Friday, February 20, 2015

Return to the God’s House of Prayer Church

By Grease Coakes

Just looking over one of my articles, I remember visiting a church at House of Prayer (180/127/33) that I had a positive experience with here in Second Life. I thought I’d pop in and it looks a lot different than about a year or so ago. However one thing struck me as strange is that they asked me to change out of my furry avatar.

Kevin Jones35 Resident who happened to be on the church’s senior staff asked me to take off my furry avatar. I was baffled at first thinking that Jesus and churches would be the last thing to ask someome to change their appearance. However I didn’t want to anger a church over something silly. When I came on later shortly before the bible study at the beach at 6pm SLT I found a newbie human avatar and took off my AX3 fox avatar.

When Kevin saw me in a human avatar he IMed me this response, "We are trying to be a rl church in sl so that was one of the rules."

After taking some pictures I asked him, "But here's a fair question, wouldn't Jesus love someone equally whether someone was a furry or a human being? Perhaps you wouldn't find a furry in a real life church, but I would think a furry would be accepted within God's house."

He replied, "Yes and if it where me I would not have that rule, but being on staff I try to make sure I inform others of the rule and give them time to change their avatar."

Fair enough something to keep in mind if you wear paws and a tail if you visit this church. Even if Kevin didn’t agree with the rule, he still has to enforce it. At least have the decency to respect that rule. When I looked around the area I was surprised that I didn’t see just 5 or 6 avatars but I saw about 20 or so sitting in the seats.

Around 6pm SLT the Rev. Britt AKA Babailey spoke at the front in voice chat. He announced there would be a men’s meeting soon after. Talking about the cold, he asked people to pray for the homeless and shut in/s that they would be able to fight against the cold. He was very thankful for the church and staff and he liked saying he liked Jesus all the time in the morning and night and to pray for other churches in Second Life. It sounded to me that he wanted to cover all the bases to pray for everything. Lots of people were typing amen in main chat and praising Jesus.

That night the Reverend read bible verses over voice chat. That night he read chapter 5 from John verses 1 through 18. After reading the bible verses, he announced that it was in week 2 of a series called "straight ahead." Each week he announced he would address one of four principals. Last week he asked everyone to see everything from the eyes of God encouraging everyone to think like God. I commented, "You mean to see everyone and everything with love?" Willma PAPAPEDRO Resident happened to agree with my statement.

The preacher spoke over voice chat about how people made excuses about how their lives are miserable. He was stating when people take responsibility for their actions and come to Jesus, their lives would change dramatically. He also said rather dramatically with a southern drawl that someone in the crowd was surrounding himself with excuses and didn’t know how to get back up. I wasn’t sure who he was talking about but it was entertaining nonetheless.

After the bible study at 7pm SLT, I was given a landmark for a men’s meeting. I said what the hey so I ported upstairs. Johann Breguet led the men’s prayer in a different room. It was more open discussion on various bible verses such as “Thessalonians 5:16-24 King James Version.” In fact Johann asked me to read this out loud, “I will therefore that men pray everywhere, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting.” He talked over voice how you shouldn’t pray or talk to God angry or bitter. To me that made sense. If I had negative thoughts, maybe that’s something I should stop doing. Positive thinking creates positive results.

Johann was saying in voice he’s used to his masculine voice which may sound harsh to women. I had suggested he could pray to Jesus to help with that. I had also said in voice chat that prayer is important,but you should also work towards your goals. You can’t pray all day and expect $10,000 to show up in your lap.

Johann Breguet was nice enough to pray for me so I said sure. I told him I wanted him to pray for me to write more so he wished my writing to be guided by god’s hand. I prayed for him that he was would find the woman that’s right for him that would accept his strong voice.

All in all I had an awesome and inspiring experience at god’s house of prayer church. I recommend going there if you’re feeling down and out. Even though it has an anti furry law if you show up as a human people there might be able to help you with your problems or anything you would like to talk about.

House of Prayer (180/127/33)

Grease Coakes

Editor's Note: Every church the Newser has previously covered didn't have a problem with what avatar you were as long as you could fit through the door. In fact, checking Grease's previous article about the HOP, there was a furry among them as well then.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

DJ Clair Knows How to Make Hearts Sing

By Celene Highwater

  DJ Clair Westbrook knows how to spin romantic tunes to make the heart flutter. Her perfect blend of romance, and upbeat tunes feels seamless, and every song she plays seems to complement the one before it.

  I met DJ Clair Westbrook when I teleported into Oceana, a beautiful ballroom set in a picturesque location by the sea. I was instantly in love with her mix of music and eventually asked if I could interview her for an article. She readily agreed to the interview and soon, after working around her hectic schedule and mine, we sat down for a chat.

  In college, Westbrook studied animation and found SL through her studies. When she joined, it was with an avatar under a different name and she spent the first two years of her Second Life as a builder. Then, she explained in her interview, she was hacked and decided to stop building as often. Now, she only builds when she needs to.

When she reentered Second Life it was with a new avatar that would lead her into a new field: romantic DJ.

“I love music, always have. I was a hostess for six months of Clair’s newby phase. There I noticed what was in... what kind of music was what. I always loved romantic music.”

She continues: “I was partnered to Edwardo (her love) for three years and we always would go dancing to romantic venues. So it was only logical I chose this type of music. I love it; I know it, don't get tired of it. You choose what you love to do when you do it every day multiple times. You won't get burned on it.”

When I asked her how she finds the music she plays she said: “I skim through the pop and select romantic music from it. I also check Billboard to see new music. Remakes of old (songs) are very popular too. I also visit a lot of sets to get an idea of the public's likes.”

 “This is more alternative... I play it sometimes but mostly I do the romance venues,” she says, showing me different songs and genres. “This is modern romantic.”

The type of music she plays depends on the venue, she says.

 “I also have jazzy romantic, which I do for Phat Cat's Elite. It’s evening music and is well liked.”

Due to a move in real-life, she only has time to DJ at Wheelies. But she plans to resume her schedule in April.

Celene Highwater

Monday, February 9, 2015

Interview with DJ Keao, Creations Park's "Blind DJ"

By Bixyl Shuftan

Recently at Creations Park, a Keao Resident began DJing for events. This might not seem to be unusual, except for one thing. keao was announced by Creations as a "Blind DJ."  Second Life Newser recently had a chance to interview her.

Bixyl Shuftan: "First of all congratulations on your DJing debut."

Keao: "Thank you!"

Bixyl Shuftan: "To begin with, well, blindness sounds like a pretty hard obstacle to overcome. How were you able to perform?"

Keao: "Well, most people have a lot of stereo types about us, saying that we can't do anything at all. We can, with a lot of confidence, the willing to do something to prove them wrong, and the technical know-how. It takes guts and the skill to learn, and mostly on my part determination, and others as well."

Bixyl Shuftan: "How did you first hear about Second Life?"

Keao: I heard about it through one of my other friends who is totally blind, sadly, he doesn't come on, because he wants Second Life to be more operating system spread out. He wants things to work with google, plus windows, but he wants a client that is blindness accessible. I've been here for 4 months, and the possibilitys are endless."

Bixyl Shuftan: "What kind of client have you been using to get on?"

Keao: "I'm using a client called Radegast, we need more developers for it for sure, it's a text based client. It's lightweight. Do you know Celene Highwater? She is a Radegast mentor. I amaze her every time when I find cool places. She saw that I was determined to learn how to use Radegast, and how Second Life works. She always saw a lot of people who are gammers.
Not much of the blindness comunity knows about SL."

"This is my place, by the way, that Barbie created for me to have a home in Creations."

Bixyl Shuftan: "Looks nice. (smile)"

Keao: "You bet, and if you need pictures, we can go up to the dance club."

Bixyl Shuftan: "If you like."

Keao: "Ok, I'll teleport you."

We then headed to the dance area in question, at (120/138/4056). There happened to be two couples there, dancing to the music stream. Keao headed to the DJ booth.

Keao: "I've been doing live broadcasting on internet radio for almost five years now on different stations in real life."

Bixyl Shuftan: "That's interesting. How did you get your start there?"

Keao: "It started in 2004, when I heard one of my good friends who has his own production company broadcast a show called northern lights, I couldn't believe that other djs who are blind got the technology to do it from there own homes. At the time I was about 14, and in high school, my dream was that I wanted to be on radio somehow. Here in Hawaii, you can't do it in a studio nowadays without going to a school. What I did was I tuned in to an internet station called ACB Radio Interactive, and instantly I was amazed, a lot of these djs are vollenteered to do it for free. It opened a lot of doors for me. My fiancee in real life is a ham radio operator, I know a lot of blind friends who do ham radio work who are blind and visually impaired."

Bixyl Shuftan: "What are some of the stations you've performed on?"

Keao: "Some of them are mostly ran by blind people, some of them are Team FM from the UK, Top Tunes FM which is from the same state, Mint FM for a while, Mojo Radio which was my first station, Radio Free Dishnuts, The Global Voice, Radio For All, and Tree House Radio, ruted in great music. The ones that are no more are Top Tunes FM and Team FM. The one that are still going is the Global Voice You can check out our site at and treehouse radio, it's . The Global Voice is run by a lot of blind people, and we have some sighted people. Not a big number, but what they do is they help us on either youtube or facebook or twitter stuff."

Bixyl Shuftan: "Did it take long to find a place in Second Life to DJ?"

Keao: "I had a few in mind, most people wanted me to get familiar with it, I would say not too long, I was talking to Barbie (Alchemi) and she had an idea that I could DJ. She didn't know at first until I mentioned it

Bixyl Shuftan: "Where did you find out about Barbie and Creations Park?"

Keao: "I found about about her and Creations Park one day by attending a poem reading event that they have weekly here up in the tree house. We started talking about her mom, she was blind when she was a little younger. Creations Park has given me the opportunity to be creative and to be free, I am somewhat of a shy person. This place changed my life in a lot of ways."

Bixyl Shuftan: "Nice, in what ways may I ask?"

Keao: "Let's see. ... It has made me a much observant person, I can sense people by the way that they act, and how they are around each other in real life, even by their personalities. I can tell that a lot of people who I know in real life I don't want to get along with at all or who are trust worthy."

"My goal in real life is to become a massage therapist. The hard part is finding the right school, and to always do a great interview."

Bixyl Shuftan: "A massage therapist? What inspired this goal?"

Keao: "I can see peoples hearts."

Bixyl Shuftan: "Besides Creations, do you DJ anywhere else?"

Keao: "Nope, only here. I see Parkinsons as a disibility in a way, when Fran moves around as her avatar, she knows that she can do things. I can see myself in the same way."

Bixyl Shuftan: "Besides DJing, what else do you do in Second Life right now? I think you mentioned going to places."

Keao: "I am also the music manager here for Creations.  I help find good singers and performers. I have a few in mind who are big names up in Second Life."

Bixyl Shuftan: "Oh? Whom may I ask?"

Keao: "Voodoo Shilton, Stephanniyah Sinatra, Liz Aday, Parker Static, Long Paush, The Balladeer, and Savannah Coronet. And also Caasi Answer. Oh, and one more, Sara Marie."

Bixyl Shuftan: "Besides this, did you have any future plans in Second Life?"

Keao: "Through voodoo's group, I've met a lot of great people who accept my disability. I've met a lot of friendly people who are willing to help me out."

Bixyl Shuftan: "Was there anything else that you wanted to mention?"

Keao: "Oh, I forgot to tell you that when I got started in Second Life, I started out in a place called Virtual Ability Island. They have a lot of people with different disabilities."

Bixyl Shuftan: "How did that go?"

Keao: "It went really well. Most of them helped me out with a lot of the clothing and outfits, and the visual stuff (laughter). And wardrobe malfunctions. So Barbie helped me link outfits together, so it will be easier visually, and I know what I'm wearing (laughter)."

Bixyl Shuftan: " 'Wardrobe malfunctions?' Heh, have those been a problem?"

Keao: "Oh yes! You should have seen me when I was at the Oceana ballroom when I first started out. I had no idea I was naked! (laughter) Until someone helped me get a gown."

Bixyl Shuftan chuckles, "Have you tried other types of avatars, such as furry or dragon?"

Keao: "For the longest time I was at the Ballroom, (I) didn't know what other sims were out there until I found Creations Park, and also a popular club I go to at nights called Rise after Dark."

"I have a tiny avatar that is a dog. I would love to get a dragon one of a fairy."

Bixyl Shuftan: "I guess that's about everything. Thank you for your time, and good luck (smile)."

Keao: "Thank you!"

You can catch Keao perform at Creations Park. Drop by to get a schedule of her performances.

Bixyl Shuftan

Addition: Keao contacted me after the interview.  She told me she wasn't just legally blind as I first assumed, but, "I am totally blind, I forgot to tell you. I can't see anything at all." To get about Second Life, she uses, "an open source screen reader called nvda. It's non visual access desktop. It reads in speech, and converts everything in to text." When asked if typos are a big problem for it, she told me it's not, "it doesn't care if you use wrong spelling."

She went on more about her real-life plans, "I wanted to become a massage therapist because I've been using esental oils, and I would love to learn more of the techniques. Also, the practice is good in Hawaii, a lot or some blind people want to do that hobby. It's the number one career because it deals with hands and I would love to learn more of the techniques."

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Becoming a DJ in Second Life

By Grease Coakes

One of the many things you can do in Second Life is share your music with club goers and your friends as a DJ. If you’re reading this article you might wonder how you become a DJ and what kind of program do you need? Well one of the most obvious things you need is music!

Years ago I went to Anthroxtacy or AX for short when I saw a notice for someone named Aurora Avila. The notice said lots of video game noises. Video game songs? Being an avid video game player I was intrigued what video game noises might sound like in a DJ set. So back when Anthroxtacy was alive and well I went to see Aurora Avila and I loved the atmosphere and the song selection where one song was based upon the original Mega Man from the Nintendo or NES for short. The next song might be based on Sonic the hedgehog or perhaps Life Force.

Hearing Aurora DJ sometimes I wondered could I DJ? I did want to play the songs Aurora was playing, however in real life I also had CD/s from real life DJ/s and being in Washington DC I had easy access to rave clubs and saw DJ/s mix live. I saw local DJs like Scott Henry Deep Dish and Aprhodite from the UK several times. Charles Feelgood from Baltimore, MD gave me a high five when I told him he played a great set which included a remix of Pink Floyd’s the Wall. “Teachers leave us kids alone!” Ignoring the mainstream radio stations I instead listened to CD/s or cassette tapes I bought from Buzz the club or from music stores in the area. Before I even knew video game remixes existed I was always influced and loved hearing rave music which is known today as EDM or electronic rave music.

A few years ago I had the courage to at least try djing so someone told me you should go get a DJ program called Virtual DJ. I looked around the internet and found a copy. When I played around with it some getting used to the controls I decided to apply to a club. One club turned me down due to lack of experience. Another club called Heart of Gold gave me a try.

Compiling lots of music together and lots of practice and listening to mixed CD/s made by professional DJ/s I had a general idea how to mesh songs together. Today I have developed an excellent ear of when to mix songs together swiftly or to take my time and let the two songs blend together for as long as possible.

Recently I was hired by DJ Micah and his Club Culture after applying and being interviewed by one of their managers. The manager was impressed with the experience I had and welcomed me to the team. There’s other genres of music to be djed as well in various clubs in SL. 80’s music Rock music, country or maybe hip hop.

If you think it’s difficult to DJ you’d be surprised. If you plan your DJ set accordly or at least what songs you want to play you’d be set for your dj set. But it’s a good idea to practice before hand before you try tackling playing for a crowd. If you pay attention to the songs and know the right timing to start blending songs in and out you’ll do fine.

Whether your last name is Resident or you got to pick and choose your last name from years past and you have always wondered what’s it like to DJ, why not look around for a djing program like Virtual DJ like I have. If you have the time and energy give a try there’s always clubs looking for DJ/s across Second Life. Chances are you’ll find a club that’s right for you.

Grease Coakes