Monday, January 6, 2020

Dorie Bernstein And The Dreams Sims

By Marcel Mosswood

Good and evil do exist everywhere including Second Life, there are good avatars and evil ones. Dorie Bernstein is one of the many good-hearted avatars I know in Second Life. She manages Dreams sims along with several of her teams to present a safe and comfortable sim for the visitors in community and practice building in Second Life.

“Golda Stein is the rat behind the scenes," Dorie explained, "making sure the finances are in order as well as being the head boss for everything. Kely is a co-manager and ably manages the weekly Texture Contest and Speed Build, as well as many other duties behind the scenes. We have many who contribute time, support and L$ to keep our group thriving. Everyone makes this happen.

Dorie went on, “We have support groups that meet regularly for ShockProof, Brigadoon Explorers, and ADHD. ShockProof is the group for stroke and TBI survivors and their loved ones. Those meetings happen once or twice a month. Brigadoon Explorers is our group for those on the autism spectrum as well as their loved ones. They meet once a week. The ADHD group meets once a week as well.

"Building and texturing contests happen on a weekly, monthly and semi-weekly basis. Speed Build and Texturing Contests happen once a week on the same days and times used since the beginning. A monthly contest for building centers around a theme, often tied to the time of year. Until fairly recently, that contest was a pure building contest. Now, the rules allow for folks to create their vision using objects made by anyone at any time. This change was necessary to maintain engagement in events as mesh hit the grid and changed the relationship between builders and content creation. A semi-weekly building challenge (WBC) maintains a pure build focus, for those who want the challenge of creating something entirely new to meet the theme and particular challenge. Each week, we have our own version of 'Primtionary' for those liking to do quick-draw builds for others to guess the given word.

"Art has always been celebrated at Dreams, with various events through the years focused on different forms of artwork possible in Second Life. Huntress Catteneo rents our third sim, and has created a haven for artists of all sorts. She runs an art festival each year to raise money for charities. One of our members, FionaFei, created a marvelous art installation and gallery 2,000 meters high in Dreams. It has become the site of Friday night concerts with live music each week.

"The Dream Creations store offers a spot for group members to sell their creations. It also is where we have a yard sale and gacha resale area to help bring funds into the sims for paying the tier.”

Dreams are made to help people with disability to explore Second Life. But Dreams also is a safe place for normal people. Have you ever had a problem when protecting the interests of people with disability when they are in the midst of normal people in Second Life?

“While we do have a focus on helping those with disabilities find a safe place to be in Second Life, we don't make that the most visible part of our programming," Dorie answered, "We never require folks to identify if they have any particular disability, or what it is if they have one. Our rules and culture is designed to create the safe place and allow people to choose whether to share what they're dealing with behind the keyboard. Sometimes it helps to let that all go and have a sense of escaping the normal realities. We do expect all of our visitors and members to behave in a respectful and kind manner, regardless of what disability they may or may not have. The health of the whole group is important, and won't be sacrificed to 'save' someone who is causing massive disruptions. When handling difficult situations, I do try to be aware of where someone is coming from in order to figure out the best path forward. I'm only human, of course, and will fall down on that from time to time.” 

You have maintain the Dreams tradition and programs for many years, this is not easy. Do you have tips to stay consistent with these programs?

Dorie answered, “The main thing is to know just what is important about the traditions and programming. Find the essence, and work to maintain that. Embrace the changes that come to the grid and see how they can be worked into the old. I know that our group's founder would have embraced the new and found ways to use it. Trying to stop time doesn't honor the past. We do have nods to tradition sprinkled around the sims. A set of 'drama frogs' made by the founder sit by a pond. A stray micro prim from jewelry a past member is enshrined in the wall of the store. There is always a wall of some sort in the sandbox, as a reminder of our early wall-sitting sessions. We'd gather in the sandbox to chat, play with prims, work on projects, and bond over crazy fun.”

I had two questions about Dorie as a person:

With your very limited time in Second Life and real-life, how can you manage Dreams?

“We have a good team at Dreams," Dorie explained, "Each member runs their part, and that makes life so much easier for all of us. On my own side of it, I am learning how to use the word 'no' better. I do try to determine where I can save time without sacrificing quality. Engagement and participation are more valued in our events than attempting to maintain traditions simply for the sake of tradition.”

You have a unique way of thinking, including when building with basic prims. And I admire your ability to arrange SL's basic prims into new, very symmetrical shapes. What is the basis of your creative thinking?

“I like to challenge myself and see if I can do something different with prims," spoke Dorie, "I've played with them enough to know that there are a lot of shapes hiding with sufficient prim torture. With the new mesh Land Impact accounting system that can be applied to the 'traditional' prims, I'm having fun adding in the details that once were just cost-prohibitive in terms of prim counts. Some builds, I am trying to mimic something from real life. Other times, I am looking for ways to add an off-beat touch to things. This is Second Life, after all. Why stick to 'normal' all the time?”

I’m so in agreement with the last sentence.

Visit Dreams:


1 comment:

  1. I always enjoyed visiting Dreams and seeing what was going on there . I used to visit more often. So glad to see it is still going so well. I loved to talk to The Sojourner who was such a supporter of all and am glad to see that Dorie is continuing in her vision.