Monday, 28 September 2009

Little Witch Prepares for Halloween

I felt like travelling around the grid a bit today and teleported over to a place with a few shops. I stood for a while and was then aware of a small figure who came and stood near to me. Suddenly I received a message from the little one who said “YAY Another Brit! :D”. I turned to face her and she was a tiny green witch with a pointed hat and cute face. “Hi Cerise, yes, lol” I said in agreement that I was indeed a Brit. ‘How are you?’ I asked, and Cerise told me that she had the flu and I told her that I had a cold too, but it couldn’t top her flu!! I wondered if witches could cast spells to get rid of colds and flu, but it seems even witches have to suffer.

Cerise told me that everyone called her Button or Brat (Cerise’s full name is Cerise Button!) and I asked how people treated her as the little green witch, she told me “I get trod on a lot....But I have a nastly bite. And a great lil wand that works wonders on nasties.” She told me that her wand casts spells and she had made it herself. Cerise had also made her green skin, and she had done a really good job with it too!

Cerise was very wise she told me she had already started preparing for Halloween. She said “I've got a month to prep my swamp for Halloween”. She asked if I wanted to go over and have a look and I agreed that I would love to.

Off we went to a sim full of shadows and ghostly things. Cerise said “My SL family own this Sim.” I could see lots of blood on the floor near the building next to us and Cerise told me “Which reminds me, I need to bring out my body under a sheet” she continued “Well I did tell my mom to clean up after the last guests we had here.” Cerise said that she had a big family, many brothers and sisters, and her mom likes to be a wolf and her dad likes to be an owl. She said “Well I look mostly like my uncle Bilbo who's a toad :P.” I suggested that Cerise was the same colour, only she would have less warts, “A lot less warts :P” she agreed!

Cerise, being a really mystical little witch had made herself a broomstick that really flies, she said she had not finished it yet, so I will find out later what else this clever broomstick will do!

Cerise greeted her Auntie Catface who was a little distance away from us, but Auntie Cat must have been away from her keyboard as she did not reply. I told Cerise I had to go and I’d really enjoyed meeting her. Cerise gave me a parting gift, the lovely green skin she had made!

Thank you for showing me around Cerise and also thank you for that skin. I’m sure Halloween will be very special with Cerise and her family having lots of fun!!
Janey Bracken

Friday, 25 September 2009

Merciless0413 Stoneyheart

Who was Merciless0413 Stoneyheart, Old Bert’s landlord? A man of prodigious energy, Mr. Stoneyheart, known as Stoney to his friends, believed in hard work and even harder play. Mr. Stoneyheart was something of an SL baron, with a finger in many different pies. He was the owner of the Used Car lot that Old Bert had discovered on his perambulations about the neighbourhood.

He also owned a string of Pawn Shops, and of course was into real estate and construction.

Mr. Stoneyheart could be a very tough taskmaster, but he realized the importance of maintaining good relations with his workers, so he could often be seen visiting job sites and swapping tales of adventures and conquests with his men. Sharp-witted, Mr. Stoneyheart had accrued considerable wealth, which he did not hesitate to enjoy.

At the end of the day Mr. Stoneyheart could be found frequenting some of Second Life’s finer establishments, such as Bogart’s, where he could always be sure of finding a table and a warm welcome.

However, these were not the only clubs to know Mr. Stoneyheart’s patronage. After enjoying an evening meal at Bogart’s he would then go on to some of Second Life’s other entertainment venues, such as the Phoenix Burlesque Club in Soho.

There he would while away the hours with the dancers and other customers ....

.....stumbling out of the club in the wee hours of the morning .... return to his palatial home and collapse for a few hours before rising to begin the whole process again.

Hibiscus Hastings

My thanks to Boye Jervil for allowing me to use the picture of Mr. Stoneyheart at Bogart's.
Mr. Stoneyheart and his workers was photographed at Art Box.

Friday, 18 September 2009

Old Bert Settles In

When we last saw Old Bert, he had been in despair after seeing the realities of his apartment at Empire Gardens. Poor man, it was not at all what he had been used to. However, Old Bert was not one to wallow in misery, so after a few unhappy moments he decided to see what he could do to make himself more comfortable. Fortunately Old Bert had brought provisions with which to stock his kitchen, so he made himself a simple meal of bread and jam. He sat down at his table, ate his supper and began to feel a little more cheerful.

Old Bert was feeling more energetic and hopeful, so much so, in fact, that he decided to go out and explore, in the hopes of meeting others in the neighbourhood. At first he went and sat in the lobby of his apartment building, but his only companions were the rats running around the floor, so that was not very satisfactory.

Leaving the building, Old Bert began walking up and down the streets, trying to discover what the area had to offer. Not too far off was a used car dealer, with all sorts of vehicles in the parking lot – a school bus, taxi, trucks and cars. Right next to the dealership was a railroad line. Perhaps these were indications of a lively residential area, Old Bert hoped, despite the fact that he had yet to run into any other avatars.

He continued on and eventually came to a pub. Old Bert was very pleased to hear lively conversation coming from inside the building, so he happily opened the door and walked in. The large room was filled with avatars laughing and chatting with each other. “Finally” Old Bert thought to himself “I have found some neighbours!” But as he entered further into the room, the avatars turned away from him and he heard one mutter “There is a bad smell.” Old Bert, mortified because he thought that comment was meant for him, left the pub feeling completely crushed. He made his way back home and threw himself down on the bed, more unhappy than ever.
With thanks to Boye Jervil for his pictures of Old Bert.

Hibiscus Hastings

Tuesday, 15 September 2009

Exploring Bohemia

I travelled over to the SL Czech Republic – Bohemia today to have a look around. It is somewhere that the Czech and Slovak people can go to speak their own language, all the signage and information is written in Czech, although there is a little English on the greeting notecard as you land there. The notecard states that ‘BOHEMIA is a starting point for all the Czechs and Slovaks in Second Life, who can talk in their first language here, get some free gear for their avatars, get some information about what they can do in Second Life, what some interesting places are, when and what events are going on in the city or how can one make some money in Second life, etc. The old town square in BOHEMIA is built in the typical style of older Czech cities.’

It is a nicely built sim and there were a few people gathered together for a chat near the teleport area. I wandered around and spotted a car that I could drive (well I tried to drive it!!) I had someone get in with me (why do I always get the ones in their underwear!), but I think he was sorry once I pulled away, as he quickly disappeared as I careered into pavements and walls. I came out near where the people were standing and thought it was a good idea to abandon the car before I ploughed into them!

Moving on I found the real life telephone company O2 had an office there, as did the Czech Republic Police. I had a look around the Police Station and went upstairs only to be shut in one of the cells (I think they must have seen my driving!!). There are a few more real life companies in the sim as well, so it looks like they are really acknowledging the 3D revolution in Czechoslovakia.

The sim is a nice tranquil place and it looks like they have lots of fun events going on, I can imagine a lot of the Czechoslovakian and Slovakian people making it their SL home.
Janey Bracken

Friday, 11 September 2009

Old Bert

In May I wrote about a doss house I discovered while checking out accommodations in Second Life. The building was in a dreadful state of repair but even worse, the owner refused to acknowledge this lamentable fact and insisted that the property was a prime one with all the modern conveniences one could wish for. He even had the audacity to say this while cockroaches and rats were running over our feet! A terrible man with no conscience.

Recently I was informed that the landlord had actually found a tenant, so I went to speak with this person to see how he was faring. What I discovered would break even the hardest of hearts.

Old Bert joined Second Life almost three years ago. At first he had had a wonderful time, wandering around and discovering all the joys of the virtual world, however, he fell on hard times when an unscrupulous avatar managed to clean out Old Bert’s account and he was left penniless, losing his land and his home. Not willing to beg, Old Bert managed to collect some freebie clothes, but he had no where to live and was desperately looking for money. He tried camping, but that was not terribly lucrative and he felt he had too little to risk trying any sploder games in case he lost what he had worked so hard to gain. Few people seemed willing to hire Old Bert, either, saying he was not the right kind of person. However, through perseverance and the occasional bit of good luck, Old Bert was finally able to begin looking for an inexpensive place to call home.

One day while Old Bert was camping, a rather finely dressed man came by and began to talk to him. His name was Merciless0413 Stoneyheart. He told Old Bert that he owned some apartment buildings across the grid which he rented at a very reasonable rate, fully furnished. There was a low prim allowance, but Mr. Stoneyheart explained that since the flats were furnished there was no need for his tenants to rez anything beyond some personal mementoes. Since Old Bert had very little in the way of possessions this was not a concern. Mr. Stoneyheart handed Old Bert a notecard with pictures and a description of his buildings and Old Bert in fact was so desperate that he immediately handed over most of his savings to Mr. Stoneyheart, joyfully tp’ing over to “Empire Gardens” , as Mr. Stoenyheart had grandiosely named his building, ready to start his new life.

What a shock awaited Old Bert. The pictures on the notecard had not prepared him at all for the reality of the situation. Poor Old Bert peered through the grimy window of his new home, into the sad living-dining- bedroom (which Mr. Stoneyheart had euphemistically described as “open plan living”). After working up the nerve to actually enter the building, Old Bert walked through the lobby, stopping by the mailboxes and noting the laundry festooned forlornly around the place. He made his way over to a chair and sat down in despair, trying to gather up enough courage to continue on.

After a few minutes he stood up and began his trip down the hall. As Old Bert walked down the corridor to his new flat he passed another unit with an eviction sign on the door. Mr. Stoneyheart clearly lived up to his name. Upon reaching his door Old Bert opened it and stepped inside.

The main room was even worse than Old Bert had expected, filled with rickety old furniture and filthy appliances. Old Bert fearfully went into the bathroom, expecting the worst. His expectations were exceeded. Although the bathroom contained a toilet, sink and tub, as Mr. Stoneyheart had said, they did not seem to offer the promise of comfort or hygiene.

After this little tour of his new abode, Old Bert returned to his living-dining-bedroom, collapsed onto a bench and cried to himself “Oh, what is to become of me?”

My thanks to Boye Jervil for the photographs accompanying this story.

Hibiscus Hastings

Sunday, 6 September 2009

Beautiful Seas and Real Waves!

Second Life is getting pretty realistic with a lot of the special effects that have been added lately. Water is, without a doubt, one of the nicest things in the virtual world and with the reflections and the different daytime settings, you can see some wonderful seascapes and rivers.

Looking at the recent ads on the first page of ‘Search’ I thought I would take a look at something called ‘Collection 2010 is here, The New Real Waves’ Teleporting over to a place called ‘My Paradise’, I saw some swirling seas crashing against some dramatic looking rocks. The sim also has lots of lovely palm trees and Tiki huts and rafts. I watched as the sea foamed and hit the rocks causing a mist, changing the environment settings, I saw the light hit the waves with an array of different hues.

The sim and the artwork is created by Antreas Alter and I think this is quite remarkable, not because of the beauty of it all, but also because you can buy your own set of rocks and waves and it doesn’t use any of the prims on your land. In fact it is meant to be rezzed on your land then edited to be moved over the sim border into the sea area beyond. It is entirely phantom so it cannot be crashed into, and to be honest it looks stunning.

I took a chance of bought a set of the rocks and waves and took them home to my little beach fronted land. Once there, I opened the box and rezzed the objects on my land before pushing them out past the sim edge. It completely transformed my view, adding interest to what was a flat sea in front of my house. I am so happy with it, plus if you had a big enough property you can copy it too, turning it around to make it look different. You also get a menu to control the type of waves, from a calm sea through to a stormy one. Antreas you are a star, and it was only 399 Lindens too, money well spent!!

Janey Bracken

Friday, 4 September 2009

Budget Accomodations in Second Life

You can have a very enjoyable Second Life with a small amount of money. This is partly due to the fact that there are so many freebies available, clothes, hair, skins, cars, planes and even houses. A little goes a very long way.

My friend Boye and I were talking about free houses we had picked up over time. I occasionally think of buying some land and putting a home on it, and if I ever do I am all set. The only problem is prim count, many of the freebies are high in prims.

I was very fortunate to have won a beautiful Japanese tea house a few weeks ago from a Midnight Mania board at The Zen Garden & Imperial City. Midnight Mania boards can be found in many shops and are very simple to use. The boards are set up with a prize of some sort, and if a certain number of people click on the board and add their names they will all win the prize if a pre-set number is met. The owner decides on the number of people needed, I have seen it set to between 50 and 300.

I rezzed my new home in a sandbox, and took Boye around for a tour. The house is completely furnished and is two storeys high. You enter through a small garden area out front, complete with a buddah, and then go through to a living –dining room area. On the second floor there is a bedroom, a shower room, relaxing area, and outside on a terrace, a hot tub. The detail is good, hence the 251 prims, and the furniture and decoration is lovely, it would be a very tranquil and pleasant place to live.

Now Boye, on the other hand, has picked up some rather unusual buildings. On May 5 I wrote about a doss house he had acquired, he seemed to quite enjoy playing the slumlord part. He also is the proud owner of a butcher shop that he found in Hobo Town. I rather nervously entered the shop, which was blood spattered and not too hygienic in appearance. Boye got out his lab coat-come-butcher’s apron and put it on, then rezzed a rather dangerous looking knife which he proceeded to wield with great dexterity. He also had a rather nasty glint in his eye!

Fortunately he put the shop and the knife away, so I was safe for today. But I am not too sure about what he is hiding in his inventory.

Hibiscus Hastings