June 02, 2007

We Have Always Been At War With Eurasia

In the sim of Suffugium, Squidsoft Collective has depicted a grim future. A future that is "secure under the eye of Suffugium technology." Posters encourage citizens to report suspicious activity, for the well being of the community. Everyone is a potential threat to peace.

police station

Obedience to law is liberty.

Police Drones monitor the streets, scanning visitors to weed out the anarchists. Subcitizens are strongly encouraged to register upon arrival.

palm scan

The kiosk also provides information about the rules and activities of the sim.

The scenery is a mix of urban design and science fiction. I was encouraged by a refugee not to buy anything from the souvenir stand - it's how they get to your mind.

gas station

Perpetual sunset drapes the city in shadow.

The only place I found to escape the prying eyes was the elaborate sewer system. Enter the maze-like passages through any manhole.


The sewer network connects the entire city.

Role playing is encouraged but not mandatory for visitors. A freedom fighter requested that I let the wider world know about the resistance - there is a shortage of recruits because of all the Raids.

Ponder the future.

Suffugium (102, 116, 34)

May 31, 2007

Guest Writer: Ignatius Onomatopoeia

A Grand Palais. . .And Lots of Artwork
by Ignatius Onomatopoeia

In a sim named after legendary bluesman Howlin’ Wolf, I found a different type of artwork at the Grand Palais Musee de Beaux Art. Though open for just a few weeks and still in the final stages of construction, both the Parisian building and fine-arts collection are worth a visit.

During my first trip there, I met Jacon Cortes and ROTFLCAKE Box of the Grand Palais. Box, whose avatar is a cyberpunk swordfighter, is both coder and rapscallion. Cortes, dressed like either a Mongol warrior or early Ottoman sultan (either way, a very lush look) explained that the art on the walls is for sale. He created the magnificent chandeliers; I cannot imagine how many crystalline prims went into each one. . .rug vendors, guest exhibits, and a tour service add more features to the museum.

The paintings I checked were priced at 100 Lindens or less, and they are rendered nicely enough to purchase a Frida Kahlo as a gift for the ever photogenic Kyo Runo, who served as my model during a second visit. I still have to decide what to get for myself.


Kyo and I were greatly impressed by the ground floor, and the designers are adding artwork quickly to the upper floors. The paintings are displayed well and grouped by artist or collection (Louvre, for instance). It’s a cosmopolitan touch to have the floor names by the teleporters in French.

The setting of the Palais is delightful enough to make one want to dress for the occasion. Thus I changed into a tux and we did our “La Dolce Vita” dance in tandem in the fountain outside the gallery.

dancin in the fountain

Then we flew up the roof to look at the hot-air balloon. Like the Venetian gondola tied up outside, when finished it will provide a guided tour of the sim.

balloon tour

To the owners of the Palais: Bon chance, mes amis!

Grand Palais Musee de Beaux Art, Howlin Wolf (190, 114, 21)

Ida's Note:
More snapshots from Ignatius Onomatopoeia's adventure can be found here.

May 19, 2007

Time Lord Technology

In my explorations, I haven't come across much in the way of science fiction builds that are open to the public. The Star Wars sims in particular are spectacular and immersive, but I am reluctant to recommend them as "sites of interest" because they are venues for role-playing. Nothing ruins a good firefight like a contingent of OOC tourists wandering about taking snapshots of the scenery.

Luckily, I happened to run across Marcus Prospero's TARDIS.

in the vacant lot

The missing "police box" sign is inside.

Naturally, since it is made with Time Lord Technology, the TARDIS is bigger on the inside.

engine room

I've always wondered what was at the bottom of these things...

With three levels and furnishings that are both lovely and interesting, there is plenty to look at and click.


Time Lords do lots of research.

the controls

Like all good Time Machines, the console has plenty of levers and knobs.

Considering that I have no Advanced Knowledge of the inner workings and the physics of the universe, my inability to make the thing go no matter what combination of levers and wheels I used is only to be expected.

Several of the control panels will teleport you to other locations! Don't worry, the Tardis follows you so you won't be lost forever.

Marcus Prospero's TARDIS, Lippert (153, 108, 171)

May 12, 2007


What appears at first to be a small, empty, Protected Land parcel is actually an underwater garden.

on the beach

coral and stuff

The land, coral reefs, rocks and plants are owned by the Governor, but Eric Linden is responsible for the creation of the objects. It is a tranquil spot.

The Cave Rua Water Gardens are another wonderful place to practice your scuba skills. More extensive than the Linden build, the Water Gardens are also a showcase for jemma Flora's underwater landscaping products. The merchandising technique is subtle, intentionally leaving the area lovely place to explore.


The cave system that is open for exploration is just as beautiful as the underwater portion of the build. There is also a tour hud available if you aren't the "stumble around looking for cool things" type.


While you don't need scuba gear to breath underwater (part of the Magic of SL), the reasonably priced sets at Hinkley Engineering are a fun enhancement to exploration. Especially with the underwater breathing and splashing sound effects.

Underwater Reef, Vari (149, 51, 21)
Cave Rua Welcome Area, Rua (87, 137, 29)
Scuba Gear, Hinkley Engineering, Myrtle (4, 23, 47)

May 07, 2007


It's the last thing I expected to see in Second Life.


An International House of Pancakes.

the ihop building

I'm not kidding.

Ida eats pancakes

Tony Tigereye is responsible for this singular build.

IHOP, Meola (187, 101, 28)

May 06, 2007

Forget it, Jake.

While the new sim of Downtown plays host to a variety of shops that cater to a variety of tastes, the whole sim is a brilliant and detailed build (almost overwhelmingly so) with layers of depth and interest. What really caught my eye was Chinatown.


It's a pocket of brightness in the dark and drab city. There are a few retail shops along the street, as well as a seedy, deserted hotel that also appears to be a crime scene.


And, of course, takeout!

take out!

You can pick up the metro at the Chinatown station.


If you fall off the platform (which I completely encourage), take time to thoroughly explore the tunnels, off-shoots and doors that lead to strange places. It's dark and complex down there - you may want to pick up a Top Hat With Light and pack a lunch before setting off. The trains actually run (I didn't know this until I had an Unfortunate Accident), so keep an eye out and don't touch the rail.

Telehub, Downtown (124, 92, 101)
Chinatown, Downtown (120, 45, 101)
Chinatown Metro Station, Downtown (49, 40, 101)
I.J. Ginsburg Hat w/Light, Steelhead (56, 87, 28)

Downtown has a forced landing spot, so follow the red arrows to find the locations above. The complexity of the sim does make it difficult to find specific places. I did not notice a directory or a map. The upside is, as long as you aren't in a hurry, there is plenty to see and enjoy.

April 27, 2007

Casey Jones

On the Isle of Moonlight, not only is there a Yard Sale, retail shopping, bumper cars, boats and other amusements, but there is also a train!

train station

There are engineer hats in the vendor to the left.

The round-sim trip takes about 15 minutes with the train making whistle-stops at commercial points of interest and passing several scenic venues. Click the engine to start and stop.

water tower

Because it's a steam engine!


Please follow tradition and scream when you go through the tunnel.

The train winds it's way through the landscape and up a hill to pass the mysterious (and off-limits) Moonlight Castle. I also noticed a good deal of elevated track. When I say "elevated" I mean meters and meters and meters up in the air. I think a switch has to be thrown by the owner to take this dangerous and exciting high road.


The castle dominates the landscape.

As a bonus feature - there is a Geocache is in the area! Visit the official SL Geocaching website to find out more.

Isle of Moonlight (186, 117, 21)
Get your own train at Kitto's Toys, Webworm (33, 34, 92)

Guest Writer: Joon Kim

Endless Summer!
by Joon Kim

Is the weather getting hot? Do you want to get rid of stress and not worry about final exams? Many of us probably came back from Spring Break not wanting to do any work.

Want to keep that Spring Break spirit alive until summer? To enjoy views of the beach, nice weather, and fun surfing or swimming right now, head for Siggy’s Waterworks Island. This place is for everyone to visit and enjoy: it's not a nude beach.

Joon arrives

On arrival, it's important to wear proper gear to have fun in the water. Swimsuits and beach-toys are for sale at the sim. Then take my advice: when you are ready to jump into the water, just hit the closest pool and cool down your virtual body. Swim around and enjoy the environment. Get on the diving board and try different styles of dives into the pool, then hang out with friends.

ripple water

After spending some time poolside, I rode the water slides to plunge into the ocean. When that thrill got old, I purchased a surf board and enjoyed the waves. Then, when I was done playing in the water, I headed to the bar for free rum (and drank responsibly). If that was not enough, I also relaxed on the beach tanning and got in a hammock to relax while enjoying the beautiful scenery.

in the hammock

I finished my day at Waterworks with a jump in the hot tub to relax my muscles from all this hard work.

Siggy's WaterWorks Island, WaterWorks (240,243,21)

**Ida's Note**
Joon Kim is an RL student of Ignatius Onomatopoeia. As part of their course work this semester, Iggy's class took a "field trip" to Second Life (which, quite frankly, tickles me to death). Thanks for the article, Joon, Siggy's WaterWorks is one of my favorite places!

April 22, 2007

silent sparrow

Two of my favorite stores, silent sparrow and factotum dicassel, have moved to their own sim. Not only does the new local offer a great Neovictorian shopping experience, but Hyasynth Tiramisu and Jessica Ornitz have a developed the entire sim in classic dark gothic fashion.

The layout is one of a sprawling estate (or smaller town - take your pick). The impressive main building, reminiscent of an institution, houses the main shops and is surrounded by elegant smaller buildings, paths and woods.

building exteriors

The smaller buildings contain (among other things) art galleries and living environments.

Naturally, it is always night. While this adds to "Victorian Mystery Novel" ambiance and many areas take advantage of local lighting effects, it is not the greatest light for pictures. I offer these few to pique your interest.

charming chaple

The cemetery is just outside.


The green house off the main building.

trap door

There is a secret in Jessica Ornitz's RL gallery.

The hidden trap door leads to the hydroelectric facility that powers the sim. There must also be a back up power supply as the water wheel was not turning at the time of my visit, yet the electric lights worked perfectly.

There are many little nooks and crannies for visitors to discover: paths meander, ponds and streams hide secrets, wildlife abounds.

silent sparrow (60, 236, 32)
chapel, silent sparrow (144 185 32)
Jessica's Gallery, silent sparrow (152, 202, 32)

April 21, 2007

Guest Writer: Ignatius Onomatopoeia

The Mysterious Ape of Mauve
by Ignatius Onomatopoeia

A few meters (as the avatar flies) from the Dominus Motor Company, home of the impressive Shadow muscle-car, I found a mystery of SL: King Kong (the 1930s version).

Iggy and the Ape

There he was, cradling Fay Wray in his paw and as large as Willis O'Brien intended him to be. The great ape stands in "Crimson's Dig," a piece of land that, to this relative newcomer to SL, reminds me of an Englishman's mad folly. There is a fire-breathing dragon, Easter-Island monoliths, waterfalls and fountains.

Well, say no more. Time to start changing avatars and having some fun.

First I took off my skin and did my best to impersonate the great stone heads.


Next I did a hirsute "La Dolce Vita" pose in the fountain behind Kong, but to be honest I don't think Anita Ekberg has a thing to worry about.

two apes!

Getting one's avatar to stand on Kong's head invites comic disaster. It's easier to jump into the water or sit on the dragon's head.


What on earth is this abandoned theme park about? I can tell the curious reader this: one day Kong's eyes are open and the next, closed. Attempts to edit him or wear him like a skin have failed me.

So have my attempts to seize control of Kong and run amok in SL, or even free Fay from his grip. So if the King is not some huge robot, who IS opening and closing his eyes? And why are there other slight changes between visits? 

Crimson Sunchaser, a SL Charter member, is still playing with these digs, I think. One note: the Digs crash a bit. It's a complex piece of real-estate.

Dominus Motor Company, Chartreuse (68, 26, 30)
Crimson's Dig, Mauve (47, 169, 31)
Read More of Ignatius Onomatopoeia's adventures ...In A Strange Land.

**Ida's Note**
Great find, Ignatius! To the right of King Kong is a series of waterfalls built by an individual named CrazyMonkey Fever. Coincidence? I think not.