Thursday, December 27, 2007

Jazz Club’s in Second Life

“Jazz Club”, when I hear or see the words, I envision a darkened smoke filled room, elegantly dressed patrons sitting at tables in pairs or twirling on a dance floor, listening, enraptured, as a seductively dressed, lissome singer is highlighted in a solitary spotlight. Her dark hair and sequined gown sparkle in the light as she sways softly to the music. A drummer, bassist and piano are heard, their individual efforts blending into a harmonious melody, but the accompanists are not seen as all eyes are focused on the vocalist. Her sultry voice fills the air as she grasps the microphone and brings to life the lyrics. She uses her voice and body to evoke the emotions of the song and as the music reaches a crescendo she raises her arms, arches her back and neck slightly holding the last note for an extended period and as she finishes, the crowd applauds in delight. She bows to the crowd, her eyes sparkling and her face beaming as she turns to point to the trio of musicians, each highlighted in the spot light, nodding their heads, acknowledging the audience's appreciation of their efforts. A romantic notion I suppose, but it’s the one my imagination evokes on hearing those couple of words, "Jazz Club". In this edition of Lane’s List, we’ll explore how some of SL’s talented and creative people have built their vision of a jazz club as I explore jazz venues in Second Life.

Born in America but enjoyed by millions across the globe, jazz has become an integral part of Second Life. When I did my initial search, the return was large and provided a diversity of sites. It was apparent to me and, as noted in an edition of the “Jazz Corner”, a portal for hundreds of jazz musicians and organizations, “…Jazz music in all its forms comes out time and time again to be the most popular music played and listened to in Second Life.” I changed the search criteria using “jazz music”, which provided a smaller more manageable list. Using that as a starting point for my exploration, I was off to the highest trafficked site first. As an aide to me in my explorations, I also used word of mouth references from friends who recommended their favorites to embellish the search results. The journey was extraordinary as were the people I met and the places visited. I hope you enjoy this edition of Lane’s List as much as I did in creating it.

I have no intent to open up this article to a discourse on music or jazz as a genre; this edition is about the people and places in SL where one can meet friends, new and old, and simply enjoy a variety of jazz in multiple forms, including live performances, if one is so inclined. Because of the diversity and numbers of sites, I broke my list into two parts, the first encompassing larger venues such as ballroom or dancehalls and a second set of venues being smaller in scale, clubs or cabarets. As I explored, I met many creative and talented people; it is, and continues to be, a most enjoyable experience and one of the reasons why I enjoy Second Life tremendously and why I put my fingers to the keyboard in creating Lane’s List.

Ballrooms and Dancehalls

Sunset Jazz Club

Music: Jazz and hosted events, DJs and live musical concerts. Circe hosts her own streams for performances and music.

Venue: The Sunset is owned and operated by Circe Broom, long time Second Life resident, mentor and supporter to many of SL’s most talented musicians. The club has ample space to host events, both live performances and DJs. The dance floor has more than enough dance and couple’s animations. The Sunset bills itself as “SL's premiere Jazz Club, Birthplace of Jazz in SL. GREAT Jazz in an exquisitely beautiful club.” There are secluded spots for relaxing with friends or for romance or simply for one to sit in a hidden nook and just listen and enjoy the music.

Group: Circes Circle of Friends, open enrollment with nearly 1,500 members. Notices come out frequently from this group for the Sunset and the other venues owned and/or operated by Circe Broom.


Music: Jazz and Big Band. Smooth also hosts many events during the course of the week, with DJs and live musicians.

Venue: Maebh Jewell and her partner opened the doors in June of this year, “It’s been a grand stretch. I had an idea for the design and I came across a great, talented builder who had some structures for sale and with a few modifications, Smooth was realized,” she replied to my question about the opening and the build. “I like to think that ‘Smooth equals Romance’, that is the best description. It was more of just a vision ... maybe someplace I would not be able to access so easily in life. A great Second Life experience!” she responded when I asked her what had provided her inspiration for Smooth. There is a spacious dance floor inside, with an ample supply of dance animations. A stage is tucked away in the corner to the right as one enters and is used by the performers. The patrons are elegantly attired, ladies in gowns or cocktail dresses, gentlemen in tuxes or suits. Hostesses abound, including Maebh herself, to greet guests , creating a friendly, welcoming atmosphere for new and old patrons.

Group: The “Smooth” Group is for those who enjoy listening and dancing to jazz, big band, popular standards and swing in an elegant and romantic atmosphere. Invitation only to join and the group currently boasts over 900 members.

The MoonGlow Ballroom

Music: Its jazz and big band music is provided by an internet radio stream. The MoonGlow does not have hosted events with either DJs or live musicians.

Venue: The MoonGlow bills itself as one of SL’s newest and most romantic dance and date spots. There were several couples on a spacious dance floor when I arrived and the music, jazz, was soft and mellow. The chat was silent, so I assumed the conversation was private between the couples as they spun gracefully around the floor. There seemed to be ample dance and couple animations plus an overhead dance ball for singles. There is limited seating on a pair of balconies just off the dance floor. Just to the left of the entry point, there is a small bridge and a path leading toward a park like setting. The name on the about land is “Isn’t it Romantic? SL’s Best Date Spot”. The owner, Josse Barnard, in an exchange of note cards, told me that the inspiration for design and ambiance for the MoonGlow came mostly from the Blue Note "…which I love, but I wanted a comprehensive date place and I had a double SIM edge, so the views are stellar." she said. "I would describe the MoonGlow as romantic, classy, peaceful and non-commercial." Barnard said, and then continued: "It is my own build, the MoonGlow opened in March last year and it's open 24 x 7."

Group: MoonGlow Ballroom, featuring your favorite Big Band and 50's Music - at Isn’t it Romantic, a classy and romantic date place for couples. - Free to join, membership is currently at 750.

Michelle's Blues Lounge and Supper Club

Music: Mellow Jazz and Smooth R & B. The club hosts live events, DJs and live performers. The owners, who are also DJs, each own their own streams.

Venue: I spoke with the owners of Michelle’s, ChoYce Mostel and Amar Coronet. “We’ve been open for three weeks, so fairly new.” ChoYce told me, and then continued, “I’ve owned a lounge previously. I really enjoyed the atmosphere and people aspects of managing a club. The building is a prefab, but I did the decorating. Decorating is a passion of mine in SL,” she said smiling. “There isn’t really one place that inspired the décor, I worked my way through school as a mixologist and so it is a combination of lot of places.” Mostel said and continued, “Michelle's Lounge is a place of love for mellow music, people and conversation. Our pledge is good customer service with a smile at all times and nonstop good music!” The lower level hosts a large dance floor with ample dance animations. A stage graces one side of the dance floor and seating areas abound for private moments and chat. The upper level hosts an elegant supper club.

Group: “Michelle's Place” is a Drama Free Lounge and Supper Club. Adult atmosphere and setting, good nonstop music being played by some of SL's finest DJs. A beautiful dining area for a romantic dinner for two, just a casual dinner with friend or friends, or a place to come and meet and greet. Invitation only to join, membership currently is at 26.

The Octane Ballroom

Music: Obtained from the search results - Jazz, Salsa, Tango, Twist, Waltz and R&B. The search results also indicated live music and club parties are held here.

Venue: I found this to be one of the most extensive and remarkable builds given the size and number of options visitors may encounter when they arrive. There was however no one around on my initial or on subsequent visits a few days later. Besides the main ballroom, there are two outdoor areas, in front and in back of the building which houses the ballroom. Both outdoor areas included dance and couple animations. On the second level of the building, there is seating, multiple dance animations and mildly romantic couple’s poses throughout a wide open space with balconies on either side. Outside, near the rear of the building, I found a path which led to a tropical beach setting with couple’s poses and dance animations. I was unable to connect with the owner for more information.

Group: None that I could find in search.

My Blue Heaven Jazz & Blues

Music: Jazz and Big Band, hosted events - "Best Of" competitions and occasional live musicians. King Zuhal and Vanessa Larsen, the owners, have their own stream if needed. Mostly the music is provided by internet radio.

Venue: “King purchased the club for us and we’ve been open about seven months now,” Vanessa said. “Originally, Mynx Wildcat did the build and opened the club. When we purchased it, we totally revamped the interior furnishings. My Blue Heaven is open 24 x 7,” Larsen told me and then continued: “We created the ambiance ourselves. We think it is romantic, unique, magical, welcoming, fun, cozy, elegant, uplifting, peaceful...Blue!!” she said, smiling. The main dance floor is on the entry point level and is divided by a waterfall and small stream that can be crossed by a bridge. There are ample dance and couple animations and seating surrounds either side of the split dance floor. Second and third levels host dance and couple animations as well, along with places for privacy and light romance.

Group: For the lovers of romance, fine dining, jazz and blues nestled amongst the clouds and stars! Three levels of the best music, dancing, and romantic places to snuggle with your date or partner - please come and explore the magic of “My Blue Heaven!” The group offers open enrollment and boasts over 1400 members currently.

Blue Fusion Jazz Club

Music: Jazz and Big Band. Venue: Taken from the profile of the owner, Holli Hollywood, owner, designer and dreamer. “The Blue Fusion was a dream I had while enjoying SL and, now, we have a great family of managers, hostesses, musicians, artists, vendors and, OF COURSE, our guests!!! Come and experience the romance and ambiance of love and romance. Dancing the night away, holding the one you love, while you move around the dance floor to the flow of lovers’ music.” The Blue Fusion has an expansive dance floor and an open air ambiance, seating at the entry point, at bar and cabaret tables. There is a great view of the ocean on two sides from areas that are somewhat secluded, with couple’s poses present for cuddling and light romance. “Built with the imagination of a place that is all about sight, sound and emotion,” as quoted from Holli’s profile.

Group: “Blue Fusion” promises to provide Music Lovers and Dancers alike a safe space for romance and appreciation of the finer things in SL. It is open enrollment and boasts over 2,000 members at the present. Further information on the Blue Fusion can be obtained at

The Blue Note Retro Jazz Lounge

Music: Jazz and Big Band, hosted events in which the owner Naydee McGettigan also serves as a DJ.

Venue: I’ve included the Blue Note as a sentimental gesture. When I spoke to Naydee as I started my research, she sadly informed me that the Blue Note will close its doors forever on January 1, 2008. Those of us who frequented the Blue Note will greatly miss it. The dance floor sits raised a few steps above the entry point. There are plentiful dance animations available for couples and seating on both the left and right sides of the floor. The following is from Nay’s profile. “The Blue Note IS Closing. Yes... it is still *my baby*...and, yes, I am taking this to heart... it was not a decision that I came to overnight...if you were a member of the group, I sent out a notecard with a full explanation. If you would like more information about the closing of the Blue Note ~ Please see my Web Page ~ and check the latest Blog Postings on my MySpace.”

Group: Group invite only.

Club Wicked

Music: The music consists of lounge style, wicked jazz and sultry blues

Venue: The name "Wicked" comes from the Broadway hit about the wicked witch of the west from the Wizard of Oz, and the exterior of the build lends credit to the name. The interior is nicely done and reminds one of a ballroom that one may have seen while visiting a European palace. The dance floor is large, with multiple animations and couple’s poses. There is seating with couple’s poses for those special moments. There is a stage with bass, piano, drums and microphone stand for live entertainment.

Group: None that I could find, but more information about the venue and schedule of events can be found at

Honeypot Jazz Lounge

Music: Smooth Jazz and R & B

Venue: I was unable to connect with the owner for a chat about the Honeypot, but did visit twice and found an elegantly styled club. Just outside the club's entrance is a nicely built plaza with fountain and couple’s dance animations in what could be a semi-secluded area for privacy and light romance. Inside, there is a spacious dance floor with more than sufficient dance animations. Tucked into a corner of the dance floor is a raised platform stage with a piano. There is a second floor to the Honeypot, a large open area with not much in it, but which led to a balcony overlooking the plaza. The balcony held a bistro table and chair, the table held a vase with a single red rose.

Group: For people who enjoy good jazz music, romantic environments and meeting new people. Visit the Honeypot Jazz Lounge for dancing, socializing and dating. Explore the grounds for nice and exciting things to do with your special someone (or by yourself ;-)). Enrollment in the group is by invitation only, membership is currently slightly over 530 people.

Clubs and Cabarets

The City Bar

Music: Jazz from mainstream to cool, Chilling Deep House, NeoSoul, R&B, Poetry, Romance. City Bar has hosted live performances and DJ events and uses internet radio as a source for music.

Venue: Simply described, it is a place one would find in the heart of a big city neighborhood, where the drinks are flowing and the conversation fascinating. The City Bar is a small club with seating around the interior of a dance floor that directly faces the visitor as one enters. On the right is a small nook with sofa seating and to the left, a bar area with a drink dispenser. The interior wall hosts pictures of jazz greats, legendary and modern. Out in front, one will find a small patio with dance animations and, across from the patio and down a short ramp, is an area for privacy and romance. Owner CosmoPecan Kawabata replied to my question of what inspired his vision for The City Bar: “There’s not one place that inspired me. I’ve always wanted to own a club. It is like the places I visit and frequent in RL.” He then continued: “I bought it from a lady in January of 2006. This is the third SIM that it has been in. I think it originally opened in September of 2005.” I asked him to describe the club and he responded: “Simply a nice place for grown folks.”

Group: The City Bar, Urbane, Sophisticated. A quiet atmosphere for the sophisticates in SL. A nice, relaxing bar away from the hustle and bustle. The City Bar group has open enrollment, current membership is about 300 people.

Club Fabulous Tokyo - Modern Classic
Music: Jazz only, no DJ events or live concerts.

Venue: A simple, white-textured open space dance floor with a large, raised-platform stage. On the stage were keyboard, drums and bass where a visitor could animate oneself to play one or all three of the instruments. The space was decorated for the holidays with a Christmas tree. I found a few places for seating at the rear of the space opposite the stage. Hiroko Mills, the owner, described Club Fabulous Tokyo as “A mysterious place where Modern Tokyo and Classic Tokyo intersect.” She told me that she and Taka Teatime were responsible for the build and they were inspired by places in Tokyo, Kyoto, and Kabuki. “We have been open for nine months now and we spend the time for SL only on the weekends.” Mills said.

Group: This club is for people who love Tokyo, the metropolis of Japan. Those who want to know more about Tokyo, come join us! The Club Fabulous Tokyo group has open enrollment and its membership is at just over 290 people.

Stardust Cabaret and Jazz Club

Music: Jazz, Big Band, Rock, Blues and C & W. Live musical performances and DJ hosted events.

Venue: “The Stardust is my own build,” Brit told me as she took me around the interior of the build. “I’ve been open now for about a month. We’re open 24 x 7, but I’m not here the whole time,” Britt McMahon explained and laughed when I asked her about the build. “I try and do a live musical event once a week for my members,” she said. I asked if there had been some place in real life that had inspired her build and she replied: “Not any one place, I used to teach ballroom dance in RL and that sort of inspired some parts of the décor and design.” When I asked her to describe the Stardust, she responded with: “Romantic, the best music and dances, a place to unwind.” The dance floor is spacious with overhead dance animations, menu-driven for individual selection and an ample selection of couple’s animations and dances. There is a bar to the left of the dance floor and a stage directly across from it. There is seating around, with couple’s animations, places for light romance and quiet relaxation.

Group: Stardust Cabaret, membership 188, open enrollment. The group’s charter is to have "The Most Fun Club" in SL

The SOUL Lounge & Café

Music: Smooth Jazz and R & B. The Soul Lounge also has hosted events with DJs.

Venue: It is billed as “A Jazzy Cafe and great place to hang out.” I found it to be a nicely built club, simple décor but elegantly done. The dance floor greets the visitor as they enter and there is a bar to the left and, to the far right, a raised stage. In back, a deck hangs over the crashing waves of the ocean which can also be seen from the Piano Bar located on the top floor. There is an outdoor dance area and a romantic Tiki hut with cuddle poses to create those special moments. The SOUL Lounge & Café is the inspiration for SL's Hottest New Sim, Dejavu Isles - dedicated to representing the richness of African and African American culture.

Group: Soul Lounge & Café group has open enrollment and currently boasts 488 members

La Bella Dam

Music: Jazz

Venue: La Bella Dam is a small club and provides an intimate environment for visitors. Also, based on the information presented in the site name, it had apparently changed location recently. The owner hadn’t responded to my attempts to connect and chat. There was a note card giver inside indicating that formal attire was required and visitors could get free formal wear from an object giver. The description from the search was concise, much like the build, “Join us in the Chilbo SIM for dancing, jazz music, and intelligent, refined company. Formal attire required!” The interior of the La Bella holds a dance floor, small but with dance animations, and a stage and some seating for those who wish to sit and listen to the music.

Group: None that I could find

Milestones Jazz Club

Music: Jazz

Venue: A small intimate club with limited seating for visitors' listening pleasure or for those private conversations. There is a rather small dance floor with dance animations available. Across the floor, directly opposite to the entry, there is a stage holding a piano.

Group: Milestones Jazz, invitation only to join this group.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Lane's List at Book Island

I'm pleased to announce that Lane's List has taken up an in world residence on Book Island. I hope you'll stop by to check it out and say hello. It's still in the process of being setting up and there will soon be a suggestion box to collect ideas on places to visit and people to meet. Feel free to offer your suggestions and I'll use them to shape the direction for future editions of Lane's List.

*points to the left* follow the link "Lane's List @ Book Island"

Hope to see you all there!

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Christmas Holidays in Second Life

Christmas Holidays in Second Life

This will be my first Christmas in SL and, with decorations given to me by a friend, my home at Cherry Tree has taken on a holiday look. A four meter high tree with a silver star atop it, greets visitors in the foyer and a cheery red brick fireplace with stockings hung, awaiting a visit from Santa, graces the living room. Having been just below the prim limit, I had to move a few items back into inventory in order to set out the decorations, much as one would do some rearranging in their RL homes to accommodate the season’s decor. Stepping back and focusing my camera on the decorations, I felt satisfied with what I’d accomplished tonight. I glanced at the computer clock and saw the hours had crept by while I decorated and it was near midnight now.

"With the house done, now’s the time for some relaxation," I thought, "maybe some dancing." Opening my friends list, I scanned it quickly and was surprised that none were on line. "How odd?" I thought and then I thought that, perhaps, SL is acting up once again. Aha! I can check calling cards in my inventory, and was about to, when a TP request appeared in the top right corner of my screen. I glanced up and when I saw the name, I gasped. The sound was loud enough that my cat looked up from her nap to glare at me for waking her. "It’s not possible, there’s no way," I thought, "she’d left SL months ago and had closed her account. How could she possibly send me a TP request?" Leaning back in my chair, I stared at the screen, in shock.

“Hello Nazz *smiles* I had thought you’d have wanted to see me again,” she said in her IM. I leaned forward and was about to reply when the next IM arrived. “I haven’t much time and we need to talk,” she said. “Where are you? How did you get in? And, yes, I do want to see you again...I’ve missed you, Cassie,” I typed in my reply. “Then accept the TP request, silly. I’ll tell you all I can when you get here,” she said, laughing. I still couldn’t believe it was her, oh my God, Cassie is back, and my lips curled into a broad smile as I accepted the TP and arrived shortly after the whoosh.

She appeared on the screen, standing in front of me, her lithe figure clad elegantly in a red dress, sleeveless, with a thin ribbon of a strap across her neck. Her blond hair was pulled back and up, the ends tied off with a ribbon that matched her dress. She wore a gold rectangular locket around her neck, the one she wore all the time while in SL, and her diamond earrings sparkled. “Hello Nazz *smiles softly*,” she said as the site finished rezzing into my view. Still wearing the broad smile, I said, “Cassie, you’re looking every bit as lovely as I remember. I am still in complete shock though. How on earth did you get back into SL? Why did you come back?” Glancing around, I realized we were at her SL home and it was completely decorated for the season. I was baffled by the events and in being at her home, which had been an empty lot when I last saw it. I waited for her reply.

“Why, Nazz, it’s Christmas, it’s the season for miracles, *smiles softly* I see you’ve changed your appearance. I like you in that pony tail and…OMG, is that an earring I see sparkling? Very handsome, Nazz *very hot she thinks, OMG! He’s come a long way*,” Cassie said. “I’ve been reading your Lane’s List. I like it a lot. How did you come up with that idea?” she asked. I told her that, while the idea for the premise was mine, a special someone had given me a suggestion for the name. “Well it does have a certain cachet,” she smiled and continued, “aww...a special someone, how sweet *smiles*...I’m so happy to hear that Nazz.”

I had a strange sensation now, seeing her here and a thought crossed my mind. “Cassie, this isn’t like an SL version of ‘A Christmas Carol’, is it? You’re not going to take me around and show me my past are you?” I asked. Laughing, she replied: “No, sweetie, it’s not. I know you’ve been a good boy, other than that little episode shortly after I left SL. It’s just that I’d been thinking of you a lot lately. This’ll be your first Christmas in SL. The holiday in SL was always very special for me and I wanted to share some time with you, and show you some of my favorite holiday places to visit.” I smiled in relief and replied: “I know it was for you, Cassie, I can remember sitting at your house and listening to the stories of your adventures and the people you’d shared the season’s joy with.” Before she could reply, I continued: “but you still haven’t told me how you got back in. Your account is cancelled and you don’t even show in a "people search" any longer. I think of you often, Cassie, I have a picture on my desk, the last one we took. I look at it often, thinking of my SL Mentor.” It took a few minutes before she replied: “aww...that is so sweet of you, Nazz, *smiles softly*. As for how I got here, let’s just say that there are a few things that the Lindens know nothing about and leave it at that, sweetie.”

“Are you ready to go Nazz?” she asked. I told her I was and that she could TP me when she arrived. Cassie poofed and I leaned back in my chair to wait, happy and eager to share another adventure with her.

Candy Cane Lane - West Bernham 218, 165, 502

Upon arrival at the TP point, the visitor is immediately greeted by the decor as signs of the season. Just behind the arrival point is the Christmas tree lot with quite the selection of already decorated trees. A notice placard indicates that this is the fourth Christmas for Candy Cane Lane. It started out as a store in 2004 and evolved to its current state, now residing in a skybox built above the West Bernham Sim. A short stroll takes you to a central plaza with an ice skating rink. Ice skates are available for purchase and immediate use. The plaza is surrounded by shops, all with holiday themed goods. Candy canes decorate the paths along with snowmen, elves and Santas. This was the most heavily trafficked site visited

Betty`s Shopping Land Christmas Market - Caracoli 120, 58, 0

There is a very nicely done skating rink with a couple’s skating animation near the arrival point at Betty’s. Ice skates are for sale nearby, in the event you arrive without. There is a tree lot with a good selection of trees. Also, one can obtain free trees, wintry themed evergreens, and I take copies for a friend who is doing some decorating at her place. I find an igloo with couple’s poses that add a touch of romance to an evening of skating and shopping. Visitors are welcome to ride a Christmas Carousel and, of course, browse through the stores for gifts and decorations, with a decent selection of seasonal themed goods.

IMAGINE! - Winter Wonderland with Christmas Fair & lots of snow - Bruda Plateau 207, 13, 51

An underlying theme here seems to be romance as there is a delightful couple's “walk stroll” animation that can be used to tour the site. An ice skating rink also has a couple’s skate animation and, nearby, I find mistletoe hung from an arch with kissing poses underneath. The ice rink has skating snowmen and the couple spins through and around them. A short distance from the Gingerbread House, I find a place to visit with Santa. Feeling a bit too old to sit on his lap, I do take a present from his sack, a gingerbread cookie, which happens to be a RL favorite. There are a few commercial storefronts with seasonal themed items for the shopper.

A Touch of Ireland @ Cork Ireland CHRISTMAS SHOP - Cork 142, 167, 29

Nestled into a corner of the Sim, one is required to find the Christmas and holiday decor by following the signs at the arrival point, a minor irritation, but one no less. Once there, I find a tastefully decorated wintry and holiday scene with snowmen, candy canes and ice sculptures. A few decorated trees are for sale, but not nearly the selection as at other sites. The commercial aspect is limited, only one store with a limited number of seasonal themed goods for sale.

Kill Tower Park Winter Christmas Ice Skating Ski Rides and Amusement - Killtower 129, 88, 66

A crèche greets the visitor on arrival, the first I’ve seen in SL. This is an obvious commercial site but, if one is shopping, a worthwhile stop, as there are a few diversions such as a Christmas Carousel, ice skating and a visit into the Gingerbread House.

Bill Havercamp's Christmas Village - Sunset Beach 228, 76, 23

The village is a winter wonderland, the decor amongst the best I’ve seen. There is an ice skating rink, a Santa, snowmen, carolers and a Gingerbread House. I also found an igloo with a sled-riding snowman that is amusing to watch. Visitors can also take a train ride around the skating rink. There are also storefronts with gifts and decorations for the season.

Christmas Village - Japan 183, 225, 22

Another winter wonderland, smaller in scope than the previous site, but done effectively. I found the village with snow-covered houses a nice scene upon arrival. That and the snowmen, candy canes, carolers and a fair number of SL’ers are present when I arrive. There is, however, only a limited selection of seasonal themed items available to shoppers.

Christmas Wonderland - Deck 202, 60, 21

It may be that, because I live in the northern half of the US, I have expectations of snow and winter for the holidays, but I set those expectations aside as I tour this site. What I find certainly is a wonderland with a multitude of amusement rides. I find two carousels, two merry-go-rounds, balloon rides, a mission to Mars ride, something called "the claw", a pirate ship and another called "sunflower" at this site. There are Christmas trees, ice sculptures, a Santa lap-sit and present/gift bag at the site, along with an ice rink for skating. A nicely decorated Christmas cottage is available for romance with couple’s pose balls. The site has some commerce, I find a few storefronts with a selection of holiday items for the shopper.

Christmas Wishes - Drumm 56, 224, 0

Once again, I find myself back at a wintry and holiday themed site. There is ice skating here and it is the only one of a few places where I find free skates. Decorated trees are for sale, along with seasonal textures.

Christmas Market - Publishing Island 220, 149, 54

The Christmas Market is a delight to the eyes with the holiday theme very prevalent throughout. The village has snow-covered houses and candy canes decorate the paths as one wanders through the site. Snowmen abound, as do carolers and other characters from many of our favorite Christmas stories. I also find two carousels that visitors can ride. There are a fair number of commercial fronts for the shopper, with seasonal themed items available.

Christmas Market - Christkindles Markt - Krypto 28, 188, 421

A smaller site, but tastefully decorated for the season. An ice rink with skates for sale near storefronts that offer seasonal gift items.

A.K. "3D" Christmas Store - Trees you can Decorate - Toko 178, 128, 26

An amazing selection of decorations for the Christmas trees on sale here, one can purchase ornaments, lights and tree toppers for the do-it-yourself crowd to decorate for the holidays.

We’d completed our tour and arrived back at Cassie's house. Sitting on the couch, we talked about life, real and second, seemingly for hours. The virtual sun had begun to rise when she stood up. “I only have a few more minutes and I need one of your hugs, Nazz,” she said, smiling. I typed in the command ‘/hug Cassie’ and we were soon in a warm embrace. “*her eyes misting, she whispers softly* "Merry Christmas, Nazz" *gently kisses his cheek*” Cassie said as we embraced. “Merry Christmas, Cassie,” I told her, thankful that I could type it and not speak it as I was feeling a little choked up. “You know I’m never far from you, Nazz. We might not see each other, but I’ll always be with you,” she said as I handed her a tissue. “I know Cassie...I know,” I replied. “*blows him a kiss as she poofs* love you, Nazz,” she said and suddenly disappeared from my screen.

As I leaned back in my office chair, the screen lit up with multiple IMs from that special someone asking where I was and why I wasn’t answering. Looking at my screen, I saw that, somehow, I’d returned back to my SL home. A quick check of my friends list showed that it was working again. When I glanced at the clock on the PC and it read 12:25 AM, I was shocked. "That can’t be right," I thought. All the time I spent with Cassie, the places we visited, it seemingly took hours. I opened the IM window and typed in an apology, explaining that I must have been dozing off. She replied with a smile telling me it was okay and asked if I wanted to pop over. I told her I did and asked for a few minutes before she sent a TP.

In the corner of my screen where my Christmas tree stood, I noticed a sparkle that hadn’t been there before and zoomed in on it. The star on top was different, it was gold. I smiled, realizing that it was the one that had been on Cassie’s tree. It is, indeed, the season for miracles...

Merry Christmas Everyone!