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Tara Linden

Puddles blog.jpg

(Photo taken at Puddles)

One of the things I miss the most right now is spending Saturday morning in a coffee shop. There’s something about sipping an espresso beverage while nibbling on some kind of carb that makes me feel like all my worries have floated away and the day is filled with glorious potential.

I found this video by Resident Emily Wand that really illustrates that experience.

I ended up hopping around to a few different coffee shops in Second Life and without even meaning to, let out the biggest sigh of relief. I could even sense the muscles in my shoulders drop, because something about being in that environment makes me feel so relaxed.

With all the Cafes & Hangouts available inworld, I encourage you to treat yourself to that feeling of “Ahh, that’s perfect” as soon as you can. There are so many good ones, each with a unique atmosphere, so I wanted to mention a few.

Puddles Cafe and Lounge really hit the spot for me. This two level hangout has a super tall ceiling and a hip converted industrial loft aesthetic. Plus, prepare yourself for what I am about to say: there is a cat on a roomba. I may or may not have chased it around with a grin on my face for 15 minutes. Add the rainbow flag and Black Lives Matter sign, and I’m officially moving in. A sign says that there are group chats on Tuesdays and Fridays at 6pm SLT, so check it out!
 

For a more rustic setting, check out Il Nido. As a cafe and wine bar, this is a great option for more of a late afternoon vibe. From my research I also discovered Bellis Blues Cafe, with DJ Stephanie every Monday from 10:00am-12:00pm. Coffee shops like Burrow Coffee & Whisky Co., which is remodeled regularly so there’s always something new, are great places to meet people and experience art, music, and the little things that make us happy.
 

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I wasn't kidding!

Tara Linden

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Pictured above: Moonlight Teahouse

Now that we're all obsessed with washing our hands, it's time to get those virtual paws dirty with some gardening! The plants of Second Life are truly one of my favorite parts of coming inworld. I am continually impressed by the botanical creations I see. Some are exact replicas of things from nature, and others are imaginative renderings that look like props from a fantasy movie. While 2021 may not be the fresh start some of us had hoped for, there are plenty of regions waiting for you with space to clear your thoughts and think positively about the future.

The Gardens & Landscaping regions are a great place to get inspiration to build a greenspace of your own, and also lovely spots for a leisurely stroll. Moonlight Teahouse (above) even has Tai Chi poseballs facing the ocean.

Nature & Parks offers more options that are a little spread out. Beaches, wilderness, and enchanted forests are all great places to hang out with friends or have a relaxing moment to listen to the stillness around you. Many of these regions are based on real life places or inspired by cultures from all over the world.

Our Photogenic Spots section is also filled with rolling hills, seaside cliffs covered in moss, and more.

If you're feeling inspired, check out the gardening section of the marketplace and see what your virtual green thumb comes up with!

Tara Linden

Winter Photo Challenge


Tara Linden

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It's time for another photo challenge! Whether you're going for festive or cozy, share a picture of your escapades in one of your favorite winter regions. It can be a solo or group shot, and let us know the name of the region.

Strawberry and I took the photo above at Silent Night. It's absolutely gorgeous but I was not prepared for the cold, as you can see from our frosty breath. I'm also probably about to trip over my untied shoelaces. 

Will your pic be silly or dramatic? Featuring a snowman or an ice skating rink? Scope out the winter attractions soon, we can't wait to see what you get up to!

Tara Linden

When You Were... A Newb Challenge


Tara Linden

This week I'd like to highlight the Challenge section in the forums. They're a great way to interact with the community and see what other Residents are experiencing. Every once in a while Strawberry Linden puts together a fun survey that dares people to share their input, like this Have You Ever quiz that illustrates the endless possibilities and broad range of interests within Second Life.

Today I posted my first challenge, and I would love it if you participated!

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I would like to think I'm not a total newbie anymore, although some people thought otherwise when I revealed I only have 5,232 items, LOL. (It's cool, you don't have to twist my arm to make me put shopping on my to do list :))

To participate in the challenge, download the blank template and fill it out using Photoshop, or any imaging and graphic design software. You can also use pixlr.com for free without installing any software. Or, you can just answer in text below the challenge post.

If you decide to do this challenge and post it on any social networks, don’t forget to use the hashtag #SLNewbChallenge. You can also add your images to the Second Life Challenge Flickr Group.

Thank you for participating in the challenges, and I can't wait to see your responses! Stay safe, stay home, stay virtual!

 

Tara Linden

Region Evolutions #2


Tara Linden

It's time for another Region Evolutions post to show everybody the remarkable transformations that take place within Second Life. Kudos to these region owners for putting in the effort to ensure that their creations stand the test of time!

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First up is Snowy River Saloon, a country music club that also offers dancing and a mechanical bull, among other exciting activities. 

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You can see that they've amped up the rustic autumnal charm to make it look it super cozy and inviting. Looks like the perfect place for a romantic walk along the water after a fun-filled evening.

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Next is Olivia's Creepy Diner, a region that will be celebrating its 10 YEAR ANNIVERSARY next May! It definitely looks like something is amiss. Do you dare enter?

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Not sure if I'm hungry anymore, this diner got even creepier! Something terrible has happened to this place, and it looks like it's been deserted for years. Is that Bambi's mom back for revenge? But I hear they make a mean key lime pie.

Huge shoutout to the Residents who have put so much hard work  into maintaining and updating their regions. It is so rewarding to see these before and afters, and I look forward to the next one!

 

Tara Linden

Second Life Inventory Management


Tara Linden

I’m not sure why spring gets all the credit for cleaning when each season deserves a thorough organizing session. Sometimes we let things slide for a little too long, and next thing you know, you’re late to the party and only wearing one shoe. It happens, and when it does, it’s time to talk about inventory management.

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As someone who may or may not lose my keys somewhere in my house, room, or even purse (Why would I put it in that pocket? I never use that pocket. Oh, it’s in that pocket.) almost everyday, I found organizing my virtual closet to be crucial. You can see above that I have broken down clothing into many categories. For the moment I’m including shoes and hair, but might need to make those their own folders as time goes on and I accidentally buy more 11-inch heels. Something casual, y’know?

Before you begin, I suggest assessing your belongings to determine the major categories you want to start with and working your way down. Inworld hobbies can be important things to consider here. Do you have a truckload of dj gear, or props for photography projects? If you feel your surfboards need to be alphabetized, this is a judgment free zone. Do what works for you.

Harlow Heslop has a fantastic video tutorial with detailed sections on creating folders, body parts, clothing, home and garden, and more. She actually suggests going somewhere safe where you can take all your belongings out. Visualizing things is a great way to get started.

If you’d like written directions to follow along with, Lady Ellen T has compiled an in depth instruction guide on organizing your things as well. She stresses the importance of folders and how many items warrant the creation of subfolders, as it’s important to not go overboard if you want to find things easily.

Don’t forget, if you’re really stumped, you can always look for an item by name in the top search bar.

For those who want to go a little deeper, we have a tutorial playlist covering a variety of topics for all your SL needs. 

Tara Linden

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Photo taken at the SL USF Health Campus

While some of you may have just survived midterms, others might be just about to start the emotional rollercoaster that is trying to remember the year that Constantinople fell to the Ottoman Empire. You read it six weeks ago, remember? Maybe not, because in quarantine years, six weeks ago feels like when flip phones were the coolest thing since car phones.

For many of us, midterms are a marathon that tests your physical and mental limits, and an experience that is made bearable by a sense of comradery with your classmates and vending machines filled with neon energy drinks. It can feel impossible to get motivated these days, even with important deadlines looming around the corner.

Why not organize a Second Life study session with your friends? There are many universities, museums, and quiet places where you and your friends can gather inworld while you crack your notes open in the physical world. Library Land would be a great place to start: it has an actual library, and if you click on a book it gives you a link to an ebook like this. Plus, it's currently decorated for Halloween and has lots of space for both studying and hanging out.

Here are some suggestions:

-Set a time and place with your friends, and start by sharing your goals for this virtual study session.

-It’s important to take breaks, so decide when to step away from your work to unwind.

-If a region’s music is distracting, you can turn it down in the sound preferences, which are also available in the upper right corner.

-Afterwards, treat yourself to a romp in a more lively region or stop by a club!

This can apply to people outside of school as well. Knowing that other people are feeling the same way that you do is an important element of our social fabric, and accountability buddies are always helpful. So set up your power snacks and get in here, because adapting to these weird times does not have to be boring or lonely.

Tara Linden

Machinima in Second Life


Tara Linden

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(still from a video by Burnha Firehawk)

Machinima, named for its fusion of machine and cinema, is a unique art form in which computer graphics are rendered and choreographed to create a cinematic production, like this recreation of 1920s Berlin by Pepa Cometa. It is shot in real time, differing from other forms of computer animation that are shot frame by frame. This approach to filmmaking has grown and evolved over the last few decades, growing such a large following that there are now machinima festivals, and Second Life is proud to host many Residents who create content in this medium. 

As some of you may recall, a recent episode of Lab Gab hosted Residents Huckleberry Hax and Caitlin Tobias for a discussion of Stomol, SL’s first feature length cyberpunk machinima. The Second Life Flickr also receives many awesome music video submissions, which are a great way to show off your favorite dance animations. Earlier this year, hit Japanese pop composer Yasushi Watanabe made a music video in SL that is bursting with sugary, summer energy. And this mysterious trailer by Burnha Firehawk has me hooked!

Another notable SL machinima artist is Bryn Oh, who also does 3D exhibitions. 

We’re excited to report that the Supernova Digital Animation Festival in Denver has selected the works of Residents Huckleberry Hax, Tizzy Canucci, and Erik Mondrian, and we encourage you to experiment with machinima and the endless possibilities within SL.

You can get more info from the SL forums and many YouTube tutorials. We can’t wait to see what you come up with!

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