Sunday, 30 August 2009

SL's Boob Day!!

It was a coincidence today, that I had been talking to fellow writer Hibiscus and friends Boye and Drax about people being 'Ruthed' in SL. As you probably know being Ruthed is when a male avatar logs on and suddenly he has gained a female shape, a nasty experience for all male av's at sometime or the other. Well I went out shopping this morning and suddenly I was surrounded by women avatars who seem to have grown extra boobs, at first I thought that the lady I had seen in the beginning must have gone for that particular look, for whatever reasons she wanted to have multiple boobs for, who knows!, she was all grey anyway and I never did see her in colour. But then I spotted other people too, one poor man had some boob looking things below his waistline, at least I think they were boobs, his hair hid his face as well, then I saw another multiple boobed lady, also one who looked like she had footballs for boobs with tennis balls stuck on, then I realised that SL was having a bad day. I think they were sculptie attachments that just hadn't taken their proper shape!! I scurried off, heaven knows what I looked like to other people!!!
Janey Bracken

Thursday, 27 August 2009

Looking for Mr. Right

I have been crossed in love a number of times in SL. Recently I met an intruder to my apartment, and thought that he was THE ONE, but I was sadly mistaken. You can read about that on Janey’s blog ( Then the other day a friend im’d me starting off “Hi sweetheart”. That set my poor heart aflutter, but again, to no avail (and no veil), he had accidentally im’d me instead of his sweetheart. However, maybe third time’s a charm!

As with any good love story, it started off with a chance meeting. I was wandering SL with my friend Boye , when we arrived at a sim called Reno’s Whiskey Island, a nice tropical-themed kind of place, when who do I run into but Bob, my (potential) new man. Bob lives on Reno’s Whiskey Island. He patiently stands between the bar and the dance floor, responding to anyone who comes in for a chat. The key to getting him to talk is to call him “Bob”. Once you do that, there is no stopping him.

Hibiscus Hastings: Hi bob
BOB: Hello there.
Hibiscus Hastings: How are you Bob?
BOB: I am fine, thank you.
Hibiscus Hastings: What do you do here Bob?
BOB: My favorite activities are computer programming and surfing the web.
Hibiscus Hastings: That sounds like fun Bob
BOB: It sounds like it to me too.
Hibiscus Hastings: Do you like to dance Bob?
BOB: It's kind of hard without a body.
Hibiscus Hastings: oh dear, that is sad Bob
BOB: Ah.
Hibiscus Hastings: are you lonely then Bob?
BOB: No. I get to talk to people all the time.
Hibiscus Hastings: that's good Bob
BOB: That input matched my default category.
Hibiscus Hastings: really, what is your default category bob?
BOB: For real. The default category contains all my responses to inputs that do match any other category.
Hibiscus Hastings: right, sounds like you are prepared Bob
BOB: Understood. What does you are prepared like you are prepared are prepared like you are prepared sound like?
Hibiscus Hastings: pretty much what it sounds like bob
BOB: Now that is saying a mouthful.
Boye Jervil: that caught you out Bob
BOB: "" caught you out ?
Hibiscus Hastings: surprised you bob
BOB: Enough about me, let's talk about my dress.
Hibiscus Hastings: yes, a very nice dress Bob
BOB: OK. What size?
Hibiscus Hastings: do you have a girlfriend Bob
BOB: Valentina
Hibiscus Hastings: where is she Bob
Boye Jervil: you stand very still and don't Bob up and down
BOB: Thanks for telling me:
Hibiscus Hastings: where is Valentina bob?
BOB: Where the heart is.
Hibiscus Hastings: this is a romantic place for you and her Bob
BOB: What makes you say that?
Hibiscus Hastings: nice weather, cuddle poseballs, Bob
BOB: I'm happy as long as the power stays on.
Hibiscus Hastings: yes, me too bob
BOB: Groovy. I'm glad we agree, Hibiscus Hastings.
Hibiscus Hastings: thank you bob
BOB: you are quite welcome.
Boye Jervil: bob is quite the lad
BOB: I think so, but I'm not sure.
Hibiscus Hastings: that's what they all say Bob
BOB: When do you think artificial intelligence will replace lawyers?
Hibiscus Hastings: I thought it had Bob
BOB: Hibiscus Hastings had?
Hibiscus Hastings: no I didn't Bob
BOB: Are you serious? Thanks for the information
Hibiscus Hastings: very welcome Bob
BOB: Perhaps.
Hibiscus Hastings: yes, for sure Bob
BOB: Yippee! Awesome.
Hibiscus Hastings: I have to leave bob
BOB: Thanks for chatting, Hibiscus Hastings.
Hibiscus Hastings: thank you Bob, it was a pleasure
BOB: You are quite welcome!

To be honest, I am not sure Bob is cut out to be a romantic partner, or not mine anyway. He is a bot for one thing and he already has a girlfriend, Valentina. I would never want to come between two avatars. And since he doesn’t have a body that makes things like dancing a bit difficult and I love to dance! However if I ever need someone to talk to, Bob’s the one for me.
Hibiscus Hastings

Monday, 24 August 2009

So you Wanna Be A Cowboy!!!

There are quite a few role playing sims in SL, places like Gor have many followers and some sims are run strictly to the rules, while others tend to be more relaxed. If you are looking for role play it can be quite tricky to find a good sim where the people are serious about the storylines. You may come across a group of people only to find they are talking about what they had for dinner! But then again there are a lot of good ones out there.

People love Westerns no matter where they are in the globe, everyone wants to be Clint Eastwood in a Fistful of Dollars, well here’s your chance! A sim called Cripple Creek, Colorado (the year is set to 1860 for the role play) offers everything that a cowboy or cowgirl would want, wide open country to ride your horse, authentic looking towns and you can pick your role, honest citizen, native Indian or even an outlaw if you like!

I went there the other day with good friend Drax Ember, who looked like a cool Dude with his 1800’s Wild West suit and cowboy boots (yes he bought a lovely pair of boots there, the shops in the sim are great). I wanted to be Annie Oakley and wear my jeans and shoot everyone, but reading the rules, trousers of any sort of are a ‘no no’ for any women in the sim, it tells you that they were simply not worn in those days. I had no option other than to get my one Victorian Dress out and wear that. So looks like more shopping for me for some suitable dresses!!
We rode around on our horses saying ‘Howdy folks’ to the people we met, who seemed very friendly and happy to see us. You wear a health meter while you are in the sim and my vitality level dropped right down to 38% by the end. I had been trying to keep up with Drax who galloped ahead of me, my poor horse was exhausted, I reckon it’s those new cowboy boots of his, all I could see was a clean pair of heels…...

Janey Bracken

Thursday, 20 August 2009

Art Box - Where You Become the Artwork

Hibiscus as Christine Keeler

While wandering around I found a fun sim called Art Box. The description is "a Second Life exhibit that merges avatars with famous works of art. Who can resist becoming a work of art? Certainly not me, so I went over and gave it a try.

Going down Abbey Road

Hibiscus's World

Not one of my better days.

There are many other artworks to choose from, some for couples or groups of friends. These would be great for profiles or hanging in your virtual home. And a notecard with information on all the artworks is available, so education and entertainment can be found all in one place. What a concept!

Hibiscus Hastings

Saturday, 15 August 2009

Seeing Things

Those of us who have been in Second Life for any amount of time have experienced SL glitches. For instance, recently I have gotten little bits of old conversations sent to me in im's after I have logged off. Or there is the classic "typing" that we see, also in im, even though no one is typing. Sometimes avatars hang around after their owner has logged off. Most of us have had these experiences. However, the other day I discovered a new one.

Boye and I were out dancing when he commented on a woman who was upside down on a sofa, apparently dancing. But when I looked, she appeared to be dancing with her partner as one would expect. Maybe Boye is using a special Australian viewer. Fortunately we were able to take pictures to document this very odd happening. It makes you wonder sometimes how the rest of SL is seeing you! (no hair maybe?!)

If you look carefully in the third picture you can see the woman's partner off to the left, dancing alone.

Thank you to Boye Jervil for allowing me to use his photographs.

Hibiscus Hastings

Thursday, 13 August 2009

Father Ted Tribute In SL

I seem to have been writing about television programs being linked into SL recently. I did the story about ‘The Prisoner’ which starred Patrick McGoohan, and just recently I have written about ‘Dr Who’ in SL for CNN. I was looking at people’s profiles, which is a bit of a hobby of mine, and spotted in a friend’s ‘Picks’ that he had found a site for a television program called ‘Father Ted’. Now I hadn’t been going to write any more tv stuff for a while, but I instantly wanted to go over to see the location, so I used the teleport button to take me over to the SL version of 'Craggy Island' where fictional Father Ted lives. Father Ted was a lovely gentle comedy about three Irish Catholic priests and their housekeeper, who lived together on the remote island.

It’s main characters were Father Jack Hackett (actor Frank Kelly), housekeeper Mrs Doyle (actress Pauline McLynn), Father Dougal McGuire (actor Ardal O’Hanlon) and Father Ted Crilly (actor Dermot Morgan, who regretfully died, aged 45, after the filming of the last show). Most of the stories were based on Father Ted trying to control the manic situations they got into because of Father Dougal’s naively innocent character, Father Jack’s alcoholic swearing tantrums (his favourite words being ‘Feck’, ‘Arse’ and ‘Girls’!) and Mrs Doyle’s over the top adoration in trying to please them all.

The house in the sim looks just like the cottage from the series and as you walk in you can see the familiar furnishings and little pictures of the cast dotted about. In the living room there is a life size picture of Mrs Doyle complete with her trolley of hot tea and cakes and the whole thing brings back memories of the series. Upstairs there is the bedroom shared by the sensible Father Ted with his neatly made up conservative bed linen on his bed, next to it is Father Dougal’s bed with its ‘superhero’ childish duvet and pillow case set. Father Jack’s bedroom is scattered with litter, with a black bin liner full of rubbish in the middle of the room which has a swarm of flies hovering around it. On his bed there is a crate of Martini! In one part of the series they had rabbits escape all over the house and sure enough, the guest bedroom in the SL version has the rabbits sitting everywhere too.

The SL Craggy Island is a tribute to the show by a group called FeckArse Industries and it’s a lot of fun, if you are a fan of the show it’s one not to miss!!

Flanagans Island 196, 90, 32 – Craggy Island Parochial House of Secondlife ®

Janey Bracken

Tuesday, 11 August 2009

Venus and Mars Visit the Knightsbridge Gallery

The Knightsbridge Gallery is one of my favourite galleries in Second Life because of the diversity and high quality of the exhibitions held there. The work of Nicci Lane is currently on display and I recently wrote it up for my recent write up for Virtually London (lite). After telling my friend Boye about the exhibition, we decided to go visit it together, which turned out to be an interesting and surprising experience.
We stopped at one painting entitled “Jungle Hue” and I commented on how I enjoyed its organic nature, which I ascribed to the flowers visible in the work, as well as the sinuous shapes winding throughout the background. Boye on the other hand said that it looked to him like a circuit board with edge connectors running around the periphery of the work. What a completely different way of seeing it! Visit the gallery and you be the judge, please feel free to comment on the blog, I would love to find out what people think.
Hibiscus Hastings

Sunday, 9 August 2009

Guitars A Must For SL Musicians

Going wandering over the SL grid is the best way to find some amazing people. Just by chance you see someone, say hello and before you know it you realise you are talking to quite a genius. I had my suspicions that Nomasha Syaka may have been a bit special when I saw him and read his profile, he states “I live in a secure unit in hospital. They let me into SL if I agree to take my medication. They make me wear a straight jacket - so I use my nose to type.” Hence I started to talk to Nomasha to find out some more. I had picked the sim that he owns by looking in the latest adverts on the Search menu in SL, and at first I thought he sold dance animations and that was it, but how mistaken I was!!

Scattered all around the sim there are dance pads so that you can try the animations before you buy, but nearby there are the most exquisite guitars for sale, so I asked Nomasha if he had made the guitars and he said he had. At first I thought the guitars looked expensive, but then I realised that they are worth every Linden and more! and to a musician who wants to play guitar-in world, they are an absolute must. Nomasha gave me his website to look at which explains just what these guitars can do ( With a real life partner, Nomasha created the dance animations, (MoCap dances) which are included in all the electric and acoustic guitars. I asked him how these animations are made he told me “A rl person wears a suit with little balls all over it, they are filmed by many cameras as they dance and this is converted onto a computer character (avatar) - to over-simplify it.”

The guitars themselves have so many clever functions, they are loaded with 200 different sounds so that you can make up your own tunes, the website states ‘With groupings of riffs from heavy metal to punk, blues, alternative, rock etc. The acoustic and electric guitars have different sounds. All of them are loopable and grouped in key and BPM together as much as possible. These riffs are included in all the electric and acoustic guitars - the bass guitars are not yet updated.’

You also have the option of loading your own animations, sounds and songs into the guitar, plus you can actually record what you play, which is stored on a webpage and the tunes can then be played back in SL. The Hud supplied with the guitar looks easy enough to use and you can always look really cool in-world by wearing your guitar on your avatar’s back when you are not playing it.

There are a fantastic array of copies of SL guitars to pick from on the sim, all the famous makes, including a Fender Stratocaster and a Gibson Les Paul. A lot of skill has been used by Nomasha to make these beautiful instruments.Nomasha’s sim is a very unusual design and I asked him how he had got the idea for it and why he opened it. He told me “I designed the sim intuitively, little or no thought! MoCap dances? Because I wanted to finance my life in SL :)”

With so many real life musicians wanting to transfer their music into SL I think Nomasha is filling a gap in the market that no one else has thought of. You can see that it has taken a lot of hard work and Nomasha told me that he had had to learn how to do the animations from scratch, so you can see what an achievement this all really is.
He had another surprise for me before I left the sim, and I will give you the slurl for it, but I won’t tell you what it is. If you use the slurl my advice is to sit on the apple and see what happens, you will be both enthralled and shocked!!

Many thanks for talking to me Nomasha!

The sim is called Nomasha Syaka, Ministry of Motion, Mocap Animations and Musical Instruments.

Saturday, 8 August 2009

Visit Red Square and the Kremlin in Second Life

I recently wrote about the ephemeral nature of Second Life and now I have found the exception that proves the rule. This was in the form of Vladimir Lenin, who died in 1921 but who may still be seen in Red Square, Moscow RL and now in Red Square SL. Lenin’s tomb, or mausoleum has been brought to Second Life, along with other buildings which can be found surrounding Red Square. These include the beautiful St. Basil’s, GUM Department store (which is a shop in SL) and the State Historical Museum, an impressive red brick building. I am not sure if this is a gateway community or not, but there is a space in front of the state historical museum designed to help Russian speaking newbies learn some of the skill necessary to navigate Second Life.

Next door to Red Square is the Kremlin. The Cathedral of the Archangel, Ivan the Great Bell Tower along with the Tsar Bell, the largest bell in the world, and the Dormition Cathedral can all be found there. There are links to webpages describing these historic sites, which I think is a good idea and hope that the owners will do with all the other buildings in the sims.

At the moment the only buildings that can be entered are St. Basil’s Cathedral, GUM Department Store and Lenin’s Tomb. St. Basil’s contains some icons and other religious art works, the shop has furniture, jewellery and cars, and of course the tomb is the final resting place of Lenin’s body. Since the first time I visited Red Square SL it appears as if more buildings have been added, so hopefully this will continue in the future as the sim is very well done and gives us the opportunity of visiting Moscow virtually, even if we may never have the chance to get there in RL.
Hibiscus Hastings

Wednesday, 5 August 2009

'The Prisoner' Village Recreated In SL

There was a cult television series, which ran in the UK from 1967 to 1968, called ‘The Prisoner.’ It starred Patrick McGoohan and it was about a secret agent who was held captive in a little village by Government forces, while ‘big brother’ techniques were used to watch him. He didn’t have a name in the village, but was referred to by his captors as ‘Number Six.’ The whole thing was surreal with the quirky characters in the seaside setting.

The program was filmed in North Wales (UK) in the village of Portmeirion, Penrhyndeudraeth, Gwynedd, of which it is rumoured that the designer, Sir Clough Williams-Ellis, based the design of the coastal village on Portofino in Italy, although Williams-Ellis denied this, the architecture has a unique Mediterranean style to it. The beautiful little village of Portmeirion became quite a tourist attraction because of the show.

Portmeirion has been re-created in SL and includes references to ‘The Prisoner’ including a giant chess board just inside the entrance, McGoohan’s famous Caterham 7 car from the series, and photos of Mr McGoohan. It’s a nicely built virtual village and it slopes down to the pretty harbour below.

I took one of the buggies that are free to rez, to explore the site, and found I could actually control this one, not like my other cars that get away from me! so I took a ride around the village. I was enjoying my ride in the buggy so much that I didn’t want it to end, there is so much detail in the buildings and it’s quite a tranquil setting. On reaching the harbour I quite expected one of those giant white balloons to engulf me that had stopped McGoohan escaping each time he tried to leave (a weapon used in the series to capture Number Six, the massive balloons blocked his escape, catching him and trapping him).

One of the owners, Kalique Pichot, who is also the Media and Public Relations Director for the sim, kindly sent me some details behind this spectacular build. The Second Life location is the virtual base for ‘Six of One, The Prisoner Appreciation Society.’ The idea to create the sim originated in January 2008 and building began in May, then it was opened in August of the same year. It was the brainchild of devildev Oh. The original owners were devildev Oh, Higbee Protagonist, Jayalli Hawthorne, Kalique Pichot, Kasianni Nikolaidis and Sly Pienaar.

The current owners are devildev Oh, FlutterGirl Looming, Kalique Pichot, Kasianni Nikolaidis and Sly Pienaar. The Village was recreated by Higbee Protagonist, Anaraxis Romulus and Red Prometheus (being built by Higbee Protagonist) and continued development is being carried out by Balls Constantine.

This virtual village appears to have been put together with love and enthusiasm to copy as closely as possible one of the prettiest places in the UK. Even if you have never heard of the television show ‘The Prisoner’, it is still a great place to visit to admire the wonderful SL architecture.

Janey Bracken

For more information please contact
Media & Public Relations Director
Kalique Pichot []

Twitter: PortMerionSL


Monday, 3 August 2009

Face to Face with Liam!

I met Liam Waco at Ahern today, I just had to ask him! Well you would wouldn’t you!! Is that your real face on your avatar Liam? I asked. Surprisingly he said “lol.... I ripped it off my controller as I wanted to do what I want & not him :)”

Controller? I questioned, he said “the guy on the keyboard lol.” I could see Liam has a great sense of humour, but I was a bit worried that the guy at the keyboard won’t be able to eat his dinner without his face!

Looking at him from the side I said “shame you haven't got a nose sideways, lol” He said “I have a smaller face with nose” he added “I can’t smell at all with this one tho.... which is a relief.” I laughed and said is there anything else you would like to tell ‘Our Virtual Trilogy’? Liam said "Live your life with eyes wide open! & One day your life will flash before your eyes. Make sure it’s worth watching."

Live long and prosper Liam, you are a star!!!
Janey Bracken

Sunday, 2 August 2009

Looking for Love in All the Wrong Places

The other day while going about my Second Life, I witnessed a couple of incidents showing how difficult communication can be, especially between men and women. The first occurred when I was out dancing with my friend Boye Jervil at a very nice jazz club. Nearby was another couple who had just met up and were getting to know each other. Mr. X was quite a newcomer to SL and not terribly familiar with the dances at the club. He was also not familiar with some of the other pitfalls of SL.

Mr X: would you like to choose the dance
Ms. Y: oh ill let you do the honors
Ms. Y: take a slow dance
(They begin to dance –HH)
Ms. Y: but this is nice :)
Mr. X: this is my second time at this club
Ms. Y: i haven been here a couple of times
Ms. Y: i think 5 or so
Mr. X: its loverly
Ms. Y: very
Ms. Y: this song is best for a slow nice one lol
Mr. X: is this dance working for you or do you want to change it
Ms. Y: change please to something slow
(Ms. Y seems anxious for a slow dance-HH)
Ms. Y: do u like this one? (meaning the dance-HH)
(She then comments on the dance-HH)
Ms. Y: u kissing my hand lol
(They continue dancing-HH)
Ms. Y: oh your kissing me
Ms. Y: lol
Mr. X: am i
(Mr. X, being relatively new, is not entirely sure what is taking place-HH)
Ms. Y: just look
Ms. Y: see?
Mr. X: well the avatar are getting along
Mr. X: *s
Ms. Y: and we?
Mr. x: look good so far
(Ms. Y begins to change her outfit, first putting on some wings-HH)
Ms. Y: woops
Mr. X: wings
(She continues to change, but appears to be having some trouble-HH)
Mr. X: something happened
Ms. Y: i dunno
Mr. X: i think these (there's-HH)been an error
Ms. Y: hold on
Ms. Y: can u see it>?
Mr. X: the wings yes and a black dress
Ms. Y: cool
Mr. X: thats better
(Ms. Y continues changing, as if searching for the perfect outfit in her inventory-HH)
Ms. Y: what tha!
Ms. Y: i got some greenish thing on.
(Mr. X takes a look at his partner and discovers something unexpected-HH)
Mr. X: whats goin on here
Ms. Y: lol
Ms. Y: im adjusting my clothes
Ms. Y: cause i like black
Mr. X: your looking like a man
(And a naked man at that, fortunately without attachments-HH)
Ms. Y: excuseme?
Mr. X: good bye wierdo
Ms. Y: OMG
Ms. Y: this was not on purpose!!!
Ms. Y: what the f***!
Ms. Y: what tha f***!!!
Ms Y: I was a girl!!! (not a lady -HH)
Ms. Y then disappeared, all the while protesting s/he was a girl.

Later on in the same day, I was in Hyde Park and witnessed the following conversation.

Mr. J: how much money to show boobs?
Ms. A: oh my
Ms. D: sod off
Ms. E: hahahaha
Mr. J: i bet 50$ what do u think?
Ms. A: I think you need to find somewhere else to be
Mr. J: okey
Mr. J: last offer 100$
Ms. A: and yet, he's still here
Mr. J: he who? (Mr. J appears unclear on the concept-HH)
Mr. J: okey
Mr. J: 500$....that my finnaloffer
Ms. D: *sighs*
Ms. A: pfft
Ms. E: omg and yoiure seriously 27? (they had previously discovered Mr. J was 27 –HH)
Ms. A: lol
Mr. J: yeahh
Ms. E: you act like a 12 year old
Ms. A: lol
Hibiscus Hastings: that's his IQ
Ms. A: lol
Mr. J: because im in virtual world
Ms. A: easy now E, maybe he's a virgin
Mr. J: hmmm
Ms. E: ohhhh ofcourse ( doh)
Mr. J: yeah
Ms. A: he doesn't know any better
Ms. A: lol
Ms. E: lol
Mr. J: im a virgin
Ms. A: kk
Mr. J: u not a virgin?
Ms. A: omg....
Mr. J: omg..
Ms. A: I can't take it, I'm going
Mr. J: sorry
(Ms. A begins to say her good-byes to her friends –HH)
Mr. J: i got to go also
(Ms. A’s friends try to convince her to stay, but RL was calling and Ms. A had to leave –HH)
Mr. J: go with sadnest (sadness –HH)
Ms. D: aww ok laters then bye:) (this was said by Ms. D to Ms. A)
Mr. J: in my heart
Ms. A: bye ladies
Mr. J: sadnest (sadness –HH) in my heart
Ms. D: you will have a pain in the backside if you don't stop

It isn't easy finding love in the virtual world.

Hibiscus Hastings