Tag Archives: Exploring Second Life (2014)

A farewell to Santorini

Santorini, Armenelos Calas Galadhon, December 2014

Santorini, Armenelos, Calas Galadhon, December 2014

The New Year tends to be a time of change and renewal, perhaps as much in the virtual as in the physical. Last year, the Calas Galadhon park lands underwent something of a remodelling in order to better meet the changing pressures of finance and time. The move came as Ty Tenk and Truck Meredith, who give so much of their time to the running of the park, closed the regions for a month to give themselves a little breathing space after the build-up to Christmas through Halloween, and the creation of their fabulous themed regions for both.

Ty recently contacted me to let me know that the park will again be closing at the start of 2015 so he and Truck can enjoy another well-earned break. As with last year, the closure will also be bringing changes to the park regions; and while the final plans haven’t been entirely worked out, it does mean that the Santorini build on Armenelos will be removed.

Santorini, Armenelos Calas Galadhon, December 2014

Santorini, Armenelos, Calas Galadhon, December 2014

“For a number of reasons we feel this is the best move for us,” Ty said in announcing the decision. “While ‘the village on top of the hill’ has been popular in years past we both feel confident we can come up with something new to make up for it – a new and updated Misty Mountains for one!”

Some might be tempted to point out that thanks to the arrival of mesh and materials et al, that Santorini is starting to look a little long in the tooth and that the move to replace it is overdue. To them I’d say that things happen in their own time, and while it may well be basic prims and simple textures, Santorini will be missed. It has been a jewel sitting off the coast of Calas Galadhon since the beginning, and many  – including myself – have found immense enjoyment in wandering the stepped streets, winding our way around the whitewashed houses and peeping through windows at their cosy interiors, or sitting down on a terrace to enjoy a little music and wine. I actually know several people for whom the village was their first introduction to the Calas park lands.

Santorini, Armenelos Calas Galadhon, December 2014

Santorini, Armenelos, Calas Galadhon, December 2014

For those who would like to capture a last memory or two of the village, there is still time; the last ferry will not be departing Santorini until early in the morning on Thursday, January 1st, 2015. So a visit on New Year’s Eve could be just the ticket if you want to see the old year old and greet the new one in a favourite corner of SL.

And as to what comes after? Well, Ty and Truck plan to keep OZ, the nightclub high overhead, running, and find room for the Dolphin café, currently sitting alongside Santorini (and where there is still time to enjoy a sirtaki dance with friends!). Whether the final plans see and expanded and revamped Misty Mountains or something else, the one thing you can be sure of is that 2015 will present plenty of new reasons for visiting Calas Galadhon, which, after the month’s break, will re-open in February 2015.

Santorini, Armenelos Calas Galadhon, December 2014

Santorini, Armenelos, Calas Galadhon, December 2014

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A StoryBrooke winter

StoryBrooke Gardens, Baja Norte; Inara Pey, December 2014, on FlickrStoryBrooke Gardens, Baja Norte (Flickr) – click any image for full size

Lauren Bentham has brought a fairytale winter to StoryBrooke Gardens, high over her Baja Norte region (which I last wrote about more than 18 months ago!). Snow falls across the garden’s trails and paths, layering them in a soft blanket as sunlight slants through frosted white branches of trees, and lanterns drift on the breeze.

Along the tracks and paths circling around and cutting through the gardens, a variety of animals and fairytale folk can be found, some sitting or standing on their own, others forming delightful vignettes, such as the little chipmunks gathered in a tiny field, or the bears and raccoons looking like they’re trying to deal with the excesses of Christmas one way or another.

StoryBrooke Gardens, Baja Norte; Inara Pey, December 2014, on FlickrStoryBrooke Gardens, Baja Norte (Flickr)

There is a wonderful attention to detail here; so much so that a casual visit may not reveal all there is to see. To help you take everything in, there are a number of places to sit, either on your own or with a companion, if visiting together.

Tucked away in the south-east corner of the gardens is a little snowbound cottage which is more than likely a photographer’s delight (I confess to snapping it from several angles and then having a play around in GIMP, as shown in the topmost image here). Nearby, and whom you might encounter first depending on the path you follow to the cottage, little fairy folk hover around bright hued mushrooms across the road from a little camp site …

StoryBrooke Gardens, Baja Norte; Inara Pey, December 2014, on FlickrStoryBrooke Gardens, Baja Norte (Flickr)

If you are still seeking a little P&Q after the excess of Christmas, real or virtual, StoryBrooke Gardens might be just the ticket.

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Binemist chorale

Binemist, Mystical Falls; Inara Pey, September 2014, on FlickrBinemist, Mystical Falls (Flickr)

As many know, I’ve been gradually getting my head around machinima, and specifically music videos. I’ve got a way to got to get up to the likes of the real exponents of the art, but hopefully I’m making progress.

One of my favourite places in SL is Binemist, Biné Rodenberger’s region – if you’ve never visited it, you should; it is a absolute delight. It’s been an aim of mine to capture it on video for myself;  a daunting task, as Biné is herself an accomplished machinima maker, and I still cannot eliminate all of the judders from my footage as (I assume) the capture software and the viewer fight for attention.

I did actually capture footage over a couple of visits,  but I was then stuck for music; nothing seemed to fit. Until, that is, I was listening to chorales on Christmas Eve; one in particular stuck out, so I thought I’d have a little play.

Binemist isn’t a “winter” or “seasonal” region right now, so there is no hidden message in the choice of music; the piece just seemed to fit the video clips as I was playing around; I certainly hope Biné doesn’t mind that I’ve set her region to a traditional hymn!

Anyway, rather than prattle on, I’ll leave you with the video.

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A winter’s scribbled heart

Scribbled Hearts; Inara Pey, August 2013, on FlickrScribbled Hearts (Flickr)

Looking through my travelogue entries for SL, I was surprised to realise I hadn’t paid a visit to Scribbled Hearts in over a year.

Much has changed since I last visited. *. emm [shop] and Little Closet have both now gone, replaced by Alessandra Ambrosio’s Tarte and Plethora Plentiful’s Plethora. However, much of the “old” look and feel of the region is still retained, with landscaping by Elvira Kytori and  Alessandra Ambrosio. Water still very much forms a central feature and the overall appearance is very rural and open.

Scribbled Hearts; Inara Pey, August 2013, on FlickrScribbled Hearts (Flickr)

As one might expect given the time of year in the northern hemisphere, the region is in the grip of winter; snow is beginning to lay on the ground – and has drifted in places as it falls steadily from the sky, misting the horizon. Most of the region is open to explore, although a parcel on the north side is restricted access at ground level, so watch out for bouncing off of ban lines if you decide to flip around by air.

Alongside of the stores, the region has a couple of small homes and a strange little hutch-like cabin scattered across it, with a rutted track leading visitors around them and it little touches of interest – a camp fire and chairs here, a swing hung from the tree there, and so on. None of the houses are occupied, so there is no risk of invasion of privacy, and one of them offers a little backyard jetty where you can sit and strum a guitar. Rezzing has been turned off, so the place isn’t quite and amenable to photographs as it once was, but it still offers some good opportunities for seasonal photos and well as a wander through the stores.

Scribbled Hearts; Inara Pey, August 2013, on FlickrScribbled Hearts (Flickr)

All told, still a pleasing corner of SL to visit.

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