Sunday, July 24, 2016

Mythica Woods

   Last February 20, 2016, we published an article on the Sunny Beach sim, which this reporter played a major role in remodeling, for it's new residents, Erik, Lilly and Edwyn Mouse. We met and became friends with Erik years ago, when he lived in a one room burrow on the North side of Sunweaver Bay. For years, Erik was just another name on Sha's large list of friends, until something sparked his interest in improving the quality of his virtual life. As a SL Newser reader, he knew that Sha was very interested in improving life for the community and it's residents, so he began to seek her help to find ways of improving his life. As a teacher of Ancient Wisdom, Sha recognized this as a sign that Erik was taking the first steps in becoming a "Seeker of Knowledge". Every new step is always preceded by a point of tension, but the pressures can be a bit easier to handle if you have a good guide, helping with good directions to your upward evolution. We assured him that he could always find peace and help at our home and even provided a private room in the castle, which would be a safe home away from home, should the pressure become too much and slow his search for joy. Sha is always quick to point out that a Teacher/Student  relationship does not imply a higher or lower step on the evolutionary ladder. In fact, the teacher and student will often switch roles and learn from each other. For years, Sha has been developing a list of virtues or qualities that lead to greater Oneness within one's community. As we began preparing this article, it dawned on us that we had been given such a list of virtues in our childhood, having been a member of Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts and Sea Scouts. It was called "The Boy scout's Motto".
   A Scout is Trustworthy, Loyal, Helpful, Friendly, Courteous, Kind, Obedient, Cheerful, Thrifty, Brave, Clean and Reverent. It seems that we have created SL Scout Troop 101. Let's see what our scouts have been up to, this year.

   During the recent RFL walk, Erik had tracked Sha down and came to the Sunbeamer's camp, to stand on the sidewalk and cheer for the runners. While we stood there, he panned his camera to  the camp on the other side of the street. He loved the dense woods there and asked if we could make the woods on Sunny Beach look more like that. We both inspected the area, to find out the maker of the mesh woods. Sha told him, if he got the kit, she would help him to fit more trees and landscape the ground to fit them. The result was the East side of the sim is now heavily wooded and fitting of the title, "Mythica Woods". Now, even more than before, the best way to navigate your way around the sim is to first enter Mouselook. The local animated critters now enjoy an endless game of Hide and Seek in the dense woods.

   Inspired by his own creation, Erik  now wanted to attract more visitors to Mythica Woods and connect it better with the local community. Part of our initial remodeling was to make the sim a good place for people to enjoy sailing around it. To accommodate the tall masts, Rita raised the inter-sim highway bridge to 32m. To allow visitors to walk or drive from bridge to ground, we provided a spiral ramp. Since Sunny Beach was now too wooded and hilly, for wheeled vehicles, Erik decided to replace the ramp with a staircase with railings, to promote "walk-ins". Sha let him do most of the design and work, himself, helping only with fine tuning the position and textures. We are very pleased with our little friend's developing skills as a builder.

   As Erik was building the stairs, one trial position  pointed the lower section North, towards the proposed new dance floor, but Sha pointed out that visitors  would be blocked by one of the hobbit homes. Changing it to point West would cause visitors to see more of the sim, on their way to the gathering areas. When the stairway was finished, we arranged the welcome signs and build an arched gate, which, without words, invites visitors to enter the woods here.

   As you meander through the sim, when you get to the twin waterfalls, head East and you will arrive at the area that I called "the local watering hole". This is the central gathering area of the island. Here, you'll find a spring fed fresh water pond, a bonfire for telling stories around, a star gate portal to places around the grid, a fairy ring teleport for group members to local favorite spots and our new Cuddle basket, with seating for regular and tiny avatars. If that's not enough to get gatherings started, we have also just added a dance club, with a working DJ booth and a contest board. The view, behind the DJ, includes the Sunny Beach surfing wave. To help promote the wave attraction, I named the club, "Surf City". Unlike many SL clubs, Surf City will not have a regular weekly schedule or a paid staff. Instead, it will be available for private events, like group celebrations, weddings, and other small gatherings. Contact Erik, if you would like to book an event. Sha has the DJ board set up with a pre-programmed set of music stream channels. We have already added our first DJ's stream, with a channel for Skylark Lefavre. If you are a DJ and would like to have your stream added, contact Sha with your URL and she will add you to the board. Djs will be paid for each event that they work. For those that just want to dance and socialize, we have provided a dance ball and will soon add ones for tinies and ponies.

   Ready, set, go, Sunny Beach, a.k.a. Mythica Woods, has fully upgraded to become a great new place to gather in Oneness. We hope you will join us in our joyful celebrations of life in the virtual world.


Thursday, July 21, 2016

Hair Fair 2016

When our Editor, Bixyl, sent out a list of possible stories to report on, it included the Hair Fair 2016. Sha has a large collection of  hairs and is always on the look-out for new, unique, high quality hairs. In her early days as an exotic dancer, she had spotted an avatar with a beautiful long braid and spent months tracking down the shop it came from. The Hair Fair includes many designers, with new creations, that would give a percent of the profits to "Wigs for Kids". We copied three possible SLURLs and took off to find our next "to die for" hair. The first attempt to TP did not work, informing us that the sim was too full to allow any more to enter. Our second SLURL got us in and we land next to a large "You Are Here" map. The Fair was spread out across multiple sims and the street layout reminded us of the Nazca lines, in the deserts of Peru or the swirls in a finger print. We selected a path that would cover all the shops. Unlike the RFL Walk, there were no arrows on the street, to keep us on our selected path. At ground level, we would need some help navigating. The map and mini-map were no help here, because they didn't show the streets. We soon came up with a better way to check our progress. At the end of each block, Sha would stop and panned her cam to directly over head, high enough to see which direction to head next.

The next thing we notice is that this is like a suburban housing development. All the houses look alike and there are few landmarks to tell you if you have passed the same place before. Each vendor is set up in a garage, so it's like being in a town that only allows garage sales on one Saturday each month. I spent four hours at the Fair and managed to see all the vendors.

There are a few landmarks, scattered about the Fair, that created a secondary background theme. Here and there, we find film crews and their equipment. If you live in Los Angeles, this is a common sight, but here it kept me from going in circles, in a sea of ticky-tacky, at several street corners.

Scattered around the fair, we find several shops that provided head-wear for bald avatars, We wished we had known of them, during the month Sha was bald. The other shops displayed every style you can imagine. They also have hair for both women and men and even beards. In a shop, called Bizarre, I spotted one that would be perfect for Valkyrie, with bird wings on it.
All of the styles had free demos to try on before you buy and if you like a store's designs, you can also get a LM to their main store. Each time we tried a demo, we also added our Kemono head, to see if it would also work with all our mods. It was also fun to watch others trying on the demos. You could almost hear the sound of their minds, being made up, as they admired themselves wearing the demo. If you like the style, you then pick a color, like blonde, brown, red, etc. and it will come with a HUD for changing shades. Many were also available in fat-packs, with all the colors.

We had set a budget for this adventure and Sha managed, after four hours of shopping, to escape with two new styles that she could not live without, while staying well within the budget. Our new number one is this blonde, multi braid hippy look, which also has a base piece to adapt it to my Kemono head. We also got a blonde, straight, floor length style. I'll probably be wearing one or the other, next time you see me.

First impressions are lasting and the face and hair stand above in our display. If you want to change how people respond to you, a good looking hair style covers a multitude of sins. If you want to be "saved", come to Hair Fair 2016 and while you're at it, you'll also be helping those poor bald kids get wigs of their own.


Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Spontaneous Gatherings

The topic of this report is one that this writer has observed, participated in and encouraged, many times during our years of adventures in Second Life. To the uninitiated and the newbie, SL may seem like  an alternative life, an escape from the real world, just another form of addiction, an interactive boob-tube. As we mature, with age, our attention evolves from self interest to finding useful ways to be of service to all. To be of service to others, we need a connection with groups of others. This "urge to merge" could be called the Gathering Principle and can be seen at all levels of nature, from sub-atomic particles to whole galaxies. After being on SL a number of years, your reasons for staying evolved from "what fun is in it for me" to "How can I make this fun for everybody". What started as an addiction evolved into devotion to an altruistic ideal. Creating gatherings in SL is a means of computer modeling different formulas, used to gather, to find that which best complies with the universal laws of nature,a.k.a., divine will.

Second Life answers nature's call to gather with countless venues for gathering. Most are based on real life examples, like arenas, Dance Clubs and recreational areas. Second Life also seems to be big on little gathering locations and furniture, such as gazebos, campfires and our favorite, cuddle baskets. The larger gatherings require advanced preparations and notices sent out, to get large crowds at their events. The clubs enjoy large groups, because it raises their position in search engines of best places to visit in SL. Gatherings, like all things in the worlds of form, contain a mix of yin/yang (male/female) energies. Because larger gatherings contain elements of pre-planning and competition (best in theme, best avatar mods, best jokes and puns, etc.), the energy leans toward the male, electric, radiant energies, like those of the central sun in a solar system. On the other hand, small gatherings lean more to the female, magnetic, absorbent energies and are like the planets in a solar system. Competition is replaced by a cooperative spirit. Instead of trying to be the best individual of the group, those in  small, spontaneous gatherings tend to assist the others to become more group oriented, more skilled at modding and more light-hearted and joyful, all of which makes them better, more useful members of the whole, larger community.

Our interest in small, spontaneous gatherings is not new. We have been planning to write about them for years, in the hope that understanding and using them  would benefit residents in both SL and RL. The impetus to sit down and begin writing about them was sparked by a spontaneous gathering, that took place about a week ago.

Before describing the unplanned gathering, let's rewind a bit and examine the thinking that led up to it. To do this, we will need to break with convention and introduce Sha's RL player, a Moonchild called Rick. As a design engineer, creating 3D parts for machines that test circuit boards, the Moonchild's dream was to develop the ability to use 3D animations that would enlighten the minds of viewers. Sha broke from her usual routine, for 55 days, to create a 35 minute HD video about her favorite community. Pretty awesome build, for a first timer. The Moonchild had dreamed of this for decades.

Getting back to our gathering story, it seemed that the finished video got no views or comments. We begin to feel like a sun with no planets, a lonely falling star. It was hard to begin writing again, not knowing if we had an audience. At this point, Sha logs in, late night, with little question marks buzzing around her head. Who am I, why are we here and should I pay my rent now? Some house cleaning finished, we seek a little company and notice some friends are at Cutlass. Flying up, we talk with Rita about the local "cum see cum saws" [Fr. this and that], and mention some space junk, floating above the castle, that needs removal. Rita and Sha fly up and clear the junk, then hover and continue chatting. We were soon joined by Felina and, around these parts, "three's a party". The party moved to Felina's new back yard deck, with fire pit and surround seating. Within minutes, others arrived, one by one and joined us around the fire, until there were ten gathered, including Bixyl. Because this gathering was late night and on a private sim, there is a feeling of inner circle sanctity. Everybody enjoyed the topics of conversation and Elders Rita and Sha each gave short lectures on handy ways of storing mods and outfits in inventory. The spontaneous gathering lasted to the wee hours of the morning. We left with feelings of being uplifted and connected to a community of caring individuals. For us, it cured our writer's block. We've got a big box of words here. Stay tuned to see which ones we pull out after our next gathering adventure.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

11 days before RFL Weekend

Facing North East corner of Relay sims

Sunbeamer Camp (area inside red stars)

Our story starts here

Storybook pages, at this time, all the books are on page 1

Central memorial park

Well in the center of the village

A castle, For dreams to come true?

Prayer Launching Tower