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Thursday, 31 December 2009

Spotlight on........UGC Hostess Amourette Dubrovna

I was in SL Knightsbridge’s Underground Club (UGC), recently when it was announced that the scheduled hostess wasn’t going to make it. Luckily another dedicated staff member was in the club off duty and offered to fill the breach. That avatar was glamorous Amourette Dubrovna and I resolved to find out more about this popular Hostess. I started by asking Amourette (she likes to be called Am) how she came to be involved with the club: - "It was probably about a year ago that I found the club, I liked the music and just found myself going back until I became part of the community, now I feel like I belong, All my friends know it's my favourite place to hang out, so they often come for a dance there too."

I then asked Am how she came to be a hostess: - "I had mentioned to Seany Blinker (the UGC manager) that I was interested in getting more involved in London some way, and he suggested I apply for a hostess job. The club is not too big and it's a nice comfortable space. There are lots of fun contests, and the big events are always brilliant. But I also like the days when it's just about enjoying good music and great company. I've gotten to know the familiar faces and met some lovely new people there too. I've been working at the UGC for about 4 months now."

Next I asked Am about her views on SL London: - "My favourite thing is the regular community that inhabit London and I love being a part of that. I think that more things to do with your friends would be good and more interesting places to visit. Some botanical gardens or a big art gallery, where the community are encouraged to submit their pictures and sculptures. My home in not in SL London because I need a space where I can build. But overall I love the London Sim, I find it a very warm and friendly place."

I asked Am about what she does when she is not at the UGC: - "There is so much to do in SL I'll try almost anything. I've been to waterslide parks, tried to play tennis, been roller blading, even hopping about on my space hopper. One of the things I have enjoyed the most is swimming as a mermaid, there are some beautiful underwater sims. I don't do role-play but I do like themed events and dressing up. I went to Zombie Fest with my best friend Snow Sweetwater this year. Without doubt my favourite sim apart from London is ‘Jaded Wings - A Dark Fairies Dream’.
This place is really beautiful with the most fantastic lightening storms and rainfall and a quiet, dark and seductive atmosphere. It has lots of secret nooks and crannies, great if you like to explore or take pictures, I find something new there every time I go back."

Building was mentioned by Am earlier, I asked her about that: - "Another of my UGC friends taught me how to make my first block and from then on I was hooked, I find building very relaxing and absorbing. At the moment I enjoy building homes and I’ve built a store for my friend Snow, I intend to explore more building options in the future. It would be great to learn to make some of my own clothes, and maybe even get a business started in SL."

Thank you Amourette for your interesting answers. I’m sure that all of the UGC patrons and your friends in SL London will join me in wishing you good luck with your future ventures.

Ed Follet

Wednesday, 30 December 2009

New Year's Eve Party!

Don't be on your own New Year's Eve, there is a great party at the Underground Club, starting at 2pm (SLT) (10pm UK time) with wonderful dj Janis Short taking you through to 2010 (UK time zone). You had better put on your formal clothes as there will be a 2000 Linden prize up for grabs for 'best in smart dress'.

Editors note - I've also just seen a notice from Debs Regent that there will be important emergency maintenance work by Lindens Labs from 6-6.30am (SLT) today because of 'log in' issues which occurred on 29th December. Apparently this will effect a small portion of residents who will not be able to log in, or if they are in world they will be logged off while the maintenance is going on.

Janey Bracken

Tuesday, 29 December 2009

Inventory tips!

It’s just amazing how much stuff people collect in their inventories when they come into SL and I’m ashamed to say that mine is exploding with junk and items I’ve bought and forgotten about! As I stood in our virtual Kensington office the other day I started looking for Christmas things to show Hibiscus and Ed and I suddenly realised I had loads of Christmas decorations, fir trees and other Christmas bits, lots of them being duplicated, because each time I rezzed them, they left a copy in my inventory when I took them back again. I found an interesting vehicle that I never even knew I had, it was a giant Santa Hat and I rezzed it outside the office and jumped on board. I gave a copy to Hibiscus and Ed as well, but Ed hopped on the edge of my hat and Hibiscus rezzed her own and zoomed off into the London Streets. I took Ed for a ride and Hib disappeared all together, only to tell us that she was lodged in a wall somewhere! Well it was one of those things that looked really comical and I’ve no idea who even gave it to me!!

Well that was just one of many pieces of junk that I have kept and at last I am getting to grips with sorting out my inventory as I buy stuff, but shamefully the rest is out of control and I need quite a bit of time to delete all the other unwanted items. Hibiscus and Ed seem pretty well organised, but even Hib said she has trouble sorting it all, she did tell me a handy hint though, and that is to open your inventory and from ‘File’ at the top you can click to create another ‘window’ so you have two lots of inventories on your screen. You can create new folders from the ‘Create’ part of the menu and click on them to rename them. Once you have made a folder you can drag and drop the new items (or old items) from the original window over to the new folder in the new window. New items appear under the ‘Recent’ tag so when you rename the new folder and put an item into it, the folder will appear there too, making it easy to drag any new purchases into it.

So if I buy anything now, I make sure I rename a new folder and put the item in there, as often the makers name on the folder I have just bought is a bit obscure as to what the item is, and sometimes I can’t find it again, i.e. If I’m buying stiletto shoes I put them in a folder plainly marked ‘stiletto shoes’ so I can easily find them again.

If you want to see what you are wearing you can open your inventory and type ‘worn’ in the top of the window and this will bring up a list of all the things that you have on, including your skin, shape and hair. It’s handy to write all your main things down in case you try something new on, like a skin demo, and then can’t find your original skin again to put it back on. A good idea is to click on your avatar and keep a list of important items in the notes part of your profile. You can also create a folder in your inventory and copy or drag the important items like skin into it and rename it so you can find the items all in one folder. A quick way of getting dressed is to drag a folder straight from your inventory onto your avatar, instead of opening the folder and clicking on each item to wear it.

I am really the last person to be telling you all this, as my inventory is bulging at the seams, but I do try to organise new stuff now and this might help if you are a newbie and then you won’t get in a state like I have!! Anyway if anyone wants a flying Santa Hat give me a call and I’ll send one over!!

Janey Bracken

Sunday, 27 December 2009

Happy Rez Day Torric!!

Virtually London (lite) would like to wish London Director Torric Rodas a very Happy Rez Day! Torric celebrates his first year in SL today and we hope he has a really great time!

Crazy River Dance Down The Coach And Horses

After all that food and drink Christmas day, what would I find myself doing? well going down the local for a another drink! Yes it was the Coach and Horses in virtual Mayfair! Fellow reporter Ed Follet, who was already there, asked me to come over and join in the fun. A lively crowd were in the bar, including Torric, Billy and new pub hostess Iona Bonham. Iona did a great job by streaming music requests from You Tube into the pub, there is a giant screen above the bar that you can watch. For some reason someone started to do the River Dance jig, and next thing the whole pub was joining in! Iona may have started it with an Irish folk style version of a Christmas Carol that she played, followed on by the actual River Dance itself, it was hilarious to watch! Virtual London Director Torric, always the first to make sure everyone is enjoying themselves, even pole danced while the rest of us jigged around the outside. A crazy Christmas night, and I'm glad I didn't miss it! Also congratulations to Iona on her hostess job in the pub!

Janey Bracken

Thursday, 24 December 2009

A Magical Christmas Eve For Adam - A Christmas Story 2009

The snowflakes fell silently, settling quickly onto the London Streets, the chillingly cold night air stung Adam’s face as he hurried home after staying late at the office. The pavements were already slippery and he was glad when he finally reached his front door, the warmth that met him as he entered his house was comforting. Taking off his coat and hanging it in the hall, he went into the kitchen to make himself a hot cup of tea, it was times like this that he wished he had a girlfriend or wife to come home to, dinner on the table waiting for him and someone to share his day with. Adam had always been a bit of a loner though, there were girls he had fancied at work, but he was more into computers and gadgets than things that women liked to talk about, so he found it hard to chat to them. One girl, Poppy Jones had been very friendly, buying him a coffee and asking him about himself, but he thought that she was just being kind, as she was very pretty, and he imagined that she was out of his league anyway. “Oh well, I can dream”, he thought to himself as he sat down in front of his computer and sipped the hot tea. He could relax for a few days now, it was Christmas Eve and he didn’t have to go back to work until the New Year.

Instead of getting himself something to eat, Adam decided to log into Second Life and see if there was anything going on. He had only joined the previous week so he was very much a newbie. He had first rezzed into Hyde Park in Virtual London and he found things a little confusing, but the people were kind and he soon found a ‘Greeter’ welcoming him and also giving him a make-over with a new skin, hair and clothes. He had called himself Charlie Moongazer in SL, even if he did say so himself, his avatar looked quite handsome. He had stayed by the Dell Café in Hyde Park most of the time as he was still unsure about exploring, but he liked to listen to the chat going on there too, even joining in now and again.

Logging in, he was once again in the park near the café, but the place was deserted, they must have re-started the sim and told everyone to leave, he thought to himself. The park looked different, with a scattering of snow on the ground, and just like real life, snowflakes gently fell, only this time he wasn’t getting cold, he was cosy and warm with his cup of tea as he sat at his keyboard. He decided to hang around and see if anyone came by, so he stood for a while near the water’s edge. He began to feel very lonely, where were the usual crowd? What was going on? Suddenly he heard the soft fall of horse’s hooves on the snowy grass. Peering through the trees he could see a large white horse heading towards him, it was only as it got closer that he could see that it was no ordinary horse, but a mystical unicorn. The unicorn avatar was called Twilight Mist and he stopped a short distance from Charlie gazing at him.

Pawing the snow with his hoof, Twilight said “Charlie, how are you this fine Christmas Eve?” Charlie was pleased that Twilight wanted to talk, the sim was getting tedious with no one there and it was too early for the Underground Club’s special party tonight. “I’m fine” said Charlie “that’s a great avatar you have by the way” he added. “Ah yes, said Twilight, I have mystical powers too with this Unicorn shape, if I told you a little secret you would probably not believe it” he chuckled throwing his head back and whinnying. Charlie laughed too, he thought how funny it was that people really got into role playing, even believing they have magic powers.

SL appeared to be quite deserted tonight, people had probably gone late-night shopping for last minute Christmas presents and some may have gone out for the evening to see their friends and families, or just thought they would watch those seasonal repeats shown on the television each year instead of venturing into SL. Twilight gazed at Charlie through his soft brown eyes and using his very real magical powers he could see into Charlie’s soul, reading Charlie’s shyness. “Do you want to come for a ride with me?” Twilight asked “we can explore some of the Christmas sites and see who we can find.” Well why not, Charlie thought, it sure beats standing here where there is nothing going on, “Yes” said Charlie “I’d really like that!”. “Jump up onto my back” Twilight said, and Charlie climbed on clutching the long white mane on Twilight’s neck. He noticed that the unicorn had the tip of his golden horn missing and wondered why this should be, as whoever made the avatar would surely have completed the horn. But he thought he had better not ask.

Twilight flew up into the air high above the London rooftops and suddenly sped off, dashing like the wind! Charlie hung on as best he could, as they crossed the vast SL ocean until they reached a snow covered landscape with a sparkling crystal castle set high on a hill. The unicorn began to slow down, landing softly into a large open area. “Charlie we will have a little rest here” Twilight said, as Charlie leapt to the ground. A gentle whinny was heard, as another smaller unicorn came to greet them. Twilight and the little unicorn, called Mistletoe Song, nuzzled against each other with their soft velvety noses. The little unicorn looked like crystal and her white coat shone in the moonlight. Mistletoe said hello to Charlie as she stood close to Twilight. Twilight said “Mistletoe and I have to leave you Charlie, have a look around before you go” and before Charlie could answer the two unicorns melted into the frosty grass leaving a trail of silver stars in their wake. It was then that Charlie noticed the newbie girl sitting on a bench, she sat staring at the floor and seemed very sad.

Charlie went over to the lonely figure and said hello. Pansy Moonstone looked up at Charlie and smiled. “Hi Charlie, nice to meet you” she said. She liked the look of Charlie, he wasn’t one of those six foot muscled avatars covered in tattoos, he looked more normal and friendly, more like the sort of person she would like in real life. She had seen Charlie arrive with Twilight and told him that Mistletoe had also found her alone and offered to bring her here for a ride. They laughed together at the thought of matchmaking unicorns in SL, but thought it was nice of Mistletoe and Twilight to try to help people.

Charlie found that he could talk to Pansy without feeling embarrassed, she too found Charlie easy to get on with, as if she had known him before, their conversation just flowed. There was a small ice rink just outside the castle walls and Charlie asked Pansy if she wanted to skate for a little while. Getting the free skates at the edge of the rink, they got onto the ice and Charlie offered his hand to Pansy as they skated around laughing and smiling as they told each other about themselves. Pansy and Charlie soon realised that they both came from London in real life and as they chatted it soon became apparent that their paths had crossed in the real world too. Charlie was stunned as Pansy told him that she worked for the same company that he did and Pansy was equally surprised. Out of this vast SL grid with it’s thousands of people the two of them had been brought together by two strangers, Twilight and Mistletoe. Pansy was Poppy Jones the girl that Adam had fancied in work. They found that talking in SL had been so much easier as both of them had been a little bit shy in real life and this gave them a chance to see that they had so much in common, Adam found that he could chat to Poppy and they really enjoyed being together.

Adam asked Poppy if she had any plans for tonight and she told him that she was just staying in. He suggested that they meet at the giant Christmas tree in the London Square near where they both worked and Poppy readily agreed, she had liked Adam for a long time, but had never managed to get him to talk to her much in work.

Later that evening they met up, the Christmas tree looked beautiful, covered in twinkling white lights and people had gathered around it to sing Carols and meet their friends. Poppy and Adam held hands just like they did in SL, both of them feeling the excitement of new beginnings and happiness that they had finally been brought together. Walking closer to the tree they could see the ornaments, bows and shiny glass orbs between the white lights. Then Adam spotted a couple of ornaments hanging closely together from the spiky Christmas tree branches, two little unicorns, one with the tip of his horn missing the smaller one looking like crystal. Adam held Poppy’s hand tightly as he pointed out the unicorn ornaments. They could not be sure, but they thought they both heard a soft whinnying sound from the tree. “Thank you” mouthed Adam to the tiny figures and Poppy smiled at him with tears in her eyes. They could not find the friendly unicorns in Second Life, the names did not exist, so Twilight did have magical powers after all!

Janey Bracken

A Very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to Everyone in Second Life!

Wednesday, 23 December 2009

Happy Birthday Debs!

Virtually London (lite) would like to wish Debs Regent, Founder and Owner of Virtual London, a very happy birthday. Have a lovely day Debs!!

SL Present Buying!

As the festivities get under way in Virtual London, you can feel the same worries creeping into SL that you can in real life with sending cards and buying presents for your SL friends and loved ones.

Virtual London has an amazing array of shops with lots of things to pick from in the prezzies department! It’s still hard to get what you think the person would like though. Clothes, I suppose, are an easy option, we have so many great designers, even for the boys, the fashions are looking a lot better than they used to! Lots of shops do vouchers now, so that you can just buy a voucher and let your friend choose his or her own styles, which is a good idea. If you want to secretly change your loved ones looks, but don’t have the nerve to tell him or her, you could buy them a new skin or shape, but this is a bit risky! Someone might like being a furry and not take too kindly to being given a David Beckham look-alike skin and shape! Same with hair, it’s a bit dicey; best give them the cash or a voucher and let them choose. If you can’t see that the shop has vouchers, and you want to surprise the person with your gift, you can always send a message to the shop owner and ask him if he will send the gift direct, once you have paid for the item.

There are quite a few gifts to choose from, horses you can ride are very popular, or animal avatars, pet dogs, cats or birds, if animals take your fancy. For someone special there are fantastic jewellery shops, maybe it’s that time of the year to pop the question to your girlfriend/boyfriend, the SL engagement rings are so realistic!

Of course you could always make your own gifts from a few well crafted prims, but my building in SL always seems to have dodgy corners, just like my gift wrapping in real life! Everyone else’s always looks all neat and tidy, it must be an art!

Whatever you buy, I’m sure the person will love the thought that goes behind it, it really is a nice time to show people you care and are thinking about them!!

Janey Bracken

Tuesday, 22 December 2009

Mayfair and Knightsbridge Christmas parties

It was a festive weekend in the Virtual capital; it seemed like we were partying all weekend.

On Friday night a fancy-dress Christmas ball was held at the Underground Club in Knightsbridge. A winter scene was set up inside the club, complete with icicles, skating rink dance-floor and Santa Claus. Some avatars dressed up in Christmas themed outfits while others moved a bit farther afield , but no matter what the outfit was, everyone had a great time.

The UGC went with a new format, changing dj’s and hosts every half hour. First off was DJ Seany1235 Blinker, dressed as a Christmas tree! Of course this was the occasion for a lot of bad puns -“pining away” anyone? Brie Janick hosted with Seany, making sure everyone felt welcomed and getting the party off to a great start.

Next up was DJ Janis Short with TXBarbara Bailey hosting. They were followed by DJ Genevieve Gagne and BilliAnn Bravin. DJ Brie Janick and nahiram Vaniva ended the event. Classic Christmas music was played throughout the evening, along with UGC favourites, ensuring that avatars in Virtual London entered into the final week before the big day in style.

On Sunday night the newest addition to the Virtual London club scene, the jazz club at the Garden Cafe, was the place to be for the Mayfair Christmas Ball. Many avatars dressed in traditional SL Christmas costumes, partying and dancing to a mixture of Christmas and jazz music. Some avatars joined in a big conga line, others danced on their own or with partners, but all enjoyed the party. Billy Arentire made sure that guests participated in the many raffles held during the evening. Prizes from Toritire, ChiChi of London and cash could be won, and in the interests of full disclosure I will have to admit that I was fortunate enough to win L$250. Thanks very much Billy, it was most appreciated, at this time of the year especially!

Now back to getting the Christmas cards out and presents wrapped. Happy Holidays to all our Virtually London (lite) readers!

Hibiscus Hastings

Monday, 21 December 2009

Virtual Beatles in Trendy Mayfair

We all jumped aboard the Magical Mystery Tour Bus which carried us off to mystical Virtual Mayfair for a legendary tribute concert featuring the timeless Beatles. The tribute band had the backdrop of Sergeant Pepper and also had the clothes to match, making a colourful sight. There were tracks from some live performances and you could hear a little bit of skylarking from the real Beatles on the recordings as they launched into their songs.

I doubt there are many people on the planet who have not heard one or two Beatles' songs and even know some of the words, it was a real trip down Penny Lane as everyone really enjoyed themselves. London Director Brie Janick tells me that we also have Abba and Bee-gees tribute gigs coming shortly - watch this space.

Janey Bracken

Sunday, 20 December 2009

SL Africa Concert in Virtual London

There was a party in the Westminster sim on Friday night, in support of SL Africa, which is an initiative of the real life African company Uthango. The company works in under-resourced areas to alleviate poverty and improve the quality of people's lives. In the time that I attended the concert I saw two of SL's wonderful star singers, Inchino Melson and Slim Warrior. Inchino with her lovely haunting velvety tones and Slim with her powerful and beautiful voice kept the audience enchanted.
Regretfully events overlap this week and I had to leave the concert to attend another Virtual London party, however I hope the concert went well and they collected a lot of money to help the people of Africa.

Janey Bracken

Friday, 18 December 2009

Greeter Nahiram Assists the Newbies

It was the end of a long SL tradition a few days ago, the mentors who helped so many people are no more, the Lindens announced that the position was to finish, and good or bad, the mentors would have to adapt to becoming just ordinary avatars and people who seek help, especially newbies, would have to rely on meeting kind people to give them some advice. That’s why the residents of Virtual London are so lucky, especially the new people who arrive, not knowing what to do or where to go, Director Brie Janick has a group of well trained and highly efficient Greeters to make sure people get as much assistance as possible.

I bumped into one of the most popular people in Virtual London, who just happens to be, not only a Greeter, but an Underground Club host as well, Nahiram Vaniva. I asked Nahiram if she liked being a Greeter, she told me “I love it! helping new users, seeing them change, then seeing them after a while all settled.” Nahiram told me that she keeps in touch with a few of them and some of them are doing really well, even owning their houses, some have even got married in SL. Nahiram told me “It’s like having children, lol” One of the people that Nahiram had helped had even come back to Hyde Park to introduce her fiancée and invite Nahiram to the wedding. Nahiram helped the lady before she had officially been a Greeter, so she had always loved giving advice to whoever needed it.

With her Greeter job, Nahiram also has some powers, and she is able to eject people if they are breaking the rules, or generally being a nuisance. So beware, Nahiram is not afraid to boot you out if you cause trouble!! She will warn three times, complete an Abuse Report, and then eject. The London Directors would only give this power to trained and trusted team members and you can rely on Nahiram to use the power wisely.

There is a little sadness involved though, some people that Nahiram had helped, that she has on her friends list, have just disappeared. She tells me that she does not want to remove them from the list, but does wonder why they never returned to SL.

Nahiram, who comes from Venezuela, is very clever and in real life she was trained to teach languages, Spanish and English, she is also qualified to teach Language Teachers. Nahiram enjoys her job as a host in the club as well, and part of that job is also helping people and making them welcome. Nahiram certainly fits the bill and she is a credit to Virtual London!

Lots of the mentors will be missed in SL, many of them did excellent work, but with people like Nahiram around, newbies and older avatars alike will never be without someone caring to help them.

Janey Bracken

Thursday, 17 December 2009

Weekend Events In Virtual London

Get ready for lots of fun this weekend, tomorrow night there is a Christmas Ball in the Underground Club in Knightsbridge. It's fancy dress and an amazing L$2,000 is up for grabs for the best costume! The Ball starts at 2pm (slt) that's 10pm (UK). On Saturday we have a brilliant Beatles tribute band concert in Mayfair at 12pm (slt) that's 8pm (UK). So dig out those fancy dress costumes and cuban heeled boots for an exciting weekend in Virtual London!

Wednesday, 16 December 2009

SL Knightsbridge Rocks to Bon Jovi

On Saturday night SL’s Bad Ampitude virtual rock band played their Bon Jovi tribute in the SL Knightsbridge sim. Ardent fans enjoyed a momentous show with all of the major hits ranging from the well known early anthems like ‘Livin’ on a Prayer’ through the ballads and country rock to the latest single ‘We Weren’t Born to Follow’.

The real life Bon Jovi who hail from Sayreville, New Jersey in the US have been a major force since the early 80’s and in that time have racked up sales of over 120 million albums worldwide and performed more than 2600 concerts in over 50 countries. Their latest album ‘The Circle’ was released only in November and the band will be touring again in 2010.

The band's longevity mean that they’ve been picking up fans for nearly 3 decades and are regarded (in the US at least) as being the originators of ‘Pop Metal’ with an image that turned heavy metal into a genre that could be loved by women. Status Quo fans in the UK might disagree.

Once again thanks are due to SL Knightsbridge Director Brie Janick for organising a stunning show which was greatly appreciated. The action now moves to the Mayfair sim for the next concert which will be a 'Beatles' tribute on 19th December starting at the earlier time of 8 pm UK (12 PM SLT).
Ed Follet

Tuesday, 15 December 2009

Virtual London The Music Venue!

Virtual London seems to be becoming the capital city of music in SL, as well as being one of the most popular places for social gatherings. Virtual London Director Brie Janick has been busily arranging some brilliant pre-Christmas musical events and everyone has had a great time so far!

Friday night saw a Christmas Party in the new Westminster sim, I could not stay until the end but I saw a very talented blues guitarist named Madmax Huet, who was just amazing, he made his guitar talk with those terrific riffs, even treating us to a few vocals along the way!! Following Madmax, we had the smoothest of smooth saxophone players Declan Greenfield, whose velvety tones washed nicely over the partygoers, giving everyone that ‘feel good’ factor. The venue in Westminster was a new pub called Comp’tons, and there was plenty of room to dance and have a good time.

Saturday was the opening of the new Café in virtual Knightsbridge, it’s next to the Underground Club, so you can’t miss it. We were treated to listen to a live gig from one of the very best singers in SL, Maximillion Kleene, and it was like an old friend coming home! Max is just so charismatic with his interaction with the audience and makes everyone feel that he is singing to them personally. The voice is as brilliant as ever, and Max can come back to Virtual London as many times as he wants as far as I am concerned, and I know the rest of the London residents feel the same way!!

Saturday night didn't finish there, but I will let fellow reporter Ed Follet tell you more tomorrow!

Janey Bracken