Monday, October 28, 2013

"Flesh Dreams" at Burn2 by Ub Yifu

By Gemma Cleanslate

I have been working as a ranger on the playa at Burn2 for several weeks now , helping builders get settled and assisting with any problems. Since the gates opened to the public I have been even more busy, too busy to write much and left that to the other reporters. One build that has intrigued me for weeks ,and I find myself going back to it over and over is that of Ub Yifu in the sim Frog Pond. Cargo Cult is the theme of the Burn2 in real life and in SL this year. But this is a unique interpretation from many of the others on the playa. The name of the plot and the build is “Flesh Dreams.” For a while I had a hard time deciphering the meaning of it all.

The description by Ub finally gave me the meaning, “My vision of the cargo cult but from another point of view..... Here on Earth in 3247 humankind is no more than a dream in survivors mind: the robots we built. Humans have been gone a very long time, and our machines survived as they could without us. But, now wishing for our return, they build human-like figures with the rare memory they have of us to convince their creators to come back.” 

The sad machines lie in a set of destruction in the are future as you can see. You can become part of their dreams by finding a place to sit . The strange robots circle the human creature they are trying to create. The devestation all around shows the remnants of our demise. I wonder why we are gone? So many images for thought. 

Be sure to visit this amazing build in Frog Pond sim on the playa.  SLURL:   Remember the playa will still exist all next week so you can go back and visit all the marvelous builds before they disappear. 

Gemma Cleanslate

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Gracie Kendel's "Goodbye to Second Life Stuff"

By Bixyl Shuftan

On Sunday October 20th, Gracie Kendel, known as Kristine Schomaker in real-life, ended her "Binge and Purge" art exhibition. Originally done for artistic reasons, with the Terms of Service controversy, the exhibit was taking a new meaning. It could also very well be Gracie's last exhibit within Second Life.

The event for the exhibit's close was announced on her blog for 10 AM. At the time, a number of residents dropped in at the LEA16 sim where "Binge and Purge" was. Gracie was in her "painted maniquen" skin which she started wearing when her "This is Not a Painting" exhibit was up. Among those attending were Any1 Gynoid, Crap Mariner, Fuchsia Nightfire, and Tuna Oddfellow, whom earlier had made news by moving his "Odd Ball" performance from Second Life to Inworldz. Without terrain, the sim was just open ocean with a barrier for walking on, and of course Gracie's inventory.

Not all of her inventory was rezzed. Landmarks and notecards, which often make more than half a resident's inventory, of course could not be brought out into the open. She would delete those last. But her list of friends, she would certainly not erase. She also planned on keeping her skin, shape, and AO.

What was in her inventory? Much of it was what one would expect in that of most resident's, vehicles such as a dune buggy and a place, Christmas decorations, furniture, etc. But there was some Relay for Life related items, and an award given to her. Among those objects she considered important, one was from the late Artistic Fimicloud, a pink foxgirl known for her work with the Relay for Life.

For a while, we hung around with her as she went around deleting objects. There was something odd going on at first as only those near us could be seen, even if we extend our range. Someone poked fun at Crap Mariner's name, by joking Gracie was eliminating the "crap" from hers, which got chuckles all around.

I had to leave before long, but came back a few hours later to see everyone but Gracie was gone, and she was still getting rid of her inventory. She explained she was still rezzing items, and it could take many hours before only Landmarks and notecards were left.

Gracie explained this art project started out as a statement about consumerism and dieting, hence the name "binge and purge." But after Linden Lab's recent moves, It became a statement against the TOS. This was the last exhibit she was planning to do within Second Life until Linen Lab changed their Terms of Service to remove the language content creators found objectionable.

Gracie explained she was standing up to support fellow artists whom had taken actions in protest. But she had some genuine concerns as she worked in Second Life as well as real life. Could the Lab sue her for duplicating content in real life? Maybe not, but she didn't want to take chances.

So what would get her to do another performance? Linden Lab would have to change it's terms. While They did issue a statement, it wasn't legally binding. Would she move to InWorldz? Gracie answered she had no plans to make performances there, as that alternative world lacked the history Second Life did, "I've been where for seven years. I love Second Life. … I'll come in socially, but I won't be creating in Second Life any more."

Before I left, Gracie expressed hope the Lab would change it's mind, "I hope they realize content creators are the ones who make Second Life what it is, and they're just shooting themselves in the foot.."

On her blog post for October 24, Gracie announced the job was done, her inventory was finally empty, aside from what she planned to save. "It was a rather liberating feeling letting go of all the stuff," she wrote, "I felt like I did when I had my hair shaved off. I felt free." But looking back at old photos, she felt sad about some things what were gone.

And so, Gracie Kendel joins the list of those making a statement against Linden Lab's new Terms of Service. Will the Lindens be persuaded to change? Time will tell

Bixyl Shuftan

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Death in the Desert

 By Grey Lupindo
If you like riddles and mysteries, the new “Death in the Desert” site should be on your list of go-to places.    It opened October 1st and will remain open until October 31st.   The site was created by Slueth-Sayers Builders and is located at Death in the Desert, Fun and Games (130, 20, 22)
The mystery is that that Edmund Mallory, a great archaeologist but perhaps a not-so-great person, is missing.  He has lots of enemies, including rival archaeologists, shady businessmen, government agents, and even his own son.   There are notecards which give you the background on the historic site, as well as a few bare facts about Mallory.  After the original investigator was promoted to a position with INTERPOL, a new agent—you-- is assigned to the case.  To make matters more interesting, the evidence that the first Investigator found has been stolen from the police evidence locker.    
Since I love hunts and mysteries, this seemed like a perfect challenge for me.    The locale is beautiful, too:  an Egyptian market surrounded by the desert, the Nile, a pyramid, and lovely oasis waterfalls.    
The first problem I faced was too high a script count.   To its credit, the sim keeps lag down by keeping scripted avi’s at bay.    Warning messages told me how many scripts I needed to lose or risk being sent home.   It took a bit, but I finally got my weight down without shedding too many clothes.
You are instructed to first go to the police station to meet Police Chief Fasir.   This is easy since there is a large sign.  At the police station you receive a Case File filed with photos of the main suspects, interview notes, clues and other items.   You are then sent out to investigate. 
To work the case you will need to look in every shop and back alley.   As you hunt you’ll find some freebies as well as some beautiful items for sale.   I picked up some free clothing, lots of snacks, and a few other fun items.   The goods for sale range from beautiful furniture to inexpensive trinkets.   My favorite furniture item was an inlaid desk with drawers that open and close.   My favorite fun item was a pool of blood on the floor, which was for sale for $30L.   I passed up buying either item, but I may go back after that desk.
 There’s also a train and a boat to ride, both of which were fun and passed by sites where you might find clues.  I hopped off once or twice, but when I stayed off too long the train left without me.   It was a long, dry walk back to the market.  
After receiving the case file, I snooped around and soon found informant Badru Fayad.   I collected some evidence off of him, including a pick axe and shovel.  Then I was off to dig up more clues.
As soon as I found my first person, I was able to access the interview sheet.   I quickly realized I was going to have to gather all of the basic information before I could solve the crime, just like a RL detective should do.   Once all of the evidence is gathered, the rules tell you to take your time solving the mystery.  If you guess wrong, you have to start all over gathering the clues again.  
So far I’ve found four of the people I need to interview and lots of evidence, including a potentially useful recipe for poison.   I’ve filled up on snacks and Skeleton Cake, too.   In short, I had a great time.
The names of the ace detectives who have already solved the puzzle are listed at the entrance.  My name isn’t there yet, but I’m working on it.

 Fun and Games (130, 20, 22)

Grey Lupindo

Monday, October 7, 2013

The Portuguese Way

By Gemma Cleanslate

Often when I get an invitation to a LEA sim I encounter spectacular  installations that are really busy, show the art of one builder, and sometimes send one spiraling into the space or depths. There is a new installation on LEA19 to which I received an opening party invitation and, for once was able to attend. It was wonderful to sit at a picnic table and listen to a tribute to the popular Portuguese Fado singer, Mariza. I sat among some of the famous artists of Second Life and enjoyed it all. There was even a very famous performance artist who is banned by  LEA, but attended, incognito, almost, and actually sort of behaved. The party was fun, but to enjoy the sim I had to go back several times. 

The installation is quiet and lovely. It is called The Portuguese Way. It was created by Winter Wardhani and a team including Chagal Campestre, FlorCampestre, Janjii Rugani and Wan Laryukov. The scenes depict the beauty of the land of Portugal and tries to incorporate the history of  the past 900 years since its beginning. I took Qwark, a native of Portugal, on my second visit and he said so easily “Oh, there is the famous bridge into Lisboa”... “Oh! There is the castle of Sao Jorge” and on seeing a windmill on a hill said those are very common in Portugal. 

Along the way you can learn of the  history culture of this lovely land by picking up notecards at all the interesting stops. We visited a charming farm village typical of ones you will find in the Portuguese countryside. In a quaint shop there we saw the wares you might find in such a tiny town. Outside you will find pens with pigs and other animals roaming. As Winter said she thinks she went a it overboard on the contents of the notecards.  As you roam the sim you will find delightful views and places to sit and enjoy. I collected a shield and sword at the castle, a costume cap outside the chapel, and a few other items, so watch for them. 

There are teleports in many locales that will take you around to the interesting spots. I like to walk this type of sim after teleporting to the important places  because there are many quaint spots I will miss if I don’t. I found a paddleboat rezzer and took a ride along the river to a lighthouse , passing by the experience called blindness. This is described as “This totally dark maze was build based on the book "Blindness" by the Portuguese Nobel Prize winner José Saramago. Do you dare to feel all the emotions arising from being blind? To feel the despair of not seeing? To struggle to see the light again?” 

I went back the other way along the river, which passed a charming cozy spot to sit, and went to the base of a great waterfall where the fish are jumping all around. These are the points you might miss by just taking the teleports so take time to wander. I recommend beginning at the balloon ride, taking the TPs to various spots of interest and then ending with the paddle boat ride so you will not miss much in the region. The river winds under bridges and finally leads back to the beginning spot where you will find a fisherman’s camp . Grab a pole or just sit by the fire and relax. Savor the time you spend here. It should be here until December. 

Begin at the balloon ride.

Gemma Cleanslate