Saturday, August 27, 2016


   Among the LMs that Bixyl sent us recently, there is one for a sim called Tableau. We stopped here long enough to set our own LM and then headed to Creation's for Parkinson's, to write about it first. Our first impression of Tableau was that, although it was, in ways, ugly to us, it was also, some how, very interesting and might even be a fun adventure. Before we begin our adventure, our readers must understand the language being spoken. Mediators know that disputes often arise between two parties that both want essentially the same thing, because of not knowing the other party's definition of the principles in question. If we tell readers that Tableau is a fun adventure, they are probably going to disagree. To get on the same page, let's sit in on the first lecture given at  Clown College.
   The Professor wears a silly looking cap, called a mortarboard, and a bulbous red nose and is explaining why people laugh.   Laughter is a release of tension. If you are struggling to figure out something, when you finally get it, you say "Aha". Other jokes are funny, because the teller uses a different meaning (double entendre), which is known about but not expected in the story. Another useful way to make us laugh is called "Slapstick". When we see a one ton weight, thrown off a cliff and heading down towards our position on the ground, we laugh with the relief of seeing it flatten the coyote, instead of us. OK, we can now go to Tableau and have a better idea of why we think this is a fun adventure.

   Arriving on the sim, we are in a desolate town, in the middle of a desert. We wonder if there are any people that live here, if so, why. A sim surround adds to the impression that we are in the middle of freakin' nowhere. If I was a child, growing up in this place and was asked, what would I like to be, when I grow up, the answer would be, "I'd like to BE.......any place but here".

   It seems that, to save a dwindling economy, the town created a tourist attraction, called "Dinosaur Park". The three dinosaurs are impressive in size, but lacking in realistic detail. Perhaps they were made from sheet metal, salvaged from the many vehicles found dead in the desert.

   The town budget couldn't afford a sign painter, but some old weathered boards and a black crayon let us know which way to go.

   Down the road, we spot an earlier attempt to draw tourists. It is called Fun Time Park, but something evil has destroyed this place. At the mouth entry to the park, outside authorities have blocked entry, with signs saying Closed, Condemned, Quarantined and Infectious Virus Area.

   Sha is here for a story, not the rides, so, pulling out her Press Pass, walks boldly through the gate to the middle of the park. There is a black hole and signs of toxic waste. A Newser Press Pass will also shield you from harmful radiation. Sha marches straight into the black pit and drops into a glow in the dark, day-glo chamber.

   Naturally, Sha loved the pretty lights, but wouldn't stay long, not having her Geiger counter or a sonic screwdriver in her pockets. One can't help but begin to think that this poor town is ripe for a take over by some crazy gang of hippies, ha, ha, he, he, ho, ho. Is there a secret gang, calling itself "SLUG", that is responsible for the tagging on the local walls?

   Passing by a news stand, the headlines show that the residents are very concerned about the identity of SLUG and a dead lady, found inside one of the dinosaurs.

   Perhaps they should be more concerned with finding a way to remove the two giant, rusted atom bombs from their town, but maybe they are saving them to make some new dinosaurs.

So now, as we wrap up this tour, we count the hands of the readers that got their eyes poked, hair pulled out and pianos dropped on their heads. None? I guess you all had a fun adventure. We send it off to print and close the light for a rest. Hmmm, are bunnies supposed to glow in the dark?


Saturday, August 20, 2016

Creations for Parkinson's

   Touching bases with our Editor, Bixyl, he gave us some locations, to consider for our next story. He was especially interested in one called "Creations for Parkinson's". Here, we will find shops and exhibits to raise donations to Team Fox for Parkinson's research, a fundraising program at The Michael J. Fox Foundation. As an active supporter and member of the Sunbeamer RFL team, we are always happy to promote the work of all such team events.
   From personal experience, there are "tricks of the trade" that can improve your success at asking people, "Got any spare change, man?". We often explained to our panhandling friends that if they provide their benefactors with some entertainment, even if it's just a silly little song and dance (that actually is VERY good at getting tips).  So, in the back of our mind, as we approach the Creations Park sim, we're anticipating finding out if Team Fox has a song and dance for our entertainment. One of our extra-favorite types of entertainment is to see, hear and do things that I have never done before. On this adventure, our fun meter went off the scale. We kept thinking, this story is going to have us looking in the Thesaurus, to brush up on our list of superlatives.

   On the first trip to Creations Park, thoughts of Disneyland come to mind. How did they fit so many attractions on one sim? It is also covered in vegetation. Navigating the paths sometimes requires using Mouselook and checking your locations on the map. But wait, there's more!!!
   Creations Park is flanked on the West by Merlin Gardens sim and on the East by Frantastica sim. Each of these has it's own ton of fun attractions to explore.

   Creations Park is the fund raising center and the Southwest quarter of the sim has many boutiques that share profits with Team Fox. This area brings to mind Rodeo Drive and Beverly Hills, in their selections of clothing, furniture and landscaping plants. Come buy something glamorous, while helping out a good cause. You can also donate directly to Team Fox.  There are paths that lead to all the attractions on the sim, like the castle, Aladdin's palace, a pirate ship, a beach and gardens. There are also TPs, to take you to locations in the sky and we'll cover one of our favorites, shortly.

   There's nothing we like better than stepping off the beaten trail and blazing our own path. At this location, this could lead to an unplanned visit to Atlantis, in the waters below, but it could also lead to finding a secret attraction. In an unmarked tunnel, that takes a short-cut through a hill, we spotted large rainbow colored gems and a ball of lightning, that one can meditate in. We had never seen one of these and had to try it out.

Every area on the three sims that we explored had beautiful scenery and music streams that reduce stress and energize the soul. While visiting Merlin Gardens, Sha found  a bench and sat down to read a book and sent us AFK for an ice cream break. After a good half hour, we were ready to check out the amusement park, on the Frantastica sim. The rides there were better than any we had ever tried. We made a note, saying that, with all this smiling and jaw dropping, we might need a sling to rest our mouth. 
   Our first visit here must have been fun, because 3:30 am came in a flash. We decided to head home and continue exploring the next night. Before logging out for the night, an IM came in from our friend Erik Mouse, asking our help in solving a mystery. There was a '57 Chevy Belair on the seafloor by his island. We recognized the owner and returned the car, but Erik was still agitated, by how it could of gotten there in the first place. To calm him down, we changed the subject and told him about the fun we were having, while researching this article. We told Erik, if he came there and tried the amusement park, we would include a picture of him in the article.

After getting him to try the water slide, space needle and bungee jump, we took a ride together on the Ferris wheel. Unlike the other rides, the Ferris wheel has no time limit, so we rode for a long time, before asking him if he would recommend this place to my readers. After a short pause, his reply came, "Um....YES, I would". By this time, the sun was beginning to come up in RL, so we parted company for the night.

One of the LMs that Bixyl had provided was for the Chapel of Eternal Love, located 4001 meters above Creation Park, so we went there on our next visit. This elevated area is the icing on the Creations cake. We found this to be an awesome, inspirational adventure. As we put the pictures and words together for this article, we find they can't begin to show how great the joy is, when you visit. To enhance our story, we have made a video of scenes taken in the Chapel of Eternal Love. We hope you will go see  for yourself . Team Fox has brought us a piece of heaven to inspire a helping hand. Let's show them that they have earned our "spare change".

Tuesday, August 16, 2016


   Long before becoming a SL Newser Reporter, we had already developed the skill of finding new areas to explore, by scanning the World Map. Our previous article, about Antiquity, turned out so well, we decided to test it again, this time a bit closer to our home in Sunweaver Bay. Zooming out, we located an area of interest, about 7.16 miles West from home. The first thing we notice about the area is that there are over 20 small islands, scattered around the 12 sims, which are arranged in the shape of a cross. It was a safe bet that some type of boat would be needed to explore this area. Zooming in closer on the map, we find the centrally located Trade Winds sim has docks for large ships, all along it's West side. Starting our adventure here will tell us what kinds of ships are used by the local residents and there will probably be merchants of ships. This is also a good place to learn the local rules that must be followed.

   We set a target on the dock and TP, landing, you guessed it, right in front of a shop that sells ships. Before we can get our "land legs" working, several notecards are given, stating the rules and which ships are allowed. The rules inform us that these 12 sims are dedicated to 18th century sailing and warfare RP. While here, your clothing, speech and means of transportation must fit the 18th century. Of important note, your avatar cannot fly here. If your boat sinks, you will either walk out or TP to a dryer location. Since this area is dedicated to 18th century RP, your appearance must fit the period. Gorean and Fury is not appropriate here.

   If you are going to get involved in sea battles here, you must use one of the ships that has the latest SPD damage meters. A list is provided giving all the approved ships.
> SPD Corsair III (on SPD2 mode only) > SSS Sloop > SSS Polacre > SSS Goelette > SSS Junk
> SSS Norfolk > SSS Gunboat > SSS Frigate > SSS Grand Galleon > SSS Sampan > SSS Hercules
> AT Colossus > AT Xebec > AT East Indiaman > AT Shu'ai > AT Wicked Wench > AT Gunboat
> AT Revenge > BRS Avventura > BRS Fortuna > BRS Dorey > BRS Pinace > RSS Alert
> RSS Requin > RSS Lorcha > RSS Philadelphia > RSS Mystique > RSS Mercury > Terrada
> MTM Xebec > MTM Statenjacht
Non approved ships can be used, but not in battles, as long as they are 18th century wooden ships. If you are thinking of buying one of the approved ships, there are some rezzers, on the dock, that let you see the full ship. We found an open slip and rezzed our own, non approved Armed Merchant ship and headed out to sea to see where the winds will take us. Keep in mind, ships used here actually use SL winds to sail. Often, the shortest distance between two points is not a straight line. It can only be done by tacking a zig-zag route. We enjoyed getting in some sailing practice and will likely return for more. On the other side, it was hard to pilot and sight-see at the same time and we had to kedge our way out of a few tight spots. At the North end of the docks, you can find a rowboat rezzer. This is a fun way to get from island to island and it stays rezzed as long as you stay on it. Hint: you can also get around by using the World Map to TP to other islands, but good luck on where you land.

   The islands are dotted with towering rock spires and, by now, we all know that Sha loves getting into higher perspectives [double entendre]. If zooming the cam to the peaks reveals man made structures, we would find a way to blaze a trail to the top.

   Oddly enough, 18th century churches also seem to like these lofty locations. Our favorite was the Goth church on Cayo Hueso. The long and winding road to the top is very enjoyable and best done in "mouselook". We have a passion for architectural wonders and climbed every stair and opened any doors that were not locked.

   Below the goth church, we find an older, simpler fortified church. Wishing for a view from the watch tower, we find a rope that lets the user do an animated climb to the roof top. After taking in the view, we set course for the interior of the church. Belay them plans, matey. All the church doors inform us that we don't have a key to this sacred place. A parting zoom look through the upper Celtic cross window reveals that this be a secret hang out of a pirate gang.

   While it is true that the pirates are friendly, keep in mind their interpretations may vary widely from yours. In one pirate pub there is a metal grating in the floor, where the gang can drop you down to cages below, where they keep the guest that they will be extra-friendly with. Sha managed to get herself in a cage, in a room full of BDSM furniture. The cage door won't open, unless we enter a code that picks the lock. That would take too long to guess and, there were no guards, seeking x-rated entertainment, so she takes out her notebook, for clues on how to escape. Remembering having already made LMs in other islands, she becomes enlightened that "the Poof will set you free".

   Free again, Sha heads for the nearest church, to increase her share of good luck. Spotting a confessional box, she goes in to get a clean slate.
Sha: Bless me Father for I have sinned. I have plundered a fortune by shaking my booty around a pole, at club Cutlass.
Priest: The church forgives you my child. Now, for your penitence say three OMGs and put a sack of 10% of your booty in the door by your knees.

   We begin to sense a mystery to unravel here. Pirates and priests, how are they connected? Is it even possible to imagine a congregation made up of pirates and wenches? If they're into the 10 commandments, do they have their own interpretation of the rules to a good life?

   In an open book, we spotted "The Pirate Code".  It seems they have done the 10 commandments one better. The Code has 11 articles. Remind you of the rock band that had custom amplifiers, with volume knobs that go all the way up to 11? In fact, article 11 states that all musicians have the Sabbath off, by right and any other days, by favre only.

   During our adventures at Trade Winds, we talked with and befriended a high ranking region manager, called Matisse. Learning that we were there preparing a story for the Newser, we were invited to join the local group, with the title of "Rogue Photographer". That would protect me from those that would hinder my progress. Hopefully, that would also stop stray cannon balls from taking seat in my row boat.
   Now, pay no attention to the 15 port side cannons, pointed in your direction. Just be takin' our word on it, there be plenty of adventure here. Come set yer keel in the water and thrust the sails to the skies. There's magic in the air and the Pirates Code entitles you to a fair share.


Wednesday, August 10, 2016


   During our time as a Newser Reporter, we have explored many areas of the SL Grid. Our writing style was strongly influenced by a movie seen in childhood. Bambi's friend, Thumper, was told, by his mom, "If you can't find anything nice to say about somebody, don't say anything at all". When we hear of a possible location to write about, our first trip there is a short visit, to get an intuitive feeling of the land and it's residents. Intuition is hard to put into words, but within a half hour one of two thoughts will enter our mind. It's either, "I can't wait to tell readers about this adventure" or "there's no story here".
   If you were to put all of the sims in the grid together, it would form a square of 610 square miles. By comparison, a single sim is only about .39 sq.mi. and there are currently 24229 active sims on the grid. So, how does this reporter find these small areas that are fun adventures, in such a big world? Newser staff meets once a month and the Editor, Bixyl Shuften, usually provides leads to potential sims. Another source is the Destination Guide, but this can be hit or miss, when looking for a fun place and Sha has frequently wondered how much the sim owner had to pay, to get a mention in the guide. One of our favorite search techniques is to open the World Map and pan and zoom around the grid. We look for sim clusters which suggest community minded residents. The layout of the terrain, streets and buildings will give us an idea of the level of the ideal and practical skills that have developed in these communities.
   Studying the map, we found a 13 sim cluster. Each of the sim names began with "Antiquity" and there were massive buildings on many of them. We knew, before ever setting foot there, this would be a Great Adventure.

We select an open field on the North Western sim. The landing puts us at the foot of Mount St. Bruno, so we climb to the top for a better view of the country to be explored. There is a gathering spot on the top of the mountain; a clue that the natives might be friendly. From up here, it is clear that it will require several visits just to get a look at everything, so we start walking South, with plans of zig-zagging through all 13 sims. As our exploration began, we notice there is another person about 2000 meters up, showing up on radar. Minutes later, this same individual sent an IM, which was very unusual. She said that she had seen our name on her radar and it seemed to be a name that she was familiar with. After thinking a bit, she recalled that it was the name of her favorite Newser Reporter, who had inspired her to go on many new adventures of her own. We continued chatting, while taking notes in the buildings that Sha was inspecting. Then the message sender informed us that she was a local resident, named Cosette Rouages, who's job was to write scripts, used in the builds. She was very excited that her favorite reporter was there to do an article about Antiquity. After a bit more chat, she invited us for a look at "the other half" of Antiquity. It turns out, at the 2000m altitude, the sky platforms cover the entire 13 sims. A TP up and we spent hours talking and becoming friends. She also wanted to arrange for a private tour, with the owner of all the sims, Jacon Cortes de Bexar. Both of us live in the same RL time zone and as 4:30 am rolled around, we agreed to meet again, soon. It would be necessary to return several more times, to take in all there is to see and do.
   There hadn't been many notes or pictures taken, on the first visit, but that is par for the course.  The plan now was to attend an event at Cutlass and head back to Antiquity after. As we came on line to prepare for the evening's events, there was already an IM waiting to be read. This time, it was from the owner, Jacon Bexar. Cosette had told him all about our meeting and he wanted me to come for a private tour. As soon as my event was over, we headed back to our original LM  in Antiquity. After landing, Cosette appeared on radar, at ground level, standing in a small group.  The welcome committee was made up of Jacon, Cosette and two other Ladies. After introductions and other pleasantries, Jacon would TP the group to his latest master build, a scale replica of Buckingham Palace. To date, this build has taken three and a half years and even every texture is from the real palace. Through out the tour, there are easels set up, with photos of the original. Jacon says, be sure to look up at the ceilings in each room. Each is a unique work of art. We told Jacon that the most difficult part about writing an article on Antiquity would be to avoid starting every sentence with OMG or WOW. When our readers visit Antiquity for themselves, they can wear out their own list of expletives.
   Back at ground level, Sha traveled to all the sims and took lots of pictures. Since this is an article and not a book, it will include some photos and brief comments. If space is limited for the article, the full length original and all the photos can be found at

Antiquity Cathedral made Sha a bit nervous, because there is an autobot cardinal at the altar and he keeps turning in her direction. She gets up the courage to stand in front of him and explain, to the empty pews, her theory that god is a cyclops.

Seated in the balcony of the Royal Antiquity Theater, Sha wonders if it would be giving her age away, if she said, as kids we went to movies in theaters as fancy as this one.

This shop sold a collection of Autobots, in period clothing. Many have a menu. We are tempted to go back and buy this maid that offers a glass of wine and a list of other services.

A harbor in the Argyle sim could be your next SL job, if ye be Pirate Friendly, arrrrr

Standing under the dome of the Texas State capital building, recalls seeing a movie with Burt Reynolds standing in the same spot.

Paused in a Texas one room school house, we brush up on our Texas history and spitball making.

There are groups to join, like for Export Import Co., a pirate group and an Equine group. On the Marie Galante sim, there is even a large area for Merfolk.

Sha rides her own horse on the trails that cover several of the Eastern sims. I have an AKK horse and now have a great place to take him on walks.

They have monthly horse events, like Cross Country, Fox Hunt and chariot Racing

   Having made videos in SL, we couldn't help but notice, everywhere we went, the beautiful scenery all looked like perfect backgrounds for new SL videos. I loved the various music streams that are encountered. They were soothing and energizing. The few highlight given above are less than half of the list of noteworthy places. By all means, Antiquity goes on my list of "Must See" locations.

We bid ye to have a Great Adventure in Antiquity,