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Friday, March 24, 2017

The New Steelhead's First Town Meeting


By Bixyl Shuftan

Since November 2015, The Steelhead steampunk-themed community has been without a home after it's sims closed down. For most communities, this would have been the end. But most never left the group. Even though they found homes in other places, they never did forget the fun times they had back home. "Caledon is nice," Fuzzball Ortega, the community's sheriff and head DJ would say, "but it was not quite home." There would be some reminders. Club Gearz, the main club of the community, would reopen in Caledon. The location would also hold a community reunion.

Finally in early March, Fuzzball stated he was now able to purchase, and hold onto, a sim that would be the new home for the community. He soon annouced the sim was online, Steelhead Bay. But as it had just "literally rose from the depths," it was a blank slate with much to do.

But over the following days, Fuzzball made gradual progress in planning and setting up things. He was planning in advance which places would be for homes, and which would be for other locations. The first was a small lighthouse, "If nothing else, a good temporary build. Light is set to Auto, so when sun goes down, it comes on and rotates. ... Not as awesome as the Steelhead lighthouses in the past, but it'll do for now."

But the lighthouse was just the first step. There would be many more buildings to come, the most important being the town hall. Fuzzball would state, "Finding the lighthouse was easy. Searching for an idea on the look for Town Hall ... not so much. My original idea (for) the ground floor was to have the sheriff's office and the meeting room. Second floor would have a few offices, and a classroom (although I have the 512 parcel next to the lot, just in case I go with a different idea). Also, haven't parceled it off yet, but I have a 1536m template laid out for a ballroom. A suggestion was made to have the ballroom be pat of town hall (hence the 512 parcel nest to the town hall lot for possible school house)."

"Also, at one time we were using the Oregon state motto 'Alis Volat Propriis' (She Flies With Her Own Wings). I think it's fitting to use it again."

But eventually, the town hall would be up, the parcels would be laid out, and Fuzzball decided it was time to open the place up to the community, starting with it's first town meeting since the estate's closing, "Spread the word. Tuesday evening. Opening Steelhead Bay for those in Steelhead groups, only. Town meeting, and potential renters can pick their lots. If I don't have the whole sim parceled out by then, let me know what you need, and I'll parcel it out for you. Please remember, this is my first time being a sim owner. Opening the sim up at 6PM."

I had to be elsewhere, so I sent my alt Rezzdammit, whom was in the Steelhead group, over. There were a number of others there, such as Willow Leafstorm, Jimmy Branagh, Baron Klaus Wulfenbach, (Baronin) Zantabraxus, Softpaw Sommer, Captain Veles J├Ągermonster, and a number of others. Fuzzball gave a few minutes for people to stumble over from the lighthouse, where the landmark given out led to. Then at 6:13PM, "Okay, Ladies and Gentlemen, I hereby call this first Steelhead town meeting in a very long time to order. Hoo if you got'em, and let the Floppy Dong count begin." And the air was quickly filled with cries of, "HOOOOOOOOO!!" Veles had to be reminded how the gesture worked, to which he replied, "Tenk hyu, Herr Scherriff. Vould nut be der zame mitout my hoo." Another Jagermonster, Dimo Beornssen, mused, "Iz amazing how qvick it all comes back, eh Veles?" He himself had a case of watery eyes, but insisted it was allergies and not crying.

Fuzzball went on, "Okay, so, Steelhead Bay......I tried very hard to continue by living in Caledon, and hanging out in other places. But, it just wasn't the same. So, after working out some of my finances, I purchased this sim.  I missed my Steelhead family, and it was time you guys came home." Softpaw commented, "I think we all feel the same." Dimo added, "Be it ever zo madcap, dere's no place like home."

Fuzzball stated he wasn't alone in setting up the place, "I have had some help, and still getting help with setting it all up. Thad and Lumi came in world to assist. OldeSoul and Cassie Eldemar have been helping. Tensai and Lunar's typist have been extremely supportive. That being said, Tensai will be around, as will Lunar's typist in one form or another. But both requested not be doing any management duties. So, building and rp'ing, and having fun. That's their duties." Several people nodded and gave expression of support.

Fuzzball continued, "To assist me in sim management, Thad and Lumi are listed as Estate Managers, but only on a very limited basis, mostly to help me. Purdie Uggla is listed, just in case I accidentally lock myself out of the sim.......I heard some estate owners have done that from time to time." Miss Kate (katelynn.inglewood) mused, "I have banned myself from a parcel in Steelhead. Lunar had to come help me (giggle)." Another whom would be assisting Fussball, "Helping me for the most part, will be Jimmy." Jimmy waved, then turned around and grinned, "Stay out of trouble."

Fuzzball went on, "We still have work to do on the sim. Parcels needing to be set, street needs to be laid, docks need to be built. Some of my terraforming needs to be corrected.  But, it was time to give you guys access, and together, build Steelhead Bay. I also have plans on creating a radio play for Krypton Radio, called Steelhead. Think Gunsmoke with Gears." Jimmy hammed it up, pretending to limp a short distance to the podium, "Mr. Marshal!  Mr. Marshal!" Of Lunar's status, Fuzzball stated, "And since I want to tie it all together. For roleplaying/storytelling purposes, TotalLunar Eclipse, although the avatar is no longer in SL, is the mayor of Steelhead ((No coming up to me and saying that Mayor Eclipse said you can do this and that, though)). His alt, by the way, built this building.

Continuing, Fuzzball stated of the town hall, "Marshal's office will be on the second floor, with the jail cells.....so no criminals can tunnel their way out." Miss Kate asked about the school. Fuzzball answered, "Third floor is a loft, but there's the parcel next to this one that we can put in a school house." Jimmy commented, "Right next to the jail.  How apropos." Baron Wulfenbach retorted, "For you, perhaps." Dimo mused, "Vun's de school, de odder's de school of hard knocks, ja?"

Of other places, Fuzzball informed, "Club Gearz will also be moved to Steelhead. ... The big parcel template west of here, I'm thinking of rebuilding our original outdoor event area, the Kokopelli. And there's the large water area for underwater events. The lighthouse is pretty cool, by the way. it's set to estate time, so as the sun starts to set, the lighthouse will start to come on." Softpaw felt they "will need a good spot for the tea garden."

Going on, Fuzzball stated, "Still setting parcels down, but I do have several 512 lots already set. If by chance you need a bigger parcel, I can combine them, or set you up in a place that hasn't been parceled yet. (I) haven't set up the payment methods yet, but give me a few days. I am reserving the lots for those interested." Softpaw grinned, "Yeah I'm gonna need bigger then a 512." Veles asked, "Vot about der hotel?  Hyu gun haff vun uff doze, pliz?"

Fuzzball continued, "As for Steelhead's setting. Still in the Pacific Northwest. Matter of fact, Lighthouse Island is to the west, this time. Before it was East. Haven't written the convenant yet, but you know, keep the builds in theme, no walking around with your Floppy Dong out, be nice or Tensai will blow you up. Same old same old." Miss Kate asked, "What about breedables?" Fuzzball answered, "Those are fine. Also, if you haven't checked the map. We're north of Ravenwood Forest. Sticking close to all family members."

Fuzzball then got to a particularly important topic, "So, let's move on to Friday's event. What say I get Gearz plopped down and we have a dance here in Steelhead Bay?" There were cries of "YES!! and "HOOOOOOOOO!!" from the audience. Fuzzball then asked, "Okay, then. Anyone have a particular theme in mind? Other than Steelhead's Back B*tches?" They soon agreed to "New Beginnings." Fuzzball confirmed, "Okay, then. Friday, at Gearz, which will be put here in Steelhead, New Beginnings. And.....yes, I'll be playing 'This Is Home,' again." Softpaw added, "and all our other steelhead songs..I miss those."

Fuzzball brought up Willow, "Tuesdays, now, in addition to town meeting. Willow Leafstorm has her show on Krypton Radio, Strange Transmissions. It's her comedy music show. You guys should be listening to it as we speak. Wednesdays, she has Swingtastic, featuring music from the Dieselpunk era, Electoswing and jazz. This is held at the Green Fairy Cabaret in Ravenwood Forest. If you have the time, do drop by and join her. Saturdays, she has The Steam Powered Cabaret, which is her steampunk themed show, also at the Green Fairy Cabaret. And Sundays, it's Planet Tokyo, which features the best in Anime and J-Pop music. All shows are at 7:00 PM SLT and on Krypton Radio. May start doing my Monday night show in world if anyone is interested. That's at 7 and on Krypton Radio." Willow stated, "I will be making spring come soon in Ravenwood."

Fuzzball went on to their Relay team, "Okay, now Relay For Life of Second Life.  I've been busy with the sim, and we've only had one event so far. Thank you to Willow for the use of the Green FAiry for the event. We can go ahead and start planning more events. We also have our campsite builders. And this year's theme is Passport To Hope. Our total so far is L$48280. Lots of Relayers are happy to see Steelhead back in the game. Nita10 is a member of the Salmons. She's from outside the Steamlands but wanted to join our team. She is a survivor, although lost her voice to cancer." Someone asked about the New Babbage team, Fuzzball answered, "New Babbage doesn't have a team. Nor does Caledon. They all joined the Aether Chrononauts." Softpaw spoke, "Chronaughts was very welcoming and it was great to be there..but it just wasn't the salmons ..I felt lost on Relay day with out my fishes." Fuzzball concluded the Relay issue, "If there are any questions in regards to RFL, send me a notecard if I'm not online. I got a feeling my IM's are gonna start to cap. You can also email me, RFL or Steelhead business, at sheriff.ortega@gmail.com."

Fuzzball then began the conclusion, "And for this week, that's all that I've got. I just wanted to open the sim up. Missed seeing everyone. Glad we got the Jaegers back. By the way, Genie is doing fine. She's dealing with RL. So, may not be in world a whole lot. Does anyone have anything that they wish to add or announce?" Softpaw stated, "The tea garden will be back but I am looking into a new build for it." Kara Kent assed, "I have acquired a new microphone, and the Virtual DJ, and am learning how to DJ."

Fuzzball then concluded, "Put your pimping hats back on. Let's get the word out that Steelhead Bay is renting. Spread the word to the rest of the Steelheaders. Tell'em to come home. And if you have a spot already picked out, let me know so I can reserve it for you. ... Herr Baron if the consulate is interested in an embassy here, let me know what you need."

"And this first meeting, is adjourned. Love you guys." There were more cheers and ""Hoooooo!"s, "Thank you for all this work you have done for us!" Some residents went ahead and left. A few stuck around for a while, chatting and happy to be in their new home.

Softpaw Sommer would later post about the event in blog here.

And so, the Steelhead community has a new beginning. What was once thought to be the end turned out to be a long night of which dawn is finally breaking.

Bixyl Shuftan

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Interview With Dusk Griswold


By Bixyl Shuftan

Those whom have been with the Sunweaver/Angel community for a while know about Dusk Griswold. Newcomers might not notice much out of the ordinary about her at first aside from her "full-figured" appearance amongst thinner avatars as she often describes herself as "boring." Actually, she has quite a bit of history behind her, including outside of Second Life where the person behind the avatar was involved in the early days of some Furry conventions.

To begin with, Dusk was one of the founding members of the Sunweavers, or a "charter member" as she describes herself, "I introduced Rita to SL." But a number of Second Life's Furry residents know her better for her time in conventions of the genre in the years before Second Life, "I have a long history in furry." Her story there began in 1992, "Got my first computer and joined AOL, and discovered furry art on there." She didn't join any groups at first, "but by posting to forums, got to meet some people and learn more."

Dusk's first convention, "was in 1994. It was actually a sci-fi con called Duckon, near Chicago. MFF branched of from it several years later, Midwest Furfest."The con had a furry track, but it was floundering. I answered an ad about it, and showed the track lead my puppets. By adding the puppets and helping jump start the idea of a furry variety show, we started to get notice." Dusk had only been involved in puppetry for a couple years, "The puppet shows I did at MFF in 1994 were the first ones ever done at any furry con or furrytrack. I went to Confurence in 1995, which spread the puppetry to a larger audience. After a few years of mainly solo work, other people caught the puppetry bug, and it spread to other cons." She was becoming more successful as a puppeteer, but did other things as well, "Like directing variety shows, doing various staff jobs at cons, teaching puppetry in con panels, helped start MFF."

Of the star characters among Dusk's puppets, "Early on, I had an otter named Odie, a squirrel named Gracie, and a fox named Scarlett. I think it was Vixie that brought me to the next level." Vixie had come about, "By accident, actually. Back in 2000, I was in California at a con, and spent a few days at a friend's house. This friend had a stage set up to record puppet videos, and we recorded several of them that week. One puppet he had was a little fox named Vixlet. I started playing around with it, and soon this personality emerged that the others helping with the videos seemed to enjoy. It was funny because it was a bit obnoxious, a little fox who thought the universe revolved around her. She had a little bit of an ego. The puppet itself was a stuffed animal my friend turned into a puppet, one he found at a thrift store. I had so much fun with it, I started looking on eBay for one. Took about six months to find one. But when I did, I sent it off to my friend who turned it into a puppet." So why spent months looking for a specific kind of plush fox? "I had no choice," Dusk explained, "Not all plush can be made into puppets."

"Vixie was a lot of fun, and she became pretty popular," Dusk went on, "No one big thing, just a lot of appearances at cons, I wrote skits for her, and she also acted as host for the puppet shows. It helped develop her character. Like a lot of characters, she is best when she has someone to bounce off of." Dusk described her as something of a mad scientist. So what were her most memorable scenes? "Hard to say, but she has been blown up, shrunk in size from a juicing machine, and electrocuted, to name a few things.  I see her as a bit of a mix of Miss Piggy, Wile E Coyote, and Dr Bunsen Honeydew from the Muppets. She even has her own company, Vixie Labs."

And like a number of mad scientists, "things always backfire on her. Her main nemesis are the ferrets, the Folkmanis ferret puppets. She experiments on them, but they always turn the tables. They got their ultimate revenge in 2008. I needed an excuse to introduce the new Vixie." Dusk had created a much more detailed Vixie puppet, "Vixie invented a ferret washing machine that used gamma radiation. The tables were turned, and Vixie ended up in it, transforming her completely. Actually, in the end, was a good thing. Vixie ended up loving her new look. I had to find a way to explain the big chage in Vixie's look."

Dusk stated that Vixie "was getting popular, but the one problem I had was, being as she was a converted stuffed animal, the design was not mine. I felt it was better to own her fully, character and design." What influences were there in the newer Vixie's design? "A main was was a little know Canadian show that had really nicely made puppets in it. It was called The Longhouse Tales. Except for the nicely made puppets, pretty forgettable. But I borrowed a bit from the fox in it for Vixie." Dusk went on to say. "The ... puppet was built by a former Muppet performer. ... Cost a lot ... over $2,000." She admited the price was hefty, "can get a fursuit made for that," but feels the price was well worth it.



(Click here if the video fails to play)

I noticed that Dusk's Flickr page had the name "Rose Raccoon." "An old name from the past," she told me, "little used one from my pre-SL days." There was no puppet named "Dusk." The name came from an online comic called Faux Pas (http://www.ozfoxes.com/fauxpas.htm), pronounced 'fox paws.' She is actually kind of a nasty fox in the strip. Very pretty fox, but not very nice. I like her, so thought the name would be fun, although I am not her at all." So how would she describe Dusk as a character to those outside Second Life? "Actually, just a decent person. Tries to be nice and friendly, and a bit independent as well."

One thing that sets Dusk apart from some Second Life residents is she doesn't really have a set species, appearing as a bunny, gazelle, fennec (which she did for the interview, and others, "probably a rabbit more that anything, but enjoys sometimes switching species. ... it's more just what I feel like on any given day, no real meaning to it. I like a lot of species, so hard to always be just one."

Dusk first came to Second Life in August 9, 2006, "I learned about it from friends of mine, and I was a bit clueless at first. I talked Rita and Jenni into joining a few months later." Dusk isn't quite sure how long it took to more or less get the hang of things in Second Life, "Been too long." Much of the Sunweavers' early days have already been described by Rita in an interview in 2014. Besides being a charter renter here, she was one of the first DJs at their first club, Club Cutlass, "I just know a lot about music, but no real DJ experience. I like older music, so mainly 60s and 70s music. I try to fit the theme if I can."

Dusk would bring Vixie into Second Life as an alt, Vixie Valiant. "That was part of having her remade into my own character," she described, "I wanted to see if a fully anthro Vixie would work. So SL became a testing ground. Yes, what I leanred was her personality was more important than her looks. But having her custom made was a big investment, and I wanted to make sure." Dusk almost always has Vixie act in character, "Vixie I play more like how the puppet is. If you read her profile, it is explained there. I try to keep her more in character all the time."

Dusk found out about the Relay for Life in Second Life in 2008. Her early days there were "hard, as I got involved when Fimi (Artistic Fimicloud) was going downhill." Her passing was hard for Dusk and everyone else who knew her. But Dusk went on with the Relay, "I did DJ at several events, and (the song) 'Calypso' became a favorite on our team." She wasn't sure why it was popular, though it was a favorite of Fimi's, "just something about it people liked."

In 2012, the leaders of the Passionate Redheads stepped down for personal reasons, and Dusk became co-captain of the team along with Longrem Smalls, at least until a permanent leader could be found. But after the season was done, the decision was made to retire the Redheads and start a new team, "It was a sad chapter, but I think we have moved on." Of the team that replaced it, the Sunbeamers, Dusk feels they have done, "very well, actually."

Of Dusk's plans for the Relay this year, "I am on a different team this year, and hope my experience can help them. They are called Mel's Maniacs." The Sunbeamers have held joint events with the Maniacs last year, "and the plan is to continue that this year. ... Their team is small, but has a lot of similarities to ours. I felt that I could help them. And since the Sunbeamers are doing so well, felt they could spare me." Of the Maniac's plans, Dusk is, "Honestly, not real sure. All I do know is they have started building their campsite. They have the space to make a floating platform to build on. They do start early."

Of her puppetering in real lire, Dusk says she hasn't been doing much of anything recently, "It's actually been a very slow period, not many gigs in reall ife, and no more furry cons." She is taking a break from conventions that she feels is, "likely a permanent one. ... cons have changed, the demographics. The bulk of people who attend are younger, and their interests have shifted." From Dusk's observation, the new generation of furry convention goers shows little interest in puppetry, "or much performance related. Fursuits and fursuit dance competitions are big now. The younger crowd just doesn't seem to care about skits and such." While this may change, Dusk feels, "by then, will likely be too late for me. I mean, I will be too old." Dusk did say that, "someone is writing a book on the history of furry cons, and I will be in it. It will mention my role in the founding of MFF."

It was about this time the interview wound down, and we went our separate ways. Dusk Griswold can be reached by instant-messaging her. She also drops in on events at Club Cutlass, though may leave early if she has plans early the next morning.

Bixyl Shuftan

Editor's Note: Dusk had been earlier interviewed by Grease Coakes in 2012

Friday, March 10, 2017

Fran Seranade of Creations for Parkinsons


By Deaflegacy

"Parkinson's is a progressive neurological disease." said Barbie Alchemi. "My Father died with it and my Mother has it now. But I have learned that although my Mom has  Parkinson's, it does not have her!"  Her mom would be Fran Seranade.  They have a Second Life Parkinson's Support Group that has been meeting for six years.  The members have all learned that they are still themselves, their own personalities, and can express their creativity and emotions the same as always.

"Yes my Mom just turned 90 'Years Young' as she likes to say (laughter)," spoke Barbie when she was asked about Fran's recent birthday party.  "She thinks of Second Life as the 'Fountain of Youth'.  Inside she feels very young, yet her physical body is getting old.  The wonderful thing about Second Life is that here she can feel and experience life as young as she looks."

Barbie went on to say that Fran had two birthday parties.  The first party was seven hours of live music at their CP Swing 40's Era Dance Ballroom.  Over 200 people dropped by to share their love with Fran. They have raised 180,000 Lindens for the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research that day.  "That is $700 US Dollars!" said Barbie.  Barbie also added that Fran loves to dance at their new CP Swing Ballroom because they play the music of her teen years, which brings back fond memories for her.

"She was quite the dancer in her day. She and her partner could clear the floor." said Barbie.  "The second Birthday Party was even more amazing in some ways."

Barbie explained that six core members of their SL Parkinson's Support Group have become so close after meeting together every week for six years that they all decided to fly from all over the country to be together with Fran on her real-life birthday.

"It was the most wonderful experience," said Barbie, "We have all grown to love each other so dearly, and when we all met in person, it was as if we had known each other forever.  Second Life has brought a depth and meaning to our lives that we all treasure."

They have 30 members in the Parkinson's Support Group, but not everyone comes all the time.  They usually have around eight members who are there every single week, unless something in real-life prevents them from coming. It is at a perfect size so everyone gets a chance to share as well.

"Mom started the support group in Second Life, and asked Tredi (Dr Donna Davis) to facilitate each week. She presents a meaningful topic that we discuss." said Barbie.

According to Barbie, they have raised almost $10 million Lindens since they started, and that is $40,0000 US Dollars for Parkinson's Research. She also shared some information about the Parkinson's Support Group.

The information is below:

THE STORY OF CREATIONS PARK ~ Grown with Love
Our RL Dad died with Parkinson's and our mother, Fran Seranade, has it now. To quote her "I may have Parkinson's, but it does not have me." At 90 "years young", she is active in Second Life and is thrilled to see herself running and dancing again. We have built everything on Creations Park with LOVE. We hope you can feel that love while you are enjoying yourself here.

OUR MISSION
It is our Creations Team Mission to use our love and talents to make a difference in both the RL and SL worlds. We create experiences to stimulate Hearts, Minds, Bodies and Souls. It is our goal to help find a cure for Parkinson's which will then lead to a cure for all neurological diseases. Come share your love with us and help us find the cure!

***VIDEO***
PLEASE be sure to watch our award winning video about the benefits of SL for our RL Mom who is 90 "years young" and has Parkinson's. Ebbe Linden (CEO of Linden Labs) has called this one of the most important video ever made
[13:41] Barbie Alchemi:  about Second Life! This will inspire and touch your heart!
The Drax File: World Makers- Episode 13
 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nyiiWxNguGo&feature=youtu.be

DONATIONS
100% of all donations go to Team Fox for The Michael J Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research. We believe it is important for you to know how your donations are being spent. Our family covers all tier and expenses. All Donations are directly wired from Linden Labs to the Foundation. The MJFF has the top rating from Charity Navagators and has the lowest overhead of any major charity, giving 89% directly to the most promising research!

"It is not our challenges that define us, our actions do." - Michael J Fox

"If someone would like to join our Parkinson's Support Group, then need to contact me for an invitation to the group," Barbie told me.

Barbie was invited to NYC to meet Michael J. Fox in person as a result of the important work they do on Second Life to help find a cure for Parkinson's.

The SLurl for the main landing spot is: Creations Park (90,164,36)

Deaflegacy

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Ranchan Weidman and the Robotech Roleplay


By Bixyl Shuftan

High above the HV Community sim is a space carrier which Ranchan Weidman made her home in Second Life, and the hangout of many of her friends. The carrier, and a few other places high above the sim, are the settings for a Robotech Roleplay. The roleplay is not a new one, but has been going on for close to a decade, since 2008. The game has players from both the early days, and some more recent ones. It is not a "combat rolepay" like New Bastogne, but instead the various settings help put the players in the mood, as well as the uniforms the players often wear. The game is played out much like a real life roleplaying game, with Ranchan acting as the gamemaster and the players various characters helping to defend Earth, Ranchan occasionally calling on the players to make dice rolls when making an action or responding to one.

"For the last nine years, players have participated in my blended version of Robotech / Albedo," Ranchan told me, "It's a Sci-fi space drama which incorporates a large part of the history of the original Robotech Universe mixed with The Albedo Universe. The players have enjoyed a mix of settings within the theme of Science Fiction /Fantasy from being in space, to the cold of Alaska and down in the nice islands of Hawaii."

Although the game is often called "Robotech" out of convenience, the title Ranchan gave it is "Robotech: The Albedo Alliance." For those who don't know, "Robotech" is the American version of Japanese anime TV shows and movies in which human pilots fly space fighters that can fold into robots in combat against giant aliens called Zentraedi, whom are a warrior culture that finds a number of aspects of human society, such as music and love, hard to understand and sometimes frightening. "Albedo" is a less well-known science fiction tale, Ranchan stating, "Albedo is the shortened version of Albedo : Anthropomorphics. Artist Steven A Gallacci Art Featured here http://www.furaffinity.net/user/stevegallacci , and here http://www.stevegallacci.com , in where he created a universe of anthropomorphic animals in a slightly futuristic setting but dealing with an in depth look of political , social and military values ideals and repercussions. I would highly recommend reading the story. It's well written and thought through."

The plot of the roleplay's story universe diverged from that of cannon Robotech from the very start, "There are lots of things I remember, and I fondly remember how things got started for this roleplay. One of the things I stress to any new player, and as of late, older ones, I will not be following the cannon story line of Robotech. The story itself opened up with a bit of background history for the universe I was going to create, and the players were going to live in and help shape. ... Robotech fans ... would recall the day the SDF 1 crashed onto Earth. And that's about as much original cannon material I relied on to start with. Everything after that point is unique to the universe. When the SDF-1 crashed, it opened a tear in the space - time continuum . This space - time tear, pulled a cruise ship from the Albedo Universe, over, thus forever introducing anthropomorphics to humans

"From there, after 10 years of strife and working together. we introduce the players characters to the world. This being abbreviated from what the players actually read in the note card. But when it first started, our players were just arriving at boot camp, at an island nearby Macross Island. The SDF was three months out of being completed, when our first set of players started their training. The first set of trainees were, Miya Cross, Nydia Tungsten, L'sai Aeon, Icebolt Aeon, Umbra Gardenvale, Tanya Ayoob, Kit Repine, and Squick. "

Besides the plotlines of the roleplay, what's been going on with the place it's been held is a story in itself, Ranchan explaining, "Things were slow at first for the roleplay as I was still holding my own, running Club Afterburner, putting together the military training base the trainees were studying at and building a 100 m diameter labyrinth under the RDF CVN Aegwei I for a treasure hunt. It was only after Linden Lab changed the rules on void sims, changing them to Homesteads, and bumping up the cost that we had to abandon Pacific Waters and took up residence on Sunweaver Air, which later became HV Community sim, and not having the duties of the club things started to pace faster for the role play. The void sim offered the size of a full sim but a quarter of the prims , script allowance and avatars that could be on it. After moving over from there. we were squished into roughly less than a quarter size sim. I had to trim down further when my real life situation drastically changed and I couldn't support the parcels I had. so we became pretty small in size. It was around that time that we moved from the northeast corner of HV community to where we are now, about center east to just off center of the sim that I dedicated some of the land to a worthwhile cause.

"I've built at least 20 versions of the ARMD platform to fit each parcel. We're currently on a decent sized parcel, about 108m by 64. maybe 80 meters. ... My builders that have helped me with some of the zones. really deserve a good portion of the credit too. A special thanks to them 'cause my landscaping skills suck compared to building things .Kinya Resident and Matoazma 'Mato Foxy.' "

I asked about the ship's many different versions over time. Ranchan answered, "Four of the versions were for prim (and) land size. Everything else was overhaul. Like spring cleaning, only more frequent."

I asked about how often does the roleplay have sessions, asking if it had one a week. Ranchan answered, "We've started to do two. One of our long time members schedule at work changed and the goal was to include her more so a second day had been brought in. Been running a second day for over eight months now. The eventual goal is to have something going each day, with some parts being live interactions, as if you and I were walking through the hallways, and stopped to have a chat, then moved past that, one heads to a different location, while say I headed to the bridge of the ship etc. But that's going to require a bit more game assistants staff, and a lot more players."

I asked about the various plots over time. Ranchan answered, "Every player has a sub plot that they are involved with some how. Sometimes the sub plots become larger side plots and main plots as because of not strictly following the main story, but the players following an untold story of the combined universe has allowed for a lot of flexibility. A lot of 'who cares what Rick Hunter did, or Toki did, but what Nydia Tungsten did, or Miya Cross has done. Mato's achievements, and what our new players Christine ( played by Skylark 'Snowy' ) and Puella ( played by Kiwi ) are doing.' Unfortunately, with time and how it is (with) Second Life, for some players real life has stolen their time, not letting them come on and participate. Tanya Ayoob, our ship 'Gunbunny' Special Forces specialist hasn't been on in at least a few years."

"For me, I dwell in an abyss of plots and sub plots. I love to end sessions at times, with cliffhangers. A sample set of plots that I believe the players have enjoyed are as follows. One adventure led the players to take part in a ball at a ski lodge in Alaska. They had to detour an assassin plot against one of the delegates which were attending a meeting being held there. That one turned into a ski chase down hill. Another one took place at a roller rink. the players were going in to rescue the squadron commander, Shelly 'Kit' Sintol. She had been abducted while on vacation by a former friend of Umbra Gardenvale, who was leading an anti military group. One of the first plots during the training phase was surviving the wilderness after being shot down on a routine helo repelling lesson."

Asking more about the ski chase, Ranchan described, "After the team uncovered who the assassins were, some of the group that were involved attempted to get away from the players. One of them had managed to get onto a pair of skis and were rushing away down a non trail path. But they were captured still in the end. After the three sessions of the players arriving at the base in Alaska, they headed to a hotel, individually, although there were some that arrived in pairs. got dressed up for the night at the lodge, and eventually made it to attendance of the party they were able to uncover the who and neutralize the threats fairly swiftly. Although the one that got away on skis did make it down hill to a set of private cabins which was where he was taken down as well. that part only took one session to wrap up. I had built a small small not to scale model of the lodge up in the mountain, and a few of the cabins down below. After that, is when Mato started to take part as well."

The current plot  involves the team having been assigned their own ship, of which Matoazma captains, but Ranchan couldn't go too much in detail of the subplots, "Those are still in the progress of rolling out."

Of the roleplay's future, Ranchan told me, "Well, I would love to add more players, and bump some current players to staff that still play so that eventually this can be a more interactive roleplay with bells and whistles and running 24/7, and I hope that I can continue providing material for the players so they don't get bored."

"I would love to thank all of my players, past, present, and hopefully future for taking part in helping to shape the history of the universe that I started. Every one's contribution with their character into the story lines means a great deal to me. I enjoy watching players relax, characters develop and mature and hope that they have enjoyed it as much as I have, and continue to do."

The Newser may do articles in the future about the roleplay, such as in depth articles about the players and their characters.

Bixyl Shuftan

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

The Valentine Interview - Part 2


By Mylie Foxclaw

This is the second part of the Valentine’s interview.  The basics are simple.  I have asked 6 women the same questions that I asked the men in part one.  If you wish to read the first part, you will find it here (link).

The first question was about the type of person that would be ideal.  One common quality was intelligence and a good sense of humour but each woman was highly descriptive about her ideal person.  A.A (Lady 1) wants someone confident that can convey intense and realistic emotions and who has a good sense of humour.  C.R (Lady 2) feels that someone trustworthy would be great.  She also adds that she dislike possessive and jealous persons.  J.B (Lady 3), like A.A, wants someone intelligent and funny.  An opinion also shared by R.M (Lady 4) who adds that the ideal person should also show how much he enjoys being with her and he must be a true romantic.  F.R (Lady 5) mentions that a good sense of humour is an important quality and specifies “not someone who just laughs pointlessly at everything.”  T.K (lady 6) believes that a good person is one important quality and adds that “Someone who's also a vulpine or near canine would be perfect.”

Next, I asked each lady about their ideal place for a SL romantic date.  A.A feels that a restaurant or piano bar would be nice.  C.R likes forests, beaches or coffee shops.  J.B talks about a dance at an exclusive club where she is a member and has many friends.  R.M enjoys ballroom spots like Phat Cat’s or Bogarts.  F.R says that she would not like generic places but rather opt for something that has meaning for both herself and her ideal sl valentine.  T.K specifies that she loves cozy cuddle places which are calm, secluded and close to nature.

The third question was about their ideal gift.  A.A immediately responded “his heart”.  C.R specifies that a teddybear and a kiss would be nice but if the person could spend time with her and snuggle, it would be perfect.  J.B would like a volcano tub.  R.M mentions jewellery, perfume or lingerie before adding that going to a romantic sport together to spend some quality time would be a nice gift. 

When asked if they thought that red was a must for Valentine’s day, A.A says no before adding that “I don´t think it is about the color, it is a feeling deep inside; and i truly believe that valentine is only special with somebody who means something to you ... a flirt is not enough.”  C.R points out that red is generic, something that F.R seems to agree on.  R.M thinks that it is not a must.  To her, Red is“anytime   you’re feeling   a bit passionate and fiery.”  T.K comments that one should wear what they want before adding that red is classic and she finds that red and blue work great together.  As for J.B, she thinks that Red is a must and that any shade or red is pretty.

The next question was about what they would wear for Valentine’s day.  J.B has immediately described the outfit she has bought this Valentine’s day.  She is extremely eager and excited to wear it.  It’s a color combination of red and black.  A.A thinks that the outfit would depend on where her date would be taking her, an opinion shared by F.R.  C.R simply said that her outfit would depend on her mood.  R.M mentioned lingerie and anything red.    T.K believes that the outfit also depends on where the relationship stands and specifies that “If we're just getting to know each other, it might be something sexy ment to impress.  If we've been dating for a while, perhaps something more comfortable.  As for colors, black and red look good with blue fur.”

Finally, I asked them if they had anything to say about Valentine’s day.  A.A thinks that “for somebody who is in love - any day is valentine’s day ....”  C.R says that “Well it’s Valentine’s day.  It’s great to enjoy it with someone special.  But it’s a nightmare for single people I think!  J.B talks about her current relationship, “well this  will be my first one with my living in boyfriend so I’m very much looking forward to it and we’ve been together for 6 weeks aprox.”  R.M sends her wishes to everyone, “Happy VDay to all  the lovers a  lovers  to be!”  F.R mentions that “my original rez day was just a couple days before it?”  T.K also wised everyone and had a smart piece of advice, “I wish you all friendship and love.  Remember that love comes and goes, but if you're best friends with your mate, then it'll last.  That's the secret!”

This sums up the Valentine’s interview.  I hope you found some interesting SL facts and more through this.

Mylie Foxclaw

Monday, February 13, 2017

The Valentine Interview - Part 1


By Mylie Foxclaw

As Valentine’s Day is approaching, I thought of interviewing a few persons to learn more about how they felt about Valentine’s Day and romance in Second Life.  If this first part, I interviewed 6 male residents at random and asked them 5 questions.  Responses were interesting and amusing in some instances.  Let’s see what these SL residents had to say.  I’m using only their initials when I will refer to their personal opinions.

First, I asked each guy to tell me about the type of person who would be an ideal date.  Overall, they all believe that a good-natured person would be perfect.  Someone smart and good-natured.  Of course, each guy also has his own qualities as well.  A.L (Guy 1) believes that that person should not be jealous.  He also adds that he likes women who are open-minded and do not limit themselves to one guy.  R.C (guy 2) thinks that someone who is naughty and argumentative would be perfect.  G.H (guy 3) also likes those who are open-minded.  S.B (guy 4) wants someone who has common interests.  J.L (guy 5) and S.R (guy 6) told me that they like those who can carry a good conversation.

Next, I asked each guy about their ideal place to go if they have a date.  A.L and J.L both opt for romantic outdoor themed places (forests, beaches,etc).  S.R and G.H think that ballrooms would be perfect.  S.B told me that he’s like a colourful sim with low lag and R.C told me that his ideal place would be a creepy themed sim like Netherwood. 

Concerning the ideal gift, responses were interesting.  A.L told me that the perfect gift would be for his woman to share him with another woman.  R.C said that for him, “something either black, rusty metal, bloody, creepy, or any combination of the 4” would be great.  G.H thinks that a new outfit would be cool.  J.L does not want any special gifts but a greeting card for valentine’s day would be nice.  S.B wants to hear a joke that would make him laugh for hours.  S.R did not have any ideal gift. 

When I asked each guy if Red was a must for Valentine’s day, most of them said no.  R.C added that red is boring to him for Valentine’s day.  S.R feels that it is a tradition to wear red but it’s not compulsory.    However, G.H thinks it’s a must. 

When I asked them about what they would wear for Valentine’s day, S.R told me that he would opt for a Tuxedo. G.H would also wear a Tuxedo specially for a ballroom date and opt for a red tie. S.B also mentioned a red tie before jokingly adding that he would dress like Tarzan.  I suppose a Tarzan outfit and a red tie would be an interesting combination.  R.C stated that a black dress shirt or a black tuxedo would be his choice of outfit.  As for A.L he says his birthday suit is perfect… J.L does not have any special outfit preference for Valentine’s day.  He would just be himself. 

Finally I asked them if they had anything to add.  J.L says that “one should take time to acknowledge the day and show some kind of gesture.”  S.R thinks that “its a special day just to show someone you care.”  G.H mentioned that he loved someone a lot.  R.C humorously stated that “Hmmm. That we also need an M Day, that is just about giving muffins.” And I definitely agree with him!  As for S.B,  he simply said, “Make love not war ...”  And, A.L had a lot to say, “really though, surveys consistently show that Valentine's day is more stressful to men, more dreaded than a dentist visit because there's a lot of pressure.  what do I get her? where do I take her? what do I say?  we just want it to be over.”

So, I believe we learned a few interesting things from these guys.  See you next time to find out how girls think Valentine’s day.  

Mylie Foxclaw

Friday, February 10, 2017

Rana Dexler of Survivors of Suicide


By Deaflegacy

I recently sat down with Rana Dexler (random.demina) to talk about Survivors of Suicide and what the group is all about.  Rana explained that the group is about offering support to people who suffer from depression and other mental illnesses, including bipolar and borderline.  Krissy Sinclair founded the group, and is still an active member.

"Group chat is open 24/7 for peer support, and I have a support group meeting at SOS on Wednesdays at 3:30." said Rana.  SOS stands for Survivors of Suicide.  The support group meeting is at S.O.S.  Survivors of Suicide Group, Schoomere (162, 45, 22). If anyone wants to join the group, it's free to join with an open enrollment.  "There are no criteria for becoming a member." said Rana.

When Rana was asked if she would recommend this group to anyone who have mental illness, she said, "I would. I suffer from mental illness myself, and the group has been a great help to me." Rana joined SOS a very long time ago when she was in bad shape, both emotionally and mentally.  "Well, I joined SOS a very long time ago, (again, cant tell you how long for sure) and I was in really bad shape emotionally, and mentally." said Rana. "SOS gave me people to talk to, which helped a lot, in combination with rl medication and rl therapy.  Now, my illness is manageable and I feel my time with SOS has left me better able to cope."

Rana is a mentor, which makes Rana one of the chatroom moderators.  Rana is available for chat whenever Rana is online.  Rana is also the facilitator for the Wednesday support group.

Rana did say something important.  "I'd like to add that depression is the most common mental illness, but also the most treatable. If you suffer from depression, please seek treatment. most cities have free mental health services that can help." said Rana.

However, the whole point of the SOS is to be there for people with mental illnesses. Rana's plan for the future would be to carry on with Rana's support group, and encourage the other mentors to do the same.

Survivors of Suicide is a support group that has been going on for almost 10 years, if not longer.  It is for people with mental illnesses.  The group continues to grow.

Schoomere (162, 45, 22)

Deaflegacy