A Wandering Elf’s Second Life

My (mis)adventures in Second Life

A Haven for Elves July 8, 2007

Filed under: This Elf's Life — Cazzy Ewry @ 2:45 pm

I recently found a little hidden gem…Eldamar, home of Elvenhome Designs and the JRR Tolkien Education Centre. It’s a Tolkien inspired land worthy of Rivendell itself (perfect if you’re a Lord of the Rings mega freak like me, lol!). In sim owner Jesmaine Tzara’s own words: “Eldamar is a Second Life SIM designed around a Middle-earth Elven theme. In J.R.R. Tolkien’s writings, Eldamar, or Elvenhome, was the realm of the Elves in the Ancient West, a place of healing and beauty where Time passed more slowly and nothing decayed or grew old.”

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The welcome area is surrounded by these coloured balls, or meep station…just right click any of the destinations and select ‘meep!’ and you’ll be transported there. These meep stations can be found all over the land, giving easy access to everything.

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Here’s me feeling like the king (queen?) of the world…ahem…in front of The Tower of the Sky (you can actually get a copy of the tower, or the neighbouring Tower of the Moon, for only L$1500. Buy from the box right outside the front door). The pond behind me is full of fish…I hope Mr Flamingo doesn’t get wind of this!

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I was contemplating going for a swim…but decided against it. The water beneath me cascades into a mini waterfall…and I didn’t have the heart to half-drown my virtual self (that’s just cruel).

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I went to check out the JRR Tolkien Education Centre…and look who I found! Gollum was only too happy to show me around (after I convinced him I didn’t have his precioussss of course!). The Centre has information about the peoples of Middle Earth to read, and photos from the film trilogy.

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If you wander through Eldamar and over Eragon Bridge, you’ll find yourself in the land of Eragon, home of the awesome Kookaburra Pub. By the time I’d made my way here I was so thirsty I couldn’t wait for a bartender and decided to help myself to a beer…I’m sure no one noticed…

One of my favourite parts of Eldamar is Caras Galadhon. This is the heart of Eldamar and home to beautiful gardens and fountains…plus there’s a secret in the trees…

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What’s this?…an Urban Elf store in the Calas Galadhon shopping area?…hehe. Well, an ancient home of the elves has to be a perfect place for Urban Elf, right? And I LOVE this shopping area. The shops are all inside the trees themselves, high above Eldamar and connected by a series of walkways. Plus, if you sell elf/fantasy type items, I would strongly suggest heading over there right away. The rent is a bargain and there’s plenty of empty units left…go snap them up! All you need to do is contact the very friendly Jesmaine Tzara inworld.

So now I have stores in Eldamar and Mordor…I’m sensing a theme here… Fancy taking a look at one of the elves’ ancient hideaways? Here’s the Slurl!: http://slurl.com/secondlife/Eldamar/173/173/62

And on a side note…

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Have you ever tried randomising your shape while in Appearance mode?….omg! That is friggin’ fugly! I strongly suggest NOT saving if you try this…you’ve been warned!

 

What the Fudge?? June 20, 2007

Filed under: This Elf's Life — Cazzy Ewry @ 11:45 am

Ok, I may get into rant mode here.  I officially do not understand why people rent land!  Renting vendor space in a mall…now that’s different, that’s all well and good.  Some vendor spaces are more expensive than others, some offer a higher prim limit than others, but in the main – it’s all cool.  Now, renting actual land on the other hand…Why??  Perhaps I should set this rant in some sort of context before you all drop off to sleep…

Remember the oceanside land I bought a few posts back?  The land on which I was going to build a shop and bar extravaganza?  Well, I’ve been keeping a little secret to myself…after renting some vendor spots for a couple of weeks and seeing that was going ok, I sold the land.  It’s mostly due to rl financial issues (aren’t most things??  Blah!).  The plan was then this: Downgrade my premium account to a basic one and save the $9.95 a month; and eventually rent some land on which to build the Urban Elf headquarters.  A seemingly good plan…until I looked at rental prices!  How do these people seriously make a living?  Here’s an example:

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Let’s call this rental land part of Fart Hart Estates (name changed to protect the greedy).  Looks pretty empty behind me doesn’t it?  Here’s the reason why…To rent a 1024 sq. metre piece of land here will cost you a one time fee of L$22400 and then a further L$5600 (or $20) a month in rent.  Whoah!  Slow down there!  That’s double what I would pay for the land if I bought it outright (the current going price for 1024 land is about L$12000 – and I actually saw some today selling for L$10286); and yes, that means I would also have to pay monthly for a premium account and Linden Lab tier fees.  But let’s work this out…That would cost me L$12000 for the land and $14.95 a month in account and tier fees…Compare that to Fart Hart Estate’s generous offer of L$22400 up front and $20 a month fees…Now am I losing my mind or is that a crappy deal?

But Fart Hart Estates are not alone.  It seems that rental prices are overblown across the Grid.  The better land barons will only charge you L$1 to lay claim to your chosen piece of land (quite a difference from L$22400!!) but the monthly tier fees still don’t add up when you compare them to what you would be paying Linden Labs for land the same size.

Plus there’s all the rules and regulations!  Sheesh…no laggy scripts, no huge builds, don’t build close to your neighbour’s land, don’t use ban lines, don’t do this, don’t do that.  I know that nobody wants to live next to a butt ugly club that blocks out the sky and is filled with laggy camping chairs…but do you also want to feel like you’re in school again?  I know I don’t, it was bad enough the first time!

One last gripe, might as well get them all outta my system now!  Why can you no longer find normal, bog standard land to buy in the SL Search?  It’s all land barons, rentals and covenants.  If you want land to call your own (and not be somebody else’s rent paying bitch), I’d suggest searching the secondlife.com forums instead…real land is still out there, you just have to work a little harder to find it.

Rant over!

P.S. You could do worse than check out Darius Lehane’s Guide to Land: How to Own Land and Make Money (or not spend much) – Brilliant!

 

The Urban Elves are Among Us… June 17, 2007

Filed under: This Elf's Life — Cazzy Ewry @ 1:15 pm

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Joining is easy! Just search for ‘Urban Elf’ under Groups and hit the Join button, or im me inworld (Cazzy Ewry) for an invite. Get the latest Urban Elf news, be kept updated on new products and wear the coolest tag around!

Come and visit me at my newest Urban Elf store at RED’S Club and Casino. SLURL: http://slurl.com/secondlife/Summerlea/247/19/42.

 

Love Me, Love My Ears June 16, 2007

Filed under: This Elf's Life — Cazzy Ewry @ 6:06 pm

I couldn’t believe my ears when I saw this tasty blog entry:

“I just got out of the shower, and I was thinking, how did elves (both traditional elves and World of Warcraft elves with uber-long ears) evolve such long ears? I thought about the advantages of having longer ears and what kinds of environmental pressures that might select for longer ears in elf populations. The ears are not necessarily bigger, so they are not for better hearing… I then thought, well what about sexual selection? Could female-choice and male competition select for longer ears? Do female elves only mate with the male elves that have the longest ears? This would be similar to peacocks and other sexually dimorphic species. But wait, elves are not really sexually dimorphic. Male and female elves look relatively the same, so sexual selection could not be the reason for elves evolving long ears.

…My last thought before I left the shower was epiphanic. Elves are not real.”


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Elves are not real?  What am I, chopped liver?? (eww…) He might have something about sexual selection though…I do like the men with the big pointies!

 

The Urban Elf World Domination Plans March On! June 10, 2007

Filed under: My Clothing Projects,This Elf's Life — Cazzy Ewry @ 9:12 pm

I’ve been a busy little elf since I last blogged.  For starters, I’ve designed a new skirt.  I was playing around with Ged Larson’s LoopRez Script, trying to layer different sets of panels over each other; and I ended up with this cute mini tutu…

I used the same idea for the garters and the stockings that I incorporated into the Punk Princess collection (my first efforts at skirt designing…some have said they look like lamp shades but to those people I simply stick my tongue out and waggle my flexi ears…)  I made a purple and a red version, both available on SLExchange and SLBoutique, as well as…wait for it…my THREE inworld stores.

Yes!  You heard correctly…I had so much fun putting the store in Potter Village together that when I spied some more ideal sites, I couldn’t help but slap down the rent and settle myself in.  The first store is in Mordor, which is an amazingly detailed recreation of Sauron’s Mount Doom from The Lord of the Rings, complete with the ALL SEEING EVIL EYE!…scary.  Here’s a picture of Mordor…this sim quite literally blew me away.

Do ya wanna see what my store here looks like?  Go on, ya know you do…

Pretty groovy, huh?  I wasn’t sure if it was an elf’s place to be setting up shop on Mount Doom (seeing as Sauron and his legions of orcs and goblins are kinda our mortal enemies), but no one has seemed to mind.  Here’s the slurl: http://slurl.com/secondlife/Mordor/177/177/26

The owner of Mordor, Beezer Golding, has got a web site dedicated to the sim and the events held at the Slayer’s Club, which is a pretty decent rock club right on the top of Mount Doom (I think I saw Gollum scurrying around up there but I’m not sure…).  You can view the site here: Mordor.

My third store is in a place called Faery Haven on the Mordred sim.  This is a fantasy medieval sim so you’ll see plenty of folk wandering around wearing huge wings and ball dresses. This is the slurl: http://slurl.com/secondlife/Mordred/188/74/22

Urban Elf in Faery Haven

So…I began thinking to myself, I have all these stores…wouldn’t it be cool to have my own Urban Elf group?  Well knock me down with an oversized feather if I didn’t only go and create one!  If you join you can find out about new products, special offers and members only competitions.  Plus you get that awesome ‘Urban Elf’ tag!  You can join by searching for ‘Urban Elf’ under groups and hitting the join button, or you can IM me inworld and I’ll send you an invite. 

One more link before I wander off to play some slingo on Mount Doom (who knew Sauron was into gambling?)…Timothy Lilliehook took some gorgeous pictures of my store in Potter Village and put them on his Flickr page. This guy is a really talented SL photographer…so go and have a look!

 

Announcing the Grand Opening of Urban Elf! May 27, 2007

Filed under: This Elf's Life — Cazzy Ewry @ 9:28 pm

Still dithering over how to go about building my store, I have decided to rent one for a while instead.  I toured the usual round of crap…big, ugly, horribly built malls with all the charisma of a dead gerbil…but then I found Potter Village!  I knew it was the perfect place for Urban Elf (cool name, huh?) straight away.  It’s a gorgeous little spot, a river with shops lining both sides, crossed by the sort of bridges you can imagine would be found in a Tolkien novel.  So…the store opened today!  It took me a little while to sort out what I wanted to sell…and then I wanted to take a completely new set of pictures and redo everything in my paint programme…but it’s done!  Let the selling commence!  Ahem…  Anyway, here’s me taking a little bow in front of my handiwork: 

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If you think I look pleased with myself…well, that’s because I am! Hehe… Here’s a shot of the front of the store:

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I’m so glad I found a nice place to rent. The first place I tried was Brown Tree Mall in Belgarath. I should have heeded the warning signals…pug ugly build surrounded by other pug ugly builds and huge ‘For Sale’ signs, too much vendor space still available and pictures of scantily clad women patching up the walls in the (many) places where no one had yet set up shop. But what can i say?…I was seduced by the lure of cheap rent!! Serves me right…I handed over my money to the rent box, IMed the owner for a group tag so I could start hawking my wares, and…I’m still waiting. Two IMs later and it looks like I’m out of pocket. A word to the wise: AVOID hideous Brown Tree Mall! And come to Potter Village, the new home of Urban Elf, instead…lol!

Here’s the SLURL: Urban Elf. Hope to see ya there!

Oh…and special thanks to Barny Otoole who was an excellent model for some of my pictures.  Thanks Barny, I owe ya one!

 

On Entering the Next Stage of My Second Life…And on Cool Friends With Cameras! May 11, 2007

Filed under: This Elf's Life — Cazzy Ewry @ 4:24 pm

The tree has sold!  It sold today to Cat Lane, who I sincerely hope will have fun with it.  I don’t feel sad though, just excited about getting started on my next project (which may or may not be a bar and store combined…hmmm…)  Slurl to come!  And I just want to take this opportunity to thank Timothy Lilliehook (for like the hundredth time!) for taking some amazing pictures at the tree before I sold it…you can see them all on his Flickr page. And I hope you don’t mind, Timothy…but I’ve pinched one of them because I liked it so damn much!:

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This is Timothy trying out the couch in the bar….I think I’m jealous of those beautiful wings!  But sadly, we elves are doomed to be wingless (maybe that’s why I make my ears so big, to compensate for the lack of wings).

Stayed tuned to find out what my new land turns into…

 

Elf in the City April 9, 2007

Filed under: This Elf's Life — Cazzy Ewry @ 8:20 pm

I got some good quality wandering under my belt this weekend (in between eating easter eggs…which blew the diet out the window, oops!).  I began by searching for any interesting classes to attend.  I tend to have a problem whenever I do this because being a UK Second Lifer, most classes begin when I’m fast asleep in the early hours of the morning.  Undeterred, I spotted a classified for a tarot reading class for writers at the Mystic Academy.  Specifically, it was about beating writers’ block by using the cards for inspiration.  ‘Great!’ I thought.  I have a rl deck of tarot cards (although my mum is far more adept at using them than me…spooky little lady…) and my goal in life is to be a bestselling author by the time I’m 35 (you have to have a dream, people!)  So along I toddled to the mysterious sounding Mystic Academy in Immortal Woman He.  It took me a little while to discover that I was early for the class (about 24 hours early, unfortunately!) and that I had stumbled into some sort of Academy committee meeting…oh dear!, how embarrassing!  Except that it wasn’t embarrassing at all.  I was immediately greeted and invited to sit down on a rather sumptuous sofa.  Everyone was really friendly and an Academy member called Zenny even gave me a tour of the building (thank you Zenny!!).  The Mystic Academy building is gorgeous!  It looks like a gothic castle on the outside, and the inside is full of comfy places to sit, beautiful classrooms full of particle effects and a club in the loft…where I had a cheeky go on some drums (hehe!).

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Playin’ the skins at ClubMystik

What amazed me most about the Mystic Academy was the huge amount of classes on offer.  It’s like Hogwarts for adults!  Unfortunately, but as predicted, I couldn’t stay up late enough to attend the tarot class.  So what an incredible surprise it was to find a transcript of it waiting for me when I next logged in!  This was sent by Julie (whose class it was I’d missed), and was very, very appreciated.  If you’re interested in the more spiritual side of life, I strongly suggest you go take a looksie.  Here’s the SLURL: The Mystic Academy.

So, fresh from my successful wandering, I turned my attention back to the search button…and couldn’t believe what I found!  It’s finally happened, someone has recreated London in Second Life (or a small part of it anyway!).  I tp’ed into London Knightsbridge on Easter Sunday morning, right in the middle of their easter egg hunt (do I have good timing or what?).  The details here are incredible, right down to the underground station and the red buses and telephone boxes.  Don’t believe me?  Take a look!:

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Been waitin’ ages for this damn train…

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…I’ll have to catch the bus instead!

If you fancy a trip to ole London town, here’s the SLURLy goodness: London Knightsbridge.

Knightsbridge is also where I met Alf Korhonen, who kindly offered to show me London from the sky in his new helicopter…well how could I refuse?  Riding over the buildings in a chopper was a lot of fun, and gave me a really good view of the area.

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In fact, Alf was so cool, I think it’s only fair to publish this excellent picture of him in front of his helicopter!  Who can resist a man in uniform? 🙂

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Speaking of men in uniform…on Monday Alf took me to see the Britannic Virtual Airlines HQ, for which he’s the Press Officer.  So ladies, if you like handsome pilots…this is where they can be found!!  There’s even a club here (Top Gun, anyone?) although it was closed when we were there.

Cazzy wonders what an elf has to do to get a drink around here!

But personally, I think the very coolest thing you can do here is…skydive!  Alf gave me my very own parachute (wouldn’t wanna go jumping off anything without one of those!) before we tp’d to the jump platform…which was quite scary and had what looked like a diving board at one end.  Being an elf who will try anything once (well, almost anything…), I marched up to the end of the diving board and jumped…flailed in mid air for a bit before remembering that Alf told me to fly…hovered…and then…whoosh!  Out popped the parachute to ferry me safely to the ground.  Scaredy cats beware!  But if you’re more of a thrill seeker, here’s the SLURL: Britannic Virtual Airlines HQ.  I don’t know how long this SLURL will work because the HQ is moving soon to their own islands (with higher skydive jumps apparently, yay!).

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Don’t look doooooowwwwwnnnnn!

Thank you, Alf, for a brilliant trip!  And now this busy little elf is all tuckered out…time to head back to the tree house for a bedtime tipple and a nice lie down.

 

Demons, Knights and Leprechauns March 21, 2007

Filed under: This Elf's Life — Cazzy Ewry @ 8:36 pm

On Sunday night I attended my first fashion show.  It was showcasing sports wear which isn’t really my style, but I hadn’t been to one before so I thought I’d check it out.  There was a very mixed crowd, as you can see from the picture:

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The guy behind me looked quite scary…hehe.  Unfortunately I got there too late to see most of the show, which featured a lot of UK football strips, but it seemed well put together.

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This was in the Dublin sim, one of my favourite places because of the friendly people…although it’s popularity sometimes makes the lag unbearable.  But if you want somewhere fun to go, search for Dublin and check out the Blarney Stone pub…there’s nearly always something happening there and I spent one of the best nights of my second life dancing away to one of their DJs (I wish I could remember her name!  I think it was Cher something…)

Anyway…this brings me onto the subject of tonight’s adventures.  I can’t decide if I want to get involved in a roleplay sim or not.  I love the idea of being intricately entwined with a passionate community and creating elaborate storylines for myself; and most of the fantasy themed places look incredible (see Avallon Mist for example).  But I just don’t know if I can let myself go enough to really get into character.  I wandered around several sims including Second Earth (which is pretty strict on dress code…you have to wear medieval clothes and a vistor’s name tag at all times.  Everyone calls you “maid” and will randomly spring into action at a cry of “Orcs!  To the battlements!”) and Toxian City (which I just couldn’t get a feel for…although the bleak landscape of brooding buildings was impressive).  Everywhere I went, I couldn’t help feeling out of place.  I just didn’t feel comfortable.  The people in these places take everything a little too seriously; and this can become a breeding ground for the ridiculous.  Take this little incident I witnessed in City of Lost Angels, a dark roleplay, combat and sex community:

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Now what you’re looking at is the result of a heated debate between a group of demons (I think they were demons!).  From what I gathered before I got embarrassed by my own blatent eavesdropping and tped away, the unfortunate demon pinned to the floor with it’s multiple arms and legs waving in the air (the one that looks like a spider) had had some kind of restricting collar placed on it by a fellow demon.  Now this is all part of the roleplaying fun, right?  Or so it should be, except that the scene became quite uncomfortable when the inflicted demon begged several times to be released, only to be struck down (I don’t know if they were stuck to the floor, I suppose they could have tped away…), all watched by the group of demons.  This too, all sounds as if it was part of the roleplay.  But I didn’t get a sense of that.  I felt that the real person behind that demon avatar was actually becoming destressed.  Now I don’t know much about the City of Lost Angels community.  I don’t know squat about that particular group of demons.  I may have just spouted a load of ignorant crap that should be deleted immediately.  What I do know is that whatever the situation was, it put me off exploring any more roleplay sims (for a little while anyway!)  I just don’t want to take a fantasy environment that seriously…and I suppose that’s why I feel I wouldn’t fit into communities like this.  But if we were all the same, the world (virtual or otherwise) would be a very boring place, right?

On a side note…City of Lost Angels wasn’t all weird cliques turning on eachother.  This considerably brightened my experience:

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The woman in white (the one bending over) danced into the middle of the demon scene, swigging from a beer can and careering into anyone who got in her way…priceless!  She obviously couldn’t take roleplay seriously either.

 

Empty World…But not so Empty Comments March 9, 2007

Filed under: This Elf's Life — Cazzy Ewry @ 8:02 pm

I call myself a wandering elf…and so I am, traversing the vast landscape we call Second Life and often leaving the haven of my tree house for hours at a time.  I came upon a fantastic premise in world today….Second Life’s first TV station has apparently arrived.  It’s called Life 4-U and promises to deliver SL news.  I loved the concept…and tped in straight away.  As I’ve found is common in SL lately (maybe it’s down to time zone differences, or maybe I’m just unlucky), the place was deserted…but I was impressed by the sight that greeted me.  An entire TV studio, complete with cameras.  Unfortunately, even after following the instructions and switching my preferences to view streaming video…no magical TV channels or functions materialised.  It took me a little while to realise that I no longer had Quicktime installed (one of the perils of sharing your rl computer with someone who hates Apple), which you need in order to view the stream.  I did, however, get to snatch a quick sit down at one of the nearby computer terminals.  I wasn’t sure what I was supposed to be doing at said computer, but my tired feet thanked me for it all the same. 

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Go see it for yourself (or not, as the case may be, hehe): http://slurl.com/secondlife/Big%20Bit/72/72/26

On a separate note, after reading Imstill and Hybel’s extremley flattering comments about my tree home *blushes*, I’ve realised my failure to provide a slurl (slaps head and says doh! several times).  So here it is: http://slurl.com/secondlife/Arah/73/129/96  Please feel free to drop in and grab at drink at my tavern…elves and non-elves most welcome!  Hint: When you hit the landing coordinates, fly up!