January 8th: the main sim of Chouchou, along with Chouchou V (known as Memento mori) and Chouchou XVI (known as The Babel). On Chouchou proper, one might say that less is more—a quiet and delicate water world is articulated by only a few objects, notably a ladder reaching way overhead (which one could climb in the last iteration of Chouchou, if I remember correctly), a tree and a piano.

When you arrive, you might want to grab the HUD that's available—it lengthens the ZoomTime with the intent that your camera movements might seem a bit more cinematic. Be sure to turn your draw distance up to 512, and by all means turn on your sound stream. This last point is important, because Chouchou is actually a more than a sim: it's the musical group of juliet Heberle and arabesque Choche, and the music you'll hear on the sims is all theirs. Take the teleport at the base of the ladder up to Chouchou's live performance venue, called Islamey. (Check their website or join the group to stay posted on performances.)

The sim subtitled Memento mori features a cathedral in the sky. Climb the staircases to reach to uppermost level, and be careful not to fall, as there are gaping holes in the floor! There's a large bell in the cathedral that chimes on the hour, although I've never heard it myself—I keep forgetting to be there at the top of the hour. :)

The last of the three sims is the most significant musically. The Babel is a fascinating installation populated with hundreds of small boxes, each of which contains a sound. The black boxes, bearing labels such as piano 156 or glidesyn001, are instrumental sounds, and the gray boxes, with labels such as juliet_F1, are the sounds of juliet's voice. A click on any given box will commence its sound, and there is some logic as to how the boxes are arranged. (You can read more about this in the book near the landing point.) Climb the stairs (which will seem endless!) to get up to a shop area where you can purchase the boxes for yourself.

And even if you don't purchase any sounds, do consider making a donation to help maintain these lovely sims. The band's music is also for sale, of course—more on their site.

09 January 2012


I don't even know how to begin to describe Locus, an extraordinary new build by DB Bailey (who in real life is the architect David Denton). Well, I can start with a color: red! There's plenty of that, in great brilliance and in many shades, punctuated by yellow, orange, neon blue, periwinkle and a touch of green.

Populating the center of the island of Locus are a countless number of latticed phantom building walls (some of which evoke Romanesque or Gothic churches (not that I'm well studied in architectural history)), structures reminiscent of Greek temples piled high on one another, a central statue of Atlas holding up the world, archways, caverns and a wealth of other forms, all amazingly blended with the textures of the tall walls that surround the sim, so that one can't really tell at first where the build stops and the wall begins. It's almost disorienting at times, and I find myself smiling at how marvelous it is.

The build occupies the entire sim, and you'll want to turn you draw distance up high enough that you can see clear across. As you hunt around you'll find some unusual spots—I was surprised to find a little red house surrounded by red palm trees near a waterfall. DB says he's always working on it—"I never know where this is all going," he remarked.

I learned of Locus through the brilliant machinimatographer NicoleXMoonwall—take a look here. Watch her stuff, it's great. :)

08 January 2012

Alchemy Immortalis Sims for Sale

Today a note rolled in from Alchemy Immortalis, the fabulous creators of homes, instruments, jewelry, sims and more—the duo of Alchemy and Immortalis Cyannis—that said, "Selling Our Sims," meaning the one full and three homestead sims that adjoin their main shop sim of Alchemy Immortalis: Empress and Hierophant, Ceangal, Inis Caiseal (full sim), and Saerlaith.

These are among the most photographed of Second Life sims—Empress and Hierophant in particular—and it's a tragedy that they'll likely be broken up, but Alchemy and Immortalis say that want to return to the development of the original sim, and need to be freed up from the administrative tasks that come with maintaining the other four (some of which have had short-term B&B style rental options). (Click here to see a map of the layout.)

With designs that reflect the feel of rugged rural Ireland, the windswept sims are populated with winding hills, peaks and valleys, coastal waterways, narrow roadways, occasional sheep, rain and breathtaking views. Having spent a good amount of time there, I know there are many who frequently visit. (Of course, I'm wishing now I had taken many more photos!)

To purchase a homestead you have to already own a full sim, and Alchemy told me that she didn't anticipate she would want the sims to stay adjacent to the Alchemy Immortalis sim, with the possible exception of Empress and Hierophant. "We're hoping they'll end up with folks who will enjoy them as much as we have. Labour of love they've been," she added. Thanks, Alchemy and Immortalis, for having shared these gifts with the Second Life community!

By the way, you can also purchase many Alchemy Immortalis products on the Marketplace, including the "Elements of Empress and Hierophant" package from which you can build your own similar sim, and the enchanting Gatehouse Cottage, which I'm happy to have had as my own home for nearly a year now.