Thursday, November 26, 2015

Arcadia Asylum

In the article, "Saving Prims", we said, "...Arcadia Asylum, on the Mieville Pond sim.  Be prepared for an adventure there". A conscious effort was made, to keep that sim from taking over the article, because it was worthy of an article of it's own. Returning there, to take notes and pictures, we realized just how understated the line was. It's more than just "an adventure". This sim is a must see, Great Adventure and should be on everybody's to-do list. Aside from the 1,328 free items, there are several fun adventures, to be discovered there.

The landing point, for the sim, is a courtyard, in front of the Cog & Grog Freebie Center. On the other side of the courtyard, we find a teleporter that goes to the various areas on the sim. The areas include; Tropics, Steam Fair, Graveyard, Hobo Town, The Deeps, Space and The Library. Most of the areas can also be reached by walking, flying or just jumping into the water.

The Deep covers as much area as the surface sim and can be reached in three ways. Within the Cog & Grog, there is a stairway that leads under water.

On the dock, next to the Chinese Junk, there is an entrance to Cap'n Nemo's Underwater Observatory, which uses tubes to conect to chambers beneath the surface. You can also just jump off any of the docks, to reach the sea floor.

In the deep, you will find underwater habitats, plants, sea creatures. You can even get your own whale or even a kracken.

One of the most interesting nautical items, the whirlpool, proved to be be a fun ride. I got one to take home, but, unless I terraform, won't get put out from my inventory any time soon. It has a lot of prims, but can be reduced by removing some of the items that circle the top.

Taking the teleport to the Space area, we find spacesuits, spaceships, planets and asteroids. The most interesting "space" item is found at the courtyard of the sim landing. There, we find a giant cannon, which shoots a bullet shaped capsule to the moon.

I had actually been back to this sim several times, before deciding to click on it and see what it does. Next thing you know, the camera switches to an exterior view of the projectile, with your av inside and stars zipping past. We end up on a lunar surface, staring at our crashed ship, with the earth in the distant background. Fortunately, there is a teleport, near by, to take us back down, but, as long as I'm on the moon, I look around for any other interesting things to explore. Sure enough, among the lifeless rocks there is one that has some color to it and there's a large hole at the base, with a churning mist within. Looking in, it seems to go down to a cavern with large gems on the walls. Naturally, Miss been there, done that, had to go into the cavern. All I will say is that, yes, there is an adventure and I went several times, to learn the way out of the conflict with the lunar inhabitants.

Now, safely back home, on my keyboard, I find myself wondering what other hidden adventures are yet to be had at Arcadia Asylum. You can be sure that this writer will return there many times, in the future. 
Hope we see you there,

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Nirvana Island

This writer is well known, to friends, as an old hippy. I have always strived to spread peace and goodwill to all living things. At a recent "Video games" theme party, I came in a Tomb Raider costume. With music from various games and talk of playing at war and shooting other players proceeded, I began to feel agitated. Instead of complaining or preaching, I decided to go find a more rewarding adventure and write about that. I opened the Destination Guide and immediately lit on a place that sounded peaceful and uplifting.

Nervana Island: Spiritually based... diverse traditions and systems are harmoniously connected. Lovely starter homes free in your first 30 days of SL  residence up at Spirit Path, Nirvana Island, New Paris . Notecard please to Sky Wildmist.

This sounded like a couple of other personal favorites, so off I went. Arriving and waiting for everything to rez, the first thing you notice is the peaceful music. As your eyes adjust, you find yourself in a beautiful garden sim. Many tame creatures walk about you, peacefully. Straight ahead, we see the Spirit Park Welcome Center. It contains a large map of the sim and TP buttons to each area. From above, the island looks like an eye. In the center are some large rocks, where you can meditate, surounded by special effects. This is sourounded by a circular pond with a circle path that leads to odd shaped side paths, to other areas. Seen from the air, the paths look like letters in some Eastern alphabet. There could be a message, written in the landscape. See if you agree.

The various areas each have their own flavour and purpose. They even have a nightclub, called The Lunar Lounge. In one building, I found their weekly event schedule. There is something for every day of the week. For those that want to take a piece of the peace home, there is a small shop, for incense burners, chimes and gongs, Buddha statues and wall art. All proceeds go to maintaining the sim. I snapped a few photos of wood carvings and a usefull poster about types of feelings, for my own use.  I also got the URL for their music stream;

Just off the circle path, there's a bech with a memorial poster for Michal deFuego, the island's beloved gardener, who passed into spirit, 11,11,2015.

I found Nirvana Island to be uplifting to the soul and added it to my favorite places. If you feel stress, from SL or RL, that's making your light grow dim, come to Nirvana and let it do it's magic. You'll be walkin' on air in no time.


Monday, November 16, 2015

Saving Prims

In December, 2015, this writer will celebrate six years in Second Life. For much of that time, I have been an active member of the Sunweaver Community. Being an active member entails more than just showing up for all the social events. A good citizen receives much from being a member and, in return, gives back his services to the rest of the community. They do this by helping those in need, showing a positive and joyful attitude and enhancing the local economy, by renting homes and shops on the community's sims.

Aside from location, key factors for renting are how much will it cost and how many prims will be allowed in the rented area. Regardless of how many prims are allowed, by the time your home starts feeling like your personal piece of heaven on earth, you'll be wishing for a few dozen more prims. Over the years, I have found a number of ways to save prims, while still decorating to get my home to be an extension of my personallity. I'd like to share some of what has been learned, in this article.

A good way to personallize your home is to add pictures on the walls. Pictures of your friends, adventures you have been on, things you have built and classic paintings you love can say a lot about the resident, but, at one or two prims each, will quickly eat up your prim allowance. One of the first ways to reduce the number of prims is to make a texture that contains multiple pictures, frames and the transparent space between them included. Doing this, you can cover an entire wall with pictures, using only one prim.

Nice furniture also takes up prims. Fortunately, many shops offer low or one prim furniture, complete with animations. One of my favorite vendors is "Primpossible" and they have a number of great items for furniture and landscaping.

More recently, I have discovered other ways to save prims on displayed pictures. While researching an article, about the Lionheart Community, I walked around all the sims, to take in the atmosphere, chat with the locals and do a bit of shopping. While on the Ahadi sim, I found a shop, called "The Frame House". They have a large assortment of ornate picture frames. Each frame costs L$200 and is only 2 prims. You can edit the contents of the frames to contain dozens of your own pictures and it will then display them, like a slide show. I bought one, then, and have yet to find any limit to the number of pictures that can be added. When I returned to the Frame House, to research this article, I decided they would be a good way to display some of the countless avatars and costumes in my inventory, so I bought another frame. The Frame House also has two photo back drops, for singles or couples. Each has many background photos and poses. I go back often, just to take more pictures.

There is another slide show, that I have, which serves the same purpose while adding a social gathering place. It's called, "Victorian Magic Lantern Show" and is 7 prims. It has a fancy projection screen, 6 benches (seats 12) and a steam powered slide projector. The best part is, this slide show is FREE. You can find it at the Marketplace at the AleyMart merchant. They have 1328 items and they're all FREE. If you want to see their products in world, head on over to  Arcadia Asylum, on the Mieville Pond sim. Be prepared for an adventure there. Everything is unique and interesting. Every time I visit there, I come home with a dozen new toys.



Cog & Grog shopping

Many frames

Thursday, November 12, 2015


America's first hippies, the Pilgrims


Last November, our Editor, Bixyl Shuftan, wrote an article about the Mayflower and Plymouth Colony Exhibit. ( ). Recently, Bixyl told me they had taken the exhibit down after Thanksgiving, but might have restored it, for this season. He suggested that I go and see if I could do an update on the story. When I visited the site, the exhibit was indeed restored and was exactly as his article had described. To add to the story, I would need to write about my own impressions about what it would be like to be one of those early American pioneers. There are numerous signs, around the exhibit, that give information, but, to fuel my imagination, I search the internet for additional details.

  The first thing discovered was how small the Mayflower was. Excluding the bowsprit, the ship was only 80-90 feet long. Today, that might be a good size for a personal yacht, but how many passengers could endure spending months packed together, like sardines in a can. The exact number of pasengers is unknown, but is estimated to be, counting Pilgrims and other adventurers, crew and Captain, 135. Of that number, only about 30% of them were actually pilgrims. 
  The cargo hold offered no additional space for passengers. It was filled with all the things needed to build and feed the new community, at least until their first harvest.
  Due to a late start, bad weather and rough seas, that nearly wrecked the ship, they could not build houses in time for winter. The ship served as a winter home, for everybody, until the following March.

Aft Cabin

  These pilgrims were commited to dropping out of conventional society, to live in a hostile wilderness, to better tune into a higher calling. Tune in, drop out? They remind me of the hippies, living in communes, that we knew so well, in the late 60's. Makes one wonder what else they planted, besides corn, beans and pumpkins. Having lived in hippy communes and spent much time helping develop communities, one gains respect for these pilgim hippies. Crazy as they might seem, they helped improve the goodness of life, for the whole world.

Thanksgiving Feast

  When we visit historic re-enactment sims and imagine being a part of it, we form an eternal link with it. Becoming eternal is a joyful experience. If you want to be a joyful part of history, I invite you to come explore the Plymouth Colony.
  As I sit down to the thanksgiving feast, I imagine myself giving thanks, for finally getting off that crowded boat. Next time, I'll travel by VW bus.


Sunday, November 8, 2015


FWF, Furry Wrestling

At my home, on Sunweaver Bay, I often have house guests and teach them to build things and become good members of the community. Two of these guests were involved in SL wrestling. Back in high school, I was very good in that sport, but don't have much interest now. In thinking of new adventure to experience and write about, I thought wrestling might be interesting, so looked for places to see it. There are many listed, but the one that caught my eye was FWF, the Furry Wrestling Federation. I TP to the sim to have a look around. The first thing I see there is a sign, announcing that matches are held every Friday, at 1pm SLT. I scheduled myself to go see it, in action, the very next Friday. The night before, I went to the sim, to see if I could figure out how they worked things at the arena.  While nosing about, back stage, I noticed an av was approaching, on my radar, so I went to introduce myself and see if he knew anything about FWF. It turns out, his name is Tim Vanes and he is the usual announcer, at the wrestling matches. Learning that I was a Newser Reporter, he was happy to explain it and answer any of my questions.

Tim explained, FWF has been around about three years. The owner and one of the wrestling stars is Rocco Racclown. He also pointed out that the wrestlers each developed as characters, good guys and bad guys, like in TV professional wrestling. The westling moves are done by each having a HUD which has all the animations required. Wrestlers go through a training period, to learn to co-ordinate moves and develop their own characters. Naturally, for any given match, the combatants must work with a script, to make coordinated animations, but I promised Tim I would not reveal if the winner was known in advance.

Rocco Racclown

In addition to furry wrestling, they were also connected to GCW, Global Championship West, which features European style human wrestlers, from different countries. The head of GCW is Josh Poffo-Yoshie55 and we'll get back to him in a bit. GCW will begin a regular schedule of Wednesdays at 3pm SLT, begining November 25th. Both GCW and FWF are always hiring and looking for both men and women wrestlers. They both want more sponsors to get on board.

You can watch FWF matches at the arena and they also can be seen on SL TV. They also do roadshows at other sims. Matches are typically one to one and a half hours and have 3 matches, sometimes as many as 5, with the last match being for the title. I asked Tim if there was special seating for the press and he indicated a place near the TV camera. I thanked him for all his help and promised to see him at the next match.

On Friday, I took my seat, before the show began and looked around to see how many were in the audience. There were only a handfull, so I knew there wouldn't be any lag to deal with. To my delight, I noticed the tag, on the guy sitting behind me, was non other than Josh Poffo, the head of GCW. Learning that I was preparing an article about wrestling, for the Newser and that GCW would also be mentioned, he was happy to answer my questions, between matches.

Josh Poffo and Sha

One of the things I questioned is, if one wanted to hire on, what expense was involved, regarding clothing and HUDs. The cost is very low and for employees, practically nil. Naturally, the next question was, "Do they get paid for each match and how much". turns out, unless they get into "lucky" positions, they aren't paid, though some promoters do pay one or two hundred in "kick-backs". Probably based on how many sponsors the venue has. Josh said, they are not in it for the money, it's a love of being in the show.

At 1pm, the show begins with fireworks on stage and video playing on big screen TVs, around the arena (make sure you have Media and Voice turned on). A man, wearing a referee shirt, gets up from the announcers table and enters the ring, Using Voice, he tells us that the regular announcer was called away on business in RL, so he would be today's announcer and Ref.

The first match was Vidiot vs/ Alleycat. To my surprise, Alleycat was played by Brad, who had been my house guest and he was wearing the trunks that I had custom made for his character. My very first match and I already had somebody to cheer for. The arena gives free gesture collections, so I was able to cheer, when Alleycat won.

The second match was Cam vs/ Fritz. Since I didn't know either of them, my attention turned to their technique. Because they each use a HUD and those are not synchronized and the players are likely a great distance apart in RL, the action had some uncomfortable pauses. Understanding this, the show was still very entertaining.

Last, we have the title match, Rocco Racclown vs/ Crowley the Bat. This is better coordinated, but I notice the Ref stops announcing and his tag says he's AFK. While the Ref is out of action, Rocco leaves Crowley laying on the floor and walks to the ropes. A mangy looking character, called Sandy Bytch, sneaks in, from backstage and throws a pie in Rocco's face. Blinded by pie in the eye, Rocco stumbles around the ring, Crowley gets up and knocks him down, just as the Ref comes back on and does a 3 count. Crowley wins the match.

Pie in the eye

I found this all very entertaining. It matters little if you are into this kind of show. It is always a pleasure to watch a team work together to produce any show in real life and all the better, given the nature of technical limitations, in a virtual world, to see them pull it off in Second Life. I recomend this adventure to my readers and feel it is also a good place for sponsors to get more recognition of their products and services.


Tuesday, November 3, 2015



As I began to plan on which adventure to entice my readers with next, I remembered buying an outfit and making props for my previous article, "Once Upon a Cure". I had intended to show that whether or not a thing is true, it can still lead one to finding truth. I included a picture of a white rabbit, wearing an Alice costume, pondering which way to go, to get to the real Wonderland. Alas, I did not write that into the article.

We all know, from reading Alice in Wonderland, she wakes up from a dream, so no amount of scientific evidence will ever convince us that Wonderland can be located in RL. But, what about in Second Life? Sure enough, using search, inworld, brings up "Dysphoria Wonderland", located in the Oxygen Island sim. It was described as "The Best" version of Wonderland, that SL had to offer. If that's true, I needed to go there and write about it. I changed my av and costume and clicked to TP to Wonderland.

As the scene rezzed, at the landing, we see a large tree, with a white rabbit and a hole at the base. A message, in local chat, tells us to walk to the hole. Doing so, we fall down a deep hole. About half way down, we land on a platform, with objects floating about it. Somehow, the place feels familiar. Have I been here before? I knew I needed to step off the platform and continue falling. At the bottom of the hole, we find ourself in a large round room. On one side, there is a small door. In the center of the room is a large glass top table, with a key. At the base of the table, we see a box, labled "Eat Me" and a bottle, labeled "Drink Me". Flying is not allowed here, so clicking the box puts you on top of the table. I took the short-cut and just panned my cam to the table top, to get the key. Now I know why this place seemed so familiar. To get the key, you have to join a group and it costs L$200. I had been this far before, but, at that time wasn't interested enough to pay the fee.

This time, I had a story to write, so I joined. Any future visits will be free. Key in hand, I click the small door. The door opens to a blank texture which, when clicked, puts you in a crawling animation and switches to a view of crawling out the other side, in Wonderland. A note, in chat, tells you to stay on the path, continue to the end and then stop. In places, the path is a bit hard to see, but as long as you proceed around the sim in a counter-clockwise direction, you will see everything, even if a few water hazzards slow you down. We are reassured of having gone the right direction, as we spot the Cheshire cat, sitting on a tree branch ahead. As we approach, he slowly fades from view, leaving only his familiar grin.

Before we proceed, I should tell you, try clicking on any interesting objects and furniture you spot. Many of them contain gifts or surprises.

Our next landmark is a house, the home of the white rabbit. Be sure to go up to all the floors, to see what little tricks he has placed there, for your entertainment.

Proceeding down the path, we next find it blocked by a large black widow spider and her web. Clicking the web will get you stuck in it, with the spider inching it's way closer. After getting free, try going around and getting back on the path, on the other side.

Next up, we come to a windmill. In the front yard, there are tables and chairs. We, instantly, recognize this as the Mad Hatter's Tea Party. The other guests seem to have left, leaving a mess behind. As we sit, for a bit of tea, we discover one of the guests is still there. A sleepy doormouse sticks his head out of the sugar bowl. You may decide to drink your tea, unsweetened. We get up and go inside the windmill. Click everything, as there are many free prizes to be had here.

Moving along on the path, we notice a forest of giant mushrooms and think we know what will be found here. I start looking for a giant caterpillar. He wasn't there, but a butterfly was flying around a large mushroom and there was smoke coming from the top. Clicking it put me seated on top, next to a hooka. Knowing there was still adventure to be explored, I decided against trying to inhale any smoke, LOL. While there, I took one of the best snapshots ever, as seen at the top of this article.

After panning the camera around, to get the best shot, I found myself lost, when I got down. I could see, on the top of a nearby hill, a castle with red trim. I knew what that was for, but just couldn't find the path to it. Fortunate for me, I spotted a ballon. Guessing that it might be the only way up, I clicked on it and began floating off in the wrong direction. In the chat window, I was instructed to use the left and right arrow keys, for direction and the page up and down, for elevation. I quickly mastered piloting the slow moving balloon and steered my way to the castle's courtyard. Before entering the castle, I walked around it and posed for a picture with a couple of aces, from the queens army. This place is called Dysphoria, for good reasons. I felt an abnormal feeling of anxiety, as I entered the castle. I was glad to see that the Red Queen was not at home. I went right up to the throne and sat on it.

Having satisfied that royal fantasy, I got up to search the rest of the castle. I found a side chamber, where a queen might entertain guests. I sat down, at the pipe organ and played a bit of Bach, before exploring farther. Pulling a curtain open, I found a stone wall, where a window or door should be. I thought it might be a secret passage and clicked to see if it would open. When that didn't work, I looked at the wall on both sides and found the button. The wall slid open, revealing an external stairway. At the top of the stairs, there was no door, but it had the same button, so I clicked it. Now I was in the queen's bedroom. Naturally, I went staight to her bed....and danced on it. From there, I found her private balcony and sat down to enjoy the view and sip some champagne. I had gone as far as one can go here, so I stopped. A word of advice, if you're going and get all the way to the balcony, you'll see a pidgeon that says "Don't click me". DON"T click on the pidgeon.

Overall, Wonderland is a great adventure. The graphics are great and the sounds and scenery did produce some anxiety, like what you feel when getting on a roller coaster. It was worth the L$200 fee.

I took 10 pictures at Wonderland. The full set can be seen at