Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Interview With Marianne McCann

By Deaflegacy

Marianne McCann would say that Bay City is a themed Mainland city, created by Linden Lab back in 2008. Since then, it's Residents, with some help from the Lab and their moles, have helped see the city grow into a virtual community.  That was exactly what Marianne said about Bay City.

"Oh yes," Marianne told me, "Well, the way Bay City was described by Linden Lab before it opened was 'the American urban experience, between 1940 and 1965, perhaps best typified by Chicago circa 1950 and marked by a distinct deco influence."'

There is more city feel to Bay City, from skyscrapers to other city environments. Bay City consists of 24 Residential regions, with an additional 24+ owned by Linden Lab. Each of the Residential regions has a bit more than half the land owned by Linden Lab as well, which allows for the residential parcels to have a double prim allowance.

When asked if Bay City has a council, Marianne said, "Informally. There is a community group, called the Bay City Alliance, that meets every Tuesday. I run the meetings, but everyone who attends has a voice."

Marianne joined Second Life back in early 2006 after a couple of her friends recommended it.  For Bay City, back in 2008, Linden Lab was promoting it on their official blog.  She was already interested in "city land" and had been eyeing parcels in the Nova Albion city area, but the mid-century theme of Bay City was right up Marianne's alley.   She was one one of the early land owners in the city, winning her first Bay City parcel in the initial land auction.

I also asked her about what inspired her in her choice of avatar. Marianne said, "I started to play a kid avatar about a month after joining, in part inspired by other friends who were kid avatars. It's a way to let my more childlike self - what one might call their "inner child" or what not - out to play and have fun and be silly."

I asked her about a controversy that happened several years ago involving child avatars.  Marianne said, "Well, that's a complex question. I'd say there were a couple times child avatars have been viewed as a controversy. The biggest of these was back in 2007 after Report Mainz, in Germany, did a piece on the trading of real life child pornography on Second Life's servers, as well as simulated child abuse between an adult and a child avatar. This was, essentially, resolved by Linden Lab putting restrictions on the type of content that child avatars can use, and the actions they can do."

I also asked her about her involvement in Burn2 and Second Life birthday.  Marianne said that she has a "bad habit" of volunteerism.  With Burn2, she ran Inner Child Camp, which led to further involvement with the event.  Nowadays Marianne and her inworld brother have been called on three times to build and script "The Man" and the "Man Burn."  As for the SL birthday, she first displayed back at the 3rd birthday event, and have been a part of many years.  "Back around SL9B, when the Lab had pulled their direct involvement with the event, I and a coalition of other residents worked to put on our own birthday event. We have since kept at it to this day." said Marianne.

When Marianne was asked about Bay City's position, Marianne said, "Well, I think everyone wants the best and the most for their hometown, regardless, and I know I've very proud of Bay City and want to see it continue to flourish. I think we have gotten a fair amount of attention over time, but I'm always willing to see it get more!"

I asked her as well about Luskwood and Bay City, the two communities being a few sims apart.  She said that she think that Luskwood and Bay City get along pretty well.  Some of the folks from Luskwood have came over to Bay City for some of the big events, like the anniversary event.  Bay City is pretty easy going. 

Finally, I asked Marianne about her plans for the future. She answered, "As far as Bay City goes, we're in the midst of finishing up a project we've been working on for a long time, which is Enter Bay City, our Community Gateway for new SL users. Beyond that, I hope to see all of us, including myself, continue to flourish and grow."

After that, I told Marianne goodbye and wished her well. As one of Bay City's most visible residents, Marianne sets a fine example.


Monday, December 26, 2016

A Cry For Help From Venezuela

By Bixyl Shuftan

Computers and the Internet can bring people together in many ways, online virtual worlds even more so as they give the appearance of being together. This can often mean people learn a little more about each other's societies. But it can also mean an up close and personal view of a big problem overseas that one might be only casually aware of through the newspaper or TV news, if it makes it to the newspaper or TV news at all.

I was exploring a virtual landscape in Second Life a couple nights ago when I got a notecard that had been sent by someone on my contact list: Alejandra Jumanya, or Miss W as she is also known. I had interviewed her last year, as both the owner of a virtual goods store selling outfits for Second Life avatars, and as someone inside an increasingly impoverished and oppressed country in which the money she made online was becoming increasingly important in getting by as the economy in her country crumbled. She had hoped she and her family would make it to the United States in the future.

A year later, she has become more concerned with the short-term survival of her and her daughter.

The notecard she had passed to me, and everyone else on her contact list, read, "Hello my dears, xxxx and I are getting some food at Walmart and shipping them over to Venezuela.  If you wanted to help us, you can do so by giving us a gift card to Walmart or Paypal (  I feel embarrassed  to ask for donations, but you know the situation here and how difficult it is to get food, also minimum wages here are like $15 a month, so it gets tough.  If you feel inclined to help us, we will be very very grateful!"

Wanting to know more, I instant-messaged her. She was surprised to hear from me and at first wondered if I had taken offense at her request. I told her no and wanted to talk. We met at a location where she had a few of her goods for sale. She continued with her story, "I started to write another notecard a few weeks ago, but I never had the ... bravery to send it. I will copy some parts of the notecard ... which I never finished or sent because I was embarrassed, and my friend said it would be better to do an event. But she is busy and real-life gets in the way.

"I'm not sure if you know, but things here in Venezuela has gotten harder for us (for xxxx and I), the government is imposing us a food redistribution system, that requires us to acquire food from Socialist Party members, it's a way for the government to use food to coerce citizens into supporting it... not only you don't get in the food list if you are not pro-government, but also, those who get the bag, it's a (paid) bag of 1 kg or rice, milk, sugar and pasta every few weeks or months.

"I don't get a (paid) food bag... my neighborhood doesn't anyways, so we are currently forced to buy food through a rations system that forces us to stand on supermarket lines up to twelve hours long (although it's illegal to do food lines at night, so if the police comes, we have to run to our cars and come back to do the line). Often, after 10 or 12 hours through the lines, you find out that the supermarket in question has run out of basic goods like rice, vegetable oil, and milk.

"Controlling food supplies has become increasingly important to or government as riots become more and more common. Last week, in the heart of Caracas, hungry patrons of a local market rioted after seeing a shipment of rice enter the market and almost immediately being told the food had been redistributed to the Bolivarian National Guard (GNB), the troops typically responsible for attacking peaceful anti-government protests. Chanting 'we want food,' a crowd of hundreds began to march towards the presidential palace, halted only by the GNB using tear gas and violent Chavista gangs known as 'colectivos,' attacking both protesters and journalists."

"I've heard some news reports," I told her, "though this is something new." "Not new for us," Alejandra told me, "it's just been shushed by the media. But we have been in a very bad situation with food and medicine. ... Just today, a friend of mine left her home to buy a present for her 12 month old baby. When she came back, someone had broken into her house, stole her stash of diapers, all her baby's clothes, left NOTHING. stole her clothes too, and the food she had in her fridge and pantry, you know, half a kilo of rice, some pasta, 250grms of coffee, things like that. That's how bad things are. ... You see people losing weight, faces gaunt, people who have college degrees, like doctors, engineers, accountants, making $15 a month and not being able to eat twice a day."

She had shared a few real-life pictures of her and her daughter, but after some thought she felt it might not be a good idea for them to be used, "maybe we should use (only) Second Life pictures. ... what if someone who knows me sees it, and they mug me or kidnap me for money? It might not be so safe to put my face there." It was quickly agreed to use only her Second Life identity and pictures.

I asked her where she had first gotten the idea of making her appeal. She answered, "Well, I had my group for about 7 or 8 years now, and I have thousands of loyal customers, people who know who I am, they know my store has 3 brand new group gifts per week, and they KNOW who I am.. I have always been open about my real-life and my daughter, and the situation we are facing.  We are like a big family in my store group, and I thought some of the girls could or would want to help us."

I asked about others getting help outside the country. She answered, "Of course. Maybe about 80% of my friends have left the country, they are doctors or accountants here, and go to America or Europe to clean houses, work construction, do any job they can find, work at hotels cleanings, so they can send money back to their relatives." While it does bring home needed cash, unfortunately, "it tears families apart. I have a friend who left her deaf/mute daughter and granddaughter to go work in America taking care of an elderly person, so she can send money back here. Another friend who left her two kids with her mom and left to Dominican Republic, so her kids get to have food, but no mother."

"The Dominican Republic?" I asked, "Weren't they poor compared to your country a generation or two ago?" Alejandra answered, "People came to Venezuela from all over the world, because we have a great weather, the women are GORGEOUS, people are warm, you have in such a small country a desert, snow, the most amazing beaches, the plains of Venezuela, we are sitting on top of the biggest reserve oil of the world,  there is no other country with more oil.  Venezuela used to be a great place to live in, we often would see Europeans, Latin Americans or Americans vacationing here. Now the sad truth is that we are treated as 'the migrants' now where we go. Lately I have seen protests in Panama, asking the government to deport illegal Venezuelans, same in Dominican Republic and other countries. We are known as 'the migrants,' people are fleeing the country, even by boat."

I then asked, "Is there any kind of sign of this collapse being halted?" She answered, "You live here in a state of anxiety, you live with uneasiness, often people will say 'NOW THIS IS IT, THIS WILL BE IT!' But nothing ever happens,  there will be no revocatory against the President (elections to vote if we want the president or not).  We have lost the sense to be shocked.  For instance, a few weeks ago some malandros (thugs) got into a bus with a mobile credit card machine and they made everyone on the bus empty their bank accounts.  So, people say 'OK THIS IS IT! NOW IT'S REALLY THE LAST STRAW!' But nothing really happens. When things get really bad, the government distributes some food or do a concert and bring a couple of singers and some beers, and people forget about war, and they go back to their jobs the next day."

How secure was her connection to the outside world, Second Life and the Internet? Alejandra answered it was already occasionally sporadic due to the occasional lack of electric power, "we go without Internet sometimes a couple of days. Sometimes we have Internet but no electricity, water and gas fail too, we will be having water only twice a week, on Wednesday and Sunday night. It's all chaotic here."

Although her email was in the notecard, she asked that it not be used in the article as she could get in serious trouble if the Venezuelan government traced them to her. Anyone interested in helping her could contact her inworld for the information. How could others help her out? "Walmart gift cards, or Amazon. When you buy a gift card, it gives you the gift card number and a four number code. With those two details I can add it to my account and use it. It won't work for PayPal,  but it would would work for contacting me."

As many problems as she had, some which she wanted off the record, Alejandra's last message was one of well-wishes, "I want to wish you and all your readers a merry Christmas and may 2017 be a wonderful year for you and all you love."

And so we parted ways. A number of my Second Life and Facebook friends often complain about drama, or about sports. Several weeks after the US Presidential election, there are still no shortage of complaints from some about the results. It all seems so pale when talking to someone concerned about her daughter having enough to eat.

Alejandra recommended  A number of New York Times articles about her country's situation, including one about the currency crisis sparked by the government's strange policies, and of it's people trying to find work outside the country to bring home a little cash.

Alejandra's store is located at Pergola (158/9/22), she has a page on Marketplace, and has her own blog at

Bixyl Shuftan

Monday, December 12, 2016

Second Life Republicans Podcast Meeting

By Bixyl Shuftan

Real life is invariably reflected in Second Life, and politics is no exception. Over the course of the year, Trump supporters made themselves known on occasion. But the most visible were the Trump Organization led by JP Laszlo, whom drew attention with their "Trump Wall" prank on Bernie Sanders supporters and were accused of outright griefing. Eventually, Linden Lab would ban JP and several others in the group. Although Linden Lab never gave the reason for the banning, that JP later revealed himself as a member of the infamous Woodbury group was seen as confirmation by some Democrat Party supporters that their opponents were griefers. The remainder of the Trump Organization spent most of the remainder of the election season away from the limelight, sticking around at their Trump Pub.

While the Trump Organization was the most visible of those in Second Life supporting the Republicans, there were others that went quietly about their business. Hearing about another, The Republican Party in Second Life, I was initially told they were mostly inactive. But later on I would hear the group did hold meetings while they listened to a conservative podcast. After finding out the place and time, Sunday December 4 at 6PM SL time, I headed over just before the meeting started.

As it turned out, the one doing the podcast was someone I had ran into before, Hatton Hunghi, the avatar of the man behind East Coast Conservative. I had interviewed and written about him in March 2012. More than four years later, he was still in business. As for the crowd, the men and women numbered a little smaller than the one at the "Safety Pin" support meeting for Democrats that I had covered last month, but the big difference between the two groups in appearance was that here, some of the group were furs.

The podcast covered several topics, such as the euthanasia of a man in the Netherlands not for a terminal disease but for chronic alcoholism, the removal of "To Kill a Mockingbird" and "Huckleberry Finn" from a school library due to characters using racial slurs, and the doubts of some Trump supporters that he'll succeed in "draining the swamp" of Washington DC corruption. The topic about the books taken out of the library got the most comments, "What? Are they next going to ban 'Transformers 2' because of the two robots in it they were 'African American,' and there were people demanding a boycott of that. .. Hell, my sister, a liberal lawyer, says that the most racist movie of all times is, get this, 'Blazing Saddles,' which utterly destroys racism." "The book issue was simply done for political correctness." "They are trying to remove history." "And those that got offended are ones who chose to ignore American history in which it happened or failed to understand what happened in the past." "The left does not teach in school how racist (President) Wilson was. People have to teach themselves that and the entire eugenics movement of the 1920s is avoided in schools."

Following the podcast and a short break, Hatton congratulated me for the continuing success of the Newser. He told me he had changed the schedule of his podcast as well as the name and website to "Front Porch Political Talk" (, as well as the location in Second Life, "I changed the name and schedule in 2015 but almost everything is the same.  I've had to shift locations a few times as sims have shut down.  It happens in this fluid world."

Bringing up the election, Hatton drew attention to his avatar's appearance, "There's a reason I keep my hair shaved short. So I don't pull it out. ... Me personally, I started off as a Ben Carson fan.  Then I went to Cruz but only lightly. Since I'm not enmeshed with any party group," meaning he wasn't part of any GOP organization, "I had a lot of fun watching Trump twist their ... well, you know." When I asked if he expected Trump to last long after announcing his candidacy in 2015, "Not in the least.  I said on the show that he was creating an oxygen rich environment and expected him to set off his own spark as well. I'm not a member of the "Never Trump" group but I'm watching his actions with a lot of caution. Larry (the older voice you heard on the call) is more supportive than I am and I think many of his generation are. If nothing else, I think his administration is going to give my show a lot to talk about over the course of his Presidency."

I asked him why he thought Trump was able to get the Republican nomination, and then win the Presidential Election. He answered, "Overall part of it is the tone and method of his campaign.  Trump was the non-politician, effectively the third party candidate. Only he ran as a Republican.  He doesn't talk like a politician and he doesn't act like one. And there is a subset of the electorate that craved that attitude. He also didn't speak down to the voter, he spoke down to his competition and pointed out their faults.  Doing that won him favor as well.

"As far as winning the election?  There are a few different answers and it depends on the state. Pennsylvania and Michigan are two states where his message resonated with the working class strongly. All that said, his campaign also did a great job of getting him more exposure and positioning a greater rural return. He played the electoral game just as well as any politician, but spoke like no other candidate.

"The other reason he won was because the Democrats nominated Hillary Clinton, regardless of the fact that she is the epitome of what at least half their base didn't want. Despite the money she spent on ads, Trump just had to cough funny and he'd get free coverage from the Media, then he could use that in the ads that his campaign ran."

I then asked, "Earlier you were saying you were watching him with caution. What you you expect from his administration?" Hatton answered, "I do expect a sea change based on his cabinet picks, but anything that requires Congress is going to be less reliable. The Affordable Care Act is definitely going to be changed drastically or removed altogether. I expect he'll follow through with his trade plans. Foreign affairs will depend on who finally makes it in as Secretary of State."

I then brought up the strong reaction of some Democrats and the "Safety Pin" support group in Second Life. Hatton responded, " recorded a video on the day after the election that covered some of the initial responses I saw on Facebook from both sides.  Most of what I saw from the DNC and the left was, 'why did I even bother?'  My video comment was something to the effect of the fact that they should be proud of what they did, own their efforts and whatever impact it might have had on lower ballot races and proud of the fact that they live in a country where there can be open conversation about differing stances.

"For the most part I stand by that, though the violent riots and some of the other reactions have been over the top. As far as the 'safety clip' wearers, their issue," which he thought was immigration, "still has a lot to be figured out. I know that Trump has modulated on a few issues, and am pretty sure immigration is going to be one that he continues to adjust focus on."

When I asked him if he had anything else to say, "Only that it's important to remember that there are political issues beyond the election, beyond the news items that go above the fold and they need to be discussed just as much as Trump's latest tweet.  In some cases they're more important."

A peek at the group chat revealed some variety of opinions. While some expressed full confidence in Trump, some had some reservations, "(I) don't mind admitting, I am absolutely glad Clinton will not be president, but I'm a bit nervous about the President-Elect, too." While most of the chatter was about politics, some asked about the fire in Oakland California which killed over 30 people.

Like four and eight years ago, the Republican supporters in Second Life have been active as were the Democrats whose beliefs they often clashed with. Originally with a Republican President and then a transition to a Democrat one, for eight years they were the "loyal opposition." Now once again, the Presidency is going over to a Republican. But as the President-Elect will be unlike any leader before, while some are eagerly awaiting his term with anticipation, others of the conservative side of political thought are expressing more cautious optimism, and occasionally caution. No doubt Hatton Hunghi's podcast and the Second Life Republicans will have much to talk about in the next four to eight years, and beyond.

Bixyl Shuftan

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Interview with Selador Cellardoor

By Deaflegacy

Selador Cellardoor is a published writer, who wrote short stories that were published by Macmillian around 1971. Selador's book of short stories was called "The Eye of the Lens," and he suspects that we can still get it if we try.  Selador recently had his 13th rez day.  He is probably the first classical dj on Second Life, But at that time, people rarely came.

Selador was in the Berkshire Recorder Consort, which was an early music group.  He had to give it up when he developed COPD.  Selador loves classical music and plays it all the time.  Selador is a dj in the Classical Circle Ballroom.   But in real life, he doesn't have much to do with music.  Selador had done some MIDItranscriptions of  classical pieces.  He used to be a pianist as well.  Selador was good enough to do local recitals.

Selador does a dj performance in Classical Circle Ballroom every other Friday.  "A fortnightly event is just right for me." said Selador. Selador said back in time, he wasn't properly organized.  He didn't know whether it is possible to be properly organized these days.  But now, he and some friends are.   Seladoor made a mention of a group.  It is called Classical Circle. Selador explained that the events they have are not solemn and reverent.  They all love classical music. The number of people varies, but they love to chat, dance, and make terrible puns.

Selador's favorite place when it comes to playing classical music would be the Classical Circle Ballroom.  He had done events at other places, but it's not something he would wish to do on a regular basis. Selador had done composing as well on an amateur basis and he had works performed locally.

The biggest thing Selador ever attempted was an hour-long setting of a poem of Mervyn Peake, the Rhyme of the Flying Bomb.  It is a musical poem. When asked if Selador plans on playing classical music for a long time, he responded.  "Yes, as long as I can." he said.  Selador will be playing for a very long time.

Selador loves the idea of virtual worlds.  Before it was created, Selador was in two previous worlds; Cybertown and Worlds Away.  When asked if he's glad to be a part of Second Life, he said that he very much is glad to be a part of it.

Classical Music Ballroom's link is


Monday, December 5, 2016

Reader Submitted: Sandi Glas: A Quiet Hero of SL

by Jadyn Firehawk

In Second Life, there are quiet people who make a huge difference behind the scenes. With the season of giving upon us, I would like to take the opportunity to thank one of these quiet heroes: Sandi Glas.

In 2009, I founded the Pixel To Pixel Foundation, which helps people in SL who are on disability. It occurred to me the other day that the current location of the Pixel To Pixel Foundation headquarters has now been our home for over four years. Our old location at a sim called Artropolis went offline one day in April 2012, without any advance notice or explanation.

When we suddenly found ourselves stranded, one of our donors quickly stepped in and offered us a new home at one of her sims, at no cost to us. Sandi Glas owns Clairehaven Estates, and Clairehaven sim has now been P2P Foundation's home for over four years. We have now been at Clairehaven for longer than we had been at Artropolis.

What strikes me is this: The owner of Artropolis was the well known and flamboyant artist Filthy Fluno, who had once gotten featured in the New York Times Magazine. He was a very public character in SL. This is certainly no fault against Filthy, because he is a brilliant artist and was a good friend to the foundation.

Sandi, on the other hand, is of a quiet nature, and yet, her support -- even just on the headquarters location alone -- is both more lasting and deep. She is also selfless. She doesn't publicity-seek, in the least. Her support goes far beyond just the headquarters location. Let us just say there there are certain quiet, generous people in SL who are huge contributors to non-profit organizations, who single-handedly provide up to one-fourth of the operating expenses that a charity depends on for their success.

There are probably other untold stories, other quiet heroes out there like Sandi. I rather doubt that Sandi would even prefer to have a spotlight shown on her, but she does work hard in SL and has two business enterprises (Clairehaven Estates and Glas Houses), and I personally feel that her generosity to the Pixel To Pixel Foundation really should be recognized in some way, by me and on behalf of the rest of SL, as a thanks.

Sandi certainly hasn't put me up to this, and I honestly don't even know how she'd feel. She doesn't act on any "quid pro quo" factor. She is simply a person with a big heart, who cares.

It makes me wonder, how many other quiet heroes are out there in SL?

Pixel To Pixel Foundation:


Clairehaven Visitor Center:


Glas Houses:


Jadyn Firehawk

Editor's Note: Jadyn created and runs Virtual Yosemite, and was recently interviewed by Deaflegacy

Friday, November 25, 2016

Post-Election Support Group For Democrats

By Bixyl Shuftan

The results of US Presidential elections always bring out cheers from those who won and some sadness and sometimes a little anger from those who didn't. For instance in 1992 with the election of Bill Clinton, Democrats called it a new generation coming to power while Republicans often moaned the White House was in the hands of a skirt-chaser. But the 2016 election season had been an especially intense one. Both major political parties fielded controversial candidates, and partisans again and again stated the election of the opposing candidate would spell disaster for the country. On Election Day on Tuesday November 8, the country went to the polls, and in a tight election that wasn't decided until almost Midnight SL time, the Republican candidate Donald Trump was declared the winner.

For conservatives, many were celebrating and/or breathing sighs of relief. But many liberals took the results with shock and dismay. While that Trump was a political rookie was occasionally a source of worry, more often many feared his over-the-top statements made during the campaign were a sign that he and his allies would make an effort to roll back their rights.

It was several days later that Evangeline Ling, the leader of the Hillary Clinton HQ in Bay City during the election, decided to do something about these fears. So she announced in the Clinton HQ group, "We are launching our post-election support group appropriately named SAFETY PIN. The purpose of this group will be to provide a safe space for people negatively impacted by the election to process it and to support each other." On Thursday November 17 came another notice, "We will be launching our 1st support group meeting on Tonight, November 17th at 7:00 PM SLT Please come join us. Then if you would like to take some time to process your fears, hopes, and experiences about this election.  It's been a stressful week for many of us I know. If you know a friend who is struggling with this in SL please bring them with you."

The location of the "Safety Pin" meeting was in a two-story skybox high above Bay City, above a spot marked by the symbol of the Clinton campaign, and a car with it painted on the hood. Evangeline greeted the number of men and women present. The people there expressed a great deal of fear about the future, some for their physical well-being in real life. Seeing me, Evangeline requested that everything stated in the meeting be off the record, as well as no pictures published from inside the building on the second floor unless the subject gave his or her okay later. But she did say she'd be willing to talk later.

Later on, Evangeline told me she had been doing security for the Clinton HQ, and had to deal with quite a large number of griefers. Of the Trump supporters, "it's too easy to just say they are all a bunch of malevolent racists. I see them in the categories." The majority she felt were "white working voters mostly concerned about the economy and changing the system. Hillary failed to really fully address their concerns so they went with Trump who was a big FU to the system. I actually have a great deal of empathy for them."

The second group she felt were mainly motivated by their hate and/or fear of Clinton, "they might not even actually like Trump. My Stepdad thought he was a total idiot, but voted for him anyways because he was not a Clinton." The third group was the "Alt-right," which she felt was a sanitized name for white supremacists and other outright extremist groups that were essentially fascist, "they will be the ones throwing out antisemitic memes, Pepe the frog memes, neo-nazi memes, etc. They are very social media driven."

"My biggest fear of this election is that Trump has made people in the Alt Right more comfortable in being OUT about their hate." She described an incident at a Chili's restaurant in Texas in which a black veteran had his meal taken away, "Chili's has since apologized to the vet and removed the manager. But why did this have to happen? ... Trump has, even if not directly or intentionally, emboldened those with those views."

I asked her where the idea of the safety pin as the group's symbol come from. Evangeline told me, "we decided to go ahead and use the safety pin since it became such a phenom in real-life. It actually was a symbol people used after Brexit in the UK." When I brought up that some conservatives were poking fun at it, she answered, "They were going to make fun of us no matter what we called ourselves."

On her Flickr page, Evangeline had a message for Trump supporters. "If you are celebrating today congratulations you have gotten something you wanted and as much as I disagree with your choice there is a part of me that is happy that somebody found some joy in this decision. But right now there are many things that you are doing that will cut off a person like me for a very long time, possibly permanently." Among her comments was one about illegal aliens, or "undocumented immigrants," which I asked her about that, saying conservatives were highly unlikely to change calling them the former, her answer was, "we will continue to call that an offense against human dignity to refer to a person as an illegal."

So what did she think lay ahead? "I think two years of disappointment for sure," she answered, "Then I'm putting hopes that we can take back the Senate, and maybe lighten up the House a bit." She was hoping Tim Ryan of Ohio would be the next Minority Leader of the House, "he has a plan to reclaim moderate blue collar voters ... who may have tilted Trump this year. ... But honestly, I will not breath easy until Trump is totally out of office altogether.

Asking about future meetings, Evangeline told me the next one would be on Friday November 25 (today), the day after Thanksgiving, at 7PM SL time, feeling some right-wing minded family members would be rubbing it in at the family gatherings, "We are gonna get out our post Thanksgiving detox that day after any potentially explosive dinner table convos. ... My thoughts are Uncle Archie needs to lay off Meathead this Thanksgiving and stick a turkey leg in it." After that, events would be on a floating schedule, with plans for two events in December, "after that we might go down to one meeting a month, will have to see."

Since the first support group meeting, the situation in politics continues to change. The protests in the streets in many cities seem to be quieting down, though the worry remains. The President-elect is still selecting members of his administration, some choices seen as sound, others raising eyebrows. Evangeline may have her support group meetings around for a while.

Hamlet Au has also written about the support group, his article here.

For those wanting to be at the support group meetings, contact Evangeline Ling for a landmark.

Bixyl Shuftan

Monday, November 14, 2016

Commentary: The Pygmalion In Us

By Mylie Foxclaw

I have been reading about the Greek myth of Pygmalion and Galatea recently and I found myself thinking that we all tend to be just like Pygmalion.  For those who are not familiar with this legend, here’s a quick note about it.

Pygmalion was a sculptor who lost interest in women as he started to notice all their various flaws.  He started to fashion a sculpture of the perfect woman which he made out of ivory.  He worked on the sculpture for a long time, polishing every single detail to create a woman devoid of flaws.  Pygmalion fell in love with the statue and started to make offerings at Aphrodite’s temple (Aphrodite is the goddess of love in Greek Mythology).  When he returned home, he realised that Aphrodite had given life to the statue whose name was Galatea.  Pygmalion wed Galatea and they had a son… the typical happy ending.

I feel that we tend to be like Pygmalion in Second Life.  For instance, take a look at our avatars; they are a reflection of what we want to be.  Whether we opt to look like humans, furries, tinies or any other kind of avatar, the idea is to reproduce that perfect version we have in our mind already and try to reproduce it until we become satisfied.  Just like Pygmalion, we will improve the details and make modifications to our avatars to our taste until we reach the ideal avatar.  Hence, while some people look like dark creatures, others go for glamourous looking avatars and others can opt for legendary characters.  That also means, getting the right shape, skin, clothes, hair and accessories. Each person has his own vision of the perfect avatar he wants to be.

Other residents can also suggest ways to improve someone’s avatar and hint out that they need a makeover to look better.  A person can be satisfied with his own avatar’s appearance even though people around him don’t like certain aspects of his avatar.  That’s again because we each have our own idea of the ideal character and it’s the Pygmalion within us that wants to emerge and change that avatar to our own liking.  Let’s take a common example, you meet a newcomer inworld and you notice the default avatar.  You decide that you want to help him improve his looks, get a better shape or skin, buy him a new mesh body or take him to your favourite freebie spots that has the nicest clothes, etc.  Usually this new resident is just going along with your instructions as he’s trying to understand what he is doing.  That’s the Pygmalion within you creating your version of a nice looking avatar.  Your new friend may love it or he may tell you that he preferred his default avatar to this new updated look.  You may feel a little annoyed at that reaction or completely offended and wondering if you just wasted all your time on an ungrateful person.  Well, that’s not the case.  This person may not feel comfortable in this new look because it does not represent him or what he wants to be. 

Sometimes, we agree to look as others deem ideal such as when looking for a job inworld.  In certain jobs, having an updated look is a must.  In the second life modelling industry, generally you need to be very updated on your overall look in order to get selected for a job.  The same goes for other sectors.  For instance, if you want to work in an adult club, you need to look the part as well.  At some clubs or other businesses, you must abide to a specific type of avatar. The boss or the industry becomes your Pygmalion as you adapt yourself to the criteria demanded to work there.  In any case, if you want to work somewhere where looks do matter, you should expect to be told to make certain changes to your avatar when you go to work.

There’s nothing wrong with being a Pygmalion.  We each have our own idea of the ideal avatar and our views will definitely differ from each other.  Thus, we all have a Pygmalion within us, even in this virtual world.   

Image Credit: Razor Cure

Mylie Foxclaw

Friday, October 7, 2016

Ari The Piano Player Part 2

By Deaflegacy

A year ago, Ari (arisia.vita) started playing piano on Second Life.  He is still very much performing.  On the average, Ari plays piano twice a day.  

When he  was asked what his best experience would be when playing piano, he said, "To have a stranger wander over and say they like my music." Ari always think it is remarkable to have a new listener friend him.  He consider himself to be lucky to have so many friends.
Surprisingly, Ari does not know how to play the piano in real life. But he would certainly like to know how.  His most favorite composer would be Beethoven, but he counts others as favorites. "I don't need them as I play to bring joy to others." said Ari when he was asked why he wouldn't accept tips.

When asked what his inspiration would be when it comes to playing piano, Ari said, "The words of the great pianist Van Cliburn: "Love music more than anything in the world. Feel that it is part of your life, and without it your life is incomplete. Want to play for people, because if you are a performer you are performing for all people, all over the world; not just musicians, but for everyone."

"My inspiration comes from my friends and audience." said Ari. He is honored to be an inspiration. Besides his piano playing, another hobby of his might be considered helping out others and offering advice. For which piano piece Ari would recommend that his audience listen to while he's not on Second Life, he suggested that they hear the one that they most want to hear. When people in his audience asked for a valuable piece of advice, Ari told them to listen to their conscience.

Ari's favorite color varies with his mood.  Like color, Ari's favorite piano piece varies with his mood. One other interesting thing about Ari, this being International Space Week, one of the first sims Ari visited was the International Spaceflight Museum. Ari still visits it regularly.


Monday, September 26, 2016

Interview With Jadyn Firehawk of "Pixel to Pixel"

By Deaflegacy

Jadyn Firehawk discovered Second Life in 2009. She found it because she had a Flickr site for her real-life photography.  Noticing quite a few groups there that had names with Second Life in the name, it made her curious. Jadyn googled about Second Life, and that's how she found it.

Jadyn created an account, and at that time there were "community gateways" for entering Second Life from the main website. She saw Virtual Ability as one of the gateways. At the time, she had been very active in a bipolar disorder support group chatroom online. It interested her that there was a disabilities support group on Second Life.  She Joined the Virtual Ability group, and began exploring Second Life from there.

Jadyn has bipolar disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).  She has chosen to be open with people about that as a part of her personal activism for mental illness, hoping that it will help it become less stigmatized by society. When asked about some of her accomplishments in Second Life, Jadyn spoke of her background. Jadyn is a former university professor, but had to go on disability due to the bipolar disorder and PTSD beginning in 2001.  It improved a little in 2005 and she was able to go back to work part time.  When Jadyn came into Second Life in 2009, she was still working part time.

 Jadyn had a friend from the bipolar disorder chatroom, who decided to try out Second Life, too. He was young, in his early 20s.  He was in school and on disability, and had very low income as a result.  Her friend didn't have a single dime to spare to spend in Second Life and Jadyn understood exactly what that was like from her own experience having been on disability, so she gave him some Lindens every week so he could have a bit of fun. She enjoyed helping him and it gave Jadyn the idea of starting something up in Second Life where others could maybe do it too.  That's when Jadyn created the Pixel To Pixel Foundation and it's been going in Second Life ever since. 

The P2P Foundation receives donations from very kind and generous people throughout Second Life.  Then it turns around and distributes weekly stipends to people who are on disability so that they can do such things like rent a home, buy some clothes or furniture, upload textures, or get some building supplies.

The P2P Foundation has just celebrated its 7th Year Anniversary in the Summer of 2016. Jadyn said, "The P2P Foundation's Director avatar account, named Pixel Falconer, has a rez date of June 29, 2009. That's what we consider to be the founding date. That avatar is the one that receives the donations, holds the funds, and disburses the stipends."

The P2P Foundation currently supports 22 people who are on disability with weekly stipends of L$500, so the total amount that it fundraises and disburses is L$11,000 a week. "It's a challenge for a small organization to keep up that kind of fundraising!" said Jadyn. "We'd like to help a lot more people, so we're always looking for new donors. There are over 20 people currently on the waiting list."

In order to sign up for P2P Foundation, there are two things - recipients must be "on" disability, and not just "have" a disability and they must be willing to provide a copy a document showing that is the case. "With health-privacy information protected, of course," she added, "This is so that they have been pre-screened already by an agency for having medical proof of disability." said Jadyn.  She went on to explain that some donors express concern about possible abuses of our system.

Jadyn added that although she had to disability-retire from her career in 2010, she has been able to make an income in Second Life from teaching tips at Builders Brewery and from her shop, Maganda Arts, and draws no funds from the foundation. The Building Tricks series that she teaches at Builders Brewery now includes 15 different classes. At Maganda Arts, she sells a wide range of things including historical homes, furniture, kinetic sculpture, and real-life photography.

When asked about other accomplishments besides the P2P Foundation, Jadyn spoke about the Yosemite sim. She explained that the other reason she wanted to tell me about her former career as a university professor is, when she became disabled in 2001, she had been working on a book about Yosemite National Park.  Jadyn's research specialty was national parks and protected areas. When she was unable to work, in a sense, she also "lost Yosemite". "And it was a great loss to me. Yosemite is my favorite place in the whole wide world. I've been there so many times, I've lost count."

She has just recently created a virtual Yosemite National Park in Second Life, and it opened in July 2016.  According to Jadyn, its peak visitation so far, according to Linden Lab's traffic measurements, has been 8434. ("Traffic" is defined by LL as "the cumulative minutes spent on the parcel by all visitors to the parcel within the previous day") For a few weeks, the main park, Yosemite Valley (Forever Wild) was in the Editor's Picks in the Second Life website's Destination Guide. It is now in the Nature & Parks section, along with her Shinzen Japanese Garden, also located at the Yosemite sim.

"I see it as, I lost Yosemite in 2001 when when I became disabled.  But now, 15 years later, I have it back again!" said Jadyn.

Jadyn also mentioned the Ethnographia Project, which expresses her story of experience with disability and Second Life. "It's not quite complete yet though, a work in progress," said Jadyn.  She added that it is open to the public. However, to the writing part, Jadyn is still working on it. 

Jadyn went on to describe Yosemite Valley (Forever Wild). "Yosemite Valley (Forever Wild) is one full sim in size and there's horseback riding available here for free." said Jadyn.  "And it's a nice place to relax and enjoy the scenery, and meditate or visit with friend."

The landmarks are:

For the Yosemite Valley (Forever Wild) :

Jadyn also mentioned the Building Tricks class series at Builders Brewery.  I have been to some of these classes and they were fantastic.


Friday, September 16, 2016

"Conflict Resolution"

"Wherever You Go, There You Are"

By MajikVixen

Why did my friend suddenly unfriend me?  Why does my neighbor continue to bait the lag monster, when I already asked them politely to limit their script usage?  Why are there so many griefers in the summer?  Why am I being betrayed, what did I do to deserve this?  What in heaven's name is going on in the Second Life universe?!  ...These might be some of the questions I'm sure we have all posed to ourselves at one point or another, in our journeys through the virtual realm of SL.  In the place where one can be anything and do anything they want, what is with all this star-crossed perfection?  People are brilliantly fascinating, and sometimes vicious creatures.  Ego, cliques, greed, drama, investments at stake...  How does one maintain their cool in their escape from real life, when their sanctuary suddenly turns on them?

Conflict, although not the most pleasing thing, is natural and normal.  It is the essence of progression and the strive for success in sentient beings.  Although one thing that relates us to the animals in this aspect, is our flight or fight response (the instinctive physiological response to a threatening situation, which readies one to either resist forcibly, or to run away).  In SL, it's easy to make emotional attachments to our freedoms because they define who we become here.  However, the danger of a group of people having near unlimited freedom, is that one person's freedom will invariably clash with another's.  Thus a conflict is born, and we either lash back out at the person, or we fall back, and the conflict can snowball from there.  So how does one resolve this issue?  Luckily there are a few tools! 

Take some time to evaluate the situation, your first response is almost always emotional, so take a break and come back to it later.  Try to look at the conflict with a third person perspective, separate yourself from your emotions when you feel you are vehemently right.  Make sure you get all the information, sometimes there are language barriers to begin with (use a translator if necessary), and there are also emotional barriers in written text (facial expressions and voice tone don't always come through).  Never lose self control, you can disagree, but do that in a polite and respectful manner.  Treat everyone with respect and remain polite and civil, this way you will not add fuel to the fire.  It is not failing, but rather smart, to take some time to meditate or ask for help, and to not be so quick become a part of the problem.  You can also use active listening skills (communication is not just speaking, it's speaking AND listening).  Active listening also includes mirroring people with phrases like, "If I understand you correctly..." "Am I right in saying..." etc.  Also avoid negative statements, present ideas in a positive, affirmative manner.  In heated situations, separating a person into an instant message to explain their problem, will have them focus on a resolution with you, instead of getting inflamed by other's responses.  If all else fails, let them have the last word and feel good about themselves, do NOT get suckered into debates.  The most important thing one can remember is that everyone always has a very good reason and explanation for what they do, and the actions they take.

These might be hard to put into practice at first, but you need to be patient with yourself.  About the hardest thing for me to accept is that no matter how I try to prevent it, conflict is always inevitable.  It is just the nature of humanity (no matter how much I proclaim myself an Unseelie Succubus Fae.  But now that I have some tools for dealing with it, it's not so bad, and I am glad I can share them with you.  I do find distractions to be very helpful in the matters of separating myself from intense situations, my mind seems to contemplate easier on resolutions while multitasking by a playing a game in SL, building, or writing.  One thing I may have a problem with is trying not to lose my self control.  I find it very hard not to be heard, sometimes the emotions can become very overwhelming for me and they just need to jump right out from inside of me and be acknowledged.  However, because I realize this flaw in myself, I can always take time to ask for guidance from a few trusted friends.  I've also always been a fan of using Dr. Phil's "I" language when explaining my side of things, that seems to help people understand that I own up to my feelings and self growth. 

I wish you peace in your endeavors, even if it is just self actualization with this whole concept - Let there be peace on Earth, and if that is not possible, at least let there be peace within yourself.

Additional Information:
I would like to thank Bugs Larnia who teaches a Merry Meeter class at Faerie Crossing called "Conflict Resolution" which is open to the public and worth going to ...maybe even a few times!  A lot of this article was based on that wonderful class, and was too awesome to try and cram all into this piece.


Monday, September 5, 2016

What Second Life Means From A Disabled Person's Point of View

By DeafLegacy

I remember the first time I've heard about Second Life. Someone was talking about it and I asked him what it was. He told me that it was a virtual world. I said that I'd like to give that a try.

That was about a year ago. I have not had a regret when it comes to signing up for Second Life.

My name is DeafLegacy and I am deaf in real life. In a way, Second Life is a blessing because on it, I do not have to worry about talking. I have a speech disorder in association with my deafness. On Second Life, I am able to join some groups like Virtual Ability. I even signed up to write for the SL Newser. I'm not just a reporter. I'm a photographer as well.

To summarize it up, I'm a writer no longer trapped in her own world. Second Life had provided me with many different worlds where my deafness is not as important as it is in real life. Why did I say that?

Well, in real life, if I want to have a conversation with a hearing person, I'd need to be really good at reading lips as well as having some paper and pen. There's interpreters as well for medical appointments. It's not as easy as one might put it.

But on Second Life, I can have a conversation with anyone via the text mode without worrying about any misunderstanding that would rise from real-life conversation.

At least, whenever I go on Second Life, I almost always go to my apartment on Cape Heron. It's a beautiful apartment. In real life, I don't have an apartment. I live in a house with five other people. To put it this way, I'm the only deaf person in the house. Being deaf does not make it any easy. It tends to make it complicated. But on Second Life, I don't have to worry about that. The only thing I have to do is just be myself. Second Life had given me that chance and for that, I'm very happy.

I hope to continue using Second Life, even if it grows into something else. They are talking about it. I look forward to the day that happens. Until then, I'll keep on using Second Life. I can't say the same about the other people with disabilities, but Second Life is the best thing that happened to me.

Why? It's simple. Writing was my lifetime goal. Second Life just happened to make it come true. Now, I'm a writer both on Second Life and in real life. I'd say that's a chance I have to take and I did take it.

That's the best thing I ever did in my life. 


Friday, September 2, 2016

Fundraiser For Frank

By Deaflegacy

On Monday night on August 29, the Furry Fashion Lounge held a fundraiser for one of it's staff, Frank (F2004w Resident).

This Fundraiser caught my attention. It was a fundraiser for Frank to get his hearing aids. It is very important for him because he is deaf and needs hearing aids. His insurance company denied him that because they felt that hearing aids are just cosmetic things.
Frank's friends at Furry Fashion got together and started a fundraiser for Frank (f2004w). According to Moffett (moffettmephit), the DJ of the event, and Amethysia (amethyst.crystal), the owner of Furry Fashion, the fundraiser was a huge success. Everyone had a great turnout and had a wonderful time.

"We made around 200 USD by the end of the night which adds to the money on the gofundme," said Amethysia.  She did say that it leaves Frank about 1000 USD to find himself if no one else donates. But that's still a lot better than the original amount."

Amethysia found out that Frank was planning to sell his motorbike to help pay for the hearing aids. That's when the fundraiser came in. Frank was surprised by the event. He was also surprised at how many people came to the fundraiser. Frank's friends came and danced the night away. Lindens were pouring away into the donation board. The donation board's goal was approximately 50,000. According to Moffett, it went over that goal.

  Frank has an appointment Wednesday about the hearing aids, but it is not for not sure if he's getting them or if it's more testing to determine what type he needs While Moffett was not sure on when Frank will get his new hearing aids, he said that as far as the 'donation speed' goes, he can guarantee that Frank will get them as soon as he can.

As Moffett would have put it, they have gone a long way toward supporting their good friend in getting his new hearing aids. What Furry Fashion did for Frank, that is a true friendship.


Wednesday, August 31, 2016

The Philosophy Class: Looking for Spinoza

By Gemma Cleanslate

I went over to Wainscot to register for the new year of classes at Professor Bergson’s lecture hall. I have been attending classes here for nine years. Sigh. I just can’t seem to graduate. There have been 614 lectures since the institution of the classes each year in Second Life and there have been 14 projects since the class began in 2009, September. The past lectures can all be found on line if you would like to see all the themes we have completed and talked about.
 I have not attended all the classes but they are held on Tuesdays and Thursdays like clockwork, with the exception of holidays . All are invited to check out the classes and join in on the lectures. Professor presents and then we discuss, sometimes vigorously and sometimes wandering off the subject but are quickly drawn back.
This year the professor, as usual, has a new and intriguing theme for us to delve into.
“In 2003 the famous neuroscientist Antonio Damasio published a book with the title: 'Looking for Spinoza - Joy, Sorrow and the Feeling Brain' The Dutch translation of the book got a rather more ambitious title:
"'Het Gelijk van Spinoza - Vreugde, Verdriet en het voelend brein' which could be translated as 'Spinoza was right - Joy, Sorrow and the Feeling Brain.'
"In this project we'll investigate what Damasio meant and how a philosopher, born in 1632, can contribute to our modern neuroscientific insights.
"But first we'll learn how the philosophical ideas of someone who lived more than 380 years ago are still controversial and closely related to our present situation. “
We will hope to see you in the lecture hall on the opening day, the first of September, Thursday at 1:00

Gemma Cleanslate

Monday, August 29, 2016

Gofundme Page For Frank

By Deaflegacy,

"I'm born hard of hearing with moderate to severe hearing loss. I'm the first one in a hearing family from the last three known generation," said Frank.

Frank (resident name f2004w) explained that according to his insurance company, it is considered cosmetic, even his parents had to pay the full price on his last one over ten years ago, even though he was insured under their family plan. They would cover it if only he took the procedure of getting a cochlear implant. But he finds no need for surgery because he can function fine with just hearing aids.
When Frank was asked if he was surprised that his boss is throwing a fundraiser, Frank said, "Yes! I was really surprised about that, I was thought nothing of it because it was more of my personal life problem than a work problem, he really went out of his way for setting this up."

Frank works at a car dealership that covers Audi, Subaru, Range Rover, Jaguar, and Volvo in one big building as a head porter, managing 15-plus porters. One of his bosses is Terry McQuaid, manager of Subaru,  the person who sets up the gofundme fundraiser (

It is only currently only linked toward to GoFundMe, Frank is considering creating a certain mesh to help the fundraiser specifically for Second Life. Right now you can only find in Furry Fashion where you can click the board by the sandbox that gives you a direct link to GoFundMe fundraiser site.

When asked about the fundraisers, Frank said, "I didn't thought about it, I don't know any fundraising methods. So I mentioned it to the owner of Furry Fashion and within a few hours later I just been informed that there will be a fundraiser event Monday 29th of August for me.

Furry Fashion and a store named Treasured and Bully will be taking part for this fundraising event, "I will be also making a limited edition benches for fundraising as well."

A typical pair for a person with moderate to severe hearing loss hearing aid cost from $3,700 to $6,000 a pair. That is not including the cost of ear mold and hearing tests. The amount of the fundraiser at the moment is $2,865.

At this moment, I wish Frank all the luck in the world.  It's a shame that his insurance company thought the hearing aids are some kind of cosmetic thing but knowing my experiences with hearing aids, it is anything but cosmetic.

Monday, August 15, 2016

And the Award Goes to ...

By Gemma Cleanslate

Sunday I attended the Relay for Life WrapUp. I made sure to get there for the pre-party to be in the sim since it fills up.There were three backup areas to attend. The final speeches were laudatory to all who had participated and I know you will get to see the video or read the transcript that was done so quickly by Miss Cuddly Waffle
It was a great pleasure to hear Random Darrow, the chair of the 2016 relay announce that special recognition went to Bixyl Shuftan for his years of support in blogging the Relay and all its events in the SL Newser. What a thrill to hear that and he was really surprised at the unexpected announcement. Wonderful! 
Random‘s words, “Community Champion Award: A Community Champion describes a person who goes out of their way to do good things for his or her community.  A person who dedicates a large portion of their time serving others, selflessly and generously.   This is our opportunity to honor and acknowledge the contributions made to RFL of SL by those who aren’t necessarily even on a team or committee or even in the Volunteer group. It is our opportunity to let them know that their service to Relay has made an impact and is so very much appreciated.
"Our second award goes to BIXYL SHUFTAN and the SL Newser.  Bixyl is a member of the Sunbeamers team, but outside of the team Bixyl has been blogging since 2010 about RFL of SL throughout the years with his SL Newser. Bixyl we appreciate all the time you devote to highlight RFL of SL in your Newser.”
Go Bixyl!!!

Gemma Cleanslate