Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Moonlight Teahouse

The Moonlight Teahouse is a peaceful Japanese teahouse perched on the edge of a high cliff on the north coast of Satori. Visitors arrive on a high parapet (see fourth picture, below), and after passing under the red arch, will soon encounter an area for Tai Chi where participants can look out over the rolling sea as they play. 

Extending from the parapets, steep stairs set into the rocky cliffside will lead you up to the teahouse and surrounding gardens. The teahouse itself is flanked by two different Zen rock gardens (see photo, above). According to The Smithsonian, "Zen rock gardens, or karesansui (translated as 'dry-mountain-water'), originated in medieval Japan and are renowned for their simplicity and serenity."

The serenity continues along paths behind the teahouse, which wander through gardens (pictured above) filled with brightly-colored flowers and over a bubbling stream before circling back around to the teahouse itself. The structure (pictured below) is from POST, and allows for repose or restful meditation while feeling the cool ocean breeze through the open windows.

Myron Byron built Moonlight Teahouse as a gift for his partner, Sara (Saraphen Resident). He states, "I've been building for years, but not many have seen my work. Nothing is on the market. I've done a lot; furniture, statues, jewelry, hair, clothes, props, machinima, poses, all kinds of buildings from baroque palaces to hangars and modern grunge, etc. Moonlight Teahouse is the first of my builds made available to the general public and, to my surprise, received a lot of traffic thanks to unexpected exposure in Destinations Editors' Picks (from late Sept to late Nov 2013). It was built with midnight (WL) setting in mind. I hope you enjoy your visit!"

You can port directly to Moonlight Teahouse, or for the more adventurous, approach it by sea. Located in the sim Tuli along the Coastal Waterway, the parcel can be reached by boat from either Nautilus or the Blake Sea, or from other points along the Satori coast. Providing a tranquil oasis along a busy coastline, the teahouse and gardens are well worth a visit.

Friday, October 21, 2016

"And I Would Walk 500 Miles..."

A question: would any of you lovely readers be interested in taking periodic group walks across the Mainland? Ziki and are planning to organize just such a walk in November, and we hope to have YOU join us! Plan on fun and silliness as we explore the vast expanses of the Second Life Mainland together

The first walk will be held on Sunday, November 13 from 2-2:30 PM SLT.

We will start on Rte. 5 in front of Cael Ystafell, our home on Heterocera, and walk along the tracks of the Second Life Railroad, ending at a super sekrit location for fun and merriment!

When I was a little girl, my grandmother often took me for walks on the nearby railroad tracks. We'd walk, chat, stop to pick blueberries and have picnics. I have several sets of railroad tracks near my home in first life, and I still enjoy those kinds of walks. So, while there are many Mainland roads we could explore in the future, I decided to take advantage of the tracks near our house, and start there! If you'd like to walk with us, please contact me inworld or by email at kinnaird.fiachra@gmail.com...or just show up! We'll have a group joiner for any future adventures set up at the starting point.

We'd love to have LOTS of people joining in on the fun - imagine a whole gaggle of avatars walking the SLRR rails! To get you in the mood, here's a clip from one of my favorite cheesy 80's movies, "Benny and Joon," set to The Proclaimers "I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles)". We hope to see you in November!

Sunday, October 16, 2016

"I'll Sing You This October Song"

It's October in Bay City, and there's plenty of spooky fun to find as you walk along the city streets, whistling The Incredible String Band's October Song. When you first enter the City from the East, crossing the bridge from nearby Nova Albion, you'll spy the Channel Island Asylum sitting on a hill in South Channel. From the Destination Guide: "For years, Channel Island Mental Hospital was the home of the mentally deranged of Bay City and beyond. Now abandoned, the asylum is said to be the home of strange goings-on after dark. Bring a friend — and stay together." Are you brave enough to visit?

Alternatively, you could venture across the street to visit the Haunted Hay Maze, located in the Bay City Fairgrounds on North Channel. According to Bay City's "unofficial Mayori", Marianne McCann, the City has been "doing these since 2011. It is fun for all, not too scary, but still with a few spooks and good things. The LDPW has helped with the set up. I went harder this year with the maze. Last year, folks said it was too easy." The Haunted Hay Maze is always a lot of fun, with places to pose for spooky photos and prizes to find throughout the maze. Come down and give it a try!

On the other side of Bay City, on the island separating Eastside from Westside, sits the crumbling grandeur of Hotel Falmouth. If the fountain of blood outside doesn't scare you away, enter to explore this once-grand hotel, now said to be haunted. Sit down for a drink at the bar with some really creepy teddy bears, or head to the elevators and pick a floor at random. Like at the hay maze, clicking around throughout the hotel may score you some delightfully creepy prizes.

Finally, for those of you who prefer non-spooky October celebrations, the Bay City Brewery is hosting the annual Bay City Oktoberfest party on Sunday, October 23rd, 2016, from 2:00 - 4:00 PM SLT. Grab your lederhosen and come on down to join us for seasonal music with DJ GoSpeed Racer of Kona Stream, and of course, for lots of BEER! Happy October from Bay City!

Thursday, October 13, 2016

"Don't You Know That House Is Haunted?"

Ah, how I love October. That crisp Autumn air, that pumpkin flavoring in...well, everything, and things that go bump in the night. But don't be afraid! Take my hand and let's explore together one of the spookier places on the Mainland, DarkDharma HaUnTeD MaNoR and HaUnTeD FoReSt in Benten. As you approach, you are instructed to turn off your music and turn on sounds, and you are given a warning that damage is enabled in the graveyard and forest behind the mansion. I found that it was enabled in some parts of the house too, so just watch out! Let's peek inside, shall we?

Inside the mansion are sixteen rooms decorated with exquisitely ghoulish detail, so make sure to explore every nook and cranny! A notecard obtained at the front gate also mentions prizes: "Click around everywhere to find the 10 GHOULS who hold the HAUNTED PRIZES. Ghouls can be found from first floor to top of the house! Be careful! These ghouls will get pushy and come after you, just click on them and they will surrender the prize. But BEWARE there are other evil dangers that lurk all around!" I also found at least one prize hiding in the forest.

Once you make it out alive (and hopefully you will!), return to the road by the front gate and turn right. In front of you, at the end of the road, you'll spy the two flickering eyes of the guardian of the DarkDharma Caverns (pictured below). No visit to Benten is complete without venturing into these caves through the terrifying mouth of their guardian. I spoke with the creator of these spooky marvels, DarkDharma Daguerre, who had this to say: "What separates DarkDharma Haunted Manor from other similar sites? The total immersion in the theme, from the specialized sky settings and specialized outside and inside soundtracks to all the little details everywhere. When I was new in Second Life back in 2004, I would go to other attractions of all kinds, and was always disappointed to go inside the buildings and find empty rooms. When I created my first haunted manor in '05, I was sure to make it different and fill up the rooms! What are my favorite features of my haunted manor? I love how the soundtrack and the setting I've created all meld together to really pull you into the spooky, haunted mood. I've had many people tell me they were really scared and got goosebumps from going through my house. When I hear that, it makes it all worthwhile!  MUWAHAHAHAHA!"

So come visit, if you dare! But before you do, listen to the tale of the "Skeleton In The Closet" by Louis Armstrong. Sure sounds like he's visited someplace similar!

"Boy, don't you go in there
Come outta there, boy
Don't you know that house is haunted?

There's an old deserted mansion on an old forgotten road
Where the better ghosts and goblins always hang out
One night they threw a party in a manner a la mode
And they cordially invited all the gang out"

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

(Queen) of the Road

As I mentioned in my last post, the road network on Satori is unusual, to say the least. From the Satori wiki page: "Originally the roads were supposed to connect, but due to mistakes when the land was divided as the regions were brought online many of the routes end in abrupt dead ends. A system of false tunnels and billboards at dead ends will offer teleports when touched to allow travelers to easily keep exploring the road network without having to backtrack or search the map for where the road picks up again." I'm just going to highlight a few of the fun and interesting things you'll find on a road trip through Satori, going in no logical order. And off we go!

Let's start with the tunnels. Every once in awhile, you'll come across a dead end disguised as a tunnel. The one pictured above is located in Bietschhorn, and if you click on the lights on either side of the entrance, it will transport you to a corresponding tunnel in Finsteraarhorn, skipping the sim in between. Only problem is that you'll lose your car during the port, but since you'll land in a rez zone, it really isn't a big deal.

Billboards, like those pictured above, are another device used by the fabulous LDPW moles as a way out of a dead end. These two are located outside of the Dead End Diner in Ellingson, and offer to take travelers to either a tunnel in Aragonese, or to the charmingly rustic Old Wagon Road, which is only two sims in length.

In several locations, the road ends near water. There is a beautifully landscaped Japanese dance area in Davros, located at the junction of Route 8 and Route 8C. From there, if you choose to travel on Route 8C, you'll shortly arrive at a body of water where you'll see a boat launch and a free sailboat rezzer. If you sail across the water to the other end of the road in Valeyard, you'll spy a ramshackle structure (pictured above) where a large hole gives evidence to the notion that someone didn't notice that the road was ending!

If, however, you set out at the Japanese dance area and continue on down Route 8, you'll start to notice a series of signs warning you that the bridge ahead is out. (Along with the bridge made of light in the Sansara Snowlands, this is probably one of my favorite areas on any Mainland road.) As you approach the missing bridge, you'll spy a Road Closed sign which offers "Alternate Transportation." Click on that sign, and a huge bullseye appears, along with instructions on how to position your vehicle to have it catapulted across the water. Are you brave enough to try it? Just remember that you are also being thrown across a sim crossing, so anything could happen!

The subtle, playful humor of the LDPW moles can be found at every dead end on Satori. Above, "competing" billboards at the end of the Old Wagon Road in Sababurg send you either to Ogilvie, or back to the Dead End Diner in Ellingson. You can find a list of all of Satori's rez zones here. No matter where you start, or whether you travel by foot, bike, or car, you'll have fun exploring the roads — and the dead ends — on the continent. Take a trip through Satori, and be King (or Queen!) of the Road!


Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Road Trip Through Richfield

Forgive me, dear readers, for it's been a long time since my last blog post. Both my First and Second Lives have been way too busy, so I figured it was high time to grab my girl, pack a quick bag or two, and go on a ROAD TRIP! Today, travel with us to Satori, also called Maebaleia, or the Japanese Continent. The main road is Route 8 (pictured below with its interesting topiary-styled trees) which breaks off onto 8A, 8B, and 8C. There is also a very small stretch of road in the middle of the continent called the Old Wagon Road. There are rez zones (listed here) all along the road where you can rez a vehicle; Ziki and I started near the southern end of Satori, in Richfield.

Venturing south, we found ourselves at a small carnival, pictured below, and got out to explore.The owner of the carnival, Gracie Dotterkelch, was nearby, and stopped to speak to us as we peered into the haunted house and tried out the carnival games. When we mentioned that we'd arrived by car, she said, "I'm on a new exploration; the mainland is a whole new adventure for me. Roads and water that actually go somewhere! I'm learning to drive after all these years and seeing if I can find my way home!" She laughed and continued, "I think in that regard, I'm a noob again. I didn't ever before really experience the mainland and its charm."

Gracie showed us the haunted forest next to the carnival (pictured below), which is a great find for spooky October adventures! But visit soon, because Gracie mentioned that after Halloween, she will "dabble with making it a winter park." Ziki and I waved goodbye, then headed back north on Route 8 to investigate some woodlands we had passed.

At the junction of Routes 8 and 8A, we found a lovely, wooded parcel called "The Back 40." We wandered in the lane, past two garden gnomes with strong opinions, and discovered a peaceful oasis filled with wildlife, a rocky waterfall, a pond, a camping area, and a beautiful carpet of bluebells. Owner Dick Spad welcomed us, and mentioned that he had tried to make the parcel into a little roadside park. "Since then," he commented, "I was inspired to create a full sim that looked like this, and I called it Countryside. But I still love this, my very first parcel of land, and I hope people will visit, relax and enjoy themselves here."

Ziki and I took advantage of that invitation to camp out under the stars, enjoying the crisp Fall air, the smell of wood smoke and the sounds of the forest. In the morning, we drove northeast to the other end of Route 8A and stopped for breakfast at the Dead End Diner, pictured below. The dead ends of Satori (and how the LDPW moles worked around them!) are worth a post of their own, and we also spotted an interesting sim behind the diner, so our travels through Satori will continue! Until next time, my friends!

Monday, September 19, 2016

Oh, To Be Young Again!

A couple of weeks ago, I created an alt, mainly in order to grab the name kinnairdfiachra. Through this process, I discovered that the Lab has gone back to non-mesh for starter avatars (although the mesh ones are still in the Library), that the orientation seemed much longer than I remembered, and that lag is so much less of an issue without a huge inventory! Wandering around as the new, lag-free me, I decided to explore a few of the long-established help centers for new residents, and found myself at New Citizens Incorporated (NCI). Located in Kuula on Sansara, in the shadow of Mt. G'al and Mt. Lagmore (pictured below), NCI is a community which offers help, education and support for those new to Second Life.

I reached out to land officer Rowan Carroll, who happened to be on the sim, and she told me, "NCI is in the Destination Guide as a Help area. We teach classes and have events throughout the week. There are always official helpers here and regular residents often help out as well. Every campus has a large board with our class and event schedule." Rowan serves as both Advertising Coordinator and Freebie Coordinator, and she teaches two classes each week: "Freebie Shopping with Rowan" on Tuesdays and "Managing Your Inventory" on Sundays. When I asked Rowan how giving out freebies has changed over the years, she remarked, "Well, when the Lab introduced the mesh starter avatars we made tutorials so that people could change their clothes. Because what is SL but a giant place to play dress up! That change gave us a bit of a start, but we rolled with it, because what's the point of a good looking mesh body if you aren't able to change clothing?" There are male and female changing rooms on sky platforms above the NCI welcome area, complete with pose stands, notecards about editing your appearance, and a huge tutorial sign with the title, "Aaaggghh! I keep wearing boxes!" A dash of help with a good dose of humor added in.

At the NCI Plaza landing area, pictured above, sets of brightly-colored arrows on the ground lead you to different areas of the campus, providing a self-guided tour through tutorials. For those who don't know where to start, or would just prefer a more personal touch, there are always people around who are willing to help out and answer questions. The Plaza is busy with activity at all hours of the day and night. Other areas on the sim include a gatcha store, a large public sandbox, and building platforms like the one pictured below. For a quick overview of the area, grab one of the guided balloon tours near the sign that says "Balloon Rides."

Next to the balloon rides, I found a photo booth, with changeable backdrops, poseballs for a group pose, and instructions on either side of the booth about how to take photographs inworld. There are even instructions about how to change the sun position, something I wish I had learned as a Noob! In addition to the photo booth, you can wander up the road to Ginger Lorakeet's Interactive Art Gallery. Ginger runs NCI's benefit gatcha yardsale, and has created a building tutorial for the community. The new av I've dubbed "Kinn Too" poses below in her starter outfit "Carla", in both the photo booth (left), and in one of Ginger's interactive pieces (right).

"NCI is a family of volunteers who dedicate their Second Lives to helping residents, both old and new," concluded Rowan. "I love NCI! They helped me get started when I began my Second Life over 10 years ago. I learned to build here and used that knowledge to run a successful shoe store for about 6 years. I've talked to people from all walks of life, from all over, and I've made RL friends. It's amazing! I've learned so much about myself just being here." Come wander around and see for yourself how fun it can be to help out those new to Second Life, or just remember what it was like to be young and new yourself!