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Saturday, 27 February 2010

View Our Web Page in Our Virtual Kensington Shop

I might be boasting here, well maybe we aren't the first ones in Virtual London to have this, but we are one of the first. Fellow writer and technical wiz kid Ed Follet told me about the new Second Life Beta Viewer that has a new wonderful piece of technology, you can actually view web pages in world instead of opening a browser. So off I went and looked at the tutorial Ed had given me and I came back and put our very own Virtually London (lite) blog in our shop, so anyone who is using the new viewer can come and read it in-world. The Beta viewer has lots of other delicious bits to it as well, so get your download and you can run it alongside the ordinary viewer to see how you like it. Don't forget to pop along to our shop to read the latest on our blog live!!
Janey Bracken

Friday, 26 February 2010

Tribute Band 'The Killers' Gig

It will be another great night in virtual Kensington tomorrow, the very popular Killers tribute band are playing at 2pm (SLT) (10pm UK), so make sure you get there early for a front row seat!!

Janey Bracken

Thursday, 25 February 2010

Pictures of Gena

Virtual London owner Debs Regent sent me these pictures of Gena Dry who's funeral took place today. Gena worked closely with Debs and Kwame as an A&R and Entertainments Manager for Virtually Linked, and she will be greatly missed. Talented singer/songwriter Gena entered our virtual world as avatar Genadry Bigboots, our thoughts are with her family and friends today.

Happy Rez Days to Billy and Drumbo

Virtually London (lite) would like to wish Billy Arentire a very Happy Rez Day, which he celebrated yesterday with his friends at the Coach and Horses Pub in Virtual Mayfair. Also a Happy Belated Rez Day to Drumbo Buccaneer whose first Rez Day was on February 3rd, hope you had a great time Drumbo!

Wednesday, 24 February 2010

The Newbie Clones

I went over to virtual Hyde Park yesterday and said hello to the group of people gathered by the Dell CafĂ©. Isabella Elcano was there, doing a brilliant job as a Greeter and dealing with someone who decided he wanted to upset everyone by using bad language. Isabella knows exactly what to do of course, she is good at dealing with people and she is very popular. This particular person wasn’t going to conform though, and ended up being ejected, someone in the group did say they thought he was 12 years old, so it’s not surprising really that he was a little bit mischievous.

Looking at new arrivals in both virtual London and the rest of the grid, they stand out like a sore thumb, guys in the brown shirts or blue jumpers and the girls in their pink spotty dresses, pony tails swinging as they walk, well waddle, thanks to the Linden’s default settings. It’s amazing how many of them want to know how you know they are new people. You don’t like to say, well you look like a clone, or you have concrete hair, or your skin looks like a cartoon. Also the fact that they suddenly stop and go into 'Appearance mode' in the middle of a group of people shrieks ‘Newbie’ to those all around, something an experienced avatar would never do unless under extreme stress!! When this batch of newbie skins came out a couple of years ago the rest of us, who had been SL residents for some time, thought they were cutting edge and really looked good compared to what we had when we first joined. I started as a Goth and my white skin didn’t even look human, but it was all I had so I thought it was great. I think there was a Boy next door and a Girl next door skin too, and you can still see the odd figure of Philip Linden on different sims that has the Boy next door look. There may have been others, but I can’t remember, it seems such a long time ago. The Lindens had asked a group of in-world designers to create the newbie looks that we have today, and at the time they did a great job, but it shows how good skins, clothes and hair have got since. The London greeters are great at helping the new people to blend into the SL society by giving them a new look as soon as they can.

One of the funniest sights are the pink dotty dress girls with their skirts still in place and a pair of jeans on underneath because they don’t know how to get rid of the attachment skirt (although getting clothes to attach nowadays is something else, you can log on and find it takes you a good ten minutes to get dressed as your attachments won’t attach!). I did see a skirt on my travels that had lost its owner though, so sometimes skirts must have a mind of their own! Also men with ‘see through’ hair looks very newbyish, as they try to wear it correctly, but have big gaps showing their scalp. I saw a guy walking about once with his hair five feet in front of him, every time he move the hair swayed about like a little floating dog. Newbies always seem very short too, or is it that the rest of us are 7 feet tall, I think the SL race of people have evolved into a giant lot of warriors and Amazons, not including tinies and furries of course.

Virtual London is a great place for any newbies to arrive in, as there are so many shops giving stuff away and the new person can create a brand new appearance virtually as soon as they land there.

So be kind to that new person in his brown shirt or her pink dotty dress that you see waddling toward you typing frantically, you were all weird looking once!!
Janey Bracken

Tuesday, 23 February 2010

Tribute to Gena Dry

It was with great sadness that I heard the news that Gena Dry, (avatar Genadry Bigboots), has died. Gena, a talented singer/songwriter in real life, worked for Virtual London owner Debs Regent as an A&R and Entertainments Manager at Virtually Linked. You may have seen Gena’s avatar walking around Virtual London with her trademark guitar. Gena, in real life, was a former member of the band Colour Noise and was also a mime artist and photographer. She had studied jazz and popular musicianship at Goldsmiths College, and in 1996 she had been asked to be a judge at the Brit Awards. Recently she had set up ‘Yes! You Can Sing!’ a business for teaching signed recording artists. Gena, who died on 11 February, will be sadly missed I would like to send my condolences to her family and friends.

Monday, 22 February 2010

The Greyhound 3 Prim Sculpture Competition

You may have noticed the recent addition of 10 stone plinths in the park in the SL Kensington sim. Those nice people at the Greyhound Pub, landlady Cutewillow and bar-staff Gold and Isobel are generously sponsoring a 3 prim sculpture building competition. A sculpture is a 3 dimensional artwork and to win the prize you need only to make ‘an interesting and/or beautiful and/or wacky object' by using no more than 3 prims. There are a few more rules that can be found on a note-card obtained by clicking the notice boards at the park and the pub. With a first prize of L$500, this competition will have appeal for both novice and advanced builders. So if you are a budding Michelangelo or Henry Moore, then register your entry by Friday 5th March. And hurry because only the first 10 entries will be accepted for display in Kensington Square Park and final judging on Friday 26th March.

Ed Follet

Friday, 19 February 2010

Knightsbridge Photo Contest

Fancy yourself as a photographer? Well now you can have a go at winning L$5000 by simply taking a picture of yourself in the Knightsbridge sim. DX Exchange, who are based in SL London, are sponsoring this fabulous contest. Your pictures will be on display in the Knightsbridge gallery and people will get a chance to vote for the winning entry. For more information click the yellow notice boards around Knightsbridge or contact Brie Janick or Seany1235 Blinker in-world.
Janey Bracken

Thursday, 18 February 2010

Go-Kart Fun In Virtual Hyde Park

You can have great fun in virtual Hyde Park, there’s a new ‘Go-kart’ track and I went over there with Ed to try it out. Being a bit dim, I stood at the side of the track wondering where the karts were, but then Ed told me to click on one of the number boards at the start and suddenly a nice shiny green kart rezzed into view. Of course, there is a great big sign there which gives instructions that for some reason I didn't see!! Jumping into the kart I sped off, as Ed did the same with his own kart. It was then I realised that it was quite difficult to steer if you pressed too hard on your arrow keys. Trying a gentler approach I did a lot better, although still got stuck on the corners a bit as Ed zoomed around in front of me. I did see him leave the track once though, to go hurtling down the Hyde Park road, but he soon returned to nudge my kart into the air, making it turn over about 3 times before righting itself back on the track.

Hibiscus joined us and rezzed her own kart. Off she went as a guy called Max decided he would share the experience with her and sat on the bonnet. Hib did well considering she couldn’t see very well through Max, who clung on for dear life. Another lady also joined us and the track was getting quite full as Max then got his own kart out. I suddenly found it was a bit like the dodgems as I came up to the back of all the others and gently nudged with my kart making them spin a bit, very naughty of me! I did get better as I got used to the kart, and I think after a couple of goes I will be in much more control, well maybe! It was tremendous fun, so teleport over and see if you can burn some rubber with your friends!

Janey Bracken

Wednesday, 17 February 2010

Chinese New Year In Mayfair

On Sunday the Year of the Tiger was welcomed to Mayfair and Hyde Park with a traditional Chinese New Year lion parade around the sims. Traditional, but with a couple of Second Life twists. All those who wished to be in the parade were given a section of the lion and could join in, a very inclusive and fun approach. I was given a section, but decided to observe and photograph instead (I am challenged; I cannot walk and take pictures at the same time). But that was just as much fun for me. And, in another nod to the realities of SL, it was decided that the parade would be unscripted, so people just walked under their own power.

Mayfair and Hyde Park were decorated for the occasion with red lanterns. A huge dragon reared up over the entrance to Hyde Park, dominating the skyline of both sims.

There was the usual confusion of getting everyone together at the start, but then a very nice lion did take form and the group was off, moving from the Coach and Horses along Dover Street to the entrance to Hyde Park. The group then turned into Hyde Park and marched through there, winding their way around towards an exit back into Mayfair. Unfortunately right then a region restart began, so the group scattered and I returned home.

This was a very SL event in every respect, a bit laggy, a bit experimental, but welcoming to all, entertaining and a great way to start off the New Year.

Hibiscus Hastings

Tuesday, 16 February 2010

Dolly and Kenny Tribute Night at Bogies Jazz Club

There's a great night planned in Bogies Jazz Club in virtual Mayfair this Friday (19th Feb, at 2pm (SLT), 10pm (UK)), a tribute concert featuring Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers should be great fun. Get there early if you don't want to miss out!!

Janey Bracken

Monday, 15 February 2010

SL Friendly Recipe From Drax Ember

The talk pretty much turns to food in a lot of SL conversations, and it was UGC hostess TXBarbara Bailey who made me think of the reason most people log off halfway through their evenings in-world, and it is usually to cook and eat their dinner! TXBarbara had gone off to prepare hers. So then I got talking to friend Drax Ember and he thought a slot for recipes would be good, not big baked dinners, you understand but virtual London friendly recipes where you could go to the kitchen and do bits, but stay logged on until it was cooked. Hibiscus is an expert at this, I think she must have worn out the carpet between her computer room and her kitchen, as she times it all so well! Anyway we have our first SL friendly recipe from Master Chef Drax Ember and his dish called ‘Virtual London Mac and Cheese’, that’s macaroni cheese to the rest of us! Here goes:

Nip to the kitchen and preheat your oven to 375

Tell your friends in SL you will brb (be right back)

Bring large pan of water to the boil and
add 2 cups dry macaroni, cook for 5 to 7 minutes

In separate pot mix the following:
2 1/2 cups milk
2 tablespoons corn starch
2 tablespoons butter or margarine
dash of salt
1/4 to 3/4 teaspoon of ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
Bring this mixture to a soft boil for 1 minute, whisk well so the corn starch doesn't harden on the bottom.
Remove from heat, mix in 1 3/4 cups shredded cheddar cheese until all mixed

Drain macaroni

Combine sauce and macaroni

Pour into pan or dish

Sprinkle 1/4 cup shredded cheddar on top

Cover with dried breadcrumbs (canned)(or in a packet in the UK)

Place the dish in the oven and time it to bake for 25 minutes.

Return to your friends in SL and carry on chatting.

With a couple of minutes to spare tell your friends goodbye and log out,
or if you are brave leave your avatar in-world and at your friend’s mercy!

Return to the kitchen and remove the dish from the oven and let it sit for 5 minutes before serving. (whilst it’s cooling you can pop back into SL for 5 minutes if you left your av there to see if the others are talking about you! It’s up to you!).

Drax says he likes Louisiana hot sauce with his macaroni cheese as well, as he likes spice. You can log right off to eat your dinner, but some people bring their plate back to the keyboard and continue to eat and chat to their friends. If you do this, make sure your mic is turned off as the munching sound can be quite off putting to your fellow avs, as well as a sticky mac keyboard could cause problems later.

I am hoping Master Chef Drax will be giving us some more delicious recipes soon. If you have any SL friendly recipes you want to share, send them to me on a notecard. In the meantime enjoy your cheesy mac. Many thanks to Drax for the recipe.

Janey Bracken

Sunday, 14 February 2010

Happy Valentine's Day In Virtual London

If you aren't going out in real life to celebrate Valentine's Day you can find plenty of places to go in Virtual London. The Mayhem Club and Coach and Horses in virtual Mayfair always put on great events and the Greyhound Pub in virtual Kensington are offering a fantastic night. The Greyhound party starts at 12-2pm (SLT) that's 8pm to 10pm (UK), you can see their blog for more details. It also happens to be the Chinese New Year celebrations for the Year of the Tiger and you can party the night away to this theme in Bogies Jazz Club in Mayfair. For further details of Mayfair times, contact Torric Rodas or for the Coach and Horses Wiccy Shackleton in-world. Have a wonderful Valentine's Day and don't forget to give that card and present to the one you love to make them feel special, both in SL and in real life!!

Janey Bracken

Friday, 12 February 2010

Aerobics at the UGC

On Monday evening I happened to wander into the Underground Club and discovered an aerobics class going on! I have often wondered how the UGC regulars stay in such great shape and had assumed it was through dancing, but now it seems that they have decided to add workouts to their exercise repertoire. DJ Janis Short provided the great music that helped keep everyone going and Host TXBarbara Bailey made sure that everyone was feeling the burn. I even discovered our intrepid VL(l) reporter Ed Follet there, no wonder he is so quick at running after stories, he certainly keeps himself in good shape. Rob Fenwich must be getting in the Olympic mood, his workout wear showed a distinctly international flavour, it was covered with American, Canadian and British flags.

Poor Isobel Byron worked herself so hard that at the end of the class she collapsed on the floor, waterbottle in hand and a smile on her face. Fortunately Nahiram Vaniva was nearby; she went to Isobel's aid as did DJ Janis, who offered her a choice of cake. All in all it was an energetic and fun evening

Hibiscus Hastings

Thursday, 11 February 2010

Linden Valentine Kisses and Scavenger Hunt

Linden Labs, who run Second Life, love to put on a big event for Valentine’s Day each year and last year you could meet them on a special island as they gave away free virtual kisses. The Lindens are a nice bunch of people and I guess they are employed for their people skills with the residents of SL as well as their other talents in running the whole virtual program.

This year sees two heart shaped islands in the grid that have been set up especially for Valentines Day. They open on the 12th February through to the 14th February and they plan to give away even more kisses (with the help of some volunteers). You can take part in a scavenger hunt too. Brie Janick, London Director, told me that Virtual London is playing a part in the proceedings this year and all will be revealed when the time comes. You can read more about the event on the pages.

Janey Bracken

Wednesday, 10 February 2010

Valentine's Ball at the UGC

It's nearly Valentine's Day and it's that time of the year to be thinking about the one you love! Or if you are single, looking for that special someone who may be the person of your dreams! If you are a couple, or on your own, come along to the Underground Club on Friday night, thats Februrary 12th, and have a great time. It's the Valentine's Ball and you can wear your glad rags as it's formal dress and there is a L$1000 Linden prize for the best outfit. It starts at 2pm till 4pm SLT, thats 10pm to midnight UK time.

Janey Bracken

Tuesday, 9 February 2010

Exotic Pets in Virtual Mayfair

Just recently in the newspapers there was a story about a man in the UK who keeps 24 crocodiles in his back garden, a bit scary for the neighbours, and the neighbour’s cats and dogs, I would imagine! However, if you fancy a pet crocodile without the sharp teeth getting in the way, you can always buy a Second Life version. There is a shop in virtual Mayfair called 2Xtreme which sells exotic animals and birds, and you can buy anything from a sweet little hummingbird to colourful macaw who is scripted to be a real companion. Luckily for me the crocodile was on a chain because he didn’t look very friendly, or maybe he just hadn’t been fed and purrs like a kitten once he’s had his dinner.

Go along to the 2Xtreme pet shop and pick yourself out an unusual pet, be careful not to step on the crocodile though!

Janey Bracken

Monday, 8 February 2010

Torric and Billy's Big Day.

It was Torric Rodas and Billy Arentire's big day as they married in virtual Westminster yesterday. Many of their friends turned out to wish them every happiness as they took their vows in front of the hushed audience. Truths Marder was the Parson who conducted a wonderful and touching service for Torric and Billy. Both of them looked handsome in their well cut suits. There were two bridesmaids in attendance, Tayla Tigerfish and Princess Shuffle, who wore gorgeous sky blue chiffon dresses. The wedding took place in an especially erected romantic white summerhouse adorned with blue drapes. Billy and Torric’s joy was plain to see as they kissed after the service and walked back down the aisle to the start of a new life together as SL partners.

The wedding reception took place at the same location and everyone had a brilliant time. Congratulations to Torric and Billy, and I wish them a very happy future together.

(If you have a FaceBook account you can catch some great pictures posted by Rob Fenwitch of Torric and Billy’s marriage.)

Janey Bracken