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Monday, June 15, 2020

GRAND CANYON – NOW MORE THAN EVER – A PARADISE IN PIXELS: JOSH (THOMAS1 BELLIC) REPORTING





The basic unit of color in a computer image is called a “pixel”.  SecondLife residents, using the medium of these pixels, have proven to be some of the most talented and most creative artists in the world.  Their creations are legendary in their beauty, as these “Pixel Masters” create whole new worlds for the rest of us to explore and enjoy.  And there are none more talented than those who take examples from the Real World and replicate them in cyberspace for our enlightenment and amusement. Arguably, one of the BEST examples of Real World landmarks being immortalized in pixel is the SL Grand Canyon.  I caught up with Lis Dubrovna, the creator of Grand Canyon, and managed to get her to share some about this wonderful place with our SL Enquirer readers.  This was no easy feat, mind you, as Lis is almost ALWAYS on the go, creating, redesigning, tweaking here and there, doing what she can to improve her four sims.

JOSH BELLIC (JB): Lis, what inspired you to build the Grand Canyon?

LISISME DUBROVNA (LD):  I went to visit the opening of the SkyWalk and tour the Grand Canyon in RL. I was very thrilled and impressed. Some years later I joined SL. I wanted to build a sim which would teach residents the skills needed in SL and also to offer an alternative to poorly done and immodest sims. I woke up one night at 5:00 am and wondered excitedly if anyone had built the Grand Canyon. I went to my computer and researched that no one had so then and there I bought a Full Sim. Little by little I added to that first sim and now there are 4 and they offer just about anything you can imagine. I made my sims free to all residents.

I thought LL would recognize the value and popularity of my sims and assist me with tier but they have not taken notice. I rely on donations and mostly on my RL job as a graphics artist to pay the $600.00 USD per month tier which Linden Labs require.





JB:  The Grand Canyon as you have built it is more than just a canyon.  You have many delightful areas scattered around the Park Grounds.  Share with us a couple of your favorites here?


LD:  On all the Grand Canyon sims I rent homes and the renters are such cool people. It's like a family. On Grand Canyon South I love my Falls Ballroom which is so very beautiful for couples and my art galleries at ISME where talent from across the grid can be shared.  There’s Mermaid Park and Salsa Salsa. I love the central area of Grand Canyon which offers free ridable horses and so many trails and other activities. Crater Lake and Zen at Grand Canyon North are romantic and fun. A new addition is Circe du soliel camp grounds at Crater Lake which has great animations and horse trails. And then there is the crowning jewel, Mt Everest. It is the Highest terraformed land mass in SL. I love watching the hikers find their way up the mountain. The latest addition is that we now have EXPERIENCE which allows fast teleporting all over the 4 sims. It is used as a teleport to the new LOVE TUNNELS. I hope people will begin to realize that saying yes to EXPERIENCE does not mean, in any way, that you hand over control of your avatar. It just gives you the ability to get from one place to another fast.





JB:  Besides the Grand Canyon, you built another of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World, that you just mentioned - Mount Everest.  Tell us more about that project?


LD:  Mt Everest was built with pixels recycled from digging out the Grand Canyon. Seriously, I love the ocean and scuba diving but I really love hiking and snowboarding and mountains. To build Mt Everest was a dream come true. I discovered a secret for raising land to over 500 meters in SL and hence Mt Everest is the highest terraformed land mass in SL. It has a gorgeous Tibetan village with dance and activities. The water falls coming from above at the Buddhist temple are very beautiful. The Temple offers Buddhist teaching scrolls and a meditation room. The music is calming and lovely. You can climb all the way to the top by way of trails and ladders and zip lines. There are secret love caves at the top. I love having built 2 of the 7 Natural Wonders of the world.




JB:  I know there are several different rides in the Grand Canyon.  Tell us what is available, and which is your personal favorite?

LD:  My favorite is our famous hot air balloon ride which has given rides to over 600,000 people. It is a way to relax and chat with a friend and get to know them better as you are carried on the wind to all the best places on my sims. There is also a hot air balloon ride at Mt Everest. I have a horse giver near the lodge and many trails. Another favorite is at the canyon bottom near the lodge and it is a rock slide avalanche. People love it although it is a little frightening. The Water Slide is well loved. The Hang gliders and para gliding are also fun. I have a submarine ride at Mermaid Park which shows off the beauty of that underwater park. There are so many fun things at the Games area. You need many days exploring to find all the activities I offer. 
JB:  How many visitors have you had to Grand Canyon properties over the years?


LD:  That is hard to say because I have not really kept track. I know the balloon ride has given over 600,000 rides so I can assume that all 4 sims in their 11 years have hosted well over a million visitors. I have a group and the members are called Grand Canyon Scouts. There are 11,500 Group members, which is quite large for SL. 





JB:  What are some of the unexpected headaches that come with running 4 sims. 

LD:  The unexpected headache is "be careful what you wish for". I always wanted to build a place people would have fun at and be loyal to and enjoy AND I didn't want to make them have to pay any fees. The people who come here are terrific and love the sims but the sims are so loved that I can't bring myself to tear them down even though they are draining my bank account. 

JB:  Did you do this all yourself?  Or does it take help to run a place of this magnitude?  Tell us about your support Staff.

LD:  I pretty much did it all myself and continue to. In the early years Tiger Zepp helped add fun things to the GC sim. Willie Frangilli and Wanli Resident have been loyal Estate Managers for many years. There have also been a few other helpers along the way who have brought their talent to help improve the sims. This past year WakiZashi Yoshikawa has been an Estate Manager and he is super creative and reliable and kind hearted and given so much unselfish attention to the sims. Waki is my partner and I doubt anyone could find a more honorable, trustworthy, Skilled programmer in all of SL. He is starting a line of mesh jewelry called Zashi and he has a shop on GC South.
JB:  What can we expect next to come from the creative mind of Lisisme Dubrovna?


LD:  I just finished the Love Tunnels and caves and created Experience on the sims. Recently I brought 2 statues I cast in bronze in RL as mesh statues to my art gallery in SL. They are unique in the techniques I used. I have a terrific permanent exposition by Igor Ballyhoo at Gallery One. I added a corral full of horses at Grand Canyon and a free horse. I added Cirque du soliel camp ground to Crater Lake. I'm sure I'll find a new project soon. I always do. 



So there you have it folks.  If you have never seen the Grand Canyon SL, you are truly missing out.  If you have been here before, I urge you to come back and see what’s new.  

Yep.  The Grand Canyon: Now more than Ever…



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