Thursday, November 19, 2015

Boardwalk City

Boardwalk City is an amazing place, crafted by the amazing Uri Jefferson.  Uri was the owner of and builder for Wystenra, the historical sim that I still love and miss.

Inspired by American Horror Story, it is chock full of disturbing imagery.  It is not an rp sim per se, although some people rp there.  There are no rules, no applications.

You arrive on a boardwalk in front of a huge ferris wheel.

There are actual rides and attractions, including a merry-go-round and bumper cars.

There is an authentic urban feel to it, with its seedy underside.

But the crowning feature is the sideshow.

It's a smorgasbord of freakishness, and it's a tough call to say which freak is the freakiest.

Either way, you lose, lol.  But this is an amazing spectacle, and I have to give credit where it is due.  Go visit.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Love, Henry

Love, Henry_001

Love, Henry - a beautiful build by Tahiti Rae that asks the question, "What if Henry VIII never executed Anne Boleyn?"

Love, Henry_004

Sadly, I think his desire for a new wife thoroughly overcame whatever love he had, and he thoroughly hated her by the time he had Anne killed. I took a break from roleplaying for once and went exploring, inspired by a photo I saw on Flickr and took my own set. It's builds like these, so lovingly detailed, that make me feel so inferior and wish that I had the time and talent to create such things.

Love, Henry_008

See my Flickr to see the entire album.


End of an Era

Era of Conquest closed a couple of weeks ago. Many of the usual reasons: rl, mainly. Stress can be a terrible thing. I wish Sash and Oconnell the best.

Monday, June 22, 2015

The Era of Conquest

Market view

So I found a very beautiful Game of Thrones sim called Era of Conquest.  I was very impressed with how it was built and how it was set up.  For the most part, it's done right, although it's not perfect.  I've made some friends there and have had a lot of fun writing myself and my family's history into the lore.

King's Landing

I play Calysta Velaryon, from a banner house to the Targaryens.   I didn't know much about Game of Thrones until I started playing but I am very much into it now, and reading the original books.  It's such a detailed world, although I think GRRM could have spared us a few plotlines and several hundred pages.


It's a relatively new sim, so I'm giving it a shot.  So far I've enjoyed myself but it's got growing pains like Lightbridge did. People are always seeking instant gratification and few people care enough to try to grow the sim.  I try not to think about that too much as it makes me a little angry.

Bird's Eye View of King's Landing I'll save my rant about roleplay in SL for another day.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Leveling Up

Last week's flop has yielded so much fruit, I declare that I have officially "leveled up" in my sailing.

It's amazing, really.  So much so that I decided to take a chance and abandon the traditional HUD and only run with the infoHUD.  The impetus for using the infoHUD was the hot crashy mess that I was during Monday's Topless Sailing cruise.  I got thrown so many times, my head is still spinning... 

So, yeah, that made me reeeeally wish that I could sail with the stripped down HUD to reduce lag, and ya know what, I did it!  I took the time to fix up some old sailing gestures I had languishing in a folder to fix the winds and boat commands so that they were quick and easy, some of the commands being similar to the commands in BWind based boats like the Loonetta.  I also added a bunch of gestures.  I had to compensate for the loss of a quick click means of hiking, and for certain boats, reefing.  Also for gybing / goosewinging the jib or spinnaker.  There is more, of course, and some of it is boat specific, but I'm not going to bore you!  

I do miss the wind/boat speed/direction meter, though.  If there was a slightly scaled up infoHUD that had that visual info on it it would be wonderful.  But I'll do well even without it, I think I have the hang of it now.  Besides, the luffing feature helps me to know when I'm too far out of trim anyhow.  For the most part, I'm sailing by the senses and not the numbers, and that's an amazing thing.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Going Topless

Topless Sailing
I joined the Topless Sailing group.  It's a pretty diverse and fun group, they sail topless cruises and in most cases, bottomless is also allowed.  It's not a sexual thing, it's more of a naturist thing.  Men and women can join, and everyone I've met has been very nice so far.  Especially considering my lag disasters.  I managed to make the cruise today and for crying out loud, I think I got thrown off my boat at least 7 times.  Fortunately I had a nice crewmate who was able to teleport me back to the boat!

The cruises are nice, long courses that can be a little challenging sometimes.  After the cruises they have a nice dance party with a DJ.  They do this twice a week, Mondays and Thursdays at 1pm SLT.

It seems it's very Euro-centric, as many of the people I've seen on the cruises are European.  That's not a bad thing, but it would be nice to have some American-primetime-friendly cruises.  I suppose I'll have to volunteer or some shiz like that, lol.  In the meanwhile, I hope I can make it more often.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015


I have, thankfully, no pictures of today's debacle where I totally embarrassed myself. I will spare myself the pain of recounting all the details. What I will say, is that I ultimately learned a lot more about sailing one of my boats - Frivolity, my Francois Jacques.

In a way, it's a very good thing that this shameful thing happened because I don't think I'd have learned otherwise just how much power I was dealing with and how much restraint is needed sometimes in controlling it. Normally when I sail, I don't bother to change the SL wind. My approach has been to deal with it as it comes, and just tack and tack as necessary to go upwind. What I never normally experience is a gale force wind.

Well, stupid me didn't realize that the recommended wind for the day's event was a gale force wind. And the FJ loves to heel, something else I'd forgotten in almost three years of hardly sailing because of getting deep into medieval roleplay. Well, disaster first came when I couldn't even get started. I chose the wrong boat for the recommended wind; I probably should have stuck with Twinkle, my T12. I didn't want to use Twister, the 12 Metre, because I already saw several of them being used. And I wanted one of the big pretty boats, just not the same as everyone else. Vanity... so, out came Frivolity. But -sploosh- I went as soon as the sails went up. I was capsizing, something that has never happened to me before, and I had no idea why. I managed to right myself, but then I hit a horrible spot and I was capsizing again. I didn't know why, until I went back later at night to try the FJ out again, and also consulted dear Jane Fossett's invaluable blog for the scoop on the FJ.

Herp derp, I had a sense that I needed to do the counter-intuitive thing and let the sail out, but it felt like the HUD wasn't responding and I couldn't let it out enough. Well, that's intentional. Had I known my boat better, I'd have known that the recommended 18m/s wind speed was too much for the FJ with the mainsails up. As it was, I'd have needed a crew of burly musclemen to stop the heeling, and even then it might not have been enough to keep from tipping over.

What I should have done was drop the mainsails and just sail with the jib/stay/jib topsail, or vice versa and drop the jib/stay/jib topsail and sailed with just the mainsails. There is just too much sheet open to the wind with both sets of sails up at that speed, and it will blow you over unless you can start running downwind. My instinct was right in letting the wind spill, but with the pressure to try to keep up with other cruisers, who remembers these things? People with more experience, that's who.

So, lesson learned - stop being a permanoob, and know what the hell it is you're actually driving.  I know that my instincts are underdeveloped, partly because I don't sail in real life and partly because I hadn't done it enough in Second Life.

Although I am still ashamed at the flop, I am proud that I actually learned something from this, and I am already a more confident sailor.

eta: it wasn't a gale force wind but Trudeau doesn't use knots... oops.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Twisting in the Wind

Welcome Twister, my new Trudeau 12 Metre!

The New Trudeau 12 Metre
The 12 Metre represents a return to the big boats, another America's Cup racer that lasts well into the 1980s, after the J-Class.  It's a lovely yacht and it has fantastic lines - literally.  Watching the ropes move and slide along the pulleys as the sail swings is fascinating to watch.  I can understand why it took so long, I think, for Jackie to come out with a new yacht.

Basking in the Sun So I took a spin in the Fruit Islands, as my original trek starting at the Leviathan didn't go so well.  A few sims away and then I was left behind.  I still don't know where the boat is...

But hey, can't complain about sailing around in paradise.

Riding the Twister

I've yet to really put it through its paces, with a full crew. I'm not a racer anyway, but still, it would be nice to see how it handles with a full crew to stop the heeling. My first impression is that this thing can really pick up some decent speed very quickly. But it can, through cap'n's ineptitude, come to a dead halt quickly too. This yacht is soooo not meant for shallow water. Try not to cut it too close by sailing too close to shore.  I think I've already scratched up my keel...

Friday, March 20, 2015

Change Keeps Coming

So, after some consideration I closed the sim for Lightbridge.  The most important thing is to maintain balance, and the stress of trying to grow it was not something I could really endure - I had to be honest with myself.

There are a lot of maybes of things that I could have done differently, but the bottom line is that it wasn't growing anymore.  It felt like I hit a limit and what I had wasn't satisfactory.  I had a profound sense of waste, being the only one in the sim and hearing again and again how it was just too hard to get into the rp.  I thought differently, but that's not something you can just change people's minds about.

So upon suggestion from a friend, instead of closing completely, I downsized and moved - there is a village but it's atop my new home on a half homestead, instead of having a full homestead and only a closet's worth of prims for a home away from the rp.  And I love my home:

The Golden Sun

Life rebalances itself, and in the end, I always come back to the water.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Still Sailing

The Loonetta

I'm on a roll, but I'll never make up for losing almost two years of blogging.

So I added a couple more boats to my collection: The T-12, finally, from Trudeau Classic Yachts. I don't know why I missed that one but it's a perfect small boat for skimming mainland waters, or just going out with one friend. Yeah, it holds more than one, but I like it for smaller groups. I got the party boat (the New York 30) for that reason - partying with lots of friends.

I've also added a Loonetta, finally. I'd been eyeing that boat for some time and it's just a marvelous bit of engineering. So many places to sit and so many animations! I love the steering animations when you stand at the helm. It's just a quality machine.

At the Helm of the Loonetta
It's a different experience from sailing a Trudeau and honestly, I prefer Jackie's method for sailing when in control of the ship. Maybe I just need more practice but it's not something I'm used to and I think the sail luffing looks better on the Trudeaus. The Loonetta is a perfect boat for cheating easy sailing, though, with the motor. My life is stressful enough, sometimes you just need to chill.

  Chillin' Out

Pics are from a casual cruise around Corsica and over to Gaeta.  I started off at Tradewinds, but I really want to comment on Danshire Yacht Club, over in my old nemesis, Knaptrackicon.

Danshire Yacht Club

Quite the difference from this 2009 photo:


My thoughts at the time:
Lovely sim, eh? Well this bitch is nigh impassable. These folks have access to 2 protected Linden ocean sims, north and south. But they apparently don't like seeing all the pretty sailboats come through, because they haven't bothered to leave enough open land to let that happen. There is a very narrow strip in the west that I had to edit myself through, because not only is it shallow, there are things there that obstruct passage. I need to double check that, but it was pretty convincing to me when I couldn't pass this one particular papyrus that the plant was solid. I'll try again in the Leetle Cat, because the Ketch has a pretty deep keel. Overall, it's just a DICK MOVE.
Change can be very, very good.

To Recap...

It's been a long time since I've written anything.

I know I needed to, but I've just been mentally preoccupied even when nothing was going on.  It's just a block, it happens.

Minx Visits Beforehand
So in the past almost two years, I'd finished playing at Mystara and joined a new historical sim.  I had replaced Cristalle with a lovely Avariel named Liriel, of whom I have some great pictures.

Liriel was supposed to take Cristalle's place as Tyaro/Diplomat, but that plan changed when she applied to own the Vanya Sulie and she became the Keeper instead.  I stuck that out for almost a year, but then I began playing in Wystenra, a historical sim set in a fictional country on the European continent.

Edmund & Anne
I found a love for all things not magical, as I felt like magic was being abused to keep people alive when they probably should have died.  I understand that people get attached to their characters, but I'm more attached to stories and magic as the constant means to evade death became a turnoff to me.  I'm not singling anyone out, a ton of people do it, and I find it more than a little lame.  The amount of fruit that Cristalle's death bore was amazing to me, and even just a few haunting scenes were enough to make those of us involved teary eyed and runny nosed.  There is power in consequences, and yet that power is often abdicated.

Unfortunately, Wystenra also closed near the end of 2014 due to some unfortunate rl circumstances with the sim owner.  But it was a great time, with many wonderful stories and a few friendships to come out of it, some of them very special to me.

After 6 months of ambiguity in Wystenra, I decided it was time to commit to working on something that came to me over the summer, an idea that began to grow.  That has resulted in me now running my own rp sim, Lightbridge, also historical but in a different place and time from Wystenra and with very different rules. In a way it's more rigid about the realism, as the thing I want to capture is that consequences matter and the choices we make in rp matter over time.  But upon further introspection, I realize that maybe I take the difficulty of the character generation process for granted, and I am mulling over some ways to make that easier for people to just get in and play.

Lightbridge Docks
Running your own sim is difficult, and you need good help.  That isn't easy to find, and sometimes even if you have good help you just need more.  It's rewarding but also a source of stress.  I'm very proud of the build I put together for Lightbridge, as it is on a homestead and the prim limits are very tight.  It's months of work and love and that's before you even let anyone else in.

City Square
So that brings me to the announcement that Mystara is closing, which makes me sad.  Few sims could ever match it in its beauty and all current pretenders to the throne pale in comparison.  This is not to denigrate anyone's hard work, but Mystara is a visually stunning sim that is currently unparalleled and it is a shame to see it broken up and sold off.  You couldn't ask for a better physical environment in which to roleplay.

The new village, at night
That's the one constant feature of Second Life, though: change.  Everything eventually goes away, and something new comes to take its place sometimes.  Some things and sometimes some people are lost forever, as they are irreplaceable.  We take things for granted in our youth but even youth fades and life can be taken from us while we are still young. I wish Annie well and I expect that in time Mystara will be back in some shape or form.

So now, on to Lightbridge... and yes, I'm still sailing.