Thursday, 17 December 2015

Heterocera Travelogue #14: Philudoria

I resumed my journey across Heterocera on a chilly winter day in December, leaving Phyllodesma and entering Philudoria.

The train station near the border crossing is already in the neighbouring Malacosma, but it can serve as a good starting point for visiting the area, and there's also a rezz zone if you wish to rezz your own vehicle. I waited there for a bit until the fog lifted up, planning my way around Philudoria.

Apart from a very short stretch of the road that enters the sim at its southwestern tip, there is also a network of railway tracks here. I hopped onto my freight train and headed deep inside Philudoria, towards north.

The local train station / SLRR rezz zone is very small and it's actually the end of that stretch of SLRR. You can see the crane in the distance, in the neighbouring Xanthorhoe, where the Lindens have done some work on the new bridge and a railway connection to the east coast of the continent (but no work on that has been done in months, so I'm not holding my breath).

Already from here I could see that Philudoria is one of the quirkier places on mainland. First, you can't miss the two large buildings.

The one on the right, Dolphpun Somme Art Gallery and Particle Factory, doesn't seem to have any entrance doors, but that OK, as the walls are phantom. Up on display, there's a curious assortment of inworld snapshots and gifs, most of them homoerotic.

The place on the left is owned by the same person, and seems to be a shop selling cheap T-shirts. It all has a bad mainland feel to it.

The structures are quite large, taking up the entire western part of the sim, and are not the most appealing example of inworld architecture. But hey, at least the clock is working right!

Immediately opposite Dolphpun's is the place owned by Facepunch Studios. I'm not on speaking terms with those guys, as they happen to be the pranksters who were rezzing silly things on my land on several occasions and causing commotion there.

Still, I visited the Arcade they opened on Facepunch Plaza.

It's a fun place, but not all of the games actually work...

The area around the Facepunch Plaza is abandoned. Well, almost... I did find a small parcel with a single prim rezzed on it!

And another one, with only grass and a beanbag in Charity's Bastion.

And there's Ben's Land, where you can sit on his half-buried birthday cake.

Obviously, all that was too much excitement for me, so I went back to the train station and walked into the first train that came by. For the next travelogue, I'll travel further north to Xanthorhoe.

Tuesday, 1 December 2015

Christmas at Calas Galadhon

Earlier today Duncan and I went to check out the recently opened Christmas sim at Calas Galadhon. As in the previous years, the place looks wonderful and is a must during the holiday season in SL.

After touring the grounds, we spent some time getting warm at the Pavillion.

And then we jumped into one of the hot air balloons which (eventually) took us high up, all the way to the North Pole and Santa's village. An important note: make sure you have enough time and are in no hurry, as the journey itself lasts quite a bit, over half an hour.

I'm not sure where all the Santa's little helpers went, but it seems they've already finished preparing all the gifts.

It's an adorable place and a perfect way to spend some time inworld. To visit, follow this SLurl:

Tuesday, 27 October 2015

Norgaard Village parcels on sale

I've recently decided to scale down the amount of land I own on mainland, so at the moment portions of Norgaard Village are up for sale, as is the entire Refugium parcel.

All three land sales (with price info, SLurls and snapshots) are announced in SL Community listings:
Chapel grounds

If you know anyone who might be interested, please share this post. Thank you!

Monday, 26 October 2015

Refugium Newsletter - October 2015

It's been a while since I posted an update on the goings-on at Refugium. Recently we marked a full year since the place opened, and with some recent changes there, I thought it was time for another Newsletter.

Refugium has moved just a bit further north, to a parcel in Norgaard Village. It's by the ocean now, opposite the chapel. To visit, follow this SLurl.

Earlier today, at midnight SLT, we had our first meditation session at the new location. Unlike the previous building that served as our meetinghouse, this one is more sturdy and not at all draughty. It's a small place, with a very warm feel to it. I could easily live in it, especially during the cold winter months.

If you're not familiar with Refugium, it's a meditation group in Second Life. I started it with the intention of extending my meditation practice into SL and sharing that quiet time with others inworld. Meditating alone in RL has often been a challenge for me: either I wouldn't do it at all for extended periods of time, or I would be too distracted to do it properly. Meeting regularly inworld with a group of friends has been very helpful to me in that respect.

The format is quite simple: we sit in silence for 30 minutes; towards the end there is a closing inspirational quote and the bell sounds the end of the session.

Initially, I envisioned it as a place for the practice of meditation in the Christian tradition, especially given that there already is a number of meditation groups and places inworld, which are more New Age-y or Buddhist. However, our sessions remain open to everyone; there is no particular religious or denominational teaching involved. Bible is a frequent source of the closing quotes I select, but so are the writings of poets and philosophers, ancient and modern.

All of this may sound serious, and in some sense it is, but we definitely love to have fun, and sessions are often followed by pranks, jokes, and funny gestures. We don't take ourselves too seriously. Most often we spend some additional time after the sessions chatting casually, as we did earlier today. Topic of the day: eating pigs' feet!

I have some plans for the new projects, such as organizing monthly lectures (I had to postpone those due to a busy RL schedule) or offering additional sessions, at least once a week, for people who can't possibly join us for the regular ones because of time zone differences. A lot will depend on my RL obligations, so I'll keep you posted on any new activities.

I'd like to thank again everyone who's been part of the group. Your presence and support means a lot!

Monday, 19 October 2015

Trick-or-Treating in Havenhollow

Here's a fun place to go trick-or-treating in SL this year: Havenhollow III. Upon arrival, you will find a few holiday freebies at the landing point, and more await if you knock on the doors in this spooky neighbourhood.

I don't want to reveal too much, but I'll just say that the most exciting part is deep in the woods, so do explore the area off the beaten path.

Here are a few snapshots I took earlier this morning when I visited with my friends Zoe (the creepy baby) and Duncan (the proud owner of Spinni the giant spider). Goes without saying who the clown is...


Cica Ghost's latest inworld art installation, titled "Prison", is in some ways her simplest one thus far, although the idea behind is far from simple.

The Prison is located on a barren island reminiscent of Cica's earlier works: parched land and black birds are here again. The rest of the installation is a series of walls made entirely of metal bars. Looking from the distance, it's an imposing abstract structure with an apocalyptic feel to it.

Before I visited the place, I saw the following intro in the SL's official Destination Guide: "In this prison, all the doors will open for you, and you'll be able to escape at any time. But you won't feel like going away. And even when you finally leave, you will want to come back."

Initially, I didn't exactly feel like that. Going from one room to the next didn't seem like much of a challenge. Unlike her previous works, in this installation there really isn't anything hidden. It's just empty space in between metal bars, with an occasional chair placed here and there.

However, once we've seen everything and sat down somewhere in the middle of the prison, I really didn't feel like leaving. Duncan and I spent some time just sitting there. Although barren and empty, the place felt calm and relaxing. Meditative, as it were.

It's a piece of virtual art you shouldn't miss. To visit, follow this SLurl.

Sunday, 18 October 2015


"Gustav's" is a new and recently opened store, found near the Norgaard Village train station. It's owned by Gustav von Rosenheim, a 1920s Berlin resident and one of my oldest friends in SL.

Gustav has been dedicating a lot of his time and effort researching period items and furniture and then recreating them in Second Life. His work is well known within the 1920s Berlin Project community - and very popular. His items look great, and equally important, they are all low-prim, which is essential given the residents' constant struggle with prim limit. It's a mystery to me how he does it, but all the items available at the store have the land impact (LI) of only 1.

For the purpose of this blog post, I asked Gustav a few questions about his work.

Abi: Where do you find inspiration for the items you make?

Gustav: Well, the major inpiration comes from the 1920s furniture and gadgets because I mainly live in the Berlin 1920s Project sim. I'm more interested in the ordinary down-to-Earth furniture for ordinary people living in those days rather than stylish Art Deco items, because I would love to know how people used to live and look at their life in those days. Recreating RL historical items virtually is really an interesting approach to studying people's life historically. Why did they choose those colours? Why did they choose those shapes? Why did they choose those materials? Those pieces of information are connected to each other and show you many things, such as the reality of international trading, the economy, even the systems of thought like ethics, taboos and social standards in those days.

Since I started renting a part of Norgaard Village where I opened my shop - Gustav's - I've also started exploring more the things I'm interested in, in terms of design and virtual modeling, as well. Looking at RL decor items and furniture, now I'm thinking, "How can I recreate this shape virtually or how can I recreate this texture?" Exploring my creativity has been a very fun process.

Abi: Is there a specific reason why your focus is on the 1920s?

Gustav: I guess it's the same reason why I got attracted by the Berlin 1920s sim. I am openly gay both in RL and SL. I wanted to know if we could have avoided gay Holocaust during the Nazi regime. If possible, how? From my point of view, patriotism and conservatism are currently arising in all countries in the world, for various reasons. Because of the economy, as a reaction against liberalism, or just because of the staggering feelings in society. Some people say they're seeing similarity with the interwar period. The swell of conservatism and patriotism led to the gay Holocaust where an uncountable number of gay people was killed. So, I thought, "Oh no! I don't want to get killed by being deported to a gas chamber! Then, let's go back to that period and look at what was actually going on in the pre-gay Holocaust era." That's why I got interested in the 1920s, especially the Weimar period in Germany.

Abi: Do you have plans to create items from some other periods, as well?

Gustav: I don't have any plans right now. However, as I said, I'm also interested in the visual art aspect of virtual modeling. I will create items that are not restricted by historical accuracy, too, along with creating objects related to the 1920s.

To visit Gustav's store, please follow this SLurl:

Tuesday, 13 October 2015

Converted barn

For the past few months, my home base was a small trailer parked close to the train station at Norgaard Village. Now with the colder autumn weather, I decided to move into a larger and warmer place, so I did some work at converting my old barn.

Out with the cows...

... and in with Abi and all his junk!

Well, not all - I would need about a dozen barns to rezz everything, but at least now I've got rezzed all the essentials that couldn't fit inside the trailer.

I love the cozy feel. Being woken up every morning by Peggy, Olaf and Jezebel's grunting - those are my pet pigs - is an added bonus!