Monday, December 31, 2018

Interview With Bixyl Shuftan

by Deaflegacy

Bixyl Shuftan and I got together on December 17, which was his RezDay. I gave him congrats on turning twelve. “Thank you," he replied, "it's certainly been a long, sometimes strange, usually wonderful journey.”

I asked Bixyl what his greatest accomplishment in twelve years on Second Life is. “Good question," he replied, "I would say in keeping the Newser team going. Next to that, I would say getting it started. After Dana decided to fold the Second Life Newspaper, four of us decided to start a new one, with me as the head as I was one with the most experience.”

I wanted to know if at the beginning it was his dream to be a writer on Second Life. “Well, twelve years ago, I didn't really have any goals, other than to explore around, see what this place was like," Bixyl said, "After I saw the Relay for Life weekend, I started coming here more often. But it wasn't until I saw the call for Reader Submissions in James and Dana's Second Life Newspaper that I thought about writing about this virtual world.”

I asked Bixyl more about his accomplishments on Second Life, including working on Relay for Life as well as helping out with the Happy Vixen Club. “I've done my best," he replied, "For the Relay, once I became a member of the Sunweaver community, that meant being involved as a participant in the Relay, not just a reporter covering it. So I've helped them out by covering their events, as well as volunteering for a few fundraisers. The Happy Vixen, it's owned by Nydia Tungsten. who is my best friend here. When she asked me to help her manage it , I told her I could help out. At the time, it had only had two or three events a week. It being a beach club, the idea was it would be a bit more laid back. As DJs kept wanting to play there, we took on more events. It does keep me a bit busy, but most everyone's happy.”

I asked Bixyl what his advice would be to people wanting to be writers. “In short, go for it," he replied, "If nothing else, you could always put your writings on a personal website or blog. But you can always find an audience if you know where to look, or go. In the case of Second Life journalism, there are newsletters such as the Newser, that are open to new talent coming in. Fiction writers, you can always go to writers workshops to compare stories to those of other writers, get a little feedback.”

I asked if there are openings on SL Newser right now. “Yes," said Bixyl, "We're still open to new talent, provided they've been in Second Life for thirty days or longer, and can write an article once a week or more.” He would later tell me this applied only to reporters on the Newser team as they're paid for their work. Readers can submit articles of their own to be published any time.

I asked Bixyl if he is going to continue with Second Life. “Yes," he replied, "The Newser's still going strong. Second Life, for it's ups and downs over the years, will be around for some time to come. So we'll be continuing to write about it for some time to come. And of course, this is a team, so my thanks to Gemma Cleanslate, Grey Lupindo, and Shelie Sands who helped encourage me to get this project going. And those who joined the team along the way, such as DrFran, Grease Coakes, and of course you.”

My next question is if he felt he accomplished much while being on Second Life. “I hope so," said Bixyl, "What I do know is that many have sent us their thanks over the years for our coverage, such as from the Sunweavers and the Relay. We've also gotten compliments for our style of journalism.”

I thanked Bixyl for being a mentor and inspiration to me in my writing about Second Life. You're very welcome," he said, "Perhaps soon you'll be an inspiration to a new writer on the team.” He would say that he hoped the Newser had and will inspire others to start writing.
Bixyl did have one bit of advice, “I guess my last bit of advice is while there's a time to postpone plans and dreams as realities change or don't go to plan .... 'hang on to your dreams. Some become tomorrow's realities.' "

I thanked Bixyl for his time. I have a good feeling that he will continue to write about Second Life and lead the Newser, for years to come.


Monday, December 24, 2018

Interview with Nydia Tungsten

By Deaflegacy

I recently met with  Nydia Tungsten. She had recently celebrated her tenth rezzday in Second Life. Over the past ten years, she has made a number of friends, and been many things from DJ to club owner, to sim manager, music video maker, real-life writer, and more. She is the owner of "The Happy Vixen" beach club, co-owns the "Club Zero Gravity" space station club, and has owned others as well.

After congratulating her being in Second Life for a full ten years. My first question to Nydia was what she feels is her best accomplishment in all this time. “Having as many friends as I do, they keep me strong and here,” replied Nydia, “I could not have done it with out them.”

I then asked Nydia how she found out about Second Life.  “I was out riding with my brother as he drove (his) truck, we were at (the) company lot and someone told me about it, gave me the loader for it, and I forgot about it for about, four years, no, six years," replied Nydia, "When I got off the truck and started settling down in Reno again, it was about six to ten months after that I found the zip file he gave me. So I opened it and tried it, I was in a whole new world of discovery. Hoo boy, it was one of discovery!  I was popping all over the grid. I was more interested in the Furry community because I had discovered comics and art work that absolutely fascinated me.  It really opened my eyes as well, I made a few self-discoveries that first week as well.”

Nydia and I talked about the first of her clubs written about, Angels Beach.  “Angels Beach, I had just started my family group 'Nydia's Angels', ”answered Nydia, “and my first Angel was a very good artist and as we were building it. I though of her and the rest of my new family, and named it for them. You will notice a LOT of the things I do and have angels in it, I do it for them my family.” She then added, "Oh something I should add, 'Angels Beach' was not my first club, 'Infinite Desires' was my first attempt at a club.” I asked Nydia where the idea for “The Happy Vixen,” her longest running club, came around.  “Well," she answered, "truth be told I saw the name in one of my comics, 'The Happy Vixen Tavern.' And I loved it."

My next question would be how Nydia first came across the Sunweavers.  Nydia replied, “My very first friend in Second Life,"Treminari Huet, was a member and she brought me over and introduced to Rita, Lomgren, Ranchan, Audri, Thomas and many more dear friends that have since become one of my Angels as well.”

I know that Nydia had been making music videos for awhile.  I asked Nydia where the idea for making music videos come from. “Well, I was thinking of making videos for the clubs and I started watching some SL videos," spoke Nydia, "and saw some REALLY well done ones and decided to give it a shot. And I shared it with my angels and put them in them as well, and the strangest thing happened.... we had a BLAST! (laughter)”

Nydia published a novel that she had written recently, "Switched Destinies." I asked Nydia how many people have been reading it.  “Last count, 23," she replied, "I will never get rich from them, but I enjoy writing their stories and sharing them and it feels great to have others enjoy reading it as much as I enjoy writing them." I asked her if there is a sequel planned.  “Yes," she answered, "it should be released soon, as soon as my daughter  finishes a little art work in it.  They may be six to ten by the time I am done.”

I asked Nydia what her future plans are.  She replied, “I own a Second Life Radio station. It will be going to real-life status in February. I also have become active with a group helping to promote clubs and to have them help each other as well and I tuck everything I do under the WVE flag (WVE means White Vixen Enterprises).  Oh, we also do yearly calendars.”

With the end of the interview approaching, I asked her if there was there anything she wanted to add.  “I would really like to thank all my friends for their support in my life," Nydia spoke, "They are my family here, and they keep me going.”

I thanked Nydia for the interview and asked her if I could take a picture. She answered sure and I took some pictures.  This was a really good interview.  I do know that Nydia runs an awesome club, which is The Happy Vixen.  If anyone is looking for some good times, I would definitely recommend The Happy Vixen.


Wednesday, December 19, 2018

A Favourite Irish Musician Returns to Perform at Music Island

by Klaus Bereznyak

Two years since his last recital inworld, the composer, performer and raconteur, Dainial, returned to Second Life to give a live performance on Sunday December 9 at Music Island. A little slice of Ireland was created for this intimate opportunity to hear Dainial's music and stories once again. The audience were invited to join him around the fire in a traditional Irish croft house, with a roaring fire in the hearth and the sound of birdsong in the trees outside the window.

The room full of avatars, lounging in armchairs and perched on kitchen stools, was evidence enough that Dainial's return was much anticipated and his music well loved. We were treated to a program of original works entitled "an Sean Phobal " (The Old Parish), drawing inspiration from remembered faces and voices from the past. Dainial 's music is strongly influenced by Irish traditional music and song with a twist of jazz and classical expression. He uses synthesizer and piano to score layers of sound as a canvas for his lyrical saxophone melodies. While juggling all these elements during the live performance, Dainial kept up a patter in his soft voice, bringing each piece alive with his own memories.

The audience could follow along with a specially prepared souvenir program with text and photographs. It opened with "Equinox", a song written for "Mikey" , one of "old people" who Dainial recalls gathering each in an old shop that sold clocks, radios, bikes and bric-a-brac, to exchange songs and poems. The program continued with compositions in which the music was layered over poems, stories and songs passed down through the generations, from various sources such as an interview with Dainial's grandmother and an old cylinder from a German POW camp in 1914. We were also treated to interpretations over the words of poems written by Irish poets and read by people known and dear to the composer. His piece "Summer has Gone" in memory of Sean O Cinnéide was especially poignant. Dainial explains: "Sean recites a 9th Century Poem for Christmas: It is called 'l have news for you' and was written in the margin of the Book of Kells by a scribe monk. Really though, this is a song about my grief still at his sudden death last February. He was a true friend and colleague. With a remarkable voice."

Dainial learned music in the traditional, aural way, by playing and by listening and, although he can read music, he doesn't sight read, and prefers to learn by ear. While he scores his music, he says "it doesn't feel intuitive to me. I suppose this is not surprising for an Irish musician in a way, because I share this way of learning tunes, by ear, with generations of traditional Irish musicians, but also my own family who are alluded to by my grandmother in my tune 'the music is in all of us'."

We came back in to land by way of "The incantation of Amergin", featuring the voice of  Padraigin Ni hUallachÃ¥in singing an ancient Irish poem. The magical, transportive experience was over all too soon, leaving the audience hungry for more. Dainial thanked Kate Miranda of Music Island for hosting the concert. We hope it will not be as long as two years before we have the chance to hear him again.

You can hear a little taste of Dainial's music on his SoundCloud:
Music Island has an ongoing program of wonderful live music performances:

Klaus Bereznyak

Monday, December 3, 2018

Mermaid Celene About The Radegast Viewer

By Deaflegacy

Mermaid Celene (celenehighwater) and I met for an interview about Radegast. My first question for Mermaid was, “Which viewer do you use for Second Life?” She responded, “I use Radegast. It is a text-based viewer that allows the blind to use Second Life.”

My next question for Mermaid was if the program is helping her out. “Without Radegast, I could not use Second Life. It is the only viewer that is text-based for the PC,” she replied, “I have been using it for seven years and I would say that it has given me a nice Second Life experience. I fish, volunteer, participate in gatherings, shop, etc.”

I wanted to know about the wonderful things about Radegast. Mermaid told me, “Radegast is a light-weight client, meaning it doesn't take a lot of processor power to run. It works seemlessly with the user's screen reader. So it makes getting around in-world easier because you aren't having to learn to use anything other than the viewer itself. It reads the objects sighted people usually see with their eyes. As long as they are labeled with labels that tell us what they are, we are able to get a great picture of what is around us. That allows us to interact with objects and people. We dance, we swim, and we can shop for items in-world.”

I wanted to know if Mermaid would recommend Radegast to people, especially people with vision problem. “Oh absolutely! We have a growing community of blind and visually impaired users in Second Life and an active community of sighted SL users committed to helping them live their best Second Life. This includes accessibility awareness, projects, assistance and anything else they need. is a great resource for the disabled real world community looking to enter Second Life.” replied Mermaid, “Second Life is so much more than a "game." It is a virtual community of educators, social events, non-proffits too. The opportunities are endless, even for the blind and visually impaired user.”

As the interview came to an end, I thanked Mermaid for the interview. I'm glad that there is a program out there that is designed to help people with vision problem when it comes to Second Life.