Monday, August 29, 2011

Ludo Merit and the Prism Walk

The best way to interview people at a grid-wide Second Life event is simply to do a shout out. I'd taken pictures of SL8's birthday party on my real-life vacation. I wanted only those interested in networking with me to come forward so I said in the group chat, "Who wants to be interviewed?" One of the first people to reply was Ludo Merit.

The concept for Merit’s Prism Hero Walk was created in the late 1980s. She first considered her idea a game.

"But as I developed it in Second Life, I began to see that my 'market' is not gamers, but helpers and those who needed help," Merit expressed. "I played with the idea for years, and then I heard about SL and came here specifically to develop it."

She read Sam Keen's "The Passionate Life' and Max Luscher's "The Luscher Color Test" at the same time and put the two together. Shortly after she read about Joseph Campbell's hero journey and went to the Mythic conferences in Georgia, she merged the colors of the hero journey with Sam Keen's life stages.

"Because we are all heroes, and each of these steps is a step in the life of a hero according to Campbell, it's called a hero's journey rather than an individual's. The journey was created from myths and legends from all over the world.

After teleporting to the Prism Hero Walk sim, read the directions inside the building on the floor. Begin by standing on the brown square. Click on the picture on the wall to get information, which appears in local chat. There are 11 more and the colors represent the following:

Brown tells of your parents’ unconditional love and need to protect you. It helps you to understand why you leave the safety of your home to explore.

Yellow declares a child's need to explore. You make friends and discover they have different approaches to play and lifestyle.

Gray symbolizes the beginning of rebellion and finding one's own path.

Purple is the age of self discovery. Drifting, dreaming and setting goals.

Red has you coming forward to take your place in society. You have to prove you’re worthy of a quest.

Chartreuse places you into your quest and down the path of obstacles.

Black signals loss and the desire to get it back.

Aqua is returning from the journey, tired, scarred and having personal growth.

Green names you as an experienced member of society. You are now known for your wisdom.

Orange has you recognizing the fact that change is necessary.

Violet symbolizes the jester/fool who is not afraid to express him or herself.

Blue leads you to the realization that your quest has ended and now you can focus on yourself.

"People who read and answer the questions for themselves, I hope, see that their lives are very much like the Campbell hero life," said Merit. "Most of all, know that you are a hero, that we all are heroes and every kind of hero is needed.

To get to the Prism Heroes Walk, head to Prism Lila (60, 59, 22)

Netera Landar

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The Relay for Life 2011 Wrap-Up Party

The Relay for Life Walk was a month ago, but the official end of this year’s RFL fundraising season wasn’t until last weekend. Saturday August 20th, 2011, members of various Relay teams got together for the last event of “Seasons of Hope.” It was time for the Wrap-Up Party.

Before the party’s start at 3PM, people began gathering at the Florida Keys sim. Once the hour started, live music was provided by singer Damian Carbenell. And it wasn’t long before the sim was packed. 57 avatars were counted in the sim at one point. With so many around, people were gathering away from the stage where Damian was performing. A variety of avatars from numerous teams of all sizes from large to small gathered around. at 4PM, the T-1 Radio DJ took over

Durring the party, a few few things happened things happened. One was the RFL kiosks scattered across the grid which had been taking in donations began to self-destruct. The fundraising for the season was over, and their purpose was done. Ember Farina was reluctant to let go, “I still have a few” *is holding on tight* Fuzzball Ortega joked, “no, let go Ember, or you’ll go poof too.” Some commented that at least one Relayer wouldn’t know and think they were deliberately removed, PrettyKitty Gumbo saying, “I wonder if someone will ask what happened to their vendor?” Dwen Dooley responded, “I personally guarantee that an angry email will find it's way to me, because ‘they weren't warned.’ " Fuzzball Ortega, quiped, “Didn't even get a poof of purchase (yea, I know, bad pun).” Later, Fuzzball commented, “Ok, I need a drink now. Yes, Bixyl you may quote me.”

Another thing that happened was that the much-anticipated theme of next year’s relay was made public. The 2012 Relay for Life will have the theme of “Time for a Cure.” The announcement was greeted with much applause.

And, there were the awards given out begining at 4:30. Many of these were basicaly given out for fun, such as Fuzzball Ortega being awarded the “Big Hair” award for the enormous hairdo he sported at times. Others were more serious, such as the “Spirit of Relay” Individual Award, announced by last year’s winner Ember Farina.

“For the last six years this year’s recipient has been Relaying in SL. Regardless of Team affliation, anyone who has needed assistance with Kiosks, Vendors, or building has found a helping hand. This year, just as Relay was kicking into high gear, he suffered a debilitating stroke. His motivation for a fast recovery was actually Relay for Life! He worried so much about his team that he came back inworld before he could even read or type; they all used voice to communicate with him to ensure that the team would keep moving forward. He’s determined, and despite all odds, always involved in anything that has to do with Relay, from planning to end, always there to help others regardless of other affiliations.

“I’m pleased to announce the 2011 individual Spirit of Relay – Daaneth Kivioq.”

Daaneth, whom was there with several others from his “Passionate Redheads” team, was clearly surprised by the announcement, which was greeted with cheers from many. He thanked everyone, and was a bit quiet for the rest of the time he was at the Wrap-Up event. But later on, he and the Redheads would soon do a little celebrating of their own.

Spirit of relay award - I am stunned. I want to thank EVERYONE who nominated me. I have now words to express my gratitude. Except .. > PARTY! NOW! HOPE GARDENS! NYDIA IS THE DJ!! FIREWORKS! And one OTHER very important number: L$ 726,001 -$ 2,904 - how much money you raised this relay season. Please come party with me!

And a number did. Not just the Redheads, but Fuzzball Ortega dropped by as well, showing off “The Hair” that had gotten so much attention this year. DJ Nydia Tungsten cranked up the tunes, and Daaneth set off some fireworks, lighting up the night sky over Southern Colorado.

It was a great end to a great season.

Thank you to everyone who attended the Wrap Up Party, I hope you all had fun. Thank you to Trader and Nuala and T1 Radio, Damian Carbenell, the awards committee, Sting, Mama and Dwen. Also, thank you to Bo Hera for allowing us to use his sim and Samara Barzane for facilitating that! Finally, thank you to my build team Bianca Bender and Elise Capalini for creating such a magical space! *hugs* See you in 2012! Bailey Dazy, Special Events Chair 2011

To hear the audio of the event, one can go to an archived recording Here.

For more pictures, Ishtars Kiss has some on her Flickr page. And for a list of the award winners, check the post on the Relay for Life in Second Life Blog.

Bixyl Shuftan

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Interview with Daaneth McGettigan (Daaneth Kivioq)

Recently, I had the chance to interview Daaneth McGettigan (account name Daaneth Kivioq), the co-captain of the Passionate Redheads Relay for Life team, and the owner of the Southern Colorado sim. We sat down at the meeting area at the sim near Fimi Falls. During this time, Daan’s cat in real life wanted attention. So, he rezzed a virtual one on his lap.

Bixyl Shuftan: About your Second Life name, does it matter whether people use your account name or your displayed name?

Daaneth McGettigan: No - either way, if they search for me, they will find me. I know that display name support is not perfect, but that does work. For example, it says "Kivioq" when I IM someone.

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

Daaneth McGettigan: That’s an interesting story. Seven years ago, a good friend of mine in real-life, known as Krysis here, talked me into trying it out. I was overwhelmed at first. Second Life was nowhere as sophisticated as it is today. I almost quit, but friends here talked me into staying. Some of them are still here, but most have left, among them Krysis. We still meet up in real-life though.

Over the years, there’s been some huge changes in the technology. Of course, it required me to upgrade my computer several times.

About five years ago, I met Sabine through the Relay

Bixyl Shuftan: How did you find out about the Relay?

Daaneth McGettigan: Sabine introduced it to me. We had been dating for several months. I had lost a sister to pancreatic cancer. I didn’t know anything about it at first. She came to me a few days before the Relay weekend. The guy who was going to help her build the campsite disappeared. It was a 24 marathon build, but we got it done. That was my introduction to the Relay.

Bixyl Shuftan: How many were in the Passionate Redheads at the time?

Daaneth McGettigan: There were another five members. There were a few more, but not active. Sabine and I pretty much moved on. We worked at Burning Life that year, and by December we were partnered. For the Relay next year, we made an Ice Palace build. We still have a number of pictures of it."

Bixyl Shuftan: When did the Redheads start to take off in size?

Daaneth McGettigan: In 2008, we started recruiting actively. It was our second best year at fundraising. We managed to raise $10,000. It was the year Fimi joined the team. She was active for a while, until she was too sick to participate. She passed away on May 26th, 2008. She was really, really, loved. We were impressed with her spirit.

Since then, the team has done really well. This year, the team kind of split. I’m kid of happy, we both raised more money. We raised just over $2,800.

Bixyl Shuftan: What’s the name of the other team?

Daaneth McGettigan: Inspired Dream Walkers. One of them thought we were getting too big. I think they just wanted to do their own thing.

In 2008, we were awarded the Golden Level Team Award. In 2009. we were awarded the Spirit of Relay award. I think Sabine deserves most of the credit for that. She’s worked really hard.

I think this year’s build is the finest team effort Lom(gren Smalls) acted in charge, but also Dusk (Griswold), Shockwave (Yareach), and the others.

Bixyl Shuftan: How is it having the smallest avatar in Second Life on your team?

Daaneth McGettigan: He may be the smallest guy in Second Life, but he has a big heart.

Maybe I should bring up the stroke.

Bixyl Shuftan: What happened?

Daaneth McGettigan: Well, it was like out of the blue. It happened in April Fortunately, I got to the hospital. Scary time. I didn’t realize what was happening. Lomgren and Sabine tracked me down. Sabine really helped me. (pause) I don’t really have words to describe it.

The first few days were especially confusing. I had problems forming the words. I still have gaps in my memory. My Mother flew over. She stayed for about two months. I was also fortunate to have a very good team of therapists. I would like to point out one for his work: Dr. Pio Guerro.

While in the hospital, I heard that the Relay threw a “Get Well” party for me. That really moved me, brought me to tears. I wish I could remember all the teams involved. Me being out of commission put a halt to fundraising. I made it back in time for Dusk’s Cinco De Mayo party. It was a wonderful homecoming.

The hardest thing, it was learning to type all over again. I still prefer Voice over it in Second Life. I’m also having to relearn math skills. Relearning calculus is necessary for my line of work.

Bixyl Shuftan: So what have been some of the more inventive ways for fundraising.

Daaneth McGettigan: That would be the “Bid Me Human” events. A couple years ago, I did a “Bid me Furry” event offering to go about in a furry avatar for a little while if 10,000 Lindens were raised. This year, there were three “Bid Me Human” events, the ones in which Nydia and Rita volunteered for were particularly successful, especially Rita’s. I believe over 70,000 Lindens were raised.

Bixyl Shuftan: Rita Mariner being the one who runs the Sunweaver Estates, do you think there was a “needle the landlady” factor?

Daaneth McGettigan: Maybe, but I think it was done all in the name of fun. Rita was a good sport about it.

Also, we did a pinup calendar with various Redheads in swimsuits. Plus we made a cookbook from various recipes contributed by a number of Redheads. About eighty copies of the cookbook were sold. Both are still on sale until August 20th.

Bixyl Shuftan: So what do you do when not Relaying?

Daaneth McGettigan: Sabine and I like to go to clubs and concerts. We also hang out at Sabine’s tropical island. I gave it to her as a rezzday present. It’s modeled after her favorite real-life place, an island off the coast of Florida, Anna Maria Island. We also explore, go building. Sabine also likes to go shopping.

Bixyl Shuftan: Shopping? What was the biggest thing she ever bought?

Daaneth McGettigan: Probably a furniture set. I think I once bought her a kitchen suite. She likes to collect hair. Most of it’s red, but not all of it. Her favorite color is pink.

It’s been an interesting journey. I don’t know what I’d do if she was no longer online.

Bixyl Shuftan: So what are your plans for next year?

Daaneth McGettigan: Right now, I don’t want to think of next year. We’ll take it easy for a little while.

Daaneth then showed me around Southern Colorado. The sim was established in 2007. In 2008, he dedicated it to the Relay. He used it to host events, and still does, dances and meetings held here. Not far away from the meeting area is Fimi Falls, named for Artistic Fimicloud whom was known to really like them. Daaneth pointed out something in one of the pine trees at the falls: a pink ribbon. This was another tribute to Fimi, whom liked to put a pink ribbon somewhere in her paintings.

Near the falls was a treehouse. At the base there three luminaries, one from this year’s Relay, and one from 2010 and 2009 respectively. The treehouse itself was well-furnished with Victorian furniture. It gets a few occasional residents. Not far from the treehouse and meeting area was a garden dedicated to Saint Therese of Lisieux, “Sabine’s favorite saint.” Near that is the Soldiers’ Memorial.

Close by is the cat carousel, or the “catousel” as Daaneth calls it. There’s also a balloon ride, courtesy of Shockwave Yareach. A little down the path is an Elven drum circle and a campfire. Crossing a river, there is the “Chapel of Hope,” which was built for the 2010 Relay camp. Of the streams, Daan commented he was fond of them and the waterfalls.

Daaneth then showed one feature relatively new to the sim, houses for rent. There were five Victorian homes, which were available at prices from 7,000 to 8,000 Lindens a month. Anyone interested in one could contact him or Nydia Tungsten.

Walking away from the housing, there was a lake and some ducks, and some mountain scenery. Daaneth showed off a fountain, with a cat statuette guarding it, ”I built it some years ago. I’m happy to have it here.” He then showed a hidden cove in the side of the mountain. While some places have places for couples to cuddle in secret hideaways, this hidden place had something different: a yoga mat, “I do a few exercises here.”

Going up a path to higher up, there is a building Daaneth named the “Philosophy Shack.” Daaneth forgets just how he came up with that name. Not far from that is a virtual herbal garden. Accessible by one of a few portals around the sim, or by flying over, is Southern Colorado’s Enchanted Forest, another popular spot. Danneth described the place as having a lot of nooks and crannies for couples to snuggle. The Forest is also the scene of occasional parties, such as the recent fundraiser where Cypress Rosewood performed.

After that, Danneth, had one other location to point out, and ported us to the high point of the sim: Mount Sabine. We were on a platform just below the peak where a huge Coloradan flag flew in the breeze. Snow sprinkled down where we were. On a slightly shorter peak, a angel statue looked down at the sim below. And nearby within sight was Club Little Dove.

After that, Daaneth and I parted ways. So is the story of the co-captain of one of the Relay for Life’s most successful teams, and the sim behind him.

Bixyl Shuftan

Monday, August 15, 2011

Interview with Gwen Mayo

Gwen Mayo started writing poetry before she took on the challenge of writing a novel. She won a fellowship for her poetry and went to college on an arts scholarship.

"I studied politics and history. I write historical and the politics and history are intimately entwined in what I write," said Mayo. "I wanted to write about historical Kentucky. In college I helped with a book about women who served in the state legislature. I also started writing short fiction in college."

She and Sarah Glenn wrote one short mystery together about retired nurses from WWI. Women who drove ambulances in France and were getting shot at.

"Sarah's great-great aunt served in WWI as a nurse. She was very independent and intrepid,” she said.

In Mayo's novel, "Circle of Dishonor," Nessa Donnelly, a former Pinkerton agent, poses as a Civil War nurse. Nessa was raised by the Sisters of Mercy, in Chicago. She's a single woman posing as a man and yes that does lead to a number of gender issues she has to work around.

Mayo was interested in focusing on that period of Kentucky's past called the “Decades of Discord, in which, she said, Kentucky was the most violent place in America.

"There were a lot of secret societies, outlaws, and feuds in the mountains. The book takes place during a few weeks in 1879," she said. "It's part of a series. I'm about 40,000 words into the next book, which deals with Klan activity in Central Kentucky. The book that will follow will take place in Eastern Kentucky during the Regulator Uprising in the fall of 1879. The fourth one will be on Indiana and will deal with the gambling going on in a resort area."

The core group of characters are Nessa, Doc Haydon, Tad, and Beulah. Mayo has an agreement for a contract with one publisher. She said The Pill Hill Press people are very supportive.

The book was published in print format and is available in Kindle and Nook.

As far as promotion, many of the things Sarah Glenn did, Gwen did first. The book was featured on Goodreads, reviewed by the Historical Fiction Society, and promoted both on line and in personal appearances.

When she is not writing fiction, Gwen reviews lesbian historical fiction for Bosom Friends at

"Book Island has had open mic sessions and micro fiction on Sundays in Second Life," she said. "We also opened Odd Women's Bookstore there. We started including our books and other women's, like Marian Allen's. We welcome instant messages to discuss them.”

Netera Landar

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Interview with Sarah Glenn

Sometimes I’m able to convince authors to explore the creativity and opportunities of Second Life. Numerous efforts have led me to introduce the virtual world to authors Robert Dugoni, Karen Kay, Donna Fletcher Crow and two women that I met at my AuthorFest in IL, Sarah Glenn and Gwen Mayo.

This article will be devoted to Sarah, first. So we sit at my Italian table on my SL home’s patio on a Wednesday night. The three of us enjoy a quiet moment of no IMs. The first discussion is about Sarah's real life writing experiences.

Sarah began writing in her youth. She focused on stories about horses and drew them. Years later, she graduated to X-men and the horror genre, first writing fan fiction.

"I wanted to be a writer my entire life," she confesses in voice. "In my novel, 'All This and Family, Too,' extraordinary people are in very ordinary circumstances. Cynthia Leach is an astronomer who likes going out and using a telescope in the woods. She's extremely upright and heroic. Penelope was her sire."

At this point you should get the idea that we're discussing a paranormal and Sarah is writing about vampires. She tells me that Penelope has been destroyed and does not appear as an active character.

“She is a vampire, but not exactly a vamp. She has a family she wants to protect. They’re a little dysfunctional,” Sarah admits. “She tends to think of being a vampire as a disability. She can’t teach daytime classes, meet with various research bodies, go to conventions to present papers and she has an odd social life. She dates women because of her need for blood.”

Cynthia does have a mentor and friend. Dylan Duvoth was born into a wealthy family in Great Britain. He wanted to be a movie star, so he set out for California.

“He arrived in Laguna Beach, then a popular setting for the silent films and the new ‘talkies,” said Sarah. “It was there that he became a vampire. Sadly, he discovered that he no longer showed up on film and his career was over. Dylan resides in Laguna Beach now and owns the ‘Undertow’, a gay bar. He also coaches budding actors and singers. He has discovered that he shows up in the new digital filming, though, so hope springs eternal.”

Pill Hill Press in Nebraska published the book in May. Sarah’s currently working on a sequel to the book, possibly a family saga.

In terms of promotion, Sarah had a giveaway with and received a good response. There have been a few good reviews and appearances at various conventions. She and partner Gwen Mayo attended Golden Crown Literary Society Lesbian Fiction Convention in June and she’s going to be at FandomFest in Kentucky in November. In Second Life, she was featured in a mini interview on Book Island’s Newsletter and will be my guest for the Netera Landar chat on Aug. 27 at 11 a.m. SL Time

Netera Landar