A trip to Huntington Beach in Second Life

Huntington Beach, October 2019 – click any image for full size

Huntington Beach is a seaside city in Orange County in Southern California, located 35 miles south-east of down town Los Angeles.

– From About Land, Huntington Beach

So reads the introduction to Jade Koltai’s new public homestead region of Huntington Beach that opened to the public earlier in October. Jade is, as many will be aware, Serene Footman’s long-time collaborator in s range of region designs, many of which I’ve written about in these pages down through the years. So on hearing about this build (via my ever-vigilant region spotter, Shawn Shakespeare 🙂 ), I was keen for us to go take a look – more so, perhaps, as (a good while ago now) I travelled through the real Huntington Beach while on a trip following the Pacific Coast Highway.

Huntington Beach, October 2019

Today, the town is best known for its almost 16 km (10 mi) long beach, the tides of which have led to Huntington Beach to becoming known as Surf City, and being granted trademarks as “Surf City USA” (both of which were the cause of, and factors within, a long-running dispute with Santa Cruz, California that was finally settled in 2008). However, the city has a long and colourful history, part of which is reflected in Jade’s design.

Huntington Beach perhaps came to prominence in the early part of the 20th century (although settlements in the area obviously go back much further than that). At that time, people were encouraged to settle in the area by an encyclopaedia company offering free parcels of land in the area to those purchasing the entire set of their books for US $126 (roughly US $3,200 in today’s terms). Those who did so found their parcels ballooned in value when oil reserves were found beneath them, leading to something of a oil rush. The first well to extract this oil was established in May 1920 – and within 18 months, the number of well heads had grown to 59, giving the coastline of Huntington Beach its distinctive “forest” of giant oil derricks dominating the skyline – and it is this aspect of the city that is reflected most clearly in Jade’s design.

Huntington Beach, October 2019

For her inspiration, Jade uses a series of photos of the Huntington Beach and the neighbouring coastline as it appeared during the heydays of oil production, headlined by one taken from Huntington Beach Pier (one of the city’s lasting landmarks) in the 1960s. These sit to the south east of the region, the beach running north-west, complete with a nod towards the pier (first established in 1904). The latter is understandably not as grandiose as the original, because that would take a couple of additional regions to achieve, given it is 560 metres in length, but it presents a starting point for exploration, home as it is to the region’s landing point.

The derricks are divided by a central road, reflecting a further photo in the series, albeit one of derricks divided by a road in Long Beach, a little further north around the coast. However, it is largely with the initial 1960’s image to which Jade sticks: at the northern end of the road is a smattering of buildings suggesting the edge of a town, all of which – along with the cars scattered among them  – have a ’60s vibe to them.

Huntington Beach, October 2019

The beach has a similar feel to it as well, the sand looking a tad tired and the advertising in that 50’s-60’s style, although unlike its namesake, this beach benefits from palm trees hiding the marching lines of oil towers from those deciding to partake a walk along the sand or out onto the pier.

Oil production does continue at Huntington Beach today, although the massive derricks have long since been removed to leave the city looking a lot more naturally suburban, the ocean front and beach protected from over-development. However, production is in decline; the US Geological Survey estimates no more than perhaps 866 million barrels of oil remain, although best estimates put the amount that can be reasonably extracted at some 370 million barrels. This means that the remaining oil extraction work is liable to come to an end in the near future, leaving Huntington Beach city fairly exclusively reliant on tourist and vacation trade for revenue generation – hence the city filing for, and being granted, multiple trademarks related to it being “Surf City USA”.

Huntington Beach, October 2019

While fossil fuel extraction and use are both messy and driving a fair amount of pollution, Jade’s Huntington Beach nevertheless offers a reminder of a boom-time past in America’s history, one that burst into life on the west coast in the early decades of the 20th century and echoed through to the end of the millennium. Needless to say, it offers numerous opportunities for photography, although I personally found the default Windlight perhaps a little too oppressive – not that others cannot be used if you feel the same way. Photos that are taken may be submitted to the region’s Flickr group, and tips towards the region’s upkeep are welcomed at the pier.

SLurl Details

Advertisements

Harbor’s Alter Ego at Ribong Gallery in Second Life

Artspace 2535, Ribong Gallery – Harbor Galaxy, October 2019

Now open within the Artspace 2535 area of Ribong Gallery, curated by Santoshima, is a collection of images by Harbor Galaxy. entitled Alter Ego, it features some of the artist’s favourite avatar characters, and it offers an intriguing walk through her imagination.

And I do mean “walk” in a literal sense: the arts is set out in s series of rooms the visitor is encouraged to walk through it turn from the landing point. Each offers at least one piece of art and these are – to borrow a phrase from the introduction to the exhibition – monumental in size. They tower over visitors, drawing us into each them, allowing, perhaps for a greater appreciation of the narrative each holds within it.

Artspace 2535, Ribong Gallery – Harbor Galaxy, October 2019

This walk through the rooms also symbolises a part of Harbor’s philosophy on art and creativity, that “the path of creation travels in one direction, then back again.”, although in this case, the walk takes us through the exhibition and then onward to an opportunity to visit the rest of the Ribong gallery spaces.

The art itself is visually striking – not just because of its physical size, but also in framing, content and presentation – so much so that individual descriptions of pieces are perhaps wasted, and viewing first-hand is required, particularly as the setting with its use of light and colour is very much a part of the overall exhibition. That said, I will admit to being particularly drawn to the two Mage images and Toxic Dreams a couple of rooms beyond them. Precisely why these images in particular caught and held my eye isn’t entirely clear to me, although I suspect with the Mage images, a degree of mythology played a part; looking at them, I found myself caught with thoughts of the shaman-like version of Herne the Hunter once popularised in a UK TV series.

Artspace 2535, Ribong Gallery – Harbor Galaxy, October 2019

With a “formal” launch at 14:00 SLT on Saturday, October 19th (having has a “soft” opening on Friday, October 18th), Alter Ego is an engaging, somewhat immersive exhibition.

SLurl Details

Frankenstein returns to Second Life

In 2018, Fantasy Faire Radio partnered with Seanchai Library to broadcast a live radio adaptation of Mary Shelley’s classic Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus in celebration of the 200th anniversary of the novel’s original publication.

Now, as we approach Halloween 2019, the adaptation is being re-broadcast as a two-part event over the weekend of Saturday, October 19th and Sunday, October 20th.

Frankenstein is infused with elements of the Gothic novel and the Romantic Movement – and it has been argued it could be considered the first true science fiction novel. This is because a central character determines to follow “modern experiments in the laboratory” to achieve fantastic results, rather than simply achieving those fantastical results through fantastical means. Since its publication. the story has had a considerable influence in literature and popular culture and spawned a complete genre of horror stories, films and plays, as well as itself being turned into the last two, as well as being the focus of television and radio adaptations, musicals and even a ballet production.

The Fantasy Faire Radio broadcast features the voices of Da5id Abbot, Corwyn Allen, Zander Greene, Elrik Merlin, and Caledonia Skytower, with Shandon Loring as Victor Frankenstein’s creation in an adaptation of the original novel by Skytower and Abbot. Those wishing to do so can tune into the broadcasts on Saturday and Sunday as follows (times are SLT):

  • Saturday, October 19th beginning at 14:00.
  • Sunday, October 20th beginning at 11:00.

They can be heard via the web at:  fantasy.radioriel.org, or http://streams.radioriel.org:8070/stream.

However, for those who would like to hear either or both of the broadcasts in-world and in the company of others, two special listening parties will by taking place:

  • CocoaJava Cafe in Babbage Canals, New Babbage, hosted by Ceejay Writer during both the Saturday and Sunday broadcasts. The CocoaJava Cafe is a casual Steampunk/Victorian literary venue. Authors and bookworms are often found lounging on floor pillows by the fireplace or sipping a drink at the cafĂ© tables. Mind the shop cat though, he’s odd.
  • Seanchai Library’s Ceiliuradh Glen at Holly Kai Park, hosted by Caledonia Skytower  for the Saturday Broadcast, with special Halloween music and dancing playing for an hour after the broadcast concludes (and possibly in the half hour before). Seanchai Library has been promoting stories and literature through live voice presentations since 2008. “The Glen” is one of six venues the Library has established at its home on Holly Kai Park, and pays tribute to Seanchai’s beginnings in the old West of Ireland Charity Estate.

Frankenstein on Fantasy Faire Radio is sponsored by The Ravenheart Museum of Art, Culture, and Curious Things, featuring one of the largest public collections of Alia’s Baroque’s Libertine Eggs by Alia Baroque, and hosting the exhibition A Conspiracy of Ravens (read here for more about both exhibitions).

Additional Links

2019 TPVD meeting week #42

Hotel California – Dancing in the Moonlight, September 2019 – blog post

The following notes are taken from the TPV Developer meeting held on October 18th, 2019. A video of the meeting is embedded below, my thanks as always to Pantera for recording and providing it. This was a relatively short meeting, with a lot of text-based general chat. This being the case, key points are summarised below without the usual time stamps.

SL Viewer News

On Friday, October 18th, 2019:

  • A new Maintenance viewer, version 6.3.3.531784 and code-named Wassail, was released. This viewer is based on the current release viewer and contains some 30 fixes and includes viewer manager 2.0.531000 (used in launching the viewer).
  • The viewer RC viewer was merged with the current release viewer and updated to version 6.3.3.531811.

The remaining viewer pipelines remain as follows:

  • Current Release version 6.3.2.530962, formerly the Vinsanto Maintenance RC viewer, dated September 17, promoted October 15th, 2019 – NEW.
  • Release channel cohorts (please see my notes on manually installing RC viewer versions if you wish to install any release candidate(s) yourself):
  • Project viewers:
    • Legacy Profiles viewer, version 6.3.2.530836, September 17. Covers the re-integration of Viewer Profiles.
    • Project Muscadine (Animesh follow-on) project viewer, version 6.4.0.530473, September 11.
    • 360 Snapshot project viewer, version 6.2.4.529111, July 16.

The Linux Spur viewer, version 5.0.9.329906 and Obsolete Platform viewer 3.7.28.300847 (Windows XP / Mac OS X below 10.7), are no longer listed on the Alternate Viewer page, but remain available via direct link.

In Brief

  • Currently, the next viewers in line for possible promotion are the Ordered Shutdown viewer and the Voice Update viewer, although the latter is awaiting either an update or information from Vivox.
  • Texture Loading / Caching viewer: work has resumed on this viewer, but it still remains some way out from appearing as a public release. Rider and Aura Linden are both working on this, although both are also engaged on other viewer projects.
  • Viewer build tools update (Visual Studio 2017 and Xcode 10.3 for OS X): said to be in “good condition” but no commitment as to when it will start to be used for production viewers.
  • As per my CCUG notes, the remaining issues for EEP are largely graphics related, both of the new graphics resources, Ptolemy and Euclid Linden are getting up to speed to be able to work on the project.

Scare Me Silly 2019 in Second Life

Scare Me Silly 2019

Scare Me Silly 2019, in support of the American Diabetes Association (ADA), opened its doors on Friday, October 18th, 2019, and will remain open through until October 26th.

Organised by Team Diabetes of Second Life, the event features live performances. DJ parties, a hunt and a quest, tricks and treats, a haunted mansion, ghostly rides and – of course – shopping!

Participating merchants this year comprise:

::Pharmacist:: , !!Firelight!!, *DBS* Designs By Soosy, ANDORE, Bad Dragon Clothing, ChiC buildings, Chiffon, Cosmos Boutique, Couture Chapeaua, Halloween Delights, HJM Designs, ikr!, Just imagine… by Vita Theas, Just Ordinary, Kalani’s Designs, Kiliki Bikini, Kitty Creations, Kittycat Creations, Lady Dragons Design, LC Fashion, Lunar Seasonal Designs, Mara’s Mysteries Boutique, Muircastle Motors & Parts, Park Place Home, Pixelancer, Potomac Signature Homes, Redangel Designs, Roped Passions, Simply Shelby, Spyralle, Strawberry Gashes, SynCo, The Emporium, The Pumpkin Head, TRS Designs, TYLAR’S TREASURES, & Xplicit Designs.

Hunts

This year the Evil Pumpkin Hunt offers a number of exclusive prizes available from a number of this year’s merchants. The prizes cost L$10, with 100% of proceeds going to Team Diabetes.

The Skeleton Quest can be joined for L$250 (all proceeds to Team Diabetes). Use the HUD to find the pieces of skeleton scattered inside the haunted house. Put him together again and claim a goodie bag of 15 prizes.

The week-long Scare Me Silly Photo Challenge includes a prize pool of L$5,000. Entries must be made by Wednesday, October 23rd.

Autumn Art Show

The Kultivate Autumn Art Show will also be taking place during Scare Me Silly, with the art display located to one side of the event area. Participating artists include: E Belua Broadfoot, DreamMakerXDreamBreaker Resident, ettalaineteichmano resident, Eucalyptus Carroll, ilyra chardin, IsarValdetaro Resident, Isis Desmoulins, Jamee Sandalwood, JolieElle Parfort, ladyonia, Marcel Mosswood, MTH63 (Matt), Sophie72 Congrejo, & Theresa Firelight.

As with the Scare Me Silly shopping event, all artists have at least one piece of art for sale with proceeds to Team Diabetes of Second Life.

Entertainment

Scare Me Silly includes music and entertainment – check the schedule for details.

About the American Diabetes Association

 Established in 1940, the American Diabetes Association is working to both prevent and cure diabetes in all it forms, and to help improve the lives of all those affected by diabetes. It does this by providing objective and credible information and resources about diabetes to communities, and funding research into ways and means of both managing and curing the illness. In addition, the Association gives voice to those denied their rights as a consequence of being affected by diabetes.

About Team Diabetes of Second life

Team Diabetes of Second Life is an official and authorised fund-raiser for the American Diabetes Association in Second Life. Established with the aim of raising funds in support of diabetes treatment and to raise awareness of the disease in SL, Team Diabetes of Second Life was founded by Jessi2009 Warrhol and John Brianna (Johannes1977 Resident), who serve on the Advisory Board along with Eleseren Brianna, Veruca Tammas, Rob Fenwitch, and Dawnbeam Dreamscape.

SLurl and URL Details

A Shadowlands Retreat in Second Life

Shadowlands Retreat, October 2019 – click any image for full size

DylanShadows presents his Homestead region of Shadowlands Retreat as a “relaxing sim with series of photographic areas. Enjoy a walk around, horseback ride, a dance or cuddle with someone special,” and there is little to argue with in this description. There are number points throughout the region for photography, for spending time with friends and for enjoying that romantic cuddle or dance.

Surrounded by off-region hills that match the autumnal feel of the region, Shadowlands Retreat offers a series of areas within it that are very mixed in their individual attractiveness, from a beach through rocky outcrops with winding paths, to open grasslands offering paddocks and ancient ruins, to hints of fantasy and mysticism and which include woodlands, a high plateau, and more – all of which weave themselves into a landscape rich its attraction for exploration.

Shadowlands Retreat, October 2019

The region’s landing point – which is unenforced – can be found on a large deck area built over an artificial water close to the Western side of the island’s central plateau. It sits close to a stone cottage and alongside a tall windmill that points a blunt finger to the sky. A sea of late summer blooms washes across most of the plateau, flowing under the shade of trees to one side and breaking against islands of rock and water in what can only be described as a garden of wild flowers, waterfowl and restful spots, be they on the deck, under the boughs of trees or within the cottage or the gazebo keeping it company.

Below and surrounding this central flat-topped hill are the island’s lowlands that can be reached through several means: by the simple expedient of walking down the steep grassy slopes that vie with rocky cliffs to support the hill, or by finding one of the numerous paths offering a way down. Some of the latter are obvious – such as the worn, winding trails running down either side of the waterfalls to the south side of the hills; others are still rocky, but perhaps not-so-obvious at first glance, like the fern covered path running down the east side of the hill, or the aged blocks of rock close to it that offer more of a switchback route down.

Shadowlands Retreat, October 2019

Whichever route you take, there is much to be found between the hill and the water’s edge. To the north, for example, visitors will find a barn, complete with tractor and a small mix of livestock. These add to the suggestion that cottage and windmill above were perhaps once part of a working farm. However, whatever animal husbandry is now performed is perhaps more about self-sufficiency than the setting being a working farm.

Just around to the west, and beyond a stone henge, the farm element continues with a small paddock of horses. As these are Waterhorse rideables, I wondered if they would be set to allow the horse riding described in the region’s description, but it would appear not. As we also didn’t find a horse rezzer in our wanderings (although we could have missed it!), this led me to conclude that riding required ownership of your own wearable horse.

Shadowlands Retreat, October 2019

A hint of ancient mysticism is enfolded into the setting as well. The region is bracketed to the south-west and north-east by the stern faces of Moai, for example. Looking inward, they appear to be keeping an eye on all the coming and goings by visitors. More hints of an ancient past are also awaiting discovery: old stone rings, the broken wrist and hand of what must have once been a huge statue (now converted into a cosy cuddle spot), the broken statue of what appears to be a elf maiden at rest… All of these add an air of mysticism to the region, while the numerous little seating spots and dance areas scattered between them present further reasons to tarry within Shadowlands Retreat and explore.

Nor is this all; for those who enjoy beaches and sand, these can be found to the south and east of the region, curving as they do around the island’s high point: a large table of rock rising on vertical cliff faces from the sand.  A path winds its way up this cliffs to the flat summit where can be found a gazebo kept warm by a stone built fireplace, sharing the space with more ruins of different eras, while a crooked promontory thrusts its way across the lower-lying plateau towards the cottage, a further path winding down it.

Shadowlands Retreat, October 2019

Ruggedly photogenic, finished with a rich sound scape and – as noted – plenty to see and enjoy, Shadowlands Retreat lends itself to a range of Windlight settings and to time spent in exploration and in enjoying the setting. Those taking photos are invited to share with through the region’s Flickr group.

Slurl Details