Sunday, January 15, 2017

Shareta Osumai Tea Garden

In my recent blog post about bridges, I featured Molly Linden's elegant bridge, which connects two Japanese-styled Linden homes areas near Hoshigarei. If you cross that bridge, and wander West, you'll arrive at the the bright red gates of the Shareta Osumai Tea Garden. A strikingly lovely LDPW build, the garden comprises an entire sim; two if you count the connecting infohub directly to the North. Let's enter through the shoji gates and spend a pleasant afternoon looking around, shall we?



Perhaps the most striking feature of the garden is the five-story tea house, pictured above. Nearby, you can catch a (very slow) rickshaw pulled by a mole for a leisurely ride, or wander the many paths through the garden on foot. You might spot the hedge dragon, pictured below, or sit and meditate at the edge of the Zen rock garden. See how many different mole statues you can find among the plantings, and you might even find three mole coins just waiting for a lucky toss into a nearby pond!



Once you are finished visiting the garden, follow the river North, and climb a series of winding wooden staircases up to a group of five large buildings perched at the top of a mountain (pictured below). These buildings are all part of the Shareta Osumai Infohub, and contain a number of freebies, including parasols, fans, cricket cages, eleven different decorative masks, and boxes containing textures for use in Japanese-themed Linden homes. Make sure to spend some time exploring each of the five buildings, as they all contain different surprises. The mole temple (last photo, below) was my very favorite.
 


What I found really fascinating about this location (and thanks to Gem Preiz for the original tip!) is that there are at least two duplicates. According to the Second Life wiki, there are four premium Linden Homes continents: Premium East (also known as Nascera), and Premium South 1, 2 and 3. The Gardens and Infohub I have described above exist in Premium East, the same continent where you can find Cape Ekim, Racer's Gulch, and the Wilderness Sims. However, you can also find the very same Shareta Osumai Tea Garden on Premium South 2 and on Premium South 3, with related Infohubs to the North of each. Similarly, Molly Linden's wonderful bridge is duplicated on both Premium South 2 and 3 as well. Choose any of these three expansive gardens, and you're sure to enjoy your visit. Let me know if you found those lucky coins!



Tuesday, January 10, 2017

River's Bend Airstrip

Down a narrow canyon in Sansara, daring Second Life pilots can navigate small planes through the mountains and over a small river to land at River's Bend Airstrip in Enceladus. The airstrip is tucked away in a tree-lined valley, and the parcel advertises that it is "best approached with a bush plane and a sense of adventure!" Rezzing is enabled with a 30 minute auto-return, so you can either land your plane at the airstrip, or pop by to explore first, then rez a plane and take off through the canyon.


Owner Xi Larnia commented, "I built the airstrip back in April after seeing the area abandoned for some time. I finally put a ticket in and 'won' it on an auction. The build only took a couple of days, but I knew I wanted to build a rundown looking air strip. There are far too many modern and square airstrips and airports in SL." River's Bend provides some welcome variety for those among us who love to explore by air.



Xi continued, "As somebody who loves to fly small 'bush' planes from East River out over the Snowlands, I wanted a place that would be a technical place to land. Difficult, but not impossible. My big inspiration was the end of the small film 'Wings Over The Rockies' with Harrison Ford, in which he lands his small DHC-2 Beaver (around 6 minutes into the 10-minute film) onto a small dirt field that is not flat, but slopes upwards." There are some fun details everywhere, including an abandoned house uphill from the helipad, rabbits in the grass, and even a crashed plane in the river.



"I will say this," concluded Xi, "Rivers Bend seems to have touched a nerve. People really seem to love it. I built it for myself, but I am just glad other people enjoy it too." Make sure you stop by during SL's night cycle, when the fog rolls in through the canyon, and can get as thick as waist deep! I didn't find a tip jap on the parcel, but if you enjoy your visit to River's Bend, there is a guest book in the main office, so please drop Xi a note to say hello. The River's Bend Airstrip group description is as follows, "RBA is not for the faint-hearted, it's not even for the strong-hearted, it's for the absolutely mad-hearted. Who else would want to fly down to the water's edge in a narrow canyon just so they could hit a small dirt strip in the middle or nowhere for no reason other to say they did it. Nobody in their right mind would come to River's Bend, and that may be the point to this beat up, dirty, and out of the way little airport. You only go there because you want to go there...and these are the pilots who do." So the question is, will you be one of those pilots?



Saturday, December 31, 2016

SS Galaxy - A Museum In Second Life

According to the ship's website, the SS Galaxy - The Queen of the Sagittarian Sea - was quite the attraction in her heyday: "With over 650 meters in length, 110 meters beam, and 8 decks of living and leisure space, the SS Galaxy is the largest single-build and the most exciting attraction in Second Life today." An impressive build that spans a full three sims, the Galaxy was created in 2007 and once featured a full staff, over 100 rooms available for rental, a shopping mall, a variety of activities and regularly scheduled events, and even "cruises". (While the ship does not move, the staff would set up monthly "Port of Call" excursions via teleport exchanges.)



Unfortunately, the Galaxy is no longer a working vessel with on-board rentals and scheduled events. In May of 2015, for a variety of reasons, it shut down, but in August of that same year, Linden Lab stepped in and reopened the cruise ship as a museum of sorts. A team of Lindens and Moles created a "Preservation Society" and added some new attractions for visitors: a water slide (see final picture, below), swan boats, a hot air balloon tour, a bowling alley, and even a working movie theatre. Large wall maps located throughout the ship will give specific and direct landmarks to the various attractions.


Many of the original areas have been carefully preserved, such as the Wedding Chapel and Reception Hall, pictured above, or the charming Bamboo Garden Japanese Restaurant, pictured below. There are a couple of art galleries to visit, and a nicely-appointed spa area. See if you can spot Bob the Boulder, a place where the sea floor actually juts up into the ship!


Located right off of the Blake Sea, the SS Galaxy is easy to reach by boat from the Mainland. Although there are no rezzing areas on the ship itself, a tiny nearby island offers a free sailboat rezzer. You can also sit around a fire on the island and watch the hourly fireworks over the Galaxy, float around in Galaxy life preservers, or play 7Seas fishing from the island dock. Or, head back over to the Galaxy to explore some more! (I highly recommend the water slide, myself.) With a ship that spans three full sims, you're sure to find some fun onboard. Enjoy!





Monday, December 26, 2016

"What're You Doing New Year's?"

THE "PRIM DROP" IS UPON US
Bay City's New Year's event set for 31st December
Guest post by Marianne McCann

BAY CITY, SL (26th December, 2016) — Citizens of Bay City, Second Life's® city by the bay, will be marking the end of the year in fine fashion, attending the annual "Prim Drop" in the Bay City Fairgrounds in North Channel on the evening of the 31st of December. The party will include an hour-long set of DJed tunes presented by Marianne McCann, as well as fireworks and other festive fun. Food and drink will also be provided for all attendees.

The event is presented as an outdoor, high-class, wintertime soirĂ©e, and black tie attire and/or full dress is requested. All Second Life® Residents are welcome to attend and ring in the New Year with the Bay City community.

This will also be the last event within Bay City this year for donating to Child's Play Charity. Child's Play is a 501(c)(3) non profit organization that offers online communities such as ours an opportunity to help seriously ill children around the globe during their hospital stays with the purchase of games and gaming equipment.

As of the 24th of December, Bay City has raised L$151,408 for Child's Play Charity through their annual silent auction and tree lighting concert, as well as other local events.

Bay City is a mainland community, developed by Linden Lab® and home to the Bay City Alliance. The Bay City Alliance was founded in 2008 to promote the Bay City regions of Second Life and provide a venue for Bay City Residents and other interested parties to socialize and network. It is now the largest group for Residents of Bay City.

For more information,  please contact:

Marianne McCann
Bay City Alliance
marianne.mccann@gmail.com

Friday, December 23, 2016

"Santa Baby, Hurry Down The Chimney Tonight"

Back in October, I blogged about a fabulous haunted house and spooky cave designed by the talented DarkDharma Daguerre. I was delighted to find that she has also created an incredibly detailed North Pole Village & Santa's Workshop in the Snowlands of Sansara. According to DarkDharma, "This first existed back in 2006-2008 as a much smaller Santa's Workshop with no village. Then, in 2009, the land in Porvoo was purchased where the build became the North Pole Village & Santa's Workshop. Due to my ever-present desire to improve on things, the build has always gotten bigger and better every year! I have been honored to be featured in Linden Lab's Destination Guide for the past few years."







She continued by explaining, "North Pole Village and Santa's Workshop is an immersive holiday experience designed after fairy tales, folk lore and stories about the North Pole and Santa." Comprising almost the entire sim of Porvoo, the Village contains everything from a North Pole Post Office to the "Better Watch Out!" coal mine to an Elf Command Center, pictured below. Make sure to enter every shop in the village, as each contains wonderful, creative and humorous surprises.

In Santa's Workshop itself, visitors can explore various rooms and spot elves baking cookies, making toys, creating chocolate marvels (pictured below), and even sleeping in their own Elf Dorm. Jump on the Claus' bed, kiss a special someone under the mistletoe, and see if you can find the entrance to the secret Snowflake Room below the workshop, where you can find the first of fifteen presents located throughout the parcel. DarkDharma mentioned, "As with all the past holiday seasons, I will be featuring a 'hunt for the holiday presents' that will be hidden by the elves all around the village and in the workshop!" You can pick up instructions and a HUD right inside the Village gate. 




Once you go back outside, don't miss the North Pole Aviation area, where you can visit Santa's reindeer and also help Santa with a test run of his sleigh. All of the reindeer (as well as many other items throughout the sim) are available for purchase. Right outside the gates of the village, you can enter and explore the Crystal Ice Cave, picture below. There are several surprises waiting inside! Make sure to have local sounds turned on throughout your visit.



Life is full of strange coincidences lately. I pulled up the 1953 song "Santa Baby" as music to explore this parcel by, not realizing that it was by Eartha Kitt and that it was the A-side to her B-side hit, "Under the Bridges of Paris", which I featured in my last blog post. In any case, it makes a perfect soundtrack as you wander through the North Pole Village and Santa's Workshop. In lieu of tips, visitors are asked that if they enjoyed their experience, to please make a donation to the children's charity Feed A Smile at the landing point. DarkDharma concluded by saying, "I've incorporated many childhood imaginings into the build to make it in every way possible a delightful experience that takes visitors away to another place and time where they are invited to enter the magic and B*E*L*I*E*V*E!"











Tuesday, December 20, 2016

"Oh, What I'd Give For A Moment Or Two..."

The title above is from a song called Sous Les Ponts De Paris (Under The Bridges of Paris). There are some amazing bridges in First Life, including those over the Seine in Paris. I loved this recent article about that beautiful city auctioning off the infamous Love Locks taken from the Ponts des Arts bridge (among others). From grand architectural feats like the Golden Gate Bridge in San Fransisco to the wooden covered bridges that span the creeks in my area of Pennsylvania, bridges are often more than just practical ways of getting from one point to another. They inspire songs, movies, and books, where they often show up as meeting places, or symbolize important life transitions.

It's been a long few weeks since my last post, during which First Life has thrown me several unexpected curve-balls that have meant less time available to go inworld, and even less time for blogging. However, throughout the turmoil, the images of bridges kept coming into my head, so I thought I'd do a quick post on some of my Mainland favorites. I hope you enjoy these Second Life marvels as much as I do.




The lovely bridge pictured above is located in Lordshore on the southern continent of Jeogeot. Built by Garden Mole, it is situated adjacent to a scenic overlook and picnic area off of Route 9. 

In stark contrast to the industrial geometry of the Lordshore Bridge is Molly Linden's elegant bridge to the Linden Homes Japanese sims in Hoshigarai, pictured below. The soft red brick is echoed in the walks that run throughout those sims, and ties together the landscape perfectly.



There is a very cool drawbridge (pictured below, both open and closed) on the old continent of Sansara, connecting the Second Life Railroad tracks in Periwinkle to those in Purple. Created by Athos Murphy in 2004, this bridge is the only one featured here that was not created by either a Linden or an LDPW Mole. The LM actually places you at a landing point which is a train station; just follow the tracks East from there and you'll soon reach the drawbridge.


The graceful bridge over Straits of Shermerville, pictured below, was created by Michael Linden. It connects Nova Albion, the urban area next door to Bay City, with the vast suburbia that is Shermerville


Over on the old Teen Grid you can spot Xenon Linden's bridge in Nailsworth, pictured below. And on Sansara, in the sim of Hooper, you can find an almost identical bridge by Ben Linden. 


I wrote a post here about Chamonix City and the Global Online Hockey Association (GOHA), but I had never photographed the rather impressive bridge that links the Mainland proper in Braggiani to the community sims that comprise Chamonix City. Built by Abnor Mole, the bridge (pictured below) serves as the entrance to those six sims, and hovers high above an outdoor hockey rink. Halfway across, visitors can board a hot air balloon for a tour of the City.


I'll close with one of my favorite bridges, pictured below, about which I blogged here. The Bridge of Light in Durango, located in the Snowlands of Sansara, was built by Garden Mole, and the more traditional bridge above it was built by Eric Linden. 

Do you know of any interesting bridges on the Mainland? If you do, I'd love it if you'd comment below with a LM so I can check them out. Meanwhile, enjoy the inimitable Ms. Eartha Kitt singing about bridges in Paris while you explore!

Under the Bridges of Paris

My darling why I sing this song
Is easy to explain.
It tells what happens all along
The bridges of the Seine. 


The vagabonds go there at night
To sleep all their troubles away,
But when the moon is shining bright
My heart wants to sing it this way. 


How would you like to be
Down by the Seine with me
Oh what I'd give for a moment or two
Under the bridges of Paris with you.





Friday, December 2, 2016

Horizons - Retro Futurism Comes To The Mainland

A great deal has already been written about the brand new Horizons sims and related experiences (including the official introduction by the Lab here), but since they are technically a part of the Mainland, I couldn't just ignore them here, now could I? Of course not! So, what exactly is Horizons? Teaser billboards featuring the image below starting popping up in Bay City and other places a few months back, and our resident Lindens and Moles were all busy with some reportedly huge, super-sekrit project. Well, that project turned out to be huge indeed — a new planned community comprised of thirty-six (!) residential sims surrounding a six-sim adventure experience.


Located just north of the continent of Zindra, all Horizons sims are adult-rated with a double-prim allowance. The residential areas are split into 1024 square meter parcels with a unique feature — they come with a "mailbox" controller which allows the owner to rez one of six houses (see examples pictured below — all of which reminded me, in a good way, of "The Jetsons"), and these houses do NOT count against your land's prim allowance! In addition, the homes come with "resource packs" containing items you can use in your house and on your land. Similar to what happened when Bay City was introduced, Horizons parcels began to be auctioned off by the Lab in mid-November. When you visit the residential sims today, you'll find a mix of parcels up for auction and parcels for sale by owner. In addition to the private parcels, two large community centers and four infohubs provide areas for residents to socialize, learn about how to buy land or use the mailbox controllers, or allow them to enter the other part of Horizons, the experience area. If you are curious about the residential areas, you can start your explorations at the community center at Themis, located here.



The Horizons Experience is literally central to this new venture. The residential sims completely surround the six experience sims, the entrance of which can be seen below. One can choose to enter as a player or as an observer, although the same dangers apply to both. If you choose to "play" the experience, you will receive a HUD at the entrance which will guide you through five quests and a variety of terrains. You can return to the entrance to claim any prizes you've gathered along the way. Each quest must be completed before you can progress on to the next.


The first region in the Horizons experience is pictured below. As a Wild West landscape populated by robots, I can't help but be reminded of HBO's incredibly popular current series, Westworld, but at least in Horizons you can distinguish the robots from the avatars! Whether you choose to enjoy the gaming aspect of the experience, or you decide to become a "homesteader" and help to start the new Horizons community as a resident, or if you just want to visit to enjoy the gorgeous handiwork of the LDPW moles, I'm sure you'll find, like I did, that Horizons is a true treasure and a welcome addition to the wild frontier that is Second Life Mainland.