Tag Archives: second

Friday Photo Blogging: Straylight botanical gardens

Since I’ve been huddled indoors all week with a cold which refuses to budge (despite generous applications of vitamins, caffeine and healthy food), we have another “no proper photography” week on our hands. So, a snap-shot from Second Life instead:

Straylight Botanical Gardens 6

That’s yours truly (as my alter ego, Isambard Portsmouth) taking a constitutional in the Botanical Gardens at Straylight, whose enterprising owner has realised that the best way to promote and market his skill with sculpties is to make a place that people will visit just because it looks nice.

It’s about as close to nature as you’ll get in SL at the moment … and when you have an inkling as to the degree of work and expertise involved in creating objects like those trees, it’s even more impressive.

Writing about music

The barrage of music reviewing continues apace; I’ve upped the number of albums I cover in recent weeks because my newly rationalised working procedures have permitted me to do so, but I think I’m now at a peak quota. If I take on any more, and I’ll have no flex left to incorporate other forms of work into my schedule, and I’m hoping that some other forms of work may well be in the pipeline as we speak.

I’ve also been looking into the logistics and planning of my proposed solo music reviews site, as well as poking around with WordPress themes and costing up my hosting options. Watch this space!

So, here’s a few highlights from my music reviews that went live this week:

The next month or so will see me interviewing some of my favourite bands, including the aforementioned Oceansize and Hundred Reasons. As yet unconfirmed (but still a distinct possibility) is a chat with none other than Sir Henry of Rollins. Note to self – bullsh*t questions are not going to wash with this particular interviewee!

Writing about books

Completed my review of Karl Schroeder’s Queen Of Candesce, and sent it off to TTA Towers along with all the other reviews to be included in Interzone #213. So most of the writing about books I’ve been concerned with this week has been stuff written by other people, but that’s fine – I’m learning a lot about different ways of writing from having to edit other people’s work.

I’ve also been taking notes in preparation for writing a review of Lucius Shepard’s Dagger Key collection (for Vector) over the weekend to come. I wasn’t sure what I’d make of the book when I was sent it, as I’m not an aficionado of ‘dark fantasy’, but suffice to say that I now understand why so many people told me I was lucky to be given the book to review – he’s quite a writer. I’m not sure if I’d go out of my way to buy his stuff in future, but I’d certainly recommend him to fantasy and horror fans of my acquaintance.

Next on the slate is McDonald’s Brasyl, which has been in the queue for a long time, but needs to be reviewed for Foundation

Writing about other stuff

My ‘beginner’s guide to Second Life’ is currently being incorporated into the coming edition of D+PAD Magazine, and if it looks as good as the current issue, I’m going to be proud to see my name next to it. And I’ve been asked to follow on with a regular SL column, too … so, time to start cribbing from Warren Ellis! 😉

Writing at VCTB

Yeah, I know, I’ve been slack as hell. If you’re interested in excuses, I’ll mention that a certain amount of ‘bedding-in’ of the new bloggers at Futurismic has been ongoing, and that this damnable cold has slowed me down considerably – thinking clearly is still a matter of conscious effort, and hard to sustain for more than half an hour at a time. But I’ll be back on form soon, don’t you worry …

Books and magazines seen

None. Nada. Nowt. Naff all. Not a terrible occurrence, because the TBR pile is quite big enough already … but unusual enough to be notable. I feel strangely incomplete.


The weekend arrives, and with it grey clouds and rain … I table a motion to declare this The Most. Rubbish. Summer. EVAR.

Still, the weekend is the weekend, and it brings with it plenty of things to do. Tonight is the grand final of The Wedgewood Rooms battle-of-the-bands, where yours truly will be dispensing his judicial decisions for the last time this year. However, due to this enduring illness, I’m not going to be drinking … meaning I get the fun of watching everyone else steadily descend into gibbering inebriation, which should more than compensate.

Sunday is the last of the month, which sees me down at Tongues And Grooves, the poetry and music open-mic night I attend. We’ve no special guest this month, instead concentrating on local artists, and I have a fifteen minute slot to fill with readings of my own work and that of other people, which should be fun (if a trifle nerve-wracking – I never have gotten over the stage-fright thing, even in a small venue with no stage).

But first things first – it’s time for The Friday Curry Of Justice, as is traditional. Have a good weekend, folks. Hasta luego!

More Second Life transport – the Melt-mobile

Yet more pre-emptive posts of pictures from Second Life – you lucky people!

This rather unassuming flatbed truck has special powers thanks to the 1337 sk1llz of its creator, the one and only Facemelt Loon, who you can see in the driving seat:

Facemelt Loon's Melt-mobile truck-hack

It may not be apparent, but we’re parked in a skybox about 700 metres above the surface of the Wastelands, there – Loon hacked the car script so it can go places that cars normally should not be able to go. Shortly after this image was taken, we performed an experiment with SL gravity.

Then there was demolition derby that crashed the sim, but we don’t talk about that …

Junkyard engineering in Second Life

Oh, you thought just because I was out of town for a few days, you’d get a break from my Second Life evangelism? Mwah-hah-hah! With your dying breath, you shall curse the scheduled post feature of WordPress …


That there is my first building project of any worth whatsoever; it’s my attempt to recreate the RIOTwheel, which is possibly the coolest mode of transport I’ve ever seen anywhere.

It fits with the aesthetics of the neighbourhood, too. It works, too – though the functionality is pretty basic at the moment, I need to learn more script-fu before I can perfect it. In the meantime, however, I have a way of fleeing the local battle-trucks …

Chichen Itza redux – Mayan ruins in Second Life

Well, talk about sychronicity. Mere days after I post a picture from my jaunt around Mexico, I hear that I can wander the ruins of Chichen Itza once again … without even having to leave my swivel-chair, let alone the country.

Chichen Itza - the SL version

Oh yes! The Mexico Tourism Board has just finished a scale reproduction of the the ancient Mayan ruins of Chichen Itza in Second Life … another sim to add to my growing list of places to visit.

You should come too – drop me a line. I’d be happy to show people around in Second Life, and there are parts of it that really are worth seeing, you know …

‘Anima’ by Dalian Hansen – book set in Second Life to hit Amazon?

If you’ve been waiting for me to make a post about Second Life that genuinely intersects with the world of science fiction, your moment has just arrived.

3pointD reports that a gentleman who goes by the name Dalian Hansen in SL is due to release a novel set almost entirely in Second Life, Linden Labs’ virtual world. As they provide no link to the source (it was a personal tip-off, apparently), I shall snip Dalian’s description/synopsis from the 3pointD announcement:

“Ben Tao is the avatar of a fired programmer who hacks Second Life. His goal is to profit from a false intellectual property claim. However, instead of changing the creation date for the items he has stolen, he is actually sending them back in time to the creation of the 3D world. This software exploit opens a wormhole of conflicting realities that unfold in a disjointed nightmare. Ben quickly finds himself controlled by an entity who robs him of all free will. Or is he just going insane? As the digital and real worlds merge in his mental interchange, he uncovers a secret that affects all of humanity. From this bleak future, Ben has only one chance to escape.”

Well, nothing groundbreaking there, at least from an sf-nal storytelling angle. After all, cyberspace was named in ink-and-paper fiction way back in 1984 thanks to Bill Gibson, the concept was arguably being kicked around before that, and there’s been plenty of recent (and forthcoming) novels dealing with virtual worlds and MMOs.

What’s important is that this book is set in a real, extant metaverse platform – if that synopsis is to be believed, it explicitly names Second Life as the arena of action. Whether or not that will encourage people who might not have bothered with ‘some sci-fi rubbish’ to read it remains to be seen … as does Linden Labs’ reaction to having what I assume is a trademark being used in such a way.

What also remains to be seen is whether it’s any good, in novelistic terms. A swift google of the name Dalian Hansen reveals that the man behind the avatar is “[a]n internationally award winning photographer based in Asia”, and an experienced virtual business boffin to boot … but that tells us nothing of whether or not he can write for toffee.

The 3pointD report quotes Hansen as saying that:

“… preview editions will be published as a prim book in SL and as a paperback available from CafePress.com, both due July 7, with a hardcover edition available on Amazon.com as of July 27 …”

It also makes the point that neither Amazon or Cafepress have a listing for the item in question as of yet (and hence is hesitant to report the news as a definite). So I think we can assume it’s a self-publishing job … but again, that doesn’t necessarily mean it won’t be any good. I get the feeling that Hansen is the type who wants to lead with virtual business methods, so maybe it’s as much a proof-of-concept as anything else.

But there’s only one way to find out for certain, and that’s to go straight to the horse’s mouth. So I shall be attempting to get in touch with Av. Hansen in SL later tonight, to see if he’d like to talk about this further.