Pocket Racing in Second Life

"It's a glorious day here at the Inazuma circuit, Ace Resort, with perfect race conditions, a track temperature of 37 degrees, and the drivers ll looking forward to a good race..."
“It’s a glorious day here at the Inazuma circuit, Ace Resort, with perfect race conditions, a track temperature of 37 degrees, and the drivers all looking forward to a good race…”

I’m always on the lookout for fun things to do in Second Life  – hence how I got into sailing, boating and flying. I’ve also poked around at cars and racing, but they’ve never really appealed to the same degree. However, when Annie Brightstar posted an article about trying a Pocket Racing circuit recently, it piqued my curiosity.

The track in question is the [Pocket Racers] Inazuma Circuit, part of the 719 Racing brand created by Hakuyuki719. It is designed to fit into a 1/4 region and comes complete with everything needed for up to 8 people at a time to race one another and / or race against the clock. The cars presented by the track are the little 719 [Pocket Racer] Wing series which can also be purchased separately as a rezzing system.

When I say the cars are little, I'm not kidding. They are, however, veritable pocket rockets
When I say the cars are little, I’m not kidding. They are, however, veritable pocket rockets

Like Annie, I hopped over to the track at Ace Resort, a Japanese region offering a variety of activities at ground level (and possibly elsewhere in the sky – I confess I didn’t explore that much, other than by, um, accident…), with the track located high overhead.

The car rezzer is located at the end of the pit lane, and I would suggest that once you have driven off of it, you touch the car for the configuration menu – these may be pocket-sized vehicles, but that doesn’t mean they have a pocket-sized performance; they can actually be something of a handful for the uninitiated. I found setting the transmission to Auto and re-setting the steering responsiveness to around 5-6 worked best for me, but the best thing is to fiddle with the settings yourself.

On the grid following an installation lap (or six...)
On the grid following an installation lap (or six…)

You can do this by heading out onto the track for an F1-style installation lap, which also allows you to gain some familiarity with the track before racing begins. Then it’s back around to the grid ready to race your lap time will automatically start and be recorded each time you cross the start / finish line.

My early laps were not brilliant, but as I settled down, I did manage to climb up to 4th place on the timings board. However, I seriously doubt my technique would endear me to a Formula 1 team, given it partially relied upon bouncing the car off the Armco barriers at the side of the track.

4th fastest time - just don't ask to see the condition of the car after I achieved it...
4th fastest time – just don’t ask to see the condition of the car after I achieved it…

There are transparent safety walls around the course, although I didn’t find them particularly effective. This probably say more about my racing technique than any fault in the safety system, but it did give me the opportunity to discover the shooting range at ground level – if only by dint of landing in it. Well, it was that or bailing out of the car and practising my skydiving technique instead!

The great benefit of courses like this is they don’t involve the unpredictability of region crossings (719 Racing also produce a region-sized track suitable for “full-sized” racing cars), while the tight fit of this particular course makes it very competitive in these little cars. When driving on your own, the clock becomes a significant adversary, and I’d imagine when racing against friends, a certain hilarity would be forthcoming.

"Well, I was going to take a look at what was on the ground after racing, anyway..."
“Well, I was going to take a look at what was on the ground after racing, anyway…”

Is it enough to convert me to racing cars in-world? Well, no; I’m too addicted to boating and flying. Is it a fun way to spend an hour or so completely distracted from the care and worries of the world, physical or virtual? Absolutely. There are doubtless other Pocket Racer tracks scattered around SL, but if you want to give things a try, Ace Resort is a good place to start. And if you’re looking for a new attraction for your own region, the 719 Inazuma Circuit might be just the ticket!

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Surrealism in Second Life

DaphneArts: Surrealism
DaphneArts: Surrealism

Officially opening at noon SLT on Sunday May 29th is a new ensemble exhibition at DaphneArts, curated by Angelika Corral and SheldonBR – a gallery which is fast becoming the venue for ensemble themed exhibitions by leading artists from across Second Life.

The title for the exhibit is Surrealism, and it features pieces by Awesome Fallen, Catarina Carneiro de Sousa (CapCat Ragu), Kato Salyut, Kimeu Kamolla, Loé, Meiló Minotaur, Miles Cantelou, Owen Landar, Sina Souza, Skye Nefekalum (Azram Belwraith), Thea Maiman, and Yoon, with Theda Tammas providing a sculpture.

DaphneArts: Surrealism
DaphneArts: Surrealism

As with Imagine, which I reviewed earlier in May, each of the artists has been asked to submit a piece on the theme selected by Angelika and Sheldon, and the result is once again a series of images which are as rich in diversity as they are in content.

As the name of the exhibit suggests, the theme is that of Surrealism, an art and philosophical / metaphysical movement which started in the first decades of the 20th Century with the aim of resolving “the previously contradictory conditions of dream and reality”. Embracing many branches of the arts – painting, sculpture, music, theatre, film, literature – it is most often marked by the use of juxtaposition and non-sequitur elements and ideas. Within the visual medium, this can result in the most startling, attractive and thought-provoking pieces of art, and this is very much the case with the pieces presented at DaphneArts, making it a fertile ground for an introduction to, or appreciation of, surrealist art.

DaphneArts: Surrealism
DaphneArts: Surrealism

“Sheldon and I have always admired the imaginative works of these photographers,” she told me as she and Sheldon gracious allowed me to preview the exhibition ahead of the opening. “They create new worlds using only their imagination and they make us dream with them. This is what we liked and thought that it would be wonderful to invite people here to share this dream together.”

Viewing the pieces on display, I was struck by the notion that given the aim of surrealism is to “resolve the previously contradictory conditions of dream and reality”, this exhibition is perhaps a reflective microcosm of Second Life’s macrocosm. After all, Second Life is a place which can very much act as a unifying influence between our dreams and reality.

DaphneArts: Surrealism
DaphneArts: Surrealism

This is another outstanding exhibition brought together by Angelika and Sheldon, one that definitely should not be missed. As noted above, the formal opening will take place at noon SLT on Sunday, May 29th. However, the gallery is already open for visitors, and the exhibition will run through to late June.

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Spies, Alchemysts, sisters and daughters

It’s time to kick-off a week of story-telling in voice, brought to our virtual lives by the staff and volunteers at the Seanchai Library. As always, all times SLT, and events are held at the Library’s Second Life home at Bradley University, unless otherwise indicated.

Sunday, May 29th

13:30 Crazy Eights: Tea Time At Baker Street

Crazy Eights sees Caledonia, Corwyn and Kayden reading from The Return of Sherlock Holmes on Sundays from the living room of 221B Baker Street. This week: The Adventure of the Second Stain.

Sherlock Holmes (l, standing) and, Dr. Watson receive two distinguished guests in “The Adventure of the Second Stain”, Sidney Paget / Strand Magazine, 1904

Holmes and Watson received two very distinguished guests, who between them have a serious problem of some considerable import and delicacy.

None other than the Prime Minister, Lord Bellinger and the Secretary of State for European Affairs, Trelawney Hope, inform Holmes that a document has been stolen from Hope’s dispatch box whilst it was at his private residence. The document, a letter from a foreign potentate, could result in very dire consequences – even war – if delivered to the wrongs hands.

Both the Prime Minister and Hope impress upon Holmes that such is the nature of the document that no-one in Hope’s household, not even his wife, knew of its presence prior to the letter vanishing when Hope was out of the house for a number of hours.

Taking the case, Holmes decides to call upon a number of spies who may have a vested interest in obtaining the letter on behalf of their governments, only to find one of them has been murdered. Deciding that this could not be mere coincidence, he finds the mystery deepening when Hope’s wife, Lady Hilda Trelawney Hope, arrives at 221B Baker Street, demanding to know the contents of the document, whilst also begging Holmes to tell her husband nothing of her visit.

15:00 Magicland Storytime:  more from the Art and Magic of William Joyce

Caledonia shares A Day with Wilbur Robinson and continues Ollie’s Odyssey.

Monday May 30th, 19:00: The Alchemyst (The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel #1)

Faerie Maven-Pralou reads Michael Scott’s mystical novel.

AlchemystAccording to the records, Nicholas Flamel was born in Paris on 28 September 1330 and died in 1418. Only his tomb has forever lain empty, because Nicholas Flamel is the greatest Alchemyst of all time. Entrusted with the care of the Codex – also known as the Book of Abraham the Mage – Flamel found within it the secret of eternal life.

But there is much else in the Codex which, if used by the wrong minds, could very well bring about the end of the world. So, for 700 years, Nicholas Flamel has guarded the Book, keeping it from all those who might otherwise seek to abuse its secrets.

Until John Dee steals it. And John Dee has the desire to unlock the Codex and bring about the very cataclysm Flamel has always feared. Without the book, he and his wife, Perenelle, will age and die, whilst with the book, Dee can thwart all attempts to recover it.

Enter 15-year-old twins, Josh and Sophie Newman. Prophecy has foretold of a time when the world would be threatened – and of the two youngsters gifted with extraordinary powers who will save it. Flamel recognises the Newman twins as those youngsters, and sets out to awaken their magical talents. So it is that Josh and Sophie find themselves cast into the middle of the greatest tale – the greatest confrontation – of all time.

Tuesday May 31st, 19:00: When Sisterhood was in Flower

sisterhoodThe writings of Florence King return to Seanchai Library as Trolley Trollop continues reading When Sisterhood was in Flower (1982),

Isabel, a conservative southern writer living in Boston, finds her life taking a number of strange turns. After an explosion brings down the wall of her apartment she is forced to share her living space with her neighbour, an ardent, humourless feminist called Polly Bradshaw. Then, between them, they take in nutty Gloria, who is fixated with all things medieval, including the lute, which she constantly plays, and the death of Edward II.

Things start unravelling further when Polly inherits a house in California, and unilaterally decides they’ll form a self-sufficient feminist commune there. Along the way, they collect Agnes, who is trying to escape her survivalist husband, and Martha, a widow whose estranged husband died after an unfortunate incident with an inflatable rubber doll.

Then Isabel has the opportunity to earn a living as a writer … of pornography …

Wednesday June 1st 19th 19:00: Raymie Nightingale

Caledonia Skytower reads Kate DiCamillo ‘s 2016 children’s story.

RaymieWhat do you do when your father takes off with a dental hygienist? Be upset? Miss him? Rail against him? Or hatch a plan to get him to come home?

Raymie Clarke decides on the latter course of action. Dad needs to come home, and it’s down to her to see that he does – and that means winning the Little Miss Central Florida Tyre contest. Doing so will get her name and picture in the papers, which are sure to be read by her father, prompting his return.

Except… In order to win the contest, Raymie must do good deeds and learn the graceful art of baton twirling. Worse, she has to go up against the nauseating, show-business steeped Louisiana Elefante, who has fainting for effect down to an art form. Then there is Beverly Tapinski, who has entered the contest not to win it, but to wreck it for everyone else. So Raymie faces a mountain of challenges she must overcome.

Then fate plays a hand, circumstance and events bringing the three girls together in an unlikely friendship in which each has a role to place in supporting and aiding the others.

Thursday, June 2nd

19:00: Steampunk Fairytales

With Shandon Loring.

21;00: Seanchai Late Night

With Finn Zeddmore

Last Call for Crazy Eights

Visit Crazy Eights before it closes and discover more about Holmes and Watson
Visit Crazy Eights before it closes and discover more about Holmes and Watson

Crazy Eights, Seanchai Library’s full region installation at LEA 9 will be closing at the end of May after a highly successful round of events and storytelling. As I reported back in January, as Crazy Eights opened its doors, there is a lot to see in this immersive, story and literature focused region, so even with live events now drawing to a close, if you have not taken the time to visit, I encourage you to do so before the doors close at midday SLT on Monday, May 30th.

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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 May / June is Habitat for Humanity, with a vision of a world where everyone has a decent place to live – a safe and clean place to call home.

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