Tuesday, December 16, 2014

How We Plan to Warm Up Your Winter

If we can't warm it up, we'll at least try to keep you so intellectually engaged that it'll seem like spring arrived in a blink.


This Sunday is the winter solstice. If that's something you celebrate , you can visit our Winter Wiccan Circle and dance with the NPCs or possibly catch some of us there. We decorated an evergreen with pretty dance balls and supplied it with NPC partners. This will also be the location of our Next Book Birthday, January 2nd, starting 6 pm grid time. world.narasnook.com:8900:Series 

There is a dance ball over the fire for NPC dance/skating. There are book boys, satyrs, snow fairies and ice demons loaded for you winter celebration delight. We plan to leave the circle in place until Candlemas in Feb.

Moonlight Safari

Wednesday night will be the last Moonlight Safari launching from the Nook. We will still have an evening  hypergrid event but it will no longer be a mirror of Safari and they will no longer be scheduling events for us, so given that our original name was a hat tip to all they do for us, the name will change to Hypergrid Nights to reflect that we are no longer a jointly managed event. We still love and support HG Safari and you will see me on safaris. We'll still network and share our finds for great region visits with each other.

This week we will be visiting Senchai Library in Kitely where Shandon Loring will be doing a reading of A Christmas Carol. Put a swim suit in your suitcase or wear it under your winter woollies because after that I'll be hopping to a beach party and anyone who wants to join me is welcome.

Hypergrid Nights

We'll be taking a break from our grid hopping for the holidays as next Wednesday is Christmas Eve and the following Wednesday is New Years Eve. Starting January 7th we'll launch again with a Yacht party in the water regions at Mike Hart's Next Reality grid. Same time, 9 pm EST. Same launch place world.narasnook.com:8900 Greyville. We will also switch from three scheduled hops a night to one hop, dropping that time commitment from three hours to one, though I expect some of you will want to keep playing past the official timed visit and that will be fine.

Our focus will likely shift a bit to reflect the unique interests of our group and to activities that are friendly to our US-based team members time zone. If you have a region you'd like us to spotlight, contact Nara Nook at Nara's Nook. You can reach me as Nara Malone on G+ and @nara_malone on Twitter.

Tattoo Workshop

This Thursday, Dec 18 at 4 pm grid time, John Sheppard will be leading a tattoo making class at the Nook. Meet up by the fire circle. world.narasnook.com:8900:Greyville

Book in A Year

Author Shannan Albright will be leading a writer's workshop with the goal of finishing a book in a year: From beginning to end learn the tips and tricks to put that novel in your head on paper. This year-long workshop covers from the very basics to advanced tools to craft your book. Then covers the aspect of marketing and publication. From the dreaded synopsis to branding. How to get your book in front of readers. This workshop is for all from beginners to advanced.
Participants can interact at in-world meet-ups and/or via forums on the Nook website.

NPC Workshops

I will be leading a series of NPC workshops for Hypergrid University to be held in the Pandora region of Nook grid which contains all our demo projects on using NPCS. The workshops will be every other month on the 3rd Sunday at noon grid time. Watch our calendar link to keep up with the workshop dates. The first is January 18th and will cover basic NPC creation and animation. I will have everyone looking at their first animated NPC in under five minutes.

Other Workshops

The third Sunday of each month remains our workshop Sunday, and we are lining up other events to fill up that schedule, including a Flash Fiction workshop from Siobhan Muir and another workshop on Cross Promotions and Social Networking--skills mandatory for authors but something the metaverse residents could use as well. If you or someone you know would be interested in leading a workshop at the Nook, catch up with me. Topics of interest users have indicated they would find interesting are making clothing, animating, basic building.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Grid-Hopping Through Inner-Space

Moonlight Leaders

We had some grand adventures planned for our first full-fledged safari this week. While you may know where you are going, and even if you are going to a place you've been before, the experience revolves around the people sharing the adventure with you. Six hours of grid hopping brought that point home to me.
Toboggan Ride with HG Safari
 The HG Safari group and Moonlight Safari group
Moonlight Balloon Ride
 aren't as different as night and day but their interests diverge. I think the evening group springing up from our base at Nara's Nook is more reader/writer/romance focused. Diverging interests will lead to diverging paths, but more on that later.

 I promised the Moonlight group creatively inspiring adventures. The first was in L'Hiver du Grand Nord from Dabici Straulino. It lived up to the promise, sledding being the favored pastime but the romantic call of the hot air balloon and the beautiful rural setting filled our hour with oohs and aahs. The graciousness of Dabici and Kelso Uxlay went above and beyond--it was something like 3 AM for them if I am calculating right and they stayed for every minute right up until we left. This second balloon ride pic taken by Dabici just before we hopped to our next stop. Drop by and pick up items from their Winter Market. Have tea and bring home a teapot.

Go ice skating.

 Have a toboggan ride. Or two. Or twenty. But most of all, try going during Euro friendly hours so you can meet the lovely folks who put this special region together for you to enjoy.

And then...
 There be Dragons!

A lot of times in the G+ groups or in my social media streams I'll see picture someone shares tagged inspiration. If you've ever wondered what if anything those pics that go around do inspire, you're looking at the most recent evolution of a long line of fun inspired and produced because someone shared a pic of a woman on a white tiger in G+ OpenSim Virtual. A lengthy discussion ensued as to whether that could be done in OpenSim and at the time that answer was no.Fred Beckhusen didn't let that get in his way.
Doxa demonstrates riding a halfatar.

Instead, he invented the halfatar. The first halfatar was a woman tiger combination which I rode on an HG Safari once. Later Fred made a velociraptor version. This one he is giving away at Outworldz grid Dragon region is usable by male or female riders.

The halfatar led to the creation of a ride-able tiger on land. Somewhere in the middle of all that he created shape-shifting animals, a dragon shifter, and finally this beautiful flying dragon.
Fuschia Nightfire on a Dragon
 The worlds of Phase Demesnes in SL and Dragons in Opensim were inspired by Piers Anthony's Phaze science fiction series. If you haven't seen Phaze in Second Life, do so soon because it will be closing at the end of the month.  Fred and Debbie Edwards are just getting started with their dragon build in Outworldz. Truth is when I asked Fred if  Safari could drop in and see what he was doing,  he didn't think he had enough in place to interest anyone.

Really, that's what he said. 

Drop by Dragons, have a look around. Let me know if that's what you think.

And then...
Go see Alice. It starts as a game. You land by a tree, fall down a rabbit hole and well,you may know how the story goes,but just like the Dragons of Phaze it's an adventure through a story world the way someone else saw it in their imagination. In this case, the someone was Cherry Manga.

One pill makes you taller.

One pill makes you small...
As for the ones mother gives you, apparently they do more than they used to...
At various points in the evening we had varying numbers but 14 grid-hoppers overall and 10 who made every hop. Serene Jewell who does a similar weekend event from Kitely was there to greet us when we finished. We sat at the banquet table for the unbirthday party and talked about the adventure of walking through a simulation of a book as it was experienced in another imagination--their inner-space. It's not an easy time we have of it out here exploring the frontiers of inner-space. Things crash, they burn, RAIDS fail, we are bald when we don't want to be. Yet, stacked up against adventures like these, we all agreed the negatives are trivial.

Thanks Dabici, Kelso, Fred, Debbie, and Cherry for sharing your visions with us. To get to their sims, go here:

outworldz.com:9000:Phaze-Dragons hg.francogrid.org:80:aliceinwonderland

Monday, December 8, 2014

You Don't Have to Live Like a Refugee

Refuge Grid
With the continued outage of OSGrid, the metaverse is doing it's best to accommodate displaced avatars. Much like the human counterparts who flee disasters, homeless OSG residents sought the nearest and most familiar port in a storm--Metropolis. As weeks of outage stretched into months of outage, as Metro's servers were pushed to the limit managing new members and expanding inventories, refugees  sought alternative  homes where they could begin rebuilding what they'd lost.
Safari Metro
 I don't think I am the only one who sees some good in the OSGrid crash that pushed us all out of comfort zones to cope. I've met so many wonderful new friends, including the team who manage HG Safari. When the OSGrid crash left Safari homeless, I asked Tim at Zetamex to move the budget estate region oar I'd had in OSG to Metro for them to use until the grid was back. He in turn stopped billing on the region when he moved it, donating the time and space to maintain it.
Safari Franco
As safari outgrew those resources and the outage had no end in site, Franco Grid donated a region that could support the growing number of grid-hoppers. Meanwhile, the tales of parties, concerts, and glorious builds had folks pleading for a safari scheduled during hours that would allow them to participate. In particular, several members at the Nook grid longed for hours that worked for those living in the PST zone. Shannan Albright, SiobhanMuir, and Endora Twinklens stepped up and offered to help me lead a trial Moonlight Safari at 6-9pm PST.
Safari Meet-up Area at Nook Grid
A brand new grid seemed the perfect hop to launch the new Safari. Refuge Grid, managed by Seth Nygard, was created by and for refugees. With three DJs and several clubs in place, it had already become a late night refuge Nook members slip off to after our evening write-ins. Most evenings you can find late night dancing going on in one of the regions.

Clubs open at RefugeGrid
Lady Jo Martinique's Dark Shadow's region features a winter dreamscape decorated for the holidays, while  Lady Pooh's Honeypot is a tropical paradise.

Petra on Refuge Grid
If you want to explore, Danger Lytton's regions are under reconstruction, but I saw enough in Petra to put it on my list of places to watch and revisit.

The same is true for Paramour, from Mata Hari.

Our official destination for the evening was lingerie party at Mata Hari's (Aine Caoimhe) Hedonism Club. Thirza Ember had just launched her lovely lingerie shop, Sottigliezze, on the Nook grid in the Paradise region, so an area at the entrance for sharing and swapping lingerie creations attracted a lot of attention from both men and women.
Landing Area in Hedonism Club
One of our favorite things to do at Nook Grid is make book boyz--NPC characters that were heroes in our novels--and set them up as dance partners at our First Friday book birthday parties each month. As you can imagine, we were all over Mata Hari's new dance system that allows us to deliver male and female characters as dance partners from the dance ball.
Nara Dancing with an NPC
There were 28 guests enjoying the festivities.  Some of our guests were first time visitors from SL to Opensim. One confided that she didn't know we had clubs in OpenSim and she was impressed by the beauty of the build, low lag, the dance systems and those amazing NPCs. So was I.
NPC Chair Dancer
You can find Mata's  free dance balls, poles, and floors on the first floor of her Hedonism Club.Go to refugegrid.com:8002: From there take a gate to the Hedonism region.

If you'd like to grid-hop with us on our next Moonlight Safari, we leave Wednesday 9pm EST from world.narasnook.com:Greyville  This time we will be doing the full tour and visiting all the stops the HG Safari visited. If you can't make the earlier HG Safari, or couldn't make it to all the stops, drop in and join us.

~Nara Malone