Monday, January 22, 2018

Interview With Klaus Bereznyak

By Deaflegacy

This interview was done after I gave Klaus the notecard and Klaus sent me by the answers in another notecard.  Thanks, Klaus. 

Klaus Bereznyak has been writing for the Newser for some months. But he's also involved in other things on the Grid. Among them is Burn2. He doesn't hold any position there, but Klaus is in the group and likes to keep track of what is happening.  "I've always tried to get along to the Burns and have enjoyed the creativity on display year after year. It was always a bit of a pipe dream that I'd do something for it, the sort of thing where you might sit in a pub with friends and say "ha ha, we should do something next year; I mean, how hard can it be?" But that's as far as it goes." said Klaus. "Last year, however, I did a build with a friend. Two things came together in that the theme of "Radical Ritual" seemed like a really interesting one to engage with, and I found a creative collaborator who was game enough to say "do you want to actually do it." It was a lot of fun."

Klaus has a reason why he is on Burn2. "I like the 10 Principles of Burning Man and I think they have their place in this virtual world of imagination and experimentation. The themes of 'Radical Inclusion', 'Decommodification' and 'Self Expression' are ones I'd like to see in play more in all worlds." said Klaus. "Basically they mean, "anyone is welcome to participate", "it's not all about money", and "what you have to say is valid". If we played along with that we'd be better avatars and better humans, so I like how Burn2 brings that back into focus every year."

"I think I'll keep championing the creativity and the principles in small ways here, but I'm not planning on getting a parcel and building every year now," said Klaus when asked how long he would be on Burn2. "It was kind of a milestone to do something last year, and this year will have other paths to pursue. But "never say never". If there's one thing I have learned here, it's that the unexpected can happen if you are open to it - so, who knows, I may be involved again in the future."

Klaus went on to say that there is good effort to make the whole thing like a real Burn.  "It's not about coming in on the last building day and dumping something prefabricated and leaving it," said Klaus. "We drove trucks onto the Playa and unloaded building materials, we set up a camp and took a couple of weeks putting it together, met other burners and hung out. We savored the process and documented it at each stage. That was the best part of the experience. You can see how it came together in Pearl Grey's machinima here:"

Building Sojourning Outpost from Pearl Grey on Vimeo.

Like Burn2, Klaus doesn't hold a position with LEA, but he likes to support the creativity that gives space to.  "My involvement was deeper this time last year because I had the good fortune to be invited by another friend to contribute to their work: Art Oluja's Glass jars on LEA 11." said Klaus. "I worked on the soundscape for the sim, creating sounds with woodwind and percussion, which is nicely captured in another vimeo here: . It was a great experience, and I guess you'll notice the emerging theme is that I like to collaborate."

When Klaus was asked about how long he had been doing it for LEA, Klaus said, "Well, it was just that one thing. I will always keep in touch with what's happening, and I think writing for the Newser gives a nice opportunity to highlight the stuff that's new and different or that makes me sit up and think."

When I asked Klaus if he is writing in real life about Second Life, he said, "Not exactly. I keep the two worlds quite separate, but I write in both worlds. Of course, there is a lot of creative bleed between the two and SL inspires my writing in RL just as RL inspires what I do inworld, but I enjoy the different aspects that the two environments bring out from me in and of themselves. For instance, Klaus writes more poetry than his physical alt does in RL. This is probably because the shorter form is better suited to the average avatar's attention span, and I try to get along to 'Inksters' Poetry Prompt sessions whenever I can. That's not something I'd do in RL. I blog here, too, writing about design aspects of Mainland parcels and topography at . This year I'm going to be doing more blog writing about Mainland exploration in another collaboration. Obviously I enjoy writing for the Newser as well. In RL, I write and edit professionally and for pleasure, too. The bottom line is that "writers write" - whatever I'm doing becomes grist to the writing mill."

I asked Klaus about how long he had been working on this project, and he had the answer for that question. "I came back to SL in 2015 after a long hiatus. At that time I had some curiosity about how humans can dream collaboratively, and this related to a book I was working on. There were other reasons I re-engaged, too, and being here quickly took on a life of its own." said Klaus.  "In some ways it's all a massive project, a journey in self-experimentation and imagination. When we chat inworld, we are "writing", and this is a very big book that's not only made from words but also prims and mesh. It will never be done and I guess I will keep fighting the lag and the worse aspects of avatar behavior until the grid shuts down - because it's worth it to me, and there's still life in it."

When Klaus was asked about how he is doing with his novel, he said, "I have a lot of projects on the go, and some will go by the wayside. When I was 15 years old in RL, I started writing a novel about a garden that was a world of its own and in many ways similar to this virtual world. Maybe one day I will finish that. In the meantime I'll just be "gardening" here and writing about what inspires me. I have a vineyard, a gallery and a cafe to run; I co-run a shop and a printing press, and ... the list goes on."

Thank you, Klaus, for giving me the answers to the questions I gave you in the notecard.  I really appreciate it.  I believe that I'm already one of your fans, which is fantastic.  As days go by, Klaus and I continue to work together as a part of the SL Newser team.  I look forward to good days with Klaus.


Friday, January 19, 2018

Reader Submitted: Mourning the Loss of Two Relayers

“I don't think there's one word that can describe a man's life.”- Citizen Kane

This is probably the hardest post I’ve had to write. I remember when I was in the hospital, Henrietta stayed up almost every night with Sidonie and Cuddly. She always presented this shy demeanor, but beyond that was a woman who was deeply loyal, deeply committed to the causes she believed in.

 Sid, Cuddly, Henrietta and I talk almost daily. Three years ago we created a Facebook chat group that we just chat into, and no matter what we always talked through things. Hospital visits, strokes, dying cats, ferrets, movie quotes only Henrietta understood, and just life in general.

If there was one thing that I could always count on, it was my troupe of four. I recently went through a bit of depression that I could not explain- it happens to all of us. I must’ve chatted into the group at 3am my time and since we all have the group on our phones we all see the alerts. Henrietta woke up and kept me company through a time that was particularly hard for me.

Sometimes it is easy to forget but Second Life is not one dimensional- we are more than just the avatars we create.

Over time all four of our lives,  in world and out of it, became important. Cuddly got a live in boyfriend toy thing, Sidonie had new cats and Henrietta lamented about ferrets. We all know each other so well that if we met in real life, I don’t think we would even notice that we weren’t hiding behind our Second Life skins.

That’s what I love about Henrietta- she is so real, so true to herself that Sid, Cuddly and I had a shoulder to lean on to and rely on. She is always full of movie quotes and tv show quotes that none of us had heard of before but yet she persisted...

Henrietta Demina had many passions. Living life with a smile and laughter was one of them. She was dedicated to her real life family and friends and treated us SL family and friends just as she would in real life. She wrote about her Strange family on her website and was immensely proud of all of our accomplishments. Henrietta had her Demina family too, passionate about role playing as vampires. She was dedicated to the character she made on Second Life, changing only her hair to accommodate Relay season.

For the last five years she was deeply, deeply passionate about Relay for Life. She and her brother Hilshire made RFLSL as real as it could be- they collected monies in real life as much as they could and usually donated it in pieces.

Henrietta was the definition of a true relayer. She attended as many events of other teams as much as possible, slowly draining that chunk of change (which was easily in the thousands dollar wise) at each team event showing her support.

She volunteered to DJ at just about every single event possible. She was passionate about the Fantasy faire, Christmas expo, you name it she was there.

Quiet but steadfast defined Henrietta’s Relay journey- she was happy to let others in the spotlight even if she was more deserving. Most recently she was heavily involved with the Christmas Expo as a host and was happy to spend her entire week only at the Expo.

She became the Team Captain of Team Strange Journeys last year and held the baton with pride. She dedicated part of her sim to the team’s accomplishments and journey.

Above all, she was the Co Coordinator of the Castle Home and Garden contest. She retired a few years ago so she made the CHG her full time job, almost literally. She worked so hard that she worked herself into having a stroke right before the Opening Ceremonies last year. She was respected and loved by all of our contestants and our merchants. It was usually her that people would go to for support, and she was more than happy to give it.

It feels strange- life is a journey and I preach that, always. This week we lost both Henrietta and Hilshire Demina. They were killed in an accident early this week and it just doesn’t make sense.

I can see Henrietta standing in front of me, giggling, saying that sometimes life is funny that way. I can see her saying a quote from a movie she admired 40 years ago, and something about “don’t worry about it”. She would probably kill me if I said anything like “I can’t do the CHG without you”. She would want you all to smile and keep fighting. She would say, “don’t worry about lil ole me!”

Henrietta, you made a profound impact on my life and that will stay with me forever. You have made a difference and we won’t soon forget it.

Henrietta and Hilshire Demina, thank you. You can rest in your coffins now, and bite as many people as you want.

We will hold a memorial service and will send details when we have them.

Rowena Dubrovna

Monday, January 8, 2018

Feed A Smile

By Shaza Denver,

Hello my loyal readers,

     Well the hectic holidays are behind us for the most part.  I know I for one need to find the time to take down all the decorations and pack them away for next year.  Its still snowing of course.  Winter has  not left us,  at least not yet.  I hope everyone had a fantastic holiday season.   I hope you made new friends.  I hope you had good times with family and a peaceful and happy holiday season. 

     There were so many hunts going on,  and so many group gifts to be had.  It was indeed a joyful time for me.  My inventory is bursting at the seams.  I have no idea when I fill find to time to get this lot of goodies sorted.  Its probably going to take me a year! 

     With the holidays over I am skipping around Second Life looking for things to do and see.  Well as it happens I  was out on New Years Eve and I met a gentleman at a popular venue.  We had a dance or two and he told me about this charity that he sponsors, Feed A Smile.

     There are fewer things that gives so much joy than supporting others that are in need.  It warms your heart and gives meaning to your life.  Its what life is about. Helping others less fortunate.  In my humble opinion!   Second Life is no more different in real life in that respect.  We help those that we can when we can.   With that said let me jump down from my soap box and go ahead and tell you about this heart warming charity.

     Feed A Smile has events all over Second Life that help the Live and Learn in Kenya Int'l program.  The proceeds help very poor children in Kenya to receive hot meals.   A school is being built so that these children may learn.  How wonderful is that.   There is an art gallery where you may purchase artworks by SL artist.  These sales benefit the charity as well. 

Jump on over there and check out the artwork for yourself.  I know I bought several as the work is quite good and does help this worth while cause.  Here is your taxi to the gallery. 

Art Aid at Commonwealth Village, Momil (34, 125, 68)

     I am told the village holds monthly events for the charity as well.  So stay tuned for articles that will inform you of dates and times.  Oh and if you are family oriented such as myself,  children of Second Life are more than welcome to attend. 

     There is an venue that caters to the needs of this charity.  This venue is called Lavender Fields.  At the venue you will find a replica of the school being built for the children. 
       I myself visited the replica.   It is quite impressive,  and to know just what it stands for and the benefits it gives to others is heart warming. 

     Lavender Fields in itself is  a beautiful venue.   The build is lovely, and of course the flowers are my favorite color! What's not to love. 

     Do get over and check out the venue.  You will be impressed as much as I was,  of that I  am sure.  Here is your url to the venue.  Get over and check it out. While you're there, Feed A Smile.   You won't be sorry.  The feeling it will give you is like no other.

The Lavender Field, Feed A Smile (53, 124, 23)

     Until next time loyal readers.  Please stay tuned for articles about this amazing charity here in SL.

Warm Tidings,


Monday, January 1, 2018

Christmas Giving Tree and Sponsor an SL Child for the Holidays

By Alura Denver (Alura Messing)

The Holiday Season is all about spending time with family and friends regardless of what religion you follow.  No matter what community we spend our time in here in Second Life, we all find some way to celebrate with the people we spend our time with.  The "Family/Kid" role playing community feels the holidays even more than some others since "family" and "community" are at the very heart of the holidays.  But not every kid has a family and some families are not here for the SL holidays, because they are off in real life celebrating, or on vacation.  So, many who role play little kids are left alone with no one to spend time with.  This year however, a small dent is being put into that loneliness.  Sweet Tots store reached out to their customers and the kid community to host the first ever "Giving Tree and Sponsor an SL Child" for the Holidays.

Sweetiepie Riggles the owner of Sweet Tots was approached by her SL sister Cryssie アєνєηѕєу Tiepolo яιℓєу (Crystalle Qork)  with the idea for this because she herself was a kid with no family for the holidays.  As the two talked over the details and opportunities they could see with the event,  they got so excited that they started it two weeks early to give the kids even more time to make plans and interact with sponsors if they chose to.

What they soon found, was that they had more response from people wanting to help and sponsor kids, than they did have kids.  "At first pepols was scared to sign up. Sometimes pepols judge kids for being needy. but but the role of RPing a kids is being able to provide for us selves." said Cryssie "Lots of times kids are afraids to ask for help. Thems not wanna seem too needy."  But they found a way around this fear by asking the community to refer kids to them as well as sponsor, in a notecard that the sent to their whole customer base.

After the deadline for applications passed, Cryssie set up an "Angel Wall" that people could go to to pick kids to help.  This was set up as an activity for families so they could role play doing this together.  Depending on what the kid wanted to do (just get a present or spend time with a family) the sponsor was then able to contact the kid and share the gift or arrange an activity for them to join.  Some kids might just RP a nice dinner or maybe time with Christmas Jammies, hot coco and stories.  At that point it was all up to them.

The outcome of the event was a smashing success.  Some of the families fell in love with the kids they sponsored and asked them to join their families and adopted them.  Others just got the joy of opening not just the one thing they hoped for, but a whole slew of presents.  "Every kids that signed up gotta present whether they asked for it or not!  I had 3 stores donate toys and stuff and 5 stores donate clothing but but Sweet Tots donated huge gift cards to all the kids that signed up. So each box has about 25-30 presents" said Cryssie.

Cutiepie (0ojazzyd0o) was one of the participants this year.  She and her sponsor spoke a few times about things she liked and what they were going to do to celebrate.  When I spoke with Cutiepie she was looking forward to having dinner with her family, playing some games and exchanging some presents.  When I asked her if she would do it again she absolutely lit up with excitement and said " i enjoyed doing it yes and if i chould do it a gan tomarow .... i got lots of gitf all readyy from some of the sponcers of the giving tree in cluding  bubblegum and sweet tots and raynas closet.  i saport sweet tots and thought it was a realy cool i dea to have a giving event."

With such a successful event and so many wonderful experiences coming out of it I asked Cryssie if she would consider doing it again next year.  Her immediate response was, "yes! I hope to do it for many many many many many years to come.   I like knowing the lil bit effort helps sooooo many kids."  So be sure to look into it next year if you would like to donate or participate and share in some holiday love.
Alura Messing