Sakura Tales in Second Life

Neverending – Sakura Tales

One of the most familiar symbols associated with springtime is the cherry blossom, or sakura. In Japan, it is seen as both a sign of the end of the bleaker times of winter and also – in China at least – a time of renewal and also a life’s ephemerality.

I mention this because I recently took the opportunity to visit Neverending – Sakura Tales, the latest setting designed by Jayden Mercury and Valarie (Zalindah), a multi-faceted setting occupying a Homestead region that stands as a celebration of the sakura.

Neverending – Sakura Tales

Both Jayden and Valarie have a talent for designing settings that wrap a story within them – as can be seen with Adventures In Mad Wonderland, a location I wrote about at the beginning of 2021. Similarly, Valarie has been responsible for regions that both rich in narrative (see: Kintsugi: spiritual beauty and renewal in Second Life) and also with whimsy and nature (see: The charming whimsy of a Lightning Bolt in Second Life).

The story of the lost artist and poet Jay continued. He sat in front of his trailer at Mad Wonderland, thinking again of his life, grabbing his magical paper and pen, and started to draw again and a phoenix appeared. He knew he had to go and leave Mad Wonderland. He packed his stuff, his magical pen, and papers, went to say goodbye to his new friend, the Mad Hatter, who hugged him tight whispering: ´We will meet again in the future, my friend.’

– from the landing point at Neverending – Sakura Tales

Neverending – Sakura Tales

Within Neverending – Sakura Tales, Valarie and Jayden once again present an engaging setting that both embraces the full symbolism of the cherry blossom – renewal and  the celebration of life – together with elements than offer reflections of both Kintsugi and Lightning Bolt whilst also presenting a continuing of the narrative found within Adventures of a Mad Wonderland – just follow the clues for the story unfold.

The artist nodded, sighed, and joined the little boat. Excited to find out where the phoenix would guide him through the sea of Neverending, he sat and started to draw on his papers. Some flowers and trees popped up in his mind and on the horizon, he could see Sakura Tales – the new adventure of his story began….

– from the landing point at Neverending – Sakura Tales

Neverending – Sakura Tales

From the landing point, visitors are encouraged to seek out these clues whilst exploring land cut through by water, heavy with cherry blossom that shade grasslands awash with the colour of flowers. This is land with a distinctly Japanese in tone – not just because of the sakura, but in details large and small: from pagodas and Shinto shrines to lanterns, torii gates dragons and more.

The echoes of Kintsugi and Lightning Bolt can be found through a variety of touches- the mix of distinct highlands and lowlands, the use of water, and so on, whilst the cabin at the landing point carries a neat reference to Mad Wonderland. There are also numerous places across the region where visitors can sit and spend time, some of which are the stuff of dreams  – lying among the clouds.

Neverending – Sakura Tales

Whether it is by accident or design – I have no idea which it might be, but I suspect the former – Neverending – Sakura Tales also put me in mind of an iteration of the region, back when it was held by Amelie Knelstrom.

Back then it was called Neverending – Pigeon Island, and whilst it did not have any overt Japanese elements, it offered a spring-like setting rich in colour and cut by water in much the same way as Sakura Tales (see: Of pigeons and a Meaningless wander for more on that design). Thus, I couldn’t help but see something of a spiritual connection between these two very different designs.

Neverending – Sakura Tales

Restful, rich in detail and with plenty to discover, Neverending – Sakura Tales makes for a rewarding visit.

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2021 SUG meeting week #15 summary

Nekomachi Street, Tonarino – blog post

The following notes were taken from the Tuesday, April 13th, 2021 Simulator User Group (SUG) meeting.

Server Deployments

Please refer to the server deployment thread for the latest news and updates.

  • Tuesday, April 13th saw the SLS Main channel servers updated with simulator release 557694, defined as containing “internal fixes an tweaks”.
  • There are no planned deployments to any of the RC channels. However, regions will be subject to a rolling restart.

SL Viewer

The start of the week saw the Eau de Vie Maintenance RC viewer update to version 6.4.18.557782, dated April 12th, brining it up to par with the de facto release viewer.

:All other official viewers remain unchanged from the end of last week;

  • Release viewer: Custom Key Mappings RC viewer, version 6.4.17.557391, dated March 24, promoted March 27.
  • Release channel cohorts:
    • Love Me Render (LMR) 5 project viewer, version 6.4.18.557797, dated April 7.
  • Project viewers:
    • Legacy Profiles viewer, version 6.4.11.550519, dated October 26.
    • Copy / Paste viewer, version 6.3.5.533365, dated December 9, 2019.
    • Project Muscadine (Animesh follow-on) project viewer, version 6.4.0.532999, dated November 22, 2019.
    • 360 Snapshot project viewer, version 6.2.4.529111, dated July 16, 2019.

In Brief

  • BUG-229871 “Unable to re-enter or teleport to a region that I’ve been to during same session” – now appears to be related to the use of Malwarebytes security software; or at least the vast majority of those experiencing the issues are reportedly using MWB. Whitelisting the viewer .exe filepath for all installed viewers with MWB appears to resolve the issue.
  • Issues continue to be seen with group chat following the changes made by the Lab (see Maestro Linden’s April 5th forum post). These aren’t the last changes to be made, and the Lab fully intends to keep working on issues and trying to improve the service(s).
  • Map tiles are “getting closer but not ready yet. So, as per my recent SUG summaries, those needing more reliable access to the world map might try the following:

Melu and Whiskey: artistic dialogues in Second Life

The 22 Art Space: Melusina Parkin and Whiskey Monday

Currently open at the 22 Art Space in Bellisseria, operated and curated by Ricco Saenz and Randy Firebrand, is a joint exhibition by Melusina Parkin and Whiskey Monday – the latter making a return to Second Life’s art scene (and the platform as a whole) after an extended absence.

Individually, Melu and Whiskey are two of SL’s most evocative photographic artists, each with a very individual approach to, and style of, visual narrative; and with Dialogues: Patterns, People, their work is combined in a manner intended to encourage the viewer to consider both the distinctiveness inherent in their work as individuals, and the manner in which their work is complimentary / complementary in the use of themes, focus, and presentation, allowing a “conversation” between the artists and the observer to develop.

The 22 Art Space: Melusina Parkin

In all, each artist presents ten images that have been split into two distinct collections. In the ground floor of the gallery  the images are focused on the theme of Patterns, with Whiskey and Melu each presenting four pieces on the subject; on the upper floor the theme of People, with the artists here presenting five works apiece in their respective rooms.

The two sections of the exhibition are then linked by a self-portrait provided by each artist – what might be a joint introduction to People. However, these are two pieces that also set up a conversation of their own, offering as they do reflections on the artists themselves. Within Melu’s it is possible to comprehend her contemplative approach to art, whilst Whiskey’s offers whispers on the intimate self-reflection that is a theme of her work, and the manner in which she so often offers up a reflection of her nature and identity whilst also maintaining a protective distancing between herself and her audience.

The 22 Art Space: Whiskey Monday

Within Patterns, Melu and Whiskey present images that play with the idea of repetition with variance. They offer something of a mix of the abstracted and the direct. Common themes of patterns can be found within individual pieces by each artist, allowing a certain dynamic to exist between them. Take Melu’s Colors 2 and Whiskey’s Choose, for example. Each stylistically uses doors (those of a lockers in one, and the doors of cells in the other), and through both we’re offered commentary on possession, self, restraint, freedom, isolation, reward and secrecy, each piece reflecting off of the other to present new ideas and interpretations.

For People, the narrative threads offered by the artists are less abstracted and more direct. Here ideas more than device conjoin individual images in each of the two rooms, allowing the flow of narrative to flow between the open doorway between the two areas.

The 22 Art Space: Melusina Parkin

Some time ago now, Ricco joined with artist Boudicca Amat to present an experiment in art entitled The Photo Game, in which pairs of artists were invited to select images from each other’s portfolio for display in a joint exhibition, and offer thoughts on why they selected the pieces (see: The Photo Game in Second Life and The Photo Game in Second Life: Proph and a Pey).

With Dialogues, Randy and Ricco have brought together two exceptionally talented artists who expand on that concept through the use of theme and unwritten narrative, thus taking the idea of artistic dialogue in an entirely new and engaging direction.

The 22 Art Space: Whiskey Monday

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Aliens, doppelgängers, magical tigers and poetry

Seanchai Library

It’s time to highlight another week of storytelling in Voice by the staff and volunteers at the Seanchai Library. As always, all times SLT, and events are held at the Library’s home in Nowhereville, unless otherwise indicated. Note that the schedule below may be subject to change during the week, please refer to the Seanchai Library website for the latest information through the week.

Monday, April 12th: 19:00 The Mote in God’s Eye

In the year AD 3017, humanity is recovering from an interstellar civil war that tore apart the first Empire of Man. The Second Empire is busy establishing control over the remnants of its predecessor although some worlds don’t appreciate bring brought to heel. Following the quashing of a rebellion on New Chicago, Commander Roderick Blaine is given temporary command of the battlecruiser INSS MacArthur, and charged with transporting the suspected leader on the New Chicago uprising Empire’s centre, the planet Sparta.

The route takes the MacArthur to the New Caledonia system, where she is ordered to intercept a sub-light vessel that appears to come from a yellow star referred to as the Mote, as from New Celedonia, it sits in front of a massive red star, like a mote in an eye.

Unfortunately, the encounter with the alien vessel does not go well. But has a result, the MacArthur is dispatched to the Mote alongside of the battlecruiser Lenin, charged with trying to establish first contact with the race the built the sublight ship – whom humans have nicknamed “Moties”. 

Arriving at the star, the human ships find a race far more technically developed than had been thought, and old enough to have developed into a series of highly-specialised sub-species. Thus begin an fascinating tale of first contact between races, one that encompass a range of dances – political, strategic, and more – in which motives are varied and secrets hidden. 

Gyro Muggins reads the classic sci-fi novel by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle.

Tuesday, April 13th

12:00 Noon: Russell Eponym, Live in the Glen

Music, poetry, and stories.

19:00: Neil Gaiman’s Coraline

When the Jones family move into a Victorian house that has been converted into a set of flats, and her parents always busy and wrapped in their work, young Coraline sets out to discover all she can about her new home.

Along the way, she meets a pair of retired actress sisters, an old man trying to train a mouse orchestra, and a door that, unlike all the others that lead somewhere, oddly opens onto a brick wall.

Until the day it doesn’t, and instead opens onto a hallway leading to another world.

It’s a world just like her own, but also very different. The flat she enters looks just like her own, the neighbours are just like those she has met – but oddly younger – and the mother and father she finds within the “other “home dote on her: marvellous toys, magical books and wonderful food.

This other home and the parents within it are all that Coraline has ever wanted – until her other mother tells her she can stay and live forever – if she will have buttons sewn into her eyes. Scared by the request, Coraline returns to her real home, only to find her parents now gone. Realising they have been taken by her “other mother”, she realises she must return along the hallway and risk her future in order to rescue them.

With Willow Moonfire.

Wednesday, April 14th, 19:00: When You Trap a Tiger

When Lily and her family move in with her sick Halmoni (grandmother), a magical tiger straight out of her halmoni’s Korean folktales arrives, prompting Lily to unravel a secret family history.

Long, long ago, Halmoni stole something from the tigers and now the tigers want it back. So the tiger visiting has arrvied with an offer for Lily: return what Halmoni stole in exchange for the return of her health Halmoni’s health.

It is a tempting offer; but deals with magical tigers are not always what they appear to be. So Lily must, with the help of her sister and her friend Ricky, find her voice and her courage, and face whatever trickery the tiger may conjure.

Caledonia Skytower reads the 2021 2021 Newbery Medal winning story by Tae Keller.

Thursday, April 15th 19:00: Poetry This Year

Caledonia Skytower shares this year’s student chosen poems from the program that she coordinates for her State as part of her physical world job.

2021 viewer release summaries week #14

Logos representative only and should not be seen as an endorsement / preference / recommendation

Updates from the week ending Sunday, April 11th

This summary is generally published every Monday, and is a list of SL viewer / client releases (official and TPV) made during the previous week. When reading it, please note:

  • It is based on my Current Viewer Releases Page, a list of all Second Life viewers and clients that are in popular use (and of which I am aware), and which are recognised as adhering to the TPV Policy. This page includes comprehensive links to download pages, blog notes, release notes, etc., as well as links to any / all reviews of specific viewers / clients made within this blog.
  • By its nature, this summary presented here will always be in arrears, please refer to the Current Viewer Release Page for more up-to-date information.
  • Note that for purposes of length, TPV test viewers, preview / beta viewers / nightly builds are generally not recorded in these summaries.

Official LL Viewers

  • Release viewer: Custom Key Mappings RC viewer, version 6.4.17.557391, dated March 24th, promoted March 27th – NEW.
  • Release channel cohorts:
    • Eau de Vie Maintenance RC updated to version 6.4.18.557782,  dated April 12th.
    • Love Me Render (LMR) 5 project viewer updated to version 6.4.18.557797, dated April 7th.
  • Project viewers:
    • No updates.

LL Viewer Resources

Third-party Viewers

V6-style

  • Kokua updated to versions (Non-RLV) and 6.4.17.47200 (RLV variants) on April 6th – release notes.

V1-style

Mobile / Other Clients

  • No updates.

Additional TPV Resources

Related Links

The Summer of ’42 in Second Life

Summer of ’42
Hi Inara! I hope you’re well. I don’t know if you’ve ever seen the movie Summer of 42, but I’ve created a new region based on the story. I hope you can make it by one day.

– Justice Vought

So came the invitation from Justice Vought, owner of Oxygen (see: Getting some :oxygen: in Second Life) and also the engaging Once Upon A Time, celebrating Second Life’s most famous residents, the Greenies, and Chocolate Factory, a homage to both Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, starring Gene Wilder (1971), and 2005’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, starring Johnny Depp.  Given this heritage, I hopped over to take a look as soon as time allowed.

For those unfamiliar with the 1971 film, it is a coming of age story written by screenwriter Herman Raucher, recalling the time when, as a teenager, he spent a summer vacation on Nantucket Island in 1942 and falls for a newly-married woman, Dorothy, whose husband has gone to England to fight in the war.

Summer of ’42

The film is noted for its haunting soundtrack by Michel Legrand and bitter-sweet story. It started as a means for Raucher to honour his childhood friend, Oscar Seltzer (“Oscy” in the film), who had been killed whilst serving as a medic during the Korean War. However, circumstance turned the story into a tale of the first adult experience of Raucher’s life.

The story uses a number of Nantucket locations – the town, the beach, the house where Dorothy shares for a short time with her husband before he departs for the war – and where Raucher most frequently sees her and has his final encounter with her (they would not have any contact for some thirty years after the – for Raucher – life-changing summer).

Summer of ’42

These aspects of the film are all engagingly interpreted by Justice within :Oxgyen: Summer of ’42, a homestead region directly adjoining :Oxygen: (you can cross between them via a wooden bridge, with the north side of :Oxygen: forming a backdrop to the landing point). Here, on the waterfront, stand the figures of two young boys – perhaps Hermie and Oscy from the film, possibly awaiting the arrival of their mutual friend Benjie.

From here, it is a short walk around to main street, with its post office, garage and movie theatre – which is showing Summer of ’42 alongside a film from the period of the film’s setting: Casablanca, and several other movies besides; some of which were actually made after 1942, such as It’s a Wonderful Life (1946), whilst others serve as neat little Easter eggs for Juctice’s work.

The street looks out over a wind-blown landscape with a smattering of trees, their backs bent against the wind that clearly passes over the setting. It’s a largely barren but photogenic view, dominated by a low hill on which a single wooden house stands, representing the house in which Dorothy lived and in and around which Hermie has his encounters with her. The house in turn looks down over a sweep of beach – perhaps the beach on which Oscy, Benjie and Hermie first saw Dorothy and her husband before the latter’s departure. The beach is again a photogenic setting.

Summer of ’42

However, it is inside the house that treasure is to be found, containing as it does touches that most directly draw on the the film’s poignant final scenes between Hermie and Dorothy.

These occur shortly after Dorothy has learned her husband has been killed in action and is dealing with her grief as Hermie arrives. These scenes are represented through the perfect use of props within the house – the record player, the table with ashtray and curling smoke, the mantelshelf photograph of a young US Army Air Corps pilot and another of his wife, sharing the space with a box brownie camera that may have been used to take one of them.

Summer of ’42

Most of all, there is the envelope, doubtless containing the telegram informing Dorothy of her husband’s death, complete with his service dog tags. Here, as can be found elsewhere on the island, are pointers to the film – a poster on the wall, and the soundtrack lying among a pile of records. A further nice touch is the book on the table with the letter, offering a reminder that as well as producing the film’s screenplay, Raucher also turned the story into a novel.

There are a few anachronisms to be found in the region – vehicles manufactured after 1942,  references to films films of the 70s, etc. However, these do not ruin the atmosphere of the setting; some of them can be put down to the availability of period props, whilst others – as noted – offer nice little Easters eggs for the things that have influenced Justice in his region builds, and the builds themselves.

Summer of ’42

And of course, the bridge to :Oxygen: means that the keen explorer can extend their visit by touring there as well. However, I’ll save that for another time.

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