Here I am, taking a break from the shitstorm real life had handed me this past month, hip deep in an interactive mystery novella, chugging down complimentary margueritas as fast as the Red Light club can mix them. An exquisitly animated hunk named Gino gyrates his glistening pelvis in my direction, but asking a doctor if your child has a normal life expectancy is a special kind of fun that puts you less in a shoving dollar bills down somebody’s crotch kind of mood and more in a ” put on some fucking clothes and get a real job” state of mind.
Sigh. In my last post I told you all that my 16 year old son was being treated for Cardiac Lyme disease, which was causing severe arrythmia. I told you what we had been told, that the syptoms were going away, and that he would probably make a full recovery, without needing a pacemaker.
Well, that all went down the crapper pretty quickly. The arrythmia came BACK worse than ever, and my son began having symptoms that got him an emergency slot on the operating table. So, my boy now has a pacemaker. He will also have a normal life, and a normal life expectancy. And he is very matter of fact about it all; interested in the procedures, asking lots of technical questions, and basically sailing throught the whole thing like he was getting his teeth cleaned.
And although I managed to laugh and joke, and bring Mom food and Star Trek vids to the hospital every day, I was crushed. I had nightmares and crying jags; I continually lost things and missed appointments. My online friends were a huge source of support, and going inworld…
I tried to write, but I was way too shaken up. So I went inworld and began working on the museum; I rebuilt a sewer tunnel, and was tweaking Chinatown, when I came up with the idea of putting up a representation of San Francisco’s iconic City Lights Bookstore, which is actually on the RL Chinatown border. The area, a notorious slum in it’s day, had evolved into an important cultural center, an idea that I thought fit in beautifully with my Slum City. I must have been homesick, because the research for that idea made me feel lighter than I had since this whole mess with my son’s heart began in September. Then, to my unmitigated delight, I discovered that next to the bookstore was a “poetry street” dedicated to my beloved Jack Kerouac! I HAD TO HAVE THIS!!
Of course, I am no builder. It took me hours to make a crappy facsimile with a small picture of the bookstore in a corner, which was okay with me because I am realistic about my building abilities. Then the World’s Most Amazing Estate Manager popped in for a look. We chatted about this and that, I asked him if he could fix a stone for me, thanked him, and went to bed.
When I went inworld the next day, I found that the WMAEM, who IS a builder, had actually looked up what I was doing, shoved aside skyscrapers and shifted cement blocks, to make a cobbled alley for me, just like the one in San Francisco! When I finally stopped crying and IMing mushy thank yous, I worked there in every spare minute for days. And when I was done …
Hello my dearest dears! How marvelous, here we all are ready for another whirlwind adventure on OpenSim, the software platform that hosts hundreds of independent grids, many of whom choose to be connected by an amped up teleportation system called the hypergrid; which allows you to to explore these brave new worlds, making friends from all over the planet, having wild new experiences, and amassing enough free content to make you just dizzy. Don’t worry; I mean the kind of dizzy where you realize that having built a tribute to Jack Kerouac, you probably have to build a reproduction of the jazz club Haruki Murakami owned in Kikubunji where he first started writing because any show of favoritism on your part could concievably shift the balance in that epic battle spanning time and space poor brave Haruki is locked in with the ghost of Jack Kerouac over YOUR literary affections. Definitly not the kind of dizzy where you could need a pacemaker, on which I am now an expert.
If you simply do not know how to get on OpenSim, ( and believe me, you are not alone) please see my “How To Get On OpenSim in Six Ridiculously Easy Steps” page, located at the top of this blog. And don’t forget my “Newbie Glossary”, also at the top! It’s easy! Come on! Come spread your wings in the free metaverse!!
For todays adventure, we will start on my beloved home world Craft, the Friendly Grid where the big news is four spectacular new regions belonging to resident Thalion Outlander.
Just go to Craft and type Forrest into the world map. Forrest 1-3 will also appear; I would recomend starting at Forrest , which has some of the most beautiful woodland you will see in virtuality.
Thalion has an wonderful eye for detail, such as the lighting change when you enter the moors. Through the mist, you will see the outline of a Tudor town, and perhaps even some spires poking out through the trees. You should eventually stroll toward the town, and head toward the picturesque cemetary.
Here I am with my dear friend, award winning artist Tosha Tyran, and Thalion. Tosha had IMed me, and said, “You need to see this!”
This is not only a splendid reproduction of Lincoln Cathedral, it is also a continuance of Thalion’s walk on the wild side.
Check it out. A Foucault’s Pendulum. I didn’t get the connection immedietly either. Remember way the hell back in 1989, when the book of this title signalled a spectacular return to form by Italian novelist and philosopher Umberto Eco, who, after conquering the world with his very mainstream The Name of the Rose, did a turn around jumpshot into hundreds of pages of meticulously researched erudite symbology and obscure cultural references that sent the millions of folks who thought they had seen his A game, stampeding for any exit. Hardcore lit geeks, who knew him well before all that bestseller foolishness, happily welcomed Umberto back to the kingdom of Nerd. Foucaults Pendulum was the beautifully convaluted story of three small time publishers, who, out of boredom and just a hint of malice, concoct a Templar conspiracy that they hope will bring business their way. As happens so often in life, their fiction takes on a life of it’s own.
Which has what to do with Lincoln Cathedral? WELL, that stampede we talked about barreled straight into the arms of a gentleman named Dan Brown, who wrote a barely researched, highly simplistic novel smattered with enough biggish words, anti catholicism, and famous places like Westminster Abbey, to make the memory of that deer- in- the- headlights moment when Umberto seemed to be on the brink of listing the entire billion names of God, fade quietly into the pschological sunset. When Westminster Abbey turned up its nose at the fim offer, the Da Vinci Code movie was partially filmed in LINCOLN CATHEDRAL,which was not featured in the book, but nevertheless draws thousands of Da Vinci Code tourists every year, generating a lucrative cottage industry of Templar and Masonic conspiraces around the whole area. Umberto must be so proud- Go Lincolnshire!
At least I THINK the Eco/Brown thing is what Thalion is going for- I didn’t really ask the right questions during the tour, but his Foucaults Pendulum is swinging over astrological signs, and these stained glass windows are old Tarot cards… what the hell else can he be doing?
Even if you are not a not a huge Templar/Masonic conspiracy fan, the Cathedral is a sprawling, gorgeous build to explore, and a marvelous addition to Craft and the hypergrid! Well done Thalion!!
Now, the big news out on the hypergrid itself, comes from the ladies of Nara’s Nook, a virtual writers colony run by the brilliant and infatigueable biomed engineer turned romance writer and poet, Nara Malone. Their latest, very ambitious event, is called The Hypergrid Stories Project; a three dimensional presentation of their short stories and poetry, that whisk the reader across the hypergrid, with one story actually leading you to one of the bigger closed commercial grids, whose name escapes me…Second something or other.
To participate in this groundbreaking project, jump into the main landing area at region Greyville, on Nara’s Nook Grid. See the boards, at the top of the picture, behind the building?
Every board is a blam gate, meaning you just walk into it, and it takes you to a specific destination. The first board on the right, and the second board on the left, take you to the poetry builds.
The board on the right goes to the WMAEM’s parcel, Pitcairn, on Craft! This is the only one stop installation. Here, as on many of the builds, the themes involve steamy adult romance.
The second board on the left is an enchanting exception. The sweetness of “word bender” Oshi Shikigami’s winter poetry combines perfectly with Arcadia’s whimsical Cogtown. You are on Craft, at my museum:) The blam board will drop you at the Spirit of Arcadia, Slum City Teleporter, click for the menu, and teleport to Cogtown! Click the poetry for a chat reading!!
And now to on to the stories! To my right is author Siobahn Muir, and to my left is brainbox Nara Malone. It is important to remember that “groundbreaking” is spin for the first damn time anyone has tried something. The mechanics of the stories are by no means perfect, but you are on the hypergrid now, where we saddle up and ride the unexpected!! These stories are a terrific free metaverse adventure!! Here are some tips to make that ride a bit smoother!
Tip 1. Before you walk into a story, take a good, hard look at the board! The illustration and title will often be used as a sign telling you where where to go next!
This is the first stop in Tina Glasnek’s story. There is really no indication you are supposed to go in the house, other than being dropped in front of it.
Tip 2. Although they are usually marked, THE TELEPORT OR LANDMARK WILL ALWAYS DROP YOU VERY NEAR THE NEXT STEP!! Do yourself a favor, and don’t wander off!
Inside the house, you will see these red squares. These squares can come in different colors, but they are always part of the stories. There are three kinds:
A)If they are standing they are blam gates
B)Collision: they tell you part of the story in chat when you walk over them
C) If you click them they give you notecards or landmarks.
Tip 3. The story parts are made to be set off in a certain order, and they are not all in the colored squares. You need to click or interact with the things you see around you. Walk over carpets.Sit in chairs. If the story says he ran upstairs, go upstairs. If he then goes back down, go down and reclick everything. Sometimes objects will give you different information on the second pass.
This is the Redlight Club and Hotel, located on the very vehicular Next Reality Grid.
Tip 4) Sometimes more than one author uses different areas of the same region. Follow your story CAREFULLY! If you get a landmark, that is your next step. Again, don’t wander off or try to jump between stories- they will only work one at a time, and in order.
If in spite of all your clicking and colliding, you still get nothing, just IM Nara or the author. All kinds of things, like region restarts that the writer ladies may not have been aware of, can bork the scripts.
For those of you who may not be particularly interested in romance or adult genres, have no fear-the stories vary enormously in plot and style.
Tip 5) Never underestimate Nara and her fellow strumpets!!
The Hypergrid Stories Project is running until March 17th, 2014, so there is still time for you to experience this one of a kind good read!!
Now it is Arcadia time!
Part 1: The Hobo’s LullabyGo to sleep you weary hobo
Let the towns drift slowly by
Can’t you hear the steel rails hummin’
That’s the hobo’s lullaby – Goebbel Reeves-
For those of you who do not follow me on facebook(nooo!) or regularly read my blog(whyyyyyyy?) the museum I keep referring to is OpenSim’s first Arcadia Asylum Museum, which has gradually engulfed not only my life, but my regions of Monte Gordo and The Spirit of Arcadia, on Craft, the Friendly Grid. For those of you who still have no clue what the hell I am talking about-Legendary Arcadia Asylum is one of the metverses oldest, most famous, prolific and contraversial creators.There have been museums in SL dedicated to her work for years, but there were none in OpenSim, so I started one:) The museums in Second Life, and now Craft, and Inworldz, are dedicated to collecting and distributing her hundreds of iconic OpenSource creations. And ever since I have opened the Museum, folks have been showing up saying, “I have this or that Arcadia themed thingamabob.” If they aren’t too much crazier than me, I put thier landmarks in the Slum City souviner box. This is the latest addition.
You could think you were in Second Life’s famous Calleta Hobo Camp, couldn’t you?
They even have my favorite SL celebrity NPC ,The No Greefin Turkey, strutting his stuff!
Of course, after a while you can see the difference. You are on the free metaverses own, eternally surprising Clone Life Grid!!
Yeah, they need to tweak a few things. I wrote about Clone Life a while back when they tricked me into a visit, and then wowed me the most ASTONISHING free content- I really thought they couldn’t get higher on my wow- o- meter, but…
The Clone Life Calleta is much grander concept than the Hobo Camp. Grid owner Druskus War says it is a hommage to his friends Arcadia Asylum and SL Hobo King Orhalla Zander, who are pictured on the main entrance. He says Clone Life wants to spread the message of Calleta, which is sharing freely, a philosophy we live by out here on the hypergrid. The buildings you see on the main street are all original pieces by Druskus, and are free to copy, as are the wonderful vintage billboards!
The used car lot and vehicles are the only original pieces from Arcadias Slum period. I have gotten permission to put up a couple more I think deserve to be on display somewhere, but are just too damn much for my audibly groaning regions.
Calleta is simply massive.
Take your time exploring, there is so much to see here- and when you run across the bunker, click on the floor for Druskus take on Arcadia’s sewers! You will not expect this! The Clone Life Gang is adding to this region all the time, AND there is going to be a grand opening!! So keep coming back!!!
Part 2: The Big Rock Candy Mountains
In the Big Rock Candy Mountains,
There’s a land that’s fair and bright,
Where the handouts grow on bushes
And you sleep out every night.
Where the boxcars all are empty
And the sun shines every day
And the birds and the bees
And the cigarette trees
The lemonade springs
Where the bluebird sings
In the Big Rock Candy Mountains
– Harry McClintock-
Okay, I am now going to admit something. Everytime I went to the SL Arcadia Asylum Museums, I used to get angry. It wasn’t fair. In spite of all my scrounging, and so very many generous donors, only about half of Arcadia’s splendid content was available on the hypergrid, who I think deserve it as much as anyone. I would flip through those SL museum vendors like a hungry kid in a candy store, trying to remember every detail, so if I saw something, anything, out here in the black, I could track it down for the museum. It was slow, slow going. It was hard. It wasn’t FAIR!
Notice how that was the past tense?
In January I got the most freaking massive donation EVER!!! We are talking HUNDREDS of items. Right up until my kid got bunged in the hospital for the last time, I was running inventory checks and boxing every spare second of the day. I think it is now safe to say that the hypergrid has 99% of Arcadia Asylum, Aley Aira, and Aley Residents content, including her latest Seaview Pier collection.
Unfortunatly, it is way the hell too much for my museum on Craft. Soooooooooo….
The handouts indeed grow on bushes!!!! Most of these items are not to be found ANYWHERE ELSE on the hypergrid!!! I have also integrated Falene Hawks and Han Held’s defunct Nova Arcadia region items into the Flotsam and Nemo collections, which are now damn near complete!! None of the items are scripted, and many are MASSIVE, so pay attention to the descriptions and notecards! If something is not set to copy, please contact me, or the region owner, the Indie Author Extraordinaire, Crystal Brewton.
And now my dears I must love you and leave you. I would like to thank Nara and the ladies of Naras Nook, Thalion and Tosh, the WMAEM, Druskus and Althea War, Crystal Brewton, Han Held, my oh so generous anonymous donor, my family, and of all of you, for joining me on my small adventures. Your company means more to me than I could ever hope to express in words. If Jack and Haruki weren’t otherwise occupied, I would ask them- hey, I didn’t know you could get a ghost in a full Nelson!
The sweetest of dreams and the brightest of days to you all! Until next time, adieu!