Posted by: ganymedes1985 | August 27, 2010

Home is where the heart is…

Some might know it, some will only now find out: Ursa Major will be sold. It’s staying in the family though, as Thaumata and Kisa will purchase it.

This does mean that there will be an extensive (read: complete) sim overhaul, and as a result all renters were asked to clear their lands before the transaction is made between Raul and Thau.
In other words: bye bye Costagravas Yalisi… and farewell Ursa Bazaar.

picture by Lano Ling

We’ll stay at Ursa though, everybody preferred to stay together, so under the new management most of us will create a new home. This also means that I’m not sad to see it all go, I knew things like these aren’t forever, but after all the time I put into it, I want mementos of it… pictures, the more the better, in plenty of styles and executions. Sad thing is: my RL schedule doesn’t permit me to take any at all.

I’ll be away this coming weekend and the majority of next week. Work is claiming me too with long days at the office since I’m “on watch” for the entire month of August, and as from the 6th of September I’ll transfer to an other department with a more intense work load. SL right now really is on “maintenance mode”, know what I mean?

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So I planned to ask around for pictures, I first tackled my Flickr list, but as Flickr is blocked at work I had to do that hastily in the few I hours I’m home before I have to go to bed, and I know I forgot plenty of people.
If you read this, and you have a bit of spare time between now and the 5th of September, and think of yourself as good with scenic pics, feel free to use these SLurls to my house and / or Ursa Bazaar to help me get as much varied “souvenir pictures” of my creations at Ursa Major.
Don’t let that set you back to take pictures of other areas too! Some people already packed up their things, but others still have to pack.

I leave you total artistic freedom to play with lighting or post-process the pictures you take to your own style and interests, for all I know you like doing the gloomy dark stormy scenic pics with rain and thunder and whatever, or go totally super-happy-fun with bright colors, it’s up to you!
When finished, please contact me so I can give you my email so you can send me the pic in the full resolution version.

There’s also no time limit on when the pictures have to be finished, you can work on them for as long as you need, taking them however should really happen before the 5th of September, as from the 6th I’ll start linking, boxing and packing everything up to assure Raul, Thau and myself that by the 11th (one day before the transaction) the entire sim is empty, and Ursa Major, as it was, is only accessable from within our hearts…

Posted by: ganymedes1985 | August 9, 2010

Day trip to Walcheren (NL)

My grandparents don’t come all the way up to Ghent very often (they live on the other side of Flanders), but when they do they tend to make it a bit special.
Last Sunday, they took me and my mom to the former island of Walcheren (a peninsula in the province of Zeeland in the Netherlands), which is only about 1 hour by car from Ghent. I had been to Middelburg and Vlissingen once before, but this time we toured around by car all over the former island.
And yes, “former island” is the correct term, thanks to the expertise of land winning the Dutch have Walcheren is now a peninsula.

Middelburg * click for larger resolution

So after the tunnel under the Westerschelde (a delta-ish broadening of the river Schelde that’s broad and deep enough to allow cargo ships) we arrived in Middelburg to find it nearly empty. Seriously, hardly a single person was out in the streets. It would soon be clear that most of them were all in church, as we heard powerful chanting coming from within various churches on our stroll around the old town centre.

Middelburg * click for larger resolution

Sadly I didn’t snap a lot of pictures in Middelburg, which is quite picturesque when you go explore outside the main streets, as I knew my batteries wouldn’t last very long (I seriously need new rechargeable ones) but here’s an example of the narrow streets no car could ever access, the coziness some people try to give to their tiny homes or the strangeness of a flamboyant light orange (shows rather yellow on the pic) crown on top of a church…
I know they’re crazy about their Royals and the color orange, but personally I think that crown totally clashes with the building.

Anyhoo, after Middelburg we drove around various villages on the way to the town of Westkapelle, which is the most western positioned town of The Netherlands. We had a picnic on the seaside promenade with loads of healthy air filling our lungs as we stuffed ourselves with crab and bay shrimp sandwiches, grapes, a plum each, those small tomatoes that are ideal as snack and plenty of cold (prepared) crayfish. YUM!

Veere * click for larger resolution

We continued our drive all the way to the idyllic town of Veere, which is simply too beautiful to put into words. The pictures in here will surely do a better job at showing just how pretty this small town is than any description I could whip up.

Veere * click for larger resolution

Ok perhaps a few words here and there. After having a drink we strolled around Veere for about an hour, encountering beautiful corners and streets. Don’t you think this is about the most idyllic garage in the world? And don’t you just love this naughty garden wall cherub with his katapult?

Veere * click for larger resolution

All in all, we had an enjoyable day out, and how bout these clouds huh?

Veere * click for larger resolution

Posted by: ganymedes1985 | November 18, 2009

ArmorGames: Eridani

“All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.”

We all know it, so a site I love to go to for some “light entertainment”, is I’m not a big fan of all their games, but from time to time I find one that’s either fun, good braintrain or simply a more fun way of nerve-wrecking myself :p
Pretty much all games are Flash Player games, so make sure you’re up to date with that!
Some games are operated by the arrow keys, some by your mouse, but here and there there’s also WASD games, which are a pain for European keyboards! Specific platform games with multiple levels sometimes also track your progress, unless you clean out your cookies.

Today I’m gonna suggest: Eridani

The facts are these:
You had to leave your own solar system and are in search of a new home. However, the only solar system you were able to find is already inhabited by a species and they’re not very friendly.
This solar system is divided into 13 sectors. Your objective is to conquer each sector at a time. Only when you’ve conquered all 12 outer sectors can you go forth to the center sector… Earth (I suspect this was created by BattleStar Galactica fan?).
As you slowly claim each sector for yourself, specific types of upgrades are unlocked (however you do need to re-purchase most of these upgrades at each new sector you select to conquer).
Your Tech level will slowly adjust itself with the game, but you can still purchase extra upgrades for it. Some upgrades only become available after you have purchased extra Tech level.

Some tips:

  • This isn’t a quick game. Each sector took me roughly 15 to 25 minutes to conquer.
  • Sometimes the enemy was quicker at building a good fleet (for example if it was near a meteor cluster so it’s mining drones provided extra resources more quickly) and can defeat you if you didn’t invest in defensive structures.
  • Torpedo turrets are more expensive but a lot better than laser turrets. I recommend totally ignoring the laser turret soon as the torpedo turret becomes available.
  • Without resources and power, you can’t build anything. So those facilities are the first you need to attack, and at the same time make sure you can defend your own ones.
  • When your Mobile Construction Ship is about to make a Command Center, try to make sure it’s not facing the enemy’s planet. There is an interplanetary missile silo available after you’ve conquered some sectors, and without the Command Center you can’t rebuild any of your facilities (should you need to).
  • Your entire fleet of spaceships (of any type) can only exist out of 20. Sometimes it’s necessary to sacrifice older models for new ones.
  • It’s also wise to stock up on resources before you plan to attack the planet of the enemy, so you can quickly build extra ships should your fleet get in trouble.
  • Creating a 2nd colony on a nearby planet can sometimes be handy if a meteor cluster is near it to make the trip for your mining drones shorter.
  • If you have multiple planets to choose from for creating your first colony in this sector, try to choose one that is obstructed by an other planet from the enemy. This will make it harder for their (but also your own) interplanetary missiles to reach its goal.

But everything is of course explained step by step as you make your way trough the sectors.

Posted by: ganymedes1985 | October 29, 2009

The things I’ve seen in Paris: Day 3

Ok, last day. Finally posting this, I’m so lame to procrastinate everything!
If you want to read the 1st and 2nd day, just follow their links 😉

For this day, I didn’t have much planned, because I had taken in mind the previous ones were already intensive enough. The only change in my original planning was the Musée d’Orsay in the afternoon instead of the Cité, because the previous day d’Orsay had proven to be overcrowded at the ticket line. 
So after breakfast, packing, checking out and dropping our luggage in the car, we took the metro towards our first of (only) three destinations of the day.

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For those who might not know it (though I hope most will): Père Lachaise cemetery is pretty much Western Europe’s most popular burial ground for the rich and famous of the past (and present to some level, there’s not much room left). It’s got BalzacJ.-L. David, Max Ernst, Ingres, Lalique, Modigliani, Molière, Jim Morrison, Édith Piaf, Oscar Wilde and many, many more.
Of course, those last 3 names are with ease the most popular of the place: Wilde’s monument has lipstick kisses all over it, Piaf’s simple tombstone always has flowers (expensive ones > roses and I also spotted some orchids) and Morrison’s stone is even fenced off!

If you want to visit it, please keep the following in mind:

  • the cemetery is on sloping terrain and has plenty of different height levels + it’s almost completely paved with old-fashioned cobble stones, meaning they’re large, uneven and over the years have developed large gaps between them (sloping terrain + rain = soil erosion) > so ditch the heels / formal shoes and pack decent walking shoes!
  • metro station “Père Lachaise” is located across a small side entrance, once there all you get is a large sign board with the names of the “important” graves and their position; only the cabin at the actual main entrance hands out small maps (but it’s not a very practical map one if you ask me, back home I Googled this map, it looks a million times better, so download and print either the PDF or JPEG file)
  • go off the main roads, it’s so worth it for the views (however that day it had rained during the morning and sometimes the narrow paths and stairs were still slippery > good walking shoes will help here!)
  • keep on going all the way to the back, the monuments at the far eastern end of the cemetery (close to where Piaf lies) are from various countries to remember their war heroes, and some are real works of art!
  • it’s a big place, you’ll easily spend 2 or 3 hours there even if you’re focused on checking a selection of graves, but if you only want to check out Morrison’s stone it’s roughly 30 minutes (still a long time because his stone is at the other side of the cemetery if you take the side entrance across the metro station)

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Taking the metro back towards Montmartre was easy: Metro 2 is a direct line! We got off at the famous Blanche station, and first took a moment to gaze at the Moulin Rouge! Well beyond our budget, we only checked out the exterior, and not too long after that went to search the Café des Deux Moulins. It’s quite close to the Moulin Rouge, just keep walking uphill in the Rue Lepic and you’ll spot it soon enough.
Sadly, it’s popularity made it quite expensive for this neighbourhood, and the interior has been changed a bit (no “Tabac” stand, more and different tables). We decided to do our wallets a favour and with a bit of sadness kept on looking for a more budget friendly place to have lunch. We found one, but we all left the place with still unsatisfied stomachs.

Since we were close to it, we went to check out the notorious Place Pigalle, and after a while gave in to our urges and dove into one of the many sex toy shops (urges created by almost being bullied into checking out strip clubs by promoters).

Time was making fools of us again and we had to rush towards the metro if we wanted to enjoy our visit to the Musée d’Orsay, which I really wanted to do because it was something I still hadn’t done on my previous trips. One of my friends wasn’t all too keen on coming along to another museum and decided to chill in the Tuileries Gardens before his 3 hour drive back home after the museum visit.

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All I’m going to say about the Musée d’Orsay is that it’s absolutely fabulous!!! It holds plenty of masterpieces it’ll leave you wondering what’s left to display at the Louvre, and it’s situated in an architectural gem.
We arrived at 4 PM, and for the next 2 hours it was one visual orgasm feast after an other.

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The Impressionists section on the top floor is divine! The small halls devoted to decorative pieces like glass work, curvy Art Nouveau furniture and alike are gorgeous. There are also many sculptures, Chat Noir cutouts, architectural concept art, stage design maquettes for the Opéra de Garnier (and this way we still got to see some sort of its interior without visiting it) and so much more, all scattered over smaller halls as you make your way up to the Impressionists section on the top floor.
Also the reception foyer and the old 1st class restaurant of this former railway station will take your breath away.

… As a teaser, I’ll give in and spill 3 of the permanent pieces of this museum, three you all know (or should have heard of at least) and might not forgive yourselves if you didn’t go see them:

We reluctantly had to rush trough and even skip some halls as at 5.30 PM they start closing the halls one by one… so if you plan to visit this museum, please make sure you’re there around 3 or 3:30 PM as you’ll need all the time from that point till the place closes (at 6 PM all halls actually were empty, gift shop stays open a bit longer though).

We hurried to meet our friend at the Place de La Concorde, where we quickly grabbed a hot pancake and soon enough, we had payed the parking fee and were struggling our way out of the City of Lights


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