Saturday, March 26, 2011 16: bunky goes overland

Sylvina >>> Athetis
Sims crossed today = 28
Total sims crossed = 166

It's 09:45hrs downunder time
and all through the sims,
not a creature is stirring
not even a noob.
It's too early for Europe,
And too late for the Americas.

Touchdown, Sylvina, a series of islets connected by bridges and just a quick swim from the mainland. It looks a bit like how I imagine Dubai to be, oppulent buildings on sandy, artificial islands. This must be where the rich people live.

I am now 30% cooler! I have swapped by freebie girl glasses for pyschotherpeautic Freud glasses made by Dana, and I strap on a guitar to make me more interesting.

Across the channel now, and a large truck rumbles northwards up a cobblestone road. I've never seen a truck driving in SL before. I've seen a parked one you can shag in the back of though. Maybe I can hitchhike the rest of the way? The truck is driverless. I jump in. It is controlled by the worst script in SL. It flies, it slides, it rolls down embankments and slams into houses. It jerks and lags painfully. The road turns out to have many vehicles like this. Bailing out, I decide to walk along the western coast road, then head east to join a highway that appears to run up the center of this area of the mainland. The road is lined with large trees and some very nice houses, making for pleasant walking. But soon the road ends! I must backtrack to the last turnoff, a reminder to check my map more often. Heading inland it is more open and perhaps a tad run down looking. Houses sit idle, 'For Sale' signs abound. 

Bunky's Deliverance moment, Lake Goma

Heading east i overshoot the road and end up taking a little canoe trip on Lake Goma. As I head down the lonely road I start to feel a bit the Omega Man or Will Smith in I am Legend, excepy without the violence and horror. The cobblestone roads are full of weeds. Structures, nice as they are, seem to lie abandonded. There is not a soul in sight. I begin talking to myself, gesturing every now and then, just to break up the eerie silence. It's not that ugly really, just a little bit...grey and surreal.

 Born to be Mild!

I hop on my new, free quadbike and zoom down the road. Its a bit laggy, but fun... until I try to cross a sim. I'd end up going for an extended and quite spectacular fly through the blue yonder of oblivion. I think I should ditch the ATV, flying is more fun anyway.

Another spectacular sim crossing on my ATV, Weeeeeeeeeeeee!

I almost have to keep the map open constantly so I dont miss turnoff. Heading east now, Im looking for a large road that heads north. On ehte map it looks like a highway. Perhaps strangely, it doesnt quite meet up with the road im on, so I have to climb over a castle wall to get to it. Dropping in on the castle, I am told it is "The Vampire Castle" and I that I enter at my own peril. The has been completely gutted. The only thign left was the fireplace. Scary indeed. o.O

I drop into a random wild west street and have a look around. I find the 'Bunkhouse' which gives me a a giggle. While the buildings look ok, I'm disappointed by the lack of anything interesting behind the doors. A street from the wild west

 Sounds like an appropriate place to stay. Pity its boring as bat shit.

I meet it with main road and begin my long leg north. But its not a road. I think it is a wall. Like the Great Wall of China, only without 1500 years of rich history. Perhaps they are trying to keep out invading Mongols? The wall is huge, but a bit above it all. Ill take until i get near some roads running parallel to ther north.

Jump off the wall, to an area where the land slopes down the the coast, coming across some railway lines. Hobos and railway lines together. Lots of trains pass. Pity they are going the wrong awy. There is soo much arounf me, buildings and things. If I check everything intersting looking out, then Ill never get anywhere. I do drop in on a large toy store. I expect teddybears and sports item, but its filled with toys of an entirely different pursuit.

Freight Train Blues

I am joined by new favourite noob, Lovenica Resident and we wander down the tracks for a while. We spy King Kong in a cage attached to the cliff beside the rail line, and I say hello.

Beauty and the Beast? (the beauty is on the right in case you were wondering)
I must say that after traversing and hopping between small sims, the mainland seems massive and infinite. In a small sim, you can fairly quickly work out where things are soon get a sense of the layout. This has completely changed on the mainland. It's a bit overwhelming actually, but fun. A lot more to come!

The mainland sims don't differ much across borders and they're a bit harder to keep track of, so I've decided to list of the sims I have passed through here. I've probably missed a couple though.


Wednesday, March 23, 2011

...reflections on the road

As I prepare to land on the southern shore of my first continent, I reflect back on the 136 sims I have wandered over to get to this point.

All in all, it has been fun, though sometimes a bit arduous. The people I have met along the way have generally been friendly and warm. Many of the people I have met have expressed interest in my journey, and have been most hospitable. Others have perhaps tolerated me. I only recall a couple of negative experiences, but with hindsight they were also learning experiences. I'm just surprised, and perhaps a bit disappointed, that I haven't been shot at yet. I was certain that would have happened by now.

One thing that has been troubling me is privacy within 'private' estates. Banlines and security orbs make it clear strangers are not welcome, but a recent question I posed on SL Blogs has taught me that many landowners who do not install security do not welcome strangers on their patch. The thought of someone in their houses without permission is as abhorrrant to them as a trespasser  in their RL homes. While I find the SL-RL comparison is stretching it a bit, (if you leave your land unsecured you have to accept the inevitability of the occassional harmless stickybeak... hardly the crime of the century... and if that fact of Second Life greatly upsets you, you're probably taking this thing waaaaay too seriously), I have decided not to break into houses that I assume to be private. Though I've only done it a few times (primarily out of boredom), I shall assume that folk do not want uninvited hobos in their kitchen and quickly pass by.

One commenter on the forum who disapproves of my adventure said "Merely walking through one parcel at a time seems a most inefficient way to go about things". When I picked myself up off the floor from laughing, I thought, "Then why does LL bother having a map?" Inefficiency is my middle name, and I'm loving it!

Looking back on my journey so far I can make some preliminary conclusions and estimates about my experience and SL in general.

In my experience;
  • 4% of sims have been outstanding
  • 60% of sims have been interesting
  • 32% of sims have been uninteresting
  • 4% of sims have been unavailable
  • 70% of the people I have met have been friendly
  • 28% of the peope I have met have ignored me
  • 2% of the people I have met have been hostile
As always, 100% of my friends have been awesome!

All in all, it's been a pleasant trip. The advice I received before starting out led me to believe the road would be bumpier and more hostile. I'm pleased to annouce they were incorrect.

Time to hit the west continent and head north. I am now the proud owner of a free ATV (thanks to Patience), and I'm am glad to hear roads traverse the mainland, which should make navigation easier. Counting sims will be a bitch though. Wish me luck!

    Wednesday, March 16, 2011 15: rednecks, therapy and a foxy lady

    Pixel Dreams >>> The Big Easy
    Sims crossed today = 8
    Total sims crossed = 138

    After shaking my fur and removing the Atlantan sand from my underpants (chaffing is an issue on the road), I head east to Pixel Dreams (#131). Its a shop in a large skybox. Next!

    I arrive in SupportforHealing (#132) and meet an odd chap sitting alone by a campfire. As I approach we strike up a conversation.

    [05:31 PM]  LucidDreamer Nimbus: I like your bag
    [05:31 PM]  Bunky Snowbear: thanks
    [05:31 PM]  Bunky Snowbear: im a hobo
    [05:31 PM]  LucidDreamer Nimbus: I'm mad
    [05:31 PM]  Bunky Snowbear: me too
    [05:31 PM]  Bunky Snowbear: im walking across the SL grid
    [05:31 PM]  Bunky Snowbear: this place was on my path
    [05:31 PM]  LucidDreamer Nimbus: Would you like a hug ?
    [05:32 PM]  Bunky Snowbear: sure
    [05:32 PM]  LucidDreamer Nimbus: I sent one
    [05:32 PM]  LucidDreamer Nimbus: So what is your problem ? :)
    [05:32 PM]  Bunky Snowbear: i didnt get it
    [05:33 PM]  LucidDreamer Nimbus: You didnt feel it :(

    The conversation quickly got weirder...

    [05:40 PM]  LucidDreamer Nimbus: Your a seagull
    [05:40 PM]  Bunky Snowbear: maybe
    [05:41 PM]  LucidDreamer Nimbus: You are
    [05:41 PM]  Bunky Snowbear: im more like a lost dog
    [05:41 PM]  LucidDreamer Nimbus: Seagull
    [05:41 PM]  LucidDreamer Nimbus: Your beak is prominent
    [05:41 PM]  Bunky Snowbear: but seagulls are scavengers
    [05:41 PM]  LucidDreamer Nimbus: So is the noise you make
    [05:41 PM]  LucidDreamer Nimbus: me me me
    [05:41 PM]  LucidDreamer Nimbus: caw caw
    [05:41 PM]  Bunky Snowbear: thats not very nice
    [05:42 PM]  LucidDreamer Nimbus: Neither are you
    [05:42 PM]  Bunky Snowbear: how rude

    And I thought I was strange. A few people arrive around the campfire and I was notified that a therapy session was about to begin. While I probably do need therapy, this kind of therapy was about chakras and energy flows. I'm more of a Jungian/biological determinist kind of cat. I make a run for it. Nice sim though. A little odd, but peaceful with positive chakra energy flows.

    Therapy begins and Bunky runs, SupportforHealing

    I arrive in Parrot Keys (#133) to a poor, down south community. A rusty caravan with rocking chairs overlooks a seaside farmyard with barn. A bent radio mast towers precariously above me. Across the mountains and islands are private homes. I drop in to say hi to the locals but they are hostile and armed with high-powered orbital weapons. I quickly move along. Another area has a beautiful tropical garden with a lovely vista. The joined sims Parrot Island and Parrot Falls (#135 & #135) consist of more private island estates. It's a nice layout but I dont feel welcome.

    Parrot Island, beautiful, but inhospitable

    I head to Magoo (#136) where I find my self in a strange situation. I'm in the centre of a irregular sphere made up of white boxes dancing around above the sea. Perhaps this is the playground of some mad professor. Actually, most of the sims I have been to look like the playground of some mad professor, or just someone mad. I head to the nighbouring island of Eyri (#137). It seems to be a strange mix of the movie 'Avatar' and Nintendo. A large Edwardian mansion nearby offers no clue as to what it is all about.

    Weird Science at Magoo

    Whatever, Eyri

    I arrive in the Big Easy (#138), my second New Orleans sim. N'Orleans really must be the most simmed city on SL. I'm joined by my dear friend, the intelligent and awesomely leggy Lovenica Resident. We start to look around, but while the buildings look great from a distance, they are empty and soulless on closer inspection, and anyway, we are too busy chatting to care.

    Bunky and Lovenica in the Big Easy

    The map tells me I am a stones throw away from the western-most continent (mainland) and I should begin walking it tomorrow. It's gonna be a bitch to keep track of the sims I pass when there are several hundred of them joined together. Send food and useless inventory items!

    Friday, March 11, 2011 14: from furries to mermaids

    Karma >>>Atlantis
    Sims crossed today = 6
    Total sims crossed = 130

    I rezz my boots for another leg of the journey. I must confess I do it reluctantly, I'm just not in the mood to tramp today, but I must knock a bit off the trip whenver I can.

    I arrive in Amber's house, Karma sim. Nice house Amber, whoever you are. Karma is a series of small areas with houses surrounded by mountains. Nice private dwellings and a pet supermarket, but nobody home.

    Husky Island is a furry strip club. It must be that I'm half human male that I find the lack of flesh rather disturbing. I guess no amount of lindens will get convince them to get their fur off. The place is rather non-descript and generic, but it seems popular with the furry kind, who seem to prefer voice here. The talk of cables and modems. I don't bother interrupting them.

    Meeting Island is another furry land and it seems a fairly eclectic place, with steampunk and nature elements, including lots of water channels and some cool islands floating in the sky. Lots of things to do, games, musical instruments etc.

    I land at Gwynedd, which has some lovely trees and lots of bird wheeling through the sky. The music is nice a spooky, sounds a bit like a Hans Zimmer movie theme with lots of synth. Theres some pretty interesting designs here, like a rainbow treehouse thingy. I break into a house, and Goldilocks style, have a snooze in a bed. Mmmm, silk sheets.

    A gay treehouse?

    Thanks for the bed. Sorry about the fleas.

    Checking the map, I find myself close to the western-most continent. I decide to head in a SE direction for a while, so I can drop into it at the south end and work my way up.

    Amatsu Mitsukai is another mostly Japanese sim, filled with some manicuerd gardens and a bit of traditional Japanese architecture. There are some nice locales here, so I'd recommend a visit. A few turnoffs are the large, out of place structures that house a collar shop and various women's apparell outlets, but hey, it's not my sim.

    Amatsu Mitsukai

    I found it! The lost City of Atlantis! Ive never been in an underwater sim, so I strap on the board shorts and hold my breath. The tunnels make it a bit hard to navigate, and you can fly, so I'll need to spend a bit of time to have a decent look at the place. It's a very intersting build, with a lovely blue tinges and some beautiful areas of fish glass and old columns. My only criticism is the lack of flying.

    Atlantis, Yay!

    My new girlfriend is a bit of a whale

    Tuesday, March 8, 2011 13: on the road again

    Gotham City >>>
    Sims crossed today = 9
    Total sims crossed = 124

    Sl offers such a rich bounty of possibilities, I seem to have been distracted from my mission. I need more discipline (of the non-kinky variety) if I'm ever going to finish. I also need a grammar refresher. Too much fast text chat and I'm forgetting where I'm supposed to use capital letteRs.

    From Calendon I head to Gotham City (#116), an RP sim based on Batman. Ive been here before, a long time ago, when I was looking for a policeman's uniform (dont ask). I found one too, when a nice lady helped me locate a freebie. It's a nice sim, lavishly detailed and true to the genre, and perhaps better when you are alone as I believe they take their RP seriously. It would also help to be a fan of Batman, which fortunately I am. An impressive sim.

    The sims seem to be getting denser, and I have more choice of neighbouring places I can head to as I wander east, so I head south to Smarter Earth (#117) coz it sounds like a pretty easy concept, though if it is full of  beach houses and horse ranches I wouldnt be that surprised.

    Smarter Earth is weird. At first I'm not sure what is actually is all about, but I follow a weblink and find it is...

    "Ensuring suitable and sustainable resources for self-aware entities".

    Smarter Earth.... wtf?

    It's mostly a fairly attractive nature sim, with a few 'educational ' areas and a large dome full of cheesy Cuban street scenes and a roof of twinkling stars and butterflies. I'm not surprised I'm alone. It feels a bit like I'm in a version of 1984 written by hippies. I'm sure they mean well though.

    My map shows that I have entered an area of sims with IBM in thier name, but the won't let me in. Another reason to hate multinational corporations. So I head south to Jass (#118). The landing area is deliciously odd. A circular area with a large squid-bat thing in the center is home to grand pianos, hookah pipes, iPads and some genuinely freaky sculptures.

    Curiouser and curioser. Jass

    This place is selling "Jass Magic" which seems to be some techy thing I have no idea about. This place is making me feel more noobish than I am so I head to...

    Infinite Media (#119), which informs me it provides "Intelligent answers", which has something to do with buying LG dishwashers, mobile phones and BMW's. I sense another failed RL commerce attempt through SL. Call me ignorant, but SL is for buying virtual lingerie and afro wigs, not RL cars. This place is sterile as a morgue.

    Infinite media. xFailx

    I hope Creamy Dreams (#120 and Adult) is less sterile, but dissapointing. A large area houses a shack with a downloadable escort list, a hut with no door and a large castle that I suspect has been overrun by vampires. The gothic bat logo on the castle tower leads me to that impression. Most of the sim is behind no access lines anyway. I TP into the castle dungeon, directly below three avatars and eavesdrop. They talk about the state of the UK and the recurring implications of 911 as they stand on the Darkside cathedral dancefloor. I'm tempted to burst in dancing and shouting "Hey Hey!", but I fear I would get involved. I am spotted and feel obliged to say hello, but I'm stuck in the dungeon, looking for a secret wall. I soon realise that one the walls is actually a flight of steps. Doh! I'm such a noob sometimes. They inform me it is a rock club and they are not vampires. Wouldn't be the first time I've been wrong. They are friendly enough, but I must bid them farewell and push on, depsite the fact that a woman an enormous rack has just rezzed next to me.

    Next is xFire (#121). Sounds exciting. Eeeek, bloody horses! A furniture showroom! A party supply shop! Too much excitement to handle, so I quickly leave.

    xFire! Underwhelming

    Sionnach Meadows is one of three Sionnach sims specialising in Sionnach, whatever Sionnach is. Theres lots of flashy houses with helicopters on the roof. Yay! It feels like ages since I broke into someone's house. The forst house has a framed rail map of the NYC subway system and some nice Beatles artwork. I turn to find a dog staring at me. It's not a pitbull so I'm safe. It's a classy little sim and I imagine it to be run by a collective of SL hipsters, but I'm probably dead wrong.

    Whatcha doin in my house, hobo neko?
    The neighboring Sionnach sims are similar. Nice, but personal. I feel a tad voyeuristic as I peruse a photo wall, looking at the happy snaps of people I've never met, laughing, dressing up, getting married, being romantic. For the first time I actually feel a bit uncomfortable in someones private space. Oh dear, am I becoming soft? As I head NE a groovin moorish apartment catches my eye.

    Modern Moorish house. Sionnach. Boho Sims

    Wednesday, March 2, 2011 12: fine sims ahoy!

    Beppu >>> Independent State of Caledon
    Sims crossed today = 7(ish)
    Total sims crossed = 115(ish)

    I kick of this leg of the journey with my good mate Dana Luckless. I have to show her Beppu (see previous post) because its so nice and interesting. We play about in the hot springs and then find an L$1 Kimono, which fit surprisingly well. The reason they fit is because they shrink us into little geisha bodies, and we roll around laughing.

    The next cab off the rank is Katat0nik (#108). This place has to be seen to be believed. It's essentially a shop, but it's like a cross between Loony Tunes and an insane asylum. Some awesome builds here and some very creative items and things on display and for sale. You MUST see this place for yourself. Great fun!

    Good times in Katat0nik

    Alter Ego, (#109) yet another great sim (thats three in a row, a record!). This place is lavsishly detailed and teeming with animals that dont look like they were drawn by a 10 year old cartoon enthusiast. But sadly another corner of the sim has a ranch, with horses that look like they were drawn by a 10 year old cartoon enthusiast. Another corner has a wild west thing going on. Shared sims can be very diverse, and often the areas in them do not compliment each other.

    To the east lies another series of joined sims, the Caledon/Winterfell region,  made up of more than 70 sims! It is almost a continent in itself. I suspect Gorean Lands. If I am right, I'll quickly walk about 5 sims (#110 to #115) in a easterly direction to the eastern coast of this megasim.

    I am delighted to learn that The Independent State of Caledon is a Victorian themed region. From their Wiki...

    The Independent State of Caledon is the name of a rapidly growing group of Victorian-themed sims owned by Desmond Shang. Caledon can be considered an example of a developing micronation.

    Bravo! I'm quite partial to a bit of Steampunk, so I think I'd better check this place out a bit more. It's a great place with some lovely touches, but it feels a bit sparse and and not very busy. I think it is a bold project, but I cant help but wonder how much it is costing for 70+sims and how Desmond Shang is paying for it? Anyhow, I appreciate a large interesting sim. Quite original and comforting, though I feel a bit lonely. I vow to return and explore Caledon in my finest tweeds with my magnifying spectacles and cane.