Monday, May 16, 2016

Nydia Tungsten Speaks on Recent Events

By Bixyl Shuftan

Nydia Tungsten has had quite a history in Second Life, notably as a valued member of the Sunweavers. Her own group of fans, the Angels, could be considered a comminity in itself, on occasion the Sunweavers are refered to as the Sunweaver/Angels community. But the past several weeks have not been kind to the little white vixen. One problem was her computer, her pets had knocked the unit on the floor, wrecking it. But the real problem was her mother. In poor health recently, she finally passed away, leaving Nydia and her family in mourning, and stuck with bills as the funeral insurance would not pay for certain expenses. Such difficulties would mean the end of Second Life for many, but Nydia's friends came together in support for her. Recently, Nydia asked to talk about this trying time and the response of her friends.

"I want to let everyone know how much their support means to me," Nydia spoke of the response of her friends, "It has be been a really sh**ty 8 weeks for me. ... I never really feel like I am all that special, I am just here and I have great friends."

"I felt terrible about my system being broke, then my Mom started to take a turn for the worse again. I thought she would turn around again, I really did. But then, she started slipping. I had very little in the way of an outlet. I couldn't even come here much."

"I was overwhelmed with frustration and...and....despair. ( I am fighting back tears right now remembering). Then I started getting glimpses of what was happening here, for me. I couldn't understand it,  but I was so grateful for it. Then Reco, goddess bless him and make all his dreams come true, paid for the buy-down for both my sims, over 1200 US dollars. I was in shock, So I was able to reduce the rents of all my renters. Then he buys me another computer, a whole ferkin' computer! (One) that was just a bit shy of 2,000."

"You're wondering where he got the money?" I asked.

"I do wonder," Nydia answered, "I hope everything is okay for him."

"He has been doing a *lot* for a number of people<" I spoke, "But when I asked him about it, his response was simply 'I just wanted to help.' "

"Dear goddess he HAS helped," Nydia responded, "He even sent me money to help with the burial of my Mother. There is no way I can ever repay him, I wish there was something I could do for him."

"Then there was the memorial set up next to us," Nydia directed my attention to the cross set up nearby, which was soon followed by candles and flowers, "I am starting to realize how much I am cared for here.. While touching, it scares me a bit as well. I have never been that cared about in real-life, never one of the 'in' crowd so to speak, So being shown I am loved this much, it overwhelms me.I don't know how to react to it. To me, I am just me, nothing special, just here. So, I don't see, why, or understand."

"Well, you have been here for many of us in a time of need," I told her, "a shoulder to cry on, a ear to listen to."

"But, that's just being a good person," Nydia answered, "So, I am just not used to it I guess. But I would like to take this opportunity to thank each and everyone of my family and friends here in Second Life and please know I love you. Dear goddess I can't say that enough, and I never will be able to repay you for all the warmth and love shown to me. It has sustained me through this whole ordeal."

It was then that Nydia finished what she had to say about recent weeks, and we talked more about other matters before we had to part.

Bixyl Shuftan

Monday, May 9, 2016

Tinies' Jail and Bail at the Fantasy Faire

By Bixyl Shuftan

Sunday May 1 was the last official day of the 2016 Fantasy Faire, a Relay for Life mega-event noted for it's Fantasy-themed items up for sale, and several well-designed sims that are worth going to just to explore around. Among the events that day, at 11AM SL time was a tiny-themed "Jail and Bail" at the Bright Haven sim in which the tiny Faire "pawlice" did a mock arrest of fellow tinies Clover Dezno and Druscilla Ferraris.

It never fails! These two tinies can't go a Faire without adding to their ever expanding rap sheet! But say what you will, Clover Dezno and Druscilla Ferraris know how to pawtay! Ever see a sim full of tinies get nakie in protest! We have. Who knows what will happen? All we can say for sure is that Justice has never been swifter! Or cuter! 

The two avatars in question, along with a supporting spider, stood in a cell behind bars, with some of the Faire tiny cops standing by on segway scooters with sirens attached. On top of the cage was a printout of the late Shady Fox whom passed away a few months ago, still fondly remembered by the tinies. Nearby were two Relay kiosks to donate to. Next to the cage in the water was a "Colossus" style avatar, which while sympathetic to the tinies would not bust them out as she explained her size didn't make her immune from the law. Next to the cage was a huge sign listing the charges against the pair, "inciting riots against authority, libelous words against Faire pawlice, obstructing pawlice actions, inciting crowds against pawlice." 

It didn't take long for a crowd to gather. Clover encouraged them to donate, "a donation to free us is an investment in FREE SPEECH for everybodys," as well as egging them on, "I wants to see more protest signs out dere, come on Tinies and Dinkies!"

The dark unicorn Avariel Falcon began chewing on one of the blue uniforms, which got one calling out, "Avariel, dat uniform ish SACRED! No nommin, or ya go back in da cage n' stuff!" Someone quipped, "She got a taste for Tiny Uniforms now! No Pawlice is safe!"

Time went on, people continuing to make donations, and comments, "35 min is an eterity for a tiny." "I'm all for the revolution, but when you got a Ferret and a BKOD in a cage together, something must be up." "Oh hey how did I miss that charge. *reads* Dru? Clover? You went on a PANTY RAID????" "Lets make em fight to da death!" "Tiny Torture!" "Dru vs Clober vs Aine! Who will win! Bwahahaha!"

Before long, the two were asking for food and drink, "I HAZ BIN WIFOUT JOOS NOR WAFFLE FOR OVER A HOUR!" "Ya dats cuz you bein punished for yer ebilness." "Yew got noms in dere?" "I starting to feel sick in here." "I FEEL FAINT." "We has no WATER!" "WE DEMAND WATER!" "WE DEMAND WOOTBERRY JOOS!" "HALP US!" "Dun leave us like dis!" "I too weak to stand." "What's wrong wit Dru! DOCTOR, NEED A DOCTOR!!" "Pawlice medics! Come help our suspects, they is fainted!"

Someone comented, "Tiny riots are the most cheerful and happy riots you can have!" Another added. "Yep. Tinies can't even take a riot seriously!"

 At about 12 Noon, enough money was raised, "Unlock the jail." "FREEEDOM!!!!" "DEY got da DOOR OOPEN!" "RUN RUN!" "Neener-neener-neeeeeener!" "Run Wild!"

Exactly what happened next is less then clear, but the results were it were the boys in blue who ended up behind bars, "We has you NOW!" "WE GOT EM!!!!" And the door was slapped shut on them. "HA!  Hahahaha!  Heeheehee!  Hee-heeee!" "Oh no the pawlice are trapped!" "The PAWLICE ARE IN JAIL!!!" "WOT DA HECK?!" "O! WE WUZ TRICKED!" "PAWLICE LOOK GOOD IN THEre!!" "YOU IS BAD PAWLICE!!!" "OMG, I can't believe this?!?! after all the work i've done for the pawlice here I am landed in jail???" "YOUR turn to pay!"

 And before long, the cops had exchanged their blues for prison stripes. "Now where ya gonna get yer security?" "Ya wot about all the criminals out dare doing crimez!" "On behalf of all da innocent Faire people who has been put in jail I say..... EAT DIS!" "JIMMINY CRICKET! I am getting claustraphobic!" "Help us! We left the key in a pile of waffles somewhere!" "You not taking care of criminals, you here torturing tinies!!!" "You want out, YOU raise some dough now!" "But but morton, we not only arrested innercentz tinies but innercentz biggies and unicorns too. we an equal opportunity pawlice department!" "We're happy to arrest any one any time! hehe!" "We got lots of cells, lots of batons, n' lots of pepper spray! Anyone is welcome to partake!" "Thankyou for those amazind donations... how much can we get into those kiosks.. we are making it up there but will it be enough to keep them in there??? or do we want them out??? you decide!!!"

 One of the cops turned inmates couldn't take it and began munching on some chocolate cereal puffs. "Lemme out! Im panicking! I will sweep streets! I will clean litter boxes! I will polish hooves and boots! I SWEAR IT! ... I cant take it! I need MORE COCOA PUFFS DAMMIT!" "Dey just want us to be responsible and to not abuse our powah! Dat's not cool!" "Morton... Morton... You seem like you abusive towards prisoners, and have an inflated sense of importance... Wanna join da pawlice? *grins ebily*" "No way!" "We got waaaffles..."

One of the cops-turned-prisoners drew a file from his hat and began sawing on one of the bars. No one paid much attention, probably because the bars were pretty thick and like the filer it was tiny. But then there was a flash of light, temporarily blinding the crowd. And when the flare and smoke cleared, the prisoners were gone.

And so came to an end one of the wackiest jail and bails of the Relay season, done only as Second Life's tinies can.

Bixyl Shuftan

Friday, April 29, 2016

Sunnny Awards Night at Cutlass

By Bixyl Shuftan (and Becky Shamen)

On the night of April 22, the Sunweaver community held an event to honor several individuals whom have distinguished themselves for their efforts to help out the community. The ceremony took place in the middle of the usual Friday night dance, DJed by Cynthia Farshore, which was briefly put on hold.

"People can I have your attention, please?!" Rita spoke up, then began reading from some notes, "Dearly Beloved, we are gathered here to join this man and this women........wait a minute....oops .....wrong ceremony. We are gathered here to award to some very deserving individuals the very first ever SUNNY Awards." After a couple chuckles from the audience, the white bunnygirl continued, "This award was inspired by the deeds of a certain individual who went way above the Call of Duty, to others and in the opinion of many of us deserves this award and more! Our own Sha, Becky Shamen designed it, so kudos to her for her work, on this and much, much more."

"Since we only set aside 15 minutes for this, let's get rolling. Perri Prinz, please step forward and stand beside the box and the center column, please." Perri moved, but was having a little trouble with lag, "Perri? Behind the column, please. Center one. Thank you." Perri would be receiving the first award on behalf of her partner RECoyote Mines, whom sadly wasn't there at the ceremony, but busy with his trucking job in real life.

"RECoyote is the inspiration for the SUNNY Award, it has been his over the top generosity, too so many, that it has to be recognized and honored. The wonderful part is he did it without being asked, he just saw the need and helped! That is a rare quality in today's world and so that needs to be appreciated and nurtured. The Sunweavers are like that, we are family! Now while most of us can't be as helpful as RECoyote was, many of us have stepped up in the past and done what we can, when we could, with what we had. Really no one can ask for more.

"So RECoyote from ALL of US to you we present you with the very first SUNNY Award and to top it off, we also present you with a statue of your mangy coyote self, so pigeons can poop on you daily! We do this cause WE LOVE YOU!" There were a number of cheers and claps and a "huzzaaaaaaaaaaahhhhh" animation, "Thanks for your deeds REC."

Perri spoke, "Since REC couldn't be here for unavoidable reasons, it's my honor to accept this award on his behalf. I'm sure he'll appreciate it and be long reminded of the love that comes to those who do good." Becky commented, "REC is the reason I made the award. It is designed to radiate JOY. The statue was a co-build with Rita." Shockwave spoke, "One of the nicest folks I've known. ... was worried about Perri and Ny.  A class act all the way."

"Thanks to him, living here just got a little easier for all of us. Those fees (to Linden Lab) weren't cheap. Neither were those tablets." "And he is helping with my transmission." "He also paid my family out of a ... debt. ... Pretty much saved our lives." "And he is helping with my transmission." "A very very generous soul." "There's a place in heaven for him." "Not soon I hope." "We bring heaven to earth by helping others."

After a few more comments, Rita continued, "Next up, Shockwave Yareach and Cynthia Farshore, please step forward and stand next to your awards, please." Sockwave pretended to be worried, "I didn't do anything! The tape lies!" Once they were at their places, the white rabbitgirl continued, "Shockwave has been with me since Day One, he has been my right hand Wolf, also pissing on my foot and chewing on the furniture, never totally housebroken." After a pause for chuckles, she continued, "Still if you need some building done, something sripted, a renter's temper soothed, a glitch in the club's media system, or running the Sunday Night Movies, Shockwave is right there. I don't think SL would be half as much fun without him. The greatest compliment I can give him is to call him my friend both here and in RL. So you deserve this Sunny award Shockwave. Enjoy it!" There were then a number of cheers, followed by Shockwave saying, "Thank you very much."

Rita then turned her attention to Cynthia, "Cynthia Farshore, I don't know you as well as Shockwave, but Shockwave likes you and since you keep a smile on his face and keep him out of the gutter, that has to account for something. On a more serious note, Cynthia has repeatedly, let us use her SIM to host Air shows for the RFL, she is also half of our dynamic duo build team for the Sunbeamer campsites. She has put out alot of her own money to get things done. She also loves to DJ. She is a valued member of our community, so you are deserving of this award Cynthia, Enjoy!" There were more cheers.

Rita then looked to Becky, "Becky your turn, park your tushie next to your award." Becky did, then Rita resumed, "The fourth person is our own Sha, Becky Shamen, the bouncing Bunny, who decorates the dance pole,here at Cutlass,during our dances. She also designs and makes all the clothes for the Sunbeamer RFL team. Sha also runs things here on Sunweaver Bay for me, taking in strays, mentoring new people, building stuff, ...  Sha is like my own bunny clone on the sim. She keeps things running smoothly here so I can goof off. Supreme Bunny is LAZY! Becky enjoy your award you earned it!" There were more cheers and congratulations."

Rita was a bit hesitant in speaking about the fifth award winner, "The last person on the list to get an award is me, but I am not going to blow my own horn, as they say, I'll leave that to others. If they wish." Shockwave spoke first, "Rita started this mad house.  Paid for it with her own money for years and years.  Kept us together when many other groups had fallen apart." Becky added, "Being a useful member of this community is one of my greatest joys. I am thankful and I insisted that our beloved Big Moma should also receive this award. She is the core of Sunweavers." Cynthia spoke, "I was still rather shy when I found this place but Rita and Shocky here help me to be more open."

Becky told Rita, "Take your place on stage, Chief." The white rabbitgirl did, "It has been a real pleasure to lead ths freak show, I LOVE YOU ALL!" Shockwave smiled, "We love you too, chief freak." Cynthia mused, "So for our chief freak I bring you ..." and the music resumed, then so did the dancing as the people on stage got down.

The coyote statue made in honor of RECoyote Mines would later be placed in the Sunweaver Estates, somewhere in Sunweaver Bay.

Pictures by Becky Shamen, Story by Bixyl Shuftan

Bixyl Shuftan

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Sunny Award

By Becky "Sha" Shamen

 By now, the word is out that local resident, RECoyote Mindes, has been helping out some members of the community. This story has grown on me and even made me a part of it. When I first began hearing of it, my friend and co-artist, Valkrye, announced that the coyote was sending her a powerful computer and a Wacom cintiq display/drawing board. Lucky Val! In my dreams, thought I, knowing how such a set up would aid my own art. After a week, I got an IM from REC, saying that he was also sending me the same equipment. I was stunned. Was this some kind of April Fools joke? Since I was now in the group of people that were being assisted, I began hearing details of how much and who was being helped. We were all being helped in real life, but the effects directly ripple through our SL community.

I contemplated that since he was helping Second Life residents, one could estimate the amount of Linden Dollars that would equal. Mind you, at the time I did the math, I only knew of a handful of cases, but it was adding up to over twelve million Linden Dollars. Now it was beginning to look like a news story that folks need to see. In a conversation with Rita Mariner, I half jokingly said' Maybe we should put up a coyote statue in the town square. She adopted the idea and we've played with building one. I think she wants to add pigeons to poop on it.

I have always been a big supporter of building healthy communities. If there are punishments for bad behavior, there should also be rewards for good behavior. Perhaps, like Oscars and Emmies, we could create an award for those that have given generously of their services to the community. I told Rita I was thinking of making such a reward and giving it to her to give out as she and or a committee decided. I made a walnut base and made the top design of translucent woven gold, which glows and gives off light. The gold forms a symbol, which is based on the universal thought-form that joy creates. The shape can be found in a smiley face, the SL hand logo and there is a hint of an all seeing eye, in the center. When the build was completed, I was delighted to discover that it seems to radiate joy, when you come near it.  I call it the "Sunny" award.

 So now I'm writing a story about a community hero, an award and a statue. Good heroes tend to be humble, so I think it best to go ask the yote if it's OK to write a story about him. I found him, relaxing at home with Perri. As I meandered up, shuffling my feet and clearing my throat, I made my request. His initial response was a heroic please no, but Perri quickly pointed out that, with the wide reaching benefits to community, having a "hero" will lift their eyes to the behaviors that lead to building a better world. With that in mind, he decided this article would be OK and I could ask him more questions.

   I began with my favorite question, "Was there a "spirit" or inspiration that led to his actions?". He just said, "I like to help". What does he do in RL? He drives a tank truck, hauling blood.  He said, "I drive truck. I love to drive, but hate driving". Driving is hard on the body and he's getting where he can't handle some equipment and climbing up in the cab is painful. Asked about the source of this new wealth, I learned it came with the sale of some land that had been passed down in his family.

   As we talked, we were joined by Niko and Erik. When I told REC that my artistic service would be freely given to him, the group began talking about how a coop of local artists would benefit them and the community. Pooling our talents, we could produce illustrated and or animated stories, with a potential attention and even income to the artists. I mentioned that Erik had also shown interest in creating graphic stories and could use Sunny Beach for "location" backgrounds for pictures and movies, a mini Hollywood.
   This is the ripple effect, which started with REC's help. Community members, joining to make a better world. I hope readers will join in honoring RECoyote, for his humble services to the community that loves him.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Memorial Event For Zaphara Cazalet

By Bixyl Shuftan

On Sunday March 6, it was announced that Zaphara Cazalet, one of the members of the Relay for Life team Strange Journey, had passed away. On Friday March 11, fellow Relayers and other friends of hers held a service for her to pay their respects. The event was held in Skybeam Hideaway.

The event began shortly after 1PM SL time, Rowena Dubrovna saying, "Okay, (we) will go ahead and start. For those who just arrived, it will be informal. I will type a few words then we have some poems, and hopefully some of you have poems you will volunteer to read, then we will share memories about Zaphara. Thank you all for coming, Zaphara made a huge impact on me and it is nice to see others who she made an impact on. As you probably know by now this was an unexpected passing and took us all by shock and surprise.

"I met Zaphara nearly three years ago, and she was one of my first and strongest supporters of the Castle contest. That's how we created our bond, my love of castles and her love of building. She spent so much time and care into her castles (smile). I really got to know her the second year, talking almost every day. Not too long ago we talked about death. We talked about Riko's passing and how it can be hard, but how we should always smile , laugh and remember the good times. It is almost eerie to me that we had this conversation, but it was so real, and Zaphara was so aware. We talked about how our time is precious together. Zaphara was a true champion of Relay for Life. She was a caregiver herself, up to the day she died, of her father who had cancer. It was deeply personal and she supported us all the way. She was a staunch supporter of one team, one dream, one cause. She joined us last year and we had so much fun.

She paused for a moment, "Okay, I am good. I will recover a bit when we share memories. I am too emotional to keep talking about her (nervous chuckle). So my dear friend Nevar has a poem he would like to read. Zaphara loved poetry. That's how we met, actually. She hosted a poetry night that no one showed up to but us -- haha-- and it just took off from there. " She paused again, "Okay Nevar...."

Nevar Lobo then went to in front of those attending, and sat down, "Sorry for sitting here but i think its the only way i can make it through this. I want to thank each of you for being here and just wanted to take a few moments before I read this poem and tell you about my sister.

"I have been role playing in Gor since 2006 and after meeting and spending a lot of time role playing with Anjali and Zaph Cazalet, I was formally adopted into the family on January 30th 2009. There was never a day that went by that we did not speak or hug or just shoot each other a Facebook message. Zaph loved me for who I was and she had the most amazing soul. An amazing builder and seamstress in real life as well.  She was a very big part of the Texas Renaissance Festival, which was held each year about 50 mile from where she lived.  Most importantly, Zaph ... my sister loved life and was the kindest soul. She is sitting looking down on me right now telling me how proud she is and not to make this a sappy affair.

"So, I had a poem to read but I was sitting and thinking about what my sister would say to me if we had that one last chance to talk. I saw her online the day before we lost her and I got a hug and an I love you. to cervical cancer and she wrote this song for her husband and children to say good bye. I'm sure this is about what Zaph would have said to me.

He then took a deep breath, looked at someone in the audience, and began:

"In spite of all the funeral songs,
The birds will make their joyful sounds.
You'll wonder why the Earth still moves.
You'll wonder how you'll carry on.
But you'll be okay on that first day when I'm gone.

Dusk will come with fireflies and whippoorwill and crickets call.
And every star will take it's place
In silv'ry gown and purple shawl
You'll lie down in our big bed
Dread the dark and dread the dawn.
But you'll be alright on that first night when I'm gone.

You will reach for me in vain.
You'll be whispering my name
As if sorrow were your friend
And this world so alien
But life will call with daffodils
And morning glorious blue skies.

You'll think of me--some memory
And softly smile to your surprise.
And even though you love me still, you will know where you belong.

Just give it time. We'll both be fine when I'm gone
I will miss her always .. but WE'LL BOTH BE FINE! "

Never then looked to the one in the crowd he'd looked at earlier, "Lark? you want to say something?" Lark (discovering.destiny) answered, "Yes, Thank you Uncle." After a moment to compose himself, he spoke to everyone, "As others, I would like to thank you all for gathering here today in remembrance of my Aunt Zaph.  She was one of the individuals who motivated me to build here in SL and for that, I will always be thankful. This morning, I was listening to a morning show and heard a lovely song that seems fitting . . . for if anything, Zaph was one who knew how to celebrate the new day.  So I would like to share this in her honor.  It is a song titled 'Echoes In Rain' by Enya.

"Wait for the sun
Watching the sky
Black as a crow
Night passes by
Taking the stars
So far away
Everything flows
Here comes another new day
Ah, ah, ah, ah, ah, ah, ah

Into the wind
I throw the night
Silver and gold
Turn into light
I'm on the road
I know the way
Everything flows
Here comes another new day

Echoes in rain
Drifting in waves
Long journey home
Never too late
Black as a crow
Night comes again
Everything flows
Here comes another new day

"Alleluia, Zaph.  May you be celebrated with each new day, and may each new day hold beauty for you.  As my mother would say, walk in a beauty way."

Rowena thanked him, then looked to Kaiila Mahoney, who spoke  up, "Greetings everyone ... Zaphara was a member of the Gorean Team for many Years. She built three of our previous campsites and held many events one being the most successful Art Fair I had ever been to. She built her own team two years ago and went on to join the team here when she left Gor. She was a big part of what we are all about. Here is my poem. It  doesn't really rhyme, but I hope it is received with the heart felt sentiment it is intended for, and its odd that Nevar also mentioned wanting one more day. (It) is entitled  'It takes only one.'

"If I could have just one more day and
 wishes did come true,
 I'd spend every glorious moment
 side by side with you.

Recalling all the years we shared
 and memories we made,
 how grateful I would be
 to have just one more day.

Where the tears I've shed are
 not in vain and only fall in bliss,
 so many things I'd let you know
 about the days we missed.

If I had one more day to smile to confirm a friendship true
and one more day to hug to bring strength out of the blue.

I would be greedy to ask for one more day to forgive and one more to ask forgiveness.

If I had one more day to dance with you and one more day to relay with you.

I only ask for one ... because one more day can change a life one more day can stop the strife

And one more day to build a team and one more day to live our dream.

When that day came to a close
 and the sun began to set,
 a million times I'd let you know
 I never will forget.

The heart of gold you left behind
 when you entered Heaven's gate,
 how grateful I would be to
 have just one more day.

"I guess what I would like to take away from today is I never let one more day pass me up to tell all of you how great you are .. thank you."

Rowena asked, "Anyone else have a poem they would like to share?" After a pause in which no one offered one at the moment, she continued, "Probably my favorite thing about Zaphara was her undying loyalty- to me, to her family, to her cause, to what she stood for. There was no messing with her. You can see it in her profile, say something bad about someone she cares for and she will flip on you, haha (smile). I will miss her. We will never forget how much of a contribution she was and how much of a friend and family member she was to us. Sid, Cuddly and I decided that her parcel at the next Castle Contest will remain empty and we will put several things out for you all to put notes about her and pictures."

She then turned to Madonna Daehlie, "Madonna wanted to share a few memories, Madonna?" Madonna, the Relayer known for her rubber outfits, spoke up, "Hi everyone. I do have a few thoughts. I do apologize if they come out as word salad. Rowena wanted me to share a poem, but, I'm not much of a poet. So... I'll go with thoughts.

"I first met Zaphara back when I was coaching in 2013. She was a new captain, and during my year as a coach, I encountered three types of captains. The ones who wanted to do their own thing. The ones who needed guidance and support. And the ones who just needed a hug from time to time. Zaphara was in the third category. Despite not knowing her for very long, I did see she had an incredible amount of passion for RFL, and wanted to do great things. And, so, I'd do what I could to keep an eye out for her. I'd drop in on her events. I'd check on her. Things of that nature. Plus, she did run some very unique and heartfelt events that I enjoyed quite a bit.

"I wish I had gotten to know her better. That's something I find myself saying so much anymore. Because anyone with that kind of passion for a cause like Relay, and that kind of compassion, must be one heck of a person. She certainly was. I know over the last few years, I did enjoy Relaying with her quite a bit - both with her as a captain, and later with TSJ. I enjoyed talking with her the times we did talk. She was not only a great Relayer, but, a great person. The kind that I wish we had more of in this world.

"I'm so glad I got to know her, even if it was all too brief. It won't be the same without her. I know I'll miss her. I know I wish I had gotten to know her better. I know that's something I need to do more of from now on. We'll all miss you, Zaphara. Thank you for touching our lives."

Nevar spoke again, "I do want to say one more thing that the Goreans who knew her would totally understand .... Zaph was for ever keeping her bow skills up and it seemed that every time I came into Teletus I had to watch my back because there was all ways a message over there estate that would say three words 'RABBIT HUNTING TIME.' So I always knew where the hiding places were no matter where I was in the sim . Kept me from getting myself killed.  But more often then not she would just shoot me out of spite and there went my meter and I was down!  So to you Zaph.... 'IT'S RABBIT HUNTING TIME.' "

Rowena gave a chuckle, then continued, "Here is something that Zaph wrote aobut her castle that really shows you what she was in it for.

"Hi I am Zaphara Cazalet. I have named the my build Castle Cazalet. It is constructed in the distant future around 2900. There are 4 levels. The inhabitants love things from the past, thus the decor is from the past. The outer hull consists of solar coating which powers the castle. From within the castle almost all the rooms you can see out over the area. I built with the idea of peace and tranquility in mind. Free of the ravages of our world, meaning for one that cancer no longer exsists. I Relay for the family members and friends I have lost to cancer and those who continue to battle cancer.

Rowena spoke again, "Let me say something then ... Most of you here are Relayers. I think, too often, we are faced with the reality that we lose people every day, and sometimes we lose people from our own Relay. We see Zaphara, who fought with us for MANY years, fought for those who are fighting cancer, fought for her own father. I think, I hope, you all realize that we are now tasked with the responsibility to keep on fighting, as that is exactly why Zaphara is into this. We are here to join her in her legacy, to continue what she started, to keep going. Think of Zaphara and her loyalty, her will, her love of people, her love of Relay. If you ever feel down, just think, I am in it for so many reasons. It was already a reason, but it is even more so- we relay for her father, and with that, we Relay for Zaphara."

Rowena then reminded, "Oh! There is her castle from last year. Did you guys see the first year castle? Oh it was so unique!" She turned to one of the audience, "Alexia do you remember? It was like.. pathways to nowhere (giggle)." Alexia Hykova answered, "O course I remember."  Kaiila added, "I remember it well, but will be nice to see it again." Rowena responded, "Zaphara never gave it to me! She kept saying she would but didn't." Oldesoul Eledemar added, "She was a wonderful builder, but primarily a wonderful person to everyone."

Rowena went on, "Thank you all for coming, truly, I know the Cazalet family and Strange family really appreciate it. If you have any more memories we would love to hear it (smile)." Nevar Lobo turned around and looked to someone, " Master Jake , you have anything you would like to say about Zaph?" Jake of Tarnfell (jake.molinaro) answered, "Well, I didn't know her that well. I know Anj and Lark, but then from time to time in the old days Zaph would IM me with intrecet building question. so instead of typing for hours I would just TP her to my work shop and there she would just sit and watch as I showed her, and gone she was again. I have had a few students, none so well in taking notes at her though." Nevar smiled, "I remember she would tell me 'Jake taught me that.'"

A latecomer to the service showed up, Sara Llewellyn (sarandel.llewellyn), "I wish I had been here sooner. But I am here and I offer my prayers for everyone. If you need anyone to talk to, my ear is always open. Rowena mentioned someone else who wasn't there at the moment, a certain sugar glider, "Sidonie wanted to be here today but couldn't. She had many memories of Zaph." She then noticed a name pop up on her viewer, "And ironically there she is. Sidonie last year gave the lauderate speech for Zaph." Noticing a few people standing up, Rowena quipped, "No one leave yet. Sid had a few words, then you can leave. ... Sid had some words for you all- she is coming now."

The small sugar glider avatar in sunglasses appeared, slowly rezzing.  Rowena spotted her, "Here she is. ... Sid, I know you couldn't come on time, I told them you had a few words and memories on Zaph." After Sid received a few greetings, she responded, "Hallooo Smurflings! ... I apologize... ma real-life work life is a bit crazy these days. ... I am very glad you all could come tonight, because this is about a very special person. I am not going to hold a long speech ... just sharing some of my memories with you. One reason I remember it so well when we met Zaphara for the first time... is because it was the veeeery beginning of our Strange Journey. We were a brand new team. I remember I had this horrible parcel on a horrible sim with no support whatsoever (chuckle). But there was this neat little pond, with some trees around. This is where we met...for our first poetry reading.

"I'm not really a poet. When I rhyme it always becomes something about smurfs. But Zaphara, she read some of her poems. And, I remember how it touched me, instantly. she was a very unobtrusive person, polite, and modest. And, although we had never seen each other before, it was like, we had known each other for a long time. There was a bond between us and her, the moment we met. She became a friend. We supported each other. And then, she became more than that. She became family. And like Riko, she will always be, always, our family. She will be horribly missed. I will miss her. Thank you."

Henrietta Demina, "Many thanks to Rowena, Nevar, Cuddly and Sid for setting this up today." Alexia Hykova, "Thank you Rowena, very nice service." Sienna (sienna.thor), "Lovely Rowena, thank you and all." OldeSoul, "Thank you Team Strange Journeys, and thank you Team Goreans." Rowena acted humble, "I do not deserve thanks, it was all Nevar and Cuddly." Nevar, "Thank you on behalf of Lark, myself and the entrie Cazalet family for loving our sister , mother and friend !  GOD SPEED ZAPH ... WATCH OVER US ANGEL!  HUZZAH!!!!" Lucien Wildrose, "I am very sorry for you guys loss. I did not know Zaph well, but I do know Flame well and some of Zaphs family. You guys are in my thoughts and prayers." Dianna Wycliffe-Mousir (dianna.wycliffe), "My thoughts and prayers are with you all." Katerina Amaranth, "My prayers and thoughts are with you of her friends and family as well."

Rowena Dubrovna gave her thanks, "Thank you all for coming. I will leave it for quiet reflection. Thank you again for coming. Hugs and love to all of you. By the way, Zaphara is in the Memorial Garden at ACS. The SLURL is: . ... Now everyone go Relay, and build, and be silly, and strange. That is what Zaphara would want." Oldesoul added, "And attend events - she felt that was very important!"

People began to head out, Katerina saying, "Be well, everyone, and condolences again." Kaiila, "I am going to have to go. It was good seeing everyone, just sad it was for this.. However I am going to celebrate remember and fight back, for Zaph would expect no less." Sara Llewellyn (sarandel.llewellyn), "People ask me 'Why do you Relay?' This..this is why I Relay."

And so the audience dispersed, some going to other Relay events to carry on the fight, some lingering to reflect for a while. It was clear this was a person whom would not be soon forgotten.

For more pictures of the event, this dropbox link had a number:

Bixyl Shuftan

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Memorial For Riko Kamachi

By Bixyl Shuftan

A few days ago, I was contacted by Vickie Maidstone. She told me she had something to show me. I accepted her teleport request, and after a moment for they grey shapes to take form and color, I saw what looked like a shrine in front of me.

"This is a memorial shrine for Riko Kamachi," Vickie told me, "she passed away last year a year ago this month. It was a shock to the relay community. She was a member of Team Strange Journeys and a very sweet person to be with, I met her in the Dublin sims a few years back. Always out going, a kind word to all she met. ... She fought her battle and was tough to the end. But sadly we lost her before relay started last year."

I asked if it was know she was ill. "Yes," Vickie told me, "We gotten updates from her team and we kept her in our thoughts and prayers. To me, it was personal, to know somebody like her, gone but not forgotten." I asked what she was best known for outside being a Relayer for Strange Journeys. "I don't really remember much but she was always a party goer, she always knew how to make times together fun and she was very well respected no matter where she was. ... she was very much into Hogwarts according to what Cuddly Waffle and others told me. The last I spoke with Riko was in April 2014. She may have been in after that but I'm not sure."

She directed my attention back to the shrine, "But today, I had been working on this and it all came together and I made this for her team, and told them this is a gift of love from me to them. It will serve as a reminder of WHY we relay. ... honestly I cried, because it meant so much to me. ... Some reason, I did this this morning and it all came together in a way I didn't expect."

"My sharing something like this is only the

beginning yet to be," Vickie continued, "This year into 2017 I am making it a mission to talk more about what as a survivor it means to me, I will been relaying 10 years in 2017. So this is special. When I even first joined Second Life, the average time was 2.5 - 3 years, think I lasted a bit longer. If it wasn't for Relay, I (would have) been long gone before now, but I have a mission yet to finish. So I (have) been around."

When I expressed my opinion that the Relay teams would have plenty in store for the season, Vickie responded, "Yes we will. Everybody is getting fired up and its gonna be a year for sure. ... I'm trying very hard to stay upbeat and positive, I know that last weekend was a bit rough in a number of areas we had concerns with. So, I'm just gonna stay positive and go like crazy to do my part and raise what my team can. I think the most important thing is being positive and knowing we're giving our all. So, $300,000.00 is our goal this year to make 3 million USD. ... We're gonna do it."

Vickie drew my attention back to the shrine, "So anyway, I thought I share a little something with your readership. ... it's a labor of love ... As a foot note, I will present this to Team Strange Journeys. ... I will be talking with them soon."

Harbour dAlliez (103, 132, 21)

Monday, February 15, 2016

Interview with Ladyslipper Constantine

By Bixyl Shuftan

Ladyslipper Constantine is a resident who's been involved in a number of activities in Second Life. She was at the recent "One Billion Rising" demonstration in Second Life for women's rights worldwide. But she's best known for her work with Burn2 as a member of DRUM, as well as one of the rangers, and has also been involved with the Second Life Birthday, and Virtual Ability. Recently I had a chance to chat with her, and we met at a skybox.

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

Ladyslipper Constantine: "A real-life friend of mine told me about it, I joined, got totally lost so (I) quit. Same friend talked me into coming back about six months later, but I couldn't remember the first avi's password (grin). The second time the friend was around to help."

Bixyl Shuftan: "So the Second time went better?"

Ladyslipper Constantine: "Much better!  There was actually an orientation area that explained a few things."

Bixyl Shuftan: "Sounds good. How long did your beginning period in Second Life last?"

Ladyslipper Constantine: "With the first avi?  About three days (laughter).  I could not figure out what I was doing, and I didn't know anyone and no one talked to me.  It was just these tall buildings, some men standing around and I just had no idea what I was supposed to be doing. So I emailed my friend and said 'forget it' (laughter)."

Bixyl Shuftan: "Heh, and your beginning period the second time around?"

Ladyslipper Constantine: "I'm still her (smile). My friend took me under her wing, showed me where to get things to look better, showed me where she lived and allowed me to set a home base there until I could explore SL more. And best of all she introduced me to others who were inworld more than she was able to be."

Bixyl Shuftan: "Sounds like things went very well."

Ladyslipper Constantine: "Yes, they have. And  my experience as a noob, is why I became a mentor."

Bixyl Shuftan: "When did that begin?"

Ladyslipper Constantine: "After I had been in SL for about six months to a year I think. I can't remember for sure."

Bixyl Shuftan: "When did you first hear about Burning Life/Burn2?"

Ladyslipper Constantine: "I heard about Burning Life via some friends, and to be honest, my first visit there was terrible. I didn't have a good computer and the lag was so bad I couldn't move. But the next year was better and then I decided to volunteer as a Ranger. I've been one every since and am also an Estate Manager for the sim."

Bixyl Shuftan: "How long have you had that post?"

Ladyslipper Constantine: "I've been a Ranger ever since that first year and I guess it was when they made me a ranger ops lead that I became a Estate Manager.  I think my 2nd yr as a Ranger. I'm not a Ranger Ops lead any more tho, just a Ranger, but still an EM."

Bixyl Shuftan: "I take it that can be a busy job at times"

Ladyslipper Constantine: "Yes, during the October big burn, less so during the smaller events."

Bixyl Shuftan: "How did you join up with the Drum group?"

Ladyslipper Constantine: "I met one of the drummers and he invited me to try out as they were looking for more.  All the drummers in that first group except one, are no longer with DRUM. Brigitte Kungler who is actually the founder, is still with us, and she's also our director as well as she made most of the sounds for our drums. And BTW, DRUM stands for 'Divine Rhythms of Universal Music.' "

Bixyl Shuftan: "Where did that name come from?"

Ladyslipper Constantine: "It's universal because our sets are from various cultures around the world, as well as some that are just us (smile), like the Rusty Barrels set. To quote what we give out in info cards: 'We have a variety of different sets we play live, including Taiko, Native American, African, Latin, East Indian, Mallet, Wall set, Steel Pan, African Ghost, Rack, Rusty barrels, and our newest set, Brazillian.' And we can usually do 5 of those sets in an hour performance."

Bixyl Shuftan: "Sounds good. Have any of your performances over the years stood out?"

Ladyslipper Constantine: "I guess the ones at the Second Life Birthdays do, but we've enjoyed doing  them all over (smile). The largest crowd we had was at the end of a Virtual Ability event, 62 avatars were there."

Bixyl Shuftan: "That's quite a crowd."

Ladyslipper Constantine: "Yes! We play for a lot of non profits, and our next one is this Sat (Feb 13) at Noon if you've never seen us play. It's at Creations (for Parkinson's) sim."

At a few points I had snapped some pictures, and it was about then I had taken one of some objects to the side. She asked, "Did you just take a picture of me?" I responded, "Oh, I took one of you earlier, but the last one was of the items over there," and pointed them out. She responded, "Ahh, our subscribo." Of the directional letters around the skybox, "And those letters are because I'm directionally challenged, and so when I go to the location to see which direction we'll be facing, I come back here to rez the drums properly. That way they are usually good when I rez them at the venue.  although I have been known to mess up at times. (grin)"

Bixyl Shuftan: "What kind of messes? (grin)"

Ladyslipper Constantine: "Like not have the set facing the way it should face when first rezzed, and then forgetting to link it all to rotate it. But it's rare that happens now, thank goodness (laughter)."

Bixyl Shuftan chuckles a bit: "With that in mind, were there ever any bloopers that were especially memorable?"

Ladyslipper Constantine: "Yes, main one for me was not linking the six little tin cans on our wall set, and then not just linking those 6 together to take, but doing it one by one, and then I had to come here to rezz the whole thing and hope I had them all back in the right place. Those cans are what the drummers click on to get in position and have that drum's animation inside."

"I need to add this too about DRUM. All the sets, the sounds and the animations  were all made by either past or present members of DRUM."

Bixyl Shuftan: "Does DRUM appear at every single Burn2 event?"

Ladyslipper Constantine: "No, not every single Burn2 event. Just usually the (main) October one, although we have played at a couple others."

Bixyl Shuftan: "I imagine you're seen many changes in Burning Life/Burn2 over time."

Ladyslipper Constantine: "Oh yes. Burning Life was huge because Linden Lab supported it. Burn2 arose when LL quit supporting it as we couldn't use the name Burning Life (any more). Now it we have to rely on donations to get the sims. That and the money folks spend to get a plot to build on at the Oct. event."

Bixyl Shuftan: "Of the exhibits you've seen over time, do any stick out in memory?:

Ladyslipper Constantine: "That's asking a lot of me to just pick one or two as there have been so many outstanding ones. I really can't just pick a few. Some of the temple builds have been totally awesome. Dama ( I can't remember his full SL name) built some very good ones."

Bixyl Shuftan: "So was there anything you can tell us about this year's Burn2, or the spinoff events such as the Burnal Equinox?"

Ladyslipper Constantine: "Burnal Equinox will take place, give me a sec to find the date again ... will take place April 2 and 3, 2016 and the theme is 'Picnic on the Playa.' Fairly soon on the website, information about getting a free plot should be available. After Burnal Equinox, we ususally have another small event before the big week long October event. That event is called Conception and is usually longer than just two days. There are volunteer opportunities as well, and those are listed on the website Not for Rangers though as the training for Rangers doesn't take place until about the month before the October event."

Bixyl Shuftan: "What can you tell the readers about that?"

Ladyslipper Constantine: "You mean about being a Ranger, or about any volunteer opportunity? For (volunteering), we can always use stage hosts and greeters, greeters not for the stage, but for the landing area. Stage hosts would greet at the stage, but they also usually have to know how to set a stream for the performer."

"A Ranger helps check builds for compliance before the event, and during the event we moderate disputes so everyone is happy.   We also walk the playa checking things out and making sure all is well.  We definitely aren't cops. (grin) We can eject from a sim, but most Rangers don't have the ability to ban. Only an Estate Manager can ban and that's done only if the person causing a problem refuses to stop."

"It is fun to be a Ranger, and takes patience at times. You get to meet a lot of nice folks rangering. We do not order folks around or come across as bossy just because we wear the Ranger hat. So anyone who thinks it's like that, would not be a good candidate for a Ranger."

"And that's about it that I can think of for volunteering at Burn2. Ohhh, I did forget one thing.  there are classes being offered now for building art cars and also basic scripting."

Bixyl Shuftan: "The mutant vehicles?"

Ladyslipper Constantine: "Mutant or art (smile). I think the guys prefer to call them art cars now. They provide the scripts for the cars as well as the basic build, but then the student does what they want to that build and some turn out some amazing vehicles. Many of them are put into a vendor for folks to ride around in during an event there."

Bixyl Shuftan: "What in your opinion have been some of the more outlandish designs?"

Ladyslipper Constantine: "Hmm, another tricky question.  Funny ones were like the toilet, huge ones were like the one where everyone on it was dancing. And then there are the cute ones, like I bet you will see at Burnal Equinox, because of the theme, picnic food cars maybe."

Bixyl Shuftan: "Heh, so a case of 'eating on the run?'"

Ladyslipper Constantine: "(laughter) Maybe.  DMom built a cute one yrs ago, that had you drumming while you rode. ... People come up with the most creative ideas. That is what I enjoy so much about Second Life, the creativeness. Oh and one more thing about the upcoming Burnal Equinox event, something will be burned, but I'm not going to tell what that will be. (grin) It won't be the Man as we can only burn him during the October event."

Bixyl Shuftan: "So something will be burned, just not 'The Man".' 

Ladyslipper Constantine: "Right!  Like at one event earlier, we burned a Phoenix. At Santalarity we burned a tiny village. (smile)"

Bixyl Shuftan: "(grins) I take it no Tinies were harmed in the event?"

Ladyslipper Constantine: "Nope, and I'm proof as I was a tiny during that one. Hee-hee."

Bixyl Shuftan: "Heh. ... Well, it's been a while since we started. Did you have anything else to add?

Ladyslipper Constantine: "I can't think of anything. ... Thank you Bixyl."

We would chat for a few more minutes before it was time for us to go our separate ways. I would later see Ladyslipper again at "One Billion Rising." No doubt she'll continue to be active in Second Life for some time.

Bixyl Shuftan