Visit Bay City, and you might be “hay mazed” this October

Bay city Halloween Maze
Bay City Halloween Maze

If you’re in Bay City this October, you might like to head over to the Bay City Fairgrounds in North Channel, where the city is hosting its fifth annual Hallowe’en Hay Maze, offering residents from across Second Life a little seasonal and light-hearted fun.

2015-posterAs the name suggests, the maze is made up of hay bales, reflecting the time of year, and the route through can bring you into contact with critters, ghosts and more.

The maze has been designed by Marianne McCann, with landscaping by Pygar Bu assisted by Kriss Lehmann of Botanical and the LDPW.Do do have local sounds on when visiting to make sure you enjoy the suitably spooky music provided by a delightful mechanical orchestrion designed by Walton F. Steamwright.

To experience it fully, make sure you set your viewer to at least midnight (or use a suitably dark windlight pre-set), and  then step inside to make your way to the far side, where you’ll find teleport links to two of Bay City’s long-standing haunted locations: the Falmouth Hotel and the Channel Island Asylum.

About Bay City

Bay City is a mainland community, developed by Linden Lab and home to the Bay City Alliance. The Bay City Alliance was founded in 2008 to promote the Bay City regions of Second Life™ and provide a venue for Bay City Residents and other interested parties to socialize and network. It is now the largest Bay city group, and home to most Residents of Bay City.

With thanks to Marianne McCann

Cica’s Prison in Second Life

Prison by Cica Ghost
Prison by Cica Ghost

Prison is the title of Cica Ghost’s latest full sim installation in Second Life. It opened on Sunday, October 11th, and it is a most curious piece.

On an island bathed in Cica’s familiar muted windlight settings sits what at first glance might seem to be a giant construction site. Great walls of steel bars rise into the air to cross hatch the sky like some enormous scaffolds, or steel reinforcements missing their concrete sheaths. Only the title of the installation reveals them to be what they are: the “walls” of a “prison”. But what kind of prison is open the sky, and has multiple exits to the outside world, all of which open on demand from those within?

Prison by Cica Ghost
Prison by Cica Ghost

“In this prison, all the doors will open for you, and you’ll be able to escape at any time,” Cica says of the installation. “But you won’t feel like going away. And even when you finally leave, you will want to come back.”

And so it is; step through the first door (you may need to touch it up close to get it to open), and you’ll find yourself in something of an open maze with no single defined path through it. Instead, any number of routes through the metal doors may lead you back outside; and once there, you most likely will return inside again and trace another path through the maze, and then possibly another and another.

Prison by Cica Ghost
Prison by Cica Ghost

Is there meaning or metaphor here? Perhaps, or perhaps not. Maybe the piece is a commentary on the many paths and choices we face as we travel through life. Or perhaps a metaphor for life as a learning process: we attempt this or that, find it doesn’t lead us to here we wish to be, so we go back and try a different route.

Or perhaps Cica is simply enticing us with a little game. That there is no deeper meaning other than the desire to sate our curiosity as we seek various routes through the prison’s maze; it’s all in fun. And perhaps that’s why the crows we encounter along the way all cock their heads towards us, as we pass, what seem to be knowing grins on their beaks.

Prison by Cica Ghost
Prison by Cica Ghost

The only way to perhaps find out is to pay a visit for yourself.

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Crossing Sands in Second Life

Crossing Sands; Inara Pey, October 2015, on Flickr Crossing Sands Marina (Flickr) – click any image for full size

Fellow Brit Geoff Qunnell posted an image of his club and boat slips at Richmond Landing, which forms a part of the Crossing Sands community and estate, and it served to remind me that while I started exploring the estate earlier in the year, I never actually got around t completing my explorations or blogging about them. So I set out to put matters to right.

Operated and managed by Little Anwyl (LittleUnicorn Meredith) and her partner Q Anwyl (Kejwla Anwyl), Crossing Sands is an estate of 32 regions, mostly residential homesteads, which have been designed as a themed estate with a distinctly Californian tone to it. Community focused, it offers a range of attractions to residents and visitors alike, including motorbike and car racing tracks (one at ground level, the rest up in the air and reached via the teleport stations to be found around the estate),  driving, boating and flying.

Crossing Sands; Inara Pey, October 2015, on Flickr Richmond Landing at Crossing Sands (Flickr)

As it had been several months since my initial visit, I decided to initially re-acquaint myself with the estate by flying out of the local airport  and seeing what had changed since my initial visit (this also gave me the opportunity to try the air racing course!). After this, and on my return to the airport, I took to the road in my trusty (if now a little old and in need of a mesh replacement) 435 GT.

Driving around the estate is another excellent way of finding out about what there is to see and do. The road system connects all of the regions in the estate, using both bridges and tunnels to span the waterways between the various parts of the estate. A drive also helps to get a feel for the various styles of housing used within the estate and what will fit with the theme if you’re interested in becoming a part of the community. It’s also a good way to meet some of the locals.

Crossing Sands; Inara Pey, October 2015, on Flickr Touching down at the airport serving Crossing Sands (Flickr)

For those who like to take to the water, sailing and boating is easily accomplished. There are numerous places where boats can be rezzed. I opted to use the Crossing Sands marina for my explorations on the water, which I’m also using as the main SLurl in this article. Do be warned, however, that the bridges in the estate don’t open, so you’ll need to have non-physical masts to safely pass under them if sailing.

The “downtown” areas of the estate are suitably urban in nature, and given the road system that’s available, it should come as no surprise that there are a number of car dealerships to be found here, alongside smaller business districts, such as Richmond Landing. A number of clubs can be found within the estate, offering social opportunities, as well as attractions such as 10-pin bowling and hang gliding.

Crossing Sands; Inara Pey, October 2015, on Flickr Crossing Sands (Flickr) – click any image for full size

Should you be interested in renting a parcel or beach house at Crossing Sands, a good place to start is the rental office, located across from the marina I mentioned above. The parcels are all of a generous size, while for those needing a smaller place to call home, the beach houses might be a suitable option.

Whether you looking for somewhere to put down roots in SL, or enjoy exploring themed communities, Crossing Sands is well worth a visit. Should you do so, be aware that although many of the regions are rated Adult, this is not actually indicative of overt adult activities taking place in any of them.

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