Friday, October 6, 2017

Happy Halloween in Second Life!




If in any quest for magic, in any search for sorcery, witchery, legerdemain, first check the human spirit.

Rod Serling







Halloween is one of my favorite holidays in Real Life (RL).

(No, I don’t go trick or treating anymore. Significant Other made me stop.)

Autumn is in full riot when it occurs.  Summer is a memory.

It’s then followed by my next favorite holiday, Thanksgiving, which then leads to my favorite one of the whole year, Christmas!

Of course, Second Life (SL) is no slouch either when it comes to Halloween.  In fact, it may give RL a run for its money here. 

IMHO Halloween may be the biggest holiday inworld with the biggest and baddest costumes and parties.  Not to mention all the haunted, spooky locations that pop up to be visited. 

Naturally, at this time of the year, I turn to my oldest friend inworld, Perryn Peterson, Mayor of Mieville and impresario extraordinaire of its social life to tell me what he and his merry band are up to for Halloween!

We’re not to be disappointed! 

This year’s theme is a magical town with a hint of witchcraft and magic thrown in for good measure that happens to be surmounted by an impressive castle. 

The town is called FloxWarts and the event is called FloxWarts Halloween! 


The spirit of Halloween is evident throughout the town. 

This is without a doubt the most involved town setting from the gang at Mieville.

For one, I kept getting lost.  (Significant Other says no surprise there and is willing to bet I wouldn’t stop to ask for directions either.) 

There are a myriad of streets, alleys, byways, and dead ends.

Oh, and BTW watch out for the spiders in the alleyways and the Whomping Willow.  (Just go see for yourself with that last one.)

As in all Mieville events, FloxWarts Halloween is a non-stop social whirl leading up to the main event on Halloween. 

Close to one hundred merchants are offering their wares in shops and carts
throughout the town for the shopping pleasure of visitors. 

Entertainments, gachas, dancing, amusements, food and drinks, and much more will be available to delight guests.

A pumpkin hunt, whereby players can earn points by catching small pumpkins rolling around all over the place to buy gifts, will be ongoing during FloxWarts Halloween.  (This is very similar to the acorn hunt in the last Renaissance Faire.)    

There are new merchants to add to the growing community.  A few are: Porcelan Resident, Xanna Wahwah, and Abondurant Resident aka Miss Phoebe. 

Be sure to check out the FloxWarts Express!


An amazing train assembled exclusively for this event by Troy Waxman.

(Hint: You can find it by following the little blue arrow on the floor of the main (actually the only) train station.  A must for train aficionados! 

There will be broomstick riding and unicorns!

Don’t miss FloxWarts Castle either! 

“Floo powder” will transport you around which you can find in the fireplace at the Faulty Firkin arrival area where you’ll start your journey.  Also, check out the chairs there too! 

As always, a Mieville production is fun and well worth attending.  FloxWarts Halloween is no exception!

I strongly recommend your going especially if you enjoy Halloween as much as I do. 

Further, Mieville is a wonderful community of people to go and hang out with.  

And, in case you don’t believe me, FloxWarts Halloween has been included on SL’s Top Haunted Places Tour & Hunt this year!

FloxWarts Halloween runs from October 7th to the 31st and can be located here.    

Please come and enjoy yourselves and maybe you’ll run into me!

Additional pictures from FloxWarts  Halloween can be found on this flickr page. 

I’d like to thank The Companion for once again helping me out and taking all these wonderful photos. 

I’d also like to thank Perryn for once again taking the time from his busy schedule to give a pre-opening tour and to everyone in Mieville who make wonderful events like FloxWarts Halloween happen!

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, September 23, 2017

How Long Is Too Long in Second Life?






The point is to keep trying new things, meeting new people, visiting new places. Once you settle into a rut, no matter how fun that rut may seem, you stagnate. You might as well be dead.

Lenore Appelhans







This question has been in the back of my mind for a while.

“How long is too long in Second Life (SL)?”

Yes, I’m asking that question of myself.

(Significant Other blinks in surprise.)

What might be going on here?

 I guess the real question is how do we stagnate?

Doing the same thing with the same tools all the time, one asks one’s self, “What’s
the point of it all?”

Friends slowly drop away, sims close down, and all are missed.

Yes, new ones come along, and no criticism of anyone or anyplace, but it doesn’t feel the same. 

The virtual world around us in SL still imposes its strictures on us.

(Ever try to have a large crowd inworld?  Not much has changed in that regard since SL started.)

We lack an economy in SL.  I mean an actual, vibrant one.  The game Monopoly has more action than SL IMHO! 

Can we stay at the fair too long?

I don’t know.

What was once new and novel is no longer new and novel. 

Maybe SL is not meant to change but we are. 

We’re meant to grow and move on and SL is a staging area for us. 

(Significant Other cautions me that I’m starting to get philosophical here.)

Maybe the question should be, “Why stay too long in SL?”

Yes, many will say that Real Life (RL) offers the same conundrum to us.  Life
changes so what do we do about it?

But, I don’t think it’s the same thing.

While I’ve always been a proponent of SL and still am, I’ve always seen it as an extension of or complementary to RL not as an equivalent or replacement. 

I’m going to mull this one for a while and my three loyal readers may be hearing a bit more about this from me in the near future.

I’d love to know what others think about this topic!

Please send me your thoughts and comments!

(Even if it’s just to tell me to stop my virtual navel gazing and get back to work blogging about SL!)

I’ll post back the comments I receive!

Many thanks! 

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, September 2, 2017

Are You Going to Renaissance Faire VII in Second Life? (I Sure Hope So!)






But life is never a material, a substance to be molded. If you want to know, life is the principle of self-renewal, it is constantly renewing and remaking and changing and transfiguring itself, it is infinitely beyond your or my obtuse theories about it.

Boris Pasternak



It’s that time of the year again!

Leaves turn color and fall to the ground. 

The days grow longer.

The oncoming crispness in the air can almost be felt.

And, my old Second Life (SL) friend, Perryn Peterson calls me.   

Perryn is the Mayor of Mieville inworld and impresario extraordinaire for all that happens there.  His merry band helps him in all his adventures and there’re a lot of those to be had!

The reason for the call is the Renaissance Faire which takes place every autumn in SL.  This year is the seventh event and it promises to be the best ever!  (Significant Other is curious where Perryn gets all his ideas from.  I attribute it to natural talent.)

Renaissance Hunt & Faire VII, to use its full title, is celebration of the Renaissance inworld (Why the Renaissance you may ask?  Well, it was certainly more fun than the Dark
Ages and Perryn would tell you its costumes were more colorful.) and the SL community.  Merchants bring their Renaissance themed merchandise and SL residents come from near and far to participate in the all the fun ‘n frolic.

This year’s theme is Kings, Queens, & Fools!

The venue for this year’s Faire has been totally redone.

And, when Perryn and his crew redo something, they really redo it!

The Faire occupies a full sim and takes full advantage of the all the new allowed prims. 

The new landing zone is in the middle of town.  From here, a visitor can meander through its streets and wander off into the countryside and down to the sea shore.  Hills, dales, and mountains await the intrepid explorer. Lush forests and meadows break up one’s walk.  Waterfalls, brooks, and streams add a peaceful serenity. 

The landscaping alone is worth a visit to this year’s Faire and It’s all the handowork of Mike Olbracht, Perryn’s SL partner.  I must stop here and call out his work.  Mike worked for weeks to create the natural settings for the Faire and he has outdone himself!  (Perryn and
Mieville have a knack for attracting some of the best talent inworld.)  Mike’s trademark inclusion of natural wildlife in on display throughout the Faire and trust me, you can’t miss them!  (Like my old friend, Donkey!)  BTW Mike is available for private assignments when he’s not working in Mieville somewhere.  Anyone thinking of doing any landscaping or terraforming inworld should definitely look him up! 

Several other Faire participants whom I’d like to call out follow with their acheivements.

Miss DragonLady Majestic, an old friend of Perryn’s, is giving away dragons which you might see some flying about down by the harbor!

The popular Rennie dances by Miss Cyneswith Luik, who isn't inworld as much since her lovely, little Real Life (RL) daughter was born, are back again.

Ktahdn Vesuvino's area, the Faire’s DJ has a spot and he'll have Music Nights there on Sunday evenings, during September.

Artorius Constantine is the brilliant designer of the Tarot reader in the Gypsy camp (my favorite spot).  He has male and female ones.  They are amazing fun!

One of this year’s new attractions to the Faire is a mini-hunt based on acorns which disappear and reappear elsewhere at the Faire.  This has been designed by Tailahr Winnikow, who is brilliant with this type of work.  Regular visitors may recall her Great Pumpkin patch from Halloween a few years ago.  When players have accumulated enough points by clicking acorns, they click a sign and it gives them all of the prizes.  (Where’s the sign?  Come on now, I can’t give away all Perryn’s secrets!)

Sadly, we remember a member of the Mieville community who passed away in RL since the last Renaissance Faire. 

Kaydge (better known as Kage), partner of Seth Stratten, made and donated a whole slew of buildings to use at the Renaissance Faire.  They are located down at the harbor.  He
died in RL not long ago, in his late forties, far too young.  His buildings and the harbor are named after him, the Kage Memorial Harbour.

Rest well old Friend and thank you for all your work and friendship over the years!  Your creations will stand in memory to you! 

As always, Renaissance Faire is lots of fun!

Another new addition this year is jumping in the leaves!  (Significant Other’s eyes roll.)

Apple bobbing is available too! 

Fortunes will be told at the Gypsy camp which looks a lot bigger this year.  I think wandering inworld is becoming more popular! 

There will be music and dancing not to mention a tavern with a barmaid who serves your drinks!  (Please remember not to touch her and to tip well!)

The Maypole and tree house are back as well.

And, of course, there will be gachas!

Renaissance Faire VII runs from September 1st to 30th and can be found here.    

Additional information can be found on their website. 

I encourage everyone who can to drop by and visit the Faire!

Whether it’s to participate in the Hunt itself, the mini-hunt, join the revelry, or just
appreciate the beautiful scenery, don’t this miss this opportunity to meet a great group of people and have some fun as autumn draws near. 

Renaissance Faire is fun and challenging, come on down!

Additional pictures of Renaissance Faire VII can be found on this flicker 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, August 26, 2017

Helping Others in Second Life XII – Save the Alamo!






Remember the Alamo!

Texas



I’m writing tonight on behalf of a friend in Second Life (SL) and one of the most impressive builds inworld.

I’m going to appeal to the residents of SL who appreciate and understand what it takes to create a great build inworld and then to maintain it financially.

I’m also appealing to all the Texans out there, both in SL and in Real Life (RL), who honor the memory of the Alamo.   


My friend is Lora Chadbourne and she is one of the most creative and realistic builders in SL.    

I’ve blogged before about her work.  From the sacred at the Tomb in the Holy Land, to the whimsical with the Simpsons’ home, the historical at Plymouth Rock, and finally to where no man (or woman for that matter) has gone before with Star Trek. 

All her works show her attention to detail and faithfulness in recreating scenes from RL whether fictional or non-fictional. 

Lora is truly one of the greats inworld!

Her piece de resistance is her reconstruction of the Alamo.

Yes, that Alamo.

The site where a group of men died for freedom.

I’ve saving this site for my story because I was so impressed by it that I wanted to be able to give it full justice. 

Then, recently, I received word that the Alamo may soon close due to loss of funding.

The tier (SL rents) for the Alamo had been sponsored by the University of Texas at Arlington.  Their financial support will come to an end on September 30th of this year. 

If this happens then SL will lose one of its great treasures.  And, we’ve been losing too many of those as it is already! 

This isn’t going to be cheap folks.  It costs just over $1,100 per year to maintain the Alamo.

This is what I want to know…

Are there enough Texans, friends of Texas, and committed residents inworld to arrange funding to keep the Alamo open?

This is going to require more than casual donations made every month to make tier.  I know of other sims that try this funding model and it’s ugly and stressful.

The memory of the Alamo requires something more reliable.


Here are a few ideas…

Is there an individual or organization willing to take over the funding entirely?

Can a consortium of several parties be assembled to commit to funding?

Does anyone know of any other funding options that might be pursued?

If you can help in anyway then please contact Lora inworld and she’ll be happy to work with you. 

The Alamo can be found here in SL. 

I encourage everyone to drop by and see this impressive build.

If anyone from RL is not familiar with SL and would like to see it then please contact me and either myself or another will help you come inworld to see the Alamo.

It would be a shame if Lora’s masterpiece becomes another Lost Treasure of SL!

Please help in any way that you can!

Keep those cards and letters coming in!

I’d like to thank The Companion for taking the pictures used in this story. 

Additional pictures of the Alamo 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, August 19, 2017

Does Second Life Exist Outside of Second Life Anymore?






Community is a sign that love is possible in a materialistic world where people so often either ignore or fight each other. It is a sign that we don't need a lot of money to be happy--in fact, the opposite. 

Jean Vanier



Recently, I’ve stopped for a moment to catch my breath.  (Significant Other says it’s about time.)

Real Life’s (RL) been busy.  (Don’t ask!)

I haven’t been in Second Life (SL) as much as I usually am and when I am, I’m
running around like the proverbial chicken with its head cut off.  (I’ll ignore Significant Other’s observation about what else is new.)

Not being able to get inworld and wander about as is my usual wont, I looked around in RL for signs of SL. 

I have to say that I was a little disappointed by what I found or more aptly didn’t find.

Let me tell you about it!

I used my usual tools for doing searches on the Internet, Twitter and Google.

On Twitter there wasn’t as much as I expected.

Yes, there were tweets.  Mostly sporadic one offs with no underlying themes were want I came across.  I didn’t see the epic tweet storms that seem to accompany other activities in the Twitterverse.  (Finally got to use that word in a sentence!)

Google was even more disappointing.

Once, I got past the Linden Lab and other official results, and then places like Wikipedia, the  search engine results tended to go back in time pretty quickly.  Again, no big themes or issues.

Overall, there wasn’t as much original work about SL on the Internet as I’d expected
or remembered from years past.  There seems to be a dropping off underway.

Maybe the search algorithms are to blame but something else seems to be afoot.

I know there’s good content out there still from others not to mention myself. But, you have to know where to look for it. 

Could the SL community be circling the wagons and retreating inworld?

I’ve noted before that big builds seem to be going away inworld maybe the same is true of original content on the Web. 

Or, could people just be getting tired?

Could Sansar be distracting people?

I don’t know but the content is missing!

Not to be all doom and gloom, Wagner James Au’s New World Notes, Inara Pey’s Living in a Modem World, and Caroline’s Second Life Advenures (The latter is NSFW so be careful where you access it form!) still post quality stories regularly and are well worth following. 

Please like, reshare, and comment on their work!  (Mine too please should you have a mind to do so!)

Or, how about being a guest blogger yourself?  If the others won’t have you then I will!

If you know of good SL bloggers and I haven’t listed them here then please send their links to me and I’ll help give them a shout out!

Many thanks!

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, August 12, 2017

Sex and the Single Avatar in Second Life XX – They Write Books about this Stuff!






The vital factor of virtual reality is immersion, the degree to which the user's senses are limited to the simulation and screened from a real world. 

Fjodor Ruzic



Sometimes my life as a blogger about virtual life in Second Life (SL) gets interesting.  Or rather, more so than it is usually is.  (Significant Other’s head shakes and I’m reminded to take out the garbage later when I’m finished writing.) 

Sometimes Real Life (RL) wanders into my SL existence.

Like when a RL author, a published author who actually earns a living from writing, approached me inworld and asked if I’d be interested in reviewing her latest novel.

As my British friends would say, I was gobsmacked.  (Yes, I do have a few although they’ve asked that I not reveal their identities.)

After checking that this author had the right person and not some other struggling wannabe I said, “Yes!”

(Fellow wannabe writers out there know what I’m referring to.  We exist in a demimonde between those who are “real” writers and everyone points to with admiration and those who do the pointing and wonder why we can’t do the same.  Significant Other has always been loyal and stood by my side confident that I’ll never become a “real” writer.  Significant Other is smiling smugly as I write this.)

OK, enough of me and my insecurities!

Let’s talk about this RL author!

Olivia Devon, her pen name in RL and also the name of one of her SL avatars, is the author willing to risk her name and reputation with my blog.  Her tag line is, “I write books. Some of them are naughty. Others are more well behaved.” 

For the record, this book is naughty!  (Ergo, that’s why it’s in the Sex and Single Avatar series.)

Oh, yes, the book’s title!

The book is PLAY [Manhattan Lux] and it’s a fun read about virtual reality, virtual worlds, and, of course, sex!  (Lots of it!)  This is part of the Manhattan Lux series Olivia writes centered around a sex club in Manhattan.  While PLAY is third in this series, reading
the previous books isn’t necessary.  I didn’t but after reading this book, I plan to!

I don’t want to give away too much of the plot or any spoilers but I’ll say a little. 

PLAY is the story of a relationship between a driven, high tech male executive and a smart but hurt female programmer.  They spend much of their time in a virtual world very much akin to SL and using a virtual reality tech that makes Oculus Rift and Sansar look like a coloring book with a box of crayons missing a few colors.  Think teledildonics on steroids.

Olivia understands virtual worlds and virtual reality.  Unlike some books which come across as either overly simplistic or go straight to Star Trek holodecks, she keeps both feet on the ground.  Her writing is a logical extension of current virtual technology.  Honestly, if Linden Lab had had a little more imagination and guts then SL would be more. 

The experiences and scenes based in the book’s virtual world are written by someone who has immersed herself in these worlds and lived among us.  Most importantly, she understands that virtual worlds are more than just a game and that virtual relationships are as very real and can be as painful as RL ones.  You can’t make that up. You have to experience it for yourself.

Her understanding of virtual communities as being more than just a group of avatars just standing around is evident. 

Olivia is also a builder in SL.  One of the principle locations in the book was based on her build inworld.  It’s quite a build and can be seen in this video she prepared for her blog. 

And, she’s got the sex down too!  Enough said there!

Finally, PLAY has great writing and storytelling. 

Olivia writes under various pen names in RL and has been a longstanding resident in SL.  (And, no, she won’t give me any of these various identities.  Significant Other says she’s a prudent woman.)  She’s a gamer and I suspect a closet Whovian. 

Olivia makes being a geek sexy! 

I recommend PLAY to all who enjoy a good story and especially to those who enjoy one based in a virtual world without having their intelligence insulted.  Well worth the money and time spent reading it!

Also, I hope to have an interview with Olivia in my blog shortly so keep an eye out for it! 

I’d like to thank Olivia for inviting me to review her book and for writing it in the first place.

Check out PLAY and Olivia’s other writings!

I know I’ll be!

Full disclosure, I received a free review copy to prepare this story.  Although, I did later buy an ebook copy so I could mark it up. 

PLAY is available at most ebook vendors and can be found here at Amazon.

More information about Olivia and her books 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!