Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Christmas at Calas

By Gemma Cleanslate

The special winter holiday sim that is a yearly favorite spot is lively with visitors. Every year Ty Tenk and Truck Meredith of Calas Galadhon fill another region, and sometimes two, with a venue where people go to spend a lot of time. The parties are daily and lots of fun with different DJs performing. This year it is titled “Home for Christmas."

The sim is so beautiful that it takes a while to explore everything and interact with all the goodies. To see the whole arrangement take the balloon ride over the scenery. The sleigh ride through the country side is most romantic. 

This year rezz a reindeer and ride along the roads and through the woods . It is so much fun to ride! Alicia Underby spent a lot of time roaming the sims on that reindeer as did that ranger.  

The massive pond gives skaters a wonderful place to show off their best pirouette and jumps. Along the edge of the pond hot chocolate is available and places to stop and rest and cuddle.  

The crowning glory is the spectacular  Christmas Pavilion . Here there are gifts for all members , and where you always find friends sitting and chatting. There is a massive hall with presents for the Calas members  and of course, the special Christmas tree room. Tall impressive nutcrackers guard the door and  Santa sits here and waits for all the visitors amid boxes and ornaments. Turn on your music , switch to the windlight setting and experience the wonder of ' Home for Christmas’. This will put you at the sleigh ride or balloon tour entrance.

Gemma Cleanslate 

Friday, December 8, 2017

Monticito Bay

By Bixyl Shuftan

I was recently contacted by BekNos (Becky Nosferatu) about a new city-themed sim in Second Life. Going over, I appeared at a beachfront area, with the ocean along the west edge of the sim, with the sandy beach and a disco dance floor and DJ booth on one side, and a street and buildings on the other. Although disco floor was clearly in a style of the 1970s and later, many of the buildings had an older appearance about them. BekNos described some as having an "Art-deco style." The sim was designed for a few things in mind, stores, clubs, housing rentals, and perhaps roleplay. BekNos told me they wanted something different than "grungy urban, post-apocalyptic, or sci-fi," which she felt "happens to be the main theme for cities."

Becky had a few people with her, and were soon joined by others. Another person involved was Moff (MoffettMephit Resident), "I've always been an art-deco fan and I dig an urban scene. But that's really all I had, a vague design idea. I also had the theater behind you, the fabulous Magnum Opus, which Klo, Dok, Six and I built and put on mainland. So I wanted that theater to be the centerpiece of the city. It wasn't really until this great team got assembled that the sim really started getting built up. This is one of those things where, you know, one person cannot do it all. A cityscape is dynamic. So with the help of this fabulous team, the ideas flowed and pretty soon, the city did as well....and if you walk around, you can see how dynamic it is. I think my favorite thing about it is, it's not perfect. It's not all shiny and new and, well, perfect."

Of building the place, Moff told me, "We've had building and design input and landscaping from Bengt and Moni and Chieko....Lem and Emorald helped with building. Mateo tested the hell out of our streets with his go-kart (grin). Baja and Lem helped build up our emergency services." Of how long it took to built the place, Moff told me, "I bought the sim in June and we opened, October? Hehe, I was not in a rush. I don't think anyone was. We wanted to move forward and make progress, but there were very few of us who wanted to jump right into something 'full time', so to speak. We kind of just messed around and decompressed for awhile.  I think that's something that helped in the long run. Because there was no 'pressure', so to speak, we, as a team, could have fun with this build. We weren't racing the clock." BekNos commented, "Because there was no clock. It was an idea that unfolded as we worked."

Lem Aiko (LemonPledge Resident) was considered the mayor of the sim, and made decisions with a "city council" of four advisors, Moff telling me, "They are Becky, of course, Ink, MagpieHyena and one current open seat."

Not everything built was modern day in style. Beknos told me that earlier, "we had an event for Prehistorica, who released an excellent dragon and we built up a medieval village for the dragons to burn down. (grin)" She told me it was the first big event in the sim and an avatar release party, "We built the village in a span of a few days and it housed about 50+ dragons. Wanders was just so moved by our build and everything we did for him." The villiage of course was in a different place on the sim than the city, in a level high above out of sight, Moff saying, "That was Becky's idea, to use a tiered building system. So at various levels, we can build whatever type of setting might be needed." BekNos added, "And Moff went from there, a club of ours, the graveyard, and our rentals are in the air." Moff went on, "We have three permanent entertainment venues with the capability of throwing an event anywhere on sim with our modular venue. The graveyard and the Avagora are two places where we can throw special events."

One thing they were proud of was their Avatar Avagora, BekNos telling me, "It's a sim-wide store we have about 700 meters in the air, dedicated to avatar makers and modders. It gives them all one location for people to shop; remember Northstar or Rocket City? That was my inspiration for it. I've not seen another mall like them in the past, and since Modding has become such a go-to, I wanted to offer people the option to revist a store again, in world." Of the graveyard, she told me it had, "a neat little exploration that I hope to make a full time hunt system for people. There are caves under it, and I hope to find a scripter to help me set up a hunt system for it." Emorald Resident commented, "those caves were both fun, and a pain to set up."

They soon offered to show me around. Lem offered to take us around by bus, but others suggested we just walk, "You may wanna make sure your life (insurance) policy is payed up, Bix, before you get on a bus with Lem driving." The street near the beach, Moff told me, "This is Sunset Blvd. The 'Main Drag' so to speak. Little bit of shopping, some entertainment, but really built to project a, setting or atmosphere." BekNos added, "We don't have a lot of shopping just yet, but we have plenty of rentals up for anyone who's interested." We walked some distance north to what Moff called the "Corner of Sunset Blvd and Palm St. Got the Sunset Diner, some beach shop rentals, and the building that gets you to the Avagora. ... Cabana and Mission. You can get a good look at a custom building I had commissioned for this place., The Fox, and its counterpart on the other block, The Crow." "There's a lot of unique buildings here," BekNos added.

Moff led the group around the street intersection, "Now heading east. You're going to feel the city begin to change, where, you know, you could identify the beachfront as the 'tourist area' .... the nice, shiny, pretty part. Now it's going to change into more of a city feel. It's a city. It has its city things and its city issues. Fuel station, for example." It wasn't long before we were on the Eastside, "So, here we are, the 'older' section of town. It's not so pretty. Not so clean." Beknos responded, "But it has some of our favorite clubs." He pointed to one building, "Here's one of our venues. Envy Nightlife. It's for some of our more mature shows." This wasn't the actual club, but rather a "prop building" that would teleport people to the actual place four thousand meters in the air. Although some friskiness was allowed in the club, "you can't have open sex. That boils down to them renting the hotel room. ...we stay within the bounds of an 'M' sim."

If one was looking for a motel, there was one nearby, "Here it is. Our seedy motel (grin). I am reminded, it needs a marquee sign stating that it has 'Color TV'." I noticed one of the doors had police tape. BekNos responded, "Yeah, uh... don't go into that room." Moff went on, "Well OK, there is some lore here. The police are still investigating, but, umm, a bad thing happened there (grin)." Lem commented, "There was a fridge monster in there." Moff responded, "I have no idea (about that). What I do know is that there are giant spiders in room 3." "(The) spiders must have eaten the fridge monster." Next, Moff pointed out a small street corner shop, "S-Mart convenience store, complete with 'Clerks' reference and porn (grin)." "Porn is the best part," joked Lem, "They don't take cards. They have an ATM though." For those who don't know, the "S-Mart" was the store in the movie "The Evil Dead."

We then came up to what looked like a statue of Cthulu, Moff saying, "You might notice this weird spot right in the middle of the street. Would you like to hear the actual story, or the lore?" I asked for both, and Moff told me, "The lore is, this is a weird spot. We don't like messing with it. It felt wrong to build here. Every time we tried, it just didn't work out. It's weird. We don't know why. It's feels weird to go here. There's just something, WEIRD, about it!" He then looked over, "Lem get off the plant." Lem did so with an "Awww." BekNos added, "We don't need the statue coming to life again." I asked about that, and Moff answered, "The statue just showed up. Who knows what these eyeball plants are about. We just.... We put a fence around it and went about our merry way." BekNos remarked, "It's best not to question this spot."

"Now, the actual story?" Moff offered, "When the sim was empty and flat, Twocoin studied the ground cover and noticed this spot here was a little barren. the 'sim bald spot' so to speak. He put a fence around it, and then proceeded to take, like, a month off of Second Life (grin). Nobody had his edit rights, so it could not be moved. And I don't like returning things. So for the hell of it, we came up with the 'weird' story and built around it." BekNos commented, "And, I used it as my excuse to build the graveyard; the prim around the statue will teleport you to it, which also allowed me to make it creepy."

They then showed me something that looked much more normal, a city park with a baseball field, Moff saying, "Now over here, is our park. Some team members missed having plant life and stone walkways. And truth be told, every good city needs a great park." BekNos commented, "Hey, there's a GREAT barbecue spot, okay? You can grill and watch the baseball game!" I asked if they played games there, and BekNos answered, "It's actually our sandbox. haha," Moff continued, " And from here, as you face the park. To the right is our police station which is a fully functioning RP type police station. And to the left is our fire station. And again, fully functioning (smile).  And, dead ahead is our sandbox, the baseball field (smile)." Lem joked, "We use the heads from dead trolls. Kinda like stickball but more intense." BekNos informed, "Magpie gave me the idea to make the sandbox a baseball field, a play on 'sandlot' I'm sure. I liked it enough, so I made a texture for it."

We soon got to a brick building with "Studio 86" painted on the side, Moff saying, "Now here we have another one of our 'on the ground' venues. Let's go inside and sneak a peak." Inside, there was a club that was a combination of bright lights, graffitti on the walls, and Greco-Roman style statues. Moff went on, "This is a prefab from Z.O.E., but what a great party venue. The building is called 'Mix Tape' from the creator, but we call this place 'Studio 86'." BekNos stated, "his is by far my favorite of our venues." I asked how often it had events, and Beknos answered, "Practically every weekend, it tends to be one of the favorites." Lem added, "It gets used through the week too." Moff told me, "Our entertainment staff has a choice of venue and time. We try to get every venue in once a week. As we are new, it's tough to fill up a venue during the week. So weekends are our best party days."

After leaving the club, we started heading back west. We saw one building with a snowflake decoration, and several palm trees around it. Moff commented, "We're starting to decorate for the holidays. Being a tropical environment means few pine trees and lots of palms (smile). For the record, we still need staff to decorate the tree in there." I asked where was the city located, and Moff answered, "Think, like Key West or Tampa, Florida? It's a western beach, so....either there or California. But I lean towards a Florida like location," BekNos commented, "I'd go with Flordia; cause Lem is our Florida man." Moff then pointed out two other buildings, "And here we have City Hall ... and this big ugly building that's slated to be razed."

After that, we headed back to the corner of Sunset Blvd and Palm St to the small building that teleported us to a large mall area, BekNos telling me, "Welcome to Avagora. It's a full sim-sized mall dedicated to makers (of) all kinds." There were a large number of shops, though most were empty, at least for now. In the middle was another baseball field, presumably the sandbox for opening goods. One board had a list of days of the week with information on each, BekNos saying, "This is showing our upcoming events, while the tall (board) behind me is our directory and recommended / affiliates. Each store has a modder or their business partners in it. Naturally, since this *is* dedicated to modders and makers, it's main spot in the center is the sandbox for easy modding." She pointed out another building, "I run the Avatar Maker's Guild. This is the AMG headquarters. People can come and go as they see fit to talk about avatar making and modding, and I plan to put up a bunch of tips for people to use, as well as resources." She grinned, "Mind you the sign has sharp edges, be careful with that." Explaining further, she spoke, "The top level was originally for avatar makers only, but as they seem to be a bit harder to find, I just went ahead and let modders have them too. ... This took me, what, two months to build?" Moff grinned, "It was open well before the sim was."

Moff also told me, "This year, we're going to feature an advent calendar. Every day from 12/1 through 12/24 there'll be a gift!" BekNos remarked, "That's the one I told you that Zombiecandy is running, Bixyl." Moff smiled, "I was hoping someone knew more than me about it!" BekNos added, "She's got the whole thing going. Well, I mean, that's the extent I know, heh. I don't know who all is going to be giving out the event prizes, but they're going to be modders from all over. (grin)"

With the tour mostly over, people began heading to bed as it was late in real life, Lem saying, "If I haven't annoyed you enough make sure you come back often!" But Moff had more more place to show me. We went back down to the city, clicked on another building's TP point, and ended up in a club with a distinct sci-fi look with lots of green lights and holographic displays, Moff saying, "And this is Envy Nightlife." I remarked, "Well, this is definately after the mid-20th Century." Moff grinned, "Well, ya know, that's how the nightclub scene is. We try to have at least one show here a week. It's a popular venue."

With Envy Nightlife, the tour was pretty much over. Moff did say part of the beach was "clothing optional," and that the sim had a VIP group, as well as a group on the Discord computer chat program. It was also added besides more merchants, they were also looking for hosts, DJs, and security for the clubs, details in the City Hall building, Emorald saying, "You can tell we are a pretty chill bunch."

And that was my introduction to Monticito Bay. The place is new, but the people are friendly, creative, and have big plans. We'll probably hear from them again soon.

Bixyl Shuftan

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Winter at Devon Dream

By Bixyl Shuftan

Every December, Safra Nitely decorates her sim of Devon Dream into something out of a Christmas story.

I recently dropped by to get a few pictures, and have a few words with her. 

Much of the area was covered by a pine forest, with snow on the needles.

There was a walkway going through the forest, with occasional scenes such as a few presents placed here and there.

One thing that is different this year is that Safra has some stalls up for any merchants interested in setting some wares up for sale, for free, "free maket stalls for content makers, try make it a viable marketplace for two months."

Safra wanted there to be some interactivity, so she had a couple rides set up in the area.

In one cottage, Santa and his elves are getting ready for Christmas.

Dropping by later at night, the place had a whole new look, with the Northern Lights visible in the sky.

There was a dance floor set up on a frozen lake, with lights and a DJ booth.

The teacup ride area looked different at night, with some of the cups lit up.

This time while going through the forest, there were crystals helping to light the way.

Don't forget to drop by Devon Dream this Christmas season

Bixyl Shuftan

Monday, December 4, 2017

Christmas Locations: Part Two

By Gemma Cleanslate

I stopped over at Cocteau at another fair, The Place Plaza Winter Bazaar. The kiosks are filled with more decor to help you get the Christmas spirit into your regions . I took a hot air balloon ride which gives a great overview of the varied places to visit after shopping. Behind the shopping area there is a lovely Winter wonderland with  an ice pond featuring skating balls for couples or singles. Among the trees are areas to sit, rest and talk or around the fire and have a sausage and beer.There are lots of opportunities for shooting photos for Christmas cards.

Over on the other side of the region where the established shops are I ran into one of the owners, Rainie Gates (turainia)  working on the Santa poses at his throne nearby. It is between the established stores and the kiosk area. This is great spot for a Christmas picture with Santa on his throne. Don’t forget to stop by the advent calendar before you leave .Enjoy! 

Christmas Lane is a place to find huge decorations or scenery for your region. Buildings, gazebos, hangouts, Santa chairs with Santa,  little shops, gingerbread houses, trees and so much more. Just moving along the lanes and seeing the lovely scenes I was so tempted even though I have no room for any of them at all. Each lane brings new delights to explore. Just the other day I ran into a sim owner who mentioned he still had to go shopping for winter decor and I told him to make sure to stop in this sim. Stop at all of the sims I write about!

Even if you are not shopping I would recommend you roam through the region trying out some of the interactive decorations. Look up in the sky too!

Winter Holiday Village has been here for  10 years and is celebrating !. I love this region.  Mairead (mairead.fitzgerald) and Preacher (sutra.kish) . the owners , create a place of magical snow filled fun. ... it has shopping rides, daily events, Santa and elves and so much more .Pick up their notecard with all kinds of help for your visit at the entrance . You also find a tp board there if you are looking for a certain shop. 

This year I took a snowy owl flight tour of the whole venue to see the new additions and changes from last year. The  quaint Village shops circle the extensive skating area that winds around and through tunnels and back to the main party area. The Lodge is welcoming with a  constant fire and warm cozy seating for those resting upstairs and down. 

The ballroom is set for dining and for show and for weddings.  Get all your information here . See you on the ice. 

Gemma Cleanslate

Monday, November 27, 2017

Christmas Locations

By Gemma Cleanslate

It seems so early to start visiting venues all ready for both winter  activities. sports and/ or Christmas. The problem is most of the sparkling winter areas disappear so soon after the Christmas season and I don’t want you to miss any opportunities. Those sites that will stay around for your winter pleasures I will save for later articles. I have already seen Santa sitting in on his throne, and in another sim standing with his reindeer, not sure which one.

Let’s start with shopping fairs and bazaars. We are all thinking decor for either our home and yards , clubs, or regions. Now it the time to go looking without angst. Why wait til the last minute?

“Hello there and Welcome to Winter Wonderland Christmas Bazaar!  You are welcome to enjoy our winter setting by skating on our lake, playing on the rides or hang out in general just to shop but please be respectful of all other guests in the sim. Enjoy your visit and Happy Holidays!" 

That says it all! This is another delightful winter bazaar. I like the decor here which is a winter scene with charming little shops spread around the area. I love the large  Snow globes that dot the landscape. If you are looking for skating snowmen I saw them there on the skating pond for sale. I found some sweet gift boxes to fill with gifts. 

 The Christmas Fair is decorated,  many village  shops open, trolley running and so much to see. Not all the shops and kiosks are filled yet but they will be. The skating pond is open with some smooth skate balls for your use. As soon as you land the tree catches your eye. The shops I stopped in had so many decorative items for sale.It was hard to resist.

Join the groups and get notices of the daily activities going on at the stage area. I saw some wonderful outfits in the shops and so many lovely trees , garlands, Christmas balls and other decor. I am glad I left my purse at home! But this is a good place to start if you are looking for goods.

I love going to the markets that have kiosks because there is so much more there to look at and buy. At this Christmas Market 2017 the place is loaded with temptations! It is a nice compact place to shop and visit Santa  in his gazebo where you can sit and rest , or rezz a sled if you dare!

Magic Christmas Winter Wonderland was my next stop . There is a free saucer sled at the entrance and also free skates to grab. The little village is a good place to roam and listen to the music. The skating pond is set up with skate balls and I found a sled for one or three persons there too. This is a good stop to pick up some skis, skates, eggnog,,chocolate and just have fun. I rezzed a Santa saucer which took me down the hill. Enjoy the shopping break!

Gemma Cleanslate

Friday, November 17, 2017

Looking Back at Furry Desires

By Bixyl Shuftan

Skylark LeFavre is known in the Sunweaver/Angels community as both a DJ and the manager of the Happy Vixen Beach club. But before she joined up with them, early on in her time in Second Life: Furry Desires.

"First club I worked for before I had my own successful club (was) Ari Sen," Skylark explained to me, "I was a highly paid pink Kani pole dancer. The owners were DJs, and my friends. But drama from a patron divided the club. Now my ex-bosses and friends have their own club, 'Hearts of Gold,' the space phoenix steampunk club. Without them, I would not (have)  taken an interest and learned everything I know. They  set me on my course. The money poledancing then was good, like 10 to 15,000 Linden dollars. But it left me feeling empty. I needed more. I talked with a friend, and we started Furry Desires."

"This was back in early 2009. We were a hangout. We accepted furries, humans, nekos, pretty much anyone. We handled all griefers silently. The owner of the 'Scuzzie Fuzzies' avatars line did security. She also made the final club building. I was co owner and a hostess many loved, complimented about my notices after each event. We had a place for people to cuddle and sit. We had a floor for skating too. Our danceball was made from scratch, well, most things were. We had a smart dance ball. You had furries, humans, taurs, ferals, tinies, etc. The danceball would see what you were and it would choose the appropriate dance for you."

I asked about the danceball, and Skye talked about the person who made it, "Byrnt was a telecommunications programmer. when I ran and hosted events ... (he) made danceballs that networked with ours. This was literally the beginning of using things via UUID. Somehow it saw the kind of av you wore and selected poses meant for it. It never ever made a mistake."

Skye told me he ran into Brynt about three months before the opening of the club at the Isle of Wyrms. Another of the people there was Tsume Serapis, "a friend I met at Alchera Medieval RP. She was our DJ manager. Byrnt more or less set up the image of the club as it was to be run and I had a lot of people skills and kept everyone  happy  and wanting to come back. It was us and the DJs we hired. I did all of the hosting on top of managing." When they encountered a problem, "We ... thought on it and came up with new ways to handle it without letting anyone know. I was the one who delt with the Av vendor people. ... We also had a mall for other things Byrnt and others made. ... Furry Desires (also) had a penthouse suite."

"This did not happen overnight," Skye told me, "It took a lot of work and a lot of time. We were each doing more than one job. We came up with new ideas then thought on them on the best way to do them. Mind you back then there were no dance poles, no contest boards. We simply didn't need them. We were a family safe club, we didn't do nudity or sex, and we were a hangout. People came for fun times good  music and the company. The atmosphere was family oriented. No one ever talked abouty unhappy things. People back then knew what to keep out of places like ours."

The club went on for a while, but then trouble came, Skye explained that Byrnt, "had enough to retire on until his job was cut, and the house fire" after his home had already been damaged, "from Kirinia sucked up all he had. He moved to ******** with his parents and went on disability." For a time, the sim and club continued, "it went on for three months after he lost his job. How? Tips. A sim paid for by tips. You tell me that is not a mark of a  legend? In the end though, we closed it with intentions of reopening it when we could."

Skye did say it was "likely" the club would be back one day, "Byrnt came back to SL, said he had been  learning to do stuff to make things to sell to retore  Furry Desires, and wanted me to resume my place." But Skye felt if the club came back, it would be far from the same place, "Furry Desires was the best years I ever had on SL. Not a day goes by I don't miss what we had. I see what clubs are now, and there is just no way for us to adapt to what clubs are. Furry Desires coming back, (we) will have to make changes we don't want. No one comes (to clubs) for what we offered at Furry  Desires. ... What I want may never exist angain the way I loved and remember."

Besides The Happy Vixen, Skylark also DJs at the Eternal Desires club, and occasionally at Club Cutlass and Club Zero Gravity. But she never forgets the place she helped run years ago.

Bixyl Shuftan

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Calas Galadhon's Dark Moon

By Bixyl Shuftan

One place in Second Life noted for it's fine design and coming up with new things every year is the Calas region, owned by Ty Tenk and Truck Meredith. Usually Gemma Cleanslate is the Newser writer who takes care of articles there. But with their new Halloween area this year, she thought it was about time for a fresh pair of eyes. So I went ahead and headed to Erebor for "Dark Moon."

When one thinks of the moon on Halloween, it's usually the bright moon shinning over a dark and spooky forest. That wasn't the case here. Appearing in a purplish sky and shallow water on some crystal hexagons, over one were the words "The Portal." So I clicked on that. The next thing I knew, I was on some baren landscape with some circular structure ahead of me, and some figures around it. Getting closer, they were a mix of aliens and human astronauts. But looking closer, the astronauts were dead. All but one of the aliens appeared lifeless as well, except for one with a sign: "Dive in."

Going in, I found myself in a cavern with metallic space-age structures built into it, with water flowing on the ground in places. The detail, as usual for Calas, was very good. I had my headphones on, and it had detailed sounds of the water trickling nearby, and appropriate theme music such as that of the "Alien" prequel movie "Prometheus." Looking around however, there were some mixed signals about the aliens. While some were helping to point out the way for you to go, others were not so friendly to other humans.

Flares help cue you on which direction to go, You will encounter things such as light bridges, and you will encounter monsters. Unfortunately in this sci-fi adventure with horror tones, the reason they're not going after you is that they've sated themselves on various NPC humans ... or have they? At one point, you'll find yourself in an Earth library. The end of your journey? Nope, you'll still have further to go. Finding the right path may mean occasionally searching around a bit. You'll get an opportunity to float around weightless, though with some limited control. Eventually, you'll see some human kids walking your way from a flying saucer. But as they come closer, you'll see they're not exactly wanting to be friends.

The last cavern was very dark in places with few flares, so it took me a while to find the way out. Once I did, I was transported back to the purplish world. Looking around and noticing a spaceship ahead of me, I decided to walk over, wading through the water, to check it out. I saw a few creatures going just over the water. There were some stairs to the ship, and climbing on, I was greeting by the message, "Welcome to Calas Galadhon's "DARK MOON'S MOTHERSHIP... thank you and enjoy your visit." I found a schedule of some live music acts appearing here at times across the month.

I forget how long my journey took me, probably over an hour. With the monsters and blood, and inhuman cold aliens, the place isn't for everyone. But in my opinion, Ty and Truck have done a first class job in this sci-fi horror theme adventure.

Erebor (8, 51, 2)

Bixyl Shuftan