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Pergola

Nomad no more

I think I’ve finally found a cozy little corner in Mainland. I had to keep looking, almost everyday, for months, till I found this plot last weekend… by accident. You know that the SL map only updates once per day, so any changes taking place after 7:30 a.m. SLT (more or less) won’t show up until next morrow. That makes the SL map an unreliable tool to find parcels for sale. Yet it kind of became a hobby for me for the last ten months (yep, ten months).

So last Sunday, after buying Botanical’s new umbrella tree –that I’ll show you in a short while– I TPed to my beachy plot (the one with Llorisen’s cabana) to see if the tree could fit in the current mood. To tell you the truth, I didn’t like the way the poor thing looked in that dry and sandy land, so fearing it might die of dehydration if I planted it there, I opened up the map to check if by chance there was a small and greener inland plot for sale that I could use for occasional gardening tests like this. Several minutes in the search, I saw a 512 sq.m. plot somewhere in the northern lands with a tempting price. I TPed there… just to find it wasn’t as attractive as it seemed from a 2D preview, but then, next to it and just waiting for me, lay this glamorous slopy lot that was simply perfect for my new assignment.

Umbrella tree

I didn’t give it a second thought (well, I did, but don’t tell anyone) and clicked on Buy Land. Then I said to myself: “Let’s get down to work.” So after a couple of long laborious days, I can now properly present to you Botanical’s new Umbrella tree. Due to the nature of this RL tree, I never thought someone could upload a sterling digital counterpart to SL, but I’m super glad Kriss Lehmann proved me wrong, woot! This schefflera is a tropical native from Oceania, but it took a trip sometime ago and now is found in so many places that I would have never guessed its origin if I didn’t look it up in Wikipedia.

The house is Scarlet Creative’s Mountain Lodge from last March’s Arcade, and the Maritime pine tree (in the background) is also a relatively recent release from 3D Trees I haven’t had the chance to use before. The same goes for the Beech forest groves in the first picture.

Mountain Lodge from behind

Here is another shot of the Mountain Lodge, as seeing from the nonexistent backyard (there’s a hillside in its stead). The previous plot owner was also using this house, and I thought it looked perfect, so that’s why I went for it too. To the left of the house, there’s another 3D Trees release: an Apple tree.

Apple Tree

And you know what? That apple tree is available for free! It’s a gift from Nadine Reverie. I don’t think any other gardener is so kind to his and her customers as Ms. Reverie: jste nejlepší (I hope that means “you’re the best” in Czech). So head to her inworld store, get this fruitful tree and don’t forget to send her your most sincere thank you.

Promontory

As is obvious, the house sits on a rocky promontory made of Fanatik’s Rocks & Cliffs Wales set, with a twist: the basic textures are good enough, but I thought that Studio Skye texture looked simply superb. That’s why I added that small waterfall (from Studio Skye’s Waterfall building set) too.

Happy bushes

At the base of the cliffs, a small grove of Happy Mood’s yellow-green Shrubs add their shades to the mossy rock. The Dirt Road that leads the way to the house (review the first picture in this post) is another release from this creator.

Ox Eye Daisies

The last veggie release in this installment is the Ox Eye Daisy set from Heart Garden Centre. Large bushes are a little bit “primy” at 5 LI per clump, but hell they look so great! Just use with caution if your land capacity is not that generous.

Gazebo

Lastly, I couldn’t resist using Atelier Visconti’s Adria gazebo in the garden area, next to the waterfall. Considering that I was already running out of prims, the only decoration I could add were lame’s Kenway Sectional set, Culprit’s Seagrass rug, and Floorplan’s Captain’s desk lantern. 

Rest

With a few more prims I could have put out more stuff, but well… At least now I can take a rest from nomad life, at last!

Ouchi-Ya House 6

A parcel that is no more

Today is the last day of my largest parcel (2912 sq.m.); tier will expire in a few hours (maybe even before I finish this post) and the land will revert to its pseudo-owner. From now on I’ll be trying to live in a smaller plot while I wait for a chance to get a decent waterfront parcel with direct access to the open seas in Nautilus… if ever that comes true. Anyway, here are a few shots of the soon-to-be former plot for the “family album”.

House

The house is #06 from Ouchi-Ya ++HY’s++, a small store and cafe based on Bay City. I’ve been a fan of their buildings for quite some time now since they design small structures with a low prim count. The buildings are mostly prim-based, though they have started to add mesh elements recently. In its original state, this one is basically a one-room, single floor house, but I modified it a little bit, and created four separate rooms to accommodate a living room, dining room, kitchen and full bathroom in the first floor, and a bedroom in an upper level.

Backyard

I wasn’t going to post these pictures since (1) they don’t include any new garden product, which is the main topic of this blog, (2) I’m hardly a decent interior decorator –not to be so rude with myself and say that I suck big time in that department–, and (3) I’ve been concentrating in other matters as to spend too much time on this subject, yet there are a few products worth pointing out, such as, in the picture above (from left to right):

  • Trompe L’oeil – Pallet chair (brown, with blanket)
  • Dysfunctional Designs – round garden bed with yellow flowers (group freebie)
  • PILOT – Potted plant shelves, Garden tools & Garden supplies
  • MudHoney – Standing pillows
  • Cheeky Pea – Sara picnic basket (spring)
  • Tatty Soup – Lowe rug (plum; Tatty Soup is no more, but you can find this designer’s stuff at her new store, Junk)
  • Alouette – Homemade tent (I think this was a Lazy Sunday release, but it’s on her store at regular price)

Bathroom

And here we have the most “unnatural” thing in SL: a bathroom (unless it’s for cybersex of course), but I love both that toilet and the shower, so why not put them out of my inventory? The toilet in particular, with all that decoration, is just 2 LI, so now you know why it’s a must show.

  • Dutchie – Vintage copper shower, bathrobe (white, modified to look blue-grey), classic medicine cabinet & bathroom mat
  • LAQ Decor ~ Toilet (white)
  • bitter vanilla – Disinfection bowl

Bedroom up

This is how the house interior looks like, with the improvised second level and bedroom.

LISP Summerhouse

And this is part of the”backyard”, with LISP’s Persimmon Summerhouse and Cheeky Pea’s Deconstructed chairs dominating the scene. Other elements:

  • Cheeky Pea – Bowl planter, Deconstructed side table, Ansel wall art frames & Ansel console table
  • MudHoney – Melissa drink tray
  • The Loft – Wagon table (bleached)
  • Culprit – Heirloom rug
  • Trompe L’oeil – Steampunk lamp (gacha)
  • M&M Deco – Calathea #3
  • 22769 ~ [bauwerk] – Fabric lamp (ceiling mounting)
  • what next – Vintage poster (Libraire) & Row of books
  • keke – Summer bottle
  • MonkeyWorks – Potted plant
  • Anaconda S – Pot plant #7
  • LISP – Ygritte reclaimed divider (natural mirror, modded to add transparency effect)
  • Tartessos Arts – Panorama telescope

If I were normal like most people, I would keep this house and plot for a long time. But no, I couldn’t stay in the same plot for more than three months… The hell!

Seaside Cottage

Erasure

Last week, while working on a parcel where I was to place Trompe L’Oeil’s new Seaside cottage I noticed the inventory folder where I used to keep all my furniture, houses, potted plants, prim food, walls and fences, pavers and boardwalks, gazebos and whatnot relatively well organized was missing. Initially I thought I had mistakenly moved it and placed it inside another folder (by accidentally dragging it to another location), as it has happened before, but a quick search proved me wrong. Then I thought SL was misbehaving, as usual, and the folder has gone temporarily unavailable due to some error (a friend of mine claims to have experienced that in the past). I logged off and then logged back in several times, even with three different viewers, to see if that would “unblock” the folder… but it didn’t show up either. I tried other tricks I found on the Internet, what other people in similar situations had tried before with or –more frequently– without success, and again, nothing happened. Several attempts later, and with no positive results, I just quit, resigned.

Almost two weeks after waking up to that nightmare, I stopped trying to figure out what erased six years of records of my virtual doings. It is clear the exercise is futile: what’s already lost, forever is gone.

Seaside Cottage and Heat's trees

When you think SL is purely a “computer” world, you can think of hundreds of fixes to this mishap, from tools to perform automatic backups of your inventory (even paying a fee to LL for storage) to methods to quickly recover deleted objects (again, maybe even paying LL a fee for the minuscule hassle). I have a vague idea of reading somewhere that’s actually the way copybotting was born, though, so that may well explain why such tools don’t exist or aren’t allowed in SL anymore. All that remains is to think of this misadventure as the virtual equivalent of a RL natural disaster of which you have no control at all, like a hurricane or a tornado that wipes out and sweeps away all your belongings in an instant. I even imagined all my furniture flying up and up a gruesome funnel accompanied by Dorothy and Toto, and landing several hundred sims away. A phenomenon like that doesn’t take inventory of your possessions to find out what’s more valuable to you and then skip it, nor selectively picks up miscellany only. It blows everything away and leaves you in limbo, not knowing what to do or where to go.

Seaside Cottage

Yet, I have to be grateful and express my sincerest thanks to Winter Thorn, of what next?, Kriss Lehmann, the Botanical guy, and Elle Kirshner, of Second Spaces, for helping me to recover some of the loses right after the accident. Winter uses a redelivery system in her store, so I was able to get back the things I have bought from what next? in the last two years without disturbing her at all. I had a problem with two products that wouldn’t deliver, though (they showed up on the list, but the redelivery didn’t come out), so I contacted Winter and told her what had happened and asked her if she could check the thingy out. She did that and went even further: she sent me a copy of every single product I have ever bought from what next?, both from the inworld store and the marketplace. Kriss was incredible too. When I contacted him I was hoping he could send me the products I bought from Botanical during the Summerfest 2013 event, a mere two weeks before (yes, those were gone too, and the items from The Garden event as well). Instead he sent me a notecard detailing everything I had bought from Botanical during the last year and then some, and asked me if I needed all of that back. And Elle, she even accepted a picture from this blog as a proof of purchase of one of my favorite Second Spaces products ever, because I didn’t have the proper transaction history details from SL website. You guys are awesome!!!

Heart's Wildwood oaks

I guess there’s always something positive to be learned even from a bad experience, so here are few things I’m now more aware of, for your consideration:

  • Consider buying from stores that have some redelivery system implemented (for copyable products only, obviously). In its absent, at least see if the store owner has a customer-friendly redelivery policy. Why? Because, in case of disaster the redelivery system will let you get a new copy of a previously bought item without disturbing the store owner, or in the case of existing a redelivery policy only, you could ask the shopkeeper for help with confidence. Of course, it doesn’t mean you should ignore the rest of the market, but stores with redelivery systems care more about their customers (that’s a guess).
  • If your favorite store has no redelivery system, encourage its owner(s) to implement one. You may need to give him/her some convincing reasons of why that’s a good idea, like having happier customers or a simpler/more effective customer service department, perhaps? It may be that they prefer if you buy the product again, not because that would be easier, but because that’s how they earn their living, you know. So you may encounter strong resistance that way.
  • In case of trouble, it may be reason enough to ask for help if the missing product costs 300L, 500L or 1000L, but hell, it’s faster if you simply buy that 25L or 50L item again, don’t you think?
  • Copy/Mod objects are the best. I always try to buy copyable objects because I’m always rebuilding things, and it’s easier to select all objects at once and click delete rather than going one by one and taking them back (I’m lazy, I know). Now there’s a more practical reason to keep buying copyable items: they are the only candidates for redelivery. Non-copyable but transferable objects are a one time buy, and you know that, so don’t be silly and ask a shopkeeper to redeliver trans products.
  • Every 30 days, make a backup of your Transaction History, from the Second Life’s website. Ages ago, we had access to a longer transaction record, but at some point LL decided we didn’t need that, and so now there’s only a month of data available at all times. If you need help, the store owner will ask you to prove you bought the object in the first place (logical, no?).

Seaside Cottage

There are a few questions that now I ask myself regarding SL stores and redelivery systems. Since I never thought about this before (being the first time I have had to use them), I wonder, for instance:

  • If some stores have redelivery systems, why is it that the rest do not? Is it something difficult to implement? Is it costly? Is it too much trouble?
  • Why is it that the Marketplace doesn’t have a redelivery component for copyable products? Again, is it something difficult to implement? Is it not worth it? Is it too much work for the computer to handle? Would that be too much to ask from LL?

Finally, here is a list of a few buildings and furniture stores with redelivery terminals (that I’m aware of). There are no landscaping/gardening stores in this list because I didn’t lose any of my greenies (they are safe in a different folder) but undoubtedly that’s something I will check as well.

  • what next?
  • cheeky pea
  • PILOT
  • Trompe L’Oeil
  • POST – though there’s no sign or mechanism in store
  • Breno
  • Kuro
  • Dysfunctional Designs
  • TIA
  • Barnesworth Anubis
  • Fanatik
  • Mudhoney
  • End of Daze

Seaside Cottage and Wildwoods

You’ll keep seeing their products showcased in this blog because, after this incident, they have won my gratitude and trust just for having that simple script active. To the rest, I would like to encourage you to emulate these nice fellows and use a redelivery system as part of your regular customer service. Maybe most clients won’t be using it, and that’s nice, but if it doesn’t hurt to have one, why not?

Seaside Cottage and Wildwoods

{ In the pictures } House: Trompe L’Oiel’s Seaside Cottage (available at Collabor88 right now). || Trees: Lilith Heart‘s Wildwood giant oaks forest and shrubs. You may have been seeing those big oaks for a long time now, being basically the Wild Oaks that have been in the market for two years now, but they have been reworked and arranged in mesh modules to create impressive forests, with roots, ferns, saplings and floor bases. If you already have the old oaks, maybe you can skip this release, but if you want lots of details, then this is an essential package.