How many times do you TP somewhere just to find out, in that brief instant, that your “alter” is waiting for you at the landing point? And what’s the chance of he or she being a werewolf? The place in the picture is Van Auster’s POST store in Orpheum {slurl}. I didn’t stay to say hello though, he was AFK.

The first name is the same despite orthographic differences. He picked –possibly– an Italian variety, judging by the initial G (he’s also a relatively young avie,  due to the fact that he has no surname), while mine corresponds to late Medieval Spanish, when the letter X was often used to represent the sound of –more or less– modern Spanish J. This is, of course, a simplistic explanation of language evolution, since modern Spanish took several turns before getting to the current phonetic system. In any case, the name comes from Jericho, which is the name of one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world {url}. So there you have an idea of how my name should be pronounced.

Baked… good!

Because there’s no need to weight-watch in SL. Suitable for some training in “resistance” too (hehe). Here is a small Japanese pâtisserie full of eye-candy and some other cuties. I found it while rummaging for sweets for my dys-functional café, by way of udud nikki blog {url} (Thanks!). To visit the Kokopelli Bakery, follow the gingerbread man {slurl}.

Banyan Tree


Normal trees grow like, you know, normal: they have a root system that runs below the surface, a trunk that goes up to the sky, and branches that spread throughout. Of course they have also twigs and leaves that fall off regularly and make people mad. But trees do that just for fun. That’s a risky behavior, though, because there’s some really mad people out there that go like crazy about it, and then go and grab a chainsaw and massacre the poor things that can’t run for their lives.

Most trees look so peaceful though, unmovable by the stress of daily life. Solace, that’s another word I can easily associate with trees. Even shelter. Most of these words entail a positive meaning, an association that may explain why some wise groups worship them. But as in any generous clan, some of them carry a bad reputation of some sort. For instance, members of the Ficus “family” are sometimes portrayed as sociopaths… that, or they are extremely affectionate, so much so that they embrace other trees so profoundly that they can hug them to death. For obvious reasons, they are called strangler figs. That’s an undeserved reputation, though, because they don’t climb up on other trees purposefully and then start to grow up and down and everywhere. Blame it on the birdies, because they eat the fig fruits, deposit the seeds on another tree, if that’s the case (don’t ask me to describe how they do that, I’m sure you know they don’t go about collecting figs in baskets), and then the seeds have no other choice but to germinate and start their life cycles wherever they are. If it happens to be on another tree, well you can guess the roots will snake down the trunk of the host tree, and then deep to the ground, or they can hang from branches so Tarzan and his ape mates can swing from tree to tree like bungee jumping, et cetera.

Big trees with aerial root systems like those of the banyan tree are quite common throughout the tropics. They fascinate temperate tourists that quickly go into a what-the-fuck-mode when they see one for the first time. And for a good reason because when these trees are old, they are wide and imposing, a real sight to behold. But in SL, you can’t have a banyan tree on a 512 sq.m. plot, or hardly on a 1024 sq.m., as I had to do for these pictures (shrinking the tree significantly as a matter of fact). They need some space to bloom as designed. The recently released Banyan tree from 3D Trees {slurl} in particular is a prime, but not primy, example. I’d suggest at least a 4096 sq.m. lot to  better place this 18-prim baby.

The first Ficus I owned in SL was Organica’s {slurl} Ficus benjamina. Despite being quite an elegant tree, I rarely used it because it is 61 prims, including 4 for the shadow. The root system was mainly simulated by the trunk texture, with a few of them sculpted around the base and one up. This tree was later replaced (though it’s still available) by…

Ficus 1 (redux), that lowered the prim count to 24, and eliminated the shadow. Even this one was put to sleep with the coming of…

Ficus 2, that became the lowest prim Ficus tree in that store, at only 6. Another pack, Ficus 3 (not shown), included two gigantic behemoths that could only be used in a rightful way on 1/4 sim parcels –at best– and up.

With the advent of mesh, Organica introduced Ficus 4 (above), which, from my point of view, was a remake of Ficus 2. This one gave way to a more ample version with more elaborate and independent aerial roots in Ficus 5. I took this last shot (below) in Organica’s sim since I don’t own a copy of this tree myself.

It may seem this is the story of Organica’s Ficus family line. It’s not my fault that their trees are so well made and attractive. There are some other strangler trees out there. The following two stand out as best (imho).

Buddhabeats‘ Bodhi Tree 2012 {slurl} is another example of a Banyan tree, but with a  less robust appearance. Its name points to the Sacred fig species (Ficus religiosa), which is tightly associated with Buddhist folklore.

The last in line is Julia Hathor’s Exotic Banyan tree. I almost skip this one because no matter what viewer or drawing distance I use –among other settings– I never fail to crash when entering Creative Fantasy {slurl}. I was able to get there for this shot using the latest version of Niran’s Viewer (I tried four crashing viewers in all). At 41 prims, it stands as the second most primy Ficus tree in this quick survey, but will surely be very welcome by Julia’s fans among gardening lovers.