Good bye my love

Jim death poster




SEE YOU IN TWO WEEKS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


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Here I am, taking a  short break   in  an unexpectedly posh undersea eatery with a charmingly literal English name, smirking at an increasingly  irritated Cadillac Eldorado sized shark who is obsessively bouncing over and over off  the plexi glass restaurant ceiling, not simply  because his inability to comprehend the existence of the invisible barrier proves that..

A) a 10 million year old brain coping less well with a simple problem than your own  much maligned 53 year old one is indeed an established snarkasm trigger .

B) He is definitely a big fat BOY shark. See A.

but that, unlike this ancient  testosterone drenched toothmobile, my own recent experience with a similar obsessive traits combined with the kind of smarts a gender only develops if it has been on the bottom of the food chain  for 40,0000 years and counting, had resulted  in  a productive, enervating,  outcome for most of the species involved. Yes, I know, but it made all kinds of sense when I started the paragraph.

Hello my dearest dears! How marvelous here we all are ready for another whirlwind adventure on OpenSim, the software platform that hosts hundreds of independent grids, many of whom choose to be connected by an amped up teleportation system called the hypergrid, which allows you to endlessly explore these brave new worlds, having exciting experiences, making friends from all over the planet, and scoring so much free content that it just makes you dizzy!

If you do not know how to get onto OpenSim’s hypergrid ( and believe me you are not alone) please see my “How to get on OpenSim in Six  Ridiculously Easy Steps” at the top of this page, and don’t forget my “Newbie Glossary”. Come on, it’s easy! Come spread your wings in the free metaverse!

For today’s adventure we will be going to a grid, I personally, had never heard of; in fact I could not find a single third party reference to it anywhere on the internet. No one seems to have ever talked about it, it wasn’t on any hypergate hub I  could find. It was like it didn’t exist. Yet there it was, on Maria Korolov’s most excellent Active OpenSim Grids List, (which gives you a hypergrid address, website links, currency , etc. and is continually updated!) for month after month piquing my curiosity -so a couple of weeks ago,  I decided start a rare free evening by finally plugging in my mystery address into the ol’ world map, zap over, and have  a quick look around.  After all, it,was probably one of those  grids that had been quickly set up for a conference or something with a couple familiar Linda Kellie OARs and lots of chairs and screens- one of those grids no one had remembered to take down.

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I could not have been more wrong! Welcome to Japan Open Grid! –  This is  welcome region JOG Center and I know, it isn’t an attention grabber  BUT – drum roll-  from the  Ginza cocktail  jazz  in Mikio Naruse’s When A Woman Ascends The Stairs to Murakami’sunicorn skulls and talking cats to Beat Takeshi`s well everything, this blogger is one R-I-D-I-C-U-L-O-U-S-L-Y enthused Japanophile!! So  I was exactly the right shark, um, person, to not  focus on the awkward new grid look and inevitable conference chairs, but catch one glimpse of  the Japanese lettering plastered  over the sky, jump up from the keyboard and run around the house screaming” OMG!! OMG!!!  MY AVATAR IS  IN  FREAKING JAPAN!!!!” til my family had to calm me down with the ironing board. And with a little-  okay, a ton of  research, I was able to take a version of my Japanese dream vacation, whooping it up in bath houses, temple festivals, sushi and raman bars, on a mini Murakami Tour in bustling downtown Tokyo, and freaking my son out in weirdly familiar haunted fairgrounds whilst discovering a mad genius…this little world has been one of my most satisfying hypergrid adventures, and I am really excited about sharing it with my beloved readers!!!!

So let’s get started on my guided tour of what I believe is the hypergrid’s only Japanese world! If you don’t have a translator with Japanese, you can pick one up on Craft Grid at And we’re off!

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We’ll start at the top of the Welcome Center! The first thing you see is an ATM. It appears to just be a toy, you click it and it says “give money” in Japanese and English, but no further menu appears, and you don’t seem to receive anything. As far as I can make out, the grid’s focus appears to be educational, and they have no currency.

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Like all the boards in the welcome center, this is a teleport. Feel free to click on anything, all it does is open your world map to the region, whose names are thankfully in the Latin alphabet, so although you may not know what the hell the name means, at least you will know if you have been there before.  Some boards have  hovering Japanese script, others have ????? over them. The boards with question marks work, so click away! These JOG Center boards are set up all over Japan Open Grid, and it is worth noting that, although they will have various titles and pictures, they often take you to a different corner of one region, like Shinobar Annex or Tomoyo. I wound up keeping a list of places I had been to avoid this repetition.   This particular teleport board takes you to region …

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…Tomoyo,  a blender workshop. It is also listed on other signs as a texture bank,which brings us to another major point about this grid- they use a LOT of Linda Kellie’s stuff. The overwhelming majority of the free material on offer are Linda’s, which are widely  available all over the hypergrid, so  I won’t bother pointing them out-like the texture bank on this region. But I WILL point out these boxes which have free kimonos and Japan Open Grid AO’s!!

Back at JOG Center, directly across from the Tomoyo teleport is a calander board with groups and meeting schedules.  And the pretty lady in the kimono is my new friend  JOG resident Fuugetu Flowerbird! Not only did she take me around her region, which we will get to shortly, but she showed me how to read the calender!!

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Okay it’s like this! Do you see the grey boxes on top line of the grid ? The second box has the kanji character 月, which means Mon or Monday! The next one is 火 Tuesday… you get idea! The vertical grey boxes are times, 3pm and 10pm to be exact. This is obviously Japan Standard Time, so let’s work it out with a handy online converter– 3pm Japan  Standard Time would be 8am CET, and 10pm JST would be 3 pm CET!  Wow, they have something going on every day, don’t they? You only need to click on one of the pictures, and the world map will open with the meeting location! I will also point them out to you as we continue our tour!

Starting from the  Paradise Island sign next to me, the second and third sign go to nearly empty regions, and the first, third and fourth go to very nice  builds(Garden Oasis has a meeting every Tuesday!) that lean heavily on Linda Kellie, and pieces from the early OS Grid days, but I would prefer to focus on some of the  very unusual to jaw dropping aspects of Japan Open Grid in this post. Which brings us to..

…these bad boys.  We will tackle the Modern Museum, the Space Thingy and the  Science Ship first, then after go onto the Big Honkin’ Gate place. The Museum, Space Thingy and Ship are ALL on region Abyss Observatory. Observatory

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The Modern Museum seems to be a colossal Museum of Art History leading up to the present, with  a section on the top of moving masterpieces, as in they jump around, on discs with a “vote” button.

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The Science Ship is also docked here, with openings on the platform leading down to an underwater observatory. There is nothing else visible on the horizon, which is really weird as…

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…the Space Station Thingy build is freaking huge, and a tad confusing, until you realize there are TWO Science Ships on this region! Only one is on each build, and as I said, I have no idea how they keep things on this scale separate on a single region. The Observatory itself is a rather well thought out  history- of -our- place- in- the- universe museum, while THIS  Science Ship has a small pyramid on the dock that is under construction.

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I honestly did not understand what many of the builds surrounding the ship were about exactly, but they were tons of fun to explore, with lots of neat photo ops, and hey it’s in Japan!!!

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The Big Honkin’ Gate place is region kasumi taiysha(meetings every Thursday at 10pm JST) which seems to be the region owners name. With it’s dance floor and temple, it appears to be a party/ event region. It also brings us to another big point about Japan Open Grid…

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Click on EVERYTHING you find that could  be a poseball or have a script- even if the hovering text is in Japanese CLICK CLICK CLICK! You may find yourself praying correctly in a Shinto shrine or pounding a ceremonial Taiko!!! The scripting on this grid is pretty good, nothing crashed me or even caused perceptible lag, so be bold and get クリック!!

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To the south of kasumi taiysha is a small but cool little build called Nagano

..  named after the Nagano Prefecture, located in the center of Japan. As the entire area is surrounded by 3,000 meter tall mountains, which have earned it the name “The Roof of Japan”  and is filled with lovingly preserved period architecture this main street against the sweeping backdrop of the Japanese Alps, were just impossible for me to exactly identify BUT, I got all excited anyway because:

A) ya know those cute monkeys that  spend winter chillaxing in hot springs?  They are doing it in THESE mountains:D

B)  for my fellow lit nerds, you aren’t imagining those ringing bells- Nagano is the home of Satoru Nataka, the even chaptered Jack Daniels slaying holy man cat whisperer  protagonist of Murakami’s  Kafka on the Shore!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I got so ebullient my family decided to leave the ironing board in the hallway, just in case!!

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The next teleport board  takes you to various freebie locations, most of which are Linda Kellie content. The one exception you can actually see if you fly straight up…

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…and fly over the chairs and giant JOG logo, down to the buildings in the top center of the picture.

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This is region JOG Meets! There are nice little freebies tucked all around in the large building and the flea market , (and they have meetings every Saturday, Sunday and Wednesday at 10pm JST) but in my mind the main attraction is definitely the building with the rounded roof pieces…

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…which has a couple of really neat  little funkytown  shops! I  scored 4 kimonos in 30 seconds, and were I anime fan, I would have lost my 心 completely!

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This is the sushi whooping part. Welcome to the Sushi Train, which really does have  lovely  plates of nibblies gliding along the top of the bar! Touch the beer tap for an animated beer, and…

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… touch the signs for a really BIG sushi menu! Make your choice, and your perfectly detailed order will appear in front of you! どうぞお召し上がりください y’all!!

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Back at JOG Center, after the freebie teleport board, there is a door to this room, which is a mostly off world teleport center. The grids are familiar, with an educational slant. The  few JOG teleports basically took you back to the Linda Kellie freebie centers.

These are the last teleports in the Welcome Center. The Winds of Birds teleporter takes you to Fuugetu’s builds, after that is the gingerbread man  with the dog statue board, which we will do last, after covering the regions from Borabora onward. Don’t worry, it’ll make tons of sense! So the Winds of Birds teleport board…

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… which takes you to a very large, pretty  region  of islands and calm waters called  alternately oasissea and Winds of Birds. I never really understood quite how it is  all set up, but like the folks at Abyss Observatory, Fuugetu does a lot of stacking!! Let’s take a look at her teleport board!

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The two upper builds, birdy winds and Gekka are located on the ground, if you fly up and look around you will see them. The space station and airport are stackers-let’s start on the ground and work our way up:)


The Birdy Winds is a really nice harbor house on one of the regions islands. Fuugetu made this in SL and brought it to opensim. I am sorry I don’t have a better picture, but I think this is enough to get across her excellent taste, and sense of hospitality.


This is Gekka, which means moon in Japanese. I cannot give you an exact address as this is all on one region, so it is best to use the teleport boards to get around!

Fuugetu said that this island is a flower. We are standing in the center, and the four sections are the petals.


The island is extremely well done; the  reworking of  Arcadia/Aley materials(Fuugetu is a BIG fan), plus pieces from the early OS Grid, and her own adventures in blender, mesh perfectly together to create a charmingly unique atmosphere.Look around carefully many of the rooms have furnishings, there is even a little flower shop! And now for the stacking!

The Winds of Birds Airport expresses Fuugetu’s love of virtual aviation.wob_011

She has collected all kinds of flying vehicles for you to copy, which includes her own creation, a flying origami crane. He doesn’t fly too high , but Fuugetsu is working on it!!!

This is where the teleport to the space station takes you, but Fuugetu is quick to point out that this is too small to be the REAL station, and that there are teleporters on the main platform to the actual space station.


NOW you are at the Space Station!! Thanks for the tour Fuugetu!!! I look forward to see how your lovely regions will continue to develop!! それはあなたに会う喜びでした!

From the Borabora teleport board onward…
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…all roads lead to the Shinobar Annex! There are off world teleports in the corners of the region, with the welcome center teleports  set up in kiosks in the center square. The shops are empty.  In the top right of this picture you see the recreational area…

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…Borabora, which has white beaches, jet skiing and lopsided ballooning as well as…

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…Restaurant Eater. You know, with the  not too bright boy shark Maitre d’!

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North of Borabora is  Shinobar Gate. This chirpy recreational region has the actual Shino’s Bar, dance floors, club houses, created with cleverly reused freebies from Linda and the early hypergrid.  This particular shop, called Liwston Station, has meetings every Monday and Thursday at 3pm JST, and a name for which I can find no obvious meaning  also has…

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… a really cool collection of  full perm Japanese  glossy magazines!!WOOT!

And now we come to the last teleport on the JOG Welcome center, the gingerbread man next to the dog statue; not because it is the worst, but because, in spite of the genuinely confusing picture on the teleport board, it is one of the best. For this  teleport takes you to…

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Welcome to glittering downtown Tokyo!! In RL this is one of the busiest pedestrian crossings in the world,at the heart of Tokyo’s famous Shibuya district!

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This  is Shibuya Station, the fourth busiest commuter station in Japan, and in the square  across from the green tram is our old friend…

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… the Haichiko statue, with has nothing to do with gingerbread men or ramen stuffed Americans with snakes in their hair, but has everything to do with one of the most famous dogs in the world,Haichicko, who loyally waited for his dead master at their meeting spot in front of Shibuya station every day for nine years.  The statue  has become a popular meeting spot, and one of the stations many exits is named for it.

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Directly across from the green train are two teleport boards. You will see them all over JOG resident Kote 2’s extremely cool builds. These are NOT displayed at the welcome center, which they really should be as one of them is very  important- not the external one with Craft and Kitely, but  the one I am standing in front of . We will get back to it later, but for now let’s continue our tour of Shibuya!

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Lit nerd alert! (ATTN non nerds:If you have no understanding whatsover of my lit nerd burbles,under NO CIRCUMSTANCES bleep over them: just sound them out, memorize them, and practice reciting for a week or so. This will FINALLY  give you  a shot at scoring with sexy librarian types in art f**k coffee shops and bookstores!) Shibuya is the station the Calcutec used to bullshit the Ayoyama Ichome station attendant, when he and the chubby girl climbed onto the platform from  the tracks. He couldn’t say they had ascended from a secret world of   cannibals and mad scientists hidden under the Tokyo sewers, so he said they had come from Shibuya Station and lost their tickets, which was completely unsuccessful as, ironically,that turned out to be the excuse EVERYBODY give when they are bullshitting attendants on the Tokyo Metro.This area of Tokyo, where Murakami, owned a jazz club, realized he could write and proceeded to pen the stories that have conquered a planet-this IS The  Hard Boiled Wonderland at the End of the World ! (Note: if your librarian is tucking into her second piece of cheesecake, it may be wise to refer to  the chubby girl as “The Scientist’s Granddaughter)

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What bliss! Beat Takeshi lords over the love hotel bar boutique strewn streets so many of Murakami’s characters have wandered in an existential haze, shopping for jazz LPs and gourmet Italian food, or executing the occasional rapist hotel guest, although the streets unfortunately end right before the Shibuya  Parco Department Store, where my early love,melancholy  Kobo Abe directed his plays in a  horseshoe shaped theater on the ninth floor  built especially for him by…

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…his life long friend Seiji Tsutsumi, the head of the Seibu Department store chain.

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The streets are a blast to wander as the build is reasonably accurate, and chock -a-block of fun detail. Plus you can make stuff up; hey, do you think this could be the shop where Satoru Nakata’s friend, the young truck driver Hoshino, bought his Hawaiian shirts?( Non nerd note: the truck driver is an intellectually lazy underachiever who has a spiritual epiphany that involves cats, Buddhism, and Colonel Sanders! If you  haven’t flubbed the weight reference and can manage a soulful gaze while you say how much you can relate to this guy, you’ve got your foot to upper thigh in the door!)shibuya again_008

Have a careful look around. I didn’t notice you could go into this Yoshinoya restaurant until the the third visit!!

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Click on the black box, and get a delicious bowl of Raman! Of course I’d be thaaaaaat much more excited if the restaurant name were Tampopo!! Best food movie 今-ま-で-に!!

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Of course the view from above is pretty spectacular too. Say, who are those people standing in the center of Dogenzaka Street? They weren’t here last time!

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Hehe, these anime girls are so cute! They were all called “Kote 1 Clone” so I figured they were NPC’s and was clicking everything trying to get them to do something, when I finally clicked on the prim hanging over them.

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WOOOT! They all start dancing to Thriller!! When you are done zombie trotting withSailor Moon and her wide eyed posse, you can mosey on back down the street, over the crossing to…

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…go under the train tracks and hang a left.

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You are now in region Machiya, Kote1! Kote seems to refer to the forearm, or wrist, and is a Kendo martial arts term, while…

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…the word machiya refers to the traditional wooden houses found throughout Japan. (Ignore the Pumpkin City, we will get to that later) While this region does not appear to be a particularly structured exhibit…

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…there are indeed a boatload of cool wooden houses to explore! When you are done oohing and ahhing, walk down this path, away from the Pumpkin City we are ignoring and hang a sharp left…

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…where you will find this path.Go on, what are you waiting for?

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Keep going!

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Welcome to little Osaka!
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This is yet another cool reproduction of a major Japanese downtown area- Osaka’s  Dontonbori district, on the Dontonbori Canal. I am standing on the Ebisu bridge, where urban legend has it that the spirit of Kentucky Fried Chicken founder Colonel Sanders cursed the Hanshin Tigers baseball team, when fans tossed a statue of the Colonel off the bridge, during a post victory celebration! The “Curse of the Colonel” will not be lifted until the entire statue is fished out of the river; in the meantime the Tigers are on the tail of an 18 year losing streak. (ATTN non nerds: This is NOT a plotline.)

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The neon signs, including the iconic Glico Man,(get a picture of your av in front of him. It is THE Osaka tourist picture!) are moving and sparkling creating this district’s signature electric atmosphere,  and there is of course a teleport board, which we will stop ignoring in a minute. But first, let’s walk over the bridge and hang , guess what, a sharp left!!

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Kuiadore is an expression the rest of Japan uses  to describe what they see as the Osakan obsession with  food.My kind of town! One of the sayings goes-“Dress (in kimonos) till you drop in Kyoto, eat till you drop in Osaka” (京の着倒れ、大阪の食い倒れ).  Hence this street has some of the most famous restaurants in Japan!

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Kani Doraku is a crab restaurant(duh) that started a craze when it’s huge mechanized crab sparked a wave of oversized, mechanized signs and statues in the Dotonbori!

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Kushikatsu(串カツ) are deep-fried skewers of  pretty much anything, served with a dipping sauce. This statue is Mr Ueyama, the  owner of the company that manufactures them, who is famous for striking this pose before doing something that keeps him in the tabloids!

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Kuidaore Taro (taro means clown) is Japan’s most famous mechanized clown, he is on candy, toys ,posters, you name it; in fact he became such an Osaka symbol that every year before the big prestigious Osaka Sumo Championships the wrestlers line up to have their pictures taken with him for luck!

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This is a giant plate of Gyoza, the infinitly more delicious deep fried garlic drenched pork Japanese version of a Chinese dumpling called Jiaozi !! I am officially in heaven!

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Anytime you see an octopus sign in any form, it means the restaurant serves an Osaka specialty called  Takoyaki, which are batter balls filled with dried, you guessed it, octopus. This octopus is holding a spatula, a Takoyaki ball on a stick, and above him is the form used to make this delicious deep fried nibbly! Next door is the Zuboraya ,a famous restaurant that specialized in dishes made from the unbelievably poisonous, like more poisonous than cyanide, blowfish; a very statusy food in Japan. Chefs have to train for three years to qualify in “Fugu” preparation.THREE years for one kind of fish!! If they  literally survive the final exam, which involves them consuming their own test material, they obviously charge an arm and a 脚 for their services, which the restaurant graciously passes onto you. Whilst commercial kitchens are required by a series of rather harsh laws to have one of the intrepid 35% who manage to leave Blowfish Polytechnic under their own power preparing their blowfish for human consumption, it oddly remains legal  to catch blowfish for personal use. Which of course results in oodles of  sniggering at cheapskate Uncle Haruto’s  funeral.

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And just when you thought Osaka couldn’t get cooler there’s this-the  giant hand holding a piece of Nigiri hangs over Genroku Sushi one of a chain owned by the people who invented the Sushi Train, right here in Osaka!!

After we throw out one more lit nerd fact- Haruki Murakami’s mother was born in Osaka! we can finally turn back and take a look at that teleport board!!

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As you can see, we have been to three out of six destinations, Shibuya, Machiya and Little Osaka! In the bottom right is a teleport to Mikuland, (we’ll get to Miku later!)which seems to be a storage region for dance floors, like the Pumpkin City. At the top right is-yes, you are reading that correctly-

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Once you have finished messing around at the club that launched, um, what’s his name-you know, Yoko Ono‘s husband -it is time to hit Kote 2’s last big destination..

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…Shimakami Virtual High School!

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From the landing point next to the garbage can, you can see two distinct area- The high school grounds, and the neighboring Shimakami Jinja . We will explore the high school grounds first.

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The freebies include avatars of Japanese vocaloids, (which are anime pop stars with programmed singing skills), RinRin Kagamini   and her rival, the more popular  Hatsune Miku, who has done tours, live opera and opened for Lady Gaga. Shiteageru is a denpa song they both covered.

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The word Shimakami is, as far as I can make out, simply a name and the regions, I would guess, are devoted to role play. You can walk around the main high school building, but the classrooms are all the same-these chairs and this chalkboard.

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Behind the main building is a tennis court with really good animations, but unfortunately, no equipment! The little grey building…

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…is a cute -as -a-button cafeteria, where the tables are food rezzers stuffed with curry and ramen that are completely borked (sob)!

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Behind the main building is the sports grounds.The first time I came here it was empty, today it had…

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…these neat revolving dance balls and working drum. But two days ago…

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…it looked like this!

While I am not sure exactly what all this means, I think generally what is going on, is that Osaka native Kote 2, or in RL Tetsuya Takeda, is really into scripting. A self described  “Former Japanese Idol at Second Life”, Tetsuya does little films, usually titled Virtual High School Short Movie number #whatever. They are films of his animations, all of which are really good.

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Like at the  pool, where every ball has a different, seamless style of swimming! This pool is seriously fun!

Now let’s head over to Shimakami Jinja!

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The Temple seems to be having a festival on the grounds!! The detail is marvelous, you can hear the snow crunching under your feet as you take everything in and snap photo after photo, although there are no rezzers or animation. The wooden house next to the temple…

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… is a Noubutai, a wooden stage traditionally used for  Nou / Noh  classical  Japanese musical drama. This stage just has a regular dance ball and an unidentified yet cool statue. Behind the Noubutai…

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…are these two small houses. Go past the moo cow into the bigger building with the sign and the lettered curtains!

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This is a  scruffy little Sento!!! I have always wanted to visit one of these! Walk past the beaten up lockers in the entrance hall to one of the identical changing rooms, which has the obligatory massage chair,scales, and Akira Kurosawa film poster. From Rashoman‘s complex portrayal of truth and reality, to the rollicking adventure of The Hidden Fortress to the iconic  Seven Samurai where you could nearly see all of  heart throb Toshiro Mufine‘s  butt throughout the film; Kurosawa has given the world, which includes me last time I looked, hundreds of hours of pleasure!! What a thrill to see one of his posters in an authentic Japanese setting on my little grand tour!!

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The baths steam, some of the faucets work and in ,what I assume is the cold water bath in the little tub on the right, your avatar sits there shivering!

And with this we will now leave my new facebook friend, Tetsuya Takeda’s regions! すべての楽しさ哲也いただき、ありがとうございます!

The rest of these regions in this post are not on any teleport board I could find, which is a shame, as they rate from pretty darned interesting to “holy ごみ, did I just see that?”

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Region JapanParadiseSamurai is owned by Xenlon Keng , an SL creator who seems to be working on his or her stock here in OpenSim. There is one freebie that I can find…

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…this neat elderly male avatar,complete with costume. As for the rest of the build…

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…it is definitely worth exploring!!! Now let’s move on to…

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Region Otaru is named after a real life  Japanese city, located on  the western side ofHikkado, the northernmost prefecture in Japan. And what we are looking at is a beautiful reproduction of the popular tourist attraction the Otaru Canal, whose once bustling warehouses have been turned into…

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… attractive shops, restaurants and galleries! These beautifully worked wood and stone shops are filled with Linda Kellie items, but there is also a very interesting story behind this place. Apparently  virtual Otaru  was a community in Second Life, much beloved by resident Motoko Moonwall, (who was also involved in the creation of Abyss Observatory). Motoko said that, although everything else in SL changed continually, Otaru was always had a wonderful continuity. It became a real home to her. And although the population dwindled with the rest of the SL , the owner, with whom Motoko had become close friends,fought hard to keep Otaru alive. She was attacting new residents and everything was looking great when suddenly, the community received word of her death! Although they wanted to keep the community going, there was no way they could take ownership of the region, so Motoko came to JOG in OpenSim, and built this beautiful reproduction! What a wonderful tribute to virtual friendship!

When you are done sitting in the cafes and wandering the cobbled walkways, you can head in the opposite direction of the canal, out past the main Otaru complex, to…

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Region Otaru2, where Motoko messes with modern architecture…

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…traditional European architecture(there is a gallery in here with pictures of RL Otaru)…

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mm…and returns to traditional Japanese. Hey look! There’s an octopus-and there are  fresh Takoyaki balls!!!! あなたの素晴らしい地域もとこMoonwallしていただきありがとうございます!

Time for one last lit nerd moment before we say farwell to Otaru- Hokkaido was a majorlocation in Haruki Murakami’s  early works, The Rat Trilogy, and Dance Dance Dance!!!

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Okay, now there are exactly three things that you are feeling as you look at this picture and the region name  :

Feeling 1) You have recognized the house and the name and are getting REALLY excited!

Feeling 2) A  tingly feeling that is a cross between deja vu, and that thing where  you recognize a person well enough to plaster a gormless smile across your face when they greet you on the street, but have no  real clue where you know them from.

Feeling 3) Becoming  really irritated that this is not going any faster.

What we are actually going to cover now are regions sen001 to sen009, and while most of the action is on sen004, that regions landing point is so completely borked, we are going to start here on sen003, in front of this house. I actually picked this region quite randomly(or did I?) to land on; I just wanted to see what these “sen” named regions were. So I saw the house, got Feeling 2 like nobody’s business …

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…and turned around. Unbelievably, I still didn’t get it, but as my intrigue-o-meter had begun smoking at around 50 billion, I decided it was time to cross the river.

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The town, or whatever it was made no real sense; okay it might have helped if I could read more Japanese than Monday and Tuesday, but it  is hard to believe this broken down jumble of ramshackle houses and twisted alleys  were clearly marked in any language. I just picked the biggest “street” and started climbing.

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I could not work out what the hell I was missing.

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Suddenly I was on level ground,  on a street where every building seemed to be an empty broken down restaurant, which would have struck me as more than odd had the presence of huge black spirit creatures not stolen all the weirdness thunder.

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There was only one spiritless snackbar with food on the counter.

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Then it struck me- how did I know they were spirits?

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It was driving me nuts as  I walked up the stairs at the end of the road and turned right…

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…and even my clapped out old brain cells finally shouted “Banzai”!! For I was standing in front of the most recognizable bathhouse on the planet- the sen regions were recreations of the spirit world  depicted in THE most successful Japanese film of all time, the multi award winning  anime classic, Spirited Away.

For those of you I just lost completely,Spirited Away, which is often compared to Alice in Wonderland, is the odyssey of a little girl named Chihiro, who is trapped when her parents unwittingly cross a river into the spirit world, which has the appearance of an odd ramshackle fun fair. Coming upon a street of abandoned snack bars and restaurants, and finding one restaurant with food, her parents begin uncontrollably stuffing themselves with enchanted spirit food, and are summarily turned into pigs.

Chihiro(later renamed Sen by a witch) is rescued by a boy her age named Haku, who tells her to go down to the boiler room of the palatial bathhouse and ask for a job, for only by signing a contract of employment, is the human girl protected from Yubaba, the witch  proprietor of the bathhouse, who transformed her parents into food for her guests. Haku tells Chihiro this is the only way she can  save them and herself. Most of the film revolves around Chihiros experiences working in the bathhouse, and her friendship with Haku, who turns onto to be a dragon!

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As to our virtual spirit world and bathhouse, the detail is so perfect, it is difficult to take it all in. I tried looking up film synopses and wikis, but the build is so dense, that I finally decided it would be easier just to watch the movie while I was inworld, pausing the film as I checked out this and that as the characters encountered it.Worked like a charm, all kinds of things suddenly snapped into focus, like the railroad tracks running under the bridge, just below the surface of the water, exactly like in the movie.

Okay, now comes the mad genius part.

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This colossal structure is an EXACT three dimensional reproduction, of the spirit bathhouse. ALL of it. Creator Daiki Aabye meticulously filmed the process, so he or she must have realized  at some point that people just would not freaking believe this. However,it was actually a meticulously photographed Flickr album I discovered early on, which made me realize that the unbelievably impressive main hall was in no way shape or form not the whole shebang! THAT was when I hauled out the movie and did the walk through, which was actually a lot of fun, and impressed the hell out of my anime obsessed teenager until I hit a bunch of moving masked spirits, which caused the lad to bellow after a full 15 seconds of staring ” THEY STILL FREAK ME OUT!!” and hide in his room.

Daiki Aayabe’s Spirit Bathhouse is, like the fabulous Tolkien themed Romenna on PM Grid, unquestionably one of the great builds of the hypergrid. But unlike Romenna and many other large scale reproductions, it is not simply a static empty shell, which in my mind makes it just thaaaaat much greater! Noazami’s wonderful Flicker album is an excellent guide, as is seeing the movie!! If you are going in cold turkey, just remember that no one elevator goes all the way from the top to the bottom, and no two doors or staircases that are next to each other wind up in even vaguely the same place . Here are a few of my not that great photos(half didn’t even come out!!) to give you an idea of what is in store:


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The bathhouse entrance.

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The bathhouse main interior which is difficult to capture in one shot, due to it’s size, AND waiting for the sumptuous textures to rezz!!

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Spirits gather around a tub.

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A shot of the Bathhouse ceiling.

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This is what an elevator looks like!!

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This is the walled garden at the main entrance. See the little blue square on the ground in front of me? Look for these around the Bathhouse..

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…because little girls do a lot of crawling!

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The long corridors on the sides of the bathhouse open into guest accommodation. Not only do all doors open on this build, but panels slide, so be sure to run your cursor around…

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…everything. Like most grand palaces, there are secret panels and staircases leading to…

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… the hidden world of the servants. Above the main bathhouse, is…

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…the very weird living quarters of Yubaba’s personal staff.

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This is where my son freaked:D And above this…….

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spirited away_019…Yubaba’s living quarters!! There are small attic rooms above this floor too, but for now let’s go directly below the Bathhouse to…

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…the waterworks and boiler room!! As with the rest of the building there is an elevator, doors, hidden staircases and panels:)

As to the other seven sen regions, like the red house gateway to the spirit world in sen003, they are all locations from the film. None of them are finished, but they are  recognizable. Daikari  has made this handy non language map, to tell visitors, at least ones familiar with the film, where they are.

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Region sen001 is a representation of the human world town Chihiro’s family were driving through when they turned off the road and wound up at the red house. What the giant fish are doing there I haven’t a clue.

Sen002 is empty land.

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Sen005 and 006 are water regions from the train journey to Yubaba’s sister, Zariba’s house. The trains do not work (yet) nor is all the track laid…

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…but the strange platforms and shadow people are all  out there, waiting.

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Sen007 is Zeniba’s house, which doesn’t have any walls yet but..

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…is definitely coming together!

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Sen008 has another train station and Haku in his dragon form. How do you find him? Follow the train  tracks from region 004 into the tunnel:))))

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And last but not least, region sen009 , just over the bridge, has the pig farm where Chihiro’s parents are held prisoner!

And now my dearest dears I must love you and leave you! This post has taken forever to write but it has been worth every ironing board dodging second!! It is possible everyone knew about Japan Open Grid except me, but for those of you who didn’t it is a real pleasure to introduce you to this friendly, fun, and exciting grid! Don’t forget to put Japan Open Grid gates up in your gate hubs!! I would like to thank the whole gang at Japan Open Grid, who never exactly gave me permission  to write about them when I asked on their Facebook page, but gave me some likes and told me to visit again. Which I did and wrote  6,661 words about it! I would especially like to thank my new friends Fuugetu Flowerbird and Tetsuya Takeda for taking the time to contact me and give me all kinds of information and feedback!   私は、私たちすべてと彼らの驚くべき創造性を共有するため、彼らのもてなしのために日本オープングリッドに感謝したいです。誰もが作成する任意の修正がある場合は、 me.Iは私が書いたものに多くの研究をやったまでお気軽にお問い合わせください、私は間違って何かを得た場合、私は謝罪し、喜んでそれを修正したいと思います。

And most of all I would like to thank  my beloved readers for continually joining me on my small adventures. Your company means more to me than I could ever express in any language. The sweetest of dreams and the brightest of days to all of my beloved readers! 別れ次回まで!



Here I am on my beloved home grid Craft, standing in a sweeping, desolate ashen landscape strewn with gracefully arched feminine torsos and translucent soaring birds of prey, directly under the flies on a genuinely  mountainous boy cow’s  muzzle. In between hoping he doesn’t have any sort of salivary scripting, and rechecking the address to affirm that I have actually discovered the worst name in art since  the 30 seconds before 16th century Florentine siren  Swoozi Gherardini  cancelled her edgy Roman orgy themed portrait sitting,  forcing a furious Da Vinci to cancel the cabana boys, and  accept a far less  lucrative contract from her more demure cousin Lisa; my  train of thought is -why  the fudge I didn’t know all this was here!

Hello my dearest dears! How marvelous, here we all are ready for another whirlwind adventure on OpenSim, the software platform that hosts hundreds of  independent grids, many of whom choose to be connected by an amped up teleportation system called the hypergrid, which allows you to endlessly explore these brave new worlds, making friends from  the entire planet, having all kinds of exciting experiences, and amassing enough free content to make you just dizzy; not dizzy in a bad way, like when you realize that you have committed to so many online projects there is no way in hell you can make half of them  without squeezing an unprecedented show of maturity and support from  most, if not  all of your immediate family; but the good kind, when it dawns on you that if you can just manage to write  a reasonably straightforward  and concise narrative for once in your freaking life, you can not only put those cannisters of  liquid Rohyphenol  back on Taiwanese  ebay  at a tidy profit, but make all your various deadlines to boot!

If you are not sure how to get on OpenSim,( and you are not alone believe me) please see my “How to get on OpenSim in Six Ridiculously Easy Steps”page at the top of this blog. And don’t forget my “Newbie Glossary”, also at the top. Come on, it’s easy! Come spread your wings in the free metaverse!!!!

For today’s adventure we will be staying on Craft-the Friendly world, a mid sized,   international( emphasis Italian) grid I have been living on for  2 1/2 years.  It is a great place to call home, with a  fun and formidable creative community, wonderful, caring owners, and oodles of neat to really impressive stuff to see and do. I started out writing about OpenSim on Craft, I have written geography guides about it and documented everything from major art festivals to Groundhog Day hoot a nannies, but this time I am taking a hard look at Craft  as a whole, due to the constraints of living on a round planet.

I made an online friend in Australia! Well, really, what the heck else would it be? Laura Ess and I have been Facebooking and G+ing for months; a long time on the internet! She is really interesting; her politics, her art , her nutty Second Life comics, I got so excited when she started dipping her toes in the hypergrid!! The intial forays were not unexpectedly the “getting used to OpenSim” cluster duck of song and legend, but between the technical chops  of the G+ community , Lara’s own considerable computer savvy and my wooting like a howler monkey at anything even vaguely numerical, she eventually made it into Craft World and began to explore!! Which is when the whole opposite sides of the planet thing became a real pain in the ass. I wanted to show my friend around, but there was no freaking way either of us was getting/staying up at the god awful times needed to meet,  soooo I thought I would quickly throw  together a  little sightseeing list! Snapping open the handy world map  on the Craft website, I was shocked at how many new sims there were- and after going inworld to zap around,I quickly came to the conclusion that I was TOTALLY out of touch!! I had been sick and or busy for months, which is a very  long time on the internet.

So, this  long overdue guide is for Lara, for me, and for anyone who who wants  to share in an extraordinary virtual experience, which to my mind embodies the potential of OpenSim, and the hypergrid. Not that I am going to get to everything this time around!! Craft may not  be the biggest grid, but pretty much every region has some kind of action!!   Remember, Craft’s hypergrid address is:

If you put a colon : and any region name behind the 8002, you will have the region’s hypergrid address!  And of course if you are already on Craft, you only need put the region name in the world map, press find and teleport!

Let’s get started!!

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1) Hydra , 2)The Craft Store, 3)Aquarium, 4) Dune  5)Playa  6) Opera, 7) Onda 8)Pelago 9) Sinus, 10) Rainbow 11) Alba 12) Agra 13) Campos 14) Foresta 15) Montes 16) Uptown

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Let’s start at Playa (5) beach,  where you get a lovely view over the gentle surf of  Craft’s famous welcome center, Hydra(1) which had a massive overhaul and now boasts beautifully organized teleports to a wide selection of Craft regions as well as an impressive external teleport array! Over the elegant bridge you can see  the equally famous Craft Store(2), a stylish  freebie department store with an excellent selection of avatars, and apparel! Just  south of shiny modern Hydra in splendid clunky contrast is Aquarium(3), one of Craft’s funny old public builds, with a beach area above and a big honkin guess what down below. Which brings me to a big fat point; I would guess that  places  holding the memories of their virtual lives matter deeply to a lot of people, but in a rentlessly commercial environment, the past, with the emotional and cultural dimension it creates, are luxury items. But in OpenSim you can have that past beyond photos and stories, and on Craft Grid, her history, and  the spirit it engenders are tended like a beloved garden. So now let’s  turn around and walk north on the Playa beach path( if you take the eastern path to picturesque Dune(4) try to find the little golf area complete with clubs and golf nerd clothes!) to…

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…Agra(12) the primtastic beating heart of the old Craft public mainland! I just love strolling through the sunflowers and vineyard, in fact this is where I was oohing and ahhing when I first met  grid owners Licu and Tao!  Now let’s go into the picturesque little village and turn west…

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…to deceptively  quiet region Alba(11)! The big green structure is the elevator! Get on, and turn your settings to night while you are going up!!

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Named for Italian poet and early Craftian Ilyth Karu, to me this ebullient art exhibit/restaurant/dance hall, with the massive Babylonian towers and flashing neon of Pyramid OSIta behind , and a sweeping view of the Craft mainland  laid out in front, combines European bling and big sky country freedom perfectly!! And of course check…

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…to see what is set to copy, hehe!!

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A friend of mine that I brought here recently said that she thought Craft looked like SL. And I  suppose she is right; although the horizon is not obliterated by “FOR SALE” or “ABANDONED LAND” or  massive walls of ban lines, in the staggering potential for spread out spaces with OpenSim, you don’t often see this type of continuous landscape on the hypergrid.  I have always loved walking the virtual world, so the big mainland area with it’s winding footpaths  was very appealing this newbie. At the top left you can see winter region Foresta (14) where there are  skis waiting for you and your friends at the base of a snow covered trail. Not visible from here, to the north of Foresta is Ger Orsini’s  fantastic role play freebie region Uptown(16), where you can get fabulous costumes and props for fantasy, medieval , Victorian, furry,  Asian, pirate mermaid…forget it-Just go over later and have a look. But for now let’s just fly east over Agra’s ice skating rink, (free skates!!) past the fun fair and big conference hall looking thingy(it was supposed to be a library, but running the grid kinda ate that idea up) to…

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…region Campos(13)! Behind me is the library that could still happen, and a small art gallery that just appeared when I wasn’t looking  with lots of nice framed pictures for the snagging.  To my left, nestled in the foothills of  hiking region Montes(15) is Tao’s pretty pueblo  ranch house. The conference hall looking thingie in the upper center of the picture IS actually a conference hall in region Sinus(9), which also contains a touching memorial to the third founding Craftian  Ramon 123 Babenco, who chose to spend of his last days here with his friends. The link has more information, and some of his last poems. You will need tissues. Don’t believe me? This dying man refers to virtual life as a “game called love.”  Now blow your nose and listen next time. Directly in front of me is region Opera(6).  Although there are paths all over the place, for our tour purposes we will fly directly to the squat tower in the upper eastern corner of Opera.

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Cafe Panorama has a staircase and an elevator, but I always fly straight to the top…

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…because of the panoramas!! Today we need the eastern balcony, where the lighthouse(climbable!) is in region Pelago(8), the harbor area is  region Sinus(8), and the buildings that you see are A list freebie shops , with fashion, art, beautiful plants and home furnishings, you name it- and to the east behind Sinus is yet another  region devoted exclusively to quality freebies,Rainbow(10)! I would have taken more pictures, but I suddenly got a teleport from…

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…Craft Grid owners Licu and Tao, who were down in the bottom of the tower, gussying the place up; although those hanging knives are an accident waiting to happen ! I’m a Mom, and there’s no turning it off.

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We wound up going on a little tour of Opera, which I found out was Craft’s first ever region, and Licu’s birthplace on OpenSim! The word “Opera ” derives from an Italian word I have forgotten, which  means something like” industrious” or “so busy you forget you started a huge library”. Licu and Tao understandably have a lot of affection for the old girl, so she is getting a nip here and tuck there. Not to mention catacombs and tunnels with a secret entrance!! ( hint hint: ook-lay nder-uay,afe-cay  anorama-pay) I  also found out that Opera has  …

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… a rather swank den of inequity  created by Craft artistic heavyweight and long time resident rumegusc altamura. The colors are vibrant, the detail is spot on; this must have been very cutting edge back in the day. It’s location may tee off any very devout Catholics; but as a comfortably lapsed one, I thought it was hysterical. Speaking of rume, she owns or was involved in building six of the next 13 regions!

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Presenting Central Craft 2 :

17) Spirit, 18)Margye Dreams, 19)Time Travel, 20) PyramidOSIta, 21)Selvans, 22)Delta, 24)Rumlandia, 25)Anarkos, 26) Metaverso, 27)Il Piccolo Principe, 28)Mediterraneo,  29)Chimera

Central Craft 2 west of the mainland is also made up of oldish builds, and…

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…region Pyramid OSIta(20), was it’s center. Why? Because it was the home base of a group of extremely accomplished Italian creators, teachers, artists and yet more poets who came from the university sponsored social experiment Pyramid group in SL, to found a brave new world on the hypergrid! Although the group is no longer  really active, the members, like rume, and my buddy  Salahzar Stenvaag have  merged into other groups and projects, like the  MdM. I wrote a post mostly about Pyramid OSIta, Margye Dreams (18), and Spirit(17) back in 2012,  and if you don’t show up for any of the long defunct classes, the now historical post still holds aqua:)!

Time Travel(19) is a mostly empty group  sandbox region, Selvans(21) is the old Craft Garden center which has a pet memorial garden on the ground (the white rat is my sweet Luna), and a really neat selection of plants on a sky platform- keep an eye out for MdM architect Nicola Reinerman’s delicate garden herbs!

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Delta (22) takes forever to load but is worth the wait! The lush woodland literally shimmers, as stone paths wind their way around a friendly little campground, and the mysterious ruins of an old tower.

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The surrounding sims add some fantastic backdrop mojo, like this building in front of me…


…  in region Metaverso(26),  a lovely fictional  Italian coastal city.

Metaverso has a couple of rather high end porcelain and carpet shops, as well as cafes and an outdoor market, although you will probably be too busy taking pictures to snag much the first time around. Next door…

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…is Il Piccolo Principe(27) meaning The Little Prince which has nothing  desperately obvious to do with an elephant  up on a pedestal in what is most likely an Italian square that I can see, which did not stop me from enjoying this build. 100% rume BTW.

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This is Rumlandia (23), and like Anarkos(25) and Mediterraneo (29), they are all rume’s workshops, and the stuff she has laying around  half finished can be more interesting than someone elses best effort. Not a unique occurrence in Craft:) Oh and number 24 is Mare II, a public water region, and 29 is Chimera, a reproduction of a Venetian Square Rume threw together a couple of years ago for a Carnival Ball, but I am not showing it because we have two more Venices , one with with free stuff that I’ll show you later.  Don’t think of it as an Italy overdose; think of is as a  very serious break from Californication.

Now let’s swing into South west Craft!!

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These are regions Seal (30), Jubilee( 31) Volcano(32) Dade Catronis Islands(33), Riverford (34) Aqua(35). The empty squares are regions not online 24/7, which we will get to later.  For orientation purposes I have included Chimera (29)  up in the right hand corner, as well as Aquarium (3) in the top center. You may notice that a region has appeared to the right of Chimera, that is Jubilee(31) one of Craft’s event regions! Licu has probably brought her out for Craft’s Photo Competition! The deadline is June 16th, and everyone, from any grid is welcome to enter! Below Aqua is region Seal(30) a public texture bank!! Dropping down from Seal is a new region called …

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…Vulcano(32) I have no idea either, but if you want to get really confused, go to this region  and look way way the hell up. We will have to keep an eye on this place!

Which brings us to a real jewel in Craft’s crown…

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…mesh master Dade Catronis ridiculously beautiful island chain(33). This is a huge area and every inch of it  shows you why Dade is  always  the man to beat in Craft’s annual Building Competition! The northmost region is called Matamanoa , my favorite jumping off point!

On the eastern side is…

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…  region Aqua(35) where splendidly primmy maritime behemoth, Craft’s own cruise liner The Black Angel, is forever docked, waiting for YOU to come on board and get utterly lost!Which is all good as you could wind up in the honeymoon suite, or the sauna, or the Jungle Ball Room or the haunted…anyway  the scale of this thing is unbelievable, every room has some kind of detailed theme, you will find something new every time you are here!!! Across the docks is region Riverford(34) with a huge freebie shopping center I mentally refer to as the “Mall of the Weird”. You can get everything there from smoking farts to Hindu statuary. Now let’s head east!!

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Ta da!!Presenting Central Craft East! Monte Gordo, Slum City El Barrio(36), BeNess (37),
Daylight( 38), Exposed (39), Retourno al Eden(40),Lako(41),Lapsus( 42),Bella Verde(43),Elagon(44),Stromboli(45),Starlight(46), Victoria(47), Mojave(48)

As you can see we are just east of the mainland, there is Rainbow(10) jutting out. And there above is number 36, my three regions!! Yes, Craft has generously donated yet ANOTHER region to the Hypergrid’s first Arcadia Asylum Museum!! Monte Gordo, Slum City(formerly The Spirit of Arcadia) and the newbie, El Barrio. Monte Gordo was um, a bit  overstuffed, so instead of confiscating my cheesecake stash, no wait, wrong reality; so instead of forcing me onto some hideous prim reduction program, Licu simply slapped down a new region for a more relaxed fit, for which I am very very grateful.

My immediate neighbor is Susan Slade, and her region, named BeNess (37), is dedicated to the philosophy of Feng Shui!


The whole region is densely packed with a combination of pieces from all over the hypergrid and Susan’s own artwork, illustrating various spiritual concepts. She has done a good job, this region is fun to explore and I definitely learned:)

Number 38 is Daylight, which was very much under construction, 18, 19, 21 and 17 , were people’s homes, pretty and it seems open to visitors. Which brings us to…

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…deceptively empty Exposed (39).The tower is a hypergate hub, and this burning woman gate takes you to…

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…a skybox with a beautiful interactive exhibit of Avatars from the Meta Bodies project in SL, put on by region owner Quinten Umarov’s Art-Z group. Back down at the hub…

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…THIS burning woman takes you to…

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…two teleporters. The big purple things, what the heck else is there? Take the one on the left…

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Well, for some of you a penny might be doing a definite drop- there used to be an art grid called Exposed- and  this is it, running off dutch art buff Quinton’s home server, as part of Craft!  Licu and Tao generously decided a while back to allow unlimited regions to people who were using their own servers, and boy is it paying off! Not all of them are on 24/7, but region Exposed most definitly is. Oh and you are not imagining it, the robot IS following you and calling you by name!
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Most of the photos are Quinton’s, except I don’t think he met Dali. That room has a very cool surrealist exhibit, and across from the galerie,  is a good freebie market with more avatars and useful stuff!

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You have to love Louis Servita’s chirpy Lako(41) freebie region. I mean he just has so much crazy  stuff up to zap around in on his teleporter system, ride the “space train”, then hit the freebie store and take a copy home, or hit his shop in Riverford’s “Mall of the Weird” for even more surprises!

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Lapsus(42) belongs Lapsus Weinstein a psychologist who is interested in the healing aspects of art culture and virtuality. He has been on SL, the OS grid, and now has
this region on Craft, where he leaves most things set to copy!! And snagging that massive black train DID do my psyche a world of good!!

Stromboli(45) is owned by friendly Germans Bernard and Alysa, who are creating a colorful reproduction of their favorite RL holiday destination, the Italian island ofStromboli! They love having visitors, so feel free to drop by!!!

Numbers 43 to 46 are again, private residences that seem to be open to the public.  Victoria (47) is a pretty Victorian themed region with  really nice  rent free housing, and  Mohave(48) is one of 5 rent free island regions!!

Now onward for our last stop for this post, the central northwest!!

Craft Central Northwest

There are not so many regions here, but they pack quite a wallop: Thalion Outlanders regions (49), Venezia(50), Salahzar Stenvaags four educational regions(51), Brera Acadamy Virtual Lab regions (52), Ebla (53), Teti(54),MdM(55) Uqbar (56)Delicatessan and Canis Latrans (57).

Let’s get the five less wallopy ones out of the way first. Venezia(50) is actually empty , and as it wasn’t ever the one with the free stuff, we can all calm down. Sal’s four educational sims are kind of workshops sandbox things, for his various groups. and their meetings. Lotsa chairs.

Thalions Outlanders regions (49)don’t make a lot of overt sense in a way I find  very engaging. There is a semi wiccan version of Lincoln cathedral, an English town, and now a kneeling giant shouldering a disco which I did not see coming let me tell you. These pictures are from regions Lincoln, and Tempura, but there are also Forrest, Singapore and Abyss Beach, equally full of the unexpected in rendered in  finely honed detail.

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The Brera Acadamy Virtual Lab regions(52) belong to a two hundred plus something very prestigious Milanese Acadamy of Fine Arts.  The  lab is part of a virtual architecture program thingy boo, where the students learn  an almost surreal architecture,  pushing it’s boundries to create the architecture of the future. The main Brera lab is a mega interesting sandbox for the students, who are crappy at terraforming(pothole alert!) but brilliant at everything else. Their experiments make for lots of great pictures which are  somewhere in my hard drive, giggling and pointing. I went back to take more but this…

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…had engulfed most of the lab and all the regions around it. Then I remembered! The professor who gave me a tour had said the students final projects were going to be put out on display over all their regions for grading, with the terraforming turned the freak off, and would be open the entire time to the public!! It looks like they are setting up now!! Keep dropping by all the regions in the next few weeks- Craft grid is NOT Brera’s first virtual rodeo! They have been using virtuality as a restoration tool for quite a while now, plugging the dimensions of huge pieces into a computer for virtual reconstruction, as the architects create additions and missing chunks, which are then plugged into  3D printers that can print them out in plastics, bronze or glass!! Region owner Giugiogia, who I call Professor  because I cannot begin to even mentally pronounce that name, said they are trying to break down the barriers between the virtual world and the “real” one, making them  a perfect circle. Whatever they do with those final projects, it is GUARENTEED to be amazing!!!

And last but not least, that jewel in the hypergrid’s crown…

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… The MdM(55)!  The  Museo del Metaverso is a  massive world class contemporary art museum run by the unstoppable Roxelo Babenco, who has managed to herd a sizable chunk of Second Life’s prestigious  Linden Endowments for the Arts crowd out here into the black for the second time around.


Teti(54) is also part of the MdM, with, I think, three or four massive sculptures you can mess around in.

Uqbar(56), also part of the MdM has two great things going for it 1) lots of  cool stuff by the truly brilliant Alpha Auer

…and this awesome refrigerator fruit storm party whatever it is!!WOOOOOOOT!!! I adore this thing; I crashed the main MdM main building with it a couple of days before the grand opening, and then they took my babies away! But I found them again, way the heck out on the edge of Uqbar!! I haven’t  managed to crash  anything, but it’s early days yet!! Oh yeah, there is gonna be a Body Painting event thing on Uqbar June 16 at 22.00. CET (That is 1pm SLT). We are gonna all paint our avatars and become a work of art! Again, Craft style, everyone is welcome!

El Barrio monday_004

Here I am on Ebla(53) with  MdM architect Nicola Reinerman, and Roxelo. They had  sent me a teleport just out of the blue, and I was all geared up to improvise some lame ass legalese horseshit how  there was no court in the world that would make me pay for those refrigerators, before legging it  into the hidey hole under the Slum City sewers that nobody kno- anyway, I could see immediately they were in a great mood, and with the sim lacking any content, much less anything in a uniform, I felt confident enough to ask if there was something I could do for them!

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Well THAT was the right question! Roxelo had asked Nicola to build this space, for a fashion exhibition! Not something with a catwalk, but a proper exhibit of fashion as art. She is very passionate about the whole idea-

“Fashion,  how big a stage for beauty, and not without the artistic touch that will open the doors of places of excellence of beauty, where beauty is preserved and displayed”

However the Museums in real world not welcome fashion, unless you are exhibitions of great artists! I want it to be  a “virtual museum” such as the Museo del Metaverso to start this tradition of opening the doors to the fashion, with productions of artistic value, which enhance the beauty of the works on display.I consider it important that this signal from the virtual worlds we can send to the physical world, breaking a wall of prejudice towards a production that, in it’s highest expression, should be considered art.”

I cleaned up the translation a bit, but you see what I mean!  She is planning a revolution! She also gave me a link to this article about an exhibition in the Victoria and Albert dedicated to late  fashion designer Alexander McQueen called The Savage Beauty. I was glad for the link, because I was having a hard time picturing what it might look like in my head. I know squat about fashion. But I do know about OpenSim networking , okay shooting my mouth off, and THAT is exactly what Roxelo is interested in!!So I have facebooked it and googled it and fielded questions, and whined and shouted and the word is spreading that…




WITH AN INTEREST IN FASHION, DESIGN, ART IS WELCOME TO APPLY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!







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Look it’s already started!! Here we are with multi talented RL artist  Avia Bonne putting up her logo in her cube!!!!! She is now an official MdM artist in residence!! And I am an official big mouth in residence, swaggering around “our” regions with my own  group tag, pushing visitors the hell off my fridges!

And here we are back at the beginning,  number 57, “The Hills have Boobs” hell region is named Delicatessen, and the wobbly yellow monster stationary target in the background is Canis Latrans. Avia and I think that the birds, which are everywhere, are vultures, hence the name does make sense. This build is extremely impressive, and absolutely drips of Roxelo’s herding skills!

And now my dearest dears, I must love you and leave you! I would like to thank Licu Rau and Tao Quan of Craft -the Friendly Grid, for providing such a splendid virtual environment for us to live in! I would like to thank my friend Lara Ess, for letting me give the actual reason I started going over Craft’s geography, Roxelo  Babenco for the opportunity to be a part of something like the MdM, Susan Slade, Louis Servita, Thalion Outlander, Bernard and Alysa, Quinton Umarov, Dade Catronis,Nicola Reinerman, Salzar Stenvaag, GeR Orsini, Rume ,Professor Moioli of the Brera Acadamy, Avia Bonne,  my dear friend Minethere Always for fusing the terms metaverse and hypergrid into hyperverse a brand new term that I will remember to use when Delicatessen freezes over,  the entire Craft community, and of course all of you, for joining me on my small adventures!Your company means more to me than I could possibly say!! The sweetest of dreams and the brightest of days to all of my beloved readers! Until next time, adieu!



Here I am taking a break in the  concert village that 3rd  Rock Grid  has set up for this year’s 8th annual Robstock Festival!! While this poseball  by the Starfleet booth is supposed to make you look suave and nonchalant; personally, I think it makes you look like you’ve spent the last 45 minutes  desperately locked in an ever disintegrating  search pattern to locate the festival powder room, or even a freaking bush , and are finally forced  to lean against something large enough to offer some paltry visual blockage should things go farther south, shift into clench mode and visualize something dry and calming. Or perhaps the pose it is some sort of Vulcan yoga technique, completely unrelated to a churro induced gastric crisis- who the hell knows.  BUT having  found out 24 hours ago that the concert I had promised to promote was THIS month, not the next, whilst recovering from a nasty ass month long illness AND getting the family ready for an overseas trip in three freaking days,  the  Vulcan butt clenching photo was the best opening I ‘ve  managed to come up with. Now punch it Mr.Sulu, we’ve got a post to write!!

Hello my dearest dears! How marvelous, here we all are ready for another whirlwind adventure on OpenSim, the software platform that hosts hundreds of independent worlds, many of which choose to be connected by an amped up teleportation system called the hypergrid, allowing you to endlessly explore these brave new worlds, experiencing all sorts of exciting events, sightseeing,  making friends from all over the world, and amassing so much free content that you will eventually run out of pretentious cultural metaphors,  literary references, and douchy obscure vocabulary alluding to some emotional and/or spiritual aspect of a crassly unbridled obsession with your Brobdingnagian  hoard. Well, you might slip one or two  in, but other than that, you’ll just blunder onward.

Anyway, if you are not sure how to get on OpenSim,( and you are not alone believe me) please see my “How to get on OpenSim in Six Ridiculously Easy Steps”page at the top of this blog. And don’t forget my “Newbie Glossary”, also at the top. Come on, it’s easy! Come spread your wings in the free metaverse!

For today’s adventure we will begin with the  Robstock Festival.Yes, THIS weekend (sigh) , March 27, 28 and 29 2015, is once again, the three days of solid live music fundraiser for that most excellent of causes, Doctors Without Borders.


See what I mean -no damned bushes!!! In previous years, when 3rd Rock was not on the hypergrid, the events had been live streamed between 3rd Rock and Second Life. Last year, in preparation for their joining the hypergrid, it had taken place on Metroplis Grid, 3rd Rock and Second Life. This year, for the fist time, it is taking place 100% on the hypergrid, and the scale of this concert venue is unprecedented! This event is a perfect introduction to the hypergrid for Newbie friends!Admission is free, and donations to Doctors Without Borders are gratefully accepted! Last year Robstock raised 800 US dollars, and this year the goal is 1000!!


There is this fantastic amphitheater with a dance floor and …


… masses of comfy seating! Outside…

…is the entrance to the concert village displaying  a program that features everyone who’s anyone on the hypergid musical scene!

Ever prepared for the multicultural hypergrid, 3rd Rock has donation boxes that are up to anything you throw at them!!     (there are 4 regions)


The concert village already offers a good overview of life on 3rd Rock. The Grid’s  continual non Robstock event schedule aside, this group of Rockers has probably impacted the hypergrid the most. The  UF Starfleet Astraios community has taken science fiction roleplay in the free metaverse and raised it to a whole new level. As an affiliate of the much larger United Federation Starfleet, an international Trekkie organization that combines 3D roleplay with other aspects of Trek lifestyle such as writing fiction and  attending conventions, the Astraios colony is able to run an impressive Starfleet Academy, with a wide variety of courses. They also have an active social venue with regular dances and events, and as I understand it, are boldly going where no Rocker has gone before, by branching onto other grids:) Professional author, and hypergrid roleplay mavin The Indie Author Extraordinaire, Crystal Brewton, of Metropolis Grid, is cooking up first rate storylines and building and whipping up costumes, so I can really see Starfleet boldly going a long way on the hypergrid!

I find 3rd Rock has been a wonderful addition to the hypergrid, albeit the two are still a bit of a mystery to each other. I had the pleasure of leading a Metaverse Tour group to one of 3rd Rocks lovely , primmy showcase regions , Mimas.

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Built by a geologist, this massive reproduction of a Northwest American mountain range,

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beautifully strewn with waterfalls and  wooden walkways got oohs and ahs not just from the newbies, but also from the more experienced people. Metaverse Tour founder Serene Jewel was positively gobsmacked ” I didn’t know this was here!! How did you find this?” Big chuckles, because the Tree  has been EVERYWHERE!!!

One of the better ambassadors for 3rd Rock Grid is Sunbeam Magic , a smart, cheerful lady fee, who has returned to 3rd Rock with her partner Aacme Fall to rebuild their masterpiece, Aacme City.




This is Sunny. I met her a couple of years ago when my dear friend, metaverse renaissance woman  Minethere Always introduced us. These two accomplished bloggers are going to publish an inworld Magazine called Visionz about the hypergrid- available in Aacme City, of course!!They have so many great ideas! Miney is very involved in the City, who’s sheer scale it is difficult to capture in photos. This build is incredibly detailed with a  cinema, dance hall,real estate office, central park, freebie shops(did you notice the shop of renowned creator Avia Bonne?) a working roller rink on the  utterly charming  beach front, tunnels, alleys, sidestreets, doors that open onto little furnished rooms, layer upon layer of surprises for you to explore. Have a good look around, as ALL the shops and apartments, the warehouses, the neat little trailers and bungalow on the beach are RENT FREE!!! Just contact Sunny and she will give you permission to rezz,  move around walls if you like, help you throw a party on the boardwalk,whatever it takes to make you feel at home! This is the perfect place to settle in a Newbie friend! Aacme City’s hypergrid address is: City

If this address just doesn’t want to work, you can always use the Aacme City gate, in the Sanctuary Gate hub. Grid Owner Shaun Emerald usually only has one gate per grid, but sometimes makes an exception for certain regions. So although the 3rd Rock main gate is located at the bottom of the hill, the Aacme City gate is up top with the main body.

Which looks like this; Shaun now has ONE HUNDRED AND TWENTY gates in total, officially making Sanctuary the single most useful resource for hypergrid travellers in the history of the universe. Really. 120 grids at your fingertips. These are called blam gates. See the red gates? They are completely down. Perhaps the grid is down, perhaps the coordinates have changed and the owners haven’t told Shaun. See the blue gates? Those are unable to connect for some reason. They need Shaun to take a look and see what the problem is; most of them will probably go back online. Isn’t it great to be able to SEE what is working and what isn’t? To know it’s the gate and not YOU?! This is the most massively useful hypergrid address you can give to a newbie:

This will take you to the Sanctuary Welcome Center, and this blam gate will take you down to the main gate hub ! Make sure your Newbie landmarks up HERE, not the gate hub below!! The main gate hub, named Eld2, is a varregion, an extra large kind of region that is new on OpenSim. You cannot teleport to a varregion from a region that does not have the latest OpenSim software-and a great many on the hypergrid do NOT!!! But you can teleport from anywhere to the Welcome Center! Take your time up here, there are signs on the wall with really useful information on how to use the gates, from how not to lose attachments, to how to travel in groups!”

I am talking a lot about Newbies aren’t I? Well, there is a reason for that.

Here I am at a meeting in the Sanctuary Arcadia Asylum Museum with  grid owner Shaun Emerald, and my fellow curators  Briony Juran, and Brian Landers. We needed to get together and have a talk because they are now BOTH hard at work on at the museum. Shaun Emerald, who deserves some kind of damned hypergrid award, donated FOUR more regions to the museum for workshops. Of course Brian and Briony were straight out of Second Life . Now, I had always assumed my challenges with  learning the ropes in OpenSim, stemmed from the fact that I never really did much when I was in SL, beyond rezzing, and unlinking stuff. I had never owned a region or a parcel, hell I had never even completely worked out the controls on my skybox! Brian and Briony were my exact opposites, super competent, lots of computer smarts, and  what they didn’t know STUNNED me. So I have been thinking a lot about Newbie issues. And between that,  and Shaun’s guidance and generosity, and Brian and Briony’s tenacity and dedication…

…all freaking hell is breaking loose in the Sanctuary Museum. This looks like a Second Life Museum, doesn’t it?

Yup, this is on the hypergrid, on The Spirit of Arcadia 13, Sanctuary  Grid!

Brian and Briony  have also got vendors up and running. Brian, who has taken to OpenSim like a duck to water, is loading up vendors faster than you can say wowza!!

This is Brian’s workshop. The Distribution Center is the building in the back, and as you can see Brian is ripping apart  boats and subs, as well as sorting out the messes in MY boxes and putting them in vendors. He is also taking apart larger builds, and packaging every piece individually.I mean everything-ferns, cutlery, tikki gods, mushrooms,eensy tensy lambs, you name it. So if you ever looked at the kooky bamboo huts on Aley’s Volcano Island and thought ” I wish I could have just  that one hut” now you CAN.  Next door…

…is Briony’s workshop. The striking  blue glass building..

…is  becoming an OpenSim version of Briony’s lovely steampunk emporium, the Cog and Grog! The lights on these machines are flashing and twinkling, as step by step, this resourceful lady brings these wonderful pieces to life on the hypergrid!!

And as to these other buildings in her workshop? Yes they ARE from Flotsam Pirate town, but NOT the ones you normally find on the hypergrid. These things WORK- doors sounds, explosions-yes you heard that right THEY BLOW UP just like the originals!! Briony  is testing these out for another SL Arcadia curator named Grey Nacht! Grey, who is also getting his feet wet on the hypergrid, has been adapting, and creating new Flotsam scripts for OpenSim, including the cannons and explosions! You can get these working pieces as IAR files from The Friends of Arcadia Asylum G+ Community or just show up on : Spirit of Arcadia 12

and start copying!

All of Grey’s fantastic new pieces are not yet up and running, as we all put our heads together and rethink what the museum will look like in the future.

Probably not so much like this anymore. Probably BETTER, hehe! Of course it will mean changing all my descriptions on the OpenSim World Directory, but-oh heck I didn’t tell you about that!!  This is another cool resource for Newbies, where region owners can put thier regions details in an online directory. For each entry they recieve a code. This is then placed in a beacon on your region, and folks can use an OpenSim World HUD to find you!! So newbies can give themselves a guided tour of the hypergrid! The website also tells you if a region is online. A lot of people have tried to create something like this, but this system is hands down the best!! You can get the beacons and HUDs inworld on Metropolis Grid at: World

And do NOT forget to send your Newbies to Selea’s World , for region after region of beautiful free creations!! Yes, everyone’s favorite elf was temporarily out of business, but this powerhouse is back to STAY !!  I was so thrilled to see her home again, I could have cried !! What a fighter!!

And the OS Grid came back on line, just like that- shocking the hell out of everyone!  The internet was buzzing, “It’s back !It’s back!” People were asking ME on facebook, “What do you mean it’s back? Like it’s open?” All my friends were rushing over to see if their stuff was still there, the Plaza was full of people shouting “Hi!! Great to see you” and dancing around doing wacky animations! Of course those people all left before I could get a picture. The people you see here are all busy with their viewers, howling across the room “What the hell do they mean is my inventory all there? Who the f**k knows what they have in their inventory?”  Like a great many people, my feelings about the OS Grid had become mixed, but seeing everyone so happy to be a community again really warmed my heart.  Hylee Bekkers is going back home, Lani’s wonderful sci fi regions, are already up and running,the Maritime Club is back home in Belfast, the Hypergrid Safari is back up on Teravus , and I am planning on dusting off my old landmarks and seeing who else is back. The OS Grid has a great community, and I congratulate them, and wish them all the best!

And now my dearest dears, I must love you and leave you! I will be going to the USA to visit my family and am seriously running out of time before I have to fly! So sorry this is not my usual 50,000 word opera, and to jump ahead of that rumor mill:

1) My health is rapidly improving. I traded in my  crappy  barely more qualified than an orangutan schnozz quack for a fancy ass new  university professor who has shoved all manner of things up my face and pronounced me allergic to most, if not all, of the plant life known to science. I have lots of vicious new meds, and am getting better everyday.

2) I still live on Craft, I still have my 2 region museum there. I just don’t have time to blog about them this week. Look at my OpenSim World pages on them if you want some info- I have a teenager to pack!!

3) I am still a Metaverse Tour Guide; check out our G+ community if you would like more info!! We have been up to all kinds of stuff; all of it fun, most of it legal!

I would like to apologize to Min and Taarna and Tosha and Serene, I wanted to blog about their stuff, but am just out of time!! I will catch you next time I promise! And I would like to thank all the people who participated in Cornflakes Week once again, especially Echo Argent for offering to co moderate the G+ group. With the OS Grid back up, maybe we can track down some of Corny’s lost pieces!!  I would also like to thank everyone in the Arcadia Asylum G+ Group, especially Brionyand Grey and of course  Brian, who amazingly turned his heart attack into stuffed vendors,. Thanks to the Metaverse Tour gang, Avia Bonne, Selea Core for coming out swinging, Zinnia Frenzy for all her incredible work organizing Robstock 2015, Minethere Always, Sunbeam Magic, Crystal Brewton, Hylee Bekker, Taarna Welles, Tosha Tyran, and a big big thanks and bear hug to the one and only Shaun Emerald, for his unfailing support and genuine friendship.

And to that friend whose path has not crossed mine for a time….

“The best things in life cannot be seen or heard. They must be felt with the heart.”-Helen Keller-

The sweetest of dreams and the brightest of days to all of my beloved readers! Until next time, Adieu!