Thursday, July 2, 2015

The Fourth of July in Second Life


The United States is the only country with a known birthday. 

James G. Blaine

 

 

 

          It’s summer!

          (At least up here in the Northern Hemisphere!)

          Which means fun, friends, family, and parties!  (Significant Other arches an eyebrow and wonders aloud if this is my way of saying we’re expecting company.)

          For Perryn Peterson and his merry band at Mieville in Second Life (SL) this is as good a time as any for a party.

          They’re doubly fortunate with excuses to party because it’s time for the July 4th celebrations in Real Life (RL) (At least here in the States!) and the seventh anniversary of the founding of Mieville!

          As I’ve learned to expect from Perry, there will be a full agenda of activities over the long holiday weekend and all are invited!

          Here’s what’s planned:

 

 

Mieville 7th Anniversary Victorian Fete Schedule

 

 *** FRIDAY, 3 JULY 2015 ***

    FIREWORKS by Magician Spyke  

    5:00 PM SLT

 Location:  Mieville Chesterton Feeshing Pier   


 

*** SATURDAY, 4 JULY 2015 ***     

    MERCHANTS' FAIR & CONCESSIONS

    Ongoing Saturday and Sunday 4-5 July

    Location: The Clubhouse, Victorian Steampunk Mieville Chesterton Park  


 

***Saturday 6:00 - 8:00 PM SLT***

Celebrate the 4th of July at our 7th Anniversary Fete!  Come early and watch the fireworks (5 PM SLT)!  Refreshments are available! Shopping too!  Wear red, white and/or blue and we'll see you there!

Dance to music by DJ Ktahdn Vesuvino!

Win L$-PRIZES-L$ for best costume and titler! 

Play Trivia and win L$!

                           

*** SUNDAY, 5 JULY 2015 ***     

FIREWORKS by Magician Spyke

 1:00 AM SLT


 

 

***A DAY in the SUN***

Sunday, July 5th at 2 PM SLT


 

 

***AND AN EVENING on the LAKE***

Sunday, July 5th at 6 PM SLT 


If you have a ship that you can bring and setup, please arrive at 1:30 PM PDT at 5:30 PM PDT and set up your vessel. If you don't have a vessel, but want to party on one, please come to the landmark at 2 PM PDT or at 6 PM PDT. Be prepared for dancing, conversation, maybe fishing or joining in singing a sea-shanty! 

There is no end-time for the festivities. Party as long as you like! You may even party long enough to enjoy an Evening on the Lake. 

It's all in good, safe fun. No icebergs or sharp reefs in sight, so please come!

         

As always, Perryn delivers a fun filled program for Mieville and its guests!

          Please come and enjoy the festivities!

          You’ll be glad you did!

          Tell ‘em web sent you!

          My thanks to Perryn for supplying with the information for this story not to mention pulling the whole party together!

          As always, I’m grateful to all inworld for their kindness and time in stopping to talk with a stranger who was passing through their lives

My Twitter handle is @webspelunker.  Please feel free to follow me and I’d be happy to follow you.

I can be found on Google+ as webspelunker Ghostraven.

My flickr Photostream is located here.

On Skype I’m webspelunker Ghostraven.

I welcome feedback from readers, please either comment on my blog or e-mail me at webspelunker@gmail.com . 

          If you would like to read about my other adventures in Second Life
please click here.

          Open roads and kind fires!

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Castles in Second Life III – Schloss Neufreistadt


 

Many a book is like a key to unknown chambers within the castle of one’s own self.

Franz Kafka

  

          Thank you for returning to this, the third in my series, The Castles of Second Life! 

          I’m especially excited about this story (Significant Other is beginning to worry about me.) because a new friend from Second Life (SL), Han Held, gave me the subject for this story after reading my last castle story. 

          Today, we visit Schloss Neufreistadt which is located in the Nefreistadt, a Southern
German themed sim run by the Confederation of Democratic Simulators.  (One of the things I really love about SL is how much the communities love to get themselves organized!)

          I decide to do a quick tour by myself for this story.  (Significant Other nods knowingly and mumbles something about not wanting to ask for directions.  Not sure about the reference.)

          I arrive in a LZ in a town square reminiscent of a small Bavarian village from Real Life (RL). 

          A church and shops surround as I stand on the elaborate mosaic in front of the Teleport Board which offers the various destinations in the Neufreistadt. 

          I rez to the Schloss itself. 

          (OK, if you haven’t figured it out yet, “schloss” is German for “castle”.  See you learn a few things hanging around with me!)

          The Schloss, like many castles inworld I’m finding, is enormous! 

          It stands on a promontory looking out over the sea. (Another characteristic of castles that I’m finding in SL.)

          Behind high walls, the keep is surrounded by a large hall and other towers.  The classic orange Bavarian roofing tile is much in evidence.

          At the base of the promontory the buildings of the town crowd together.

          This is definitely a very distinctive build for SL.  Many castles are just surrounded by a few outlying buildings or countryside.  One gets the feel of a bustling, urban environment here.

          I approach the main and possibly only gate and enter the castle proper.

         
Plaques on the wall inform visitors of where they are.

          A grand staircase winds its way into the bowels of the building.

          I follow.

          Another distinctive feature of this build are the reproductions of RL artwork and architectural components lining the walls.

          Balconies look out over the town and the sea.

          The first large room I encounter reminds of the famed and missing Amber Room from
Saint Petersburg.  Period furniture is placed around the room to give it a feeling of being lived in without overdoing it.  Additional art works hang from the walls.

          My first visit to Schloss has been brief but I’m impressed.

          This is not just some large SL build which just sits there empty.

          The caretakers have given careful thought to the appointment of every detail in the Schloss.

          I will return for future visits and seek to answer unanswered questions from this one.

          Like, for instance, where’s the dungeon?

          I recommend all who love a good castle not to mention a good art collection to drop by Schloss for a visit. 

          It can be found here.     

          I’d like to thank Han Held for recommending Schloss to me.  It was well worth the visit!

          Additional photos from my tour can be found on this Flickr page.   

As always, I’m grateful to all inworld for their kindness and time in stopping to talk with a stranger who was passing through their lives

My Twitter handle is @webspelunker.  Please feel free to follow me and I’d be happy to follow you.

I can be found on Google+ as webspelunker Ghostraven.

My flickr Photostream is located here.

On Skype I’m webspelunker Ghostraven.

I welcome feedback from readers, please either comment on my blog or e-mail me at webspelunker@gmail.com . 

          If you would like to read about my other adventures in Second Life
please click here.

          Open roads and kind fires!

 

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Discovering the Holy Land in Second Life


 

Both Jewish and Roman sources and traditions admit an empty tomb.

Josh McDowell

  

          Recently, while wandering around the grounds of First UCC, my friend and senior pastor there, Bec Kellstrom, directed me to check out a recent addition to the campus.

          Always willing to investigate a new build in Second Life (SL), I headed over.  (I really think Bec genuinely wanted me to see this and wasn’t just politely telling me to get lost as Significant Other suggests.)

          The new build is a replica of the Garden Tomb from the Holy Land.

          The Garden Tomb is one of the sites purported to be where Christ was buried and arose from after His crucifixion.  (I heed Significant Other’s caution to tread carefully here as Upstairs purportedly takes a dim view on anything considered blasphemous.  Duly noted.  As Significant Other occupies the same dwelling as me there are legitimate concerns about lightning bolts from on high.)

          In Real Life (RL), the Garden Tomb is held sacred by many Christian faiths and is visited by thousands of pilgrims every year.  The head pastor of First UCC, Jer Newstart, being one of them. 

          I was also fortunate in that Bec introduced me to the architect and builder behind the Garden Tomb, (That’s the SL one not the RL one!) Lora Chadbourne. 

          Lora was kind enough to agree to meet with me and to give me a tour of her build which is the basis for this story. 

          At the appointed time, Lora and I meet in front of the Garden Tomb and she guides me through her handiwork.

          Standing outside the Garden Tomb, one faces a walled structure of stone reminiscent of ancient times.  In RL terms, the wall’s height is about forty feet.  (Significant Other warns all to be wary of any eyeball estimates that I make.) 

         
A small entrance in the wall permits entry through a passage leading to the tomb’s courtyard.

          Standing in the interior courtyard, the tomb itself stands against the far wall with the great stone rolled back.

          Surrounding the courtyard, access paths lead to a walkway which runs around three walls forming a U-shaped structure centered on the tomb and overlooks it. 

          Gardens and sitting areas surround the courtyard giving a very calming effect.  Period pottery houses additional flowers. 

          Entering the tomb, one is taken in (at least I am) by its starkness and simplicity. 


          Even in a virtual world like SL, one (OK, again, it’s me!) is impressed by the solemnity of the location. 

          I recognize that not all share my faith, or may not even have one, but as I’ve wandered around the world in RL, I’ve always been in awe of the sites held holy by other faiths.  There is always a sense of otherworldly presence in these places.  They all seem to share the same stark stillness of the Garden Tomb too.

          (I’ve always felt that the Big Guy is a lot more open to the various forms of worship of Her followers than we give Her credit for.  This is probably one of the reasons that I’m on the Inquisition’s watch list.)    

          While walking through the site, Lora gives me a little background about her motivations and approach. 

          For Lora, she’s wanted to build this site for a long time.  It has been a labor of love for her and she’s grateful to Jer and First UCC for agreeing to host it.

          The build is based on pictures Jer took on his visit to the Holy Land as well as Lora’s own research. 

          Lora explains that the sim is a mix of standard prims and sculpts with the exception of some of the plants, there is no mesh in it. 

          When I ask why so little mesh, Lora replies that she’s a bit of an old school builder.  (Sadly, a dying species inworld these days.) 

          Lora adds that her layout is a reduced version of the actual site, which is much larger.  She had to modify things a bit to keep the size reasonable. 

          I ask how long did it take to build and Lora answers with three days.

          This was a deliberate choice on her part because of the significance of the three days leading to Easter. 

          Lora’s attention to detail is evident in the construction of the Garden Tomb. 

          The stonework in the walls in particular caught my attention.

          The lighting in the tomb proper adds considerably to the effect of being there. 

          Lora has also located plaques strategically throughout the site to help visitors understand what they’re looking at. 

          A little about Lora before we go any further.

          Lora came into Second Life about nine years ago.  She says that it took her a while to get the hang of building things.  It was a steep learning curve for her.  most of her builds are labors of love.  Subjects that mean something to her on an emotional level. 

          (I’d heard of another one of Lora’s builds, the Alamo, located here, which Lora was kind enough to show me at the conclusion of our Garden Tomb tour.  It’s an equally impressive build which must be seen.  In future stories, I will be highlighting Lora and work.  Fans of Irwin Allen and Doctor Who be on the lookout for some incredible work!)    

          Not wanting to overstay my welcome (Significant Other wonders why I appear to be only concerned about this inworld.) I thank Lora for her time and take my leave. 

         
The Garden Tomb (located here) is an exquisite example of the work that can be done in SL to recreate RL by someone who is drawn to the subject matter and has the skills to make it happen. 

          The solitude of the site lends itself to quiet contemplation for visitors.

          I strongly recommend the Garden Tomb to all visitors to SL who wish to see what is possible and who not have the opportunity to visit the RL site. 

          I’d like to thank Lora for time in showing me her work as well as for her commitment to building some of the finest sites in SL.

          I’d also like to thank Bec for telling me about the Garden Tomb and introducing me to Lora.  (Hopefully, Bec hasn't damaged her friendship with Lora by doing so!) 

          Additional photos from my tour can be found on this flickr page.    

As always, I’m grateful to all inworld for their kindness and time in stopping to talk with a stranger who was passing through their lives

My Twitter handle is @webspelunker.  Please feel free to follow me and I’d be happy to follow you.

I can be found on Google+ as webspelunker Ghostraven.

My flickr Photostream is located here.

On Skype I’m webspelunker Ghostraven.

I welcome feedback from readers, please either comment on my blog or e-mail me at webspelunker@gmail.com . 

          If you would like to read about my other adventures in Second Life
please click here.

          Open roads and kind fires!

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Second Life and Real Life Meet in Cleveland!

 
There are so many hurting folks.  If we can just help people see that this takes church to people rather than relying on people coming to church, I think that would be something that can be seen. 

Jerome Newstart, Pastor of First UCC in Second Life

 

          As many of my readers who follow me regularly know (My thanks to both of you!) I’ve been spending some time with the First UCC congregation in Second Life (SL) since I encountered them when I went looking for God inworld.  (BTW She’s there, you just have to know where to look and be quiet about it.) 

          Despite Significant Other’s view that the only reason I hang around at First UCC is that they’re too nice to toss me out (They really are nice people but if I acted out I’m sure they’d toss me out.) I do hang out at First UCC a fair bit because of one major reason. 

          The reason is that First UCC is the convergence of both Second Life and Real Life.  (RL)

          First UCC is an officially recognized congregation in the United Church of Christ (UCC.)

          The programs at First UCC help children and many others with their day-to-day issues.  SL has become a portal for those who can’t access a faith community in RL.

          All are welcome here.  (Significant Other does admit that if they’re letting me stick around for that reason then they really must be nice people.) 

          Their recent recognition as an Open and Affirming (ONA) ministry is proof of that. 

         
So, when I recently learned that Jerome (“Jer”) Newstart, the head pastor of First UCC and Luci Drezelan, a senior staff member of the congregation, will be going to UCC’s General Synod 2015 in Cleveland, Ohio from June 26th to 30th, I wasted no time in scheduling an interview with them and Becca (“Bec”) Kellstrom, a senior pastor and board member at First UCC to discuss their plans and objectives while there. 

          (C’mon now!  Did you really think a church group was going to go to Las Vegas?)

          I met recently with Jer and Bec in his offices to talk about the General Synod and what it means for First UCC.  (Unfortunately, Luci had a last minute RL scheduling conflict and couldn’t attend.)

          My first question to them was what were Jer’s goals at General Synod 2015?

          Jer replied that there are several.

          First, attracting new volunteers, especially clergy, and members.

          Next attaining additional funding for the ministry.

          Finally, raising the awareness of First UCC within UCC.

          Jer emphasized the need for new volunteers as the needs of the congregation exceed the numbers of current staff.  (Who work very hard I can say from personal observation.)  He also hopes to meet a foundation willing to support First UCC’s work with a donation.

          I next ask about Jer’s plans to interact with the First UCC congregation while at the Synod.

          He explained that they will have two machines with which he will show the inworld campus to attendees when he and Luci are exhibiting.

          My third question is what message will they be taking to the Synod from First UCC.

          Jer replied that the basic, underlying message is that this ministry is a baby step toward new ways of thinking about and being the church in response to the way the world is moving. 

          I ask if there will be any scheduled events at First UCC for the Synod and Jer said that given the Synod’s schedule there will only be informal ones.  He hopes to do onsite training and presentations.

          Finally, I ask if there is a final message before Jer and Luci leave for the Synod.

          Bec answered saying so this is a great time for Luci and Jer to “WOW” everyone with
the info and hopefully inspire folks and then connect with the right people.

          With that, I thank Jer and Bec for their time, wish both he and Luci a safe and successful trip, and look forward to meeting with them upon their return. 

          I would ask all who read this story to drop by First UCC during the Synod and show your support for the congregation.

          If you’re attending the congregation and can help by either volunteering or making a donation please do! 

          If you’re one of the folks in these foundations that support charitable work and can influence decisions for the benefit of First UCC please do!

          In RL, I’m an errant Papist (Please no emails complaining about my use of this term!  My parish priest says it’s OK although he does wince every time that I do.) who is on the watch list of the Inquisition.  (I’ll bet you didn’t know that they never officially shut it down did you?) 

          But, I can see the value that First UCC makes to a broad and diverse community.

          Whatever you can do to help will be enough and will help people in ways that you may never know.

          You just have to do it!       

          I’d like to thank Jer and Bec for their time and assistance in helping me to prepare this story, given all that’s going on at First UCC these days, I appreciate their taking the time to meet with me! 

          And, please!  If you’re at the Synod drop by the First UCC exhibit booth and say hello to Jer and Luci.  They’ll be at Booth 834 in the General Synod Exhibit Hall.

Tell ‘em web sent you! 

(BTW Bec will be inworld during the Synod to meet visitors and to interact with Jer and Luci.  I also plan to drop by and meet visitors as well.  Please don’t use that as an excuse not to come!)

Or, if you can’t visit with us during the Synod then please make a point to drop by
First UCC later to see the beautiful grounds and gardens.

As always, I’m grateful to all inworld for their kindness and time in stopping to talk with a stranger who was passing through their lives

My Twitter handle is @webspelunker.  Please feel free to follow me and I’d be happy to follow you.

I can be found on Google+ as webspelunker Ghostraven.

My flickr Photostream is located here.

On Skype I’m webspelunker Ghostraven.

I welcome feedback from readers, please either comment on my blog or e-mail me at webspelunker@gmail.com . 

          If you would like to read about my other adventures in Second Life
please click here.

          Open roads and kind fires!

 

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Back on the Silk Road in Second Life


 
We had the kind of conversations that only great friends can ever share. They were touched with magic.

Tahir Shah

 
 
          Time has crept up on me for it’s time again for one of the great annual events in Second Life (SL)!

          And, that would be Silk Road Hunt VI: The Roman Empire! 


          Once again, this is being brought to us by Perryn Peterson, the Mayor Mieville, and his merry band! 

          As the title implies, this year’s theme is the Roman Empire.  (Significant Other says that I’ve always been quick on the uptake!)    

          Many forget that while the Real Life (RL) Silk Road in ancient times started in China and went through to the Middle East that its ultimate destination was Rome, capital of the Roman Empire. 

          Given how the theme of last year’s Silk Road Hunt had been Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves, Ancient Rome seems to be a fitting follow on for this year. 

          As usual, the Hunt has dozens of merchants on hand with fabulous gifts based on the Hunt’s theme for the bold and daring hunters who pursue these across the Grid.

          A list of the participating merchants can be found here and the gifts can be viewed here.

          As they did last year, the merchant Mountain Rose will have their own mini-hunt
which starts here. 

          However, (There’s always a catch isn’t there?) you have to find the entrance to the mini-hunt because it’s hidden!

          No, I can’t tell you where it is because that wouldn’t be fair and besides if I can find it anyone can! (Significant Other, while disagreeing in what is regarded as anti-social behavior on my part, does agree with me that if I can do it then anything past a vegetative state should be able to as well.)

          But, I’ll say this much, looking for the Mountain Rose mini-hunt is well worth the trouble especially for those who want a glimpse of Cleopatra’s world at the time of the Roman Empire. 

          (The floor mosaics alone are worth the trip!  Just watch out for the crocodile please.) 

          Inworld, the Silk Road Hunt begins as it did last year at the Asian Victorian Garden in Mieville.   (Before going into the pavilion and starting the Hunt, take some time to stroll the beautiful gardens created by Mike Olbracht, Mieville’s floral wunderkind.  His garden layouts have to be seen to be believed!)

          Perryn’s purpose with hunts like the Silk Road Hunt is to showcase the merchants of SL and their wares, to help residents (hunters) meet merchants, and to get out onto the Grid and have fun! 

          Silk Road Hunt VI: The Roman Empire runs from June 1st to 30th and the start can be found here. 

          Hunter information is available here. 

          I heartily recommend all dropping by and having some fun!

          Who knows?

         
You might set the record for completing the Hunt!

          I’d like to thank Perryn for his time and assistance in helping me to prepare this story, not to mention, his choreographing another spectacular event inworld!

          Additional pictures of the Hunt can be found here. 

As always, I’m grateful to all inworld for their kindness and time in stopping to talk with a stranger who was passing through their lives

My Twitter handle is @webspelunker.  Please feel free to follow me and I’d be happy to follow you.

I can be found on Google+ as webspelunker Ghostraven.

My flickr Photostream is located here.

On Skype I’m webspelunker Ghostraven.

I welcome feedback from readers, please either comment on my blog or e-mail me at webspelunker@gmail.com . 

          If you would like to read about my other adventures in Second Life
please click here.

          Open roads and kind fires!