Friday, July 19, 2013

Relay For Life: After the Walk

By Bixyl Shuftan

Following the Relay For Life Weekend, in which the Relayers walk the track, the sims remain open for some days afterward. This is to allow those who missed the walk to see the exhibits, but it also allows those whom had lag troubles to see the camps and builds without trouble. And yours truly was among those taking some time to sightsee.

Most people walked. But I saw a few people in vehicles, even Sageway two-wheelers. Once I saw some pedal-powered contraption manned by several residents from Loligagger Lane. Getting on it however, I was knocked off as soon as it hit a sim crossing.

Much of the time, inspired by the "Stinky the Skunk" cheers and jokes, I went down the track in my skunk avatar. This included one time at a water build in which the stinker got a dolphin ride.

I wasn't the only one, though. Stopping by the "Bog of Eternal Stench," there was the Relayer whom was playing the part of "Stinky." Who was it? Well, I never heard him admit it, so keeping Stinky's secret identity a secret, for now.

And while going down the track, people would sometimes meet up to talk, or have impromptu parties. Listening to the Relay chatter on Monday July 15, Fuzzball had a challenge to live up to. Since a fundraising goal had been met, he had to go bald, purple, and dress in modern wear. And so he appeared that way on the track, looking like something from "Blue Man Group," but purplish. "Lavender was too girly," his partner Genie spoke amusingly.

As a few more dropped in, a dance animator called "PSY Gentleman" was passed around. And then we were soon having our own little dance party. This included one dancer in an "ent," or tree spirit avatar. She had some "tree"mendous moves.

One of the Relay traditions is the "flood party." It began one year when the water level in one sim was raised before the camps were cleared, and everyone had such a great time, people kept on doing it. This year, it took place Wednesday July 17. There was no need for life preservers this time, though. There was only a foot of water covering the path and much of the ground at RFL Spirit where the flood took place.

At RFL Reflections, a yacht had been parked at the docks, with a skunk figurehead. Aboard were dancing a number of Relayers, with Aryon Dagger acting as DJ behind a booth and spinning tunes. She was soon followed by DJ Madonna as clouds formed overhead, and rained on the people and land down below. Later on, Stingray would show up in pirate regalia and a couple ships with Gorean flags appeared. People laughed rather than shivered, though, and a few were donning pirate outfits of their own. This might have been the last of the big parties, and people were taking advantage of the chance to have fun.

By Thursday July 18, there were a few empty camp areas as their builders had for whatever reason to pack up early. But most of the exhibits were still up, and people explored. In RFL Give, there was one gathering of human and furred avatars, some of both in Steampunk outfits. We enjoyed the music, dancing a little, and swapped a few jokes.

As usual, people were joking around in the Relay Volunteer Group chat, but there were also expressions of sadness. The empty spaces were the sign that the sims would soon be gone, "I'm going to miss the Relay." One woman commented there would be an emptiness in her heart filled only by the planning for next year.

Friday is probably the last chance to see the sims with some number of exhibits. You may also get a chance to see a "demolition party," as the build goes out as part of an event. In two or three days, the sims will fade back into the virtual nether, and The Walk will be over for another year.

Bixyl Shuftan

Monday, July 15, 2013

Jackson Arthur’s Book Biz

By Grease Coakes

One of the major events at book Island is "Jackson Arthur’s Book Biz" previously known as his office hours. He told me the main focus of his book biz is how to better promote and market your literary works and expand your readership. Jackson is fairly lenient as there are not really any rules so long as you show respect to others. In general humans and furries share ideas about books.

As I or anyone walks or flies to his office on book Island Jackson always greets avatars cheerfully through voice. There’s lots of talk outside the topic of promoting your books and writing in general as regulars like DangerDave Writer and Merit Coba come and hang out. Jackson says the only requirement is wanting to chat or read to come to Book Biz.

Silver Moon Unicorn (silvermoonunicorn) had this to say in the zany conversation in text, "Merit and Grease, are you two getting married sometime?" There was an ongoing joke that Merit asked me to marry her and I said sure.

I mentioned that me selling my children’s book in the medium of Second Life is creating some buzz as people come back with positive reviews that I post on Facebook, as a friend, Eyll Tripsa, gave me a good review on my children’s book.  I mentioned that a stranger bought my book by tipping me when I djed. He declined my book, so he said to give it to Ophelia Magic instead, who is a popular playmate at Anthroxtacy. In her own words, she said it was adorable. That was certainlty a positive thing as I didn’t know Ophelia that well as she gave me a positive review.

Another subject that Jackson Arthur brought up was book covers and art in general. One of the challenges of an author is finding an artist for his or her book.  I mentioned a couple artists that did excellent jobs for me. A separate artist did the cover for my children’s book and her friendly drawing style seemed to fit my book. However her style wouldn’t work for all other genres. I suggested an artist named Dishes to Jackson Arthur who drew for me. Like the saying goes not to judge books by its cover but people do it anyway.

Tricia Joy aka redpatski came to the Book Biz and suggested her friend Ricker as an artist. She showed a wonderful black and white artwork of a family of deer.

I asked Jackson a question of what’s harder to write or to promote and sell your story? He said writers have an easy time writing their books and stories, but it’s much harder to promote your story when it’s written. But the other side of the coin is you have to write something to share too you can’t just spend all your time promoting what you don’t have.

Out of the blue Danger Dave gave me 2,000L to promote myself to give out ten copies of my book on the house to people. That was a big surprise. All he asked in return was go to @HaikuHare on twitter and share their thoughts. He said facebook was ok under his real life name  Rick Carlson too I was sure to thank DangerDave for the 2k Linden. I’ll think of a way to promote my book later on.

All in all Bookbiz by Jackson Arthur is a great event to share ideas about marketing and or writing in general. His Book biz at his office starts at 10am SLT every Saturday at Everyone is welcome to chat about writing and have a good time

Grease Coakes

Friday, July 12, 2013

Ub Yifu – RFL Designer Builder

By DrFran Babcock

My first awareness of Ub Yifu came during the 2009 Burning Life. We were still calling it Burning Life, and not Burn back then, and I still recall the sense of wonder I experienced upon encountering Ub’s Gulliver installation. “How did he do that?” was the question everyone asked upon seeing his larger than life Gulliver, tied to the playa.

I was thrilled and surprised to find that Ub Yifu was doing a designer build right next to my team’s camp. For those who don’t know: Every year for Relay for Life most teams build a campsite, but some residents are invited to do a build on the annual theme (this year: 100 Years of Hope), and these are called Designer Sims.  As soon as I realized that Ub was our neighbor, I ran over and asked him for an interview. He could not have been more pleasant.

By the way, if you run into Ub Yifu, you will never forget him. Bryn Oh, well-known Second Life™ artist, described his avatar as her favorite. He is a recreation of the famous Picasso Don Quixote and Sancho Panza drawing, complete with both characters! He is a original and creative fellow, and I was happy he agreed to talk with us:

SL Newser: How did you find out about Second Life™? What has kept you here? 

Ub Yifu: I first heard about Second Life™ in 2007 on French TV. They were saying that anybody could build anything in 3-D there, so I wanted to try[smiles]. And… guess what? It was true! So, I got addicted to building things and haven’t stopped for six years now—starting from the basic prim to mesh now.

 SL Newser: How did you come to make statues in Second Life? 

Ub Yifu: I came here to create things, but since I was painting as a hobby in Real Life I started earning a few Lindens importing my Real Life painting into SL. Then, I decided to make the 2-D paintings in 3-D, and I started reproducing famous painting from Matiss , Picasso, Magritte, and DEGAS in 3-D. That lead me to reproduce real life sculptures 

SL Newser: Tell me about your workflow. How do you go from an idea to a three dimensional Second Life™ object ? What tools do you use? 

Ub Yifu: I usually start from pictures and use several 3-D software programs to do the shapes I want. Now meshes are changing the game, and open many windows to 3-D creation.

SL Newser: How did you arrive at your concept for the build you have made for Relay for Life? 

Ub Yifu: Well, I had some help! Ipunin Pera is very aware about the cancer fight with her own charity and she gave me a lot of good advice. The theme is 100 years of the fight against cancer, and I  in the present time sims,  so I tried to symbolize the research from all over the world with a giant microscope studying earth looking like an atom. Around this, the researchers are working hard and helping people. On the ground the people from all over the world gather to do the fight! (Note: You have to come and stand with Ub Yifu’s statues, and experience the feeling of being part of the fight against cancer.)

SL Newser: What would you like the rest of the world to know about Second Life™? 

Ub Yifu: It’s really a place where you can make your dreams come true, especially for people who like to be creative. 

SL Newser:  What other plans do you have for the future?  

Ub Yifu: I’m working on new mesh statues all the time now, and the new thing on my sim is the exhibition of a new Flickr artist doing Second Life™ pictures every month. I found a great community of creative people there and I’m glad to share some space with them. During July 2013 come see Bamboo Barne’s pictures.

I could not agree with Ub any more. I went to the sim where he has his gallery, and ended up exploring and playing in his Gallery for over an hour.

Ub Yifu’s Relay for Life build is a colorful series of paths that lead to a giant research microscope. There are also rides to play on, and multitudes of settings for taking of pictures. As the sign in the playground  there reads: Imagine a world without cancer.

Where to find Ub Yifu’s work:

Ub Yifu’s Designer build at Relay For Life (opening July 13, 2013):


Ub Yifu also does custom work, and can recreate your avatar as a three dimensional sculpture.

Gulliver statue at Burning Life 2009:

DrFran Babcock

Monday, July 1, 2013

SL10B Wrap-Up with KT Syakumi

By DrFran Babcock

I finally caught up with KT on the second to last day of SL10B, because she was so busy up until then. She was a blur the few times I saw her. Sure, I was able to corral Doc Gascoigne in the corn field, but KT was not only senior lead along with Doc, but oversaw a two sim stage build of The Reactor.  I was happy when she had the time to respond to my questions:

SLNewser: Well, now that SL10B is winding down, you have had a little time to reflect on the experience and this history-making event. What are your reflections? 

 KT Syakumi : Wow, reflections. Um, I’m reflecting on how nice it will be to start getting to bed at a reasonable hour. You’re in trouble when you start thinking of 2:00 am as an early night. I’m just glad that the general community enjoyed it. We started planning this in January, so it’s been a long road, but hearing the chatter in the group talking about their experiences at SL10B and over the last 10 years makes it worth it. It just feels like the whole SL community wanted to celebrate 10 years of SL.

SL Newser: What would you say was your greatest joy during SL10B? 

KT Syakumi: There were many. I worked by milestones. I have this huge spreadsheet programme thing with tasks and objectives to be completed and dates, etc. The first ‘joy’ milestone was when the sims were finally opened to the exhibitors to start building. These completely empty sims were suddenly transformed overnight. When I logged off the previous evening, the sims were bare and quiet. When I logged on in the morning, probably half the exhibitors had claimed their plots and started building. It was a ‘wow’ moment and was the point where I really knew that the event was going to work.

SL Newser: What was your greatest challenge during the event? 

KT Syakumi: Time-wise, the week after the applications closed was a killer.  There was only one week in between applications closing and the sims opening. I had 518 exhibit applications to process and to send out emails. Just the sheer number to get through meant no sleep for a week. The biggest overall challenge would have been managing and co-ordination of all the volunteers and exhibitors. Well over 1000 people were involved.  

SL Newser: Your amazing build, The Nuclear Reactor Stage, was the talk of SL10B. We would love to have a little peek into the creative process that went into it’s design and construction.  

KT Syakumi: Haha, yes I've heard some of the talk. To me, the SLB is not just about celebrating a birthday. Some people queried how a giant silo on a wasteland fit the birthday theme, and if you’re just having a birthday party, then it probably didn't. To me, the SLB is all about celebrating SL and the diversity in it. It’s about showcasing the best of SL and what it can do. And, it’s about celebrating the community of SL (it is the SL10B Community Celebration after all), and the variety inside SL. I realized before I started that it might not be everybody’s cup of tea, but it was important to me that all tastes and styles are represented. The Live stage and the Cake were designed to be the 'Looking Back' part - they were made using only prims and sculpts. And I think we all agree that they in no way suffered from that - they were both amazing. The DJ stage and the Lake stage were the 'looking forward'. They were requested to be full mesh builds, to showcase what can be done now with new building methods. I had the idea of a very game-like build, and you can see the influence of a few different videos games in it. It didn't end up anything like what was in my head at the start, and I completely ran out of time (thanks to Harlequin Rhode who helped me make textures when I sent her panicky IMs), but I think I got the overall feel fairly right.  

SL Newser: I think the lighting and the overall look of The Reactor was stunning. Anything else you want to share about SL10B? 

KT Syakumi : [Laughs] There’s not enough space! I’d like to thank all the staff I worked with—your dedication and ability to put up with me is astounding. I’d like to say a special thanks to the stage builders: Donpatchy on the Cake, Kazuhiro Aridian on the Lake, Toady and Flea on Live, who stepped in late and proceeded to just go beyond my wildest expectations, Aki Shichiroji who made the auditorium, and my unsung hero, Pygar Bu, who ran around making all the random stuff I thought of, as well as being responsible for the welcome area. It looked sparse, but he recreated it to look identical to the original 2003 welcome area completely from a few old photos - no easy feat. These people are the reason I wasn't reduced to a blubbering mess. Their ability and especially attitude made this event for me.

SL Newser: Pie or cheese?

KT Syakumi: Pie. I’m allergic to cheese. You wouldn't want to know me.

SL Newser: What would you like people out there to know about Second Life™? 

KT Syakumi:  Most new technologies seem to go through a few phases. They start off new and slow and build slowly till they hit a bubble and explode in growth. For Second Life™ I think that was 2006. Then, they become hyped and hyped and then over hyped, and suddenly people find that their experience doesn’t match the hype, and it starts fading. I think that is what happened to SL. The cool thing is that people then begin to discover exactly what is possible with the technology and they begin to understand it fully. I think SL is slowly headed into that as it evolves and grows. I’m hoping people will begin to see what SL is really capable of rather than what they’re told it is.

SL Newser: What’s next for you in Second Life™? What can the residents expect from you? 

KT Syakumi: I guess I'm fading back into obscurity again. I need to spend time on my business that I've neglected for the last 2 months - I also learnt a lot about mesh building from making the reactor and I want to put that into practice.

Fading into obscurity? I find that so hard to believe. Watch these pages, because I am sure one of us will be writing about KT soon enough.

DrFran Babcock