Thursday, May 4, 2017

Fantasy Faire: Dawn's Promise

Dawn's Promise: Flow

Dawn's Promise comes on you like spring - at first gradually and then all in a rush. It is studded with brightly shaded sitting areas that somehow blend into the pinky misty backdrop while still giving the scene an air of play. Everywhere you look is a new spot for delight, some other living thing breathing alongside you. The path is meandering but easy to follow, going between buildings and over bridges with reckless abandon. Everything is slightly worn and slightly off-center - roofs have beams exposed and tiles missing, plaster has worn off to show the brick underneath, and the textures are rough, as if painted by watercolors. I love when creators take the extra step of making things worn; in Second Life it's often easier to make things perfect and uniform, so the extra effort to add cracks and breaks are striking. Little details are tucked into those irregular areas, like a ghost haunting the attic of one store under the watchful eyes of a crow, or a bathtub full of flowers spilling out into the landscape. Off to the edges, small gathering areas float on stone islands - offering privacy and beauty all in one.

Dawn's Promise: Look to the Sky


Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Fantasy Faire: The Rose

The Rose: Lion

Alia's builds are almost always one of my favorites, and I adored The Rose the second I set foot inside of it. I have a major soft spot for Venice, and this sim really brought that city to mind, from the houses with their stoops ending at the waterline, to the gondola style boats floating on the water. The hues are gentle shades of pink which set off the mint water that was the default windlight beautifully. It grows up rather than out, the outer edges facades while the stores grow up the middle and curve around in a confusing and delighting manner, all the way up to the dance stage on the roof of the central building. I loved the layers and details even while cursing every time I got lost! Rose petals are everywhere, and here and there a black mask lies discarded as if from some party the night before. I was most startled when I crossed a bridge, looked to the side, and realized there was a watery tunnel all the way through! Fantastic!

The Rose: Pet Rose


Fantasy Faire: The Spirit Pool

The Spirit Pool: Watchful

Stepping into The Spirit Pool is like stepping into a cool past made out of marble. Built along simple and neo-Classical lines, the sparsity broken up by lovely potted plants in a vivid shade of yellow-green, The Spirit Pool is a balm to souls over-wrought by the excesses and overwhelm of the Faire. Built around a central square, the covered store area gives way to an open air courtyard protected by high walls. The scale is enormous, especially when you look up to see the somber statue presiding over it all, her arms outstretched. Similar, but smaller, statues dot the walkways holding lamps aloft to guide the way from shop to shop. Water flows throughout, adding to the sense of cool calmness and drawing the eye toward the deep pool which makes up The Spirit Pool. I particularly like the effect of the long banners cutting up the smooth white with a stream of patterned blue. This is also one of the few builds with regular seating, in the form of lovely marble couches with curving arms tucked against the outside wall of the promenade.

The Spirit Pool: On Guard


Fantasy Faire: Mudrana

Mudrana: Golden

Mudrana is a fascinating build at the Fantasy Faire, built in an 'S' shape which centers in front of the Frog King with the curves of enormous lotuses serving as both barrier and building. Reeds of various shades, matching lilypads, and even differently tinted water add a three tone effect while separating the build not exactly evenly. The decor here is for sale at the Dandelion Daydream Factory, and it's striking; divided into "corrupted", "Unseelie" and "Seelie", the similar shapes are remade through colors and glow to bring a different mood to their sections. My favorite touch were the frogs, however - some of them sitting, others climbing, still others peering into the depths. It was fun running across the ones with horns or wings perched on a lilypad or halfway up a stalk of cattails. The use of movement was fantastic as well - flies buzz around the head of the Frong King, tempting him to snack, and in the depths of the water you can see enormous tadpoles swimming as they waited to transform and join their parents on the surface.

Mudrana: Eye of the Lotus


Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Fantasy Faire: Opal Flight

Opal Flight: Riding High

Opal's Flight is a sea of whites and cream with the flash of glinting bright creatures strewn throughout, much like the hues of a milky quartz in the sun. Like last year's Haveit Neox and Lilia Artis build, it has an organic and quirky design - even the whites mottled with texture - and there's a sense of movement even in the still pieces. There are moments both grand and small - one of my favorite details was in the meeting of a metal flamingo from Fallen Sands with a Neoxian Paper Goose, complete with a gear gift. Its a subtle but endearing touch, bridging the edges of the disparate Fairelands with the shade whimsy of the Faire itself. What was most transfixing, however, were the leaping fish and cetatean riding octopi, rendered in gorgeous hues of bright purple, warm orange, and lime green. They leap among the relics of enormous coral, many of their leaping speeds sufficiently off from each other so that the tableau is ever-changing and unpredictable. Capturing the full effect is impossible in still photography, but I had fun exploring the angles of various leaping things as they moved in and out of view at a dreamlike pace.

Opal Flight: Ring Master

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Fantasy Faire: Fallen Sands

Fallen Sands: Mid Flight

Fallen Sands is a desert realm with a metallic edge and a slew of mechanical creatures lurking among the cacti. I tinted the water green, like the heavy water found in other deserts, and set off to explore the onion towers and lead glass. Overhead, enormous iron flamingos fly, casting long shadows on the ground. The buildings are high and slightly angled, with pure glass tower tops on each corner. Those who went before have left behind only their skeletons, engaged in a wide variety of unexpected activities! My favorite were the elephants, though - either blowing water into the air to cool passersby, or cooling themselves in the dense water at the heart of the sim.

Fallen Sands: On Fire


Fantasy Faire: San Mora

San Mora: Fallen

The transition between Kakushi Pasu and San Mora is abrupt and startling. On one side: calm and natural glory. On the other: post-modern destruction decorated with trash bags. Death Row Designs always does something post-apocalyptic (whether modern of medieval) and San Mora is an exemplar of the style. You can pick up a free gas mask from DRD (San Mora) at the entrance, and I recommend doing so.... just in case. Much of what you can purchase here is similarly modern and dystopic - and it's a good reminder, to me in particular, of what an enormous umbrella Fantasy is! I'm more of a sparkles and sunshine kind of girl, but the dark and rusted fantasies other people create are no less valid even if they aren't candy colored. Fantasy Faire always challenges me to get out of my preferred areas and into something different, and I'm deeply grateful for the yearly wake-up call.

San Mora: Under Attack


Fantasy Faire: Kukashi Pasu

Kakushi Pasu: Long Walk

I have loved Kakushi Pasu since I watched it slowly rez around me while listening to Seanan McGuire answer questions. Built like a Japanese Tea House, the open wooden walkways surround a rocky core surrounded by bamboo plants, maple trees, and enormous lotus blossoms. It is at once architectural and natural, the sharp lines of dark wood cutting pleasantly through the softer curves of plants and water. The shadows of bamboo leaves is particularly striking, especially complementing the dark red of the maple. The square shape of the walkways, with their small buildings cropping up here and there, invites contemplation of the floating lanterns which never stop moving. There are two notable areas - one an open air meeting room with a stage for readers and stumps for listeners, and the other a tall cliff where the Fantasy Faire Dragon has moored himself and his ship.

Seanan McGuire Interview 1


Saturday, April 29, 2017

Fantasy Faire: Egregore

Egregore: Doll Parts

Egregore is a world of riotous colors which becomes almost completely overwhelming in daylight, and only slightly less riotous under the glow of the moon. This is a child's world, complete with enormous doll houses open in the side or tilted slightly so you can sneak inside to pick up the many delights of the Fantasy Faire. Jelly beans form the paths, pointing the way between stores and through the hiding spots and dance grounds of dolls and toy ponies.  The centerpiece is a giant mannequin setting up her own enormous dollhouse, her feet the size of two Faireland citizens put together.

Egregore: In Writing


Fantasy Faire: Anansi

Anansi: Jack Rabbit

Centering on an enormous clown head, the carnival set up in Anansi has many attractions and even more contrasts. The landscape itself is sweet, pastoral, even medieval - a jackrabbit pauses to watch passers by in a field of gently drying grass; a bridge made of woven logs offers passage over a shallow waterfall; ferns and mossy rocks frame a loose stone pathway up the hill - and hovering over it is the mastermind clown with his army of eight-legged attractions and their flying ant attendants. His rictus of a smile is only visible when you crest the hill, and he hangs over the bay like a malevolent but cheerful majordomo. His minions dot the landscape, all but lost against the landscape, and now and then a crowd gathers at the main stage to play out the next part of the NeoVictoria Storyline.

Anansi: Ant Bait


Fantasy Faire: The Bard Queen's Song Quest, Part Two

Morbus: The Long View
For those who missed it - Part One is here.

Main Quest >> Locate the Bard Queen in Morbus

This is a lot easier than one might expect - no caves or going very far; the Bard Queen is just inside the border. Walk up, click on her, and another video will start - again, there are links to YouTube if it doesn't load in world. She doesn't look or feel well, but she can make the potion to help herself at the top of the tower if we clear the way for her. She even calls Farion brave - which embarrasses him! And now it's on to the puzzle-solving half of the Quest - this time getting the Bard Queen where she needs to go!


Fantasy Faire: The Bard Queen's Song Quest, Part One

Fairelands Junction: Questing Faerie

You can purchase the HUD for the game at the landing point of every sim; there's a deluxe version which comes with an outfit (350$L) and a simple version which comes with just the HUD (250$L). The deluxe version comes with instructions on how to Redeem the included gift card are included. The gift card itself is no-copy, so you have to rez the box in world in order to remove it. When you wear it, it will direct you to teleport to Fairelands Junction, where the quest begins.

A couple of notes - one, you can save the game manually using the "setup" button, and I recommend you do so. Two, it's worth it to drop your graphics down quite a bit; the Fairelands are full of people, and that can slow you down significantly. Thirdly, the hints really do help - read them a couple of times and they should do well by you.


Friday, April 21, 2017

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Fantasy Faire Past: Cerridwen's Cauldron

Otherworld: Dragon

Fantasy Faire 2017 is coming soon! A short while ago the themes for ten worlds were announced, and this seemed a good time to reflect back on the past creations of some of the people making their windows into the infinite this year.

I wanted to start with Elicio Ember's Cerridwen's Cauldron. Although Ember said he had to step back from creating a sim this year, he's been a staple of years past and he makes amazing windows into fantastic realms. His worlds are always marked by brilliant colors, glimmering patterns in cut glass, striking architecture, great heights and depths, and wild plants which defy gravity. His Sea of Mer (see the end) was the first Fantasy Faire sim I ever took pictures of and blogged about, and it will always hold a special place in my heart due to that.

OtherWorld: Vertebra

What's most fascinating, looking back, is seeing the jump in skill and technology from year to year. I've become so much more sophisticated, and so has the faire itself.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Ember's Cauldron: Caught Unawares

Ember's Cauldron: Caught Unawares

Ember's Cauldron is still going on, a grid-wide shopping experience to support Elicio Ember and his father. I'm using things you can get at three different stores - my skin and clothing from Fallen Gods, my pendant from Touryuumon, and the garden I'm flying over from Simply Shelby.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Sn@tch: Spring has Sprung

Sn@tch: Spring Grab Bag

Sn@tch is currently releasing one of her seasonal grab bags, with twenty-one outfit bits available in shades of pink, purple, and blue. There's a little bit of everything, from this ultra-brief look to some longer dresses suitable for a classy garden party. There are some new lucky boards nearby as well, and even some riot vendors ready for a sudden rush. The view is misty and gorgeous, and it's a lovely way to spend a few hours fishing up bags for March parties.


Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Ember's Cauldron: Welcome!

Ember's Cauldron: Welcome!

We're almost a week into the Ember's Cauldron event to support Elicio Ember and his father as the latter fights his way back from a stroke. Each store is hosting their item and a donation cauldron, and the bloggers involved are featuring many of Ember's gorgeous flowers and phatasmagoria for sale in his store, Cerridwen's Cauldron. There's a HUD available for easy transportation, or you can follow one of the handy links below in my alphabetical list. I've also included an image of what the area tends to look like in each of the stores along with a picture of the HUD, but it's pretty easy to find!

Happy shopping!

Monday, March 20, 2017

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Steam Hunt: Up in the Air

Steam Hunt

There are a lot fewer pants in Steam Victoria than I expected!

Ember's Cauldron: Wild

Ember's Cauldron: Wild

Elicio Ember, the creator of Cerridwen's Cauldron, needs our help. His father had a stroke and needs expensive treatment but doesn't have insurance to cover it - and this is where we can come in! Two events are being staged to raise money for Ember and his father; Ember's Cauldron from March 15th to April 16th, and Filling the Cauldron from April 1st to April 9th.There is also a GoFundMe being run by a friend of his.

I don't know Ember personally, but I remember his builds from the Fantasy Faire fondly and one of his color-changing flowers is a centerpiece to my home. I can't imagine what he's going through, or how his father is struggling, but my heart goes out to them both. I hope that together we can support Ember and his father to ensure he has the best possible care.


Saturday, March 11, 2017

Monday, February 27, 2017

Genre: Along the Watchtower

Genre: Along the Watchtower

Then from the throng                          did three come forth,
From the home of the gods,         the mighty and gracious;
Two without fate                             on the land they found,
Ask and Embla,                                          empty of might.

Soul they had not,        sense they had not,
Heat nor motion,                nor goodly hue;
Soul gave Othin,             sense gave Hönir,
Heat gave Lothur               and goodly hue.

Voluspo^

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Genre: Valkyrie's Rage

Blood rains           from the cloudy web
On the broad loom             of slaughter.
The web of man               grey as armor
Is now being woven;        the Valkyries
Will cross it           with a crimson weft.

Darraðarljóð^

Genre: Valkyrie's Rage

Valkyrie are the agents of the gods, flying over conflicts to pluck the Heroic Dead and bring them to the Halls where they will pass their days practicing and carousing in preparation for the End of the World. Foster Daughters of the One Eyed God, even as the Heroic Dead are foster sons, they serve and seek and weave in a world build by blood and wisdom. Associated with ravens and swans, Valkyrie are often depicted with winged cloaks or riding flying horses.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Hiatus

The Eyes Have It

It's been a long six months, and a lot has changed.

It feels weird to be in world again, but welcome. I'm still getting my sea legs, adapting to the changes, but in Second Life at least very little has changed. I find that comforting even while the world I live in seems to be spinning closer to despotism. I'm afraid for the people I work to help, for their access to medical care and housing in the face of people who seem all too willing to cut off social supports while lining their own pockets. My clients live at the mercy of the US government, and I work at the mercy of the US government, and those running it now seem to not know what mercy is.

I don't want to live in a world where people are viewed as disposable simply because they aren't wealthy. I don't want to live in a world where people use "identity politics" to try to undermine people seeking legitimate civil rights. I don't want to live in a world where people cheer when a woman who's lived in the US since she was a teenager is deported away from her job and family to a country she hasn't been to in twenty years. I don't want to live in a world where people compare hate speech and the encouragement of schotastic violence with public protest and dissent. I have limited influence but I can control the world out to my fingertips and I chose support, I chose love, I chose justice, and I chose unity. We're stronger, together.