Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Vintage Village

I followed the link from Dr. Fabre's Journal to Vintage Village, a small set of shops with an old-time feel. The waterwheel makes a nice first impression.

The entire village is small, and rather high above the rest of the sim.

Not steampunky, nor particularly Victorian, but it has its own charm.

Monday, June 29, 2009

The Naked Truth (somewhat NSFW)

One sees the darndest things some times. Here, at a welcome area, was a gentleman naked except for the tattoo on his derrier and possibly a wristwatch. (If anyone cares, he had the default equipment up front, which is to say, none.) I have no idea what he was doing.

Nearby, this young lady appeared to be wearing a poorly-fitting miniskirt and a pair of bracelets, along with those...shoes. Trust me, this wasn't just a matter of clothes not rezzing completely; that was her outfit.

No worries, however, as the young lady changed. Into this:

Oh yes, much better. I donned my expedition-to-the-sun polarized sunglasses and moved quietly away.


Mentioned in New World News last week, I visited Drowsy, a sim of...well, I'm not entirely certain. Several shops sit among rolling hills, the ocean, some ruins, trees, and more.

Lights shimmer everywhere, balloons suggest a festive atmosphere, a theater beckons.

The Rube Goldberg-esque clocktower teeters above the build.

One of the quaint shops.

I have a rule: do not mess with mice that are nearly my size - especially if they have command of fire.

Libraries seem to call me.

In the end, Drowsy is a shopping sim, but it gets points for not looking so much like a shopping sim.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

When Gardeners Relax

When gardener extraordinaire Miss Soliel Snook announced on ISC chat that she had taken something of a busman's holiday and created a whimsical garden, I was willing to brave the dangers of the Mainland to take a look.

I found whimsy galore (as opposed to Whisky Galore!) on the parcel, from a three-dimensional homage to Van Gogh (above) to a larger-than life set of rabbits (below), relaxing with oversized carrots and lettuce.

But what to make of the enormous pink bloomers?

One supposes that a garden cannot have too many bloomers. (Pause for groans.)

The site is indeed an oasis within a wasteland.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

JJ's Rezday Party

Miss Serra Anansi hosted a (slightly) belated rezday party for the esteemed Mr. JJ Drinkwater. I went on the early side to pay my respects to one of the nicest people on the grid.

A crowd quickly gathered at Taure En Lor to dance, chat, and generally cause a good time to occur.

Sir JJ, dressed in "kilt and tattoos," as he put it. To his right, Miss Autopilotpatty Poppy.

Miss Garnet Psalterey and Mr. Alastair Whybrow, with Mr. Nix Sands in the background.

Miss Uni Ninetails and hostess Emilly Orr.

Victrola Jocket Miss Gabrielle Riel, Miss Serra Anansi, and Mr. Steadman Kondor.

SL6B - The Future? Uh-oh

I have seen the future and...well, I prefer the Victorian past, so I'm not too keen on the future. Especially this one. It seems awfully glowy.

But let me start with the good stuff.

This year's theme for the birthday party that the Lindens throw for themselves - perhaps that's a tad harsh - was something like "The Future of Virtual Worlds." I suppose that the word "future" carries with it a science-fiction connotation, so I wasn't surprised at the Blade Runner-style builds, but one might have thought that a higher fraction of builders would have thought beyond the obvious.

One build that I did enjoy was that of BlakOpal, a Steampunk "City of Tomorrow." In addition to the neat retro/futuristic setting, the build had a cute story (see the signs out front) and over a dozen pictures to promote various Steampunk sims, in addition to the self-promotion of the BlakOpal stores.

Though I don't have a picture to prove it, I shared my time in the BlakOpal build with a lady who wore so little that, were she to visit the Steamlands, riots would break out in the streets, with wives seeking to beat her and force her into more attire, and the men beating a path to her in order to impress her with their, ah, eloquence. But I digress.

The other item of pure amazement was that there was fairly little lag, especially compared with Tar Pit '08, also known as SL5B. I encountered a sign offering a tour of the SL6B sims, so I rested my legs and saved the leather on my shoes by sitting down and letting the automated vehicle do the driving. (See the vehicle in the front of the picture below.)

The vehicle worked fairly well - the ride was smoother than some of the vehicles that I have been on - but the claim that it would take me around all 20 of the sims in about 35 minutes was overstated. After about a half hour, having covered perhaps half the sims, my "tour" abruptly ended when we tried to enter a sim that was too full for the vehicle. I had to laugh at that.

Other builds looked impressive in their own way, but I wasn't particularly drawn to them.

And in something of an odd juxtaposition, the Midian City build - admittedly, nothing but a picture of the Midian City sim - was abutting a children's exhibit, complete with dozens of small pictures of smiling tots. I pictured them growing up, getting armed, and heading to Midian City for a rumble.

I realize the theme said "virtual worlds" - plural - but it was still a little odd to see the competition with its own build. (See picture above.)

Eventually I found some familiar flags, at the NCI exhibit, and realized I was homesick. I had had far too much of the future.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Obolenskidonia, or New Babbage Changes Hands

Ah, the fickle hand of fate!

No sooner than I had posted an account of my recent trip to Babbage when I heard of Doctor Obolensky's ouster of Clockwinder Tenk and the Doctor's coup d' etat. (News sometimes travels slowly to Caledon.)

I returned to Babbage, only to find it a much grimmer place. Signs of the occupation were everywhere: Smashington mechanical guards, slogans plastering the walls propagandizing for Doctor Obolensky, a citizenry scarce to be seen.

And yet...signs of resistance as well.

Propaganda - and counter-propaganda

Elsewhere, others recount the capture and deposition of the Clockwinder. One can only hope he is well, wherever he may be drifting.

Doctor Obolensky sent a missive to the Babbagers, which I reproduce below:

Tremble before me you insignificant worms!

Just last evening, my ship came in, quite literally! Some of you may remember my
mechanical army that occasionally patrolled my former lair at Clockspire Cove.

Well, little did any of you suspect, that far from being destroyed when Clockspire met its doom, they were spirited away to a secret warehouse! A few improvements here and there, and they were ready for the Day of Reckoning! Today!

My cunning plans have removed the Clockwinder from the picture, and when, or should I say if, his dull-witted sidekick returns from his diplomatic mission, he will find New Babbage to be a thing of past, and Obolenskidonia risen in it's place!

Some of you will find my rule an easy yoke, as you will be shrewd enough not to irritate me with babble like "But I don't want to work in the factory", or "Please, please, not my spleen."

Others, will not be so intelligent, and will find themselves quickly in the clutches of my merciless mechanical minions!

Those of you interested in positions in the lucrative fields of tax collection, curfew enforcement, sweatshop management, or counter-revolutionary elimination, please contact my agents.-

Overlord Obolensky, MD, CVB.

The Doctor leaves no question who is in charge

I encountered one of the metal beasts and raised my shotgun to it, discharging my entire load at its ghastly face, but to no avail.

Shotgun blasts were ineffective against the Smashingtons

Outside Town Hall

A small sign of encouragement from Caledon?

I stare out the window: Babbage seems a little more soiled than usual today

One can only hope that the oppressive yoke of tyranny is lifted soon, and the democratic reign of Clockwinder Tenk is resumed as quickly as possible. Still, a little discipline never hurt anyone. Perhaps Doctor Obolensky can use his time in power to clean up Babbage's urchin problem...

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Babbage Square

Though I have been to New Babbage many times, I had never really explored it carefully. (Little did I know that the Primgraph would make New Babbage its featured sim. But exploring it myself was more interesting anyway.) I started in Babbage Square.

I wandered into the new town hall, an elaborate, multi-story creation, complete with elevators. The main floor has an up-to-date map of the entire nation.

The skyline of the town, with Pearse'd and Cut in the center of the picture, shows the industrial nature of many of the buildings, which belch out soot until the air becomes dark and thick even in the middle of the day.

Such is the price of progress, however. These small shops, with their charming fronts, caught my attention. The airship in the background is another signature of Babbage.

I had arrived shortly after some sort of building contest, and I relaxed for a few moments in one of the entries to the seating contest.

More of the Babbage Square skyline. In the center, the Loki Absinthe building.

Below, Cleanslate & Co.'s factory, complete with forbidding gate.

'Tis a dirty life, that of the Babbage', but the townsfolk seemed a happy lot. Perhaps that is what comes from having an absinthe distillery in the center of town.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Hair Fair 2009 - Walking in Molassas Toward a Sugar Overdose

I made the mistake of wandering to Hair Fair 2009 one morning. Foolishly, I had thought that, because the number in-world was around 50K, the fair itself would be bearable.

How wrong I was. The initial sim had 46 avatars in it. Time dilation was down to 0.10 much of the time. Walking was neigh impossible; when it happened at all, it was like moving through molassas. Textures would not rez - textures of hair which, um, is the point of the whole thing, no?

After a half hour - and making it through perhaps half of one sim - I gave up. But here, preserved for posterity, are two representative photos of the build. I felt as though I had ingested an entire package of Smarties, topped off with a package of Twizzlers.

Meteor Shower!

Dame Ordinal announced that a meteor shower would commence over Caledon Perenelle and, the implication was, would continue until the land was entirely terraformed.

Dame Ordinal works in mysterious ways, and one had the impression that these meteors did not develop in the heavens. Curious, I jumped in the Steamray and set out for Perenelle.

Much damage had already been done to the island by the time I arrived. Another metor fell as I was making my first pass over the island, its yellow flame lighting the night sky.

Another landed on the pier, which appeared to be the only surviving man-made object on Perenelle. I landed for a closer look. Indeed, the metallic rock was still nearly molten when I arrived.

It then occurred to me that a meteor hitting the Steamray would do it - and, by extension, me - no good whatsoever. At that moment, I left for Eyre at full speed, leaving Perenelle to Mother Nature's - or Dame Ordinal's - wrath.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Shopping, Not Shopping, and One Perfect Metaphor

It occurs to me, not for the first time, that so much of the grid is one shopping place after another. I realize everyone needs to pay the rent, but it seems odd that clothings and objects can be monetized in a way that other types of entertainment cannot.

I found myself in a shop called Old Time Prims, which sells a small number of outfits from the twenties through the forties. (That's the nineteen 20s through 40s, for those still in the Victorian Era.) One would think that the architecture of that era would be interesting to a number of people, or the cars from the era, the warplanes, something other than gingham dresses and sensible shoes. If those other things generate interest, they certainly do not generate income, and so I stand in a perfectly nice house, looking at perfectly nice clothes.

Along with Miss Micki Anthony. Now, perhaps she enjoys different eras, but she didn't really strike me as a 40s kind of gal:

I spent some time flying across Zindra, looking at what the Lindens had installed. The North Resevoir, in the Laffoon sim, had a concrete pumping station. Inside, barrels of toxic waste leaked, and apparently spawned some interesting wildlife:

I call him "Torley." Anyway, finding a giant pink frog amidst a bunker full of toxic sludge seemed to epitomize Zindra.

Monday, June 22, 2009

...But It's Still Rock & Roll to Me

Zindra. Sin City. Well, Kama City, actually. Miss Orr's "Greyhound bus station from 1949." They can dress it up, but it's still a hub filled with avatars trying to look cool and talking nonsense among themselves. I was reminded of the Billy Joel song: "New Wave, dance craze, anyways it's still rock & roll to me." It's the inanity of what passes for much of SL.

Now, I realize the Lindens are still in the process of moving the seamy underbelly of Second Life (yeah, registered trademark and all that) to...what was it? Zima? Zuma? Oh, right, Zindra. But when I went, it was a sterile environment.

The weird "traffic lights" on the roads that run as a grid throughout much of the continent are ugly, distracting, and pointless. Just to show how much of a rebel I am, I ran the red light. Twice.

Of course, I'm part of the large group of people who never saw the need for placing the red-light district into a ghetto, and who thought that doing so created more problems (what does constitute "adult" material, anyway?) than it solved. Maybe it will be more interesting as time goes on. It would almost have to be.