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Sunday, July 22, 2012

Enchanting Midalon

Midalon Love Garden
There are times in Second Life when you think you are going to find something, however, you find something quite different and so it was with Midalon. This sim is enchanting and bigger than life. It is best seen with the environment setting of midnight. 

The flora is gigantic and it makes even the tallest avatar feel small, but that is the idea because this sim is patterned from the movie, "Avatar." 

When you land for the first time, it looks normal, nothing special, however if you hike up to the top of the hill and take a left you will see a dragon you can hop on and ride to the Gardens of Midalon; where you will find every inconceivable plant in your imagination and then some you have not thought of as well.

The dragon leaves you on this level so that you can enjoy your exploration of the nooks and crannies, there are so many places to dance and to cuddle with your sweetie. The artwork in these plants is truly amazing and not to be missed.

Midalon Love Garden is two thumbs up! 

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Relay for Life, in Second Life

The sim sponsored by the Peace Haven Communities
The opening ceremonies kicked off at 10 a.m., on the morning of July 14th, 2012. They honored those who have been fund raising over the last five or six months. This event is the biggest charity fund raisers in Second Life.

The honor lap for the survivors and caregivers opens the event! Watching the honor lap brought me to tears because I was remembering my late friends and family that have been victims of this disease and I stood along the side lines honoring those in my family who are still fighting. All Linden dollars raised throughout this entire event and today, will be turned into US dollars and given to the American Cancer Society.

The Relay for Life crosses 42 sims... the loop takes about 1.5 hours to walk or skate one loop! That does not count stopping to buy artwork, chat, or immerse your soul in the beauty around you! This is an opportunity to take fabulous photos of Second Life because after this day, these builds will be no more!

Be warned that sims, crash and you are blocked from coming onto the sim due to the capacity is full, however, eventually you will get onto the sims to walk the zombie track. The relay starts at morning and goes to dawn the next day, commemorating the struggle of survival. The morning signifies dawn of diagnose and the after noon about 2 p.m., is the time of treatment, evening is the time of struggle to overcome and the dawn of the next morning 24 hours after the relay begins is overcoming the disease!

We honor the victims of this disease and the survivors! Blessed Be! So log into Second Life and relay with us!  GO RELAY!

Sunday, July 8, 2012

The Return

City of Lost Souls
The Return is set on the land set aside by the Linden Endowment for the Arts in Second Life. The creator is Marcus Inkpen and he represents society's return to spirituality. This topic means so many different things to everyone, so this author will take a stab at an interpretation.

The meaning of life what is it? The landing spot at this sim, gives you an idea. Life is about the path as well as the journey. There are choices to be made along the path. Life is no longer simple as it once was as represented by the empty, dilapidated cabin in the woods. Sometimes we get lost on our path as represented by the forest.

Sometimes we drown, metaphorically, on that pathway, until we meet someone who helps us along, loves us, or gives us a piece of invaluable advice. There may be times when we do not recognize the value of that advice until later.

We allow modern technology to cut us off from who we are and we have forgotten how to nurture our souls. The small empty building at the top of the hill represents this technology.  As we gain knowledge we have forgotten that some things must be taken by faith, otherwise, we loose sight that others matter and that they are souls too, maybe even more lost then we are.

Technology leads to spiritual death leaving us with nothing, but ash in our mouths as represented by the empty mausoleum of a castle, which is the main focus on the sim. Why empty? This represents our souls bereft of substance because we are robots to technology.

In the end, it is up the the individual how you are going to feed your soul, but whatever you do, do it! Our souls are important, feed it, reward it!

This is a not to be missed sim as it invokes thought, feelings, and self-exploration! Enjoy!

Saturday, July 7, 2012

A Rare Moving Moment

It has been a pleasure to view the ice sculptures at the UTSA ArtSpace. Rebeca Bashly is an amazing artist and her work reflects her own "journey through [her] winter thoughts." All the artwork is made from white crystal.

All her sculptures explore the "parallels between the delicate and changing constitution of ice and of the female nature." She created "emotions allu[r]ing to the hazardous mind and hesitating soul." For me it was not until the final piece that the entire exhibition made sense.

This one piece makes my soul cry, it is beautiful and sad at the same time and it is called "Break & Enter." This is an absolute must see on the Highlights Gallery Tour!

The Beguiled: Art Gallery and Studio

Window of the Soul
There are times in life then the unexpected inspires us. So it was with The Beguiled: Art Gallery and Studio. This sim is laggy, but be patient as the artwork of Jilla Lamar is vibrant and beautiful. What was the most compelling, while waiting for the gallery to rez, were the views from the windows. This gallery has a soul, old and wise.

Jilla Lamar's artwork vibrates with passion, pathos, and enchantment. The vibrant use of colors in the pieces are wonderfully bright, drawing in the viewer to look, gaze and learn something new about themselves.

Most pieces are of Second Life and even recognizing where some of the pictures of the landscapes were taken! The artwork here indeed lives up it the gallery's name, The Beguiled.

Gazing Out, Gazing In

Real Art in an Unreal World

The Bridge, Ars Simularca
Ars Simularca is a part of NMC's SL Artist Showcase Island. The big names in Second Life art can be found here such as Sasun Steinbeck, Lea Supermarine, and Cherry Manga to name a few. This sim is best seen at the midnight settings, which is the sim's default setting!

There are interactive pieces of art that you can touch to change the settings, walk on and when you walk on in them like that big ball, the prims, change colors. There is a solar display where you can change the planets with an interactive HUD.

To say that this sim is big, huge is trite, it is awe inspiring, for example one of Lea Supermarine's sculpture's is a big square that is made from 200 tiny squares and connecting rods, it moves slowly and glows from within. There are not words to describe the majesty in these works of art.

The most amazing work of art is the three spheres that have moving pieces within and set to very calming and relaxing music. It's mesmerizing.

Ars Simularca sets next to NMC's Campus West, which is dedicated to some lovely artists and hosts some huge sculptures in the front of the Museum. The most amazing one is the Seraph, she is truly lovely.

These two sims are two thumbs up and not to be missed!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

A True Second Life Treasure

Da Vinci Gardens, Second Life
There are times, when exploring for new Second Life treasures, that you are disappointed, but then there times that one is truly astounded by the creativity and the vision of the artists that put sims and architecture together for the masses to enjoy. There such a sim called, Da Vinci Gardens and there are many treasure then the obvious ones on the surface. Whether viewed during full day, sunrise, sunset, or midnight this beautiful place truly enchants.

The entire sim is a work of art. It's as if Ancient Greece and Rome meets Egypt and the Future all at once. There are 14 destinations to visit here which does not include what you see when you first teleport into the sim. There is Atlantis sunken under the water, which also includes a fish cemetery, which is eerie at best. There is a massive volcano roiling into the waters where the ruins of Atlantis lie.

Gothic Castle
There is an entrance to the volcano, be sure that you do not catch fire as you enter! You can tour the volcano and find the dragon's lair. On the surface, there is a lighthouse, tree house, a Tudor Castle, a Gothic Castle, and beaches to visit.

When you first visit this Isle, you will want to hop onto the bat and take a flying tour of the beautiful region! The tour drops you off in a cave and you can teleport to anywhere else on the Island. You can move around the different areas using dandelions, dragons, boats, bats, and mermaids, to name a few. Be aware of the haunted tomb in the Gothic Castle!

Enter the pyramids of Egypt, this is the best feature of the entire sim, first tour the area with the flying carpet to enjoy the beauty of the region, when you return to the front of the pyramid, you can move through the pyramid on the flying carpet or you can walk through it... I would suggest for those who hate snakes to either fly or use the flying carpet. This pyramid is full of traps to deter the unwary traveler into not finding the Pharaoh's treasure. The textures used in this build are amazing and the best Egyptian artwork ever encountered in Second Life.

Alien Gardens
After surviving the traps in the Pharaoh's tomb, adventure to the future by blasting off into space, dancing  in space, and seeing the stars, or go to Mars, visit the aliens, or take a ride on the galactic slide! This sim will take some time to see and enjoy. This is a very romantic place complete with a piano that one may play and a Roman bath!

There are tip jars all over the sim, please be sure to tip your hosts, as this type of artistic sim is very expensive to maintain and it is truly a Second Life Treasure.

Pandoria the Land of Space

There are many space sims in Second Life, however, Pandoria stands out from the rest. The creators of this sim have combined space with an Otherworldly look. There are big, dark moons and smaller, brighter moons. An  asteroid belt is between the Aurora Borealis and the main space rocks. There are twinkling white and gold stars floating in space.

The use of purples, steel blues, and stark white, tie in the lovely experience that is outer space on Pandoria. The creators use these colors to develop lovely, romantic spots for sitting, dancing, and space diving, which is quite a bit of fun! There are also spots to sit and meditate and enjoy the serenity of space. They have several plateaus where you can dance, soaking in the ambiance that is Pandoria. 

This part of space has been colonized and things grow, there are trees, flowers, grass, and water! There are pavilions where you can have a quite interlude with your SL sweetie! The combination of artistic flare and the romance of outer space, and Otherworldly qualities truly make this a lovely spot to visit! 

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Relay for Life Charity Event

My absolute favorite charity event in Second Life is the Relay for Life, which raises Linden's for charity and the money is changed into Real Life money and donated on the behalf of all Second Life residents to the American Cancer Society to help find a cure for cancer.

There are many SL residents that participate and organize fundraisers, some of the most popular are concerts, games, and of course RacerX's Great Snail Races, the racers must pay a fee to race across about 15 sims and it's an absolute blast to watch. RacerX is a wonderful scripter who uses particles quite a bit. He participates in many events, but the year that I met him he made this Tiny Fairy Castle that was one prim, but it looked like many, many prims were used. The particles rotated through different scenes and ends with fireworks.

Sky Elf among the Sunflowers, Alurel
Many artists donate artwork and sculptures for silent auctions or outright purchase. This year, I had the opportunity to visit the Alurel sim that welcomes all fae characters and as a photographer had an absolutely beautiful time taking lots and lots of pictures. When you arrive, you teleport into their ballroom, which just  by itself is absolutely gorgeous and then exit to explore through the Elven drum circle. The sim although open to the public for exploration, however, it is home to SL residents who have chosen Alurel as their home, if you accidentally stumble across one of their homes while exploring and they are there apologize for disturbing their peace and leave.

This sim is an enchanting sim and the builds there a true works of art! Enjoy exploring Alurel!