Monday, May 23, 2022

Looking Back: Shellie Sands and Grey Lupindo

By Bixyl Shuftan

When Second Life Newspaper closed down in early June 2010, four writers would go on to found and write for it's successor, the Second Life Newser: Gemma Cleanslate, Grey Lupindo, Shellie Sands, and myself, Bixyl Shuftan. Gemma and I have continued writing to this day. Sadly, Shellie and Grey have stopped writing. So who were they and what did they write about?

Shellie Sands joined up with the Second Life Newspaper sometime in 2009. Besides her articles, she also did poetry inspired by what she saw in this virtual world. In 2010 came a new subject: Ozimal bunnies, which she loved and would write about. She would also write about musicians and art. She would later get some Amaratto horses and write about those as well, one picture which Hamlet Au would cartoon in January 2010 following the results of the lawsuit between the two breedable pets makers.

Shellie would take a couple breaks in 2011, but came back, her last article in August and last poem in September. She would attend at least one more meeting, but sadly the Newser's poet would send no more.

Grey Lupindo was different from other reporters at the Second Life Newspaper in that I first met her before she joined. I ran into her at the Second Life Sixth Birthday grounds sometime in June 2009. When I mentioned I was covering the event for the paper, she told me she had yet to hear about any newsletter covering Second Life and had a few questions. A few months later, I would see her at the office getting a job interview by Dana, hired, and given an office. Like me, Grey was quickly distinguishable from the others with her furry appearance: the starter furry avatar with the stiff tail replaced by a flexible one, which she called her foxette.

Grey would write the first of the Newser's articles after it's introduction, and would go on to report about a variety of subjects. She would write about the Fantasy Faire. She would interview fellow reporter Grease Coakes about his just published book. She would write about the Meeroos, the fashionable breedable pet of 2011. But what I most remember her for are her articles about various locations across the virtual world. She would also write about her home community of Syzygy. One community event she reported took place outside their estate when several of the folk went down the mainland highways in tanks.

Grey would take a break in 2014 in order to deal with matters in real life. She would return in April 2016 when things on her side of the computer became less hectic. She would do a few more articles, such as an interview with SLB Cake builder Mikati Slade. But then the articles would stop. It would seem real life had taken over once more.

Over time, the Newser has had a number of reporters. A few sent in one or two articles after they were officially in, then having to leave. Others would write for years. But twelve years later, I still remember fondly these two whom helped found Second Life's best newsletter.

Bixyl Shuftan

Wednesday, May 11, 2022

Memorial for Teal Freenote

By Bixyl Shuftan

On April 9, it was announced that Teal Freenote had passed away. On Sunday April 24 at 11 AM, a memorial service was held for her at Remembrance Park in Raglan. A large number of people attended, at times about eighty in the sim, "This is the first time in 18 years I have seen 76 tinies sit still for longer than 15 minutes." Most were local tinies, but there were some human and furry avatars.

Zayn Till would give a speech that would be shown on Youtube, "Teal has been such an integral part of Raglan Shire since the begining. After the first Medieval Fest, we had our first Winter Fest, which was held in the entirety of the sillycube. And she was there. And she was helpful, and she was helping, and she was having a grand time like everyone seemed to be having a great time. And many pictures were taken. And I mean, it was magic, it really was magic. Wolfy is the real life husband of Teal. Theirs is a love story. They met in Second Life years ago. They finally decided to meet up in real life. And then they decided to marry. It's truly a touching, heartwarming, amazing story, a real love story, which is rare.

"Teal ran the Art Walk for five years. It was fabulous. She was so excited to do it. It was so nice to know. Just like karma does now. To know that someone really really cared and wanted to make it the best possible, and connected with the others, because there's other art groups in Second Life, and she had connected with all these other artists that weren't , it wasn't just Ragna Shire. The first year it was because that's all I knew. You know, I'm in my box. But Teal went outside the box and contacted all these groups that were art groups all over Second LIfe, and all these other artists. And all of a sudden ...

"Wolfe, my heart goes out to you. And there's no words, you know. I mean, the reality of everything, there's no words. But, you know I value what you've offered to our community, what you've offered as a friend. I was estatic that the two of you had a chance to meet and interact and then meet in real life and realize that love was real and then marry. And I know the loss is huge. I've talked about loss and the vacuum it creates. But as I understand it, you know she passed, and you were in the same room holding her hand ... you can't ask for anything else at the end.

"This is what's important, but they're not what's important. What's important is our actions and how they affect others, and how we impact others, and how others remember us. Because ultimately, we are all a story. And all we can do is tell each other the stories of the folks that have passed on, and remember them. And as long as you can do that, the vacuum aside, they're still always going to be with you. And you can cry, and you can be sad, but you could also remember why they made you laugh. Or that time they did something that made you smile. Or that time they did something that meant so much to you that you weren't aware that they were doing it. Teal was one of those people. And she would do things for others without people knowing until she would present them with that thing that she did. And we're grateful to have people like that.

"You know, Wolf told me that towards the end, I think she had made peace with everything and when I talked to her, she was already dying. And I know she was scared when I talked to her. But at the same time, she just sounded so at peace. And she knew it was happening, and she was just preparing. And you know, Wolf told me before this, that he feels that right now that she is at peace with everything, and ... it breaks my heart.

"I was floored when I heard that all of you congregated in the sillycube. I mean, you can see it. You know, for weeks, and rezzed all the stuff, and talked about her, and because everyone's mourning, everyone wants to comfort each other, and that's another aspect of this particular community being so unique and important. And again, Teal is such a big part of it. There's not really much I an say. I think I've said everything that I've wanted to say. But I mean Raglan Shire has been fifteen years of a community by and for so many that has given so much joy. Teal was such a big part of that. We're going to more than just commemorate her with a little talk. We're going to breathe something out as we want to so because as long as Raglan Shire is around, she's one of those foundations. So before I continue, let me just queue up something that Clover Hear and the Fantasy Faire folks ..."

(voice change) "On April 9 of this year, the Fairelands, the tinies of Raglan Shire, the wider community of Second Life, and indeed the world said goodbye to a dear friend, a sweet little white tiger who touched countless lives. Teal Freenote was everything a Fairelander is supposed to be: generous and kind, funny and courageous. She faced the Unweaver, she faced cancer with all the heart that is embodied in the form she chose as her virtual self. The following message is from the Raglan Shire community, a group of souls without whom the Fairelands would be a sadder, darker place. They write, 'We are heartbroken at the passing of our beloved Teal Freenote, and send all our love to Wolfie Hartnell, her husband, who held her hand throughout her jounrey. Teal fought hard, and we honor her and celebrate her. From all of us, we miss you, and we love you Teal. And we are here for you Wolfie.' And it's signed by the tinies of Raglan Shire.

"2022 marks the 14th age of the Faire. And if there is one lesson we can glean from all those years, it's simply the reminder of how fortunate we are to have this time and space to connect with one another. A wise soul with vision once asked 'What is grief, if not love persevering?' That enduring love is as bright as any star, bright as any sun. teal Freenote, and all those to whom we've said goodbye, are legends, now and forever, teaching us to reach for goodness sake. Now, and forever, loved by the sun."

(Click here if the video does not play)

While Zahn talked, there were some in the crowd who made some wisecracks, "If I ever go, can you guys put a can of Spam on a pedestal oik Morton's over there? People who know would know." "Too bad this ain't the Time or place.....But with all the T.A.G.s here it would of been a good time to give them their annual flea bath." And there were some funny gestures: *** Fish Hats! Fish Hats!  Rolypoly Fish Hats!  Eat them up. Nahm!***

But there was also some talk of Teal, "The ironic thing is she was very shy and here we all are watching her." "I haz prolly seen Teal art.  But it's like my SL inventory--- have no idea where it's filed away." "Teal was always pleasant. i never saw tiger side of her. she never clawed my face off, not even when i'd peed on my artwalk hedge near my store." "Teal never took time for granted," Teal's partner Wolfie (Wolf Hartnell) spoke. "Miss Teal entrusted me with artwalk," Karma Da Squabbit (karmagirl Avro) told, "I try to make it great because of her."

"She's still here supporting me in my heart," Wolfie would say of Teal, "I was there, I held her hand all the way." "Thta's precious, Wolfie," someone commented. "And you are still holding hands Wolfie," spoke another. Wolfie would say, "Zayn, my friend, without you creating Raglan, Teal and I wouldn't have met, so thank you! ... She was scared but ready, she just needed me to be there, and I was." Someone would respond, "I'm so glad your love from the start has been documented so well, Wolfie." Wolfie managed a smile, "I always knew I would have to share Teal." Someone else commented, "She will never be truly gone. Teal will live in our hearts forever." "Pretty much always crying these days," Wolfie would say, "but smiling too." "Those are good tears." "Crying is good, Wolfie." Wolfie would add, "Teal and I never took any of our time for granted - I worked out that we spent 30,000 hours actively together, online and in RL, and we never took any for granted. We felt rich, blessed and grateful. Live and love entirely!"

Someone would comment, "We relay for Teal too this year." Oldesoul Eldemar, whom was there as a tiny, would comment, "Yeesh - we take up more than a region in Fantasy Faire." Clover Denzo would say, "She will be also on the Love wall at Fantasy Faire." "I know loss from here.  And you've all helped amazing." "(I'm) not crying but feeling her spirit happy she's free from her illness  and strong in all of us." "She definitely left her pawprint." "Is good to get to know other tinies / dinkies / wees.  Make new friends.  Cos above all else, we're a friendly batch." "Yeah, makes me sad that one day, none of us will be here. The thought of losing all my TIny friends scares me." "So go out of our way to make new tiny friends." "I made some new friends here today!" "I got 3 friend requests just today." "More than 80 of us here." "And these people, from around the globe."

Songbird Sorbet would say, "Teal was Raglan's Music Director.  Teal helped me discover my talent and led me to my first concert in Raglan Shire.  She was there among many of you." Another would say, "It means a lot to those whom congregate to share happy memories!"

At the end of Zayn's speech, there were gestures and Riverdances. Wolfe was also invited to say something. Someone commented, "I can sum up what zayn said: Teal Freenote was lovely and creative tiny. she was helpful around here a long time, including artwalk. Her love story with Wolfie was epic. She will be missed.  That the TLDR or more like too long to log in cause SL version." Zayn would remind everyone, "(The) Artwalk is coming, this year we're going to be dedicating it to Teal. If you have any Teal specific art thats rare or similar, be sure and let Karma know so that she can plan where to place it." Wolfie would say, "Thank you all so much for being here." "Bawling, so hard to type. so good to see you and others who havent been on in so long."

People then started to leave, "... a gentle hug for Wolfie. Teal will be remembered." "Teal we will never forget you or this day of your memorial." "Great to see so many fiends here.  Teal was loved by so many." "Teal, you were so loved little friend ..."

And so, Raglan bade farewell to one of it's own, one whose name was also known outside the Shire.

On a final note, just as I was finishing this article, RacerX Gullwing posted this video of Teal and Wolfe's wedding celebration. So this article ends with a showing of happier times in Second Life.

Bixyl Shuftan