Aurorascape Memories

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Seven months ago, I gave up my homestead, Winterfell Evergreen, and headed to a little cabin in the north woods of Winterfell to devote my time to writing. I expected it to be a quiet time for me. Writing, thinking, chilling. There has been a lot of writing, much more than I ever expected. Too much, possibly. So there was a lot of thinking too. All of that writing and thinking has left little time for chilling. But it sure has been interesting and fun. A lot of things have happened in that time which I wanted to tell you about but there just wasn’t time to stop and write them down. I did get to mention a few of them here or there but all that did was to leave some loose ends out there that I haven’t had time to tie together. I’ll never get to them all as my list of things I want to write about has exploded beyond my control. Somehow I found the time today to check one off my list…

In February, I posted a piece here called Another World. It told of a new second home I’d found in the 21st century in a world that was only a couple weeks old. A world called Aurorascape. I wrote that I wasn’t sure what I was going to do with a free parcel I acquired there in a nice lakeside neighborhood.

What I decided on was to put a pub on the land. As the world was new, I thought a gathering place would be a good contribution to the community. I built a new version of The Evergreen Pub as, at about that same time, I was closing The Evergreen on the Mainland of Second Life.

As I have noted on these pages before, I am not a builder. Yes I know how to put prims together neatly – and I can do a good job modding someone else’s build – but I have no eye for design. But looking for a pre-fab build for a pub in OpenSim and Aurora-Sim worlds would have been a big waste of my time. I have visited enough OpenSim worlds to know this. Heck, the pickings for pre-fab pubs or bars in Second Life are slim. I know that well after nearly six years in that world. I thought about asking the builder who did the custom job on the original Evergreen Pub if I could get a copy I could export elsewhere – and I may yet ask at some point – but tracking her down and going through the process was going to take time. And I wanted a pub now! So I would have to build one.

I decided to keep it simple. A small corner bar of the type that you might find tucked into a tiny commercial area of a mostly residential district. The classic “neighborhood bar.” I put my build together and furnished it and announced it’s opening. It only took up about a quarter of the parcel. I scattered some trees and plants around the rest of it with the thought that I would leave it that way until inspiration struck with the answer to what else to do with this spot.

The important thing was that I now had a base in this world. A place to watch the world grow and a place that might draw the occasional visitor from among the other early pioneers here. A place for me to hangout when I was inworld and to maybe make a friend or two. It was exactly what I needed.

Although my pub building was simple, I was happy with it. It was a good enough build and I had created a nice atmosphere with the furniture and wall-hangings inside that, for once, I was not embarrassed to say it was mine. But I had no idea how it would turn out, so I didn’t build it at ground-level. I didn’t want anyone to see it until it was done.

I built the pub on a building platform I had placed high in the sky. And once the pub was open, I started to build other things on that platform. For, at the same time I was putting down prims in Aurorascape, I had begun another project on another world, Kitely, where I already had a presence hosting and caring for a few of the Devokan ages. It is a very large project but the cost in Kitely was minimal. And I found a way to do it for even less than advertised. I thought my new pub would fit nicely in that project so I learned how to export it from Aurorascape to Kitely. Then I investigated a 21st century tool I’d heard tell about called Sim-on-a-Stick (SoaS). I didn’t think it was something that would work for me as I’m not knowledgeable about the technology of the 21st century. But it turned out to be so simple. And it didn’t cost a cent. I realized I could build my big project at no cost offline on SoaS and then upload it to Kitely when it was ready. This led to further ideas about additional projects. And I started work on those (on SoaS) as well. And that led to a complete re-think of how I would plan, build and display my projects in the future. And all this was happening at a time that a fellow member of the Devokan Storytellers group, Ruby O’Degee, had been talking and writing about a craft she had taken to calling “Storybuilding.” And I realized not only had I engaged in storybuilding before but that I was now at a place and time – and equipped with the tools and ideas – to jump into storybuilding with both feet. So I jumped.

You could find me every day and every night working on one of my projects in SoaS. Well, actually you couldn’t find me. That was one of the cool things about SoaS. I could do all this work out of the view of others. Storybuilding is quite like story-writing. At least for me it is. When I am writing a story, I don’t want someone looking over my shoulder. Same with storybuilding.

I was now so busy that I began to wonder whether I really needed my free space in Aurorascape anymore. But I only could begin to wonder as I was much too busy to engage in a full-fledged wondering. I had several ongoing writing projects. Some I would work on in the first world but others I would pursue at my cabin in Winterfell in Second Life. That was also my getaway when I needed to stop myself from writing more or had to take a timeout from my new storybuilding projects in SoaS. I also had been reappointed Winterfell Ambassador and there were duties to carry out. And I’d become extensively involved in exploring other virtual worlds around the Metaverse. Plus, I had the Devokan ages of Evergreen in Kitely to watch over and the Devokan Storytellers’ gatherings on Kitely to organize and attend. So with all of this, when would I have time to spend in my pub in Aurorascape?

But I didn’t want to leave. It was a new world and it was growing rapidly and I wanted to watch that happen, who knows where it would lead?

But then came the sad news. As quickly as Aurorascape was growing and as fast as word of it was getting around and causing others to come in for a looksee, there were unexpected outside issues that its creator, Timothy, believed would prevent this new world from developing as it should and could. So he announced that the world would close. Unlike some ventures where you just show up one day and the world and all your projects and belongings are gone, Timothy gave us all a heads up and the time we needed to wrap things up and pack them and take them to other worlds.

In the short time – a few weeks – that Aurorascape was around, it had a big and positive impact on me and some others I met there. And together with the things I was learning elsewhere at the same time, it changed my virtual life forever. It was also a blessing as my typist was going through a rough patch with his health throughout this period. All of these happenings in the virtual worlds gave him something to focus on and made his daily life bearable.

But because of Aurorascape and where it helped lead me in my virtual life, it was a time I will never forget and will always look back on fondly. It really is a new chapter, maybe a whole new book, certainly another new beginning. It gave me a new outlook, a new approach, and many new projects that will keep me happy and busy for a very long time.

Last day in Aurorascape. Standing on my parcel after removing the pub.

Last day in Aurorascape. Standing on my parcel after removing the pub.

Another World

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I have spent some time in the 21st century lately, not one of my favorite centuries but it has its good points.

Much has been going on in some of the worlds I visit there. One thing led to another and I was made aware of a brand new open sim-style world called AuroraScape. I went in just to visit but ended up doing something I thought I would never do again, I purchased some land there. And son-of-a-gun if it hasn’t become my second virtual home. My virtual home away from my virtual home, as it were.

Not sure how to explain it but the place and the people, the feel of it all, just drew me in. Just as Winterfell did. And Caledon, Austral, New Toulouse. I must be susceptible to that kind of thing.

Nothing will transplant Winterfell for me, as loyal readers know, but I always seem to like to have a second place to hang my hat as well. Not that I actually wear hats, unusual as that is for a 19th century gentleman but it’s just not me. Now, where was I…

Oh yes, the 21st century, AuroraScape. Now, I don’t want you thinking I am spending money beyond my means. I have become very frugal of late, in fact. Even as my virtual land holdings have grown substantially.

Nor am I spending time beyond my means. I have more land than ever but most of it doesn’t require my presence. It’s a far cry from my days as Mayor on the Mainland.

The Evergreen lands in Kitely pretty much take care of themselves. There isn’t much for me to do there except to review the daily reports, which I do while I’m sitting in my cabin in Winterfell. I just have to drop into Evergreen for a few minutes per month. In fact, aside from attending the Devokan Storytellers gatherings once a month in Curiosity, I don’t get over that way much at all anymore. It’s not what I had expected but that is how it has turned out. A recent incident there, not involving the Devokan project or lands at all, has soured me on the Kitely experience unfortunately. It will never be the second home I had envisioned.

But as one door closes, another opens.

Now about this land I “purchased” on AuroraScape. It didn’t actually cost me anything in terms of real dollars and it never will. It’s free. One uses the inworld currency, AC$, but as the community’s leader says, it’s just play money. You earn the money by being involved in the community. It’s very simple. And right now, there are free parcels available in at least three regions that I am aware of. Lots of free land as these regions just opened a few days ago. Look in Voriena, Morgana or Luna if you’re interested. The first is a beach region, the second a town, the third a lakeside community. You can also get full regions or bring your own I believe…but I’m not familiar with how that works or what costs are involved. But the Mainland in AurorScape has free land. And there may be free parcels in privately-owned areas as well. I’ll put a “link” below for you to look into all this. (See, I told you I’d been to the 21st century.)

It all happened kind of quickly so I’m not yet sure what I’m going to do with this parcel. 2400sqm and over 2900 prims. Pretty nice, eh? A house? A pub? An office? Two out of three? Giving it some thought while I try my hand at building (again!) and explore the world.

It’s quite interesting to be one of the first settlers in a new world. There aren’t even 100 residents yet. I’m a virtual pioneer!

You can be one too. It’s a nice place. Come on over and take a look.

http://aurorascape.com/

First Explorer

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Editor’s note: Mr. Whitfield wrote the following article in Selenitica in Evergreen on Kitely.

Am I the first to explore here in this world? On this ‘grid’ is what I really mean. I think. Guess I’ll have to start using that word. Region/sim/land/world are somewhat interchangeable here. And with the Devokan regions/sims/lands/worlds, throw in ‘ages’ as well. In my other worlds – my two main worlds, that is – which I have referred to on these pages in the past, the word ‘world’ encompasses everything. In those worlds, RL for 1st life or Real Life or the real world and SL for Second Life – the words region/sim/land are somewhat interchangeable but not so much as here in this world…I mean, on this grid.   This grid being Kitely. And the word ‘world’ I have used in this publication before many times. Often I use “this world” to refer to SL and “the other world” to refer to RL. But ‘world’ in Kitely is different. Grid is better to refer to all of it. And maybe that is confusing too. Or maybe it’s just plain wrong. Is Kitely a grid or a gateway to part of a/the grid? I’m going to have to figure out all that usage stuff for writing purposes.

And I don’t mean: Am I the very first to explore in/on Kitely ever? (Is it “in” or “on” ? I dunno. Maybe it’s up to me. For some reason I say “in” for RL and SL but I want to say “on” for Kitely.) Obviously I am not the first. I just got here a few weeks ago, others have explored before me. What I am asking is: Am I the first to be here for that reason and (pretty much) that reason alone, to explore? This world, this grid, this place is a place for builders. At least that’s what it is right now, IMHO. And the financial cost of being here and the time constraints involved, the being “on the clock” aspect of it, does not lend itself to exploring as one’s primary purpose. Nor to just hanging out for that matter. But that may change.

I have written several pieces about my being on this grid already but this is the first one I am writing while I am here, “inworld” or “ongrid.” This is because of the aforementioned time constraints. But here I am, with 18 1/2 hours of my 30 hours per month remaining and only three more days to use them. If I was a builder I would certainly be here more often and would likely be complaining that 30 hours a month is not enough and upgrading my “plan” accordingly. But I am not a builder. So I can afford to explore. And that’s what I plan to do here. I’m going to watch the rest of you build this world, err…grid, and explore it and write about it. I suspect it will be a tough job but someone has to do it, right? I don’t want to appear self-important – and I never really know where my explorations or my writing will take me – but I am going to help create the community here, whatever that turns out to be. You will do so by building it, I will do so by writing about it. We need each other for there to be a community here. We need all sorts – builders, sellers, buyers, tourists, party people, people who just like to hang, explorers, writers, musicians, DJs, EMs and many others. Not that everyone is here for community. Some just want their own private space. Nothing wrong with that either.

I created an alt to try my hand at building once again but I know from a few attempts in SL, it ain’t my thing. I really suck at it. So I will spend my time here exploring. And I’m wondering if I’m the only one doing that here at this time in Kitely’s development. Can’t be, right? If there are others out there like me, let’s exchange information. I have formed two groups here which I invite you to join. One is Kitely Explorers. That one is for anybody who likes to explore. The other is for a particular genre, Steampunk Explorer. (No ‘s’ on the end of that one.) I run a group by that name in SL, 300 members. Join one, join ’em both if you like. (If you’ve got anything Steampunk-related, by all means send an IM or NC inworld.) I expect there won’t be many members in either, not now anyway, maybe in a few years. Be the first on your block to join up!

I’m not leaving SL, just setting up camp here. I’ll be in SL a lot and Kitely too. I have visited other worlds and not set up camp, just visited. I was about to go visit them again in October when I heard about Kitely for the first time. After just a month here, I am really turned on by Kitely and plan to spend a lot of time here. (But I’ll visit the others again too.)

But I’m here for real. So I need a base from which to operate on this grid. That is my other contribution, the world called Evergreen. It is made up of four of the Devokan regions/sims/lands/worlds/ages. Dot Macchi and her friends created the regions I am hosting on Evergreen. I just live there. And write. Come visit anytime (it’s Free). And, eventually, I will come and visit your regions/sims/lands/worlds too. I’m not doing a travelogue, at least it’s not what I’m setting out to do. I write what I feel when I feel it. I’ll still be writing about SL experiences and about any other world I visit. It’s an RP blog so, just because I show up at your place doesn’t mean I’m going to write about it. I’m not here to promote you or Kitely. Anyway, I’m sure both you and Kitely will get along fine with or without me. But whether it’s me or someone like me, having someone write about it in the manner that I do actually is important to the future of this place. Just as having others write about it in other ways is important too. But, as I say, I’m not doing it for that reason. I’m here to experience this grid and to write about it for my own sake. If that ends up promoting/helping you or Kitely, cool. I hope it does, I would like that. But it’s not why I’m here. Like you, I am here for my own reasons. So there’s nothing automatic about me writing about your region/world/etc.

Unless you give me something to write about.

I’ll see you around…in/on one world/grid or another.

Danko’s room at the Castle in Selenitica, Evergreen, where he wrote this article._

Naming Alts

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OOC:

I have an alt whose bio claims he is The Official Griefer of Winterfell Evergreen and His Grace, The Duke of Evergreen. His name is Wanko Dickfield. I wrote about him in a previous article.

When I went to create him I found that Linden Lab does not fancy the word, ‘wank.’

I couldn’t use wankodickfield as my login. Wanko is the Court Jester of Evergreen so I gave him the login name, jesterevergreen. This led to the following conversation with a friend. She will not be named here in order that she remain a friend.

[22:14] jesterevergreen: LL doesn’t let you have the name Wanko

[22:14] jesterevergreen: or anything with ‘wank’ in it

[22:14] jesterevergreen: lol

[22:15] MyFriend: your name has wanko in it

[22:15] jesterevergreen: i mean, the log-in name, sorry

[22:15] jesterevergreen: which is crazy

[22:16] jesterevergreen: wanking is half of Second Life

[22:16] jesterevergreen: at least

[22:16] jesterevergreen: or so i’ve read

[22:18] MyFriend: lol

[22:18] MyFriend: i have heard that too

——————————————-

I write about the Whitfield family here. You have met some of my relatives previously on these pages. If you have paid very close attention – and why would you, really? – you might notice a connection. The Whitfields are named: Danko, Hudson, Manuel, Robertson aka Robbie and Levon. Ring any bells? There is another I have not written about yet – Dylan. And then there is the one female Whitfield who has appeared here. It is a different type of connection. Here name is: Annie, short for Annalee. There is one other connection of that type, Chester. The family calls him Crazy Chester. A further clue to what is going on here is found in the profiles of each of those named. Several of them are time-travellers but that is not it. They all have something else in common.

I know there is at least one regular reader here who ‘gets’ this. I have explained it to a few other people inworld over the past year, though no one was overly impressed. However if you send me a Comment here or a Notecard inworld indentifying what I’m talking about in the previous paragraph, I will be quite impressed with you.

What Time Is It?

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Editor’s Note: When the following item was posted, this journal was entitled, “Steaming Along: Danko Whitfield In The 19th Century”

 

A bit of a dilemma presented itself this week. The publication you are reading refers, in its title, to the nineteenth century and to the Victorian Steampunk era. It purports to be related to my explorations in that time. Of course, I often travel forward or back in time on these pages. But with this new home I am creating in Winterfell Evergreen, comes this question: am I still living in the 19th century? This is Winterfell and when my main home was in Laudanum, there was no problem, as the Victorian Steampunk aesthetic is part of the landscape there. But outside of the southern towns, Winterfell is a dark fantasy realm – countryside, woods and rivers, rural. This sure ain’t Babbage.

The 19th century has been a good base of operations for me. There has been plenty to explore here and it has been a good jumping off point to other times as well. And the relationships the various Steamland nations have with each other and with other nations that don’t fit the Victorian Steampunk theme but do have similar interests, has led me to many interesting adventures.

But now, in Winterfell, don’t I live in an earlier time? Do I have to change the title of this publication? Do I have to change my overall focus or approach to this journal? Do I have to get a whole new wardrobe?

I hadn’t started shopping seriously for furniture for my castle. I had been putting it off. The task is daunting. But I don’t want to roam the halls of an empty castle either. So I unpacked my Victorian furniture and accessories. With all of the consolidation I’ve been doing, closing homes in Winterfell, Caledon, New Toulouse to make my new home here possible, I have a lot of spare furniture in my warehouse. (Yes, the old barn at Uncle Manuel’s farm became overloaded with my stuff, so I had to lease some warehouse space.)

Today, I had some of the warehoused furniture delivered to Evergreen and have been setting up sitting rooms in the castle. The Victorian pieces look good in this medieval castle. They do. Wouldn’t a Duke in the 19th century, living in an old castle, use the furniture of his own time period in his home. Of course, he would. Plus, a time traveller collects things in his travels and brings some of them back to his home time.

The more I think of it, the more I see no reason why I can’t live in the 19th century here in Evergreen, on the fringes of Winterfell. Why not? It won’t stop visitors from other time periods from coming here in their own time and interacting with me. What’s the problem? I trust you have heard of parallel time?

I shall not change the title of this publication nor my approach. I shall not change my style of clothes. I will go right along mashing up time periods here just as any other Winterfallen would, thinking nothing of it.

For if parallel time exists anywhere, it surely exists in Winterfell.

Crash Of The Day

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I like to try and get the first crash of the day out of the way early.

This morning was some sort of a record. Aside from an Instantaneous Crash – and who doesn’t enjoy that – or the Crash Before I Even Finish Rezzing type of crash, I do believe today’s first crash may hold on to become my Crash of the Day. We’ll see, the day is young. But morning brought a very nice arrival to this world with no apparent reason to fear a crash. As I sipped my coffee and gazed out my castle window at my ship, SS Ambassador, the day was further brightened by the collection of friends who appeared on the day’s roster as well as scattered chit chat on the radio. But before I could even begin to consider which friend to say hello to first or which station to follow (ISC Chat, Steampunks of Babbage, Winterfell) – BOOM! The crash.

One minute? Surely not two, no, no. I hadn’t even done anything yet. Not even a cam swing, just landed, rezzed…and that was all she wrote.

I relogged into the world and immediately dispatched a message to one of my friends, a former neighbor. “I like to get the first one over with early,” I said without explanation. “So I noticed,” came her quick reply. “Oh! That’s it! That’s my first line. Crash of the Day?” I reminded her. (I have been threatening to write this article for some time now.) “Oh yes,” she said, possibly thinking to herself, “Most certainly, I keep all of your comments about articles you may write in an index on little, white cards. I am always sorting through them, noting your changes. For yes, I have nothing more rewarding nor better to do with my life than keeping track of your ideas for articles.” Wiseass.

Ahem. I had, indeed, been threatening to write this article for some time now. But where to begin. There are so many types of crashes to consider, so much material to work with. Much more than a person would need for one article. And no, please, I do not wish to write a series, not on crashes. No, thank you. Experiencing them is bad enough without having to rehash too many. The fact that I am writing just this one is bad enough. It was only supposed to be a threat all along. There was never any intention… It was all just a little joke. Just something witty to say at the right moment, “One of these days I’m going to write an article called ‘Crash Of The Day.'” (Witty. I said it was just a little joke. Geesh.)

But before I could consider where to take this piece after that fine introduction above, just before the digressions, what do you think happened? BOOM! Crash.

Saturday. Take three.

At this rate maybe I won’t need to recall crashes from the past. Today’s output may suffice. I actually have crashes on my calendar this day. I am planning to attend an event in Winterfell at which there will be a number of people and much dancing. I understand there’s no cover but it’s a two-crash minimum. Rimshot.

Yes, there is much I could write about crashes. I could tell you the story of the crash that happened at the most inopportune moment. No, holy moly, what am I thinking? I can’t tell you that! Well, needless, to say we all have our little stories of the most inconvenient crashes and they cross over many categories, so I could be referring to most anything, really. Now, where was I? Yes, or I could regale you with tales about crashing at a dance or an important meeting or ceremony or… the list goes on and on. Then there are the crashes of others that have a direct impact on us. The singer at the concert for example or the “deejay” at the dance. Or the other end of the one I referred to above…almost referred to above. Well, we’ll leave that.

The stories go on, the categories too…Which was The Worst Crash – “Oh God, I hadn’t saved that Notecard!” Which was The Best Crash – “Phew! Got me outta that boring party!” There’s the ‘I’ll Never Find It Again Crash’ – “Oh no, it brought me back to the main landing point! Aaarrrggghhh!” And the “If Only I Hadn’t Crashed!” – “Where is she? She was standing right here! We were connecting! Damn!”

So, really, what can one say about crashes that we all haven’t said or thought sooooo many times before. It’s just that I’ve started to rank them now. It is beyond “The ______ Crash I Ever Had” stories, it is now a daily ranking. The Crash of the Day. It has come to this.

But at least now, I will no longer have to threaten to write an article called Crash of the Day.

Now I can just say, “Yeah, I once wrote an article called Crash of th —-

POOF!

(saw that one coming a mile away, didn’t you? smarty.)

…Not To Build

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Long ago one of my groups needed a new office building. We couldn’t find what we were looking for and there was a deadline involved. I decided to build something.

I had not even tried to construct a building since my earliest days in this world. I had tried and failed. More than once.

But I gave it a shot again and showed it to the landlord, a talented builder. He liked it. Or so he said. I told him I just put it there to meet the deadline and I would continue shopping for a prefabricated building. “Oh, no,” he said, “this will certainly do. You have done a nice job for your first build. A nice job.” “Well, I could hire someone and commission a build. I do want it to be right with the surroundings.” “Oh, no,” he said again, “This is just fine. It fits perfectly. It’s very nice.”

Was it actually good? Or did it show some potential and he was being encouraging? Or did it just stink and he was too polite to say so?

Some time later I came into the acquaintance of another builder. I asked him to take a look at this same building which we had now been using for some months. I asked him to use his most critical eye.

Oh my, did he ever! He criticized the design, the balance, the textures and the construction and each more harshly than the last. He did like the color, however.

So, I gave up after that. Awwww, you say, no! Don’t give up! Try, try again! No, it is hopeless, I assure you.

Just recently I was looking for buildings for a project I am working on. Not finding what I needed, I knew of course I should turn to a professional for a custom job. But, for some silly reason, I set out to construct one of the buildings myself.

When it was near completion, I showed it to a friend who is an accomplished builder. She is a good friend and I know she was a bit hesitant when I asked her to give an opinion. But she came to take a look. Her reaction?…

“You’re a writer and a good one and you like writing, don’t you?” she asked. “I do, of course.” “Then write,” she said, “don’t build. Anyone can build.”

Not me, apparently.

Well, at least she told it to me straight, not like the first guy. And at least she let me down easy, not like the second guy.

I am reminded of a phrase from the future, “Keep your day job, Danko.”

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