Monday, December 10, 2012

The Peace on Earth Hunt

By DrFran Babcock

I really suck at hunts, but every year I struggle through at least a part of the "Peace on Earth Hunt" because of two reasons: 1) I love good quality freebies, and 2) what I REALLY want for Christmas IS peace on earth.

So, fashionistas, here are two looks I put together from just about one quarter of the hunt. For more information, SLurls, and hints, go to this website:

Look Number One: ( I mix and match, and don't always use all items from an outfit)

ESHI OTTAWARA -Fuzzy Short Jacket
Beloved Jewelry Chantelle Gold/Ruby Earrings and Necklace 
CHICHICKIE! Serafina - All Colors (ColorTouch) 
[BLUSH] Selma Skin Tan - Nude
POSE: The Muse - Peace 3

Picture Taken at: Area 51 Winterland International

Look Number Two:

EAR CANDY ~ Earrings and Necklace, and Gold Mesh Heels, which you can't see.
SASSY! - Whitney gown 
AMACCI -  Hair Nena - Ice
AMACCI Skin - Oleana (Pale) - Peace - Cleavage

Taken at: Garden of Whimsey - Winter Wonderland
DrFran Babcock

Monday, November 26, 2012

The New Palais Orleans

By Gemma Cleanslate

At the beginning of November I was invited to Palais Orleans to view recent works by two artists. I began to do a story about it, but stopped when I learned while talking to the owner that she was about to tear the whole gallery down and build a new complex. That made me wait. Morgana Nagorski has now finished her three galleries and launched them at opening parties on Saturday and Sunday. I attended the  party on Sunday along with many other guests. I heard that about 70 attended the opening Saturday.  

Gallery 1 is a collection of lovely pieces by Morgana from several past exhibits. I found some of that art very wistful and elegant. Gallery 2 has an exhibit called “Phantasmagoria.” This gallery presentation is very different and  contains pieces that are described as an ”optical illusion produced by a magic lantern of the like in which figures increase or diminish in size, pass into each other, dissolve.” There, you will find pieces by Morgana and Kato Salyut. Gallery 3 houses an exhibit called “What a Wonderful World” and contains beautiful landscapes of second life by Morgana. There are beautiful plays of color and light in the photographs.  Morgana says that this gallery will remain essentially the same. 

Gallery 1 will always host a duet of artists and will change often. Morgana wanted those artists to have their showing without all the hoopla of the opening days so an exhibit featuring the art of  Maloe Vansant and Burk Bode called 'The Weirdo and I’ will be opening soon. Gallery 2 will have an exhibit of works by 22 artists based on the songs of Leonard Cohen beginning on January 17. You will enjoy all three galleries and they are within walking distance set with a lovely courtyard in the center. 

I met the builder of all the galleries, Zandy Oh, at the party and she is to be complimented on her work.  Morgana also has her studio there where she has portraits for clients that are special order. You will enjoy visiting the galleries and viewing the entire exhibit as it is now, but also hang on to the landmark. There will be so much more to see.When you go look for gifts in each building, or in the courtyard.  

Enter here and enjoy!

Gemma Cleanslate

Monday, November 19, 2012

Of Sound Mind at the Linden Endowment for the Arts

By DrFran Babcock

Talk about sounds in Second Life and Lorin Tone’s name is bound to come up. Thus, when Judi Newall sent me a notecard to alert me that Lorin and his friends had gotten a sim in the Linden Endowment for the Arts (LEA) I knew I was in for a treat. I teleported over there, and was met by Lorin Tone himself. He told me to explore, so that’s what I set out to do. I had a wonderful, joyfully noise-filled time, and so will you.

The build is actually a series of several different environments, constructed by Lorin’s long time collaborator and aptly-named recluse, Madcow Cosmos, along with other friends: Glyph Graves, P4ndor4, Quintessa, Meriadne Merlin,Inventor Alchemi, Marcus Parrott, Mia Anais, and Judi Newall. It’s a testament to Lorin’s spirit of teamwork that so many people love to work with him.

It is difficult to describe the builds, especially because they focus on sound—a concept that does not translate well into print. The exhibits are interactive, and rely upon you to touch and walk through characters and sculptures to create and loop sounds. For example: A beach side group of singing creatures loop sounds and chorus when touched. Touch them all for a pleasing cacophony, touch them again to change the loop played, and the whole sound changes completely.

Or, go to the Obligatory Spooky Cave, and walk through the falling water to activate sounds that echo and chime through the space, but beware the monster at the end. There are so many activities: Eat Brains under the giant skull, visit the jellyfish underwater that were made by Glyph Graves , see the Boolean Sequencer by Inventor Alchemi, play full songs on The Mighty SLurlitzer, visit Marcus Parrott’s café where the staff speak to you and sing the Fishead Song, and everywhere on the sim Madcow Cosmos’ alarming, cute and frightening characters, sticking out their tongues, winking, flapping wings, and most of all making sounds, sounds sounds.

The whole point of this installation is this, according to Lorin Tone: Second Life is a place where so many different and amazing environments can be created, but what improves and enhances all of them is sound. Lorin and his friends have a mission to improve how sound is used in Second Life., and the sim is proof that they have succeeded.

Of Sound Mind is open now on LEA Island 19. Did I mention freebies? There are several scattered around the sim. I found a harp and some other goodies to play. There will be events and lectures and sound seminars throughout the installation. Check the Linden Endowment for the Arts website for schedules: .

LEA19, (123, 187, 22)

DrFran Babcock

Friday, November 9, 2012

Burn2: The Temple Burn

Sunday November 4th was the second of the two burns at the Burn2 festival: the Temple Burn. Like the burning of "The Man," it was scheduled to take place three times, morning, Noon, and evening. Due to the technical glitches that weekend, the early morning burn was postponed until the following day. So the first one that day was at Noon.

At Noon, the Temple begins to catch fire.

The temple brazier, which had been lit the entire time of the festival, is now joined by other flames.

Before lighting, people had been sending various messages to the temple, which it read aloud before and the early part of the burning.

"Peace love and friendship to all," "Love and light," "Life and love are best when both made fresh dailey :-D ," "I will always love you M," "Computers are useless. They can only give us answers. (Pablo Picasso)," "May the God and Goddess bless us all," "Pip is the greatest/Christ is the bestest," "Beautiful Dreamers~May love always lead your way," "I was never able to tell you how much I love you, it was always there deep in my heart, and will stay there till the end, I love you .. I wish you would know it!"

"May the long time SUNSHINE upon you, all LOVE surround you, and the pure light with in you GUIDE your way Home," "Truth and Love are gifts from the Universe to us! Reach out and receive Love," "Kindness is free share it!" "Hope for a gentle warm wind blown upon your mind and sail away to a dream state of harmony!" "I love Second Life, and all it's creative bliss," "We are spirits having a human experience!" "For those who burn, those who wish to burn, and those that have burnt before, (love), ""Which ever way I end up here I'm always home, Burn On, Burn on ツ "It is well to be born in a decadent age, one may obtain a reputation for virtue at a bargain price - Voltaire, " "Goodbye Paul David Addis, the dark impish soul of Burnin Man."

The sims adjacent to the burning Temple were packed. Among those were was blogger Daniel Voyager in his owl avatar, "I'm really excited!"

It wasn't long before the whole temple was afire, "Here comes the flame, boy!"

The Temple was soon consumed by the virtual flame, and began coming apart, "There she goes!" "Hot grits a'flyin, y'all!"

"Moar C4!" "Whoah!"

Parts didn't just fall down, but sometimes flew off a short distance, "Ow! I got hit by falling burning temple!"

Eventually, the Temple had completely collapsed.

And the all-clear was given, "Rabbit Hole is open now!" "Be brave and enter." And it was quickly filled with enthusiastic burners, "It's not letting me in." "Damn, this sim fills fast!" "Please try to take turns going in and out so everyone has a chance to enter." "Rabbit Hole is a homestead sim, so only 20 allowed at a time. Please take turns."

A close up of one of the Burners, a few items on her face still not completely showing, but the light made for a picturesque view.

People darted around, and even in, the virtual flames, "This temple burn was, and is, beautiful!"

One Ranger approached with a fire extinguisher.

With the flames dying down, some left. Others hung around, a few offering words of thanks and poetry, "Rebith, renew, not the same, better, again, brighter, for the past, renew, another opportunity, gifted, like each day, we burn, we renew."

The temple burn would take place again in the evening, and the next morning. After that, the Burn2 festival was officially over, although the sims remained up for a few more days and there were some smaller parties.

And so, the largest art and music festival in Second Life came to a close for another year. But fans won't have to wait a whole year for another taste. Saturday the 10th is the Skin Burn. And some smaller Burn-related events had been organized between the 2011 and 2012 festivals, so there will likely be more. But there's only one Burn2.

"Can't wait till next year, goodnight everybody!"

For more pictures, check the Burn2 Flickr

Bixyl Shuftan

Friday, October 5, 2012

Game Review: Borderlands2

The new first person shooter offered by Gearbox Software is an excellent game in my opinion. The first Borderlands is and was a good game as well. The sequel follows from the original where the vault hunters Roland, Brick, Lilith and Mordecai from the first game discovered the vault. The Vault was an amazing treasure trove of weapons and riches on the planet of Pandora. Disappointed that there was no treasure they wandered off not to be seen again. 
The second Borderlands follows five years later as new vault hunters come to Pandora in search of a new vault. There’s an introduction to the plot before you can pick a new character. The prologue explains that a rare element eridium now is on the surface of Pandora and the Hyperion Corporation is now mining it on the planet.  Handsome Jack runs Hyperion from his spaceship a large H covering the moon. The characters this time are Maya the Siren, Axton the commando, Salvador the gunzerker, and zero the assassin. Each character has a special ability. Maya can phaselock a single enemy and keep it from attacking for a short time. Axton can summon a turret to shoot at enemies for a while. Zero can turn himself invisible. Salvador for a short time can wield two weapons of any kind at once. The other three characters are only allowed to equip a single weapon at any one time. Over time you’ll learn to hate Handsome Jack as the main villain in the game as he does atrocious things.
Borderlands 2 allows character customizing like World of Warcraft. For each of the four characters there are three skill trees you may distribute your skill points that you start to gain at level 5 and up. Maybe I’m nitpicking but gearbox soft could have automatically given your character his or her special ability at level 5, but instead you have to use your first skill point to gain your special ability. However it’s a small thing. As an example the Siren character I play as grease711 her skill tree is geared in Harmony. Harmony lets her bring back other characters in a co-op from dying to getting back on their feet by using her phaselock ability. Overall it’s slanted to being a healer player and helping other players by keeping them from death. I even have the option to shoot other players to refill their hit points or health. A player was shocked that I deliberately shot him and his hit points went back to full. I also dabbled in her elemental damage tree apocalypse. My damage improved as I killed baddies quicker but I lost a lot of my healing abilities. Don’t worry though if you want to reset your skill points for your character it doesn’t cost a lot of money.
The game itself has wonderful graphics and fun gameplay. You start out with lousy weapons but as you progress through the game mowing down baddies you gain bigger and better weapons like an RPG game but with black humor along with a western feel of first person shooting. Once in a while you’ll see treasure chests with either meah or something worth your time or something that makes you go wow!
Also like World of Warcraft your character is asked to do quests helping out various npc/s you gain experience and sometimes a new firearm. It’s your choice whether you want the weapon or just to sell it for money in your pocket. 
The color of rarity goes from white, green, blue, purple, and the very best is orange. The firearms are pistols, shotguns, smgs, assault rifles, sniper rifles, and launchers which fire rockets. The weapons have attributes like reload speed fire rate and how much damage the weapon does per shot and accuracy. Also your character uses shields like a smaller version of energy shields from star trek shows. You’re your shield goes to 0 then you’re vulnerable as any attack hits your flesh instead. You’ll see blood splattered when your shield is off when you’re hit.  Launchers are slow to reload but pack a nasty punch. Pistols do their fair share of damage too and fire faster. Right now my commando has a blue pistol off a quest. Also the weapons that you find have different elements. Fire is very effective against flesh. Shock guns knock down shields fast. Corrosive destroys armored or robotic enemies swiftly. It helps to have elemental weapons in store to wipe baddies out quickly before they have a chance to overwhelm you.
As you progress through the game you’ll meet the characters involved in the story. Each time you meet a new character there’s a dramatic introduction of the character and his or her name. One character an npc you can buy guns from is introduced in a very funny way. A good laugh is a woman npc who you do quests for. A man taunts her for being the leader when he is very sexist against her being a woman. Don’t worry she gets him back.
Eventfully at the end of the game you’ll fight Handsome Jack. The boss fight is an excellent medium between easy and hard so long as you work together with your teammates you’ll down him. And there is a lot of treasure when you defeat Handsome Jack in the final fight so it’s certainly worth your while to fight him over and over again if you want to look for better guns.
After defeating the game there’s a “True vault hunter mode”. It’s a much harder version of the normal game and was very frustrating. Every time your character dies you lose 5% or so of your total wealth as you pay Hyperion to create a clone of yourself. If you’re not careful you could lose a lot of money quickly. One thing an npc says which makes sense in the game, “Money isn’t worth a thing if you don’t spend it.” Don’t be afraid to spend money on something that will greatly improve your character like a new weapon or shield. You’re better off buying upgrades than dying and losing your cash. The more cash you have the more cash you lose per death so hoarding your money is counterproductive.  When you have the chance shop around for a better shield or new weapon. The money you spend will help out your character making the difference between dying once in a while to dying a lot.
The plot itself is fun to follow and adds to the gameplay. Even if you beat the game there’s always the option of trying a new character of a new skill tree to make your character very different. There’s certainly replay value when you play co-op with others. Another neat thing is the voices from your character and the bad guys you fight. The bandits in the game will constantly taunt you or npc/s will ask you to go on a quest in a live voice. The voices sounds legitimate no corny voices in this game. My character the siren will say things like “Cool!” or “I love my powers! “When you phaselock bad guys.
I highly recommend Borderlands 2 to anyone who is a fan of first person shooters or an RPG sort of game. Even after beating the game there’s things for your character to do like leftover quests or the boss from the original borderlands that’s only fightable when you reach the maximum level 50. You can choose to fight him below level 50 but it’s a poor idea as he is impossible to fight and you’ll just lose money dying again and again. 
I haven’t reached level 50 yet, but with the game being fun to play and a joy to look at graphically it’s only a matter of time. 
Grease Coakes

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Gracie Kendel's "Ce n’est pas une peinture"

Gracie Kendel, the artist known for her "1000 Avatar Project" has come up with another art exhibition. The name of it is "Ce n’est pas une peinture," which translates to "This is not a painting."

In her article in iRez, Gracie mentioned that some art critics in Second Life feel two dimensional art on the Grid is too plain, "They don't believe people should upload photos of their physical art … they believe that people should use Second Life as its own platform. While I don't agree with this line of thinking, I did decide to play with the concept." So she came up with the idea "to deconstruct one of my paintings/collages into a full sim installation that avatars can walk and fly through and get lost in. … I want to expand on the idea of blowing apart a painting to evaluate and experience each layer separately as a whole."

In her blog, Gracie described herself as creating the place "using chance and spontaneity" while listening to a music stream playing jazz and classical music. The iRez article described herself as  having taken five days off her job, and doing little but work on the project, "Right now I am almost in a trance-like work state." Ziki Questi gave the number of prims as 1400

Getting to the location at the LEA 15 sim, I was invited to click on a glowing ball titled "Float." Doing so, I was transported to the middle of the artwork, slowly floating  and tumbling along in the middle of the sea of splashes of colors. It was … different.

"Ce n’est pas une peinture" was the scene of Gracie's sixth rezzday party, on Monday October 1st. At 7PM, a number of avatars dropped down to the bottom of the sim to wish the birthday girl well. Gracie herself was in an avatar skin that resembled the splashes of colors of her new project. Gwen Carillon provided the music for the party. A variety of people showed up, from fellow artist Bryn Oh, to someone from Virtual Ability Island, to a couple combateers from a Second Life combat sim army, "WOW, Bryn, great look." "Happy Rez Day Gracie!!!!! we love you!" "How's Gracie gonna test poseballs here?" "It's Gracie....she'll find a way."

Eventually, everyone had to go is and her separate ways. But the painting you can float around in will be around for a while at LEA 15 (63, 114, 533).

Sources: iRez, Ziki Questi, Gracie Kendel

*Update* A Youtube was made of the exhibit by Nina Camplin, which can be seen Here.

Bixyl Shuftan

Friday, September 28, 2012

Roaming the Playa at Burn2

 As  a ranger at Burn2 I take a tour most days to make sure nothing is blowing up, drifting off the sims, or blocking roadways.

As I roam I come across so many interesting items the builders bring into the playa while they are preparing their sites.

It is great fun to come across strange items and wonder what in  world they are doing there and where they came from.

One of my favorites were three little green men standing in the road chattering away in alien-ish language.
 Once in a while I heard a food word.

I am so glad I took  a picture of them before they disappeared back into space.

  I found a greeter practicing at the gate as she grilled some food on her stand.

 I snapped  pictures of some of the strange items to share with you.

 Time is passing quickly but it will all be ready for October 20.

The man is ready and the temple is appearing bit by bit. 

Gemma Cleanslate

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Virginia Alone

Earlier this summer, Bryn Oh had a new art exhibition at her Immersiva sim, "Virginia Alone," which is about a lady, Virginia Blakely, her house, and how she coped with a mental illness she tried to understand.

I went to the sim. At the entry point, there were a few signs, including one describing her exhibit. I found a path marked by posts, and began walking down it, soon seeing telephone poles and birds. I then saw a figure nearby, wearing a rabbit mask with a hole cut over one eye and cheek. It was Bryn Oh. She greeted me, "Just building a tree. (smile)" Talking about the house, "The only thing to know is to click the cassette tapes inside the house, and letters. It is the story of a lady I know in real life, who has schizophrenia, and is blind. It is a recreation of her home." She mentioned the sky would change for those using Firestorm, but in my Cool LV, I could see clouds moving.

I asked how she met the lady. Bryn answered, "I met her estranged daughter, and through her discovered Virginia. So I asked to meet her. … She knows she has issues, but she is not aware they are called Schizophrenia. For example, she says in one tape that she discovered her mouth open and saying some words. So she wrote down what she was saying, and tried to figure out why she would say those things and what made her do it. She is quite rational, rational in dealing with the irrational. … She is someone who lived alone, away from society, and fought against an illness that she refused to let overcome her."

The area has some subtle sounds of being in the countryside. Getting close to a tree with some plastic bags stuck in it, one can here them rustling in the wing. I also came across a couple visitors whom were just leaving after taking a look inside, a reminder Bryn's exhibit is still getting traffic. The building itself had a look of age, made of unpainted, fading, wooden planks. The first room one steps in is the one Virginia had been spending almost all her time in. She was nearly blind from cataracts. There are cupboards, a sink, and a representation of Virginia sitting in a chair listening to the radio. And in a corner are some of the items she collected over time.

The rest of the house, Virginia seldom ventured to. There is a basement, which with it's flooded floor and network of pipes is artistic creativity on Bryn's part. And there are other rooms, with boxes and bags, and 20 year old cobwebs. Some of the boxes are clickable, as Bryn described, leading to pictures, or links to recordings on Youtube. Stairs lead to a few more rooms. One had a music box, when clicked, was about Bryn Oh's "Rabbicorn."

  Sits forlorn
  The Rabbicorn
  A robot gift
  Set adrift
  In settled dust
  With spots of rust
  A once treasured toy
  Of a boy

The house is just one corner of the island on Immersiva. I spotted a couple round structures in the water that I couldn't identify. I also saw what looked like a frolicking fox, frozen in time. At the entrance is a teleport to a store area, an unearthly white region with a number of small exhibits up for sale, and at least one not so small.

I asked Bryn if Virginia knows anything of what she made here. "Oh yes, she is very excited about it. I went to visit her a few weeks ago to update her on the amount of people who have come to see it. And to give her messages from guests who wanted me to relay things to her. She was touched. There have been around 12,000 to see this (exhibit) so far. … The most impressive thing to me, that people from around the world who have completely different cultures or environments in which they live can look at this house and landscape, look at the life of a Canadian woman and associate, even though so little overlaps between them."

"Virginia Alone" is at Immersiva (21, 127, 21) One can read more at Bryn Oh's blog post here, and a little more at her "Piano" post.

Bixyl Shuftan

Monday, August 20, 2012

Arcadia Asylum Library

Aley, the former Arcadia Asylum is a historical figure in SL. Her creations are so extensive it is hard to see them all. They are diverse and imaginative.You may recall that a few months ago I did an article about The Sea of Aley. ( )  where there was a hunt going on in LEA. In it I put a link to the Library of Arcadia where so many of her builds were located in vendors for the taking, all free! 
Sometime during the SL9B I got a notice from someone  that the library sim was closing! I put it away in my mind to check out, but thought what a loss!! I was talking to my friend Grey Nacht, and he told me that the library was being recreated in several sims so the vendors  would not be lost again. Grey has several freebie vendors at his sim, Pala. He referred me to Brian61 Landar. I took off to see the new site that Brian was creating and had a nice conversation with him. 
Again, here is another example of residents of SL having more concern than LL to preserve the history of Second Life. Brian told me, "The library closing was a wake up call to a  lot of us that if we don't get active and spread the collection around, it is very possible to loose it.“ Perryn Peterson owner of the sim, hearing that Arcadia’s works might be unavailable  donated a corner of the sim  to the recreation of the library. Brian is well under way in setting out the freebie vendors he said, “.It was decided to add this exhibit hall to feature builders and artists from all over SL who have contributed to SL thru their work. 90% of everything you see is Arcadia, but so far we have collected a small portion of arcadia's works. As more be comes available we will add them to the vendors and distribute the collection to anyone that wants a copy.” There is a group of SL residents working on recovery and preservation of Aley’s works. There will probably be more places with vendors eventually.
 Not only that but Aley has a hunt going on in the Blake Seas and other waterways.. Aley has set many  of her aquatic  and other  builds under the seas  hidden in secret ruins  that you can locate with her compass .You begin the hunt and get the compass at . Look around there before you leave because you will see all the hunt objects. Then, follow the directions to find the hidden treasures under the sea. During this hunt you will visit many wonderful underwater ruins, sunken cities, statues and other lost places you will never get to see unless you are a submariner. 

And to those who are interested in the history of SL you can at least go visit the vendors in Mieville. You can browse the vendors to see what is there, and  go ahead and grab a bit of history to hold in your inventory or, if you can afford the  prims, put it out on display. The first place is Brian’s land where he initially set out some of the vendors . or visit Mieville or at Pala where you teleport to the spacestation.
Have a great hunt and visit to the libraries. 
Gemma Cleanslate

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Virtual Unreality

Sunday I was invited to the opening of an exhibit at the LEA 23. It was called Virtual Unreality and it was! 
Eupalinos Ugajin, along with Maya Paris, Marmaduke Arado, Kikas Barbanco, Trill Zapatero, and Simotron Aquila have created a playground for us. According to Quan Lavender, Eupalinos is a collector of art and then creates all kinds of fun with it.
You will find pieces by many artists.  Click everywhere and become part of the exhibit. It was a lot of fun with everyone participating in the numerous “sits “ all around the whole area. 
Many or the top artists in SL were at the opening having fun.  
Enjoy the sights and sounds. It will be in the sim for a while  so take some time to visit before it disappears. .
Gemma Cleanslate