Monday, March 2, 2015

Commentary: Suicide

By Nydia Tungsten and Brandi Streusel Tungsten

Last night, I had a friend send pictures with a shotgun barrel in their mouth to a few of us. To say it upset me is a severe understatement. They were saying this was how they were feeling, then stopped talking after a while. We all feared the worst had happened. I was in tears most of the night.

I am STILL a wreck this morning as I write this with shaky hands. I have lost two very dear and close friends to suicide, over what they thought they could not endure anymore. I still love them both and remember them, but I do it with mixed feelings.

Their acts of cowardice destroyed lives not of their own, and I am talking about the family members that found them and their friends that have to deal with the sudden loss. Imagine a sister that finds her brother a week after he hung himself, a full week! Imagine what that did to her. Imagine a mother who goes into to talk to her daughter in the morning only to find her dead soiled body on the bed next to an empty pill bottle.

Suicide doesn't just affect the ones that do it, but those that are left behind, and to me, they are the biggest, most selfish cowards in the world. People will say I just don't understand. Maybe they are right, but I will bet you dollars to doughnuts more people believe the way I do.

Celebrities that kill themselves are “Celebrated for their lives and the works they have done” when in fact, they need to be forgotten and the media needs to stop being glamorizing their deaths to the public and making it look like it was honorable. IT'S NOT! They died like they lived: attention whores! That is the message I get from ever celebrity site that has front page news about the latest suicide, and yes it has made me a bit bitter.

And for those of you that feel you need to send pictures to your friends with guns in your mouth, you are the worst.

I am not saying not to reach out, I encourage that. YES, talk to someone. But stuff like
that is WAY over the line and you come across as a theatrical attention whore once the dust settles.

Because of that picture, my nerves are shot, I've gotten very little sleep. I am an emotional wreck as it at LEAST three other people I know of this morning. We were finally able to figure out where they lived and get the police out to them, where they quickly tried to play it off and telling the police to forget about it instead of getting help they desperately need.

If you feel like you want to take your life, PLEASE call someone, ANYONE and talk to them. Tell them how you are feeling, it could be a medical problem that can be fixed!

But if you think you absolutely must take the selfish cowardly way out, find a cannon ball, tie it to your ankles and jump in the ocean so no one will find you. After a while, you will just be forgotten, which is all you deserve.

So it comes down to this. If you want to end it all, please seek help. And if you don't really want to seek help, then SCREW YOU AND DO IT ALONE!!

Nydia Tungsten

Friday, February 20, 2015

Return to the God’s House of Prayer Church

By Grease Coakes

Just looking over one of my articles, I remember visiting a church at House of Prayer (180/127/33) that I had a positive experience with here in Second Life. I thought I’d pop in and it looks a lot different than about a year or so ago. However one thing struck me as strange is that they asked me to change out of my furry avatar.

Kevin Jones35 Resident who happened to be on the church’s senior staff asked me to take off my furry avatar. I was baffled at first thinking that Jesus and churches would be the last thing to ask someome to change their appearance. However I didn’t want to anger a church over something silly. When I came on later shortly before the bible study at the beach at 6pm SLT I found a newbie human avatar and took off my AX3 fox avatar.

When Kevin saw me in a human avatar he IMed me this response, "We are trying to be a rl church in sl so that was one of the rules."

After taking some pictures I asked him, "But here's a fair question, wouldn't Jesus love someone equally whether someone was a furry or a human being? Perhaps you wouldn't find a furry in a real life church, but I would think a furry would be accepted within God's house."

He replied, "Yes and if it where me I would not have that rule, but being on staff I try to make sure I inform others of the rule and give them time to change their avatar."

Fair enough something to keep in mind if you wear paws and a tail if you visit this church. Even if Kevin didn’t agree with the rule, he still has to enforce it. At least have the decency to respect that rule. When I looked around the area I was surprised that I didn’t see just 5 or 6 avatars but I saw about 20 or so sitting in the seats.

Around 6pm SLT the Rev. Britt AKA Babailey spoke at the front in voice chat. He announced there would be a men’s meeting soon after. Talking about the cold, he asked people to pray for the homeless and shut in/s that they would be able to fight against the cold. He was very thankful for the church and staff and he liked saying he liked Jesus all the time in the morning and night and to pray for other churches in Second Life. It sounded to me that he wanted to cover all the bases to pray for everything. Lots of people were typing amen in main chat and praising Jesus.

That night the Reverend read bible verses over voice chat. That night he read chapter 5 from John verses 1 through 18. After reading the bible verses, he announced that it was in week 2 of a series called "straight ahead." Each week he announced he would address one of four principals. Last week he asked everyone to see everything from the eyes of God encouraging everyone to think like God. I commented, "You mean to see everyone and everything with love?" Willma PAPAPEDRO Resident happened to agree with my statement.

The preacher spoke over voice chat about how people made excuses about how their lives are miserable. He was stating when people take responsibility for their actions and come to Jesus, their lives would change dramatically. He also said rather dramatically with a southern drawl that someone in the crowd was surrounding himself with excuses and didn’t know how to get back up. I wasn’t sure who he was talking about but it was entertaining nonetheless.

After the bible study at 7pm SLT, I was given a landmark for a men’s meeting. I said what the hey so I ported upstairs. Johann Breguet led the men’s prayer in a different room. It was more open discussion on various bible verses such as “Thessalonians 5:16-24 King James Version.” In fact Johann asked me to read this out loud, “I will therefore that men pray everywhere, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting.” He talked over voice how you shouldn’t pray or talk to God angry or bitter. To me that made sense. If I had negative thoughts, maybe that’s something I should stop doing. Positive thinking creates positive results.

Johann was saying in voice he’s used to his masculine voice which may sound harsh to women. I had suggested he could pray to Jesus to help with that. I had also said in voice chat that prayer is important,but you should also work towards your goals. You can’t pray all day and expect $10,000 to show up in your lap.

Johann Breguet was nice enough to pray for me so I said sure. I told him I wanted him to pray for me to write more so he wished my writing to be guided by god’s hand. I prayed for him that he was would find the woman that’s right for him that would accept his strong voice.

All in all I had an awesome and inspiring experience at god’s house of prayer church. I recommend going there if you’re feeling down and out. Even though it has an anti furry law if you show up as a human people there might be able to help you with your problems or anything you would like to talk about.

House of Prayer (180/127/33)

Grease Coakes

Editor's Note: Every church the Newser has previously covered didn't have a problem with what avatar you were as long as you could fit through the door. In fact, checking Grease's previous article about the HOP, there was a furry among them as well then.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

DJ Clair Knows How to Make Hearts Sing

By Celene Highwater

  DJ Clair Westbrook knows how to spin romantic tunes to make the heart flutter. Her perfect blend of romance, and upbeat tunes feels seamless, and every song she plays seems to complement the one before it.

  I met DJ Clair Westbrook when I teleported into Oceana, a beautiful ballroom set in a picturesque location by the sea. I was instantly in love with her mix of music and eventually asked if I could interview her for an article. She readily agreed to the interview and soon, after working around her hectic schedule and mine, we sat down for a chat.

  In college, Westbrook studied animation and found SL through her studies. When she joined, it was with an avatar under a different name and she spent the first two years of her Second Life as a builder. Then, she explained in her interview, she was hacked and decided to stop building as often. Now, she only builds when she needs to.

When she reentered Second Life it was with a new avatar that would lead her into a new field: romantic DJ.

“I love music, always have. I was a hostess for six months of Clair’s newby phase. There I noticed what was in... what kind of music was what. I always loved romantic music.”

She continues: “I was partnered to Edwardo (her love) for three years and we always would go dancing to romantic venues. So it was only logical I chose this type of music. I love it; I know it, don't get tired of it. You choose what you love to do when you do it every day multiple times. You won't get burned on it.”

When I asked her how she finds the music she plays she said: “I skim through the pop and select romantic music from it. I also check Billboard to see new music. Remakes of old (songs) are very popular too. I also visit a lot of sets to get an idea of the public's likes.”

 “This is more alternative... I play it sometimes but mostly I do the romance venues,” she says, showing me different songs and genres. “This is modern romantic.”

The type of music she plays depends on the venue, she says.

 “I also have jazzy romantic, which I do for Phat Cat's Elite. It’s evening music and is well liked.”

Due to a move in real-life, she only has time to DJ at Wheelies. But she plans to resume her schedule in April.

Celene Highwater

Monday, February 9, 2015

Interview with DJ Keao, Creations Park's "Blind DJ"

By Bixyl Shuftan

Recently at Creations Park, a Keao Resident began DJing for events. This might not seem to be unusual, except for one thing. keao was announced by Creations as a "Blind DJ."  Second Life Newser recently had a chance to interview her.

Bixyl Shuftan: "First of all congratulations on your DJing debut."

Keao: "Thank you!"

Bixyl Shuftan: "To begin with, well, blindness sounds like a pretty hard obstacle to overcome. How were you able to perform?"

Keao: "Well, most people have a lot of stereo types about us, saying that we can't do anything at all. We can, with a lot of confidence, the willing to do something to prove them wrong, and the technical know-how. It takes guts and the skill to learn, and mostly on my part determination, and others as well."

Bixyl Shuftan: "How did you first hear about Second Life?"

Keao: I heard about it through one of my other friends who is totally blind, sadly, he doesn't come on, because he wants Second Life to be more operating system spread out. He wants things to work with google, plus windows, but he wants a client that is blindness accessible. I've been here for 4 months, and the possibilitys are endless."

Bixyl Shuftan: "What kind of client have you been using to get on?"

Keao: "I'm using a client called Radegast, we need more developers for it for sure, it's a text based client. It's lightweight. Do you know Celene Highwater? She is a Radegast mentor. I amaze her every time when I find cool places. She saw that I was determined to learn how to use Radegast, and how Second Life works. She always saw a lot of people who are gammers.
Not much of the blindness comunity knows about SL."

"This is my place, by the way, that Barbie created for me to have a home in Creations."

Bixyl Shuftan: "Looks nice. (smile)"

Keao: "You bet, and if you need pictures, we can go up to the dance club."

Bixyl Shuftan: "If you like."

Keao: "Ok, I'll teleport you."

We then headed to the dance area in question, at (120/138/4056). There happened to be two couples there, dancing to the music stream. Keao headed to the DJ booth.

Keao: "I've been doing live broadcasting on internet radio for almost five years now on different stations in real life."

Bixyl Shuftan: "That's interesting. How did you get your start there?"

Keao: "It started in 2004, when I heard one of my good friends who has his own production company broadcast a show called northern lights, I couldn't believe that other djs who are blind got the technology to do it from there own homes. At the time I was about 14, and in high school, my dream was that I wanted to be on radio somehow. Here in Hawaii, you can't do it in a studio nowadays without going to a school. What I did was I tuned in to an internet station called ACB Radio Interactive, and instantly I was amazed, a lot of these djs are vollenteered to do it for free. It opened a lot of doors for me. My fiancee in real life is a ham radio operator, I know a lot of blind friends who do ham radio work who are blind and visually impaired."

Bixyl Shuftan: "What are some of the stations you've performed on?"

Keao: "Some of them are mostly ran by blind people, some of them are Team FM from the UK, Top Tunes FM which is from the same state, Mint FM for a while, Mojo Radio which was my first station, Radio Free Dishnuts, The Global Voice, Radio For All, and Tree House Radio, ruted in great music. The ones that are no more are Top Tunes FM and Team FM. The one that are still going is the Global Voice You can check out our site at and treehouse radio, it's . The Global Voice is run by a lot of blind people, and we have some sighted people. Not a big number, but what they do is they help us on either youtube or facebook or twitter stuff."

Bixyl Shuftan: "Did it take long to find a place in Second Life to DJ?"

Keao: "I had a few in mind, most people wanted me to get familiar with it, I would say not too long, I was talking to Barbie (Alchemi) and she had an idea that I could DJ. She didn't know at first until I mentioned it

Bixyl Shuftan: "Where did you find out about Barbie and Creations Park?"

Keao: "I found about about her and Creations Park one day by attending a poem reading event that they have weekly here up in the tree house. We started talking about her mom, she was blind when she was a little younger. Creations Park has given me the opportunity to be creative and to be free, I am somewhat of a shy person. This place changed my life in a lot of ways."

Bixyl Shuftan: "Nice, in what ways may I ask?"

Keao: "Let's see. ... It has made me a much observant person, I can sense people by the way that they act, and how they are around each other in real life, even by their personalities. I can tell that a lot of people who I know in real life I don't want to get along with at all or who are trust worthy."

"My goal in real life is to become a massage therapist. The hard part is finding the right school, and to always do a great interview."

Bixyl Shuftan: "A massage therapist? What inspired this goal?"

Keao: "I can see peoples hearts."

Bixyl Shuftan: "Besides Creations, do you DJ anywhere else?"

Keao: "Nope, only here. I see Parkinsons as a disibility in a way, when Fran moves around as her avatar, she knows that she can do things. I can see myself in the same way."

Bixyl Shuftan: "Besides DJing, what else do you do in Second Life right now? I think you mentioned going to places."

Keao: "I am also the music manager here for Creations.  I help find good singers and performers. I have a few in mind who are big names up in Second Life."

Bixyl Shuftan: "Oh? Whom may I ask?"

Keao: "Voodoo Shilton, Stephanniyah Sinatra, Liz Aday, Parker Static, Long Paush, The Balladeer, and Savannah Coronet. And also Caasi Answer. Oh, and one more, Sara Marie."

Bixyl Shuftan: "Besides this, did you have any future plans in Second Life?"

Keao: "Through voodoo's group, I've met a lot of great people who accept my disability. I've met a lot of friendly people who are willing to help me out."

Bixyl Shuftan: "Was there anything else that you wanted to mention?"

Keao: "Oh, I forgot to tell you that when I got started in Second Life, I started out in a place called Virtual Ability Island. They have a lot of people with different disabilities."

Bixyl Shuftan: "How did that go?"

Keao: "It went really well. Most of them helped me out with a lot of the clothing and outfits, and the visual stuff (laughter). And wardrobe malfunctions. So Barbie helped me link outfits together, so it will be easier visually, and I know what I'm wearing (laughter)."

Bixyl Shuftan: " 'Wardrobe malfunctions?' Heh, have those been a problem?"

Keao: "Oh yes! You should have seen me when I was at the Oceana ballroom when I first started out. I had no idea I was naked! (laughter) Until someone helped me get a gown."

Bixyl Shuftan chuckles, "Have you tried other types of avatars, such as furry or dragon?"

Keao: "For the longest time I was at the Ballroom, (I) didn't know what other sims were out there until I found Creations Park, and also a popular club I go to at nights called Rise after Dark."

"I have a tiny avatar that is a dog. I would love to get a dragon one of a fairy."

Bixyl Shuftan: "I guess that's about everything. Thank you for your time, and good luck (smile)."

Keao: "Thank you!"

You can catch Keao perform at Creations Park. Drop by to get a schedule of her performances.

Bixyl Shuftan

Addition: Keao contacted me after the interview.  She told me she wasn't just legally blind as I first assumed, but, "I am totally blind, I forgot to tell you. I can't see anything at all." To get about Second Life, she uses, "an open source screen reader called nvda. It's non visual access desktop. It reads in speech, and converts everything in to text." When asked if typos are a big problem for it, she told me it's not, "it doesn't care if you use wrong spelling."

She went on more about her real-life plans, "I wanted to become a massage therapist because I've been using esental oils, and I would love to learn more of the techniques. Also, the practice is good in Hawaii, a lot or some blind people want to do that hobby. It's the number one career because it deals with hands and I would love to learn more of the techniques."

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Becoming a DJ in Second Life

By Grease Coakes

One of the many things you can do in Second Life is share your music with club goers and your friends as a DJ. If you’re reading this article you might wonder how you become a DJ and what kind of program do you need? Well one of the most obvious things you need is music!

Years ago I went to Anthroxtacy or AX for short when I saw a notice for someone named Aurora Avila. The notice said lots of video game noises. Video game songs? Being an avid video game player I was intrigued what video game noises might sound like in a DJ set. So back when Anthroxtacy was alive and well I went to see Aurora Avila and I loved the atmosphere and the song selection where one song was based upon the original Mega Man from the Nintendo or NES for short. The next song might be based on Sonic the hedgehog or perhaps Life Force.

Hearing Aurora DJ sometimes I wondered could I DJ? I did want to play the songs Aurora was playing, however in real life I also had CD/s from real life DJ/s and being in Washington DC I had easy access to rave clubs and saw DJ/s mix live. I saw local DJs like Scott Henry Deep Dish and Aprhodite from the UK several times. Charles Feelgood from Baltimore, MD gave me a high five when I told him he played a great set which included a remix of Pink Floyd’s the Wall. “Teachers leave us kids alone!” Ignoring the mainstream radio stations I instead listened to CD/s or cassette tapes I bought from Buzz the club or from music stores in the area. Before I even knew video game remixes existed I was always influced and loved hearing rave music which is known today as EDM or electronic rave music.

A few years ago I had the courage to at least try djing so someone told me you should go get a DJ program called Virtual DJ. I looked around the internet and found a copy. When I played around with it some getting used to the controls I decided to apply to a club. One club turned me down due to lack of experience. Another club called Heart of Gold gave me a try.

Compiling lots of music together and lots of practice and listening to mixed CD/s made by professional DJ/s I had a general idea how to mesh songs together. Today I have developed an excellent ear of when to mix songs together swiftly or to take my time and let the two songs blend together for as long as possible.

Recently I was hired by DJ Micah and his Club Culture after applying and being interviewed by one of their managers. The manager was impressed with the experience I had and welcomed me to the team. There’s other genres of music to be djed as well in various clubs in SL. 80’s music Rock music, country or maybe hip hop.

If you think it’s difficult to DJ you’d be surprised. If you plan your DJ set accordly or at least what songs you want to play you’d be set for your dj set. But it’s a good idea to practice before hand before you try tackling playing for a crowd. If you pay attention to the songs and know the right timing to start blending songs in and out you’ll do fine.

Whether your last name is Resident or you got to pick and choose your last name from years past and you have always wondered what’s it like to DJ, why not look around for a djing program like Virtual DJ like I have. If you have the time and energy give a try there’s always clubs looking for DJ/s across Second Life. Chances are you’ll find a club that’s right for you.

Grease Coakes

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Interview With Pyrie Catoria (Catalina Staheli)

By Bixyl Shuftan

The Relay for Life's fundraising season is still over a month away, but already some are getting ready for it. Among them is Pyrie Catoria (account name Catalina Staheli). Pyrie has been doing a photogrpahy project, taking pictures of each Relayer with their reason for taking part in a picture frame they're holding, and putting each on a Flickr page for the project. Recently the Newser had a chance to interview her about herself and her project, so I met her at her studio.

Bixyl Shuftan: "So how did you find out about Second Life?"

Pyrie Catoria (catalina.staheli): "Oh! I actually got involved in Second Life through my university. I was working as a technology consultant as I finished up my bachelors and they put SL into use at the university for online classes. They told us to familiarize ourself with the program to help if any troubleshooting was needed. And I came in, set things up, looked around and said 'What's the point of this, again?.' Coming from a gamer's background, I was expecting levels, goals, quests, etc. *laughs* And instead it was just a bunch of people standing around. I was like 'hmm.....alrightie then.' And then explored a bit more on my own time and, well, eight years later I'm still here."

Bixyl Shuftan: "What did you find once you explored?"

Pyrie Catoria (catalina.staheli): "Hmm....well, as an educator, I loved the online representations of the different cities. I still remember visiting an online Prague, Venice, Paris. And then I found out you could have a job in SL and well, I was a broke college student, so signed up. Worked for a bit, did well. And then started finding some of the role play sims and got hooked on that." *smiles*

Bixyl Shuftan: "What roleplay sims were you in?"

Pyrie Catoria (catalina.staheli): "Oh, I started off with the vampire sims, working as a handmaiden to a lord and his family. They actually paid their staff in lindens to be around, so it's how I sort of made that shift from jobs to role play. After that I explored the Gorean sims, beginning as a role player. I did that for a few years, branching out into Game of Thrones, where I was a part of the original King's Landing sim. I've explored Venexia, Kingdom of Sand, Goatswood. A few years ago, I realized a bit more about myself through my time spent in Second Life and began to pursue a new path that touched both on my SL and real-life journey.

"So some role play turned into real life. And some have continued to just be enjoyable role play." *chuckles*

Bixyl Shuftan chuckles, "How did you find out about the Relay in Second Life"

Pyrie Catoria (catalina.staheli): "I did Relay for Life when I was in high school, the walkathons, the fundraising, all of it. And I loved it. There are very few places that throw a party like New Orleans and so our RFL walk-a-thons were filled with crawfish boils, live cajun music, pet alligators you could hold, and teams that were laughing and dancing and showing such a camaraderie, it's something truly special. A few years ago, I saw some notices for RFL things, but really didn't pay that much attention to it. And then three years ago....I don't remember what prompted it, but I had this small kernal of an idea. I tend to be quite the dreamer and come up with fun projects to explore. So I had this idea of doing a photography project. I did a few samples before approaching Kaiila Mahoney, the captain of the Goreans For Life team, and from there, I fell head first into doing RFL every year since."

Bixyl Shuftan: "Have you done much photogrpahy in Second Life before your project for the Relay?"

Pyrie Catoria (catalina.staheli): "Indeed! I began doing photography about a year beforehand. Everything was a learning experience in terms of technique and composition and I really enjoyed the process. I worked as a photographer at A Touch of Glamour until they closed and then opened up my own photography studio after that."

Bixyl Shuftan: "How has your own studio done?"

Pyrie Catoria (catalina.staheli): "It did pretty well. I had a lot of fun and was doing 200-300 dollars a month in revenue. It was truly a second business for me. There's no studio or gallery as of now, but I still do freelance photography for any who want it." *smiles*

Bixyl Shuftan: "So how did your RFL photo project do at first? What were some of the initial reactions?"

Pyrie Catoria (catalina.staheli): "Oh it took off like a shot! I didn't start doing anything until the end of May or beginning of June. Between then and the RLF walk-a-thon, I raised about 50,000L that first year."

Bixyl Shuftan: "50,000 Lindens, that's pretty impressive."

Pyrie Catoria (catalina.staheli): "I was pretty happy! I think it was about 53,000L in the end. 50K had been my goal."

Bixyl Shuftan: "Sounds pretty great. What team did you say you were a part of?"

Pyrie Catoria (catalina.staheli): "The last two years I was with the Goreans for Life team. This year I am helping with the committee and reaching out to all teams."

Bixyl Shuftan: "Any specific plans for this year?"

Pyrie Catoria (catalina.staheli): "Yes! I'll be doing the 'Why Do You Relay" series for the third year and then I'll also be doing a special exhibition later this season featuring those currently fighting cancer and survivors of cancer."

There had been a man nearby in her studio, so I decided to ask about him.

Bixyl Shuftan: "I guess we need to mention him sometime. Is Corel Ewing here with your photo studio?"

Pyrie Catoria (catalina.staheli) smiles. "Corel's a friend who stopped by. We were chatting when you arrived."

Bixyl Shuftan: "Oh, I see."

"Was there anything else you wanted to mention about the Relay or the photoshoot?"

Pyrie Catoria (catalina.staheli): "The photoshoot takes about fifteen minutes from start to finish. And all are welcome. It doesn't matter what community you're from or what team you're on, everyone is welcome. The portraits are free and each participant will receive a full perm version they can do anything they'd like with.

"My goal this year is to raise 250,000L in donations, and 100% of any donation someone on a team gives can go to that team. So they help their team and they get the portrait. I'm just keeping a running tally of the donations for my own goal. It all goes to the same place and I just really want everyone to work together so that we can have an amazing year."

Pyrie invited me to pose for one of her snapshots, so that was quickly done. With both that and the inverview finished, we went our separate ways.

Pyrie posts her "Why Do You Relay" pictures on her Flickr page at: . She's also made an SL video about them.

(Click here if the image fails to load)

Bixyl Shuftat

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Interview with Scratchmusikatt Fox (aka Scratchmusikatt Sprocket)

By Bixyl Shuftan

Scratchmusikatt Fox is a DJ in real life whom was making a name for himself a few years ago in Second Life as the "Chaos DJ."  Events forced him to take a break from the virtual world for a time. But now he's back, and so is his music, either on his main account or his alt Scratchmusikatt Sprocket. Recently Second Life Newser sat down for an interview with him. 

Bixyl Shuftan: "So how did you find out about Second Life?"

Scratchmusikatt Fox: "A real-life roomate of mine, Stripes Waterkat was part of the beta testing for Second Life. I would occasionally look in on what he was doing because he always had some pretty good music coming out of his speakers, and I knew this wasn't stuff he had himself. So I finally asked him one night 'what is that you're doing?', because at the time he was at Club Fur and I could hear the DJ talking on the air. He explained Second Life to me and how to get into it. But It wasn't until a year or so later that I tried it myself."

Bixyl Shuftan: "How did your first experiences go?"

Scratchmusikatt Fox: "Second Life was still pretty basic back then. It was out of Beta by the time I joined, but furry avs as we know them were mostly still a new thing. My first 'avs' were of my main fursona, Johnny Vulpine and The fursona I created specifically for my forray into SL, Scratch Musikatt. I joined Second Life for the sole purpose of getting into DJ'ing because it's something I liked doing in real life.  I couldn't even begin to tell ya who made those first two avs. They were little more than a head and tail and a skin, because flexiprims didn't exist at the time."

Bixyl Shuftan: "Sounds pretty basic compared to today."

Scratchmusikatt Fox: "Yeah, Second Life has come a long way. but even then there was something that spoke to me beyond the draw of DJ'ing. I found alot of roleplayers and, given the ability to be... pretty much anything you want. SL suddenly had a second draw for me. It was the DJ'ing and the escape from real-life that kept me here through the difficulties of SL's infancy."

Bixyl Shuftan: "How did your experiences go from there?"

Scratchmusikatt Fox: "As Second Life grew and more people I knew got into it, things got more and more fun. I never got to officially DJ at Club Fur, but I found a place called Club Elite. They were open to furs and non-furs alike. They had, in the past been named the Number One club in SL and they were looking for DJ's. I applied, and Mrs. Rainestar (owner of the club's radio station) gave me a wednesday night slot from 7 to 9pm. And it was there that DJ Scratch Musikatt was really born."

Bixyl Shuftan: "How did it go?"

Scratchmusikatt Fox: "To be perfectly honest, I was nervous as hell. They had shown me how to setup and run SAM broadcaster the week before and I remember thinking to myself now crazy complicated it looked. As I was preparing to actually go on the air the first time, a million ideas were spinning in my head for how to carry myself on the air. I took a breath, and thought of the Radio DJ's I used to listen to as a kid. Wolfman Jack, The Greaseman, and Dr Demento and I just kinda decided to channel them into my performance."

Bixyl Shuftan: "And it went without a hitch?"

Scratchmusikatt Fox: "To my surprise, Yes, Rainestar had told me a good formula to follow is to do at least 20 minutes of music then either an ad or a voiceover. I found it easier to keep to a 30 minute schedule and by the third set of my first show I felt like I had it down pretty tight. I did have a bad habit at first of forgetting to turn off my mic after a voiceover. So, sometimes the listeners would get treated to my singing along with the music until someone would poke me to turn off the mic."

Bixyl Shuftan: " Heh ... How did things go after that?"

Scratchmusikatt Fox: "Things were great @ Club Elite for a good while. But unfortunately, all good things must eventually come to an end. The club wasn't making enough money to keep running and eventually had to close its doors. As a parting gift, the owner of the club gave me a copy of the club's dancefloor. at the time it was one of the most unique dancefloors I'd ever seen. And to this day, I still use a dance floor based off of it's design whenever I put on shows in my own places or a place that allows the DJ to provide a floor. I made quite a few friends at Club Elite, and was able to get into other clubs thanks to those connections.

"I played for Club Abydos when there were only three Furnation sims. DJ Inferniel ran the place he and I were both alumni of Club Elite, so it was no surprise when I got an invite to play there. Furries were rapidly becoming more and more widespread in Second Life and so I was doing alot of looking around at other furry clubs too. Abydos eventually shut down, for the first time and I moved on to the club which I will always think of as Scratch's first home: Rainbow Tiger."

Bixyl Shuftan: "How would you describe this particular club. What made it stand out among other clubs, furry and otherwise?"

Scratchmusikatt Fox: "Rainbow Tiger? well, it was bigger than anyplace I'd played for before and it's roster of DJs was huge. There was someone live on the air almost 24-7, I'd never seen that before. The atmosphere at Rainbow Tiger was really hoppin' too. there was always people there. Club Elite, Club Fur and Abydos all had times when there was just nothing going on, but not Rainbow Tiger. It was exciting and fun knowing that was part of a club that entertained so many people so much. Of course, that just makes how Rainbow Tiger finally shut down even sadder. I haven't found a club since that had the same feel to it as RT had back then. I'll admit, a few have come close. But I honestly don't think that kind of magic will ever be duplicated. Rainbow Tiger just had the right combination if elements and I'm proud to have been a part of that."

Bixyl Shuftan: "How long did it keep going?"

Scratchmusikatt Fox: "Well, I know that Rainbow Tiger had been a well established place by the time I started my backup Second Life account in 2006. And I know that somewhere around 2009 or 2010 RT had to shut down. I don't know for sure when because I had fallen on hard times and was not able to get on Second Life for almost a year. Before then, the last time I played at Rainbow Tiger had been in 2008. I was playing for there and another fairly popular club called Fur Dungeon. I was unemployed in real life from 2010 to 2013 and so I wasn't able to do much in Second Life at all unless I was at a location where my aging laptop could get a good enough signal to get into SL. When I finally got back into Second Life effectively, I found out that Rainbow Tiger had closed.

"Then early in 2014, I began to hear rumors that somebody was trying to bring Rainbow Tiger back. I kept tabs on this rumor until finally a notice popped up in the old RT group that stated they were back and looking for DJs. I immediately signed up. ay this time I had begun playing for a licensed furry radio station, 'Raging  Dragon Radio,' owned and operated by the con chair of my local area's first furry convention 'Furthemore.'"

Bixyl Shuftan: "So you never found out why it closed?"

Scratchmusikatt Fox: "I spoke to Spike about it when I found out that Rainbow Tiger was back, and the way it sounded to me was that the place just wasn't drawing the crowds like it used to. So, I thought this could be a win-win situation if I could get Rainbow Tiger associated with Raging Dragon Radio. That way RDR would finally have an official venue in Second Life (they didn't at the time) and RT would have the support of RDR. Unfortunately, it seemed it was too little too late. The place was almost always empty. And so, Spike finally sent out a notice that Rainbow Tiger was shutting down for good, just a couple months ago. Even the brightest stars eventually burn out."

Bixyl Shuftan: "Sorry to hear about that. So for a few years your DJing in SL was a little spotty?"

Scratchmusikatt Fox: "I Yeah, between 2006 and 2010 I did alot of hopping around to different clubs, I played GYC for about a month ... Don't even get me started on THAT place. Let's just say for the kind of club they were running they hiring DJ's was just kinda a waste of time and they would have served themselves better by just using a radio stream tuner. I played for some of the clubs that my good real-life friend DJ Rory ran; The Coco Beach Club and the Blue Parrot to name a couple. I met one of my best SL friends ever at the CBC, Muertos Ashbourne. I Played for a mostly human club by the name of Club Zapp for a while. But by then it was pretty much the end of 2011 and the beginning of the really hard times when I pretty much had to drop out of Second Life completely.

Scratchmusikatt Fox: "Well, it was during the Spring months, I was doing sidework for a real-life friend's father and staying at his place while I worked. SO I was able to use my laptop to get online there and get back into SL. At first, I didn't do a whole lot. Certainly no DJ'ing, all the clubs I was familiar with were gone. Even, as I found out upon my return, Rainbow Tiger. So, I kinda took a break from the club scene for a bit, my RL schedule didn't really work for club DJ'ing at the time anyways. So I got into new roleplay groups. I had begun getting into 'My Little Pony' by that time and I discovered the Fallout/MLP crossover called 'Fallout: Equestria.' Did alot of RPing there as well as alot of other places Muertos and I found in our travels.

"As I said before I hooked back up with Spike and the Rainbow Tiger crew and did my best to try to help the place thrive, but it turned out to be a lost cause. Early in November (2014), a group notice went out from this place I'd shopped at before called Furry Fashion saying they were looking for DJ's Hosts, and Models. Hell, I never even knew they had a club. Now, I've never been the kind of guy that DJ's for the money. NONE of the clubs I played for before paid the staff. We always worked for tips and that was it so I was used to playin' for peanuts. But hey, like I said, I was never in it for the money. BUT, I will admit, it DID perk my ears when I heard that this place not only paid the staff but you also get tips, it was just like an real-life club.

"So I figured, what the hell and I applied. Well, not to toot my own horn, but it was no surprise when they showed interest in hiring me. There's alot to be said for having a good resume backed by years of experience. I was contacted within the week, played my first show there that Thursday. And I do believe, I made them fall in love with me that very same night."

Bixyl Shuftan: Sounds like you were a real hit (smile).

Scratchmusikatt Fox: "Well, so far, I've heard nothing but praise from the Furry Fashion staff. They're a really fun bunch too. They run a staff chat outside of Second Life in Skype that way we can keep up to date of things going on at the club on or off of SL. We get together and play 'Cards Against Humanity' online sometimes. It's just a very friendly atmosphere and very family-like. I'm enjoying it a lot. I still play for Raging Dragon Radio on Thursdays. Unfortunately tho I don't think I could host RDR at Furry Fashion because there are rules to how I have to play on RDR and there are rules to how I have to play at FF and the combination of the two would make running a show very difficult for me. I'm good, but I'm not that good and trying to follow both sets of rules would totally suck the fun out of the whole show."

Bixyl Shuftan nods, "So aside from these places, what are your plans for the future?"

Scratchmusikatt Fox: "Well, I'll play for Furry Fashion for as long as they'll have me. Meanwhile, I am looking for a place that can accommodate my schedule and be a good fit for hosting Raging Dragon Radio. Kit, RDR's owner has recently gotten back into Second Life himself and a few weeks ago we went club hopping looking for places to apply to that might be a good fit."

Bixyl Shuftan: "Anything else that you'd like to mention?"

Scratchmusikatt Fox: "*Giggles insanely* "well I could bore ya with my mercifully short forray into trying to run a club of my own. But I don't think you want to write about a train wreck. That's one thing I'll NEVER do again."

Bixyl Shuftan: "Well, if that's all, thank you for your time and good luck with your music making."

Raging Dragon Radio:

Bixyl Shuftan