Sunday, 28 June 2009

Hair Fair 2009

One of the great joys of SL for me, and I am sure for many others, is the opportunities it provides to change appearance. And this includes hair! In fact, the very first change I made to myself was to my hair, I turned it pink and I thought I looked so cool. Scary to think of now and fortunately there are no pictures of me from that time, with my cardboard newbie hair turned cotton candy pink, but this was just the beginning of many hair trials, disasters, and triumphs, too. One of my first great triumphs was actually to be able to change my hair and not go around bald or with hair on top of my newbie hair. Once I had managed to do that I began to feel that SL was a possibility for me.

This universe of hair is now on display at the Second Life Hair Fair 2009. I popped over there to check it out. Many different merchants have set up shop, so it is a convenient way to see what’s out there. There is quite a bit of lag, but it is worthwhile stopping by anyway to see all the different styles available. As well proceeds from the sale of certain hairs from each merchant are being donated to Locks of Love and some places have freebies or dollarbies. I picked up three different hairs from the Analog Dog display – Cafe (in chestnut) a dark honey blond hairstyle, Embrace – (in sky) a fantasy hair for when I am feeling blue, and Maddy (in bleached) curly and flexi, what I think of as typical Analog Dog. The area itself is colourful, designed along a “Candyland” theme, if you who remember that old board game.

The Hair Fair has been running for a week, with another week to go.

Hibiscus Hastings

Saturday, 27 June 2009

Michael Jackson Tributes

It was a shock, the breaking news that Michael Jackson had been taken ill with a suspected heart attack, and then to hear confirmation that he had died was even more shocking. It's not easily explained the way that the public take a celebrity's death, such as Michael Jackson's, so personally, but I would guess that apart from being admirers of Jackson's legendary music and unique style, he is part of many people's lives in the fact that they grew up knowing Jackson as a worldwide icon. The troubled singer's fans did not seem to be swayed by the rumours and court case which clouded Jackson's life in his latter years, and the news of his death seems to have come very hard to many of them.

Yesterday in SL there were tributes being played, either by using his music at clubs and dance venues or by people setting up memorials where fans could light a candle in Jackson's memory. That is something in favour of SL, at least people can pay a tribute if they wish to, in spite of not being able to do so in real life, and it was touching to see the avatars arriving at one of the sites and just standing and trying to come to terms with the loss of such a familiar figure.

Thursday, 25 June 2009

Travelling Through The Tunnel Of Light

I came across a great sim for lighting effects last week, it was under the ‘Arts & Culture Venues in Showcase’. It says on the description ‘Immerse yourself in a glowing array of light patterns as you ride through the middle of the art installation Tunnel of Light’ and ride through I did, it was great fun!!

I teleported over to the sim and read the instructions there, following a path to a pond, I spotted a little boat, which I clicked to start my mystical journey. I was a little bit startled as I started to fall down into a colour streaked chasm, choosing my ‘pg down’ key on my computer, I hurried my journey to the bottom as the lights flashed quickly past.

Once on the ground I saw the entrance to the Tunnel of Light in front of me, where I had a choice of selecting transport for friends or for couples. Picking ‘friends’ I clicked on the start button and a giant cup and saucer, complete with spoon, appeared in front of me. I boarded the cup and off I went into the most dazzling array of light effects you could imagine. The teacup passed through chambers of glittering diamond skies on a swirling river of electric blue strands. It looked like I had reached the stars and planets at one stage, really prettily done.

Suddenly the teacup started to climb and I was on my way to the surface, ending in an array of pinks and reds until I reached my stopping point. From there I teleported over to the shopping area where they had beautiful objects on sale with the same sort of glowing colours I had just seen.

Go and blow your mind and take a trip through the Tunnel of Light!!
Janey Bracken

Monday, 22 June 2009

A Weekend of Activities in the Nation of Victoriana

This past weekend was a “Victoriana” one for me. The Nation of Victoriana is an ever-expanding series of sims set in the Victorian era. The sims are owned by Mayor LittleBlackDuck Lindsay, who dedicates himself tirelessly to the creation and maintenance of the beautifully detailed region. I was first introduced to Victoriana by my friend Boye Jervil, the owner of the Pre-Raphaelite Gallery in Victoriana Square, and since then I have visited and occasionally written about the nation. This was the first time I have had the opportunity to attend any of the events.

On Friday evening, June 19, a live RL concert was streamed into many sims in Second Life, including Victoriana Square. In RL, two classical duos, the Duo Apassionato and Duo DnA, joined up and played a wide-ranging selection of music which was then made available in SL, as part of a fund raising effort for the Raleigh Symphony Orchestra. In Victoriana Square a lovely gazebo and dance floor were set up in Acorn Park, setting the stage for a very pleasant evening.

The second event took place on Saturday, June 20. This was the Ascot Ball and Annual Horse Race. The sim was packed with Victoriana residents and visitors from other Victorian themed sims, since these events were included in the mid-summer Grand Tour of Victorian sims, benefiting the Relay for Life. Many of the ladies wore black and white outfits, no doubt inspired by the famous Ascot Gavotte scene from “My Fair Lady”, while others appeared in jewel tones of blue, deep rose and burgundy, and a scattering wore paler pinks and blues, adding to the beauty of the scene. Gentlemen were formally dressed in dark colours. The Mayor stood out in his bright red jacket, in which he could easily be seen warmly welcoming everyone to the sim.

Congratulations to LittleBlackDuck Lindsay, Panacea Luminos and all the organizers of these two events.

Hibiscus Hastings

Friday, 19 June 2009

Where Eagles Soar!! The Garden of Da Vinci

There is a very pretty sim called the Garden of Da Vinci. The write up says ‘Experience the Renaissance and explore the varied landscape of the Garden of Da Vinci. I teleported over and landed among the well detailed landscape, choosing the path straight in front of me I entered the base of a volcano and crossed a bridge over fiery molten lava crackling and hissing below. Further along there was a staircase and this took me up to a comfortable seating area. There are plenty of cosy little spots all over the sim for couples to sit, and it is an ideal place to bring your partner for a romantic evening.

Leaving the volcano, I headed in the other direction to explore the many buildings, beautiful domed structures with spiral staircases leading up and up into the sky. I must admit I’m not that good at climbing those, so it proved a bit tricky for me, but if you have the knack you can reach the top without any bother. It’s nice to stop anyway now and again, to take in the breathtaking views of the rest of the sim, it’s quite enchanting!
Reaching the top of one of the domed towers, I entered a room and found myself inside a giant telescope, sitting in the chair, I spied through the lens at the stars.

The only thing I would say, is that once up into those towers, there doesn’t appear to be a quick way down, oh I know you can fly, but a teleport button to go back would have been a good idea, maybe there was one there and I missed it thought.

I found an Eagle perched down below on the hillside, waiting to take people on a tour of the sim. I clambered on board and off we went, soaring over the buildings and it was great, it all looks really nice from an eagle-eyed view. He took me to a mountain top where other eagles were taking to the wing and I walked among the pretty wild flowers.

There is a small mosaic dance floor in one part of the sim, and it is in keeping with the rest of the structures, it is all very tastefully built and once again it is a nice place to bring your SL love. You could go scuba diving as well, although I never experienced this, I will probably go back to have a go very soon. All in all it is a fantastic sim and well worth a visit, and to top it all, in spite of all the buildings there, it didn't seem to be too laggy. I hope you can get around easily too if you take a look.

Saturday, 13 June 2009

Big Bottomed Girls!

Does my bum look big in this? (to my American friends, a bum is a fanny, but I'm not going to tell you what a fanny is to us English! a bum means a tramp in America, and can be a disreputable idler in the UK too! think I'll give up while I'm ahead!!) Well a lot of women would ask this when they are trying on new clothes, afraid that their bottoms look too big. Well being in SL opens yours eyes to the fact that different cultures admire different shapes and sizes with ladies figures. I must admit I am fascinated when I see some of the shapes about, massive thighs that would make Posh Spice flinch, giant boobs that would topple any real human over with the weight of them, and tiny feet crammed into 6 inch high heels. Most SL women seem to go for the more voluptuous shape with low cut tops to show off their virtual prize possessions. I would be interested to know what the guys think is the ideal shape for a woman in SL. The men seem to be a bit more stereo typed going for the six pack chest and slim hips with long muscular legs, is this more universal for the men, and is this the shape they desire in real life? When you think about this, everyone has altered their avatar to the way they would really like to look (well mostly, perhaps not dragons and furries, but you never know!!), so it is quite intriguing to see what people have picked for themselves!

Tuesday, 9 June 2009

Exciting News With Launch of 6th Primgraph Edition

There is great interest in Second Life in respect of something called ‘Steampunk.’ Basically it describes an era driven much by steam, steam engines, steamships, also airships, bicycles and any other pre-electric means of transport and gadgets. Sims such as Caledon, Victoriana and Babbage have a huge following by people who go to a lot of trouble to dress in the appropriate clothes and follow the manners and social skills used in those times.

Saffia Widdershins, owner of Prim Perfect Magazine, brought out a sister publication to Prim Perfect last year called ‘The Primgraph.’ She describes the magazine as being ‘Aimed at Residents interested in post-Renaissance historical and steampunk sims.’ The Primgraph has been a big success and I was invited to the launch of the 6th edition on Sunday, 7 June at Piermont Landing, New Babbage. Piermont Landing and the Lotus club (where we partied at the end of the evening), is owned and created by Breezy Carver, and proved to be the ideal setting for the launch. It was filled with people dressed head to foot in Victorian clothing and there was an air of great excitement as Saffia and her team took the floor. We were also treated to an unusual spectacle half way through the evening, a dance routine featuring mermaids and a merman who swam gracefully in and out of a large tank of water.

As well as the new edition of the Primgraph, Saffia told us of three new publications. The first one, ‘The Quest for the Golden Prim’, is a little bit different, it’s a ‘webcomic’. It’s a new adventure story featuring characters who pursue a mysterious Prim that holds the secret of grid stability. And this is where it gets interesting, Saffia wants to audition people to take the parts of all the characters in the story. So if you are a budding actor or actress and can get into your role-playing part at the drop of a hat to your adoring fans, this might be for you!! I believe you even have to ‘Twitter’ in character too, so quite a challenge for the right people.

The second publication is ‘The Primgraph’s Aetheric Log. It will consist of regular posts by the residents throughout the Primgraph territory. And thirdly ‘The Quest for the Golden Prim blog’ with updates on all your favourite characters (yet to be chosen pending the auditions!).

There tends to be a fascination both in real life and SL for ‘times gone past’ for a lot of people and Saffia and her team are certainly filling the gap in-world with news of these wonderful steampunk sims. If you are interested in becoming a character for the webcomic send a note card to Saffia Widdershins in-world, you could become an SL star!!

Saffia’s team include Wren Carling - Primgraph Designer, Elegia Underwood – Client and Advertising Manager and Viv Trafalgar – Aetheric Engineer.
Janey Bracken

Friday, 5 June 2009

The Mating Game

I was talking to fellow reporter Hibiscus Hastings about dance places the other day. To be more precise, high class establishments where you have to dress in evening wear to get in.

We were talking about the ladies who go to these places to wait for men to ask them to dance and if this is humiliating for the ladies to do this. I suppose I had never thought about this before, but then again I have never been a lady who stands and waits!! And I suspect, neither has Hibiscus! Just like in real life you will get the SL wallflowers and it all seems a bit sad. But then again where do girls go to meet men and why shouldn’t they pick somewhere posh where they can do themselves up to the nines and enjoy an elegant SL night out.

I decided to go undercover and take a look at a couple of really nice venues, the first one was Bogarts and the second was Frank’s Place. You have to admire the people who own the sims, they have done a great job to create such a romantic atmosphere and the two places were very busy with avatars.

There were quite a few people dancing in Bogarts and some stood chatting, a man sat by the front entrance, on his own, and a girl in a blue dress stood, prettily but wistfully, near by. She looked like she had gone along hoping to meet the man of her dreams. Who knows, the guy sitting behind her may talk to her in a while. Couples on the dance floor hugged while dancing, romantically close and whispering sweet nothings to each other in IM.

I noticed that there seemed to be as many men as women turning up looking for a partner. It was the same with Frank’s Place, a very popular Jazz Club, a real mixture of men and women who seemed to have arrived alone. Do men have the upper hand in their role of picking women to dance with? Or do some women, these days, have the confidence to pursue the men and ask them to dance? I don’t know why, but I felt that the women still turned up hoping to be asked, and therefore it seemed a little sad for those who just stood and didn’t dance.

Lots of couples arrived as well, and these two venues are wonderful if you want a romantic place to go with your loved one. If you do want to go there alone it’s ok too!! Get your posh outfits on and mingle with the other avatars, you never know you might meet the girl or boy of your dreams!!
Janey Bracken