Explore Series: Lost Town

•November 19, 2018 • Leave a Comment

I’ve been spending the last several days reading back through my blog, and it’s really making me realize how much I miss out on by staying on my home sim all the time. Back in 2008, I did a really interesting blog post where I explored SL by selecting profile picks at random. I would go to the sim and describe everything that I was seeing and that the people around me were doing, and of course included some pictures. I found it fascinating when I read  back over it, and I think I only ever did it that one time, so I think it’s time to try it again.

As it turns out, when I first logged into Corona Cay just now, I saw someone else on the sim. I don’t know who she is, but I pulled up her profile and was glad to see she does have some pics listed. She’s an older account, with a rez date of March 2010. I notice that seems to be really common here on Corona Cay. Almost everyone I’ve seen here has an account more than 5  years old.

Of the 7 picks she has listed, the one that looks the most interesting is Lost Town- Land of Glory. I’ll head there, first.

I arrived in what appears to be an underground bar. It’s all brickwork and concrete, very dark. I get the impression it was built inside some sort of sewer or subway system. Every now and then the lights overhead will buzz and flicker. Near the stage area is a burning trashcan. It’s very quiet, no music here. Just the occasional snap or pop from the fire, and the buzzing light.

On the other side of the room is a bar. The walls are decorated with old movie posters, artwork of classic cars and several pictures hanging up of some men in tuxedos, and a couple of women in long, elaborate flowing dresses. The whole place has a distinct mobster vibe. Despite the grungy ambiance, the bar countertop looks pristine and expensive, and the barstools are plush red velvet.

Just beyond the bar is a broken section of the wall. Through it, you can see a crashed classic car, riddled with bulletholes. I don’t know much about cars so I don’t know the make and model, but I definitely recognize it. Right clicking on the car gave me the ‘drive’ option, so I tried. But it just booted me out and set off the car alarm. Whoops!

The car appears to be in a network of sewer tunnels, just as I suspected. If I continue past the car, there’s a little walkway leading upwards, that I assume leads you out. I thought about going that way, but I want to explore the tunnels a bit more, first. So I picked one leading deeper along a canal. You can hear the echo of water dripping in the distance, and little fires light the way.

As I rounded the bend, I saw a ladder leading up to a manhole cover to the street above. But just past it, the tunnel forks in two directions. One tunnel has these tiny blue star-like lights floating down the tunnel, and every now and then you can see some sort of fog or mist.

That last stretch of tunnel was pretty long. But the other end revealed an exit, and it looks like it’s going to be really pretty out here.

As tempted as I am to explore further, I don’t want to let this to get too long. So I’ll leave the rest for the next post. 😉

Advertisements

Have Fun Again

•November 15, 2018 • Leave a Comment

I’ve been intending to start  this blog back up again, since I’ve returned to Second Life. I meant to post sooner, and had already started gathering photos for a sim I’ve been exploring. But something else happened first. And in a way, it seems more fitting that my return post should be about this.

It’s about Keeme. Someone very important to me. I don’t think you’ll find many entries on this blog that don’t mention him. He’s one of the first people I met when I came to SL. We formed a connection pretty much as soon as we met. He became my partner in SL, my podcast partner, my partner in crime. One of my very best friends. Someone that I love.

Today would have been his birthday, in real life. Tomorrow is his funeral.

You see, Keeme passed away a few days ago. On Sunday, Nov. 11th, 2018.

I found out fairly recently that he was sick, and it’s what brought me back in to Second Life. It reminded me to find the magic in here, again. Shortly before he got really sick, he sent a video message out to his friends, telling us to not worry about him, and to keep having fun.

“Please return to all the happiness and cool. Please have fun again.”

I’m going to honor that. I feel like everywhere I look in Second Life, a piece of Keeme is still here, and will always be here. And as long as we smile and laugh when we remember all the fun times we had with him, and celebrate our memories of him, he’ll never be gone. So that’s what I’m doing. I started a project tonight. I rented our old parcel on Corona Cay, and I had been trying to think of some sort of build I can put here where I can display all of the photos, art, goofy things he’s built, funny things that represent him, and it finally hit me. Crime House!

Every inch of that place is infused with memories. I can’t think of a better way to display them.  It’s going to take a long time to fill this house- it’s a big one, and I have a lot of great memories to share. So do all the rest of his friends. Between us all, we’ll make sure that Keeme will never be forgotten.

There is a very important art piece that absolutely must be added. It’s one I took many years ago, when Keeme’s uncle Juanito was in Second Life. The two of them were extremely close, and I used to hear  so many stories about Juanito before I got to meet him in SL. We took him out exploring once and ended up at a little coffee shop that had a nice patio area. Keeme and Juanito were sitting across the table from each other and talking on voice, and I took a snapshot and made it into an art piece. Sadly, Juanito passed away not long after that. I can’t find the original photo or art piece in my inventory right now because I can’t remember what it was called, but I’ll find it. Here’s a little snippet from my blog and a photo I took of the piece, at the time. I like to think that somewhere up there, they’re sitting together now, having that cup of coffee, talking and laughing like they did that night.

 

Juanito was Keeme’s (my partner) uncle- but as he was only two years older and they grew up together, they were best friends. When they were in their teens, Juanito was in a very bad car accident that left him a quadriplegic. Keeme told me how he’d hide out in Juanito’s hospital room after visiting hours, and they’d stay up talking well into the night, but Keeme would not leave his side.

Early last year, Keeme was able to buy a laptop for Juanito that would run SL, and sent it to him at the hospital where he lived. Juanito had spent the majority of his life in a hospital bed, and Keeme wanted him to experience the freedom SL could give him, as well as the social benefits of being able to meet and hang out with his friends. I was excited to meet Juanito, because I had heard so many stories about him from Keeme. It was clear how much Keeme loved and respected him. When Juanito was able to start logging in, Keeme and I were there to guide him along. Because of his very limited mobility as well as a vision impairment, he was not able to navigate around as easily as most. He could not type or read text chat, access his inventory or use the map or search functions. But he was able to walk and fly around, accept teleports and voice chat with people. Those times meant more to him than a lot of people ever knew.They were special times, and I’m so glad I got to know him.

Juanito died last summer, due to complications from an infection he got in the hospital. Even though his health had been poor for years, it was still sudden and unexpected. One week from today, I will be visiting SL Memorial Park for the Day Of Remembrance.

There is a painting Keeme and I keep somewhere on our land, to remember Juanito by. It’s a photo Keeme took of the two of them, not long before he died. It moves around, depending on the build. But it’s always there, somewhere.

I miss you, Juan Texan.

And I miss you too, Keeme Brown.

Love forever,

Nika

 

Holiday Sale

•December 22, 2013 • Leave a Comment

This is an ‘unofficial’ Wine And Roses update. I’m still intending to start creating again, but in the meantime I’ve reopened my store and I’m having a holiday sale! I’ve marked everything down to $10L-50L.  All items are transferable, so they can be gifted to others. Also, I’ve hidden one free items somewhere in the store. All you have to do is find it!

Please stop by. 🙂 Wine And Roses Mainstore

P.S. Don’t mind the kittycats!

Social Island

•November 20, 2013 • Leave a Comment

I happened to log in world the other night while Itazura Radio and several other of my friends were recording the Coronaverse podcast. After we finished up, Itazura took us on a field trip to see one of the latest projects he’s been working on as a Mole, Social Island.

Itazura was one of the first people I ever met in Second Life, and has been a good friend for years. But it wasn’t until fairly recently that I found out his (then) secret identity: Abnor Mole. The Moles are a team of builders contracted by Linden Lab as part of the Linden Department Of Public Works. They’re the ones responsible for the roads that run through Mainland like Route 8, as well as contributing to some of the builds you see in places like Bay City, Zindra, Second Life Birthday events, and now- Social Island.

Social Island is one of the new starting areas that acts as the initial landing point for people entering Second Life for the first time. It’s a lot more friendly than the old Infohubs of the past, like Ahern. And unlike the more recent starting areas where you can’t return once you leave- anyone can go visit Social Island. The first thing you see when you teleport to the island is a series of tiki huts set out in the water, connected by a winding dock. I thought this was really pretty!

Following a path up a nearby hill, I encountered this interesting structure that contained multiple portals that were labeled “Music”, “Art”, “Social”, “Wilderness”, etc. I assume this is a more ‘physical’ representation of the Destination Guide, and I think it’s a good idea. Someone new to Second Life is probably more focused on exploring their environment and I think flipping through a bunch of search panels might break their immersion. I think this is a good jumping point to send them off into the world for more exploration. My only complaint is that it seems kind of off the beaten path. Tucked between a couple of mountains, it isn’t that noticable. Although in retrospect, that is actually the beauty of Social Island. A far cry from the earlier infohubs- this place is packed full of hidden places of interest and things to explore. This is my third time back, and I find something new every time.

Despite the lack of people in these pictures, Social Island is actually quite full. Although I notice that the majority of people seem to congregate on the platform at the center of the island, and don’t tend to stray from that spot to explore unless they see someone else nearby the interact with. While taking pictures, I would start out as the only person there. But within moments, more and more people would start to show up.

This ‘zen’ mediation spot is probably my favorite place on the island. There is a rain storm here, with lightening and thunder, and you can see the raindrops on the stones. I was the only person in this section but by the time I got my camera lined up, someone had followed me and fell into the pool and was floundering around, trying to get out. I stuck around for a few minutes, messing with different angles and photos. By the time I got out of Flycam mode and looked around, there were two people stuck in the pool and a couple more clustered around me.

From the landing platform, you can follow a glass walkway down to another of my favorite spots- Club SL.

This place is very well done! It features several club and lounge areas overlooking a pool area and dance floor. I recommend paying extra special attention to the chairs at the bars.. there is more to them than meets the eye. 😉

As I said before, there are a lot of hidden little nooks and crannies to discover. Some of them are easier to find than others.

I especially liked the H2O Lounge. I almost missed it the first time I was here, since it’s kind of tucked underneath the dance floor. Easy to overlook if you aren’t paying attention, but I think that’s part of the charm. Once you go inside, you’ll see a private little swim-up lounge area. It reminds me a lot of the swim-up bars that are popular in many of the hotel pools in Las Vegas.

All of these places are just a part of Social Island. I left several things out- partly because there are just too many things to show. And partly to encourage you to go explore for yourself! I think I might come back sometimes just to meet some new people who are just entering Second Life for the first time, and maybe help them out a bit. Sometimes it’s easy to fall into the habit of just hanging out with your own social circle. Stepping outside of your comfort zone to meet someone completely new might not always be easy to do. But sometimes, that’s how the best friends are made.

http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Social%20Island%201/128/128/3

A New Beginning

•November 14, 2013 • 2 Comments

I first joined Second Life back in December 2007, but I still remember quite a bit about those early days. I can still recall standing in an info hub and watching all the chatter fill my screen. There were still SL Mentors back then, and the one there that day was standing on some steps, answering questions. She was wearing a long, flowing gown and had a pair of white angel wings. I was very impressed by her avatar.

Of course I did the whole freebie experience, exploring malls and shops, going through the various tragic looks that most noobs endure. There were still camping chairs back then, as well as money trees and those survey terminals that would give you a few Lindens. I had also made a friend along the way. A transgender guy named Sal, who has since undergone a sex change operation in real life and changed his avatar to a female named Sally. I remember seeing an outfit I fell in love with that cost 100L. I saved up for weeks, using camping chairs and money trees until I had enough to buy it. Sal came along to witness my first real purchase, and it was an exciting moment.

Interestingly, I still have Sal on my friends list to this day, and often see her online. We never talk anymore, but we each know the other is still out there. I don’t think we’ll ever remove each other from our friends list, either. It’s sort of like a silent understanding, and I think that’s kind of neat.

It’s been years since I had that full noobie experience. I believe that when we first join SL, we are set on a path by our early experiences and the people we meet. My path led me to Podcast Island, where I met people like Radar Masukami of SL Under The Radar podcast, Keeme Brown of Keemecast, and many others.  The first Blogger I met was Crap Mariner. These initial meetings are what led me to become part of the blogger and podcaster community.

I started my first blog really early, just a few days into SL. My original blog was over on Live Journal. Amazingly, it still exists, and it’s so incredible to be able to go back and relive some of those initial reactions and discoveries. Most of them I had completely forgotten about, but I am extremely happy that I documented those early days so well. As I go back and read the entries and see the pictures, it all comes back to me so clearly.

So, I got to wondering- what if I hadn’t gone to Podcast Island or Edloe? If I had not met any of those people, where would I be right now? What community would I be a part of, and what would my life in SL look like? This is what gave me the idea to start a new blog project, which as of yet is still unnamed.

Last night, I created a new account and logged into that initial starting area- and stayed there. My objective for this project is to forge a new path on this avatar based entirely on the people I meet. I’ll step outside of my comfort zone and talk to everyone I encounter, and see what sorts of friendships I make, and what sort of places they end up sending me to. I am not allowing myself to rely on previous experience, or cheat by searching out places that someone truly new to Second Life wouldn’t know about yet. If that means I have to trot around with no AO and in the default skin for months, so be it. I’ll be documenting my journey along the way, and finding out what other sorts of lives and people are out there on the Grid that I wouldn’t otherwise encounter through my own circle of friends.

It should be quite an adventure, so be sure to follow this blog to see where it leads.

Lost

•December 5, 2010 • 2 Comments

I logged into SL for the first just now, in I’m not sure how long. It started with a picture I saw on Crap Mariners blog, of a Christmas tree on the ice in Nowhereville, with snow drifting down around it. When I first joined SL in 2007 it was winter time, right around Christmas. All the sims were decorated similarly, and it all felt so new and magical to me. When I saw that picture on his blog just now, I got such a sense of nostalgia.

“What if I logged in, right now?” I thought to myself. Could I? For some reason, its been so long that the separation feels permanent. I wasn’t sure I could even remember HOW to log in, or how to find my way around in there. Would my old client still work? Is the password saved? Do I even remember it, if it wasn’t?

The calender on the wall next to my desktop still says July. That’s how long ago I bought my laptop and moved to WoW. I managed to log in, and found myself in my Linden Home, where I last logged out. The candles were still flickering on the wall shelf, where I left them. I grabbed the mouse and tried to walk forward, and nearly deleted a bookcase. I tried to turn around, but all I got was aaaaaa. People who play WoW will understand what I mean.

My space navigator was unplugged next to my computer, with the wire all coiled up. I plugged it in, hoping it would help free my line of sight from my avatar, so I could get a better look around, and regain my bearings. As soon as I plugged it in, my avatar was airborn, smashing around the walls and ceiling of my home like a moth trapped in a windowsill. Maybe they changed something with the settings since I last used it. I looked at the Advanced menu at the top of my screen, but had no idea where to go from there, so I unplugged the device, and managed to land my avatar next to the front door.

I wanted to see who was online in my friends list, but hitting O didn’t do anything. It took me a few seconds to remember which was the right button. I found Stuart online,and he TP’d me to Rezzed TV island to give me a tour of the new VWE arena. Moving around was difficult. I couldn’t remember how to jump over a barricade that was in my way. Walking felt agonizingly slow, and I automatically glanced to the right of my screen for the hot key that would let me mount up on my horse. I wanted to at least run, but had to ask how to toggle that on. Flying though, was surprisingly fast. WAY faster than my epic mount.

After Stuart left, I tried to decide what I wanted to do. I felt sort of like wandering around a store, and looking at clothing. Where to people shop these days, though? I dug around in my inventory for some of my old favorites. Redgrave and Digit Darkes.. no longer there. The LM to Blaze still worked, but the store was completely empty. I sort of wanted to go where I could find people I know.. plurkers, bloggers. But I guess there never was a central hang out spot, unless someone was having a party. In WoW, I could just go to the Trade District, Blue Recluse or Pig and Whistle. But here?

I found myself hovering near the ceiling of Blaze, without a clue where to go next. I TP’d to one more store but eventually got bored and frustrated as I stared at twisted sculpties and gray textures.. I don’t know where to go, what to do or how to find anyone. Eventually I gave up, and logged out. I have ghost mushrooms and ragveil to farm, anyway..

Second Life Double Rainbow!!!

•August 3, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Loody Graves encounters a double rainbow across the sky!

(It’s so intense.)