Seeking respite in Second Life

inimist, January 2014Binemist, January 2014 – click for full size

I first visited Binemist back in September 2013, and I make no apologies for returning to it so soon. For one thing, a lot has changed within the region since that first visit;  for another, Bine Rodenberger is a woman after my own heart, with a love of water, trees, music and art, so I’m naturally attracted to her builds.

Recently given a make-over, Binimist is now predominantly a water-themed region although, as Bine herself says, “I do also love trees, so it is a water SIM with patches of lots of trees.” This is intended to be a place of calm and peace, and the balance of water, trees, artefacts and art, combined with an excellent music stream, achieves precisely that.

inimist, January 2014Binemist, January 2014 – click for full size

There are still elements here that will be familiar to those who have visited the region in its past incarnations – the church still sits atop the cliffs, reached by a winding wooden stairway, and the lighthouse still keeps a sweeping vigil from the south-east corner of the region while pieces from a number of noted SL artists lay beneath its watchful, ever-turning eye, acting a focal points for exploration and contemplation.

There is a low-lying island to one side of the region, where a small copse partially hides a little cottage. Not far from this sits a small cafe complete with flooded patio seating front and rear.  The trees Bine mentions form a small wood towards the centre of the region, from which flooded, tree-line paths twist and loop, leading one past yet more pieces of art and to places to dance and enjoy the company of others.

inimist, January 2014Binemist, January 2014 – click for full size

As a place of quiet contemplation, either when on your own or with a loved one, or as a place to simply dance and relax with a friend or friends, Binimist is up there with the best SL can offer. As such, it serves as a perfect getaway when you simply need a little refuge from the toil of real life – or indeed, Second Life. I know I could happily while away many an hour, both wandering and admiring Bine’s design for the region and the art she’s put out for people to enjoy – and simply sitting and listening to the music stream.

Definitely not a place to be missed, whether you’re new to Binemist or a returning traveller; and if you enjoy your visit – which you will – please consider dropping a donation at the landing point to keep this beautiful region running.

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Of scarlet studies and Taoism in the 100 Acre Wood

It’s time to kick-off another week of fabulous story-telling in Voice for 2014, brought to Second Life by the staff and volunteers at the Seanchai Library SL.

As always, all times SLT, and unless otherwise stated, events will be held on the Seanchai Library’s home on Imagination Island.

Sunday January 19th, 13:30: Tea-time at Baker Street: A Study in Scarlet part 3

Caledonia Skytower and Shandon Loring return with a Seanchai favourite: Tea-time at Baker Street. This time they are going right back to the roots of the legend, and the case which first introduced the world to Doctor John Watson and the renowned Consulting Detective, Mr. Sherlock Holmes.

study-in-scarletA Study in Scarlet was written in 1886 as a full-length novel by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and published the following year. It is actually one of only four novel-length stories Conan Doyle penned about Holmes and Watson in the original canon (the remaining 56 tales of their adventures are all short stories).

The novel is split into two parts. The first of which served to introduce Holmes and Watson and establish their nature and initial relationship, as recalled by John Watson. Their meeting, through a mutual acquaintance, was fortuitous, Watson having been recently invalided out of the army and needing a roof over his head, and Holmes looking for someone with whom he could split the rent on a rather nice flat (apartment) at 221B Baker Street.

This part of the novel also introduces the first case Holmes and Watson take on together: that of a mysterious murder which also serves to introduce Inspectors Lestrade and Gregson. A second murder soon follows, with Holmes already at odds with Scotland Yard over suspects and motive.

Part two of the novel picks-up the events of the story from the perspective of those primarily involved in the murders: the victims themselves and, in turn those who lives they had blighted while more than 3,000 miles from London.

Cale and Shandon continue the tale.

Monday January 20th, 19:00: From an Alien Point of View

More thought-provoking sci-fi from the collection of Gyro Muggins.

Tuesday January 21st, 19:00: The Te of Piglet

Winnie the Pooh may have been a Bear Of Very Little Brain often bothered by long words, but in 1982, through him, his friends in the 100 Acre Wood and their adventures, Benjamin Hoff found the perfect means of introducing a western audience to the principles and ideals of Taoism.

That work was covered in a series of reading in mid-2013 by Caledonia Skytower and Kayden Oconnell. Now they present the first reading from the 1992 companion volume to that work, The Te of Piglet.

Te is a Chinese word commonly interpreted to mean ‘power’ or ‘virtue’, but which has far more depth than either, being more a special quality of character, spiritual strength, or hidden potential unique to the individual. Through this book, Hoff further explores Taoist concepts, notably that  ‘the virtue of the small’, showing how Piglet has great Te, not just because of his diminutive stature, but because he has Tz’u – a great heart, even if – as is so often the case – he’s generally unaware of the fact that he has.

Taking a somewhat different approach to the original Tao of Pooh, this book uses the other characters from the 100 Acre Wood to show how our own humanity, in is different facets and forms, is seen by the Taoist as a series of impediments to our living in harmony with the Tao.

Wednesday January 22nd, 19:00: The Beekeeper’s Apprentice

In 1915, a 54-year-old Sherlock Holmes find his retirement to the Sussex Downs, where he is studying the habits of the honey bee, to be interrupted by the unexpected arrival of 15-year-old Mary Russell. American by birth, Ms. Russell had come to England to live with her Aunt following the tragic death of her parents in an automobile accident.

Holmes is impressed by the young lady’s wit and intellect, ne before he knows it, he finds himself teaching her his former tradecraft of solving crimes. Thus was formed a new partnership is formed between the very modern young Miss Russell and the very Victorian Great Detective.

Now Caledonia Skytower returns with more tales from the pen of Laurie R. King, and her series of stories for young adults which focus on the adventure Ms Russell and Mr. Sherlock Holmes shared.

Thursday January 23rd

16:00: The Ballad of Donny Granger

The Ballads of Donny Granger, Book One is the first full-length illustrated novel from the mind Stephanie Mesler, also known in Second Life as Freda Frostbite. Want to know more? Then join Freda at the Seanchai library!

19:00: The Early Adventures of Finn McCool

Shandon Loring continues reading Bernard Evslin stories about the legendary Finn McCool – Fionn mac Cumhaill – the mythical hunter / warrior who appears in folklore spanning Ireland, the Isle of Man and parts of Scotland, as well as sharing some links with Welsh mythology.

finn McCoolAlso known as the “Green Hero”, Finn McCool drew his name “Finn” or “Fionn”, meaning “blond”, “fair”, “white”, or “bright”, from the fact that his hair turned prematurely white. According to legend, he was born of Cumhall – leader of the Fianna (small, semi-independent warrior bands found in both Irish and Scottish mythology) and Muirne, daughter of the druid Tadg mac Nuadat.

Raised in secret, Fionn, who was originally called Deimne, became a skilled hunter and warrior, serving several local kings, albeit incognito, due to the events surrounding his mother and father – and the latter’s death.

Evslin draws upon the famous legend to weave a series of stories about the life of a young Fionn in the times before he became the giant of Irish folklore.

21:00 Seanchai Late Night

Details still TBA, so please check with the Seanchai Library blog as the week progresses.

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Please check with the Seanchai Library SL’s blog for updates and for additions or changes to the week’s schedule. The featured charity for January and February is The Xerces Society and their efforts at world-wide conservation and education for some of the smallest creatures on our earth.

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