Friday, September 9, 2022

The Hard Times Blues Club

By Bixyl Shuftan
A friend of the Newser recently informed us of a promising new Blues and Rock Club, Hard Times. Owned by Whitewolf Broadfoot, I recently had a chat with him while his club was having an event. 

Whitewolf would tell me he and his staff "went through 50 possible names and landed on this one. ... The blues reflects hard times. Plus, will be hanging on by a thread for a bit. Heh heh. I thought it was a good name for a blues club." And yes, Whitewolf is a Blues and Rock fan, "Classic rock and the blues is my favorite music."

Whitewolf has been in Second Life for over a decade, "Tthis is not my first club, I was on here about a month before I opened my first club it was a cave called 'Bedrock.' I also built and was the original co owner of Bikinis Nude Beach. ... It is right now one of the most popular beaches in Second Life." Despite the beach club's success, he decided to start a new one, "Thought I would give this a go. They are slow to start, (but) we will get there."
Of the club's events, "We have at least one (event) for every day of the week, but Wed is the best so far with three sets in a row. It's coming around, need people on the floor right now. But that will come." Whitewolf stated he was aiming for morning events, "(We) want to fill the board with mostly early shifts, but will do what we have to." As of the writing of this article, there were over a dozen two-hour music sessions a week, including KVXN's JB Raccoon. DJ Vlad, who plays three times a week, was the one spinning the tunes while I was there. 

Hard Times isn't a beach club, but outside the building there is a little beach scenery, "Was going to go for a beach club again and thought better of it. This was the right size and look. ... It has a laid back blues feel to it. 

Of future plans for the club, Whitewolf mostly plans to take things as they come, "I just hope to make this a popular club, don't look much farther out than that. Money is a big factor in all this. I still work for a living so time is also a factor."

Hard Times is at Sensual Fun (20/156/22). 

Update: Just after posting the article, I heard the location had moved. It is now at Segarra Estates (25/186/21).

Bixyl Shuftan

Monday, August 22, 2022

Scuba Diving in Second Life

By Bixyl Shuftan

Scuba diving is something many of us think about doing, but not many of us actually do. There's finding the time to get the gear, the training, and driving to locations. The training itself is done for a reason: being deep underwater puts you in deep doo-doo if something goes wrong with your air supply. And there's the expense of getting all that equipment.

Fortunately, there's a place in Second Life where you can go through a virtual scuba-diving experience: the Blake Sea Scuba Center.

Home to professional scuba diving in SL.

Realistic underwater simulation wrapped in beautiful nature,shorelines and stunning underwater scenes.
Relax,fun and romance on the beach & free snorkeling gear to explore nearly 50M depths. PADI EANx RL training.
Heading over to the Ukupanipo sim, there was a board with various locations on the sim one can teleport to, such as the Harbor and Diver's Shack. There was also a kiosk for scuba gear with the word "Rent" on it. To get it, right-click and pay the rental fee. You then get a folder with the parts of the diving outfit. The instructions say to stay next to the terminal, and add the parts starting with the SubOceana Timer, then you can just right click on the folder and "add to outfit" (or just put on one piece at a time). Some avatars such as furries, the mask may require a little adjusting. And there's no smaller set of scuba gear for tinies, at least not yet. Once the suit is all on, you're now ready to dive, which you do by walking into the water. The instructions did say you're limited to the sim in which you pay for the rental time, and if you end up removing the gear, you'll loose your time. 

The HUD to your lower left marked "A" will help you rise and fall. To rise, press the round button. To dive some, press the rectangular button. On the upper left is the counter for how much time you have. You start with two hours, which should be enough to explore the place.

Going underneath was quite a sight that very seldom have I seen anything like in Second Life. The underwater scene in itself is worth a trip even without the scuba gear. With it, it's an experience unique in the virtual world.  There was a reef with colorful coral and water plants. And then there were the shipwrecks. Of the ships, the SS Thistlegorm was the most interesting as it was sunk in World War 2 and was discovered by noted oceanographer and co-inventor of the scuba tank Jacques Cousteau.

There were numerous other locations. There were underwater ruins. There was an underwater base. There were sea creatures, including dolphins and sharks. In the middle of the sim were some underwater caverns and tunnels one can explore. In real-life, one shouldn't explore underwater caves alone, though you can here.

I should note that in 2008, there was another scuba sim in Second Life, PADI, named after the real-life divers group. The group says they're also approved by PADI. I found that not only does this area match the quality of my experience by then, but exceeds it.

A great underwater experience.

Bixyl Shuftan


Friday, August 5, 2022

"The Mortal Coil"

 By Gemma Cleanslate

“Coming to you once a quarter, Spark Project is a new festival built on a curated idea celebrating music, art and fashion.” The grand opening is Saturday August 6 with music provided from 10:00 am SL time and it will run through midnight August 7 by many DJs .

When I did the article on The Pond I did not know the creator rαvєn вαnríσn кrαу (RavenStarr Resident) was already deep into a brand new installation with a team. The venue is at Spark. I was lucky enough to visit and explore this magnificent build. My first view was at the entrance where you will find all the helpful hints for your enjoyment.

The concept of the build is found in the 1998 film What Dreams May Come. It is called This Mortal Coil ,and you are invited to “Come with us on a journey between light and dark, life and afterlife, existence and oblivion.” All aspects, the bliss and the agony, are visible as you traverse the regions. There is help to teleport but I walked most of the paths.

Knowing the movie helps make sense of all the quotes and all the venues found across the two regions. One can certainly enjoy it all just from the beauty of the scenery. Actually I went through and did just that. But then I went on line and found the film and it all made more perfect sense.

The Mortal Coil will be here until mid September so you can take your time and hang out. As you travel take note of the messages along the way.

The team working with Raven Banrion Kray includes Drew Lukas , Torri Torricelli and Gege Feducci , who is coordinating the music. There is a facebook page for more information and a website in the works . You are invited to join the group Spark to keep up with the events planned in the future. Raven is already thinking about next quarter’s creation. I am looking forward to this weekend’s parties in the gorgeous amphitheater. Here is your ride to your journey.

Gemma Cleanslate

Wednesday, July 27, 2022

The 2022 RFL Sunbeamer Camp

By Bixyl Shuftan

For most of its history, people have held Relay for Life events in Second Life. As a chapter, the Relay for Life in Second Life, has proven one of the most successful ones, during the Pandemic becoming the one that raised the most money. Made up of over a hundred teams, there is something of a friendly competition to raise the most money. But the teams also cooperate, the "one team" principle. 

The team yours truly is part of is the Sunbeamers. Growing out of the folding of another team, the Passionate Redheads in 2013, the "Sunnies" have gone from a respectable start to being a top performing team every year. Last year, we were 13th of over 130 teams, just missing the top dozen, having raised over a million Linden dollars. 

For the Sunweaver community, who make up most of its members, the team is a source of community pride, in addition to a way to do something about cancer, which has affected a number of its residents.

The camp was at RFL Prevention, on the east side, or to the left side of the track, traffic on the Relay Weekend moving south. The Memorial Garden was on the left side, featuring noted personalities over the years who passed away from cancer. In the middle was the Hall of Heroes, this year's feature. To the right was the Hope Lodge. 

Cynthia Farshore and Shockwave Yareach did most of the world on the camp (each will tell you the other did more work).

 Cynthia would show me around some in the camp's "Hall of Heroes."

The heroes in this case were doctors, nurses, researchers, and others in the struggle to combat cancer. 

And Relayers were counted in this exhibit.

Beside the Hall and the Memorial Garden was the Tower of Prayer.

And there were a number of signs providing information, some were about American Cancer Society apps.

There was a pond, and a couple inner tubes to cool off in.

Another part of the camp was the Hope Lodge.

A Hope Lodge offers cancer patients a free place to stay if they need treatment away from home.

Sorry to say while I thought I took some pictures of the Memorial Garden, I only found one (at the end of the article). I was likely distracted as I was reminded of some sad times.

Personal commentary:

Sadly, for me it was a reminder of some friends who had passed away from cancer over the years,

And at the start of the month, so had my Mother, who passed after nine months of surgery, recovery, and relapse. 

 So last year, I joined the ranks of the many thousands who have been caregivers. While the exhibit showed them as heroes, I myself didn't feel like a hero, just someone who was taking care of one who had taken care of him when very young. 

For me, the Relay Weekend has usually been a largely happy time, celebrating with friends, while taking a few moments to reflect on Artistic Fimicloud and others whose fight with cancer came to a sad end. While this year was still mostly happy, I often thought about friends who had passed away in the previous year: my real-life next-door neighbor, Jessicabelle Dayafter, fellow Relayer Alleara Snoodle, and now my Mother. 

But I wasn't alone, I was around friends and offered much support.

So here's to our friends and family who have helped us become what we are, and to our future, which hopefully soon will have cures to all forms of this dreaded disease. Perhaps next season will raise the last few dollars that makes it so.

Go Sunbeamers, go Relay,

Bixyl Shuftan 

Friday, July 15, 2022

Antiquity Art Museum At Texas Capitol Building

By Bixyl Shuftan

Last week, I heard about the opening of an art exhibition, the Antiquity Art Museum. This was for the 15th anniversary of the community.

To celebrate Antiquities 15th Anniversary we have established the Antiquity Art Museum.  Grand Opening is today at 12:00 pm slt.

Please join us  at the opening TCS Reception as HRH Princess Regent Pamus Bing officially declares the Museum open. Be sure to come and pick up your commemorative 15th Anniversary gift too!

Dropping by, I saw this was a place I'd been at before, the Texas Capitol Building, which was featured in the Newser in the article on Election Night 2016

This time it was for a strictly inworld occasion, people in 19th and 18th century fashion, the majority of them Antiquity community nobles, celebrating the exhibit opening with some snacks and drinks. 

Liz Wilner, a Duchess at Antiquity, introduced me to Jacon Cortes de Bexar (Jacon Cortes), the Crown Prince of Antiquity, and the man who organized the opening of the exhibit. So why here at the Texas Capitol? He answered, "The Texas capitol building is the oldest buildings in Antiquity, and one of only two...that were here during the founders. We chose the capitol, because I wanted a place that reflected us. And for many that visit, the capitol is very recognizable."

And what kind of art could visitors expect to see here? Jacon answered, "Well, this museum is on the history of Antiquity. They are a collection of photographs and maps from the fifteen years." To the right was the Maritime Room, with pictures of maps and ships. To the left was the Grand Estates Room, with more pictures of people and places on land.

 One of the others, Kesare (KesareSauvage Resident), told me, "There are a great many artists here though primarily painters and watercolorists. Scenes of Venice and Egypt, portraits and battle scenes primarily from Tudor times to the present King George, but those paintings are hosted in the Welcome Center or in homes."

Kesare would go on, "Antiquity still hosts naval ship battles three or four times a week, which is how I first came across them years ago. Recently there was a horse racing tournament for Relay For Life and in winter there are sleigh rides. Jacon recently added firearms to the TCS system to allow hunting."

Bisyl Shuftan 

Friday, July 8, 2022

Two "Shop and Hop" Gifts

by Bixyl Shuftan

The SL19B "Shop and Hop" has a LOT of stores this year (full list here). And many offer free gifts to entice people to buy up more of their goods as long as they're at the shop. But if you're like many, you'd rather just grab a few gifts that are enjoyable instead of searching the whole place. Obviously what people like varies. But there were a couple gifts that got my attention.

A friend invited me to the "Quills and Curiosities" store to get the gifts there. One was a set of animated daggers. The other was something cuter: the "Birthday Evaki," a pet pink bat. Just go to the sign in the back of the store, and click on the picture on the right. Just go in your inventory and "add" the item. It will appear on your screen. Just click on it and you'll get a folder with the pet, ready to use.

The Birthday Evaki is a pet pink bat made to look a bit like a birthday cake, "complete with a candle, frosting swirl, and sprinkle markings," along with what looks like frosting covering the tips of it's ears. It normally flies next to it's owner. But it comes with a HUD with six animations. You can have the bat fly in a circle, chirp, do a loop, fly in a spiral pattern, stick out it's tongue ("Blep"), or fly in a dance pattern.

A cute pet that will likely come in handy for someone's birthday party, not just the Second Life Anniversary.

So what else was around? Checking some car places, at [sau]motorcycles in the Gilded sim, they had a free hoverboard. This time it was on a sign in the front of the store, over a couple guards. Clicking on the sign will get you a box. You can't just add and click on it, but fortunately next to the hoverboard sign, another sign will take you to the store "demo zone/test ride" area. Or rather, it will take you to a spot on the sim several hundred meters under the area that you'll need to look around for the doorway to the place. Once there, you can rezz the box, open it, and get the board.

The board is somewhat small, hovering just inches off the ground. It's dark-colored, but has "SL19B" brightly painted on. To ride the board, just click and get on it. The board's speed is adjustable, there's a "turbo" option, and there's a "flight" one. So you can have fun zipping around on your own, or perhaps race with some friends.

On a final note, the people who made "The Mouse" last year are back, this time they have a racecar as a gift. A nearby store had a train as a gift. Both places are also at the Gilded sim not too far from where I got the hoverboard.

The "Shop and Hop" ends Sunday Night, so get "hopping" if you want these gifts.

Happy gift-grabbing.

Bixyl Shuftan

Tuesday, July 5, 2022

Some More SL19B Exhibits

By Bixyl Shuftan

The Second Life Birthday has many exhibits. We wrote about some of them earlier (link). But before the gate closes for good, we have a few more to show. 

There was the American Cancer Society exhibit at SLB Astound (220/34/23). Resembling a Martian landscape, it reminded people of the struggle with cancer, and to look for more information at American Cancer society (171/172/23).

One place that was interactive was the Epic Surf Center at AL19B Amaze (80/247/23).

From the ground, it looked much like an aquarium. 

Climbing the stairs and going up, one clicked on the surfboard.

Then a board would rezz and one would sit on it, and offered three levels of ease of movement, 1 being easiest, three being more realistic.

Me and a couple friends had a bit of fun.

 At SLB Amaze (176/222/23) was "Bonsai Punk."

 A pneumatic tube nearby would take you to buttons that when pressed would take you to different levels.

"Out of Time" was at SLB Amaze (169/195/22).

At SLB Amaze (128/165/23) was the "Nun" pyramid. 

At SLB Imagination (81/231/23), was the whimsical looking "Avatar Trap Game," based on the tabletop "Mouse Trap" game for kids and kids at heart. 

There were hints it was playable, but I couldn't get it to move. 

Apparently only this guy knew, and he wasn't talking. 

At SLB Electrify (157/158/23) was this interesting exhibit by The Dive Shop's Underwater Aquarium.

The Dive Shop reminded me of a place I wrote about for Dana Vanmoer's SL Newspaper ages ago.

An elevator down took me to an aquarium where a shipwreck and kelp forests could be seen.

It's best to get training, and experienced company, before trying real diving, for a number of reasons.

At SLB Astonish (41/85/23) was an amusing exhibit by the Society for the Preservation and Archeology of the Metaverse, or SPAM.

The place had a number of amusing exhibits, such as that of modern avatars, "The current and most prominent form of Agni natives, these specimen come in a large variety of styles and sport a dazzling display of texture and color - at least, according to reports from the natives themselves. No explorer has yet to see the colors in question, as they would instead appear to be a featureless gray character with an oddly high number displayed over their heads." 

And at SLB Fantasy (211/102/22), "Just Glue Some Gears On It."

Appearing as not much more than a pool of water up top, underneath there's more. 

By all means there's much much more, but there's only so much time to write about the exhibits. You can find more in the Destination Guide.

Hope you enjoyed the SL19B.

Bixyl Shuftan