plus ça change

plus-ca-change

Furillen moved into a new region this week, so if you haven’t done so already, reset your landmarks to here. The move was simply a question of giving ourselves more scope to expand, with more prims to exploit (20,000, rather than 5,000), and for events, a higher avatar limit (100, rather than 20). Having ‘relaunched’ Furillen in early January with a major new layout including the hotel, fishing huts and pergola on the hill, I resisted the temptation to make further changes now. So the sim was simply replicated, and for a few days I had a the slightly bizarre experience of teleporting between two sims that were exactly the same … so much so that at once stage I began putting things back at the old sim, mistaking it for the new one.

There are, of course, some very small changes, but you’d need to have quite an eye for detail to spot them. No doubt somebody will!

So … what next?

The first priority is to close La Digue du Braek. I won’t be writing sad epitaphs for the sim, and we won’t be holding a ‘goodbye Digue’ party, as SLers are sometimes wont to do. Digue started quietly and it will end quietly (and we’ll be stealing bits of it for Furillen). The Flickr pool speaks for itself : well over a thousand pictures from 241 members in less than three months.

I always wondered about how the two sims would interact, and it was fascinating to watch. For a while we thought that Digue was going to overtake Furillen and it would be the latter that we’d have to close … but Furillen has an incredibly dedicated following, and for whatever reason the sim appears to draw in a steady stream of visitors who stay at the sim for long periods of time, day in day out. So when it came to deciding which sim to let go while we ‘re-allocate’ resources, it was a no brainer.

Furillen has changed a lot during the seventeen months of its life. It appeared quietly, with no big announcements, and grew partly because of the incredibly strong Flickr group – great photography is still a major feature of the sim, and the flow of pictures has never dried up. Then there have been popular (and, in their scale, quite unusual) events – weekends devoted to Bowie, Radiohead, and Pink Floyd when the entire sim was transformed, and the recent Star Wars rebuilds we staged over the winter vacation.

An important truth about these events was that I like building and designing sims best of all, so any excuse to rip things up and rebuild is welcome. I don’t see the point of having a sim and just letting it stand, unchanged …

There were photo competitions, parties, and a bar – all great fun, but they involved more work than I can realistically do given my real life commitments. So, more recently, Furillen has settled into just being itself, and I must say that I like it best this way.

Having said this, we all like to tinker and the sim will doubtless see more changes in the coming months, and – quite possibly – more events. We will see …

So once the last rites have been read and Digue has been closed, we’ll be messing about in the sky above Furillen and coming up with something that will enhance the sim as an interesting space to hang around, explore and enjoy art, culture and the company of others.

And if it sounds as though I haven’t much of a clue about exactly what we’re doing up there, you’d be absolutely right …

 

Amona Savira

I am shocked and saddened indeed to learn that Amona Savira has died. She was a wonderful photographer who took some of the finest and most original images of this sim, which I post here as a tribute. I knew her only through these pictures, and the generous comments she always made on the work of others. May she rest in peace.

somewhere in the distance

as it is and will be

I'll be heading north

furillen rooftop

furillen the volumes

landscape Furillen

Star Wars Furillen

then to darkness

Drive-by shooting: pictures from Digue

While Furillen seems busier than ever lately, La Digue du Braek has been going through a quiet spell. It’s an interesting Second Life dynamic, though. These sims often have a similar daily visitor count, but while Furillen seems constantly busy, often with between 10 and 15 avatars there at any one time, you’ll usually find Digue with only a handful of visitors.

People come to Furillen and hang around, sometimes for hours. Why? My guess is that it’s simply because they see other people there. They land at Digue, and often move on because … they see few other people there. As ever in Second Life, numbers attract numbers, and even though we ostensibly come to places like Furillen and Digue simply to stand around on our own, even ‘AFK’, we seem to prefer it when others are also standing around – alone – in the same place.

I talked about this over a year ago. I have no idea whether I’m right or wrong, it’s just an impression.

All of which is a fairly irrelevant way of saying that those who do dwell at Digue take nice pictures, and there have been some great images posted in the group, which has reached nearly 1100 posts from 232 members. Here are my own personal favourites from the past week or so …

Bird's eye.

Mother of Mercy

Clandestino

Evening stranger

L'extérieur des clôtures

Beach Pilings at La Digue du Braek

In streams of light I clearly saw the dust you seldom see

Agressing the sky

wandering_world432

Industrial Ballet

La Digue du Braek_The docks

It's Not Worth Getting Wet

Industrial intrusion

Barflies In Hats

La Digue du Braek (SL)

La Digue ....

La Digue du Braek

La Digue du Braek

Night Rider

Nothing I do feels right...

La Dique du Braek

Windmills

My only one...

Mankind is busy manufacturing its way to extinction

@La Digue du Braek

@La Digue du Braek

@La Digue du Braek

La Digue du Braek

She is breathing

I know ...

Furillen update

Thanks to everyone who has visited the sim since it re-opened last weekend and welcomed it back inworld. It has been good to see old friends, and fun – as always – to meet new visitors.

Thanks especially to those who have donated $$ to its upkeep – if you enjoy the sim, giving just a little every time you visit is the best way to keep it going.

I’ve spent time this week decorating: bringing some things back as they were, while changing and renewing others. We’re all busy, so here are the main points:

  • the hotel rooms are quirkier than ever – Laura and I are sharing the work, and collaborating on some of the rooms, which will change on an ongoing basis;
  • there is a new gallery space in the south west corner – a wonderfully moody building that suits the sim, currently showing slides of the real Furillen;
  • the ferry is back, many people seem to have missed it;
  • bloggers, you can rez objects, there is a 15 minute auto return – if you have trouble rezzing it’s usually the snow, or mesh-on-mesh, just keep on trying;
  • inworld group – this does now exist (it’s called Furillen Redux), but you don’t need to be a member to rez objects, it is really just for announcements;
  • the future – there is no fixed plan, I’ll simply see how it goes.

That’s all.

The history of Bar Cafe Fabriken

In exactly one week, Furillen’s new Bar Cafe Fabriken will open its doors, with a music event on Saturday evening, European time. I’ll be announcing details of this during the week. Here is some history.

Bar Cafe Fabriken
Backstory – Fact or Fiction?

by Micky Siamendes

A quick Furillen recap to start with: The island gained importance in the beginning of the 20th century, when a German company established a limestone industry there. In the 1970s the industry closed down and the Swedish military took over the island, turning it into an area off limits to the public. Radar stations were placed on the island back then and decommissioned again in the late 1990s. But the Swedish military is still operating smaller installations on Furillen with a reduced number of troops.

Bar Backupstory 01

Being away from family and friends the remaining troops stationed on Furillen had a hard time to fight boredom on the rather dull and deserted island. To prevent them from depression and cabin fever, the Swedish Department of Defense  decided to convert one of the abandonned buildings which had formerly been used by the encryption department (the troops themselves had called it the “Swedish Bletchley Park bunker”) into some sort of event location.

Bar Backupstory 02

That is when Bar Cafe Fabriken was born. The plan was to provide entertainment on one hand, thinking along the lines of Marilyn Monroe visiting the troops in South Korea to cheer them up, artists and entertainers were to be invited  over to Furillen on a regular basis.

Bar Backupstory 03

The second approach of Bar Cafe Fabriken was to simply provide a space for the troops, where they could meet and  socialize, talk, laugh, dance, chill, and even more, where they could be creative, express themselves, have a stage and  think outside the box.

Bar Backupstory 04

Bar Backupstory 05

A very unusual approach for a military authority, but soon it turned out that the Ministry’s plan worked out just great and exceeded any expectations. The Furillenite troops were really enthusiastic about the new addition to their otherwise  pretty boring routine. They started to engage and become active participants of “Bar Café Fabriken”. It seemed as if the  bar was not only affecting their free time but also their working life. All of a sudden there was a feeling of teamwork,  togetherness and a sense of responsibility among them like never before.

Bar Backupstory 06

Meanwhile “Bar Cafe Fabriken” has become a synonym for “Grant space and freedom instead of confining rules”, and  the Furillenite troops are a thriving community. Let’s keep this spirit up at Virtual Furillen!

f u r i l l e n f u n k

funky gif

Yes!

So we had our evening of funk at Furillen. The playlist – put together in consultation with Micky and Vallys – was awesome, with almost five hours’ worth of classics, from Earth, Wind Fire’s September …

… through It’s Raining Men by the Weather Girls …

… and Le Freak by Chic …

… to Carl Douglas’s Kung Fu Fighting …

Besides great tunes, we installed a fabulous dance floor …

Disco Fever

Funk Night down at Furillen

Furillen disco

… and there were some terrific outfits …

Shakin' it Down

Disco Inferno

Our resident video artist, Dooozy, was there, not only making sure we had the funniest dances, but recording a movie of the event, which she’ll be working on this week.

excited gif

I love this music, and had great fun putting the playlist together. So if anyone wants a repeat later this Spring…

Joker-Yelling-Hit-Me-The-Dark-Knight

Meanwhile, our plans include …

  • a series of exhibitions based on the first (real) life photography and painting of some of our favourite Second Life artists;
  • a series of room changes at the hotel, with some guest decorators;
  • music evenings – I suppose we can call them parties – featuring heavy metal, the blues, and more;
  • a music weekend based around Pink Floyd;
  • a new building or two;
  • more weather.

No doubt that last point will provoke some extreme reactions, from …

yippee gif

… to …

anger gif

On that note, I wanted to share something that intrigued and (ever so slightly) disturbed me this week.

listening gif

I was having a ‘debate’ with someone who was being disruptive on the sim, who told me that I should be ‘grateful for his custom’.

come again gif

Yes you heard it right.

‘Sim owners like you should be grateful for my custom’.

That’s what he said. Verbatim.

Custom?

Sarcastic-Hahaha-No-Reaction-Gif

I don’t know what he’d bought either, and I can tell you for certain that he hadn’t made a donation.

Ever.

But even if he had, his behaviour was in breach of Furillen’s one and only rule

don't be a diuck gif

Which only leaves me to share the best joke I heard this week. It’s slightly non-PC, so please look away now if you’re squeamish that way.

It was about the dyslexic who walked into a bra …

haha gif

Happy Sunday !

radiohead retrospective

The much-anticipated r di he d @ f ri l n event took place at the weekend …

Radiohead Event @ Furillen

The sim was completely full for a long period of time during Saturday afternoon and evening, and there was a constant stream of visitors throughout the event.

Radiohead party in Furillen_006

Who'S'Who ? @ Furillen

radio waves 11

I particularly enjoyed hearing the responses of people who arrived on Saturday morning to find that the sim had received a radical makeover …

Sunflowers, Tall Trees and Bubbles

… and again on Sunday, after further changes were made overnight …

furillen flower pot but where is bill and ben the flower pot men

As with our Bowie weekend, the event was mainly about taking a deep dive into the music itself, rather than simply listening to a few big hits. So we had around 20 hours’ worth of music streaming through, including extended versions of all 8 studio albums, some early demo recordings, and plenty of live material, with some bootleg tapes thrown in for good measure.

wow-gif

Well, ok – that was for the geeks and nerds among us …

priest music

Besides the music, the sim was given the Radiohead treatment.

We had fake plastic trees …

Surreal Spring

radio waves 17

… a green plastic watering can (for her fake Chinese rubber plant) …

For her fake Chinese rubber plant

… a giant radio …

In rainbow and Radio

Radio @ Furillen

and, of course, a huge rainbow …

In Rainbows

Besides all of that, we lightened the mood with a hippie wagon instead of the usual airstream …

Do You Want Some ? @ Furillen

radiohead  @furillen (2)

… fields of daisies …

Too much, Too bright, Too powerful

… and sunflowers in which to dance among butterflies …

V ! flower power

radio waves 18

radio waves 20

… and hummingbirds …

Elusive

… making a beautiful scene with the ferris wheel in the background …

Lights, Smells & Colors of a lost Garden  >

des soleils ouverts, multipliés

As ever, Furillenites came into their own by taking some really great pictures. What I enjoy most about the design of the sim is that it has some very strong features – the slag heaps, the tree line, the pier, the airstream – that can be played around with in this way.

radiohead  @furillen

We even had a different ground texture on Sunday, just to push the surrealist look a bit further …

Against Silver Blue

Ra i he d and r in

For anyone who missed the event, I’ll be keeping the sim in Radiohead mode for a day longer, so do log on and visit – it won’t look like this ever again! There is some Radiohead-inspired art on display – a couple of installations and a slideshow of great pictures – which is well worth a look.

As always, such events are characterized by conviviality as much as anything else, and we’ll certainly be holding more in future. Watch out here and in the inworld group announcements for details soon.

Meanwhile, you all – surely – know that this is the day when news about a tour and (possibly) Radiohead album number 9 will break. Check out these leaked documents, hot from reddit.

The first shows an awesome poster – real or not, who knows? – advertising the rumoured Paris gig in May …

radiohead paris

… while this is supposedly an email – real or not, who knows? – about a gig in Mexico later this year (check announcement date!!) …

radiohead email

So it’s happening.

Today.

Right?!

after all this time gif

Furillen round-up

It has been an eventful few days at Furillen.

First: The rain went away, returned and went away again – and you can expect more ‘intermittent showers’ this week. I enjoy having changeable weather on the sim, and will work on more variations during the coming weeks.

weather mixed gif

Second: We have a competition winner – an album of photographs put together by Cindering Blocks. As I explained in the IM sent around to the group inworld, although this was a very strong field, three of the four judges had this album in 1st or joint 1st place, so it is a decisive winner. We admired the quality of the photographs in their own right, as well as the thematic coherence of the album as a whole.

I found all eleven entries very strong, and will be publishing each one as a blog post – at a rate of two per day – for the remainder of this week. Please note that the order they are being published in is simply the order in which they appear in the competition Flickr stream. We didn’t rank the other entries, and none is implied by this ordering. So …

don't be suspicious

I have already settled on a format for the next round, and will be announcing this later on. As I said in another post, while competitions are not for everyone, they provide a focus and challenge that some people enjoy – and there are plenty of other ways to be creative at Furillen.

So let’s not get too precious with ourselves …

art tears

Third: We had our Abba event. We yelped to Dancing Queen, sobbed (with Micky) to SOS, and enjoyed some of the more obscure ‘B-sides’ in Abba’s back catalogue (although Mamma Mia has rendered many of these a lot less obscure).

As for the event itself, the sim was full the whole time and several people couldn’t get in at all. And the costumes? These pictures surely speak for themselves.

ABBA night at Furillen 07

ABBA night at Furillen 29

ᗅᗺᗷᗅmania @ Furillen

Panic ensued when the spheroid aliens attacked.

Chiquititas

Micky S.

Vallys.

Abba night.

ᗅᗺᗷᗅmania @ Furillen

ᗅᗺᗷᗅmania @ Furillen

ABBA party @ Furillen

Fourth: Furillen has a wheel.

furillen's wheel

That’s right.

La Grande Roue

A wheel.

ferris wheel éléctrique @furillen

And it actually works.

Half wheel @furillen

I thought I might be able to say something interesting about the name ‘Ferris wheel’ here but that turns out to be incredibly boring.

boring gif

So, instead, I’ll say that what I enjoy most about these contraptions is their utter pointlessness.

pointless gif

Ferris wheels don’t even make good metaphors. You don’t agree? Try this …

Life is like a ferris wheel…sometimes you’re up, sometimes you’re down.

… I mean, seriously?

Or …

Hope is a Ferris wheel-
It takes Low and High;
And when you reach the Top,
It’s like you can touch The Sky!

… which made me feel a bit like this …

clint gif

… and prompts me to ask whether there is something about the shape of a wheel that encourages such horse shit.

horse shit

But it’s Monday. You have more important things to do.

La Rouε Tournε @ Furillen

See you on the wheel.

Circles. Ups and downs

Furillen in the rain

Furillen in the rain (17)

As a glance through its Wiki page will testify, March 1st is not an especially significant day of the year. But to me it always feels as though we turn a corner at this moment – decisively away from Winter and towards the Spring.

spring-gifs12

Given that Spring came a little earlier to Furillen this year, I thought it might be nice to celebrate my own small ‘first day of Spring’ moment with a gift from a Londoner to everyone who visits the sim.

london rain gif.gif

I made it rain.

Shit weather @ Furillen

This isn’t – it must be said – your typical London rain. Believe it or not, on average London actually has less rain annually – 29 inches – than, say, Zurich (42.5 inches), Amsterdam (31 inches) or even Milan (39 inches).

What London gets is drizzle, which can go on for days, adding little to the annual rainfall figures but making a mess of your clothes and hair.

dr who hair

(Well not quite like this, but he was the best Dr Who and I just had to share this gif.)

The playwright Peter Shaffer once said that if New York was an oil painting, London was a watercolour. I see what he means about the water …

big ben rain

At Furillen we have honest rain. Or to put this another way …

heavy rain gif

… it is absolutely pissing down.

Dancing in the Rain

So being what they are, Furillenites have celebrated in the only way they know how … by taking some great rainy pictures …

Little hearts

Dancing in the Rain

Rain in Furillen

rain at furillen

… and by holding a special ‘flash(flood?)mob’, and taking some terrific pictures of that, too …

Les Parapluies de Furillen

Flashmob again

Regenschirme...

Rainy flashmob @ Furillen

Colorful rain at Furillen

Furillen in the rain (8)

Florilège de Parapluies @ Furillen

Just to be clear, the rain won’t be a permanent feature of the sim. The sun will return just as suddenly as the rain appeared.

Sunrise from Hand from internetcurios on tumblr resized

But bear with me over the next few days as I make this rain work as well as I can – reducing the lag, sorting out the soundscape (we have some very soothing rain sounds and some great thunder echoing around).

thunder gif

I also want to pack everything away into a rezzer so that – as in first life – the Furillen weather can change in an instant.

One or two of you have asked why didn’t I use a weather system. I actually tested everything. On the basis of those tests, the rain I am using is – I think – as good as it gets for the effect I was looking for.

So if you haven’t seen it yet, do visit soon.

Yellow-Umbrella-Wallpaper-High-Resolution-Stock-Images-532

There is even a free umbrella.