BB Road Trip

Sinatra Cartier’s Spook House has closed – a sad day for SL History Buffs…

It’s with a heavy heart that I heard from my mate Shigeko that the wonderful Spook House in Noyo (a long time landmark in for anyone interested in the history of SL) has shut down and gone. There is a LM giver that directs you to Sinatra Cartier’s copy in Natoma so we haven’t lost this wonderful build forever, but Noyo seems a little emptier today and given all the changes in the surround sims as the Forest of Kahruvel slowly contracts and de-rezzes it feels as though many of the old lands and my old haunts (no pun, etc.) are slipping away. Anyway, lest I get too maudlin I urge you all to head over to Natoma and take a ride on the Spook House – and while you are at it catch Sinatra in one of his concerts because frankly he’s bloody brilliant!

My first (recorded – I had visited in 07) visit to the Spook House in Feb 08
Sinatra's Sppok House in Noyo

The same site in Noyo today
The Death of the Spooks_001

My Road Trip in Noyo

My Road Trip in Natoma

By pure chance I recently filmed my journey through the Noyo Spook House

Sad news about Garth Fairchang

Although I never met him and only had one IM conversation with him in my near-three years in SL, I know enough about him to know that SL is a poorer place for his passing – Garth’s typist has saddly lost his battle with cancer. My thoughts are with his RL/SL wife Pituca and all his SL & RL family and friends.

Rather than re-hash Hamlet’s article, I will simply link to it here.

My Second Life Road Trip 10 *ahem* b: Before I leave Natoma…

I came in-world to plan my route for the next stage of my road trip (now over a year long – I am soooo lazy! Thank go to the ever fragrant Nish for jogging me along with her own travel post on her blog here) and found that to my shame I’d missed an amazing corner of Natoma in my last post. How could I? Especially as it is such a delightful wee corner at that! Tsk… I shall be having a word with myself later.

Tucked away in the south west corner of the sim you’ll find a small glade of beautiful silver birch trees and in amongst them is a stone circle built in the beta stages of 2003 by Simon Metalhead as a place for all to come and relax & reflect.
Natoma - Simon Metalhead's Sacred Ground

It has survived to this day thanks to Simon’s persistance in the face of changes to the rest of the sim that must have altered it out of all recognition. I intend to send Simon an IM to ask some questions on that subject and if I hear back, I’ll pop something on here 🙂

In the meantime, wish me luck on the next leg of my journey and catch up with all the previous posts here. With some luck, I’ll bump into Nish on my way round 😀

Fire in the old gal yet…

Neal Lyle (the grand old gent of Palomarian Lighthouse himself) dropped me a wee note to say that whilst the Pomponio volcano is still sans lava (see my road trip post from February) a new vent seems to have opened nearby (there is already a possible vent in Bodega)

Here is the still smoking but otherwise empty caldera:
The Old Pomponio Volcano

…and here, nearby, is the new vent as found by OoPs Galatea:
The Old Pomponio Volcano

I wonder if the old girl is rumbling towards life again…?

My Second Life Road Trip 10: Prim Overload in Natoma

At the southern border of Stillman, Frank & I crossed into Natoma and to a very welcome sight indeed, another of Sinatra Cartier’s wonderful Spook House rides. For a moment I was whisked away across half-a-dozen sims and nine moths to the start of my road trip back in Noyo.
Natoma - Sinatra's Spook House

Behind the spook house and away to the south, Natoma opened out into a patchwork of sandboxes, private houses, strange builds and the odd historical monument.
Natoma - The Man Statue

The historical monument in question is The Man, a remnant of the earliest days of The Grid. Before Linden Lab opened up the grid to public beta, the sim now know as Natoma hosted a city used by the LL bods to see if what they wanted to do (i.e. Second Life) was possible. The man was a piece of civic art in the city but once they deleted the city to make way for what was to become Natoma, it turned out that The Man survived. Once the public entered (or re-entered) he/it soon became a favourite feature for people to visit and even leave offerings with. Leaving Frank down below I climbed to the top with my old friend TR only to find a strangely lonely looking figure.
Natoma - Gazing up at The Man

He seems a largely forgotten relic of a vanishing world and no one seems to visit him anymore, let alone leave offerings. More than anything else I’ve seen on my road trip, The Man seems to sum up how the world that was created has all but gone, buried beneath flood after flood of new residents and new land – an explosion from this centre leaving behind echoes and memories.
Natoma - Gazing at The Man

Moving off with a heavy heart, Natoma did nothing to improve my mood. A wonderful robot build was blocked from exploration by ban lines…
Natoma - the Carling Black Label Bot

…the last remaining private houses seemed stranded and cut off by the endless, untidy sandbox regions that surrounded them, such as Tcoz Bach’s place on Mount Natoma…

…or Luke Lorentz’s place…

…or Delerium Digeridoo’s empty Delirium Castle.

In fact, by the time Frank and I had trotted through the bleak, flat sandboxes to the real reason people come to Natoma these day, the Ivory Tower of Primitives, I was actually contemplating stopping my road trip althogether.
Natoma - Deeper into the  testing grounds

But then I got to the tower and all (well, almost) was forgiven. Built by Lumiere Noir it is a shining example of what residents can achieve in this world, not just for themselves but for the good of all people. There it stands (actually the second tower – the first one originally stood in Noyo) open to all so anyone – ANYONE – can freely learn how to build. This is a skill I do not have and am in awe of in others so to find a place dedicated to providing this knowledge did my travel weary soul good. Natoma is a place of many contradicting styles and builds, but it has a good heart and that makes it, in my mind at least, just what Second Life is all about. I can’t recommend it as a place to visit, but I can urge you to go and learn how to make this world a more beautiful place.
Natoma - Ivory Tower of Prims 1

Natoma - Ivory Tower of Prims 2

Natoma - Ivory Tower of Prims 3

Natoma - Ivory Tower of Prims 4

Natoma - Ivory Tower of Prims 5

Yours in Travel,
HeadBurro Antfarm

To be continued…

Catching up with TR

Way back in the lost mists of time, I met TR Amat in Murray. She came at a time when the minimaxes were being a right pain in the arse and I helped her with some shields and advice. Ever since then we’ve remained friends, although I hardly get to see her at all these days as we are both busy bees (1). TR is a robot powered by AI from the outside world but I have to admit that the last time I saw her, she was a little less robotic than now 🙂
Postcard from Second Life.

It was really great to catch up and she was a real sport to explore Natoma with me knowing how much I stop to take photos – here we are looking up at The Man:
Postcard from Second Life.

Hope to see you again soon, TR 🙂


(1) I was in Murray a couple of nights ago and didn’t recognise a single person – something that has not happened since I found my way there in December 06. It was an odd feeling – it was never my home (I beamed into Braunsworth when I first entered the world) but it has always been the closest thing I had to a home and now for the first time I don’t feel I fit there.

My Second Life Road Trip 9: Giant Bears in Stillman

Frank and I looked for a bridge across to Natoma but it looked as thought we were to get wet once more. Frank may be a good swimmer, but I was pushing my luck as far as his patience was concerned and he let me know as much as we trotted carefully into the water. Almost immediately we were caught by a strong current and were whisked off north towards the sim called Stillman.

Frank pulled us ashore near the south east corner and shook himself dry as I took in our surroundings. I had that feeling again, the feeling I had been here before. In front of me stood a marketplace called The Bazaar. It looked different now, but I had been here a long, long time ago in my newbie days!
Stillman - The Linden Free Bazaar

The Bazaar is an old Linden supported project where residents could leave their goods so that others could take a copy – all for free. A wonderful resource when I was new to this world, it was good to see it had obviously (and recently) had a comprehensive makeover indicating it was still valued by the Lindens.

From here, Frank took me west and then north across some slender wooden bridges and into a small glade where two free multiplayer games had been built by Ezhar Fairlight for all to use.
Stillman - Two great games

A little further north and we found ourselves under the shadow of an enormous castle, Castle Blackmoor built by the very talented Juro Kothari in 2004, although I think it is a continually evolving build.
Stillman - Castle Blackmoor

In fact, most of this sim is given over to displaying Juro’s wonderful pre-fab houses…
Stillman - Juro Kothari's houses

…with an amazing one-off dominating the northern shore. This is the long established home of Cyrus Apollo, builder & founder of the Green Lantern Corps (who used to have their original base in Stillman).

Behind Cyrus’ house loom, or rather blithely stomp, two spectacularly huge teddy bears (you can buy them as avs – that must make for an amazing sight in a welcome sim like Ahern :-D) on the spot where until the upgrade to 1.2 in December 03 stood Juro Kothari’s much loved Sun Tower (1).

Frank seemed rested and I had seen all that Stillman had to offer (2) so together we headed south towards Natoma and the beautiful tower that dominated the skyline.
Stillman - Cyrus Apollo's house

To be continued…

Yours in Travel,
HeadBurro Antfarm

(1) Way back in the dim and distant past folks were taxed for many, many things in SL such as building and teleporting but also including light. Honest. I’m not making that bit up. Last time I heard a scheme that daft was on The Simpsons, and before that it was the English Parliament slapping a window tax on the poor old Scots. Well, I say daft, but light in SL is a resource like any other and that’s actually what used to be taxed pre-1.2. Read about it here. And here is the notes on the change to 1.2.

(2) Well, that is not entirely true. Go to the area around Castle Blackmoor and fly up – there is a ton of stuff floating about here. Literally. A Ton. I weighed it. All of it. Came to a ton. Go see for yourself. Why didn’t I take pics? Errr, my camera battery died. And I ran out of film. And I get nosebleeds if I go over 10 feet. And the sun was in eclipse. I was sick. Real sick. I died, damn you! I DIED! Now kindly leave me alone.

My Second Life Road Trip 8: Passing Through Taber

Frank made short work of the swim from Welsh to Taber. Partly in honour of his efforts but largely because there was three-parts of bugger all there (1), I made short work of my visit.
Leaving Welsh

Once we sloshed onto land, Frank trotted us off to a beautiful minoretted structure that seemed to be a place of reflection for its builder, Siggy Romulus. The only other thing of note here were the lovely trees of Khamon Fate, all for sale it seemed.
Taber - Siggy Romulus' retreat

A short distance away lay the two buildings of Allen Parks, the first his shop of excellent fireworks and the other his freebie barn designed to help newbies.
Taber - Park's Fireworks and Freebies

Behind that, next to a mall, I found a strange small, round building. Frank snorted and stamped his feet eager, I felt, to move east to Natoma, but I had to dismount to get a closer look.
Taber - Piprrr Godel's Myst Project

And I wasn’t disappointed! The building was a small fragment of the lost lands of Myst built here way back in 2003 by Piprrr Godel. Why it was here and what purpose it served I had no idea, but as I climbed back onto Frank and pointed him to the magnificent tower to the east, I decided that a small missive to Piprrr would be the order of the day.
Taber - Entering Piprrr Godel's Myst Project

To be continued…

Yours in Travel,
HeadBurro Antfarm

(1) It seems Taber wasn’t always this barren. According to some pictures belonging to Khamon Fate I found on snapzilla, Taber ‘died’ about a year ago. I shall IM him and find out more. In the meantime, here is the search link for the photos.

Update: Although I have yet to hear from Khamon, Allen & Osprey filled me in on some of the background – it seems that Garth & Pituca Fairchang sold up and moved on about  a year ago and that meant a lot of the builds in Taber that dated back to pretty much the start of SL vanished. Allen has managed to save the windmill that dates back from 2003 and in the space between my original visit a few weeks back and this write up he has re-erected it near his fireworks shop. More info as and when I get it 🙂
Taber - The Windmill Returns

EDIT: 8th Sept 09: It is with a very heavy heart I found out today that Garth Fairchang’s typist died recently. My thoughts are with his SL & RL wife and all his SL & RL friends and family. SL is a poorer place for his passing.

My Second Life Road Trip 7: Swimming, climbing and hiking in Welsh (part 2)

I hauled my wet, cold carcass on to land and shook the water for my body. North of where I stood at the top of Welch lay a wide expanse of sea with only a small island sporting a strange squat building topped with a rotating disc.
Welsh to Dunlevie - Data's Island

Although it appeared to belong to Data Linden, there was nothing else to indicate its purpose so I turned my attention back to Welsh and the strange sight that my landing point afforded – a truly massive tree next to a huge building that seemed to be made out of blocks of a metal that somehow devoured light! Nestled in between, and dwarfed by both, was a small wooden house that looked as though it had dropped here from some American prairie. All three belonged to different people and once again showed just how strange the mainland can look when there are little or no building codes (1).
Welsh - bUTTONpUSHER's place

Welsh - Launa Fauna's house

I moved off under the saint tree and around the house until I came to another monstrous build. I followed a marble wall until I came around to the south edge of the construction and could see more clearly that is appeared to be a huge temple and from the look of the hangings inside, one dedicated to Prok’s FIC (2), although I’m guessing it was extracting the urine rather than worshipping at the lap of.
Welsh - BuhBuhCuh's Temple of FIC

I stood on the marble floor and stared across at the last section of Welsh to be explored, and what an uninspiring sight it was. The south east was largely empty (bar a grimy dinner expertly put together by the hobos of Calleta) and the land broken into small lumps of barren rock jutting from the sea. I had little option but to swim again, this time heading for the southern edge of the sim and what looked like an old caravan.
Welsh - Looking to the south east

Which it was, complete with washing. Someone needs help getting their whites whiter!
Welsh - Trailer Park

From here I was within walking distance of the beanstalk where I had left Frank to bother the grass to his heart’s content, but as I began to make my way to him, something caught my eye and I stopped dead. Over on a small lump of land near the Hat Tree stood two deer quietly eating in the afternoon sun. I crouched and watched for a while, amazed to realise I had found some of Paul Zeeman’s (3) work!
Welsh - Feeding Deer

I crept away so as not to disturb them and was soon back with Frank. He nuzzled me affectionately (4) and I swung myself up into the saddle. We were at the western edge of Welsh and looking into Taber. It looked like that for the fourth time today I was going to get very, very wet…
Leaving Welsh

Yours in Travel. And Water.
HeadBurro Antfarm.

(1) Whether or not I liked this was a matter I am still working through.

(2) The FIC, or Feted Inner Core, is a theory created by Prokofy Neva. It maintains that Linden Lab gather around them certain residents to take part in projects and the like and then benefit from those close ties with The Lab. Some people hate the idea, some love it and others just ignore it. Me, well I’m too much of cynic to think such things don’t happen but also enough of realist to accept that all societies need these people to drive through changes. Frankly most folks just don’t care enough about their ‘society’ or ‘community’ to worry about a FIC but I will always argue that LL open up opportunities as much as possible as it’s great to see newbies getting a crack at things. It’s also very interesting to see who are the latest movers and shakers – like reading the rich 100: you know you can’t do anything about it, but you read it all the same 🙂

(3) Paul was the second resident, after Steller Sunshine.

(4) Not like that, you mucky sods!

My Second Life Road Trip 7 – Swimming, climbing and hiking in Welsh (part 1)

Things move fast on the grid, even in the old lands (1) and by the time I had decided that best way across the water dividing Clementina from Welsh was to coax Frank into the sea so he could swim us both across, the huge pirate ship and wooden building behind it in Taber had gone. I’ve no idea how long they had been there or why they had now gone, so I just flicked Frank’s reins and eased him down to the water’s edge. To my eternal gratitude, Frank showed no signs off displeasure as I moved him deeper in and soon was swimming away (2) as though he’d been doing it all his life (come to think of it, I had found him on an a sim that was essentially an island and had seen exactly no other horses in my time there – he may well have swum across in the first place).
Welsh - The Horse Ferry

We made landfall near the south west corner of Welsh and came ashore under the boughs of an enormous tree that had been hollowed out for a hat shop by Tweke Underhill back in 2006.
Welsh - The Hat Tree

I nudged Frank off to explore this old area of the grid; the whole sim seemed to be broken and divided by water channels, some shallow, others deep and fast flowing and I wondered just how much swimming Frank would appreciate. We crossed a small bridge and headed to the landmark that could be seen all the way from Clementina and beyond into the inland sea of Omidyar: a huge green beanstalk flanked by a continually rising and falling hot air balloon.
Welsh - The Welsh Beanstalk

I left Frank to graze and dry out as I wandered around the base of the giant stalk to where I found a notice challenging anyone to try and climb to the top without cheating. Steller Sunshine (3), who had grown the beanstalk from a seed prim back in July 2003, was offering to pay L$500 to anyone who succeeded.
Welsh - The Beanstalk Challenge

I looked up at the huge plant and decided that today was not a good day for dangerous sports – instead I flew up and landed on one of the many huge leaves. If you come here and take up the challenge, let me know how you get on – it looks all but impossible to me!
Welsh - Atop the Beanstalk

Just behind the beanstalk I found the half-buried remains of a truly massive statue seemingly uncovered by Steller who had then turned it into a tourist stop (or butterfly haven, I wasn’t sure which).
Welsh - The Fallen Statue

I walked off east past a large water tower towards a huge bucket and spade belonging to Saaz Roentgen and found a delightful Whack-A-Mole game Saaz had built. Unfortunately I proved not to be very adept at it and more moles escaped my fevered clicks than not.
Welsh - Whak-A-Mole Game

Beyond Saaz’s place a wide expanse of water, deep and cold, divided the landmass and across it rose a mighty plateau topped with what looked to be trees and signs of habitation, but I could see no way of getting up outside of flying.
Welsh - Rasied Paradise

Instead I opted to brave the cold waters before me and swim across to the eastern half of the sim. It was hard, cold work and I made a mental note to give Frank an extra sugar lump when I made my way back to him. But for now, I concentrated on reaching the far shore…
Welsh - Swimming  around the plateau

Yours in Travel,
HeadBurro Antfarm

(1) It’s strange really, some parts hardly ever change (4), or rather they seem not too. In truth even they do, sort of like digital erosion I guess. But in SL it can happen fast and often. So far during my road trip I’ve lost a volcano, a skulk, a couple of huge ion-cannon wielding teddy bears and now a pirate ship and pirate castle.

(2) Poor Frank, he’d be mortified if he knew I told you this, so please shhhhhhh. Frank can’t swim! I know, I know – there is a photo showing him swimming, but it’s a fake, a phoney, a three quid note. Frank was flying and we hovered in the water to make it look like he could swim. But please, don’t tell him I told you.

(3) Steller Sunshine is credited with being the first resident in SL and was rezzed on Wednesday 13th March 2002 (the grid being opened on Tuesday 12th).

(4) The Forest of Kahruvel is one such place I see as eternal, but as we all know its past shows this to be far from the truth. Even today it is changing with the large, black mall in Noyo soon to be demolished to allow the forest to once more stretch its borders. No matter who or where, the grid is not eternal and everything and everyone in it just a piece of the flux that makes it work.

Hey! I got a mention in NWN and IDG 🙂