Monday, June 20, 2016

Leona Kitty: "My Experience With Cancer"

By Leona Kitty

Hello folks! It has been a very long time since I have been able to write an article for the SL Newser. And I am grateful to Bixyl for allowing me to stick around and not kick me to the curb! Real life takes priority at times and that takes me away a lot. But this time things were different and I wanted to open up about it for the first time.

I have always been a pretty private person and I keep things to myself but what I am currently going through is something I do want to share. Not for my benefit but in hopes to help others. So allow me to explain. Just over two months ago I was diagnosed with Cancer. Breast cancer to be exact and since I have spent my entire life being an over achiever, apparently so was my cancer. I ended up with not only a very rare and super aggressive kind, but I also tested positive not only for the BRAC1 gene but the CHEK2 as well. Told ya, over achiever!

Now, between that time and now I have had two surgeries (both not going as originally planned due to this cancer spreading) but I am now Stage 4 and incurable. The cancer managed to spread to not only 27 lymph nodes but both ovaries as well. I have been to a cancer treatment center and heading to another this week for as many options as I can get. And while I will never be cured, I am searching for the right place to go to have the longest and best life they can possibly give me.

So with all of that being said, let me get to the point of this article. I mentioned before I wanted to help others. It is absolutely impossible to understand what it feels like to have cancer unless you have it. You will go through such a wide variety of emotions and you never know which one to expect next. And I can tell you without a doubt that those emotions do intensify going from Stage 1 to Stage 4. Cancer is a terrifying disease, and most times you will not even know how to feel or what you want or need. So that is where friends and family come in.... or should!

"Those of you who love us -- please  never  be so afraid of our tears that you won't let us cry with you. For if you never see us cry, believe me it doesn't mean we aren't crying. It only means we're doing it alone." - Vickie Gerard

This statement could not be more true. I was never a very social person. I was basically a workaholic and when I was not working I was at home relaxing but I do have a lot of really great friends. Sadly, when cancer strikes, those friends are not sure how to act or what to say. So instead of coming to visit or wanting to hang out with you, they avoid you. They become too busy. If I had a dollar for every time a friend told me they were feeling sick and did not want to take the chance to get me sick in my condition. Please though, do not let cancer stop you from being there for your friend.

One of my best days since being diagnosed was an afternoon that a friend came to visit me. We watched tv for an hour or so, ate dinner and then she helped me to wash my hair because I was still unable to due to surgery. And even though all of those things were so simple, it meant the world to me! Every single moment that you are talking with us, laughing with us or even gossiping about something is another moment we are happy and not thinking about our disease.

We truly cherish every moment you give to us! Whether you realize this or not, a cancer patient is not battling this disease for themselves alone. It is a very tough road. A lot of pain and emotions. We are battling this disease for you as well!

"To love a cancer patient is, in turn, to feel sad, frightened, concerned, angry, lost and often helpless -- and to do all this, for the most part, silently. Does it help you, our Loved Ones, to know that we understand this? Believe me, we do recognize and deeply appreciate the incredibly high price you pay for loving us. Every victory is yours as much as ours." - Vicki Gerard

If you have a friend who has cancer, reach out to them today! Send them a card just to let them know you are thinking about them. Better yet, stop by for a visit. It does not have to be a long one, just long enough to chat for a few minutes. Make it a point to make them smile at least once, laugh at least once. You can walk away knowing that just gave them another reason to push just a little bit harder in their battle.

~Leona Kitty

Monday, June 13, 2016

The Second Life Coast Guard

By Wesley Regenbogen

The waters around Second Life are guarded and maintained by the Second Life Coast Guard, also known as the SLCG for short. They were founded in 2005 by Sanstrom Laxness, and have a number of stations and substations created and designed by various SLCG personnel. The SLCG’s first goal is to teach all who are interested and give real life safe boating courses from within the virtual world of Second Life. Their second goal is to assist any land owner that has water access in the setting up, education and maintaining of a proper Aids To Navigation” system.
They communicate with their members through group chat and the groups associated with SLCG. They also have a grid wide grid talkie channels through which they communicate with each other.
Their monthly graduation ceremonies are held at the last Saturday of every month for new recruits, along with promotions of other active duty guardians. They have daily patrols. They also have SAR, dive, sailing, aviation, medical activities on an ongoing basis. Their ultimate goal is to one day have proper ATON systems in place throughout the virtual worlds.
The SLCG divides Second Life waters up into 4 districts. Here’s a listing of the different districts :
District 1 :
SLCG - RTC (Sector 6)
SLCG - Station Abbotts Field (Sector 8)
SLCG - Station Kania (Sector 7)
SLCG - Station Smugglers Cove (Sector 3)
SLCG - Substation Anton (Sector 7)
SLCG - Substation Bay City (the building is NW of landing point) (Sector 1)
SLCG - Substation Cranberry (Sector 5)
SLCG - Substation Indigo (Sector 2)
SLCG - Substation Poliahu (Sector 3)
District 2 :
SLCG - Station Cleora (Sector 4)
SLCG - Station Sarcee (no Sector yet)
SLCG - Substation Jadu (down the hall on the right) (no Sector yet)
SLCG - Substation Thryis (Sector 5)
SLCG - Substation Timandra (Sector 4)
District 3 :
SLCG - HQ (Sector 3)
SLCG - Station Bull Rock (Sector 1)
SLCG - Station Danshire (Sector 3)
SLCG - Station New Horizons (Sector 6)
SLCG - Station Santa Catalina (Sector 1)
SLCG - Substation Brook Hill Canal (Sector 1)
SLCG - Substation Dex (Sector 3)
SLCG - Substation Oleg (Sector 5)
SLCG - Substation Forkbeard (Sector 5)
SLCG - Substation Phoenix (Sector 9)
SLCG - Substation Starfish Cove (Sector 3)
SLCG - Substation Sunrise (Sector 2)
District 4 :
SLCG - Station Baitoushan (Sector 7)
SLCG - Station Terranova (Sector Eden)
SLCG - Substation BitBatBot (Sector 12)
SLCG - Substation Balloch (Sector Scotland)
SLCG - Substation Lowndean (Sector 12)
SLCG - Substation Sheershank (Sector 11)
As you can see each district has its own substation(s). These are all maintained by the SLCG.
Whether sailing, personal water craft or motor boating is your thing, knowledge of safe boating practices is an important thing to have in real life.
If someone has an interest in joining the SLCG, they can do that, but they won’t be able to stay permanently. First there will be an interview. To join SLCG permanently, you need to have a certificate of an online boat course ( which is free, by the way ), which can be found on this website : . Depending on your time, it could take up to 2 weeks to fully complete the course.
Personally, I think the SLCG is doing a very good job at keeping the waters of Second Life safe and sound. The fact that an organization like the SLCG teaches everyone the basics about boating and sailing, is a remarkable effort.
 More information about the Second Life Coast Guard can be read at their website at: .
Wesley Regenbogen

Friday, June 10, 2016

Interview with Pilot of the Airwaves (Otawan Fouquet)

By Bixyl Shuftan

DJ Pilot, also known as Pilot of the Airwaves, or by her account name Otawan Fouquet, has been the DJ at some parties for Safra Nitely's Club Darkwing and the Relay for Life team Ministry of Dance, in addition to other locations such as the Taj Mah. I had first run into her in a chance encounter at the Blarney Stone in Dublin a few years ago. We recently met at her skybox for an interview about how she came to be where she is now.

Of the skybox home, Pilot told, "A friend built it for me, was a gift. Trinity Delphin, she and I are good buddies. I encouraged her to be a DJ also. She used to be my agent. Very nice and sweet and good DJ in her own right."

"So how did you find out about Second Life?" I asked Pilot. She answered, "After my husband passed away from cancer, a friend insisted that I join it. I did not like the idea, so she loaded it on my system and said 'now make a avatar.' I actually decided 'oh well might as well learn to build in here.' " I asked about her husband. She told me, "Melanoma is a fast cancer. That is why I do the Relay for Life, hoping to find a cure. ... It was a bit of a shock, we were only married seven years. I was working, and just not doing anything but work. That is why (my friend) insisted on me coming in here."

Asking her how her first days online went, her response was, "Pretty well, I was introduced to the Dublin sim and found out they needed hostesses. My friend who got me in here insisted I go there first because of my Irish roots. I was hired and became friends with With Cher Harrington and Ham Rambler. At that time she was the top dj and live music manager. After a year of hostessing, they asked me to try out for a DJ position because Cher liked my voice, laugh, and choice of music. It just snow balled after that. It was a flurry of events and Dublin was very popular then."

When I mentioned the crowds Dublin gets every St. Patrick's Day, she stated, "Yes, we did loads of events for every major holiday. I met Safra Nitely at Dublin. I do not go there much (any more). It has switched owners, and they have not done too many events anymore. I was hoping it would last a long time." When I asked what happened, she answered, "Ham I suppose just lost interest or needed to deal with real life more. He decided to sell it, and it was a major undertaking to keep it going. There was 3 sims there. Now just one. I try to go hear the djs as much as possible, but with my schedule it is a bit hard."

I then asked her, "How long before you found other places to DJ?" She answered, "oh I was asked immediately. Heatbeats asked first, then Beau Belle, and I was still at Smooth Jazz Club too. We had a big following there also. But the owner retired , sold it and the new owner lost it. Another great club gone. We would have over 40 for my events alone." She told me Smooth Jazz had been holding events for over nine years. Pilot went on, "They came to hear me at Diegoland first. It was a part of Dublin then. I was their first entertainment. Then they hired live singers. It was well run and very efficient. (But) the owner just got tired of it and sold it."

"I have been fortunate to be with some really great clubs," Pilot told me. I asked about others, and she answered, "Drunken Drow, It was a Elf community club. I played Saturdays there, Celtic and bluegrass events. I kept it at a minimum  because they both had huge member lists and I was filling in too. Drunken Drow just shut down too, another one that had been around a long time. It had been there for over 7 years. Most the clubs I worked with were very stable. I also have done a couple of internet radio shows, DekaDance and RadioMetaverse. Dekadance (went) very well, they want me back. I am considering going back after my mum is more stable. RadioMetaverse is no longer, issues with the station manager. The manager was a bit of a hound, he was chasing the girls. I do not go for that business."

Pilot soon brought up the Relay for Life again, "I have to be going soon because of the relay for life event. I do voicing for the closing ceremony (later today)." She went on, "Oh, I did do a long stint with the Changhigh Trinity Sisters. They are still around and working all the big events. I did all their music and announced the different tricks they did. They are fire dancers. I like helping Relay for Life. The Strangeworld group have been very kind of me." I asked how she met the Changhigh Sisters, and she answered, "Ah, at the Drunken Drow. The owner approached me to help them. I have done Snail Race music too, medieval opens, opening of new sims, such as the German sim, etc. Seems like everyone told them to contact me."

"Sounds like you've gotten quite popular," I commented. Pilot responded, "well it is just a matter of being kind to people and being reliable. I tend to love the crowds too. They want someone who makes the crowd feel welcome and enjoy the fun. I get a big kick out of some of the gestures too. Safra has kept track of me and we wound up doing a set at her place, as you well know. It seems to be growing too. The new one, Shenanigans, is really going well."

"When did you and Safra meet?" I asked. Pilot answered, "About seven years ago. She came to one of my events at Fibbers, a club in Dublin. It was a dance club, her and Danton Thirroul were great friends.He was another great DJ from England. Danton also encouraged me to do readings as well. I did several. Beowulf was one of my favorites. We would do classic books and use music to create a small two hour event. He had a club called 'O'Caseys.' It was down the street from the Blarney in Dublin."

Pilot then paused for a moment, then spoke again, "Sorry getting hit with IMs, another one of the owners of Taj Mahal. I DJ for them on Sundays also." I asked if it looked like the real-life location in India. Pilot answered, "It is modeled after that. It is a big place.Voodoo Spyker owns it. She used to come to all my gigs at Fibbers."

I then asked, "I take it there have been a number of evens something went hilariously unplanned, a glitch that had everyone laughing?" Pilot thought for a moment, "I am trying to remember ... Oh yes, we had one individual who came in one day and said 'great music but the DJ has a bad voice.' It nearly caused a riot. You should of seen the open chat, oh-em-gee! All the managers wanted to ban him, and I said, 'Oh hell, it is his opinion and everyone has a right to their opinion.' I just kept djing and having fun." "what happened with him?" I asked. "(I) have no idea," she told me, "never saw him again. I suspect he was an alt. I have also had other DJs tell me in IM that I was no good and stop DJing. I consider those pure cases of jealousy. I take it with a grain of salt and go on."

I then asked, "Besides DJing and the RFL, what else do you do in Second Life?" Pilot answered, "I train DJs, free of charge. I never charge to train DJs. I like pass on the knowledge. I do some building. I am about to start snail racing. I have been thinking of doing live music. I used to play in real life a lot. Safra is trying to get me to do that." "What kind of live music?" I asked. "Celitc and bluegrass," she answered, "Some rock. I played for years with my Father. I also play Keyboard."

Pilot went on, "I used to do a lot of airplane and parachuting here, swimming, etc. I have done lots of posters for events and such. But I have been out for while with my Mother being so sick. ... she is better, Bixyl. She is 87, but faring well."

I then asked about her pilot's leather helmet. She answered, "Oh yes that comes from my background in aviation design. I was a designer in real life, commercial and military components and flight simulators."

She went on to say, "I met my real life husband now in here. ... Shawwn Noel ... We have been married seven years. He is a big geek like me, computers are his thing. The interesting thing is he was a female avatar in here when I met him, and became my best friend." I chuckled, "What was his explanation?" He did not want anyone female to bug him, so he became a small impish female elf who played hockey. It was pretty funny. He finally admitted to me he was a guy, and was attracted to me. He had the same last name I did in here: Fouquet. It was pretty funny really." "Not your usual way to meet a guy," I chuckled. "I still tease him about it," she mused.

"He comes (to my events) once in a while," she told me, "but he is pretty busy with real-life work. He is a marvelous builder too, and scripter.I would love to see him get int the castle build contests." "How long were you together before you were engaged?" I asked. "A year," she told me, "I am a bit older than him and I was leery of marrying a younger man. But we are a lot alike. Mom told me 'You are crazy if you don't marry him.' She liked him right off. His Mom and Dad really liked me too. So both parents were good with it. ... Glad I was here for him. He lost his mom and grandmother. He needed someone to support and love him."

"He comes in to my gigs and stands around," she spoke of him, "We call him 'Stoic Shawwn.' It's pretty funny really." "How did that get started?" I asked. Pilot answered, "I was on the mic one day and said, 'Pay no mind to the stoic avatar next to me.' And he would wear this huge katana, like he was protecting me. It was really funny. He is pretty funny in here. I guess it's his alter ego."

"Second Life is a fun place," Pilot spoke of the virtual world, "One of the best places I have found. It's a real community, and I have real friends here. I consider it my second home. The Lindens did a good thing here."

I then asked, "Anything to say about some of the items around here, such as the penguin?" I drew her attention to the prim bird on the table. Pilot answered, "Ah yes, they all reflect what I do. Yeah he is a piece from a friend that was an actual diver for the National Science Foundation. She just retired. Great lady, and I use to remotely DJ for her from Smooth. They were in Antarctica. They have heard (me) all the way to McMurdo Bay. All the divers would put in requests. That was very interesting and fun." I responded, "Antarctica? Getting there and going about there's quite a journey and effort. "Yes, she met her husband there," she told me, "He flew the C-130 that took them there. It is a long trip. She would contact by computer and say 'I am New Zealand now, on my way home.' She lives in Hawaii."

She then told me she had to leave, "Bixyl I must check on my mother and get back in time to do the show." She asked if I had enough information, and telling her I had she logged out.

DJ Pilot's real-life job resume, which she handed me in a notecard, is an impressive one, with jobs such as architectural coordinator, being a structural drafter/designer for the Star Building in Oklahoma City, working on design and prototype development for the Cessna Mustang air conditioning system, being a major designer on the V22 Osprey Flight Simulator, and the Boeing 777 jet stab trim controls, and having developed several Cad/Cam programs for the B-2, C-130, and F-16, F-22 flight assemblies.

DJ Pilot can be found at a number of venues throughout the week, including Safra Nitely's Club Darkwing at Devon Dream (207/31/3992) during "DJ Pilot's Sunday Riot," on Sunday from 10AM to Noon SL time.

Bixyl Shuftan

Monday, June 6, 2016

Ari the Piano Player

By Deaflegacy

I first met Ari at Cape Heron, playing a piano there. As we talked, Ari continued to play the large musical instrument. It turned out that he is known in Second Life as a pianist.

“ I used to be too shy to dance so whenever I would attend a ball I would sit at the piano and pretend I was playing so no one would ask me to dance,“ said Ari. “One day it occurred to me that as long as I was sitting at the piano I might be able to stream some piano music and make the illusion of playing even more real. So I devoted a lot of time to finding the pieces and performance styles which I liked and learning how to stream them.”

When Ari heard that the artificial intelligence was being used in Second Life, he decided to give it a try. From the first day, he fell in love with how Second Life gave him the freedom to interact with all kinds of people from all over the world.

Ari started at the classical music sim Ger Y Lli, which is home to the group "Classical Lovers." Ari first played for the Classical Lovers group and still does. That was when he discovered his love of playing classical music, especially Beethoven. He experimented with several pieces of equipment normally used in recording studios to enhance the sound.

“My inspiration was to use the music to help others. I like to play soothing music and many listeners have told me the music helps them to relax,” said Ari, who had been playing for about a year. “I will definitely continue playing, and using listener's suggestions to add to my repertoire of songs.”

Ari's hobby is Second Life, helping old friends and making new ones. For his favorite music, it depends on which type of mood he's in. “I still like to play classical music for the Classical Lovers group, but also love to play wherever people like to hear me,” Ari said. “The VAI group is a particularly nice group to play for as many in that group are physically challenged and seem to respond quite well to the healing power of music.”

Ari is a remarkable piano player. I have this feeling that he will continue to play the piano for a long time. Ari is good at what he does, which is playing the piano for everyone.