Monday, June 25, 2012

The SL Ninety-Nines

    While exploring SL9B recently, I found the SL Ninety-nines exhibit, located at  Hoedown (217, 230, 21).   The exhibit featured photographs of Amelia Earhart and a couple of awesome planes.    No pilots were there at the time, but I pocketed a LM to their site, New Amelia’s Airfield, located at Allalinhorn (42, 71, 50).  Later I took a trip to their airfield, got an intro flight with Fortnight Baxton, and ended up joining the group.    
      As many of you know, the real-life 99’s is an organization that was founded by Amelia Earhart in the early days of aviation.  Its goal is to support and promote flying for women pilots.  The SL 99’s was founded by Judy Dressler, a SL woman pilot and the creative owner of Clear Skies Aviation.   In the photo she is standing beside her CSA Dolphin II, the  trainer gear version.    The group is non-profit, with the goal of recreating the early years of women in aviation as well as advancing SL aviation.  There is also a blog for the group at

     When I first arrived at New Amelia’s Airfield, SL 99’s pilot Fortnight Baxton was getting ready to fly her seaplane. Fortnight flies regularly and also builds planes.  She offered me a ride in her SL99 Tereschkova Seaplane, and I quickly accepted.  One of the perks of membership, she told me, is a gift of a couple of planes to help new members start flying right away.

     We taxied to the lift elevator that connects to the runway located at the New Horizons Airport.   Along the way, Fortnight gave me a Mark 1 Arline Inflatable Personal Flotation Device to wear.  Since we were going to be flying in a seaplane, we needed to be prepared for any emergency. 

       After a quick run-up to check the engines, we were cleared for take-off.   Fortnight flew us to a marina owned by one of her friends and fellow 99er.   There, she expertly landed the plane in the marina and water-taxied us to the dock.   After a few minutes we took off again, flying over palm trees and picturesque islands.    

      We flew to the airport at Honah Lee Surf, located at Honah Lee Surf (185, 86, 23).  I took a few pictures along the way, and was greatly enjoying the tour when suddenly flames shot out of her Number 3 Engine!    I snapped quick pix of it while Fortnight took immediate action.  Luckily I didn’t have to use the PFD she had given me, and we landed safely.

      The airport at Honah Lee Surf was active with both military and civilian planes.   Fortnight, who specializes in seaplanes, also flies an F-22.   She brings that one out she said “when I'm feeling the urge to go fast”. 

     After the flight, I teleported back to New Amelia’s Airfield to get a better look at the planes and the facilities.   The hangars are spacious and decorated with photographs of RL women pilots.  Most of the photos are of Amelia Earhart, but Bessie Coleman, Harriet Quimby, and others are also honored. 

     I later talked with Judy Dressler, whose nickname is Purple.  She incorporates a bit of history will all of her planes.  “It all began with me making the Harriet plane”, Dressler said, which she named in honor of Harriet Quimby,   “Not many know she was the model for Amelia when she was a child,” she said.    She also includes non-U.S. aviatrix.  She named the Nancy Bird biplane after a famous Australian woman pilot, Nancy Bird Walton.

      Upstairs they have a club built by 99s Events Manager, Brandi Whittenton.  I had a drink at the bar while enjoying the aviation photos that lined the walls.    In addition to socializing, the group flies powerpuff races and supports RFL.   They try to fly as a group at least once a week.   Scheduling and time zones are a challenge as the group is comprised of international members. 

     Membership is open to all SL women who support the aviation goals of the 99s.  There is a one-time fee of $200L that helps support New Amelia’s Airfield.   Sales from Clear Skies Aviation, Dressler’s company, helps fund the SL 99s, too.  CSA is located near the hangar, with both planes and flying clothes for sale.  Demos of planes can be rezzed above the shop, too, on a carrier runway. 

     After I joined, I met up with instructor Emillie “Emily” Placebo.   She went over a lot of the basics of SL flying and gave me a lot of helpful tips and aids.   Afterward I went off to practice.   Emily and Fortnight Baxton both made flying looks so easy.   I have a lot of practicing to do, but I’m looking forward to it.  

Grey Lupindo

Friday, June 22, 2012

Nydia Tungsten and Her Impact on Second Life

             I reported on Nydia Tungsten before as the owner of  the cool Club Castaway with its pirate theme. But there more to the white vixen then just being a club owner. In fact she also owns the Club Zero Gravity and the Happy Vixen. in addition, she runs Angels Beach Land Rentals. The most she has run at one time was 11 clubs. She does a good managing those clubs at the real-life price tag of under $500 for renting the land every month. However she did say, "I am almost to the point of making real-life money."

Thanks to her Second Life mother Skylark Lefavre, Nydia is an expert of running her own clubs, "She is my SL Mother…. I met her my second day here, and she has been a guiding force in my life here.

Lucky Nydia. I’ve been in Second Life for 5 years and I don’t anything about running a club. I didn’t even know where to look for furry clubs when I was a newb.

Nydia is a successful club owner as she always listens to what everyone wants to see at her venues. I used the example of what the original owner of the real-life fast food chain McDonalds Roy Croc said, “Take care of the customer and the business will take of itself.” Luckily Nydia’s clubs are healthier than fast food, but Nydia’s clubs are very successful nonetheless.

Also she’s a counselor to her friends. She helped out Dusk, one of the Sunweavers who was dealing with the real-life death of one of her friends due to cancer: Artistic Fimicoloud, who was deeply loved by all the Sunweavers and her freinds. Dusk is one of the Sunweavers in the Second Life group of the same name. The Sunweavers is a furry group headed by Rita Mariner.

Dusk is also one of the leaders in the Relay for Life fundraising team "Passionate Redheads,” which I reported on in one of my earlier articles with Sabine. Nydia Tungsten told me, "She is one of the most loved Sunweavers and one of the new leaders of the RFL team 'The Passionate Redheads.' I recommend that team to anyone wanting to join a team, by the way."

She also talked about a friend whom said she has a year left to live, "She made a comment I have heard so many times before....when she told people about it they go quiet. If someone tells you something like that ... yes it is from left field and a shock. But you need to talk to them, let them talk about it, because they are more in shock than you and need to talk, so let them." I commented a few times that listening is also a good part of being a telemarketer to make sales. Seems like it’s a great way of being a friend too.

To top it all off, Nydia is also a DJ for her clubs. "The music I like to play," she explained, "(is) well... up beat, the type that makes you want to get up and move. And I also like to play the stuff that makes you laugh." One of her heroes in Second Life is Shockwave, who Nydia just told me is a great songwriter. For a Sunweavers party, she told me about a song parody that he wrote of "Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer," an Xmas song that was very funny. She also said he is an excellent builder for RFL (Relay for Life) events

Next time you come to Second Life, stop by one of Nydia’s clubs. You may catch her djing. Or if you have something that’s bothering you she’ll be glad to lend an ear. Or if you just need a laugh, ask her about the reindeer song Shockwave wrote.

Castaway Cove - Kalmeere Paradise (18, 184, 21)
Club Zero Gravity - Purrfection Estates (229, 11, 3365)
The Happy Vixen - Purrfection Estates (249, 61, 22)
Angels Beach Land Rentals - Kalmeere Paradise (159, 98, 21)

 Grease Coakes

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

"Operation Bronze," and Other Relay for Life Events

A few days ago, the Relay for Life in Second Life hit a milestone. The total amount collected since it's beginnings in 2004 had reached the one and a half million dollar amount, "At the end of April 2011, we celebrated hitting $1milion," stated Bain Finch in a post, "and in just over 400 days since that amazing feat, you went and raised that bar to $1.5m."

The weekend of June 8-10 saw a number of Relay events. Among them was the RFL Street Fair held at Lollygagger Lane at Menophara on June 9 from 9AM to 7PM. Conducted by the Lollygagger and Hobo groups, the event promised an art gallery, bus tours, a mud wrestling ring, tarot card readings, a kissing booth, and of course the live music events, such as Frets Nirvana. And there was "more free stuff than you can shake your rat-on-a-stick at." The area had a general run-down look with automobile shells and other debris alongside shacks. There were a number of goods set up to sell to raise money.

Dropping by in the middle of the event, there were a number from Europe still up, Firery Broome asking, "I can not believe that you EU peoples are still awake." "Hehehe!" "Just getting started Fire." "We Germans still party."

For those who don't know, "lollygagger" was what one Linden was quoted as calling those residents whom were always complaining about the Lab, and the name was soon adopted by some with rebellious streaks.

The big event that weekend was "Operation Bronze" on Saturday June 9. For twelve hours from Noon to Midnight SL time, Relayers would party at ACS Island. The purpose of the event was to boost the totals of active but underperforming teams to 10,000 Lindens, which ranks as Bronze status in the Relay. The idea had started at the "Halfway There Fair" earlier this season.

For this Bronzing event, 25 smaller teams had their totals raised to Bronze rank. From Zelda Generations to WrongSide Relay, to Asylum, these obscure teams had their moment in the sun, and a new status while DJs like Fuzzball Ortega and Trader1 Whiplash did the music for the dancing Relayers. All teams that had raised at least one Linden were elgible. And by the events end, the last elgible team was at  10,000 total, "2890 now! … 1890 to go! … 790 to go!" "Yes! We did it!" "Last team bronzed." "Oh my God! What an achievement!" "SL Relayers are Amazing!" "You guys rock!"

The event was marked by wisecracks and joking around. One guy spent his time in a feral deer avatar, leading to some jokes about being a hatrack. But there was also more sentimental statements, "I was part of something great, and found I have a family here who I can reply on and will help if I can."

As Bain Finch put it, "It really was beautiful to witness the birth of Bronzing.

To see the team totals, Click Here.

Sunday was another event by Team Harmony of Hope, "Racing Tiny Cars for a Cure" at the Yes sim. The event took place on a track under a roller coaster. The little cars were cute, getting in them showing an animation of the character squeezing in, and then the rear license place showing the driver's first name. "I still have no clue how i got into the thing!" Trader1 Whiplash Exclaimed. People were asked to donate at least 50 Lindens.

Unfortunately, the cars could be difficult to drive, instead of bouncing around obstacles mine would launch in the air and come back down. Eventually, mine was knocked off course and into the lake. Still, everyone had fun.

There were of course other events that weekend. Among them was a race by the Strigoi Motorcycle Club. They found themselves without a sim and appealed for help. Ghostriders World MC heard about their problem, and offered their own sim for the event.

It was a good weekend for the Relay for Life

Bixyl Shuftan

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Star Journey: A Journey of the Self

Within the vast realm of Second Life, I found something neat as I always do. Something called a star journey. Something created by the author of “Star Journey - A Cosmology of Self" by Richard H Geer. His SL self Starman Heron holds a guided tour and shows you what it is all about.

For starters his tour on Monday at 7pm SL is great if you have never been to his sim before. When you warp to his Star Journey sim, you’re surrounded by stars and space. You see arrows on the floor directing you where to go. Starman using voice greets everyone in a friendly manner. Before he starts, he gives everyone a notecard explaining the 96 symbols in his star journey.

I asked him what inspired to create star journey. He answered, “I wanted to teach in a new way and he wanted to build a set of tools for what wasn’t there before.” The star journey may sound new age, but actually it’s not. It’s actually a practical way to answer your own questions and life concerns. Starman also mentioned that real life counselors and mentors and coaches use it on a professional level to help their students.

Like a tour in real life, Starman/Richard shows everyone around towards his star journey group and a HUD you can play with. Then he directs everyone towards a deck of cards on the star floor. He asks a person to volunteer to ask a topic he or she may be thinking over one night. I volunteered and from the deck of cards I picked the leaf out of 96 symbols. Whatever symbol is drawn he asks what you think about that symbol and also what other people in the tour may think. Class participation is encouraged as the picked symbol is discussed about what it could mean. In the notecard he hands out to you is a list of all the symbols. When that card is picked out you teleport to that location.

Below the starting star environment of the tour he shows you a picture of, down below is a whole another sim with the 96 symbols each in the same position of the star map. You and the class teleport to that same symbol and look around and discuss the symbol further so it clicks on how it applies to your question.

 Next on the wall he shows a star map on the wall with the 96 symbols in certain places. He points out that leaf is no. 30, which is fresh young and represents new growth. Amazingly that’s pretty accurate when I asked about my children’s story. Another night that I came to the tour a woman drew the field card no. 82, asking about her career. When I thought field it made me think this woman has the world in her hands like in a vast open field. She described she had a lot of freedom in her job.

Pure luck? Maybe not. In a more advanced class on Saturday, three symbols are picked at once and talked about three symbols randomly picked. Picking water, rope, and the serpent, me and the class visualized those three things together and how it connected to my book. One woman saw me riding the serpent in the water and using the rope as a lasso to grab a publisher. Haha!

Starman’s set of tools the Star Journey deck of cards is addicting and exciting to play with. You don’t even need the tour to poke at the deck with Starman around.

Next time you want to check out something new and you have a burning question check out the Star Journey tour with Starman.

Class times are: 7pm SL time on Monday & Wednesday, and 2 PM SL time on Saturday.

Star Journey , Star Journey (125, 123, 439)

Grease Coakes

Monday, June 4, 2012

Virtual Railway Consortium Secretary Stryker Jenkins Steps Down

June 1 was the date that Stryker Jenkins took the chore of being Secretary for the Virtual Railway Consortium 2 years ago. He has done a magnificent job of keeping the group informed of all the activities for the SLRR. True to his word, June 1 was his last day as secretary. Many thanks to Stryker for all his efforts and I really don’t think he will be far away from the Consortium. Here is his final Statement. 
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Goodbye Railroaders,
As you may have heard I am resigning as Secretary for the VRC as of today, after 2 years at the self elected post...
I am still a builder / engineer for the VRC and I will volunteer where I can... I am just not in the decision making leadership group of the VRC anymore.
No dramas, no fuzz! I just felt it was time to make space for someone new to help run the VRC.

So, if you have any further questions or remarks, and want to talk to someone about that try Qie or Moundsa.
"But Stryker... Who will be replacing you?". That is up to Qie and Moundsa as well. As the dust settles, and things fall back into place, and I find my new role within the group doing what I love to do, build, I guess the group will have to talk about that one. Until then it's 'Business as Usual'!
"I hope it wasn't a bad departure." No, although there was a reason for it of course. It just felt like I was pulling the wagon in 1 direction and the conductors were actually wanting to go in the same general direction, but via a different route. "Time to give myself and the VRC leadership some space..." I thought, rather than getting in the way and making thing worse over time. As I said before, I am and will remain part of the VRC volunteer group. Because we do have a great organization here that helps new and exciting users enjoy the freedom on the tracks in SL.
"What will the future bring for you?". Well I am going to continue to do what I love to do. Organize some Rail Community meetings, Build, Create, Meet people, Ride the tracks and Make SLRR maps. And volunteer some of my time to the VRC group.
And I hope that many of you will volunteer your help and services to the VRC as well! We are a Rail Community... and are here to keep the Free railway travel in Second Life TM going.
As of today, Friday, 1st. of June 2012... anything I say and do is no longer "VRC policy", they are my own opinions and thoughts based on the beliefs of the VRC group.
Hello Railroaders,
The future is looking bright, the trains are polished and ready to go. Let's make the journey a nice one and...
Stryker Jenkins.   

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 For more on the Virtual Railway Consortium, check out it's website: .

Gemma Cleanslate