Saturday, 27 December 2014

Heterocera Travelogue #4: Plusia

The next stop on my journey is Plusia - destination well known to SLRR users, thanks to its large train station and depot. Plusia borders with Wainscot on the south, Spectacle on the west, Sallow on the north and Spangle on the east.
As I was looking around and taking snapshots, I realized that the owner of Plusia, Radioactive Rosca, was actually there, sitting in one of his trains and working on something. I hated to interrupt, but I did say hi and what followed was a nice and friendly chat about Plusia, SLRR and his interest in railways.
Radioactive first told me something about the history of Plusia Station: “I'm a fan of the SLRR railways all over the Heterocera Atoll and I bought this plot only because it was near the railway. I built the Plusia Station and opened a case to Linden Labs, to connect the SLRR to my station. Michael Linden answered and did the connection. With the vacancy of the plots next to mine, I could expand the Station to the actual configuration.”

On his Flickr profile, you can see images showing the development of Plusia Station, from its early days until now.

Originally from Portugal, Radioactive told me about his visits to the command centres of several Portuguese stations and about his love for trains that he’s had since childhood. Then he showed me the command centre of the Plusia 1 station, found on the bridge above the station.
“Here you can see and command any switch. You have also audible alerts of passing trains in main track and also the name of the owner of last object that passed through the tracks. Also, there are yellow dots that indicate position of trains, inside and at the main SLRR track.”
Standing on the bridge, we couldn’t fail to notice several cars and buses owned by the notorious AnnMarie Otoole. Unattended vehicles are a problem, Radioactive admits and tells me about his attempts to solve it by catching and redirecting them. Seems to be a losing battle, though, as they keep passing by during our conversation (a struggling bus can be seen hovering behind the train).
Not far from the station is Radioactive’s residential building, while the station itself houses a small store with flags and other builds.

If you’re an SLRR user, a visit to Plusia is a must. Even if you aren’t, its location is a good starting point for visiting the wider area, thanks to its direct access to both SLRR and a Linden road. To visit Plusia, click here.

Friday, 26 December 2014

Christmas Day

Living in a country where Christmas isn't commonly celebrated on December 25 does feel strange, and very different from my home country.

For one, it's a regular working day - that alone is bad enough. There's practically nothing of that holiday cheer on the streets, or on TV or the radio. One gets to feel some of the atmosphere only in shopping malls, which were already fully decorated about a month ago. In a way, all that can be a good thing, as it helps focus on the true meaning of Christmas, underneath all the entertainment and commercialism. But it can also make one feel a bit lonely and displaced.

In any case, SL came to the rescue. After a hectic day in RL, it was nice to be able to attend a brief church service inworld (I had to miss the Christmas morning service in my RL church because of work), and even nicer to have some quiet time at Duncan's Tharki Land home afterwards.
 We shared a meal...
...watched some TV together and had fun with the pets.

So at least the day ended right. Christmassy, with a warm and fuzzy feeling.

Thursday, 25 December 2014

Christmas Eve in SL

There is something reassuring about the cyclical nature of the church calendar. I'm always a bit sad towards the end of the Advent season, but that comforting feeling came back to me as I was sitting in front of the Anglican Cathedral in SL this evening. Having arrived a bit early for the Christmas Eve service, I spent some quiet time there, just watching the snow fall and thinking about the people close to me. Holding them in the light, as Quakers would say.
The sim looked lovely under a thick blanket of snow on the ground, and with the starry sky above.
Eventually a small group of people gathered at 2pm SLT to mark the end of this year's Posada event - the symbolical arrival of the Holy Family, after their long Advent journey. Mostly it's the very same people who were there last year and the year before. Prayers are said, Scripture lessons are read. Everything is short and moves quickly, but so heavy with meaning. I feel I need an extra moment or two after each line, to savour the words. At the end, best wishes are exchanged and people move on.
How curious to have things like these happen in the virtual world. And how wonderful.

Wednesday, 24 December 2014

Heterocera Travelogue #3: Spangle

Moving northwards from Wainscot via the SLRR, we reach Spangle - a coastal region bordering with Shipton and Wainscot on the south, Plusia on the west, Satelite on the north, and Haworth on the east.
Unlike Wainscot, which for the most part looks rather deserted, Spangle leaves a very different impression, largely thanks to only two residents - Squix Ghia and his over 30.000 sqm large parcel under the name of Izzabella’s Paradise and Lord Valeska with his two Urban Apocalypse parcels.

Traveling from the south via the SLRR, one first sees Izzabella’s Paradise on the right - a large, odd-looking building. Entirely empty on the ground floor, it houses a gallery in the basement, containing a series of BDSM images. Behind the gallery is a beach bar, with a view of the Shipton islands, the surrounding ocean and Squix' artistic builds placed alongside the docks.

Also part of Izzabella's Paradise is a rather spacious park area containing more things created by Squix.


On the other side of the railway tracks, there is Spangle Urban Apocalypse Land. It sounds ominous, but the word I’d use is bizarrre. One first reaches a lovely small conifer forest.
Cross the rails and you enter the other parcel, with an eclectic assortment of clutter, gadgets, strange noises and some adult content. From an innocent looking garden plot and apple orchard in one corner to dinosaurs about to devour naked girls in the other. Have I mentioned a giant spider?


Local diner looks interesting, with scantily clad women inviting you into a place I would rather not eat in.
The atmosphere is that of a seedy topless bar. There’s more adult content in the bathroom, as well as in some of the surrounding builds, such as animated straight porn images, poses and animations.
Not far from the diner, SLRR tracks end with the Spangle Station - one of the nicer ones on the continent. 
The entire north-eastern corner of Spangle is uninhabited, owned by Virtual Railway Consortium (VRC) Holdings. It’s a place where you can grab a free train and inspect a map of the continent. 
On the same parcel there’s also a small sandy beach, with the view of the builds in Izzabella’s Paradise and the Shipton islands in the background.
After the desolate scenery in most of Shipton and Wainscot, Spangle seems quite refreshing, practically teeming with life. With only a very little part of it consisting of abandoned land, Spangle is an interesting place to visit and spend some time in exploring the park and coastal areas, or have a meal in the diner (if you're brave enough) - maybe even have a quickie if you’re into that kind of thing! 

Interestingly, no part of Spangle is residential, all of it is open to public (or seems to be) with no banlines anywhere in sight.

For the next instalment, I’m going to stay in the immediate area and write about a location probably well known to most train lovers in SL - Plusia with its large train station and depot.
 

Monday, 22 December 2014

Heterocera Travelogue #2: Wainscot

After a visit to Shipton, we move northwards, to Wainscot. Unlike Shipton, Wainscot is landlocked, with no direct access to ocean or other waterways. However, it has the benefit of SLRR and the access to a Linden road. Wainscot is bordering with Philireme on the south, Drinker on the west, Plusia on the north and Shipton on the east.
Entering Wainscot from the south via the SLRR, the first thing you notice is Herman Bergson’s School of Philosophy building. Herman is one of the earliest residents here and quite possibly the oldest, owning his parcel for a number of years now. He holds philosophy classes there, Tuesdays and Thursdays. You can’t miss this place, with a large lighthouse and protective screens, all fullbright. Herman and his school deserve a separate post, so stay tuned for that one.
The rest of Wainscot is a sad sight. Behind the School of Philosophy there are Mandalay Stables (http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Wainscot/127/171/45).
At the time of my visit, the place was in a pitiful state, with horses inside crying and starving, their indicators showing hunger and thirst at 100%. Sitting there in my car, I wished I could somehow set them free. Or kick the owner’s ass!
Immediately next to the Mandalay Stables is the curiously built office space for Angel Rentals.
The only other thing left to describe is Robert’s Workshop (http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Wainscot/136/48/50), with a carnivorous couch, and a big book containing notecards with chapters to a story, presumably written by Robert.
The verdict? With the exception of School of Philosophy (for its educational value and the community that gathers there regularly), the rest of Wainscot is a complete disaster. Definitely not a tourist spot. You should visit only if you’re an animal rights activist, to protest the state of things at Mandalay Stables. Or someone who likes to be eaten by a couch in a vintage, circa 2007, SL setting.

Next time, we’ll go further north, to Spangle.

Heterocera Travelogue #1: Shipton

For the first in the series of travelogues, I got up early in the morning, sat in my new transporter and drove towards north from my home - to Shipton.


Shipton is located on the north-eastern coast of Heterocera. Its larger part is actually under water, or on the islands off the coast, including an artificial one built by the parcel owner, while the much smaller part consists of a narrow strip of land on the mainland, between the railway tracks and the ocean.


Shipton borders with Triphosa on the south, Wainscot on the west and south-west, Plusia on the north, Haworth on the north-east and ocean expanses of Abraxas on the east. As such, it can be directly accessed by SLRR and water vehicles. Its waterways are fully passable, but beware – some of the residents don’t take kindly to people passing through their waters. At the moment there are no banlines anywhere in Shipton, but your vehicles might get returned even while you’re sitting in them, with no warning, as I’ve experienced recently. So much for the local hospitality.

The southern tip is completely abandoned as of several months ago, with my former neighbour’s furniture and dock still hovering above the ground, defying the general rules by which LL does away with objects on abandoned land after a relatively brief period of time.


As for any local sites worth seeing, given the dearth of residents, there isn’t much. The resident inhabiting Shipton’s northern island owns some interesting builds, including the lighthouse, but I wouldn’t advise lingering in the vicinity for too long.




To visit Shipton, TP to the northern location, close to the border with Spangle and Wainscot. With a modestly set draw distance, the elevation will give you a nice, clear view over the whole region.

In the next travelogue, we’ll explore Wainscot.



A visit to Music Island: Vaughan Williams and Soundsmith Kamachi

It’s been a while since I last visited the Music Island at Virtlantis. As they say, it never rains but it pours. Last night Duncan and I went to check out one of Aelthing Aeon’s “Let’s talk classical music” events there, which take place every 3rd Saturday. Aelthing is a guest lecturer with the National Federation of Recorded Music Societies (UK) and he brings a lot of background to the featured pieces. This time we had a guided listening of Vaughan Williams’ piece Hodie dating from the early 1950s.


I must admit I’m not exactly a fan of Williams, but that’s why I wanted to attend this event. Where and when else was I going to listen to Hodie? In all honesty, somewhere towards the middle I found myself on Marketplace shopping for a Hummer, with Williams’ music in the background. But it was nice to be there and exchange comments with Duncan, while sipping tea in RL.


Not having much to do, we decided to stay for the second event as well,  Soundsmith Kamachi’s concert. Seeing him for the first time, as he went up on the stage, I was wondering - now what kind of music is he going to play?


But actually, I found his works very interesting. Again, not the kind of music I would normally listen to, but it was good to be exposed to it. Soundsmith played his own electronica pieces, some of which were quite meditative and relaxing, inspired by Buddhist chants and with names such as “Faith”, while others were more energetic and flamboyant.


You can hear some of his works here.

As the winter break is approaching, I’m hoping to be able to attend more of such inworld events.

P.S. The Hummer turned out to be a good purchase, too.



Lobster shack

The southeastern corner of my land has seen the most changes. When I first bought the parcel, there was only a small dock, followed by the Barn café-gallery, which then transformed into the Tower. And now there’s a lobster shack!

I’ve repurposed it as office space, while the ground level will continue to house small exhibitions. The design finally matches the rest of my land. All I need now is a lobster boat…


Nørgaard Village

Nørgaard Farm has turned into a Nørgaard Village… Not sure how, but I’ve managed to significantly cut down on a number of prims, while rezzing ever more buildings!



Since I’ve decided to abandon parcels on Sansara and concentrate on developing and expanding on Heterocera, I’ve relocated the chapel to the Village, as well as a cabin I used to have up in the mountains.



I’m not sure what I’ll do with all the little houses now. I’ve been thinking about finding tenants, possibly newbies who need very affordable housing, something to get them started. I’m not really interested in making profit off of people, but it would be nice to have someone actually living there. Someone other than me, whom I’ve had enough of. LOL


If you know of anyone who might want to live in such a rural setting, have them IM me (Abinoam Resident).