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.