Ribong Gallery

I visited the Ribong Gallery Artspace, today…

… there is some lovely work here…

… most of it wonderfully large…

… in fact, what strikes me most about this space…

… is the scale…

… I was particularly taken by this work…

… it is very large…

… yet beautifully displayed…

… I’m normally not that attracted to abstract sculpture…

… but I think this is stunning. It makes me think of the work of the incredible artist Moebius (Jean Giraud). I find this work gives off an aura of peace and tranquility, but also, hope.

Rieri Town in Tokyo

Mopire City seamlessly blends into Rieri Town in Tokyo, which, in turn, seamlessly becomes Tokyo-Windhill, which blends into Mitsumi Town, which becomes Mopire City. These towns are far more suburban than Mopire City, and much more traditional…

… gorgeously so…

… with beautiful parks…

… which, though tucked into modern surrounds, are like places from another time…

… it’s almost a surprise to come back out into modern suburbia…

… but even that feels, in places, almost semi-rural…

… all through this stunning sim, you will find these wonderful little hedgehogs. On this canal was the first time I ever saw them, and there were several of them, on a boat, I fell in love with them, and now have some of my own. Their happy little faces just turn my heart to mush…

… the canal runs into an even bigger body of water, with an unattainable far shore…

… this tunnel will take you back to Mopire City.

Mopire Interiors

Walk into any tower block in Mopire city, and you are likely to find this level of interior decoration. Some have minimal furniture, some are even empty, but most of the buildings you can enter have a surprising level of interior decor…

… it even looks like corporate/commercial decor, tasteful, yet bland. There are always stairs, and often working elevators in these buildings. One building I went into, the ground floor elevator didn’t work, but when I tried the second floor elevator, I was able to ride up, to my amazement, nineteen floors! I came out, on the roof, level with the R2 building…

… even on the second, third, however many floors, of these buildings, you can find this level of attention to detail…

… I find this astonishing, not just because it’s all empty, and no-one actually uses these spaces, but because I can’t help thinking about the amount of work that all this involved. These spaces haven’t just had a few bits of decor scattered in them, someone has put a lot of work into making them believable corporate/commercial spaces…

… the subway is just as impressive…

… there is even humour here… deliberate…

… and accidental…

… but the level of detail, here, is stunning…

… the signage is even reflected in the ceiling tiles…

… all this in an ultra-realistic build that no-one seems to use for anything…

… even wandering around down here, you can actually get lost, the network of corridors is so complex. From the platform with the train, you can take a corridor beneath the tracks, and come up in another, empty platform. I was actually wandering around, down here, trying to find a shooting range I once found, in a subway, here, but it was either another subway, somewhere else in the sim, or I completely missed it, if it’s in this one. I would imagine that the boys in my theory about Mopire City would be able to spend many happy hours, running around, down here, with guns.

More Mopire Adventures

My interest in Mopire City has become reinvigorated. I realised that all this time, because the place is so huge, my attention has been on the macro aspects of the place, all the wonderful external elements… I haven’t really looked inside, at the micro details… there is a lot to see, there. I went back and started looking more closely, in the area I discovered, the other day. I quickly found a parking building I had never been into, and, on the third floor, I found something interesting. All the vehicles you see in the city are prop vehicles, bland looking, generic urban vehicles, probably not even drivable, but, parked in this building, I found four vastly different beasts; an SUV, a muscle car, and two lovely little, vintage sports cars, all clearly drivable. These totally reinforce my theory about Mopire City being someones private playground. You can rez a vehicle in the city, as long as you get straight into it, and stay in it, but if you get out of it for a few minutes, it is returned to your inventory… that is clearly not what happens for the owners of these vehicles. A new theory began to formulate in my mind…

… I decided to go and have a look in the underground tunnels, a place I don’t actually like going. I remembered I’d seen an entrance, just around the corner from the parking building, in the area I only explored for the first time, the other day. My new theory was reinforced by the nearness of the parking building to the tunnel entrance… now I didn’t so much feel I was in the ‘Twilight Zone’, as much as in ‘Grand Theft Auto’…

… in the tunnels I quickly found various coloured spheres containing mysterious scripts, and some little blue pyramids, with no scripts, that were ‘transfer only’. I suspect that the spheres are lap-counters, or something of that nature, and the pyramids are, perhaps, trophies to be collected? I think these tunnels are a racetrack for the little boys club who must hang out here, in their own private world of cars and guns and a huge, beautiful, empty city. I could be wrong, of course, but the evidence is compelling. These tunnels are a big network, and I don’t actually enjoy being in them, they feel like you could actually get lost, down here…

… so I found the nearest way out. It was nice to be back in the fresh air…

… almost beneath R2. I straight away noticed a very colourful floor on the building beside the overpass, it jumped out because nothing in Mopire City is that colourful. I had to go and see. I jumped off the overpass, made my way to the building, and climbed five floors up, (Mopire City is one of those places where you actually have to physically make your way… if you try to ‘double-click TP’ somewhere, you go straight back to the ‘landing area’) and went inside…

… it was, by far, the most personal/unique interior I have so far seen in Mopire City (this part of the city is actually called ‘R2 Fashion’)…

… I climbed the rest of the way to the roof…

… for the view. Then I jumped off, but only made it 3 floors down, to this area, which still had a pretty nice view…

… the quickest way down, of course…

… was to jump, again…

… I hit the ground in a crouch, sprung up, and set off in search of more Mopire fun.

Mopire City as Twilight Zone

Mopire City is my absolute favourite SL build. I have been coming here for years, and have blogged it many times (use the ‘search thingy’ on my blog to look up Mopire City) and had many adventures here. I have walked, driven, and even flown (in a UFO) this amazing place… you can’t actually fly here, but if you rez an aerial vehicle, you can. I have even seen a giant here. The level of detail and the quality and consistency of every component here is amazing, and the place is huge. It is actually several sims, I think… Mopire City/Rieri-Town in Tokyo/Tokyo-Windhill/Mitsumi-Town…

… I have always had an ‘in the twilight zone’ feeling here… no-one lives (that I have ever been able to ascertain) here, I have never seen a real shop here, and I almost always have the place to myself. None of those things make much sense in SL; how on earth do they finance a build like this if it generates no revenue? There is one revenue generating aspect to it, but I’ll mention that later. Over the years I have formulated a theory that this place is a huge, private playground dedicated to war games. There is an underground network here that is huge, and the first time I ever came here, when it was all new, I think, if you went into that network, the ‘life’ icon appeared in your HUD, that doesn’t happen, now, but it was a clue. There is fake advertising everywhere, but the only real, SL advertising, is for weapons. There is a shooting range in the subway. These were all clues for my theory…

… in all the time I’ve been coming here, I keep finding parts/things I’ve never seen, before. Yesterday, from the landing point, I went a way I’ve never been, before, literally just around the corner, and noticed these banners that totally confirmed my suspicions. I kept walking that way…

… and, once again, found an entire chunk of the city I have never seen…

… a little park…

… this lovely little area, all totally new to me…

… so, in a way, I wasn’t that surprised when I stumbled upon this place… a real shop selling shooty stuff. It was still very weird/jarring… this wasn’t the Mopire City I knew, I could almost hear ‘X-Files’ music playing, somewhere in the background. It vindicated my theory, but it was very weird that it took me so long to find this place, almost like it had been hiding, and had now, for some reason, shown itself…

… I mentioned a possible source of revenue before… R2 Fashion has always floated above Mopire City, and I’ve always thought it might be the financial wing of the operation. When I first started coming here, there was a physical elevator in R2, that would take you down to the city, but they took it out, and for years there was just a hole in the floor you could jump down, then I think even that got covered, for a while…

… I zapped up there to see what was there, now. The hole was there, but glassed over, but there was one of those teleports, that look like an elevator door, so I took it back down. I took a few steps from where I’d landed, turned around, and saw…

… this. I’m pretty sure this was not here when I used to take the elevator, or even when I used to jump down the hole. Surely I would have noticed, in this beautiful, empty city…

… a hanger filled with aerial war machines. Now I really felt like I was in the twilight zone, it was enough to make my spine tingle… I half expected to hear the rattle of small-arms fire, or the scream of a warplane going over the city… perhaps to see a column of oily smoke roiling into the sky. It was so weird that my theories had all been made real, so suddenly, in a single visit. I don’t know what to expect, here, any more.

*edit* I looked up ‘Second Life Special Operations Command’… it is a group with 8 members. And, if I had gone into that mall where I noticed the banners, there is another weapons shop, and more of those banners… none of those things used to be in there, so, perhaps, this is a new manifestation?

Tralala’s Diner: Risking Madness

I decided to risk my sanity and try, once again, to get some interesting pictures at Tralala’s Diner. I came perilously close to madness during this experiment. This sim would have to take the prize for the most heart-wrendingly appalling lag and attendant technical problems of anywhere I’ve ever been in SL… which is really sad, because it is also one of the most amazing destinations on the grid…

… as I’ve said, before, I suspect that everything interesting ever created in SL, can be found somewhere in Tralala; every ramshackle building, broken bicycle, weird cat, dead vehicle, every single neon sign, burning tyre, animated piece of strangeness. Those last few make for a ridiculous amount of constantly running scripts, which create horrendous reductions in frame rate, causing mind-numbing lag. It took me about eight hours over two days to get these pictures…

… they are the pictures I could take, not the ones I wanted to take. I had to avoid any areas that had neon, and try to avoid areas with lots of animated objects. Sometimes, I would arrive, and stand in the same place for 45 minutes, and half the scene would not have rezzed properly, and I’d just close Firestorm and come back later, hoping for a better result. Other times, after 45 minutes, most things would have rezzed, and I’d go to take a step forward, and suddenly be running on the spot, like a lunatic, unable to stop running, stuck between two buildings…

… I eventually settled on exploring the most empty places, with the least things happening. I wound up seeing parts of the sim I’ve never seen, before…

… which wasn’t really my intention, as these places aren’t as spectacular as the more crowded, neon extravaganza in the centre of the place, but, that way lay madness…

… out here on the fringes there were places that were still not properly constructed, the grass all a meter in the air, random objects seemingly just dumped for future placement… it kind of added to the feel of the place. There is just so much stuff here, it is mind-boggling. It would be wonderful to have the kind of top-end network connection, and super-computer that could make it possible to actually enjoy this sim, rather than it always being a genuine struggle with my sanity trying to even move, here…

… but, out here, on the fringes, it wasn’t too bad, though it was still a near constant struggle…

… I eventually made it to the shore…

… and stood, looking out over the brooding ocean, wondering if this is the last time I will put myself through this amount of effort for a few pictures.

The Galleries

Continuing my journey through my saved landmarks, I visited ‘The Galleries‘, today…

… back when I collected SL art, The Galleries was always one of my must-visit destinations…

… the place is huge, and it has always had the broadest collection of styles of any gallery I ever visited in SL…

… all of it for sale…

… the collection is so big, you can literally get lost in here…

… there are useful teleport devices scattered through the space, which help to get you around when you get confused…

… it’s so long since I was here, last, that I’m not even sure if the spaces are the same… I suspect they have been changed, somehow, because they feel differently set out, but the huge collection is as excellent as it ever was…

… I’d go as far as to say there is something for everyone, here. There is almost as much work I don’t like, because I have quite particular tastes, as there is work I really like…

… so many styles…

… you can spend a lot of time, here. In fact, I’d say it’s a two or three visit place, really…

… if you want to spend time looking, and you will…

… you are bound to find something you like.

Last Sunset

I visited Last Sunset, today. It’s a tiny little island ‘intended for photographers’. It looks promising when you land…

… there’s some static big cats…

… a few cute simians running around doing forward rolls and stuff…

… a bridge that only has a few angles that don’t include buildings…

… and a few places where you can make it look like you are in the wilderness, as long as you keep the buildings out of shot. If you wander too far in search of something else (you can’t fly, so you can’t even hover up to get an idea of your surroundings) you get threatened with eviction in 5 seconds, which I found simply too irritating in a place that is supposed to be a photography sim. Anyway, it closes in a couple of weeks, so if you want to see those cute chimps, that’s how long you’ve got.

Culture Shock

The first thing I saw, when I resumed my wandering along the Park Way route, was The Little Black Dress arcade. This little arcade filled my heart with joy… I love places like this, where the love and attention by the owner is obvious in every little detail. Back when I was only a year or so old, I barely used or knew how to use ‘Marketplace’, didn’t read any SL blogs, never went to sales ‘events’… I got all my clothes by stumbling upon places like this. I actually stumbled on some pretty awesome retailers, like ‘L&B’, and ‘House of RFyre’, totally by accident, but usually it was just totally unknown, random retailers. I used to really enjoy looking through shops and arcades like this, and they used to be everywhere. These days I’m very particular about what I wear, and only buy the brands I like, usually at ‘events’, or from their mainstores, I simply don’t go to random places like this, any more. I was delighted to buy, in ‘The Little Black Dress’, the pants I’m wearing… L$49 for a pair of pants with a 6 texture HUD! So that was a lovely start to the day’s rambling…

… all along the Park Way, I saw these boorish, ugly signs on the roadside in front of lovely homes. The land baron who owns them clearly had good taste in buildings, all his/her properties were the same creators’ buildings, all in this rustic, stuccoed, European/Mediterranean style, but they all had these truely offensive signs in front of them. I simply cannot fathom the point of such tasteless display, or why anyone would rent somewhere that had something so tacky out front… but, each to their own, I guess…

… just as the Park Way becomes the Atoll Coast Road, I came across this enormous edifice…

… it was another arcade/mall, this time vastly bigger, but really pretty, in front of a huge building called ‘The Free Dove’. I’d never heard of this place. A quick look inside showed a barn-like interior chock full of the type of clothing I have zero interest in, so I went out and looked around the lovely outside area, filled with shops and stalls…

… I found this sign outside the main building to be somewhat-over-the-top…

… and the product at this stall to be really adorable, but slightly disconcerting… how do you fit a kitten into such a thin container? Is it a dehydrated kitten, just add water? What, even, is it? Is it an animesh pet, or decor? So many questions, totally unanswered by the super-cute packaging…

… I’d been wandering around the really pretty mall, filled with retailers I’d never heard of, with really cool names, when I got a notecard explaining ‘The Free Dove’… everything inside that huge shopping barn was free! ‘The Free Dove’ is a famous, 16 year old, historic SL destination that I’ve never heard of! The over-the-top nudity sign was now in context, as there would be a lot of newby traffic, here. I felt like an alien in a strange land, one I’d forgotten even existed in SL, the one of poor, freshly-minted avi’s, the one of random shopping malls, the one of everything being new, and fascinating. I’m so pleased I’ve started my random ramblings, again.