YES I AM STILL HERE AND BLOGGING!! JOIN VIRTUALCHRISTINE FOR A BLOW BY BLOW ACCOUNT OF HER SUMMER ADVENTURES!! BACKSTABBINGING MICROWAVES!! GREAT MODERN LITERATURE!!! PACHADERM KNEECAPS!! MASQUERADE BALLS!!!! WHY SELEA CORE IS SO FREAKING IMPORTANT!!!!FRANCO GRID!!! METROPOLIS GRID!!NEW GENRES GRID!! DOUGHNUTS!!! MOJITOS!! A HOBO TORNADO!!!THE SPIRIT OF EL PACHUCO!! AND OBVIOUSLY MOUNTAINS OF FREEBIES!! ATTN NEWBIES!!

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Here I am, doing a spontaneous, high pitched reassesment of my terraforming skills, amidst the wreckage of what used to be the Loli Caverns exhibit on my Arcadia Asylum Museum in Craft, the Friendly Grid . After my  analysis had reached it’s conclusion, I took a  personal moment…

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… listening to the  “plop” as  the last shred of my dignity made it’s final descent into the great celestial crapper. It was time to do some serious reflecting.

Since coming back from my holidays it often seemed that life had become a minefield thrown down between me and  success in anything inworld or bloggy.  Over the summer break, my laptop appeared to have recovered from it’s state of unbridled despair, and, in an impressive diplomatic triumph,  enlisted a kitchen appliance in the  ongoing battle to knock me offline-thus halting my crushing intake of hypergrid freebies. I am completely serious, my computer guy was in the kitchen for half an hour, gibbering ” but a microwave CANNOT interfere with WiFi”  like a frighteningly tech saavy baboon who’s breathtaking command of two languages ultimately could not save him, my WLAN extender, or the microwave’s tainted soul. Left to fend by my wits alone,  I called on the resources my highest educational level provided and dragged ever major appliances over to the fuse box, showed them a screwdriver and told them I was not afraid to use it. Happily humming the Zoot Suit theme, I  then confidently  swaggered out onto the internet,  where the laptop’s  cunning contingency plan came into play,  throwing open the gates to an adware behemouth that chillingly survived  days of defrags, AVG sweeps, and anti malware whatever-they- are-called, only to be vanquished in 20 minutes by a free download called ADWcleaner, that my computer guy told me about in a  rather spectacular return to form. Finally able to go inworld, I found  that every single motherducking teleporter on  the Sanctuary Museum so badly fried that grid owner , Shaun Emerald, who has never had a tech baboon moment in his life, had to mount up and lasso at least one OpenSim developer. Okay he contacted them in a forum, but if you aren’t into overblown hyperbole, why are you still reading this post? On the non computer front, my job in an elementary school kicked in two weeks early,  and of course my son’s academic year began, so there were meetings and shopping and nagging and organizing, and THEN (you’re gonna love this ladies) my husband was written off SICK!!!!!!!!! Note to my married male readers: we do love you, we just want to love you the F**K out of our house. The minefield had officially rolled all the way to the  far horizon, and I began to wonder if, after one of the best summers since childhood, why was my karma coming around like a killer whale who’s trainer is unwittingly cooing ” But there’s no more fish big guy!” in exactly the same vibratory frequency as  an uppity ass elephant seal ?

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 worlds, many of which choose to be connected by an amped up teleportation system called the hypergrid, which allows you to endlessly explore these brave new worlds, making friends from all over the planet, having mindblowing experiences, and scoring enough fantastic free content to make you just dizzy. Dizzy with happiness of course. Not the kind of dizzy where your teenage son is holding onto your belt with one hand and your laptop in the other, as you hang out the kitchen window, dangling some 10 odd small appliances by thier cords whilst screaming-” I’ll drop them if you do not import those mesh undies in XXL  this INSTANT!!!”

If you 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 at the top of this blog. If you do not understand the terminology, please see my “Newbie Glossary” also at the top of this blog. Come on, it’s easy! Come spread your wings in the free metaverse!!

For today’s adventure we will start on the OS Grid, way the heck  back in the beginning of August. In an unprecidented display of organization and sheer dumb luck during the final countdown to our  annual family holiday in the  Algarve, I was able to do something other than mop staircases and bellow” YOU HAD 363 DAYS TO FIND YOUR  GODDAMN*fill in the blank*” – the chance to  do something just for moi-goin’ on a Hypergrid Safari!

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I wouldn’t admit this to just anyone, but I’ll tell YOU- as the evening crept up, my nerves became jangled. Safari organizers Thirza Ember is a MAJOR arts blogger from Second Life, and OpenSim, and  Wizard Gynoid is a Linden resident artist whose stunning mathematical sculptures have world class quantum theoreticians dropping by her installations  just to throw down the math geek  equivelant of “freakin a! ” Both of them know everyone who’s anyone here and in Second Life. Tweeting “Hi!” and saying”great post!” on G+ is one thing, but the reality of  hanging with the cool kids for at least 120 uninterrupted minutes began to give me serious pause. I resolved to use my standard in-over-my-head-gameplan: saunter in like I own the place, confidently greet the room, then somehow  keep my foot the hell out of my mouth  for the duration.

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That’s Wizzy  up on the right, making sitting over an elephant’s scrotum look snazzy, and metaverse titan John Pathfinder Lester  casually perched on his ear.  I was counting the hairs on the elephant’s knee as a babble deterrent, when  more people started to show up. My rising panic soon dissolved into puddles of delight! Halleluja! It was raining friends- first Leighton Marjoram, then Prax and Alex Nara Malone and finally Shaun Emerald. I could safely emerge from the pachaderm bristles and go on the Safari!!

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The tour destinations were awesome. First we went to Metropolis Grid’s spectacular reproduction of pre-doomsday Pompey. I hadn’t seen this ongoing community project in quite a few months…

safari_015…and was very impressed with how much bigger…

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…and beautifully detailed it was!

Then we went on to cultural juggernaut Franco Grid

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for Park des Artes dazzling Aids  awareness istallation on region SIDA

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…everything was going beautifully, Thirza and Wizzy were charming as always, my friends were providing so much  witty  banter that it was easy for me to just  shut the hell up and fly under the radar, where it was nice and comfy and my hoof remained miles away from my facial orifaces. Then it happened.

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The group suddenly did a detour to the teleport hub on Sanctuary Grid. I was totally confused, I hadn’t remembered Sanctuary being on the itinerary! The last time the safari had jumped from a Sanctuary hub, it had been a debacle- they had unknowingly used the grotty old one Shaun was going to rip down at the end of the month- and so had missed  this huge spectacular VAR region: the gorgeous landscaping, the crazy experimental jump gate, the rideable sea creatures, the boats, the picnic tables and… now these most listened to people in the metaverse were HERE, just standing around. In silence.

I started to really freak out.What the should I do? Shaun was nowhere to be seen,  was he here? Had he crashed?  If the safari jumped, they would yet again miss  all my friend’s hard work. Shaun can be, well, somewhat dignified, even professorial at times- if he hadn’t been asked to, would this guy really blow his own freaking horn ? And he thought of the man who had GIVEN me 9 regions for a public museum, not getting the credit he deserved, kicked in what my Mom calls, “you and your sister’s stone crazy overbearing mother dementia that you do not get from me.”

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When the going gets weird, the weird give the tour. I welcomed everyone to Sanctuary Grid and launched. Eventually I noticed Shaun had walked up and joined the group. He was listening along with the crowd, and I felt all puffed up. For all the times Shaun had bailed me out of whatever hellish situation I had landed myself in since living on Sanctuary, I had FINALLY been able to do something for him!

As people realized Shaun was there, they began asking technical questions. And as he answered, and smoothly leading the exchanges onto other themes concerning the grid and the gate hub, I realized he had put alot of thought into what he was saying. Merde. The safarians hadn’t been standing around waiting to make a gate jump, they had been waiting for a prearranged talk from the owner! I hadn’t helped Shaun- I had tourjacked him!!!

My foot siezed the opportunity and launched. Not only could I not stop talking, I actually began to refer to Sanctuary’s many wonderful amenities as “ours”. Shaun gallantly behaved as though this were all perfectly normal, and we sent the group through their gate together as they thanked us both for a good time. As they left I was of course wildly IMing Shaun   OMG I AM SO SO SORRY I DIDN’T SEE YOU AND I PANICKED AND THE MOTOR MOUTH KICKED IN OMG…. When they were all gone, he ever so kindly explained that he been there the whole time at the bottom of the hill, helping Nara Malone with something, but by the time he got to where the group was I  ” was in hostess mode”. He even said I had done a nice job. And this kindness from a person who couldn’t even see I was crying. Wow. What a great guy!

So, all warm and tingley from the tourjacking incident, I finally flew to Monte Gordo, a chirpy little beach town just down the road from Spain, nestled in the beautiful terraced orchards and whitewashed houses of the Algarve. The best summer since childhood had begun.

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The weather was perfect, my son was back in strapping young man form, tackling the waves, and walking for miles in the Monte Gordo countryside finding friendly horses and goats to feed and pet, my husband was is a good mood, and perhaps most spectacularly, the government had lifted the ban on vanilla cream filled doughnuts being sold on the beach! But for me, what sent this summer over the top was the books.

I’m not complaining, I am happy with my life and my choices- but I get homesick. Not just for places, but for my culture; things that are about me. An angelina whose origins are a tiny minority  like New England French Canadians doesn’t see much of herself in Middle Europe. Over the years, Portugal has eased that. And sitting on that balcony, in the warm sweet air of my childhood, looking out over the sparkling Portuguese estuary to the hills of Spain, every cell in my body purred as I followed  French missionaries into the New Mexican desert and the winding canyons of the Navajo in Willa Cather’s   Death Comes For The Archbishop,  . I then went onto experience a magnificently detailed and sympathetic portrayal of my ancestors lives, in Miss Cather’s contraversial Shadows on The Rock. From there I lit out over my father’s childhood, in the depression era Little Canada enclaves of industrial Massachusetts, with Jack Kerouac and Dr Sax. The  summer ethno literary pagent concluded with Kerouac’s journey back to the homeland – Satori in Paris brought me right to the day we left Portugal, where it morphed into the summer of  modern literature as my husband surprised me at the airport with a copy of my main man Haruki Murakami’s long awaited (I had the release date plugged into my calender for nearly a year!) english translation of Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and his Years of Pilgramage!!

I had died and gone to lit geek Valhala!! Devouring Tsukuru during the flight,  on our first night home, I came crashing back down to reality when I realized, my kindle was powerless, and I was out of new dead tree books! No, wait a minute, there was still this one I had bought from a vendor on the beach!! Well, they were out of dougnuts, and even though I had  over 200 books in my kindle,  a penguin with a funkadelic cover and a blurb about existentialism  is hard to resist when you AREN’T in a town awash in low priced mojitos! I rummaged around the pile of straw hats and beach towels, there it was- The Book of Disquiet, a prose work by the famous Portuguese poet, Fernando Pessoa. After the first few lines, I realized the summer of literature was reaching it’s crescendo.

And in spite of all the computer issues and RL obligations, inworld was not all aggravation and crashing.

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Well I DID crash completely out of Leighton’s Masquerade ball, on the new Queer Citizens regions in Kitely. My husband said he thought I was going to cry- I hadn’t seen my friends all summer, and for ONCE I had put an effort into my outfit…

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…but the next day I found out I had one a prize for my  ensemble(all pieces by my dear friend  award winnning artist Tosha Tyran) in abstentia!! Again from someone who couldn’t see the lip wobble!!

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The Hobo Village on “Thinkerer Melville” Selby Evans Cookie ll regions on Kitely has exploded into activity taking,  all the Arcadia Asylum Museums on the hypergrid with it to a whole new level. As far as I can make out this is largely due to Ada Radius, a well known figure in the SL theatrical scene who collects and uses Arcadia Asylum pieces as props for her many productions. This interesting, straightforward woman has hit the hypergrid like a hobo tornado- not just going through my stuff, and bringing in missing pieces, but CATALOGING the whole shebang!!! It gets better-  at last, at last, someone who knows what the freak they are doing is bringing in and tweaking the scripts for Arcadia’s mountain of stuff!!!  I keep thinking I am going to wake up!! Follow, heck, participate in this exciting new era of the Arcadia Asylum Recovery Project by joining the G+ community, Arcadia Asylum All Around!

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This was a great big what the fudge moment. I have written about 3rd Rock Grid before- it is my favorite closed commercial grid-that’s right, it is NOT on the hypergrid. Sooo, why is there suddenly a gate to it on Sanctuary?

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The gate lead here. It looked like an incomplete version of the 3rd Rock Welcome area..

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… there was a 3rd rock showcase board, but the landmarks it gave out didn’t go anywhere. A puzzlement. I went to the 3rd Rock main grid, which is definitly still closed, and hunted up people I knew there to find out what was going on. And the consensus was, unofficially, that the probability of 3rd Rock joining the hypergrid is growing like a blogger on a beachful of  legal doughnut vendors! I had jumped from sanctuary to   The 3rd Rock Beta Grid ,a test grid for um, things that are unofficial. I am unofficially very excited. If you would like to check 3rd Rock out, since we may be seeing alot of them soon, they are having a big Equinox festival all weekend! I am unfortunatly still too crashy to go, but tell em Christine said hi!!

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I had been on my way up the hill, when I got stopped in my tracks by the 3rd Rock conundrum. I was going here, to the gate that shares a hill with my regions. Why? Because all these gates lead to large collections of freebies. I was going to the last gate, Selea’s World.

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This is the welcome region.

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I had written about Selea before, but after seeing how much  here was new, I resolved to come regularly and keep everyone posted, because sometimes I think folks need reminding that Selea Core is  the biggest thing to happen in OpenSim since Linda Kelly. When you arrive on this white platform, you are standing on an entire grid devoted to high quality, original free content.

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The grid organization is immaculate. Selea says it is because the grid is her inventory. Imagine, her actual viewer inventory is almost empty. We will now drop the subject before my aptop-lay gets ideas. Let’s visit Aqua Fantasia.

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Here we are! Turn around…

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…and see what I mean about the organization? All of Selea’s regions have these teleport panels. You can always find just the catagory you need…

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..and when you find your item, click a panel..
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….and there is more often than not a full display of your purchase! And of course, a teleport back to the platform!

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Everything on Selea’s World is free of cost. Items like this marvelous house are fully scripted, and everything is full perm.

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And  though it is the only region that is not 100% freebie store, Selea’a Elf Art Gallery is good for the eye…

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… and the soul. I was so into the gallery that I nearly forgot!!

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Selea’s is the hypergrid’s premiere stop for seasonal decorations!

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Hehe, these pictures aren’t the half of it!! The really amazing thing is, the amount of new decorations she creates every year. Selea came online as I was grabbing like a blogger on the beach who was out of money and had tackled a doughnut vendor, and confirmed that she upgrades her deco every year. I asked her why she makes only free content. She laughed and said it was too much aggravation selling private content, the stuff seemed to always wind up being ripped off or re labeled-it’s much less stressy to  just put it out there full perm!! And as having access to mountains of wonderful creations without going broke makes  all of us less stressed, making Selea Core the first Elven Zen master of the hypergrid!!! Give the lady a standing ovation!!!!

And now my dears, I must love you and leave you! Oh no just a minute, there was one more little thing. Being so busy in RL and dealing with wave after wave of computer crises kinda took it’t toll. Even thought I had managed to fix the Loli caverns, I still couldn’t really do what I wanted online. After the grand adventure of my “summer of modern literature”, life without  big virtual travels seemed a bit colorless.I got bummed. I was reading the latest Hypergrid Safari post, and feeling sorry for myself, when I got to the end and jumped out of my chair!! I ran to the laptop and fired it up- I would NOT crash for this!! THIS was my freaking destiny!!

For the Safari had finally made it to  intellectual heavyweight New Genres Grid,which is, by it’s own definition, the sophisticated metaverse.

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Their website sounds a bit ,um, inflated until you get there and your jaw hits the floor.

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The safari had ended here, on the frightingly accomplished Alpha Auer ‘s Shapeshifter region. But I wasn’t there to see this…

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…or this…

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…or even this.

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I was here to see this. Pessoa’s Tower.

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And I didn’t crash once. Endless summer.

And now my dearest dears, I must love you and leave you. I would like to thank Thirza and Wizzy, and Shaun, Prax and Alex, Leighton, Nara, Selea, Ada, Selby and of course all of YOU for following me on my small adventures. Your company means more to me than I could ever express in words. The sweetest of dreams and the brightest of days to you all! Until next time, adieu!

 

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