Monthly Archives: August 2010


Helen and I both enjoy playing games for the same reason: we love being with people and laughing.  We’re not necessarily very skilled at our games, but we like to give them a go!  I have just discovered a great game and a great company of people: C:SI (Combat Samurai Island) and ImperiuM.  To play the game, you need to buy a sword (I got mine, a Dragon Katana here) which brings with it a wealth of extra animations allowing your avatar to do things with the sword once unsheathed-  slash (forwards [click+w] or sideways [click+a /d], to kick  [click +s] or to block [c] … but also to do extra moves [e.g. double e – dash].  By wearing a HUD (Heads Up Display] you can track the effect of your actions on your health [the red line, showing you how much blood you have left] or your stamina [the blue line], and you can track your statistics [how many times you die or kill] .. and lots of other things which I haven’t learnt yet!  Once equipped, you can go to various combat areas in Second Life and find someone with whom to ‘spar’ and if you belong to a clan, you can get involved with group fights.

I expect that some people could pick this up quickly .. especially if they have played similar games before .. but I am not that sort of person.  I think that I am incredibly fortunate to have been introduced to and accepted by the ImperiuM clan, an official C:SI training school with excellent and attractive facilities for training, but, above all, a committed, talented, generous and fun ‘triumvirate’ [Caitlin Tobias, Pilar Whitfield  and Rattus Swashbuckler] who own the sim, offer clear, precise and methodical training, arrange fights,  make sure we keep to the rules, and allow fun! This well made video gives a flavour of its activities.

I would be delighted if any of my friends who are interested in this could come and watch and maybe eventually join me so that we could learn together.  I’m really pleased that Anna and Claudio have already done so!  Membership is not automatic. .. you have to fill in a short application form in order to be accepted …. ImperiuM invest a lot of their own energy, time and money in providing this group, so there has to be some level of commitment from both sides.  But I have found them to be very forgiving of the ‘faux pas’ I have made so far.  I think they know I’m keen and want to please!  I look forward to sharing more of my activities!


Arcachon and La Grande Dune du Pyla

Earlier this year, my lovely French neighbour Cyber Placebo introduced me to the talented and friendly owners and residents  of the Arcachon islands.  For nearly three hours, I drank in the sights, sounds, culture and fun of this fascinating place, and, thanks to my guide, discovered some of its hidden jokes!  There is just SO much to see there .. the ‘mairie’, (what a wonderful picture of Monsieur Sarkozy!), the exhibition area (currently showing a very clever bande dessinée called ‘La ptite’ Soph’ by Janis Allen), the vegetable garden (where you can help to do the watering … just touch the tap to sprinkle!),  the campsite (with its little ‘in-jokes’ for those who follow French camping films!) the chapel dedicated to rugby (relocated from another part of France .. its really does exist … Helen saw it on French TV!), the jetty and lots more.  You can travel around in a variety of vehicles;  I rode pillion on a scooter waiting for you by the square (tip: beware the slight bump and delay as you cross the second bridge from one sim to another!) but my favourite was a lovely boat ride with Cathychou Boa and DevLink Garside which took us to the Dune. I have since returned by motorbike (I was unceremoniously separated from the scooter when picked up by a speed camera) and I walked up the dune to enjoy the view and the mediatation opportunity before taking the hanglider.  A happy accident (i.e. diving by mistake) meant that I also discovered the beautiful seabed, with its colourful plants and seahorses.

Imagine my delight when I discovered that this experience inspired Helen to visit these places in her ‘real life’ last week.  She was totally amazed by the height of the dune (117 metres – the biggest in Europe) and totally exhausted after a childish run down to the Atlantic followed by a long slog up again! She chickened out of the chance to paraglide, but may do it next time! (But next time, she’ll make sure she’s combed her hair and is wearing something trendy for the benefit of the camera!!)

I will definitely be returning to Arcachon to enjoy speaking French and to further exploration.. and I know that Helen is hoping to return there by train from her conference in Bordeaux at the start of September so that she can explore Arcachon itself in more depth.  (And its shops!).  Thanks again to the residents who made my visit so enjoyable … as well as those mentioned above, Bernard Halcali, Eve Kazan, and Tupper Weir (the best name I have ever seen in SL!!)  A plus!

I want to go to Sardigna for real!

I am just bursting to tell everyone about the fantastic evening/ early morning I spent in SL’s Sardigna.   I had visited it some time  ago with Italianiamo (thanks Anna Begonia!), and remembered how much I had appreciated the place and the people … and I was even more impressed on my return.  A lovely group of generous, friendly, informative people looked after me .. proudly showing me around the sites and giving me the historical background, taking me on a magical air-borne boat trip around the island, telling me about the 5 different languages spoken there and – most importantly- being extremely patient with my halting Italian!  It was a special treat at the end to be shown the scene of a wedding feast and given and dressed in  a typical costume.  (See the family photo attached!)  Thanks SO much to you all for your time and your friendship! (Gavino Flores – Iceman Kaestner – Mysotis Flores -Blasco Draconia-  Pellegrina Nicoletti – Hilary Skizm – Roby Lenroy –  Ygerne Fenwitch – and many others!)

  I’ll definitely back .. and Helen has said she will definitely visit in real life… she even had the historical atlas out at tea time to understand more. 

The group has its own blog here.  Special thanks to Blasco Draconia for the language help (and incidentally he has created an ironic guide to avatar types on his blog here).