Thursday, November 29, 2012

Ask DrFran: Advice From Someone Who Rarely Follows It

By DrFran Babcock

With this post I will begin a new column/service in the venerable SL Newser: Ask DrFran. In over seven years in Second Life I have come to realize that there are certain themes to the difficulties and joys of this virtual world.

I am here to help. We all know the issues that show up again and again in Second Life: Fidelity, Gender, Love, Drama, etc.

Our first candidate has been through something maybe you yourself may have experienced:

Dear DrFran:

 I rezzed in May of 2008, and had no idea where to go or what to do. I went to the Morris Info.avihub on my first day in Second Life where I met the guy I will call Wolfbain. He was a lifesaver, showing me how to move around, build, buy clothes, find freebies, and chat with other residents. I was so grateful to him, that I agreed to visit his house on what I now know is the Mainland. He had a lovely bachelor pad, with plenty of intimate seating, and a place to chat by a roaring fireplace. I was hooked. Wolfbain and I spent every day of the next few years together, chatting in text and voice, sharing details about our First Lives, and becoming closer than any two people I have even known. We partnered several months into our relationship.

The change in our relationship started slowly. I would log in to find that he was not in what had become our home. I could map him, and realized he was hanging out in some clubs, on the newly created continent of Zindra—the adult continent. One day I logged in to find that I no longer had mapping privileges, and when I IMed Wolfbain, he would not return home for several minutes, if at all.

Of course I confronted him, and he denied that anything had happened. What happened after that has perplexed and hurt me to this day. Wolfbain completely stopped logging in as Wolfbain. I knew the names of several of his alts, and could see that one of them was online often. I was becoming so enraged with this, that I went as an alt to one of the places to which I had mapped Wolfbain when I still had mapping rights on him. I found him with a “slave” in a bondage room, and while I wanted to scream at him, I just teleported back to my now empty home.

It’s been months, and Wolfbain no longer answers my emails, IMs, even phone calls (Yes, we had exchanged phone numbers, and spoke on the phone when SL was not available.) I am in emotional agony. We were so close, so intimate, so loving. How could this have happened? Am I a fool or what? Please help. 

Lonely on the Mainland.

Dear Lonely,

I am very sorry you had to have such a sad ending to your story, and, no, you are not a fool. I am sure that there are dozens of residents who can tell the same or similar story.

No matter how close we get to another avatar here in Second Life there is no way to ensure that they will be faithful or honest or act with integrity. It’s just too easy to rez another avatar, and be another “self.” There is no doubt that anyone reading this will think that Wolfbain acted honorably. However, that does nothing for your pain and sorrow.

Some tips to help you recover and move on, because that’s really what you need to do, are offered here. Some of these come from my own First and Second Life learning experiences:

1) When you make the break, it’s best to really make it. Do not think you can be friends (at least not initially), still talk, and that your partner will come back. I know it’s sad, but it is so much better to get through the loss, rather than prolong it and hope things will change. It’s very, very seldom that this happens. Your Wolfbain has made it clear he does not want to be with you any more. Ouch, it’s painful, but believing a lie is more excruciating—believe me.

2) Do not stalk your ex. They will think you are mad, you will feel mad, and you may even become mad in the process. In fact, I have found that the less I know, the faster the pain goes away.

3) Although it may not be something you believe, in time the pain will pass. I remember waking up and crying and crying and crying, and one day I woke up and I didn’t cry.

4) DO NOT get involved in another relationship right away. I hope it’s not too late for this tip. Running from one person to the next will never allow you to mourn the loss, learn from your triumphs and mistakes, and grow and become better at doing relationships.

Lonely, I hope you can make use of these tips, and that you will let me know how you make out. There is no greater pain than that we inflict on each other, but there is also no greater joy.

If you have an issue or a question, just send me a notecard. Let me know if you want me to use your avatar name or an anonymous name, and I will do my best to respond. You may not always be pleased with my response, but know that it will be genuine and that I will validate your experience.

DrFran Babcock

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Culture and Fun

By Gemma Cleanslate

Linden Lab lost me for a week.  Now I am back!! 

Sunday I attended the opening of the very first "Culture and Fun" exhibit of a wonderful artist, Pan Yuliang. "Culture and Fun" is a group that sends out very interesting notices everyday with quotes and historical perspectives. ”We occupy with cultural things in widest sense. This includes  every kind of music, the belles-letters, poems, philosophy, history, painting, architecture and all other more or minor aesthetic and fine arts” is the group vision. Now they are starting a new venture of exhibits by artists that not only display their art but give you a wonderful background on the artist. 

Pan Yuliang is recognized world wide as China’s first modern artist. She had an extraordinary life and career which paralleled that of Modern China. She was born under the Empire, sold into prostitution, bought by a revolutionary, was the first woman to attend art school, the first to study with men, the first to study overseas, the first to exhibit solo and the first to combine Western and Chinese artistic techniques. And she produced exquisite art. 

Her entire history is available in several languages at the exhibit.  I recommend that you visit the exhibit which will end . The group founder, Lizzy Pleides, told me that the exhibit was put together by Tessa Zalivstok and Jaelle Faerye. There will be more exciting exhibits to see . This one will be there until November 25 or perhaps longer.

 For more on Pan Yuliang, check out this Wikipedia article.

Gemma Cleanslate

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Virtual Ability Hosts "Health Literacy" Discussion

On Sunday November 4, Gentle Heron at Virtual Ability Island hosted a discussion on "Health Literacy." "I see some in the audience are health care educators," she told everyone after greeting them, "I suspect others of us will find useful information here for our own areas of work."

Zsuzsa Tomsen and ALiesel were the presenters of the discussion. Susan Toth-Cohen in real life, Zsuzsa "is the Director of the Occupational Therapy Doctoral Program and Professor at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia, PA," Gentle told everyone, "She has extensive experience teaching and presenting in SL. She is an occupational therapist specializing in gerontology and consumer health. ALiesel is an occupational therapy graduate student at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia, She works with Zsuzsa in the Garden of Healthy Aging here in Second Life, and is very interested in health literacy."

The discussion was in text, with the audience asked to introduce themselves first. Among them was a "doctoral student," "a pediatrician, the department head of University of the Incarnate Word in San Antonio, Texas, and a vocational rehabilitation worker.

Zsuzsa and ALiesel had attended a health conference in Kobe Japan, "The conference … made us think about links between introprofessional teams and health literacy." He noted the conference had three main details" global perspectives, development of "interprofessional" education, and examination of results. Of health literacy, Zsuzsa described the definition by the Harvard School of Public Health, "the balance between literacy and verbal skills of a person compared to demands of the health materials, communication skills of health professionals and the health care system."

"Interprofessional education which I'll refer to as IPE," Zsuzsa went on, "is defined by the World Health Organization as being any time students from 2 or more professions learn about, with, and from each other with the goals of effective communication and improving health outcomes."

A screen behind them showed several illustrations as Zsuzsa talked, showing a few links. She talked about how, "IPE also makes health care safer by decreasing medical errors" and health mentors. She described the  University of British Columbia as a leader in IPE, "they've developed a fantastic interprofessional education series." ALiesel mentioned one project the Thomas Jefferson University started, "Since 2005, Jefferson has sent several IP teams of students to Rwanda. They have worked with Rwandan health care teams to train health professionals" in addition to working with them "to provide training in nutrition, hygiene, HIV/AIDS prevention, as well as providing education for the public through health fairs and other events."

There was some talk with the audience, one stating, " 'Nearly half of all American adults – 90 million people – have difficulty understanding and using health information, and there is a higher rate of hospitalization and use of emergency services among patients with limited health literacy,' the Institute of Medicine 2004." Near the end, Rachel Gloedu brought up, "We are inviting volunteers from the SL community to observe and evaluate medical and nursing students undergoing teamwork training in communication skills this month."

At the close, Gentle Heron, gave all her thanks, "Thank you all for coming today. And special thanks to Zsuzsa and ALiesel for sharing a few of the things they learned on their trip to Japan." "We enjoyed it so much!" Zsuzsa responded, "Great audience!"

Two links given during the discussion were:

The Second Life Enquirer recently wrote on Virtual Ability Island: article here.

Bixyl Shuftan

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Halloween Fun All Over Second Life

by Grease Coakes

I got an invite last night on Halloween eve to a great Halloween party at club Zero Gravity organized by Jasmine who is Bixyl Shuftan’s girlfriend.  I was surrounded by spooky party goers in great costumes. It was packed. Bixyl told me Jasmine put a lot of work into the Halloween party designing the set and DJing the music. She did a great job. She played Halloween music old and new, and an extended mix of Michael Jackson’s "Thriller." The speakers were made of pumpkins.

She set up a best in Halloween contest for 1000L or so for everyone, and then by surprise Nydia Tungsten the owner of Club Zero Gravity showed up and added 2,000L to the prize money making it a total of 3,000. I won a Halloween contest earlier that day as Guy Fawkes the revolutionary man in a mask from British culture. So I played fair and did not enter the contest wanting someone else to win. The prize winners were Kitacelia and Amaya. 

Looking through notices I saw ZZ studios was having a trick or treat event on Halloween day itself. That sounded like a definite treat. The notice explained that we could go to ZZ studios staff like Cindy Babii or Rhin Forti and say “Trick or treat!” The prize for saying that was a random ZZ studios trading card with various furries in adult themed clothing. The cards were from the Halloween season, so it was a nice treat. I myself am in one of these cards dressed in primitive clothing in loin cloths and spears paired up with Justin Foxchase. 
Finding Cindy Babii she looked like a zombie killer but she corrected me and told me she was dressed from the movie "Mad Max." I said “Trick or Treat!” and she rezzed an orb, which I clicked to get a random ZZ Studios card. When I wasn’t looking, Cindy tried to be sneaky and steal my car that I bought from a charity car show. (When I reported on the Hot Bay City car show earlier in the year) Luckily only I can drive the car, so Cindy was foiled in her car theft.
I found Rhin Forti in their movie theater. Just like Shockwave’s movie night ZZ studios has a place to play movies. Rhin herself was dressed up like a piranha plant from the Super Mario brothers game that pokes up from pipes to bite those pesky Mario brothers. She also gave me another card through the random orb. For kicks I drove past the zombie house and saw a Halloween party going on so I stopped by and chatted a little bit through voice and text. Throughout the day ZZ Studios was playing Orson Welles’s "War of the Worlds," "Zombie Land," and "Ghostbusters" 1 and 2 in that order in their movie theater.
Later in the Halloween day I got a teleport invite from Gemma to a Halloween party at the “Corner of Revolving Time.” DJ Qwark Allen was playing some cosmic and spooky psytrance. Gemma and Qwark were reapers with pumpkin heads, and I saw an avatar with a large skull head. Made me think of the show animanics and the character “Mr. Skullhead.” A friend of mine ShinyWhiteDragon was at Qwark’s party wishing me well for Samhain, another word for Halloween as the pagan holiday when the veil between the spiritual world and the physical is at its thinnest.
All in all I had fun partying with furries and humans for the fun holiday of Halloween. I didn’t get any chocolate or candy but I still had a lot of fun in SL’s various nooks and crannies.
Grease Coakes