John 'Pathfinder' Lester (né Linden) is much too famous to require introduction here: that hat, 'taken from a pirate' (draw your own conclusions, people) is the trademark of a VW guru whose resume includes Harvard, SL, and Reaction Grid, with Jibe Worlds thrown in - for a more complete story, listen to the recent Metareality podcast where Gianna Borgnine interviewed him (brace yourself for *sewper excited* voice).
He gets no puppy-dog adulation at the Hypergrid Adventurers' Club, which is the best club in the Metaverse. Here we are, outside the loos in osgrid (hey, when you gotta go, you gotta go) which are part of the Virtual Harlem/Africa build by SL legend and osgrid goddess Arcadia Asylum.
What 'is' the HGAC? It's a gentle forum for finding out what's going on in different parts of OpenSim. Meet and greet combined with outward bound. Path researches a destination, and then organizes a field trip to places like the Butterfly Grid, the World's Fair on Reaction Grid, or Aime Socrate's fabulous builds on NWG. Trops are generally either Tuesday or Thursday, check the Google calendar to be sure. He tells us a little bit about the place, and if, possible, arranges a visit when the grid owner's about so they can tell us something themselves.
The HGAC meets on Jokaydia grid so if you're new to all this, the easiest thing is to create an avie there, ahead of our field trips. Last year, the club met once or twice a week, on a dedicated sim, Pathlandia.
After about 30 minutes of networking and the sharing of news and smart remarks, we traveled to our destination via 'blamgate'
...or even by Taxi, once or twice.
More recently, the club has gone minimalist, still meeting on Jokaydia Grid, but in the plaza at Scooter, the grid's welcome area..
With a background in teaching med students, Path is used to herding kittens, and hands out super-organized notecards so even if you're new at hypergridding, you won't feel too lost. The club meets at least a couple of times a month, and notices about upcoming meetings appear as emails through the Google group and via #HGAC on Twitter. This weekend, Birdie Notion, Zotarah Shepherd, Delenn Daines, Anastasios Aurotharius and Ivy Innes were of the party. The destination?
Pathfinder.Lester @pathlandia.dlinkddns.com: You'll see we're making just a single hop today to the region Andelain, part of the New Zealand Virtual World Grid. Andelain is a Science Fictional Sanctuary jam-packed place full of references to different science fiction stories.
I forgot to mention, when you travel via hypergrid, as Path had done, from his own snappily named "dlinkddus" minigrid, your name acquires an extra bit, showing where you came from. Also I should say sometimes you have to jump twice, because places are too far away to make a single leap. A bit like long haul air travel.
As it happened, the Andelain sim was offline.Quick as a flash, Path came up with an alternative destination.
These are the underground tunnels, on Arcadia Asylum's Harlem/Africa build on osgrid, where you can gets killed, take the train, or I guess panhandle, as if there hasn't been enough of that in the SL art community this month.
Pathfinder.Lester @pathlandia.dlinkddns.com: notice that damage is ENABLED here, and Arcadia built a whole bunch of underground tunnels here. I've spent hours exploring this region. it's really amazing. takes a while for everything to load, but worth it. Takes a while to load all the textures here, just have to sit tight and hope something doesn't bite you and kill you while waiting.
Thirza.Ember @jokaydia.metaverseworlds.com: you're tryin to scare me and it's working
Pathfinder.Lester @pathlandia.dlinkddns.com: lots of the pieces of the tunnels are copyable, so you can take them and make your own.
Delenn.Daines @jokaydia.metaverseworlds.com: yup. looks like NY
Pathfinder.Lester @pathlandia.dlinkddns.com shouts: I died! lol I impaled myself on something, and got kicked off the region BE CAREFUL MY FRIENDS!
Zotarah.Shepherd @jokaydia.metaverseworlds.com: Oh my!
Arcadia is famous in SL from time immemorial for making high quality textures and builds, and giving it all away. Her motto 'Keep It Simple' is one that we can all learn from.
You have to come here. Down in the subway, take time to read the hilarious posters, or, on the surface, tackle an armed gang - very exciting!
All this and King Kong. It's a place to come back to again and again, a treasure of the metaverse... and much better than shopping, an issue exercising many hypergrid devs and thinkers.
The heart and soul of the Club are the love of the unknown, the opportunity to see much more than those places pushed in the Destination Guide, in good company. It's a wonderful way to meet interesting new people, and to get out there. In his interview on Metareality, Path says there should be - will be, in time - a system by which you can use one avatar to go everywhere in Open Sim, and have one inventory, so you can acquire things on different grids. Although, perhaps in the post-Amazon era, the idea of going to places to buy stuff is passed?
So far, a lot of the freebies seem to be astonished hamsters and red phone boxes, but this is all changing too. Certainly, it would be nice to have all your wardrobe alternatives all in one place, even though hgridding has a tendency to make you lose attachments, especially shoes and headgear, and occasionally prim skirts, so don't go commando, ladies. That's where you know that Path is a cut above the rest of us mere mortals.
By some magic, despite the hype, Path keeps it simple. Like Indy, however amazing the adventure, he always keeps his hat on.