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Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Memorial for ComCat Fenstalker


By Bixyl Shuftan

On Saturday June 13, the people of the Meli's Maniacs Relay for Life team held a memorial service with ComCat Fenstalker, whom passed away last month. It went from about Noon to 2PM SL time. The event was held much like a wake. There was a memorial stone and picture of her, and a few flat pictures of cowgirls were around.

yes it promises to be a sad event but it needs to be done
Memorial for Comcow  @ Clubs Amarantha
DJ Jenneh Thursday and Host Violet
 there will be no contest, its not why were gathering, and Jen's own beand of musical madness.
so come as you are or dress like a cow, and come laugh cry and most of all Remember.



There was no contest. Nor were any tips taken, people instead invited to contribute to the Maniacs' RFL kiosk. People had a number of things to say about Comcat. "I have many memories that CC has left with me, and I'm thankful for each one." "I didn't know her as well as others here. But from what I do, she is a loving soul with a great sense of humor about life." At one point, Violet Solano commented, "This song Cc wanted to do a skit with me at the Blue Moon Burlesque, we never got around to doing it." "CC had that squirrel av, I thought that was so funny.. she was at your feet one second, on your head the next (laughter)." "Yes she was was awesome with the different avis and how she got to play with everyone."

"I do not think of her as gone, merely transformed into another form. I feel she is watching us now and grinning from ear to ear." "I would like to think CC is watching on as a full on cow now where they are." "Love this song. Can't hear it witout thinking of CC." "My daughter just came to look see what I was dressed up as. First she called me a sheep?!?! She as now made up a song about a purple cow which goes, 'purple cow. purple cow, purple cow you are a purple cow'. I have bribed her to stop singing by giving her a chocolate bar - great parenting skills (laughter)."

One person arrived a little late, "I am so sorry I'm late, I didn't know this was happening today until I just woke up and looked at email." Dusk Griswold was there for a time as well, "I decided to remember CC's sheep side, which was displayed a lot." Someone told her, "Yes I will forever remember her saying 'beep beep I'm a sheep.' " Dusk responded, "I'd say 'Noodle noodle I'm a poodle.' "

"I loved how she always just wanted to make people happy and have a good laugh . Always ready with a link to find something you were looking for, ( tree avatar) or a good pun, didn't we all spend a whole show one night making bad spice puns because we had too much Thyme on our hands?" "I remember cc have me a tail spin animation and were over spinning on our tails as giant kaiju on another sim." "Or all the running battles she and i had with my dubstep gun and her push shout." "Some of those times made me laugh so hard I couldn't breathe!"

There was some additional fun with a spanker at one point. There were also gestures played such as the "Beep beep, I'm a sheep," one and "Moo... Are you happy now???"

Eventually, people had to go, "This is a wonderful memorial and I wish I could stay to the end, just want to make sure to thank you for putting this together in CC's memory."

Bixyl Shuftan

Wednesday, June 3, 2020

How To Maintain a Community in Second Life


By Cyfir

Over the course of my time in Second Life, I got the opportunity to lead and maintain a couple of communities that I was a part of as a sim co-owner and sim manager. I never actually wanted these positions, but at the time I believed in the community's efforts so much and put so much time and energy into them that the main owners gave me the positions. However, I learned a lot from the experience about what to do and what not to do in these positions. I hope to pass on what I’ve learned here so that others won’t make mistakes I’ve made or have seen time and time again from others.

Know Your Community       

Don’t treat the position like you’re above and removed from everyone. You are just as much a part of the community as anyone else. Get to know everyone. Be friendly. Be compassionate. Make friends. Only then will you truly understand everyone and get to know your community’s needs.

Don’t Fall Into The Tribe Mentality

It’s perfectly natural for humans to group up and become an “in group.” Before there was the Internet; and modern electronics for that matter, humans grouped up in tribes for safety and security. However, this can keep your community from growing. If others walk in and find that it’s hard to break into the group, they’ll go elsewhere. Welcome everyone. Invite them into your conversations. Make them feel like they belong.

Don’t Talk Behind Others Backs In Private Staff Chats

Unless it’s an obvious troll, talking negatively about other people in the group will eventually get out; even if it’s in private chats that the person isn’t in. This can cause massive amounts of drama that will make your community look bad. It may be tempting to blow off steam about someone with friends, but do that elsewhere.

Don’t Go Beyond What The Whole Of Your Community Wants

I’ve seen sim owners introduce things randomly that just end up making community members upset. For instance, one sim owner introduced a parcel area just for a group that liked to role play as children. This did not go over well with a large majority of the community, and the sim disbanded within a week. The sim owners just saw this as a way to make a certain group happy, but ended up causing drama for themselves.

Be Transparent

It’s natural for people to be apprehensive of those in power from time to time. A way to deter this, aside from being down to earth and friendly, is to be open about why you’re doing the things that you’re doing.

Don’t Treat Staff Like Employees

This isn’t real life. People have real jobs and don’t want to come home to another. Staff are volunteers and real life comes first. You will find that you will have a constant rotation of staff if you treat things like a real business, even if you pay your staff in Linden Dollars.

Have Fun

Life, especially now, is too stressful to worry about Second Life as a make or break project. Have fun. Make friends. Be yourself. People will come if it’s a cool place to hang out and the people are nice. This will never be a permanent gig. Enjoy it while it lasts.

Cyfir

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

SLPonyCon


By Cyfir (Cyfiremmerich)

In a recent article, I wrote about how virtual conventions can temporarily be an alternative to real life conventions. It seems that more people are coming to this conclusion as well as there is now a My Little Pony convention called SLPonyCon that will take place the whole month of June (June 1st-30th). I had a chance to interview the two con chairs Pop Princess Sakairi (Sakairi Melodious) and Braniac -Piper- (rosetheunicorn).

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Cyfir: What are you both in charge of in regards to the convention?

Sakairi: Piper and I are the Co-Chairwomen of SLPonyCon. We`re both in charge of making sure the convention runs smoothly, as well as making sure the rest of the staff and guests have what they need to make their jobs easier. Planning, building, delegating staff tasks... We sort of have our hands in a little bit of everything!

Piper: I mostly take care of our panelists and the general artistic direction of the project.

Cyfir: How did the idea for this convention come about?

Piper: It started as an idea to bring attention to the wide pony community in Second Life, which was already starting to dwindle due to the end of the show as well as the final brony convention. But when the COVID-19 virus happened, the idea was kind of pushed forward.

We wanted to help make up for all the conventions that were cancelled. Many people were affected by it. Since it's on SL and everyone is home due to the corona virus we decided to do it in game with all the stops we could pull for the fandom we love.

Sakairi: The main idea in all was to bring a morale boost to the community and invite people to it!

Cyfir: Who else is involved and what do they do?

Sakairi: There are so many people involved with SLPonyCon. It’s a little hard to name specifics. For starters, we have every major pony sim in Second Life representing embassies at the convention. Carbondale, Neighberry, RubyHills, Trotsdale, Ponytown, Trot Springs, Canterlot, Luna`s Empire, and even a brand new Anthro Pony Sim called Riverside Bay, will all be there to welcome people and show SL what our community has to offer. We also have many many vendors joining us like Ambix, Inzoxi, and Blackback Studios just to name a few. All of the popular pony avatar creators such as N.E.I.G.H, Flower pony, and even some newer bodies like Sparklepony and the long awaited NutBusterz Pony body, which we will be hosting a release party for! We have many many performers and panelists like Captnhoers, Haymaker, and Somberpony. But I think the most important people would be our Staff like our security team lead by Geminai Mills, TDMayo, Nick, and Akasa, Our wonderful Vendor manager Kokuma, our Social media expert Ember, and not to forget our owners LAMP, Serendypity, and Michi. Like I said.. there's just so many people who got involved!

Piper: We have so many people involved with this naming them would take forever but we have quite the team who have put a lot of effort into this project to make our little dream a big reality.

Cyfir: Who are the special guests and what panels can fans look forward to?

Sakairi: This is definitely a question for Piper. She's worked so hard to gather all the amazing panelists we have.

Piper: We have Somberpony; the author of Fallout Equestria: Project Horizons doing Writing Workshops. We have Captainhoers, an animator on YouTube and comic artist doing DND style table top one shot sessions. I will be doing how to draw ponies panels personally. We have Molly doing How to use Second Life panels for newbies. We have many shows including live music from bronies like Haymaker and WoodenToaster (aka Glaze), various gaming events, dj sessions, galas, and other fun activities to participate in.

Cyfir: Who will the live DJs be?

Piper: Various people from our SL community like Serendipity and Kota.

Sakairi: From Carbondale and Neighberry respectfully. Many of our Sim Embassies have volunteered to host many events for the convention.

Cyfir: You mentioned merchants that will be involved. Will there be an artist den?

Piper: Yes. We have a museum actually.

Sakairi: The Art Museum will feature walls for all kinds of artists to not only show off previous work, but give information about them like where to find their gallery online and how to commission them if you'd like a special piece done for yourself! It also has a really pretty interactive walkway out front that plays chimes when you enter, Hehe!

Piper: It’s pretty rad, actually.

Cyfir: What have been the challenges of pulling off such an endeavor and how have you overcome those challenges?

Sakairi: SLPonyCon has had a fair share of challenges, like most conventions would. But one of the more challenging aspects would be coordinating a team of varied individuals. The Pony Community is one big family. And like any family, we don't always agree on everything. There's always going to be differing opinions, especially with a group as big as this convention team. But in the end, the important thing is we always find a way to compromise and move forward. Our community looks to us all, and it's our hope that this convention shows them that we are all here for them no matter what!

Piper: We have a no nonsense policy as well for backup.

Cyfir: Backup?

Piper: Meaning if anyone decides no not play ball with everyone else we have a three strike policy and then they are out.

Sakairi: We have a very top notch security team who are on top of things should anything happen. <3 br="">
Cyfir: What have you learned from putting this convention together so far and is there any advice you could give to anyone thinking about putting on a convention in a virtual world?

Sakairi: Being our very first convention we've ever run, we've already learned a lot.

Piper: Teamwork is important. We wouldn't be able to pull this off without all of our amazing staff, and I think it goes without saying that friendship is magic! I would say try your best to get as many people who would like it on board as you can and play to their strengths and show how much you appreciate their hard work all the way through. Your team is what makes things happen.

Cyfir: How did you both become fans of My Little Pony?

Piper: I have been a fan of MLP since I was a little kid. My favorite pony was Sugarberry in generation 1... though these days I am more well known in the Fallout Equestria side of the fandom.

Sakairi: I became a fan through other friends of mine. I used to be one of those people who thought it was just a show for little girls. My friends, who were bronies, told me about it, and I had the excuse at the time of having kids, so I gave it a shot and watched it with them. I fell in love with the messages of kindness the show sent, and later on, the kindness and acceptance I found in the brony community. One thing led to another and I became hooked. My Favorites would be Celestia, Cadence, and my spirit pony, Pinkie Pie!

Cyfir: What about My Little Pony do you think created such a loyal fan base?

Piper: I think the show has such a loyal fan base due to it’s creative community and wholesome content in a world where it's truly needed.

Sakairi: Mostly I feel it's the positive messages it sends out to it’s fans. It teaches people that we can all be different and still accepting of everyone. The cute artwork is a big plus too!

Cyfir: Do you think that the My Little Pony community is much different than the furry community or is there overlap?

Piper: I personally think it's vastly different especially in energy.

Sakairi: I personally differ there. There are differences, sure, but it's a lot alike in other ways. It's a way to express yourself as an individual. There's things in both communities for all kinds of different age ranges and tastes. It's not really about the entire community as a whole as much as the individual and how they choose to use it. There are even Furries and Anthros IN the pony community.

Cyfir: Anything else you would both like to mention?

Piper: I sure hope this  makes people’s year just a little bit better.

Sakairi: We can't wait to see all of you! Visit our website and our discord if you would like any more information on the event!

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You can check out the SLPonyCon website here: https://www.slponycon.com .

You can check out the convention’s Discord channel here: https://discord.gg/hsD34cH .

Their Twitter can be found here: =https://twitter.com/pony_con .

Finally, for a full schedule of events, go here: https://www.slponycon.com/events-1 .

Cyfir

Monday, May 18, 2020

Looking Back at ComCat Fenstalker


ComCat Fenstalker has died.

Yours truly knew her as an occasional visitor to the Happy Vixen and Club Cutlass, and some other Sunweaver events. Standing out in a bovine avatar when most everyone else was a fox, bunny, wolf, normal human, etc, she was certainly a unique personality around. It was unwelcome, sad news when word began getting around on the evening of Friday May 15. Her real-life age was 70, something not revealed to most until after her passing.

"Came as a shock," Dusk Griswold told me, saying she and Violet Solano, "were both good friends with CC. We were almost a team. I think I first met her at Amaranth. Amaranth was her home club, but I'd invite her to Happy Viven or Cutlass if nothing was happening there. One of those people who stand out. And very creative when it came to themes. We'd always look forward to how she'd dress for themes. Might show up at 'Come as your are' as an av of a U and and R, and an R, too.

"Always had a dance chim, I'd always wait for her to show up at the club before dancing, and she'd invite me and usually several others to the chim, so we'd all dance together. Her and Vi and I were kind of an unofficial team.

"One thing I know her player liked to do was give phone scammers a hard time. Her thinking was, the longer they were on the phone, the fewer people they could scam. So she'd waste as much of their time as possible.

"She was also good at modding, I learned some of my modding skills from her. Remember my Gazelle from 'Zootopia' av? That would not have come about without her help.

"Also, could always count on CC to attend RFL events. She was very popular, a lot of people will really miss her. ... overall, we have lost one of the nicest, most creative and funny furs I have ever known. We don't know what happened, and Vi does not plan to find out. ... It has really hit the Amaranth family hard.

"Know how sometimes we meet what we realize are special people? If that makes sense. CC was one of those special people."

I would later talk to Violet Solano. She told me she had known her for seven or eight years, "It's amazing how many people CC knew. FullAuto posted a notice in Raglan shire chat, and there was 15 minutes of river dancing and mooing. ... "It's amazing how many people she touched. I have people I never knew IMMing me, thanking me for the info."

Violet would tell me they met, "at a club in a now long gone vintage Los Angeles sim. I used to go to listen to swing music. (I) met her there, brought her back to Amaranth, and she was just part of the family in very short order. There was no place where she didn't get along."

As a member of the Relay's Meli's Maniacs team, she did much to keep spirits up, "and sadly there's no possible way to tell all her friends of her passing. And that's the saddest part of it. To a lot of people, she is just going to be one of the vanished."

She would go on to say she had fond memories of her, "running battles on the sim surface between her and her power shout and me with my dubstep. Or with tanks, guns, or getting a few of us in jex avatars and big game outfits going on the great jexpidition on the old Grendal's jungle sims. CC was  a silly old graymuzzle who only wanted people around her to have fun and be happy."

"As one of our other club staff, Kulara Darkstone,  posted in Facebook : "

In loving memory of ComCat Fenstalker aka CC. Our beloved bovine avatar friend. CC was a great friend to everyone. She was Funny, Smart, Clever, Kind, Generous and loved a good PUN and loved silly gadgets in Second Life. All she wanted was a "stable" home, and she was "udderly" bodacious 

Sadly, the story of a resident whom just wanted to make others happy, has come to it's close. What are left are the screenshots, tales, and memories.

Bixyl Shuftan

Thursday, May 7, 2020

Pastor Dan's Talent Show


By Bixyl Shuftan

On Sunday May 3, I got to see something I hadn't seen for a while in Second Life. I dropped in on a talent show. PastorDanT Resident told me about it, and invited me over to check it out.

The SURL took me to "Party Time Dancers," high above the Deep Woods sim. To my surprise, when the lag started to clear I found I was on stage. I promptly stepped down. Just in front of the stage were four seats with red unlit "X"s in front of them. Three of them were occupied by a man and two women: Bigtex Cuddihy, KaliiNoire, and Pastor Lynne (Lynne Applewhyte). I went ahead and got into the seating area. PastorDanT soon appeared on stage, and in voice welcomed everyone to the show.

One at a time, five women appeared on stage to sing a song: Aliana Rallier, Fawn (FawnSilver), Selena Alexandre, Mrs. TommyC (NancyleeWillis), and Faith Fromund. Some had some technical difficulties with the sound, and I had to reboot the stream with most of them. But all five got cheers from the audience. Alina, Fawn, and Selena all got overal approval from the judges. With Mrs. TommyC, not so much, Bigtex saying, "I think your voice is great, but the song was not a good match. No for me, sorry." Faith got quite a number of cheers from the audience. Then someone from the judges rang the "golden buzzer." Tex and I were fighhting for the buzzer," Pastor Lynne would say. The contesents would all get applause from the audience, though one expressed disapointment of her favorite singer not making it to the next event.

After most everyone else had cleared out, I had a few words with PastorDanT, to which he responded to my questions in voice. When asked where did he get the idea for the talent show, he answered that it was from "Out of boredom," and with all the things happening in real life lately. He had been spending time in his "mancave, a house outside of my house. Anyway, I did this because this would be a good pressure relief" for the public, and fun and exciting.

When he announced the tryouts for his talent show, twelve people answered. "Six bailed," he told me, two thinking they were "too good" for the competition. Pastor Dan would say the show was inspired in part by "America's Got Talent," adding, "I'm a live singer in Second Life as well, I love to perform." He felt the show was "a nice tension breaker, seems to be working." He was getting no money from this, "This is just for fun. ... this hectic world we're living in. Everyone had fun."

As for how much time it took to organize everything, Pastor Dan felt compared to everything else that was the easy part. Someone he knew made the stage and got it to do everything he wanted from the special effects to the curtain, "In return, we sponsor her on the wall. Anyone else who sponsored also got their picture on the wall."

The winner of the competition would be determined by a process of elimination, with the judges voting after each performance. Lighting an "X" up was a strike against the person, "one person get two Xs, she won't be back next week." The winner at the end would be getting a trophy. While there was no cash prize, "they get the recognition, get a chance to sing at one of the places for money."

Of the six women, three "have never done a live event, so that's good. Usually they DJ, so they don't use their singing voice. I think they were pretty good. One got the golden buzzer." He commented she was surprised when it went off, "she didn't know what it was." With this event, there were five with one going out, and four staying to next time.

Pastor Dan told me the next event would be held at the same place, but "we're going to try to go to different venues. meet more people." He told me over time, he'd been with a lot of venues in Second Life, clubs and lounges and places selling musical instruments, "I've been to a lot, too many. I've heard from some back, a few nasty, oh well, that's SL. Working on getting out more."

He had wanted four judges for the event, but only three were able to make it today. Still, he felt they were "a great group of judges." Each runs a venue inworld. Bigtex Cuddihy ran "Party Time Dancers" where the event took place. KaliiNoire, Pastor Dan told me she ran "one of the biggest restaraunts with a club inside." Pastor Lynn was a pastor here in Second Life.

Of the next round of the competition, "Probably on Friday the 8th, 3PM SL time." It would still be in Party Time Dancers, "Later events at the Elixr, hopefully."

And yes, Pastor Dan is a pastor in Second Life, doing church services on Sunday at Noon SL time, with live broadcasts on Zoom, "people can join in. ... Other than that, I chase my chickens and feed the rabbits."

http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Deep%20Woods/188/220/2504

Bixyl Shuftan

Thursday, April 16, 2020

Interview with Matt Carlton (DJ Matt)


By Penny (Deaflegacy Resident)

Matt Carlton is a DJ who I was lucky to meet up with for an interview.  Shi is six years and 11 months old in Second Life.  I asked hir how long have she been Djing. "Okay," shi said. "I have been Djing for at least six years. I started on one of my alts, Vulpine Vepper as a classic rock DJ at the Blood Pit and Temple of Chaos, so maybe more like ten years plus ago.  Time flies."

Matt added that shi had also DJed for YIFF, F.A.P. (Furries at Play) and a handful of other clubs before switching to primarily country.

I was wondering what inspired hir to be a DJ.  Matt replied, "Well, I always loved music and used to love singing in choirs as a kid, but was always scared of the crowd.  I once even went on Nashville Star, but dropped out during callbacks due to fear.  I used to hang out with Trevalyn and Kytec a lot at Rainbow Tiger and various places, on my oldest account from 2005, Kavori.  They started to peak my interest in Djing and helped me to learn to use SAM.  Though I didn't start DJing til much later as Vulpine."

I asked Matt if shi continues to plan continuing her account as a DJ because in my opinion, shi is an awesome DJ.  "I do," said Matt, "As venues change or come and go, and friends come and go I may take breaks, or move around as needed, but I still plan to DJ as long as I am able.  Right now I'm putting my time and focus on Djing for RFL events as it's something I have been a part of since I could first walk in real life, with my grandmother. And right now it's one of the few ways I can help."

I was curious about if Matt is planning on Djing at a Relay For Life event.  "I did, DJ once for the Home and Garden Expo," replied Matt, "That was a lot of fun.  Since then Olde has been asking me to take at least one slot for the Fantasy Fair.  I might do so, as it sounds fun a well.  I am also competing in the 2020 Celebrate - Remember - Fight Back Top DJ Fundraising Competition.  My first round is on April 1 at 7 pm in Arinutltra Bay at the Pond Stage.  I was also asked by Jeremy from the SOS group to do a late night set for his team, Relay for Christ, one night in April.  I agreed to do so."

I told Matt that I was wonder that beside being a DJ, some people would consider hir to be a mentor or 'true friend' meaning someone who would support them even in difficult times with hir thoughtful words, what is hir feelings about this.  At first, Matt was confused until I explained to her that there is more to being a DJ than one might know.  "Well," Matt responded, "for a mentor, I would be a bit surprised because I know I may not be the best person to open up to at times due to my mental issues. But I try my best to listen, even if I may be terrible with advice and often seek it myself.  As for a 'rue friend,' that makes me happy, as I think that's rare thing these days.  In these tough times, we need good and true friends more now than ever."

I was also wondering about Matt being an inspiration, like helping out in Relay For Life, and what her opinion is.  "Inspiration, eh?" replied Matt,"I'm honestly at a loss for words to that, as I never have seen myself as interesting let alone inspiring.  Different maybe, odd yes. (laughter) But, if people are inspired by me, that's great, I just hope I inspire them in a good way."

I was very curious to what her favorite coffee is and she said, "Well that comes down to a drink from a local shop called Mudhouse.  I love their Mudpupple frappe, as well as their Frozen Unicorn drinks."

I asked for hir permission to mention that Matt is my Second Life sister and she granted it.  Thanks, Matt!

This had been an amazing interview.  I can honestly say that Matt is one of the awesome DJ.  As the interview ended and we continued talking, I just know that not only is Matt an interesting person, shi is also a caring person especially when it comes to helping fight cancer with the Relay For Life.

Penny

Editor's note: As mentioned in the interview, Matt is part of Penny's SL family. The interview was done in late March, before Matt took part in the DJ competition on April 1.

Friday, April 3, 2020

News and Commentary: Have a Second Life Contingency Plan


By Cyfir (Cyfiremmerich)

In college, I took a whole course on business contingency. Contingency is “a future event or circumstance which is possible but cannot be predicted with certainty.” Everything is contingent. Whether you go in to work tomorrow depends on if work is still there. Whether you go home at the end of the day is contingent on if  home is still there. For many in my real life community, both are not still there. Not only has COVID-19 shut many businesses in my area down, an EF3 tornado dropped down a few blocks behind where I live on Saturday afternoon, and tore through the business district, grew into a massive wedge, and leveled homes. There were no casualties thanks to advanced warning and many being home because of COVID-19, but many people no longer have jobs or houses to go back to. The local mall and a handful of businesses are practically destroyed. If the tornado had dropped down sooner, I wouldn’t be writing this.

Here’s the important part: Second Life should be the furthest from your mind in life threatening and/or natural disaster circumstances, but wouldn’t it be nice if you didn’t have to worry about it at all? Why wait until it’s not possible to do anything about your rent meter running out? Who will inform your Second Life friends of your whereabouts if you’re not able to get online? There have been a few instances when this publication has had to send out a call for help to discover the whereabouts of a missing Second Life resident.  

In my business contingency courses, we learned to write up a contingency plan for when the unexpected should occur. For instance, who would be in charge of things if the manager is out? A Second Life contingency plan doesn’t have to be as elaborate and drawn out as a business contingency plan, but think of who you would trust to help you pay your rent meter or tell your friends of your whereabouts if something should occur. Be sure that you can contact them offline or at least let them know that if you disappear one day to please help you with contacting friends or paying rent for a certain amount of time until you get back. I always keep at least two weeks on all my meters in case something happens like a week long power outage. Do you run a blog or website based around Second Life or do you run a sim or a club? Who do you trust to run those while you’re gone? Think of any possible thing that you can see not being taken care of if you vanished for a month and write it down and think of who can back you up in a time of need.

In these times of uncertainty, it’s good to have a plan in real life as well as Second Life for when things go horribly wrong. COVID-19 has had me thinking about this, and the tornado this weekend finally inspired this article. Don’t wait until it’s too late.


Cyfir

Friday, March 13, 2020

The Other Dating Game


By Gemma Cleanslate


Bellisseria fairground was the site of  a really fun event last Saturday, March 7. Sponsored by the new team for the Relay for Life , Bellis Blues and DJs, and Bellisseria for RFL citizens gathered to watch and giggle at The Other Dating Game. Money was raised during the shows, of which there were two.


DJ FAR Dharma (fwdfwd Farslider) was the charming host of the show with assistance from the lovely fairgrounds host, Iseult NĂ­ Urquhart (PrudenceAnton Resident) . The stage was set with a chair for the bachelor of the game and three stools for the lovely contestants vyeing to be his date. Of course he could not see them,


This is not the first time the show was on and it was such a  success a repeat was requested. I was not able to make the first one, nor the first part of this two hour show but finally got to see the whole show at the second part.


What a riot. Zildjian Clifton took his place on the red sofa and three lovelies arrived to sit on their stools and wait for the questions that would determine his choice. The audience had to get involved by providing their answers too as it progressed. Some of the comments were so distracting and funny it  is a wonder Zildjian could keep his mind on what he was doing and the poor contestants could survive with their own responses.

A sample of a question and answer.

“Zildjian Clifton: No. 2: If lindens were no object, what would you buy for yourself?”

Meli (MelisseLharithlyn Resident): A  year's worth of a full sim”

The show people tried hard to keep it more or less serious . I am sorry I did not think to collect some of the comments from  the audience but it was probably better that I didn’t.

The other contestants , Annie Panties (JadeEast Resident) and Gem Parker (Gem Oxygen)
waited patiently to face their questions and interference from the  watchers.


At the end Zildjian chose contestant number three, Gem Parker as his date. All those attending sent waves of applause to each of the show’s participants . I don’t know where or when the date will take place but will find out . I hope  the show will be on again it was amusing and raised some good funds for the Relay. North Crannock reported,

“after todays fantastic donations to RFL our current Bellisseria joint donations are
B - Bellis Blues and Djs  L$: 50,520     USD: $202.08
Bellisseria for RFL       L$: 230,853    USD: $923.41
Total                           L$: 281,373     USD: 1,125.49“

Gemma Cleanslate

Monday, March 9, 2020

Interview With Guitarist Jon Bazar


By Bixyl Shuftan

Recently I interviewed a musician whom recently returned to Second Life, Jon Bazar. He plays music in both real life and Second Life. We met at Club Cutlass, and sat down down for an interview.

To begin with Jon has been playing music most of his life, "I taught myself the guitar at age 9, (and) was in a band at age 15. ... ha ha ha ...  the others were in their 20's. We played local bars and clubs." The band would last for a few years before breaking up, "Then I have always been in a playing band ever since, even today. When asked how he found out about Second Life, Jon answered, "A friend mentioned it as a place where you can play live music to the world." As for how his first days went, "Well, not being a gamer, it was really different. But I took to it well. I loved listening to the live music and chatting people from all around the world."

Other musicians were very helpful in helping me get set up to play myself." One musician in particular was helpful, "Avvy Barzane, a young musician from England. He has recently come back to SL also. A lot helped. But he really stuck with me until I got it, and hooked me up with my first SL shows." It was about six months until he got his first gig, "And it took a bit. But I got bigger and better shows."

When asked what music he usually played, Jon explained, "Mostly older classic rock, on an acoustic guitar. But a little bit of everything." I then asked Jon if any particular performance of his stood out. He thought for a moment, "There was a place called Guthries back in the day. Those were some pretty good shows. And I used to *dual* stream with Fireheart Braver, back in the early days of dual streaming. That was a *lot* of fun. Us being 1500 miles apart and making music was cool beans."

Of Jon's avatar, long gray hair with a beard, it's based on his real-life appearance. "That was the idea," he told me, then smiled, "I had help with that too."

Jon would play music in Second Life for about five years, then events in real life forced him to halt his performances, "was away for about five years, and now back." Of his current band, "The band I am with now, we have been together for 18 years.So we are like family." I asked if they knew about Second Life and what he does here. Jon answered, "A bit. I tried to explain it. But I know they don't 'get it'." He smiled, "I explain that people in Germany listened to me play last night. They just kinda look. I explain. And they loose interest. Ha ha ha ha."

And what were Jon's long term plans now that he's back in Second Life? He answered he didn't really have any, "Nah. Just day to day. Kinda like real life," he smiled, "Enjoying the time I guess."

On a final note, it was the Sunweaver's community leader Rita Mariner whom suggested interview, the musician commenting, "Rita is one of my oldest SL friends. Well, I don't mean she is old. I mean I have known her a long time in Second Life, hee hee."

"Take care for now. And *enjoy life* (smiles) Peace."

Bixyl Shuftan

Friday, February 21, 2020

SLife And Times: Two Sides of Banned For Being Furry


By Bixyl Shuftan

For most clubs in Second Life, it's not a big deal what you look like as long as you can fit through the door and behave yourself, especially if you tip. Being the lone furry or tiny at a mostly human club, or the sole human in a venue of furries might get you a few odd glances, but it's my experience seldom is anyone rude about it. If there's a contest that night, you might actually get a few extra votes and win as you're instantly recognized.

But as most people in Second Life know, eventually you're going to run into someone who has a problem with your looks. This was the case of one furry friend of mine whom was invited to a venue by it's hostess, and got booted because the rules of the place stated only human avatars were permitted, "I was sent an invite, to a club, only to get told I have to leave for being ME!" His name was an obvious clue to his avatar, "She KNOWS I'm furry. What the frack would someone knowing I'm no human invite me for?" He was furious, "I want to go back and torch that f**king club." But once he had a moment to calm down, suggested I try to get the point of view of the hostess, if she was willing, if I was going to write about the event. He did admit that the word "human" was in the invitation he'd gotten, but didn't realize it until after he came back from being away from keyboard pressed the "accept" button to the teleport request, so the part about it being a human event had faded away after several seconds before his return.

Contacting the woman in question, once she heard her name wouldn't be mentioned in anything written she only asked that the article be objective, "This is an important subject, I think." She was tired though, and trying to set up a time eventually we settled for answering questions by notecard. She had first met the fur in question through friends and had a positive first impression. Where she was hosting that night was in a formal ballroom, "In the ballroom it is clear that it is humans only. On the rest of the sim, everyone is welcome as long as they are covered. Not only is it clear in all the literature, the TP I sent that ******* took was very clear. To wit: '? I'm hosting at romantic *** **** ****** 2-4 PM w/ DJ _________, International Romantic Music. Join us? FORMAL, HUMAN?'"

She described the situation after the fur in question showed up, "I knew as soon as he landed as a furry that he was in violation of the venue's policy but there was no pressure. As host, I was in charge of dress code violations (DCV). One of the owners was there, as was the manager. They were very relaxed, both welcomed him in local chat, as did I, calling him my friend." She told me she decided to do nothing as long as no one complained, "****** was there for over an hour before anything was said about him violating dress code. ... The owner responded that Raccoon was my friend and that I would take care of it. ... When the guest complained, I reiterated that he was my friend and posted some comments I always make in support of furries when I see exclusion. One is, 'Did you know RL furries donated 12 Million to charitable causes last year?' ... I had to apologize to him on IM and remind him it was a human only ballroom. I have many furrie friends and always feel badly when they are excluded though I know from speaking with them that they are used to it. I also respect that each venue has a right to design and run things as they choose. My responsibility is to abide by the rules and in some instances, enforce them."

She would go on to say that avatar discrimination happened in other places in Second Life, "There are many exclusions in SL. Children are not allowed some places, non-human AVs, pregnant AVs, collared AVs, or particle emitters, for instance. As a woman, I am excluded some places. Sometimes it for dress, like 'must be nude.' I've been ejected from venues for non-compliance with that rule."

The way she saw it, the fur had fair warning, "He had notice before coming that it was human only so he chose to come as a furrie. He and I chatted, we all enjoyed the event, no one said anything until one of the guests complained." She did acknowledge that he was booted by the owner instead of being allowed to walk out on his own accord, "He said he would leave rather than create drama. Then he posted other's text in local chat, creating drama, disrupting the event, and violating TOS."

That last detail was the one big difference between how the two persons described the event. Talking to the fur later, he told me he never posted any IM conversation out in the open, "I have transcripts of everything." He also stated he was there for less than a minute before being asked to change. As mentioned earlier, he did admit to accepting the teleport request before noticing the word "human" in the invitation, but he had been away from computer, and the notice about it being a human event had already faded.

The hostess did have some final words, "We have the perfect opportunity to make something positive of this unfortunate incident. My personal philosophies and practices are to celebrate diversity and promote inclusion. When we were planning the .... Clinic, some administrators wanted furries excluded but acceded to my argument on why they and everyone should be welcome. The salient points here are that being an activist can be noble, valuable, and serve the greater good. There are ways to be an effective advocate and ways to hurt your cause. ******'s behavior in this instance gave all those there valid reasons to exclude furries, setting back rather than helping. If you feel furries (or any group) is excluded, make a valid and rational case for why this should be reconsidered. I have shared a few of the points I use. Respect the venues. They have no obligation to follow any course other than their mission or business plan. If the venue is considerate enough to state an exclusion policy so there is no surprise, be grateful. Speak privately to the owners if you would like them to reconsider their policy. If you wanted to be respected and treated well, act that way toward others."

The idea of being grateful and respectful in the face of being given the boot is likely to be too much for many of my fellow furs in Second Life to ask for. They are very proud of their looks, and will see exclusion as an insult to who and what they are. A historic RP area such as 1920s Berlin they can usually let slide as the idea is to make it as close to the history books as it was. But a venue that's purely for entertainment such as the infamous "Frank's Place" that sees a furry avatar as the equivalent to ragged jeans and a t-shirt at a high-class establishment, that viewpoint is seen as a pile of waste matter.

Looking at the hostess' comment about "exclusions" one way, it could be seen as saying discrimination is a part of Second Life, and there's nothing that can be done about it. But looking at it another, it could be seen as saying not allowing someone into a club just because they're furry (or because they're not) is as justifiable as saying women are only allowed in if they're naked without anything covering their private parts.

While the Newser has written about this kind of situation in the past on occasion, fortunately, this kind of incident is rare. The amount of time I've been asked to leave a place because of my having a furry avatar can be counted on one hand after over thirteen years here. I've been to high class places with first rate musicians that while asking me to be neatly dressed didn't have a problem with my avatar. One investigation of a place in which someone was thrown out for having a nonhuman avatar revealed that there was a nonhuman on the staff and the incident was likely the result of a hostess' inexperience. Of those who prefer human avatars, most would rather be in places where they can invite their friends. One SL church operated for months with a number of furs in it's flock before getting a new pastor whom then insisted on "keeping it real" and telling the parish human avatars only. The majority of people, humans and furs alike, left.

So while this sort of thing does happen once in a while, it shouldn't define our Second Lives. It's best to take ourselves, and our tip money, to places that appreciate our company.

Addition: It turned out that the hostess had no problem with her name being given.

Bixyl Shuftan

Thursday, January 30, 2020

My Expirences As A Hostess

                      
By Angel Fencer  (Ender Leven)   

It all began an few years ago when I was in Second Life looking for an job and stumbled upon DJ Uncle Pedro and the club he was DJing in. Since it was an while back, I don't remember much about how I found it. But I do remember the things we did.

I had fun in hosting and made an good income (tips only), traveled club to club with Pedro and sent loads of VIP notices and cheerfully met a lot of people. I even remember Pedro loved me so much, he asked a band to make me a song. I listened to it it, and it  was so beutiful and kind. He really was a gentleman and an amazing Blues DJ.  It only ended when I left Second Life for another grid called OSGrid.

After two years, I returned to Second Life. I tried making Lindens through scripting, but my scripts wouldn't sell. So I was searching for a new job. I went and searched for job groups, found one and then joined Friendlys. I chatted an bit with one of the staff and filled my application, which got accepted. I will have my first shift this Friday. I talked to an few people like Debbie, Tabs, and some others. It was amazing and I hope to have fun and can't wait to hype up people, make friends, party, chill, and hope to earn some lindens with tips.

What do hosts do?
                                       
A club host's job is to send notices, entertain the users, have fun, advertise the club, send notifications, and thank people for tips and such in group chat. It's an amazing way to meet people and earn some hard cash if they like you and the club is full enough.

So I wanna become an host, how does one become an host?

If you go to clubs, ask them for the application format and if your lucky, you get accepted. Be sure to ask them if they train hosts.

Where do you host currently?

At Friendlys at 12pm - 2 pm SLT/PST
                                      
Angel Fencer

Monday, January 20, 2020

Interview With Bixyl Shuftan


By Penny (Deaflegacy Resident)

Bixyl Shuftan had been a reporter covering Second Life for 12 years now.  He worked with the SL Newspaper from November 2007 until June 2010, which then closed because at that time the owner, JamesTJuno, was leaving Second Life.  The editor, Dana Vanmoer, didn't feel she had the authority to just up and grab ownership without his permission.  Dana gave the news to the crew in April 2010. After their initial shock, Bixyl started talking to the others on what they should do.  Gemma Cleanslate, Shelie Sands and Grey Lupindo agreed to form a new paper.  "Since I was the 'office manager' of Second Life Newspaper, taking care of it when Dana couldn't," they felt Bixyl should be the editor of it. 

Because Dana didn't want Second Life Newspaper to end with just a simple and sad goodbye article, instead she wanted to have a party as a tribute to their time and work together.  SL Newser was officially announced at the closing party of the old one, on June 5, 2010.  In SL Newspaper's final article, Dana credited Bixyl in keeping the old paper regularly updated.  "The paper's front page was 'closed' with a link to the Newser at the bottom," said Bixyl.

Bixyl helps out with the Relay For Life, both as a news reporter and a volunteer.  He gets the news about Relay For Life out through the Newser by Press Releases and news stories of events. But he's also a member of the Sunbeamer team. According to Bixyl, the Relay for Life is the largest fundraiser for the American Cancer Society.  "There are chapters all over the United States, and presumably in Canada and elsewhere." replied Bixyl.  "The Second Life chapter, last I heard, we were the 17th largest."  Bixyl believe that the Relay has been going on in Second Life in some form since 2006. Bixyl covered some of their events for the Second Life Newsppaer, and under the Second Life Newser, it remained a priority.

The Sunbeamers are the team of the community of where Bixyl make his home in Second Life, the Sunweaver/Angels. Covering their events gives Bix a chance to both highlight the good Second Life does, and putting his community in the spotlight. Rita Mariner is the team captain. Every year, they have gotten an award for fundraising.  The first year, it was silver.  Last year, it was Jade. "A couple times we've gotten one for the campsite, which Cynthia Farshore and Shockwave Yareach deserve the bulk of the credit." said Bixyl.  

He writes on more than just news stories. At the moment, Bixyl is working on a novel. "The working title for it is 'The Corsean Encounter,'" he explained, "While science-fiction, it's not your standard space opera with spaceships shooting lasers at one another. In a sense, it turns the scenario of the evil alien invader upside down with the invaders being human. The hero of the story, a human who came to the world to help out, has to help his new friends deal with them."

I asked him about who his inspiration is, and he said, "I guess you can say the rest of the Newser crew is one inspiration."  Bixyl also liked to read and have kept up with the news in real life.  "I guess it's fitting. Here in Second Life, I help keep residents posted about it."  When we talked about a single high point when it comes to the Newser, he said that it was interesting coming face to face with Ebbe Linden. 

"Covering the Relay and Second Life Birthday has always been nice, even if it does make me busy."  Bixyl went on to say that he often calls May and June his "busy time," between the SL Birthday and Relay Weekend. Though that could also apply to October and December, with Halloween and Christmas.  "I've written about many people, places, and events over the years.  "I guess it can be a challenge keeping it up." replied Bixyl.  "But the compliments and people saying 'thank you' have been another inspiration.  I asked Bixyl what he thinks when someone like me says that he is an inspiration.  "I feel happy, proud," said Bix with a smile.  Bixyl added that he has very intention of continuing the Newser to its' tenth anniversary, and beyond. "Probably until that one day Linden Lab makes the decision to close this world, whenever that is.  Probably not for several years though," commented Bix.

On the same night I was working on the article, Bixyl got a "thank you" from the Veterans Tribute team.  Keep up the good work, Bixyl. 

Penny

Friday, January 17, 2020

Fearless Nation PTSD Support Virtual Community


By Bixyl Shuftan

Fearless Nation is a group and sim in Second Life with the purpose of helping people with Post-Tramautic Stress Disorder, or PTSD. Their description is, "Fearless Nation PTSD Support is an RL 501c3 Nonprofit Organization for people with PTSD, their families, partners, children and communities: We provide education, support and advocacy. Since 2009 we've had a virtual, online community that spans distance, with a small carbon footprint bringing people together in a common goal: Trauma Recovery."

I recently had a talk with Anya Ibor  the director of the group, at the main building at the sim. "This is Main Library," she told me, "where there is lots of education/info about PTSD and an art gallery upstairs." After I asked how the group got started, she told me, "We started in 2009, on parcels I pulled together. There are many misconceptions, and lots of stigma about PTSD. We had a Library there, a small house, and meetings. I started to play around with virtual environments for people with PTSD, like a couple of nice meeting places, a Remembrance Place for loss and grieving, companion animals, Yoga Nidra (a mind/sleeping yoga), information on nutrition and bodycare for PTSD, creative arts and art therapy. The idea is: Engage with your avatar, and then take it to RL for PTSD symptoms."

I asked about the misconceptions. Anya answered, "Misconceptions about PTSD include: Thinking that we are 'ticking time bombs,' that we pose a threat to others, that we are weak and unreliable, that we are psychotic. Not true, unless there is a co-morbid psycholigical condition that includes psychosis or voilence. That is rare. Also, veterans and military make up only a minority of PTSD sufferers, most of use are victims of crime, and all abuse (psychological, physical, sexual). Our group includes military in real life, but mostly police personnel, trauma therapists, EMTs, survivors of abuse--and we have people engaged here who are trauma therapists and friends and family who have what is known as 'secondary' or vicarious PTSD."

And when did Anya think the public was starting to take PTSD seriously? "In the late 70s/early 80s," she told me, "through the work of Dr. Bessel van der Kolk and Judith Herman, working with Viet Nam vets and crime victims -- I can send you more detailed information about the pioneers of PTSD. Now it is more widely accepted however, there is still a great deal of misinformation out there. After 9/11 and all the wars of the last 20 years PTSD has gained much more ground in research and simply 'being believed.' The psychiatric/psychological community has made great strides in PTSD understanding. For example, the DSM-5 (2013) separated PTSD from anxiety disorders and put it in its own trauma-centered category. Because there are different types of PTSD, C-PTSD, Combat PTSD, etc. and PTSD is the only condition caused by external forces. For example, some ppl with PTSD have a 'before trauma' and after trauma" view, and some never knew anything but trauma from childhood. But the symptoms remain the same across the spectrum of PTSD.

"So far we have gotten strongly positive feedback. So because I have been getting my Ph.D. in psychology, I focused in doing my Dissertation research on the lived experiences of ppl with PTSD who engae in SL (virtual worlds). The formal name of the study, conducted under Walden University's Institutional Review Board is named: 'The Experiences of PTSD Sufferers Who Participate in Internet-Based Virtual World Activities in Desktop Virtual Reality Environments (DVREs).' ”

I brought up the study, mentioning she was looking for volunteers. Anya answered, "Yes. I need 5 more people with PTSD who are active in SL/virtual worlds to answer a ten item questionnaire about how their lived experiences in SL might affect, or not, ther PTSD. The study is completely confidential and private per APA Ethics Code and Walden University standards. All identifying information will be coded and hidden. So no one has to worry that their real-life identification will be revealed."

And where did the idea for the study come from? The idea came from, well, me," she answered, "I have PTSD and back in 2009 when through work for IEEE Standards Association in RL I was introduced to SL/Virtual Worlds. I started noticing all the potential to work out PTSD issues in-world, and take that knowledge and lived experience into RL. Then I met other residents who were doing the same thing with their trauma, and we just banded together and, well, started growing.

"I have 15 responses now. I need at least 20 participants. Sounds small, but this is Qualitative (QUAL) research project, where the participants provide rich, robust information about their experience inworld in light of their PTSD. I will collect all the Questionnaire answers - which are meant to be easy, engaging, creative, fun - and 'code' the responses to detect patterns of meaning.

"The responses HAVE been rich and robust as well! There have been responses that have surprised me, but they will be included certainly as areas for further future research. For example, sometimes in-world, personal relationships can be as heartbreaking or upsetting as any real-life relationship. That begs a question as to whether SL might be a triggering or exacerbating influence on a person's PTSD."

When I asked how many were in the group, Anya answered, "There are currently about 275 members across two groups (because in the beginning, 2009, I didn't know what I was doing, ha-ha). We have had some terrific events, from 2009-2013 we would have 24-hour events with music (live performers and DJs), lots of art installations, and of course, information. Let me get the YouTube channel link because we had these events filmed in-world. Great videos.




https://www.youtube.com/user/FearlessNation4PTSD

"We've had outstanding support from the music and arts community in SL. Really amazing support. And Linden Labs has been understanding and supportive too, of course. (laughter) Not as financial as I'd like, but understanding and tolerance of us doing something different with the technology in here."

I asked about how much can art heal someone. She answered, "As for the power of art to heal: It can help immensely! Using creativity to express the confusion and anguish of trauma (survivor guilt, anxiety, etc) can sooth the wounded soul. In fact when trauma occurs, memories become divided into verbal and _non-verbal_ memories because the brain hunkers down into 'fight or flight' mode. Using art in-world, such as building, making art, muisc - even how one designs their avatar - are ways to express trauma, verbal and nonverbal. It helps one process the traumatic event, and work on living easy with the trauma memories."

"I am hoping that this research study might show that the engaging and creative activities in-world may prove a legitimate approach to easing PTSD symptoms. But we will wait and see what the data tells us. It is very interesting and exciting to be able to conduct this study. On these sims, I have used research in environmental design, color theory, art to create moods, curiosity,etc. Even the windlight settings are to calm and encourage relaxation and calm. This approach to the sims design has been a work in progress for over 10 years now.

"Unlike other VR sites that use VR for 'exposure therapy' we absolutely do not re-create war zones or trauma events. Exposure therapy was developed for phobias--PTSD is not a phobia. Far from it."

And what were Anya's future plans? "Well, I would love to work for Linden Labs or another VR company," she answered, "and I want to continue to explore the use of VR for trauma reconciliation. I will certainly continue working to help all people with PTSD learn to live in peace with their trauma. ... for anyone who would like to participate, or simply view the questions for the study and think it over, contact me via my Walden University email: colleen.crary@waldenu.edu.

"By the way: Here is quick, simple PTSD education slide show on my website so you have more background on PTSD. http://www.colleencrary.com/ptsd-support/ "

To check out the location, head to
http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Fearless%20Nation/73/154/30

Bixyl Shuftan

Monday, January 6, 2020

Dorie Bernstein And The Dreams Sims


By Marcel Mosswood

Good and evil do exist everywhere including Second Life, there are good avatars and evil ones. Dorie Bernstein is one of the many good-hearted avatars I know in Second Life. She manages Dreams sims along with several of her teams to present a safe and comfortable sim for the visitors in community and practice building in Second Life.

“Golda Stein is the rat behind the scenes," Dorie explained, "making sure the finances are in order as well as being the head boss for everything. Kely is a co-manager and ably manages the weekly Texture Contest and Speed Build, as well as many other duties behind the scenes. We have many who contribute time, support and L$ to keep our group thriving. Everyone makes this happen.

Dorie went on, “We have support groups that meet regularly for ShockProof, Brigadoon Explorers, and ADHD. ShockProof is the group for stroke and TBI survivors and their loved ones. Those meetings happen once or twice a month. Brigadoon Explorers is our group for those on the autism spectrum as well as their loved ones. They meet once a week. The ADHD group meets once a week as well.

"Building and texturing contests happen on a weekly, monthly and semi-weekly basis. Speed Build and Texturing Contests happen once a week on the same days and times used since the beginning. A monthly contest for building centers around a theme, often tied to the time of year. Until fairly recently, that contest was a pure building contest. Now, the rules allow for folks to create their vision using objects made by anyone at any time. This change was necessary to maintain engagement in events as mesh hit the grid and changed the relationship between builders and content creation. A semi-weekly building challenge (WBC) maintains a pure build focus, for those who want the challenge of creating something entirely new to meet the theme and particular challenge. Each week, we have our own version of 'Primtionary' for those liking to do quick-draw builds for others to guess the given word.

"Art has always been celebrated at Dreams, with various events through the years focused on different forms of artwork possible in Second Life. Huntress Catteneo rents our third sim, and has created a haven for artists of all sorts. She runs an art festival each year to raise money for charities. One of our members, FionaFei, created a marvelous art installation and gallery 2,000 meters high in Dreams. It has become the site of Friday night concerts with live music each week.

"The Dream Creations store offers a spot for group members to sell their creations. It also is where we have a yard sale and gacha resale area to help bring funds into the sims for paying the tier.”

Dreams are made to help people with disability to explore Second Life. But Dreams also is a safe place for normal people. Have you ever had a problem when protecting the interests of people with disability when they are in the midst of normal people in Second Life?

“While we do have a focus on helping those with disabilities find a safe place to be in Second Life, we don't make that the most visible part of our programming," Dorie answered, "We never require folks to identify if they have any particular disability, or what it is if they have one. Our rules and culture is designed to create the safe place and allow people to choose whether to share what they're dealing with behind the keyboard. Sometimes it helps to let that all go and have a sense of escaping the normal realities. We do expect all of our visitors and members to behave in a respectful and kind manner, regardless of what disability they may or may not have. The health of the whole group is important, and won't be sacrificed to 'save' someone who is causing massive disruptions. When handling difficult situations, I do try to be aware of where someone is coming from in order to figure out the best path forward. I'm only human, of course, and will fall down on that from time to time.” 

You have maintain the Dreams tradition and programs for many years, this is not easy. Do you have tips to stay consistent with these programs?

Dorie answered, “The main thing is to know just what is important about the traditions and programming. Find the essence, and work to maintain that. Embrace the changes that come to the grid and see how they can be worked into the old. I know that our group's founder would have embraced the new and found ways to use it. Trying to stop time doesn't honor the past. We do have nods to tradition sprinkled around the sims. A set of 'drama frogs' made by the founder sit by a pond. A stray micro prim from jewelry a past member is enshrined in the wall of the store. There is always a wall of some sort in the sandbox, as a reminder of our early wall-sitting sessions. We'd gather in the sandbox to chat, play with prims, work on projects, and bond over crazy fun.”

I had two questions about Dorie as a person:

With your very limited time in Second Life and real-life, how can you manage Dreams?

“We have a good team at Dreams," Dorie explained, "Each member runs their part, and that makes life so much easier for all of us. On my own side of it, I am learning how to use the word 'no' better. I do try to determine where I can save time without sacrificing quality. Engagement and participation are more valued in our events than attempting to maintain traditions simply for the sake of tradition.”

You have a unique way of thinking, including when building with basic prims. And I admire your ability to arrange SL's basic prims into new, very symmetrical shapes. What is the basis of your creative thinking?

“I like to challenge myself and see if I can do something different with prims," spoke Dorie, "I've played with them enough to know that there are a lot of shapes hiding with sufficient prim torture. With the new mesh Land Impact accounting system that can be applied to the 'traditional' prims, I'm having fun adding in the details that once were just cost-prohibitive in terms of prim counts. Some builds, I am trying to mimic something from real life. Other times, I am looking for ways to add an off-beat touch to things. This is Second Life, after all. Why stick to 'normal' all the time?”

I’m so in agreement with the last sentence.

Visit Dreams: http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Dreams/108/150/25

Marcel